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Occupy Denialism: Toward Ecological and Social Revolution

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blindpig Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-11-11 09:43 AM
Original message
Occupy Denialism: Toward Ecological and Social Revolution

Occupy Denialism:
Toward Ecological and Social Revolution
by John Bellamy Foster

snip

Faced with such enormous environmental problems and the need for massive, urgent changes in society, our worst enemy, as I have indicated, is denialism. Here it is useful to look at what I call the "three stages of denial" with respect to the global environmental crisis.5 The first stage of denial is straightforward. It is the denial associated with Exxon-Mobil and climate skeptics -- who say either that there is no such thing as climate change or that it is not caused by human actions. Sometimes they contradict themselves and argue both at once. This of course is the inevitable response of capital, which is invariably concerned, first and foremost, with protecting its bottom line -- even at the expense of the earth itself.

The second stage of denial -- often advanced by self-designated environmentalists themselves -- is to admit that there is a problem, and even to factor in the proximate causes. Most of you are no doubt familiar with the environmental impact or IPAT formula. Environmental Impact = Population X Affluence X Technology. This is a mere truism, where the drivers of environmental impacts are concerned. It frequently leads to the notion that the solution is a simple matter of promoting sustainable population, sustainable consumption, and sustainable technology. Nevertheless, this conception doesn't actually take us very far, since we then need to explain what drives population, consumption, and technology themselves. In fact, such multiple-factor analysis is all too often used as a way of denying the underlying background condition: the capitalist treadmill of production.6

The third stage of denial has the look and feel of greater realism, but actually constitutes a more desperate and dangerous response. It admits that capitalism is the problem, but also contends that capitalism is the solution. This general approach emphasizes what is variously referred to as "sustainable capitalism," "natural capitalism," "climate capitalism," "green capitalism," etc.7 In this view we can continue down the same road of capital accumulation, mounting profits, and exponential economic growth -- while at the same time miraculously reducing our burdens on the planetary environment. It is business as usual, but with greater efficiency and greater accounting of environmental costs. No fundamental changes in social or property relations -- in the structure of production and consumption -- are required. This is the magical world view advanced by such diverse figures as Al Gore, Amory Lovins, L. Hunter Lovins, Paul Hawken, and Jonathon Porritt -- if not Thomas Friedman, Newt Gingrich, and the Breakthrough Institute, as well.

snip

The main problem, which all of this denies, is the nature and logic of capitalism itself. Capitalism, as its name suggests, is quite simply, the system of capital. Its sole purpose is the accumulation of capital through the exploitation of human labor. It is a grow-or-die system dominated by the 1% (the capitalist class) and giant corporations. It is prone to periodic economic crises, and constant -- and today deepening -- unemployment. Capital accumulation and economic expansion occur by means of gross inequality and monopolistic competition, generating a war of all against all and a world of waste. The wider public/social/natural sphere is an object of theft -- a realm in which to dump "externalities" or impose unpaid social costs, which then fall on nature and humanity in general.

much more.......

http://mrzine.monthlyreview.org/2011/foster111111.html

Highly reccommended
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xchrom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-11-11 09:50 AM
Response to Original message
1. Invisible rec. Nt
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lunatica Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-11-11 10:05 AM
Response to Original message
2. Thanks.
Edited on Fri Nov-11-11 10:06 AM by lunatica
The emerging philosophy of the Occupy movement seems to be the solution. Very interesting. It certainly has taken off. It would be very nice if some sort of human/planet doctrine were developed around our relationship with the planet and our future. A set of rules and specific actions to align humanity and nature maybe.

Thanks.

Happy to rec it to +1
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The2ndWheel Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-11-11 10:18 AM
Response to Original message
3. Wealth concentrates because civilization concentrates
That is the grow-or-die system dominated by the 1%(humans). Civilization is the underlying background condition. Capitalism is nothing but a symptom.

Humans are the 1% on this planet. Unless we're changing that, then we really can't complain too much about the economic 1% of us. Like any good corporation, we privatize the profits of the planet, and socialize the costs to the rest of life. We are Exxon. We are Wal-Mart. We are the capitalist class of Earth.
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blindpig Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-11-11 11:09 AM
Response to Reply #3
4. Poppycock

How we do things does matter greatly. The anarchy of capitalist production, the massive waste, overproduction and reckless exploitation of resources are characteristic of and necessary to capitalism. A society dedicated to meeting human need, which includes clean water, clean air and vibrant biodiversity, would manage things quite differently, a rational economy.

Overpopulation itself is a manifestation of capitalism, which makes poverty and which is a primary indicator of increased replacement rate.
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blindpig Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-11-11 12:56 PM
Response to Original message
5. kick
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