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View Diary: To solve the climate change problem, end the class divide (50 comments)

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  •  unrealistic. (2+ / 0-)
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    In her own Voice, jfromga

    when industrialization came around, it took the european and derives societies a hundred years and longer to not even abolish stratification but just dampen the excesses of inequality and get to a bit more egalitarian structure. We do not have a hundred years time on the climate issue. The larger issue of coming resource depletion and ecological unsustainability of the world´s population had been recognized in the 1970s. Had serious policy started then, we could have bought ourselves the time to adjust our social structures. But thirty years were effectively wasted (on purpose of course - historical guilt of conservatism) - but thats crying over spilled milk. For better or worse, we are going to have to deal with the climate crisis with the inequal, class ridden societies that we do have. Even if you´d imagine an egalitarian revolution in the US - which isnt going to happen - and even if that would lead to carbon neutrality of that continent, that´d be just a fraction of the world: not nearly a large enough one. It´s absolutely justifiable to want a less inequal and injust world - and that goal should be followed for its own sake, regardless of the time it takes - but declaring that the climate crisis can only be solved if the social crisis is solved, is declaring defeat.

    Ici s´arrète la loi.

    by marsanges on Sun Dec 13, 2009 at 09:01:13 AM PST

    •  I think the reckoning Cassi refers to will come (4+ / 0-)

      not as a matter of policy but more as a cultural convulsion. I do agree with him that the social crisis is key to any meaningful change. Whether that is admitting defeat or identifying a way forward remains to be seen (IMO).

      "The truth shall set you free - but first it'll piss you off." Gloria Steinem

      Save the Internet!

      by One Pissed Off Liberal on Sun Dec 13, 2009 at 09:12:40 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Then you're not going to deal with it at all. (4+ / 0-)

      For better or worse, we are going to have to deal with the climate crisis with the inequal, class ridden societies that we do have.

      The problem with your thinking on this matter is that you have conceptualized "class" as something static and unchanging.  Here's what you said:

      it took the european and derives societies a hundred years and longer to not even abolish stratification but just dampen the excesses of inequality

      Whereas "class" is in fact a process of becoming, a continual employment and accumulation of privilege.  If it took European societies so many years to deal with class privilege, this is because for almost all of those years European societies were busy BUILDING UP class privileges.  

      If I say that it took a hundred years to pound in a nail, and so therefore pounding in another nail is an "unrealistic" option, this is because I didn't spend those hundred years actually pounding in the nail.

      And do I need to remind you that there will be no agreement in Copenhagen this month BECAUSE of a class divide between nations?  How are you going to work around that?

      So this is the thing -- with everyone working toward the maintenance and expansion of privilege, and most specifically class privilege, you simply aren't going to solve the problem, because you never really tried with any degree of seriousness.  Instead, you assigned the problem to your political classes, who made the task of a solution into an extremely part-time hobby.

      "The greatest purveyor of violence in the world today -- my own government." -- Martin Luther King Jr.

      by Cassiodorus on Sun Dec 13, 2009 at 09:16:53 AM PST

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      •  then Opol is right (2+ / 0-)
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        In her own Voice, Radical def

        that that "abolishment of class privilege" will come as a revulsion, not as planned policy.

        Seriously, if it were even possible, how long time do you want to spend on organizing against and overcoming the hierarchical society with its unequally distributed privileges? We are rising at 2 ppmv anually and will have hit upon 450 in some 35 years. The drawback of physics is that it does not care who it hits with the consequences or whether its just or deserved or not. You see now that in the US, it was possible to elect a black man as a president (doing away with cultural perceptions) but not possible to make a serious dent into the corporatocracy. Even if it had been possible, the aspirations of the developing peoples would still be sufficient all on their own to threaten climate ruination if the direction of development doesnt change. So if you say that there will be no solution without profound societal change, then you´re saying that there will be no solution plain and simple, because societal change of the required magnitude would take so long as to make a climate crash certain.

        That crash can then cause revolution and the doing away with hierarchical or privilieged society - maybe - its something one might hope, as OPOL seems to - but lets not imagine that would amount to any "solution" of the crisis, it would be the cleaning up of the wreckage after an unimaginable desaster. If we want to actually avoid the desaster, we´ll have to do it NOW. The power we do have to do so is the power of the vote coupled with the power of reason: for those who are interested in preserving their polities into the future. That obviously does not include the billionaires, however it does include the Chinese government, and the Indian one. Do you want to wait until the naxalites will have taken over India? Thats dreamery. We´re facing an emergency: the Titanic is sinking way faster than it would take to abolish the difference between first class and third class passengers.

        Ici s´arrète la loi.

        by marsanges on Sun Dec 13, 2009 at 09:50:51 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  An excellent analysis, marsanges... (0+ / 0-)

          Unfortunately, some "left" elements actually do pose the theory that a complete collapse or destruction of the dominant paradigm is indeed necessary, and thus desirable, and they work only for that purpose.

          Such elements tend to consider any participation whatsoever in the corrupt monopoly corporate fascist commercial mass media bourgeois "electoral" process as a counter-revolutionary act, in that it "only" serves to perpetuate the inherent injustice of bourgeois dictated socio-economic relations.

          These are the ideologues most likely to pose a line that there's "no difference" between "teh Dems" and the Republicans (since they are all bourgeois capitalists, who will act only in their own class interests).

          And, of course, the dogmatic, doctrinaire rhetorical "leftists" aren't "wrong", per se, technically speaking, heh.  They are just incorrect in their ultimate analysis and thus their practice.

          Some of these elements even pose a "theory" that it's actually preferable to have the most overt fascist pigs in power, because this will ultimately "wake up the masses" from the sedatives of liberal bourgeois reform, right?

          They might also share the elitist vanguard perspective that "sheeple" deserve what they get, for "electing" Bush.  Contempt for the masses is not uncommon among elitists of any stripe.

          Personally, I'm anarcho-communist, and pose the theory that we don't need no stinkin' elites, of any stripe, nor any "interim" period of "socialism", but that we can have real communism now, anarchy, which is to say, democracy.

          We are ready for it now.  We want it.  We will not be denied.

          Just because nobody has ever accomplished democracy, anywhere, ever, does not mean it's impossible, or undesirable.

          If anyone can do it, we can.

          Si Se Puede!

          All Power to the People!

          All Out for 2010 and 20012!

          "...a printing press is worth 10,000 rifles..." Ho Chi Minh

          by Radical def on Sun Dec 13, 2009 at 10:33:35 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  here is where I stand: (1+ / 0-)
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          In her own Voice

          how long time do you want to spend on organizing against and overcoming the hierarchical society with its unequally distributed privileges?

          Long enough to establish some ecological rights for everyone.  See in my diary where I argue:

          This means organizing the under-privileged, i.e. most of us, to assert our own ecological rights

          We are rising at 2 ppmv anually and will have hit upon 450 in some 35 years. The drawback of physics is that it does not care who it hits with the consequences or whether its just or deserved or not.

          But it isn't "physics" which pumps 2 ppmv annually into the atmosphere.  Human beings do that by performing economic activity under the conditions of capital accumulation.

          So if you say that there will be no solution without profound societal change, then you´re saying that there will be no solution plain and simple, because societal change of the required magnitude would take so long as to make a climate crash certain.

          I think you're overestimating the difficulty of social change.  There are plenty of forces already at work to empower the disempowered, and so what it requires is that we reach a tipping point, at which point the formerly-disempowered are empowered to make demands upon the world-system.  

          Your alternative is to depend upon the same old historic bloc to achieve your social change for you.  And, as Minqi Li points out, the present historical bloc is incapable of decisive action.

          "The greatest purveyor of violence in the world today -- my own government." -- Martin Luther King Jr.

          by Cassiodorus on Sun Dec 13, 2009 at 11:29:56 AM PST

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      •  I'm not seeing your ultimate proposal... (0+ / 0-)

        It's all well and good, to call for the elimination of class divisions, by means of a mobilization of the "lower" classes, etc...but I see no material proposal as to how you might suggest this should, or even could, proceed.

        I would propose that the only hope for real change is democracy.

        Furthermore, I would propose that the most viable practice toward that elusive goal is to seize the popular democratic power in the USA, by substantially increasing the Democratic Party Progressive Caucus plurality in Congress (and all down the ladders of power, to the state and local levels), in 2010 and 2012.

        I can think of no other approach that has any material chance of bringing the shift in priorities that we all recognize will be required to deal with the urgent contradictions of environmental, war, economic, or human rights issues.

        Democracy is the most fundamental revolutionary concept.

        Obama and the Progressive Caucus were elected on an explicit rhetoric of justice and peace, to save the planet.  I think we should call that bluff, if that's what it is, and/or give them the popular democratic backup they require...electorally.  We need to press the contradictions in that arena.

        That is the arena that the class enemy hates and fears most.  In case you haven't noticed, they are now screaming for political assassination, mass murder and civil war, to prevent the advent of democracy.

        The right is no longer politically correct in the US, but they will never surrender the power or submit to the popular democratic will voluntarily.

        The right must be resolutely suppressed, democratically, electorally.

        Shouting louder may help.  But I think it matters a lot what you are shouting, heh.

        If you're shouting for people to step up and seize the power in the US, with an unprecedented, historic interim election turnout in 2010 and 2012, explicitly to purge the Blue Dogs and what remains of the Republicans from all levers of power, to bring a Progressive Caucus plurality that can effectively, materially  suppress the right, democratically, electorally, so we can surge forward into the 21st Century...then, I"d say "Go for it!"

        But if you're just shouting a lot of hyperbolic gloom and doom, seeking to sow cynical demoralization, toward ultimate suppression of electoral enthusiasm, and a complete reversal of power back to the right, then I'd have to say "Go to Hell"...

        Electoral boycott or vote splitting for guaranteed loser "alternative" candidates, are not going to get the results we require, to survive.

        "...a printing press is worth 10,000 rifles..." Ho Chi Minh

        by Radical def on Sun Dec 13, 2009 at 10:12:23 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  If you're a big believer in democracy -- (1+ / 0-)
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          Radical def

          Do check out Ellen Meiksins Wood's Capitalism Against Democracy, in which the history of the democratic idea is told amidst the ongoing separation of "economics" from "politics" so that the economic elites would have nothing to fear from democratic politics.

          Radical def, I've been writing diaries here for three years, now, and my proposals have always been in the realm of extending democratic decision-making beyond the realm of "what's on the table."  If you take a more careful look at this diary, you'll see that -- you'll also see that I do have a concrete proposal:

          This means organizing the under-privileged, i.e. most of us, to assert our own ecological rights

          See the link to the diary on Joan Martinez-Alier for further elaboration on the concept of "ecological rights."

          "The greatest purveyor of violence in the world today -- my own government." -- Martin Luther King Jr.

          by Cassiodorus on Sun Dec 13, 2009 at 10:50:08 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Looking Forward, to 21st Century... (2+ / 0-)
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            Cassiodorus, In her own Voice

            US "Democracy", like that of the Soviets, and virtually all other "systems", heh...have not succeeded, as yet...but they do contain the rhetorical seed that has sprouted in the popular democratic will, of "one person, one vote", and the ardent aspiration to be genuinely democratic.

            I think most of us recognize that we aren't there yet, heh...

            The question is how do we get there, and fast...

            I have no dispute with your well-presented information, Cass...

            My only impatience might be with the bottom line call to action, which was not clear to me, in this diary...

            I agree that environment is one of the most compelling issues, for sure.

            Interesting to note that it was the pretty much the environmental movement that ultimately mobilized the huge crowds that "brought down" the "Soviet" regime.  

            Of course, I would prefer not to see us devolve into even worse gangsterism, but to rather evolve, to a higher level of socio-economic relations, based on mutual aid, cooperation and solidarity...ie: democracy.

            I think a lot more bubbas will be getting on the bus, when they see the material advantages of the new green paradigm starting to roll out more substantially, with jobs, better health, safety, affordability, sustainability, and even convenience and comfort...

            But time is short...the ice caps are melting.

            So...2010 and 2012 will be absolutely critical to the fate of our nation, and the world.

            I just feel compelled to keep mentioning that...

            "...a printing press is worth 10,000 rifles..." Ho Chi Minh

            by Radical def on Sun Dec 13, 2009 at 11:03:59 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

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