Is Global Warming a new dawn for Anarchism?

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2existis2resist
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Mar 5 2007 10:46
Is Global Warming a new dawn for Anarchism?

With the advent of Climate Change now in the headlines and conciousness of the politicians, people are realising that the world cannot sustain our level of consumption. Many have noted that Capitalism is to blame since it is based on endless growth and endless profit. Now is the time for Anarchism to be introduced as the only viable alternative to Ecological disasters and repressive govermental regimes.
As the scramble for resources start- America gathering oil reserves, Israel conquering the fresh water areas in the Gaza Strip etc, the authoritarian nature of goverment is stepped up and civil liberties are repressed. The people need an alternative to this mess. Any thoughts?

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madashell
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Mar 5 2007 10:58

If anarchists tell people that they should give up a load of the little pleasures that make life under capitalism bearable, they'll be even less interested in what we have to say than they already are, so looking at this from the point of view of "our level of consumption" is a bit of a non-starter, IMO.

What we should be looking at is how things are produced, rather than what people consume, more carbon is produced from environmentally damaging yet highly profitable methods of food production than people taking holidays abroad or driving their car to the shops.

Mike Harman
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Mar 5 2007 11:06

Yep - I reckon a first step to dealing with the new media interest in this would be to debunk individual carbon footprints and carbon trading - showing that approaching the issue from the point of consumption is arse-backwards. Also, showing how much of a marketing boon organic/fair trade stuff is to supermarkets (TESCO's double green points etc.), and the price hikes.

Then there's bio-fuels nastiness. And green entrepeneurship like http://www.forumforthefuture.org.uk/ "Clean Capital" ffs.

Blacknred Ned
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Mar 5 2007 11:20

Wow, you really are working on this straw man aren't you madashell. Just so you know my advice to Devrim about water had to do with getting used to the way things are likely to be with water supply rather than advising that we should all adopt a new puritanism starting today.

Nevertheless, it is the case that many of the "small pleasures" you talk about actually make us dependent on the very structures we are opposed to. This is not some new age shit but good old fashioned anarchism. Anarchists in Spain experimented with not smoking, with vegetarianism, their own schools and life partnerships rather than marriage both to improve their own lives and to prefigure the new society.

Now 2existis2resist makes an interesting point but how are we to clearly demonstrate that revolutionary social change will be central to avoiding (or more likely surviving) ecological catastrophe? In my opinion one very good way to do this is not renunciation but demonstration; this is not something that need be the preserve of middle class people, but can be achieved through a multitude of projects that crucially:

1) improve people's lives here and now: diet, exercise, less dependence on expensive utilities
2) encourage direct democracy through everyday practice
3) increase sustainability & demonstrate how communities can thrive without capital or state.
4) increase soldarity between age groups, genders, ethnic groups etc.

If you abandon possibility of positive direct action and believe that you can change the world through appeals to some future society that will miraculously born out of the revolutionary moment then you're nothing more than a politician making empty promises or a Leninist "building the movement". I take this to be the central to the insights of social ecology.

_Arwen_
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Mar 5 2007 11:28

I think with climate change, it's more a case of- if we don't do something- we're all screwed. However it is the worlds rich- wether thats companies or individuals who have to change and if we manage i say yes this will be a good thing. I think we can all benifit from this.

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madashell
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Mar 5 2007 11:31
Blacknred Ned wrote:
Wow, you really are working on this straw man aren't you madashell. Just so you know my advice to Devrim about water had to do with getting used to the way things are likely to be with water supply rather than advising that we should all adopt a new puritanism starting today.

Get over yourself, what I've said on this thread has precisely fuck all to do with anything you might have said in the past.

Quote:
Nevertheless, it is the case that many of the "small pleasures" you talk about actually make us dependent on the very structures we are opposed to.

Not really. The problem is the way things are produced, it's pretty much impossible to do anything worth doing without producing some level of carbon emmissions at our current level of technology, the problem comes when you're burning off huge reserves of fossil fuels and transporting things back and forth all over the world because it's cheaper to produce it bit by bit in several different factories or because a certain fruit isn't in season right now.

In any case, the impetus shouldn't be on us to suffer to mitigate the damaging effects of capital upon the planet. You're playing right into the bosses' hands with this shit.

Quote:
This is not some new age shit but good old fashioned anarchism. Anarchists in Spain experimented with not smoking, with vegetarianism, their own schools and life partnerships rather than marriage both to improve their own lives and to prefigure the new society.

Are you comparing you not eating meat to large-scale social and ecological experiments carried out during a revolutionary situation?

Quote:
Now 2existis2resist makes an interesting point but how are we to clearly demonstrate that revolutionary social change will be central to avoiding (or more likely surviving) ecological catastrophe? In my opinion one very good way to do this is not renunciation but demonstration; this is not something that need be the preserve of middle class people, but can be achieved through a multitude of projects that crucially:

1) improve people's lives here and now: diet, exercise, less dependence on expensive utilities
2) encourage direct democracy through everyday practice
3) increase sustainability & demonstrate how communities can thrive without capital or state.
4) increase soldarity between age groups, genders, ethnic groups etc.

Exactly how long have you been writing policy statements for NGOs?

Quote:
If you abandon possibility of positive direct action and believe that you can change the world through appeals to some future society that will miraculously born out of the revolutionary moment then [insert meaningless "political" insult here]

Oh ho, you have a real fucking nerve lecturing me about straw men.

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Joseph Kay
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Mar 5 2007 11:48

i think the problem with the 'demonstrate by example' approach is twofold:

1) it assumes ordinary people have the resources in time/money to say, grow their own veg or by local etc, and thus puts the onus on us as consumers to mitigite capital's ecocidal tendencies (also inadvertently promoting the myth of consumer sovereignty which is a crucial part of the ideology of capital, i.e. the ideology of that which is destroying the environment)

2) it ignores the fact that most emissions are not directly related to consumer goods at all - how can you boycott aluminium, whose production involves shitloads of emissions etc? - and that the capitalist enterprises which control this production are not governed by 'good examples' but by the bottom line, so you'd have to demonstrate ecological sensibility is more profitable than cost externalisation, unlikely at best, and certainly impossible without compensating attacks on workers' wages/conditions.

so we have to start by understanding production and the social relations thereof, any analysis beginning with consumption can only lead to (cul-de-sac) boycott politics and carbon trading and the like (i.e. turning ecocide caused by relentless profit-seeking into a source of profit).

Blacknred Ned
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Mar 5 2007 12:56

Joseph K, I don't think that you've quite got my main point which is that people can improve their situation by living in a different way and working with other folks around them.

To suggest that people don't have the time or the money plays, if anything does, into the hands of the consumer culture. Around the world people who have a lot less than those of us in the west do a hell of a lot of stuff that defends and improves their communities. Throughout the period of the height of Britain's industrial development working people grew loads of their food - not working 39 hour weeks mind you and undertook, in addition loads of other activities that kept their communities in existence. They made the working class culture with their activities & now you seem happy to say that it can't be done.

Madashell, if I need to get over myself then you do to! I am arguing for the conscious generation of less surplus value for the bosses and for the recreation of the ties that bind communities together. Deny if you like the ongoing atomisation and demoralisation of people in the world today, but you are barking up the wrong tree if you think that ways of bringing people together have nothing to do with anarchism.

Of course I am not comparing vegetarianism to revolution; I am arguing that changing the world today is essential for changing the world of tomorrow. You can wait for The Great Day if you like but it ain't coming by magic or just because you're a very angry boy!

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madashell
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Mar 5 2007 13:02

*deleting this, lost my temper a bit there embarrassed

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madashell
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Mar 5 2007 13:07

Ned, do you think that anarchists should respond to attacks on the NHS by:
A) Setting up our own hospitals or;
B) Organising with other workers to defend the NHS?

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Joseph Kay
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Mar 5 2007 13:27
Blacknred Ned wrote:
To suggest that people don't have the time or the money plays, if anything does, into the hands of the consumer culture.

well, what revol said - capitalism can't be boycotted out of existence, and also this isn't an idle comment, i know a guy with an allotment and it takes up a huge amount of his time. as it happens he enjoys it, finds it relaxing etc, but when i get home from work i don't want to then go and do further unpaid labour to sustain myself - for my consumption i want the benefits of a mass division of labour (which means less labour for everyone), not some monastic self-sufficiency taking up my 'free' time.

Blacknred Ned wrote:
You can wait for The Great Day if you like but it ain't coming by magic or just because you're a very angry boy!

i know this wasn't aimed at me, but what's this kind of straw-man baiting trying to achieve? nobody here thinks revolution just happens, this is a class struggle board where regular posters are well aware that we need to organise if we ever want to see revolutionary change. of course, given the finite time i have outside of work, should i spend it 'building self-sufficient alternatives' or organising to take over what is already ours? madashell's question seems to get to the crux of this (in terms of vogue lefty theory, it's the question of exodus vs resistance).

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Joseph Kay
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Mar 5 2007 13:59

wrt to the original post ...

2existis2resist wrote:
With the advent of Climate Change now in the headlines and conciousness of the politicians, people are realising that the world cannot sustain our level of consumption. Many have noted that Capitalism is to blame since it is based on endless growth and endless profit. Now is the time for Anarchism to be introduced as the only viable alternative to Ecological disasters and repressive govermental regimes.

i've already mentioned my misgivings about starting with a critique of consumption - it suggests austerity for the working class and (ecocidal) business as usual for capital etc. i mean, i agree, i'm not sure capitalism will avert a massive ecological crisis. i mean i think they'll mitigate it, but things are likely to get pretty bad for millions of people if capital's still running the show, and obviously i agree that the preferable alternative to capitalism is libertarian communism of some description. i think you're right that capitalism is increasingly being blamed - even in BBC documentaries and Guardian/Independent editorials - but i think the focus on 'capitalism = consumerism' is a means of mitigating that realisation and diverting it into harmless and ineffective, though perhaps profitable avenues such as carbon trading, 'ethical consumerism' and the like.

What i mean by this is that many people spot that capitalism is based on seeking endless profits with disasterous consequences, but then conclude, on the advice of articulate liberals like Monbiot/Klein etc that profits can be attacked by boycotts etc, i.e. in 'the sphere of circulation' - when in fact capitalist profits and the drive to endless growth cannot be understood without also looking at 'the hidden abode of production,' which throws up all sorts of awkward questions of class the aforementioned liberal ideologues would rather weren't raised, and of course processes of production produce probably (whoa alliteration!) the majority of CO2 emissions, so it's a doubly convenient ruse.

Blacknred Ned
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Mar 5 2007 14:01
Quote:
monastic self-sufficiency

grin

You'll just have to take my word for it that my lifestyle isn't monastic.

Okay, enough heat and not enough light. I am sorry to have contributed to the 'straw man baiting'; I have not been alone in this.

I don't think you'll find that I have criticised any particular kind of organisation for anarchists, I believe wholeheartedly in a pluralistic approach, in building and rebuilding communities, in trying to help people, including myself, live a better more enjoyable life here-and-now. Now, no allotment is going to overturn corporate capitalism, but collective action to increase community ties and self-reliance may play a vital part in spreading the idea that self-management and solidarity works.

I don't see why people shouldn't both organise in workplaces and communities; I don't see why we shouldn't know and understand our position as workers and also try as hard as we can (with other people mind you!) to give ourselves a little more freedom and life satisfaction.

I believe in a positive anarchist movement that people can look at and see positive, self-managed projects employing the very ideas we want to see widespread in the world. I do not believe that one person working on his allotment on his own is anything but nice and good for him or her, but this kind of work only reaches the next crucial social level when it becomes a communal social project.

Madashell, I have a personal position on the NHS which is this: it is a crock of shit! It was always a crock of shit and will always be a crock of shit! Workers in the NHS have my sympathy and my support in their struggles to make a living wage and work reasonable hours, but that won't prevent me from talking about the alternatives to the industrial ill-health system that this half-cocked social democratic basket case was always going to be.

As to the creation of things like hospitals created by ordinary people in communities it was once seen as a very real way forward. Hospitals are a difficult aspiration at this stage but social support of a broader kind perhaps is not.

Look, when National Insurance was created plenty of working class people were opposed to it because they knew that it would undermine working class self-managed solutions to the problems of need and deprivation. This is a huge argument, but I am not some crank for raising these issues, the idea that grass roots solutions can to a large extent, if not entirely replace the monolithic structures handed down to us is nothing more than a faith in people to be able to create and administer a free society.

Finally, on an ecological note: it just so happens that communities with projects such as local food production both improve their lives, their health (good nutrition is perhaps the best primary health care) and help the environment. I reckon that, given the desperate failure of the left in any of its guises to turn around the development of global corporate capitalism or its hand maiden states, it is necessary to be open-minded, to consider a wide range of strategies and ways to spread The Idea, it is a fortunate side-effect that projects that empower people can also improve social and ecological conditions where it is often needed most.

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Joseph Kay
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Mar 5 2007 14:18

ok maybe i misunderstood you a bit on the monasticism, i'll indeed take your word for it ...

Blacknred Ned wrote:
collective action to increase community ties and self-reliance may play a vital part in spreading the idea that self-management and solidarity works.

I don't see why people shouldn't both organise in workplaces and communities (...) I believe in a positive anarchist movement (...) projects such as local food production both improve their lives, their health (good nutrition is perhaps the best primary health care) and help the environment

i'm not anti-community organising, i'm decidedly pro- in fact and hopefully we'll be getting some kind of workplace/community organising group/network going on down here soon. what i'm critical of is the Thoreau-esque notion of 'self-sufficiency', not least because small-scale 'alternative' production often doesn't "work" in terms of an efficient use of our labour and so can't 'compete' with capitalist commodities: it either has to sell its products on the market, and thus may have to charge higher prices making it another fair-trade-esque guilt-levy on the middle classes, or its distributed 'according to need' amongst members, but then members need to have the available time outside of wage labour, and the inclination to put into say a local organic produce co-op - an 'alternative' that relies on encouraging workers to do more unpaid labour, or in marxist terms to lower the cost to the bosses of reproducing their labour power. i think this is why the numerous no-doubt well meaning co-ops that do exist don't tend to get beyond a small ideologically-motivated group plus sufficiently affluent supporters. i'm of course open to counter-examples, but i'm highly skeptical of the 'exodus' strategy - we already produce the world, what we need to do is take control of our products, not make some more on the side.

Blacknred Ned
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Mar 5 2007 14:38

Well, I've got to rush off, but I have to say that small-scale production most certainly does work in terms of efficiency and certainly can compete in terms of price and quality - again with the healthiness of food.

Look, I know we produce the world & I know that we need to take control but what I am suggesting is not giving up on that! In fact a close reading of thoroughly argued social ecology strategies should show that the argument goes something like: break down loyalty and dependence on the hierarchical structures and thus bring ever closer the day when we will knock them over for good.

I absolutely reject the marxist analysis of more unpaid work on the side & reducing the bosses costs of reproducing labour power. It's a very weak argument; if it ever had any validity - probably mid-Nineteenth Century with large gardens for workers so that they could grow veg, - it's gone now. More later.

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Joseph Kay
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Mar 5 2007 15:05
Blacknred Ned wrote:
Look, I know we produce the world & I know that we need to take control but what I am suggesting is not giving up on that! In fact a close reading of thoroughly argued social ecology strategies should show that the argument goes something like: break down loyalty and dependence on the hierarchical structures and thus bring ever closer the day when we will knock them over for good.

the problem with this is that its utterly voluntaristic - i haven't read any social ecology except 'the ecology of freedom' which is mostly philosophical rather than tactical/strategic, so i don't know the details of what you're refering to - but the above strategy seems to rely on a bunch of ideologically committed lefties with a work ethic to build something resembling 'a viable alternative', tricky enough with food, let alone health care or electronics, it's based on the notion of 'out-competing capitalism in order to weaken it' as far as i can see - kinda left social entrpreneurialism.

and whatever you say in principle, 'exodus' and 'resistance' are largely mutually exclusive - what kind of lefty superhero has the time to run a local organic produce co-op and support NHS workers/fight NHS cuts/defend council housing etc? i spend enough time in meetings already. and if the food co-op is a day-job, how else can it compete with other capitalist commodities except by the usual means, depressing wages etc - self-managed exploitation. and the need for material inputs means a need to generate revenue - to be connected to global capitalist markets. production is a social process - the apparent 'naturalness' of the market rests on this fact, because it recognises the interconnectedness of all (re-)productive activity. you can't just step outside of capitalism and produce some nice local commodities for nice local people, without becoming subject to capitalist imperatives, as many a hippy idealist in a workers' co-op has discovered.

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Joseph Kay
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Mar 5 2007 15:12

well, i can supply the tract, but you're the expert at (shit-)stirring. 'tis a social process you see. wink

Terry
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Mar 5 2007 15:26

Nice to see a more relevant discussion on libcom for a change, likewise the 'Hereford people....' thread, begining to restore my faith.
I have a recent article on indymedia about 'individual consumption' and climate change, here it is:
http://www.indymedia.ie/article/80959

Blacknred Ned
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Mar 5 2007 17:01

I am afraid that I am losing the will to take part in this tennis match of contradictions. Look, what I am talking about does not depend on committed lefties, on the contrary in very many places around the world people have been radicalised through just the kind of community activites that I have tried to describe.

I am not talking about superheroes either, although you do seem to forget that not only were libraries and surgeries established by workers in the past - in their all too brief spare time - but also universities.

Neither am I talking about stepping outside of capitalism. Thearguments being employed here are preformed off-the-shelf rebuttals, not just that they're patronising. Hippy idealists be damned, I am not talking about long-haired entrepreneurs I am talking about ordinary people, together, taking back some of their social and economic autonomy. Believing that this will all come at once like ripe fruit from the bough after some revolutionary moment is naive, especially when most of the left seems incapable of finding its arse with both hands let alone the fabled revolutionary strategy to deliver that moment.

As for voluntarism, if we are not in favour of voluntarism I do not see what we are in favour of, tyranny? Voluntarism implies to me no devil-take-the-hindmost attitude, but if you would do away with the state as it presently exists what else would you have in its place but voluntarism? Commissars?

I like the use of 'whatever you say'. That's great. Oh okay, I shan't say anything then! Yeah right! Here's my point again for those of you who would rather have a discussion with a human being: the recreation of the ties that bind communities together is absolutely central to the development of resistance; the demise of community has lessened resistance and created a demoralised and defeated populace. The left has collaborated in this process by choosing political or fatalistic paths of dissent or protest. If we believe that getting kicked will by some alchemy give rise to the resistance that will bring down capitalism and the state then we are subscribing to an illusion. Defeat has followed defeat and we willfully ignore history if we deny that somehow communites need to be rebuilt.

Address this if you can: How far has the praxis that you prefer on its own got us these past two centuries?

With regard to the starting point of this thread, global climate change may well present opportunities to reveal the increasingly brutal nature of the current system, but without a major acceleration in the spread of libertarian ideas and practice I see no cause for optimism, on the contrary I fully expect in a few years time to be arguing with Revol in morse code tapped out on the pipework in the prison cells.

It may well be that widespread catastrophe will help to give rise to communities in which a new post-hierarchical culture can put down deep roots. But personally I would rather see the lessons learned before the catastrophe.

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Joseph Kay
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Mar 5 2007 18:57

who's advocating waiting for catastrophe? i know i'm all in favour of organising now, and so's revol (well he's in a group called Organise! anyway wink). what we're talking about is what kind of organising we should be doing, not whether it should be done.

Blacknred Ned wrote:
I am talking about ordinary people, together, taking back some of their social and economic autonomy.

ok can you give me some concrete examples then, because, perhaps through my own dogmatic lack of imagination, i have no idea what you are talking about neutral

Blacknred Ned wrote:
Believing that this will all come at once like ripe fruit from the bough after some revolutionary moment is naive

now who's battering straw men?

Blacknred Ned wrote:
Neither am I talking about stepping outside of capitalism.

you said:

Blacknred Ned wrote:
increase sustainability & demonstrate how communities can thrive without capital or state.

so you can see how i got that impression yeah? like i say, i'm not sure what you are advocating.

Blacknred Ned wrote:
Address this if you can: How far has the praxis that you prefer on its own got us these past two centuries?

another straw man, 'you haven't got communism yet so you're wrong.' if i knew what you're advocating, i could point out how that hasn't brought about the advent of global communism yet either. the critique of voluntarism isn't in favour of coercion but, as i explained at length (though apparently not applying to you) of the idea that capitalist social relations can simply be boycotted.

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Mar 5 2007 19:24

Ned, the example of mutual aid you've touched upon (friendly societies and all that) came out of a time when there was no welfare state. The welfare state was something working class people had to struggle for for years, they didn't do it because they felt like being forced to submit to some ill defined "dependency" on the state, but because the other set up, where they had to do it all themselves on top of working full time, was shit.

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Mar 5 2007 19:44
Blacknred Ned wrote:
With regard to the starting point of this thread, global climate change may well present opportunities to reveal the increasingly brutal nature of the current system, but without a major acceleration in the spread of libertarian ideas and practice I see no cause for optimism, on the contrary I fully expect in a few years time to be arguing with Revol in morse code tapped out on the pipework in the prison cells.

-.-. --- -.-. -.- roll eyes

Pepe
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Mar 5 2007 20:25

I'm working on this issue at the moment because there's a student campaign at my university to raise campus car-parking changes (!). Stupid hippies.

I'm probably going to write an article about the whole "we're all responsible" crap ... if anyone knows any good websites that would be helpful, especially interested in how much aeroplane co2 emmisions are caused by tourism and how much by cargo.

I hate hippies so much.

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Mar 5 2007 20:32

monbiot's on the telly RIGHT NOW on c4. though he's probably saying we are all responsible (i've got him on mute - take that liberalism!). might piss you off so much you'll go off on an ultra-critique though

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Mar 5 2007 20:36
Blacknred Ned wrote:
Madashell, I have a personal position on the NHS which is this: it is a crock of shit! It was always a crock of shit and will always be a crock of shit! Workers in the NHS have my sympathy and my support in their struggles to make a living wage and work reasonable hours, but that won't prevent me from talking about the alternatives to the industrial ill-health system that this half-cocked social democratic basket case was always going to be.

As to the creation of things like hospitals created by ordinary people in communities it was once seen as a very real way forward. Hospitals are a difficult aspiration at this stage but social support of a broader kind perhaps is not.

Look, when National Insurance was created plenty of working class people were opposed to it because they knew that it would undermine working class self-managed solutions to the problems of need and deprivation. This is a huge argument, but I am not some crank for raising these issues, the idea that grass roots solutions can to a large extent, if not entirely replace the monolithic structures handed down to us is nothing more than a faith in people to be able to create and administer a free society.

You lost me here. A free healthcare system is a fundamental basic. They may pervert it to make it something else, but I'd rather have a doctor fix me up than a local person, no matter how self managed they were.

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gatorojinegro
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Mar 5 2007 21:48

well, in order to figure out what we might be able to do, or how this should affect our perspectives, it would be good to start from some information about the cause is.

about 40% of greenhouse gases are produced by the transport system. one of the reasons the USA contributes 25% of world greenhouse gases is the extremely energy intensive land use pattern, a product of decades of suburbanization, a lot of it fueled by white flight. the problem is, once distribute jobs and housing and shopping to hell and gone all over the landscape, it's hard for the working class to glue together the fragments of our lives without cars. this whole development pattern came about because of the structural tendency of a market capitalist economy to generate huge amounts of cost-shifting. the internal combustion-powered auto is a great means to cost-shifting, and all its greenhouse gas emissions is a perfect example. one of the reasons electric cars cost so much more than gas-powered cars is the gas-powered cars don't have to pay all their pollution costs, which includes global warming. suburbanization was historically also patriarchal because it was built on the isolation of women in houses, that is, the assumption that families would be based on the free labor of women in dispersed and isolated pods.

so, there are number of possibilities for activism here, which can include things like organizing around public transit, around building affordable housing in compact, transit-oriented ways, in general making cities more pedestrian and bicycle friendly, and so on.

the next largest source of greenhouse gas emissions is the energy production system, which generates 30%. in the USA there is extensive use of coal-fired power plants, and many new ones on the drawing boards, and those can be fought. there are a variety of proposals around things like publically funded solar power systems.

now, none of the things I've just described can be reasonably referred to as "getting people to make do with less". People aren't going to fight for social change or a revolution to have less, or impose austerity on themselves. A number of the things that would need to change to reduce greenhouse gas emissions could make life better for much of the working class. Right now the dispersion of affordable housing far from jobs is a hassle, having to drive everywhere thru traffic is stressful. More compact settlements with a better mix of things going on in the same locale makes it possible to get to more things by walking. A greater reliance on walking and public transit reduces the greenhouse gas emissions. The switch from coal and oil fired electrical plants to wind and solar and tidal power also reduces greenhouse gas emissions.

t.

magnifico
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Mar 5 2007 23:26
Ned wrote:
As to the creation of things like hospitals created by ordinary people in communities it was once seen as a very real way forward.

Before the NHS we had 'voluntary hospitals' in which workers were expected to treat poor people (if they were lucky, many did not get access to care who needed it) in pretty shitty conditions for free, subsidised by private wings in which rich people paid for much better treatment in the same hospitals. They also had local authority-run health services which were wildly variable in terms of quality and not organised into any sort of coherent system. The formation of the NHS vastly improved millions of people's access to all kinds of healthcare and went a long way towards ending regional differences in healthcare provision and health promotion (though not far enough, obviously). Of course such improvements are not given by the ruling class at a whim but are won through struggle, I'd say having pretty decent amount of our surplus value given back to us in the form of 'free' healthcare is a victory well worth defending not just as workers but as users too.

Interestingly the bit in italics is pretty much what the NHS is being turned back into now, something I believe is having/will have a huge effect on working class quality of life.

Blacknred Ned
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Mar 5 2007 23:40

Okay, as it came along:

I didn't say that anyone was advocating waiting for catastrophe.

Examples: community food projects (Permaculture, periurban horticulture etc); tool shares; skill shares; credit unions; neighbourhood assemblies; credit unions; community orchards; community workshops; community sports clubs; lunch clubs; community based recycling schemes. Internationally there are many more & I would include workers' co-ops, housing co-ops and affordable collective self-build projects. I would not argue that any of these are necessarily perfect but if you'd sit on your arse and ignore them for dogmatic reasons then it's not me that's likely to turn people off anarchism. Any project, just like any protest or action is only as positive as the thinking behind it; with the right impetus a community project can empower, it can spread the practice of direct democracy & I hold it as axiomatic that that is a particularly high form of direct action.

Yes demonstrate how people & communities can thrive without the state and capitalism. One step at a time. This is not exodus it's creative community resistance. I do believe that capitalist social relations can be eroded & resisted; I did not suggest that because you haven't got communism yet you're wrong, what I suggested was - and it was carefully worded - that your praxis alone had got us all absolutely fucking nowhere. Neither did I suggest that I hold the unique key to the advancement of our cause, just one key perhaps among many.

I couldn't disagree with you more about the welfare state Madashell. Whatever question the working classes were posing the welare state was not the answer! It was always about control and keeping the workers healthy enough to work and crucially to be drafted to fight. The welfare state is a disgusting abomination, that anarchists are willing to even consider defending it in principle is shocking to me: it's a chewed bone thrown from the master's table: oppressive and demoralising. State welfare is warfare by another name.

Jess et al. Hating hippies is no great achievement. I suggest that there are better targets for your ire, unless of course you have a limitless supply of ire which may well be the case.

Jef, healthcare free at the point of need is not what I am attacking and neither is the idea of a well trained doctor on hand when you need treatment. The NHS doesn't really do either of these terribly well and was always a Fabian fuck-up from the start. I do not understand why attacking the sacred cow of the social democrats should bring any opprobrium from anarchists, we have access to much better ideas than that mess of a sickness service.

magnifico
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Mar 6 2007 00:07
Ned wrote:
It was always about control and keeping the workers healthy enough to work and crucially to be drafted to fight.

Well I'd rather be healthy enough to work and fight than not be healthy enough to do those things - so It's an improvement no?

Ned wrote:
I do not understand why attacking the sacred cow of the social democrats should bring any opprobrium from anarchists, we have access to much better ideas than that mess of a sickness service.

It's a huge improvement on what we had before the NHS though, and it's an improvement on what we will have after the NHS if we all take your advice and let it be destroyed without a fight. Maybe we should abandon the idea of being paid a decent wage as well, after all social democrats are in favour of this and we have much better 'ideas' than wage slavery?

Terry
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Mar 6 2007 00:46

Jess the indymedia article I linked to above deals with those issues.
I think the important thing to say is not that this or that consumption doesn't have a role in climate change, but that most of climate change isn't down to this but to production. Air travel would contribute to climate change no matter what.

Gat - I read that renewables are more labour intensive than traditional fossil fuel electricity production, on a site that was saying they are great they provide employment, this would be a major factor in them not being brought into play, wouldn't it?

Everybody - stop using the term 'hippy' as a bizarre catch all insult.

Having read Monbiot's Heat book and his one on Papua, he strikes me as a curious figure. The Papua one, his first, is more like a travel book than a political one. I think in Heat on reducing consumption and that he is actually addressing people of his socio-economic status. Which is unfortunate, as there are more of the rest of us, and shock we can read and watch TV too.

Joseph Kay's picture
Joseph Kay
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Mar 6 2007 07:19
magnifico wrote:
It's a huge improvement on what we had before the NHS though, and it's an improvement on what we will have after the NHS if we all take your advice and let it be destroyed without a fight. Maybe we should abandon the idea of being paid a decent wage as well, after all social democrats are in favour of this and we have much better 'ideas' than wage slavery?

word.