ga('send', 'pageview');
John Passant

Site menu:

August 2011



RSS Oz House



Subscribe to us

Get new blog posts delivered to your inbox.


Site search


My interview Razor Sharp 18 February
Me interviewed by Sharon Firebrace on Razor Sharp on Tuesday 18 February. (0)

My interview Razor Sharp 11 February 2014
Me interviewed by Sharon Firebrace on Razor Sharp this morning. The Royal Commission, car industry and age of entitlement get a lot of the coverage. (0)

Razor Sharp 4 February 2014
Me on 4 February 2014 on Razor Sharp with Sharon Firebrace. (0)

Time for a House Un-Australian Activities Committee?
Tony Abbott thinks the Australian Broadcasting Corporation is Un-Australian. I am looking forward to his government setting up the House Un-Australian Activities Committee. (1)

Make Gina Rinehart work for her dole

Sick kids and paying upfront


Save Medicare

Demonstrate in defence of Medicare at Sydney Town Hall 1 pm Saturday 4 January (0)

Me on Razor Sharp this morning
Me interviewed by Sharon Firebrace this morning for Razor Sharp. It happens every Tuesday. (0)

I am not surprised
I think we are being unfair to this Abbott ‘no surprises’ Government. I am not surprised. (0)

Send Barnaby to Indonesia
It is a pity that Barnaby Joyce, a man of tact, diplomacy, nuance and subtlety, isn’t going to Indonesia to fix things up. I know I am disappointed that Barnaby is missing out on this great opportunity, and I am sure the Indonesians feel the same way. [Sarcasm alert.] (0)



Is the choice for humanity socialism or environmental barbarism?

Drawing lessons from the slaughter of the first world war Rosa Luxemburg famously argued that the choice facing humanity was socialism or barbarism.

In the Junius Pamphlet she wrote: 

We stand today … before the awful proposition: either the triumph of imperialism and the destruction of all culture, and, as in ancient Rome, depopulation, desolation, degeneration, a vast cemetery; or, the victory of socialism.

I have been reading two very different pieces on the environmental crises that bring Luxemburg’s words to mind. In ‘The Faustian bargain – while we debate the numbers, the planet suffers‘  Andrew Glikson, an earth and paleo-climate scientist at the Australian National University argues:

Global emission reduction targets, ranging from 40% relative to 1990 by Germany, to 5% relative to 2000 in Australia, would still allow mean global temperatures to rise by three or four degrees Celsius later in the century.

That is a death sentence for life on the planet. Glikson quotes Professor Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, chief climate science advisor to the German Government: ‘We are simply talking about the very life support system of this planet.’

Glickson says:

According to NASA’s projections, ‘Goals to limit human-made warming to two degrees Celsius and CO to 450 parts per million are not sufficient – they are prescriptions for disaster.’

He sees the current political debate about addressing climate change as ‘an irrelevant discourse … between those willing to undertake symbolic action and those who deny the science altogether.’

He says that ‘what is required is what has never been done before in human history – a plan for the future.’

Of course whether a society based on short term profit and competition between various groupings of capital and states can develop a plan for the future is the real question.

Which leads me to the second article I am reading. In a review of a recent book by John Bellamy Foster and Fred Magdoff called What Every Environmentalist Needs To Know about Capitalism the reviewer says:

This short, readable book is a sharply argued manifesto for those environmentalists who reject schemes of “green capitalism” or piecemeal reform. Environmental and economic scholars Magdoff and Foster contend that the struggle to reverse ecological degradation requires a firm grasp of economic reality. Going further, they argue that efforts to reform capitalism along environmental lines or rely solely on new technology to avert catastrophe misses the point. The main cause of the looming environmental disaster is the driving logic of the system itself, and those in power—no matter how “green”—are incapable of making the changes that are necessary.

As the reviewer says What Every Environmentalist Needs To Know about Capitalism tackles the two largest issues of our time, the ecological crisis and the faltering capitalist economy, in a way that is thorough, accessible, and sure to provoke debate in the environmental movement.’

That is the question. Can capitalism solve its environmental crises – climate change, ocean acidification, ozone depletion, global freshwater use, loss of biodiversity, and chemical pollution?

Unless the profit motive is overthrown and people’s democratically determined needs are put at the centre of production, the answer appears to be no.

Capitalism’s manic drive for profit and its frenzied competition deny the possibility of addressing climate change in any real and concerted way. Only the democratic organisation of society and production to satisfy human need – socialism – can do that.

Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal has chapter 3 of What Every Environmentalist Needs To Know about Capitalism for perusal. With its arguments about accumulation as the essence of capitalism and the consequences of this for the environment it is well worth the read.



Pingback from Links – What You Need To Know 8-1-11 « The Graves of the Roses
Time August 2, 2011 at 2:08 am

[…] back in the land of the sane…oh that’s right. There is no such thing. No, seriously, it doesn’t exist. Case in point: cherry-picking facts to make it look like wealthy people are just like us and that […]

Write a comment