Have you ever opened the door to a hot oven and felt dizzy and overwhelmed from the intensity of the heat hitting you in the face? That is how it feels for people incarcerated at Augusta, Nottoway, and Buckingham Correctional Centers every summer, but especially during the current heat wave sweeping the country.
But get this: prison staff at these facilities do not experience excessive heat conditions because the areas in which they work and frequent — the control booths, school areas, medical department, education department, administration offices, etc. – are all equipped with air conditioning (AC).
While the U.$. and other parts of the world, like Western Europe, are experiencing unprecedented deadly heat waves, people trapped in prisons, jails, and detention centers not equipped with AC in the areas where they housed are suffering exponentially from these sweltering conditions.
For instance, if it is 100 degrees for those of you on the outside, the temperature is always several degrees higher for those of us confined in prisons not equipped with AC. With the lack of AC, poor ventilation, substandard medical care, unsafe drinking water, big slabs of concrete that trap heat, antiquated sewage systems that regularly back up and spew raw sewage into the cells and housing units, and the persistence of COVID-19 which is still spreading and infecting people at these facilities, all of these conditions on top of record high temperatures create unbearable conditions that are tantamount to the kind of cruel and unusual punishment prohibited by the eighth amendment to the U.$. constitution. Sick and elderly people confined under these conditions suffer the most.
So, is there a need for an intersecting movement for prison abolition? The short answer is “Yes,” because when environmentalists talk about how climate change is caused by the burning of fossil fuels, and how the impact of this is felt most by people in Third World countries least responsible for climate pollution, the ways in which climate change impacts people in confinement are often left out of conversations about climate justice. This is a blind spot that will cause incarcerated and detained people to suffer and die in silence and invisibility during future heat waves.
Of course, I believe prisons in general should be abolished and demolished, but right now, due to the immediacy of the current situation, we need prison abolitionists and climate justice activists to unite, and once united, collectively raise your voices to bring awareness to this issue and demand change to prevent the needless suffering and death of incarcerated human beings amid record high temperatures due to global warming.
One way you can do this is by signing and sharing this online petition to close Nottoway, Buckingham, and Augusta Correctional Centers.
This petition can be used to raise awareness about this public health crisis and as the foundation for a state-wide campaign to shut these prisons down.
14 October 2021 – Fifty five people were arrested for occupying the Bureau of Indian Affairs(BIA) with demands that the Bureau be abolished, that blood quantum be abolished and that the United $tates stop extracting fossil fuels from native land. Siqiñiq Maupin explained the purpose of the action on Democracy Now:
“The BIA was created to erase Indigenous people. It has always been against us. And today, or yesterday, and every day, we demand that it be abolished. We do not need a blood quantum to say how Indigenous we are or to qualify that. We know our Indigenous ways to protect this land, this Earth, this water. And we understand that the Earth is unbalanced. And we do not have time for negotiations, for compromises. We need to take this serious and take action now.”(1)
Indian Country Today reported:
Tobacco ties hung on locked doors. No one could get inside or outside. Everyone outside of the building looked through the windows of the doors to see what was happening inside and could hear demonstrators yelling.
Some security personnel were injured and one officer was taken to a hospital, according to an Interior spokesperson.(2)
In Washington D.C. the week of Indigenous People’s Day has been marked by indigenous-led civil disobedience actions, calling on President Biden to declare a climate emergency and stop approving fossil fuel projects. It began on Monday with the slogan “expect us” being written on the statue of Andrew Jackson in the U.$. capital. Over 530 climate activists have been arrested so far.(1)
This is occurring after President Biden issued the first presidential proclamation of Indigenous Peoples’ Day on October 8th, along with an announcement to preserve lands important to native people.
In 2017, President Trump re-opened up a number of recently created national monuments for resource extraction, cutting the size of the Bears Ears National Monument by 85%. Biden reversed Trump’s move, reestablishing the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante monuments in southern Utah, more than 3.2 million acres – an area nearly the size of Connecticut.(3)
While President Trump declared genocidal Andrew Jackson to be his favorite president, President Biden was the first president to recognize Indigenous Peoples’ Day. This symbolizes the conflict within the Amerikan ruling class, and the white nation as well, in how to deal with the oppressed internal semi-colonies today. Biden’s multi-culturalism is friendlier, and even makes real concessions like preserving land important to native people. But as Biden himself said, it was the easiest thing he’s done as president. And it was just as easy for Trump to undo those designations during his tenure, leaving native people at the whims of the white man again.
As communists we strive for the resolution of this national contradiction via the project of liberation for all oppressed nations and their land once and for all, not waiting and hoping for one slightly friendlier sector of the oppressor to win out. The ongoing struggle for First Nation land liberation is tied to the struggle of all oppressed people for liberation. It is not surprising that the nation that ultimately waged a settler war for hundreds of years to seize this land is now the primary force keeping oppressed people down around the world. We have seen the limits of euro-Amerikan peace offerings.
News from the National Territory: Republic of New Afrika
On a 85 mile stretch of Earth in Louisiana, from the Mississippi near Baton Rouge, to New Orleans, New Afrikans who were recently liberated from the chains of Amerikkkan color-caste colonialism (slavery), managed to buy land and found numerous ‘Black Towns’ as they were called. These ‘Black Towns’ thrived for five generations, in what was once plantation country, but is now the heart of Our Republic of New Afrika. However, since the 1990s, domestic neo-colonialism has ravaged the health of New Afrikans in towns such as ‘Freetown’ and ‘Welcome’ Louisiana. So much so, that this stretch of land is commonly called ‘Cancer Alley.’
Multi-national petrochemical corporations have targeted this land in order to capitalize on various objective realities. Plentiful water, cheap land, access to natural gas, huge tax breaks and lax regulation attract these international conglomerates (Koch Industries, Royal Dutch Shell, Exxon Mobil Corp, and others). These imperialist companies have built over 200 petrochemical factories and refineries on Cancer Alley. Since 2015, seven huge complexes have been built, and five more are in the process of being built.
New Afrikan wimmin are now leading a fight to stop the fossil fuels pipelines and plants from multiplying and further polluting the land and air within Our national territory.
Currently, a proposed Formosa chemical complex is the center of this struggle, and as is all too often the reality, the New Afrikan masses of Louisiana leading the struggle against these Amerikan corporations aren’t receiving aid from the Provisional Government or other collectives of conscious citizens. The people need Our leadership to frame this struggle for what it is: a manifestation of the worldwide fight against imperialist greed as it pertains to environmental national oppression.
Formosa Plastics Corp. announced in 2018 that they would be building a 14 plant complex in St. James Parish, which is just north of New Orleans. These factories will not only spew various cancer-causing agents into the air and water, but will also produce the throw away plastics that We as a global community are desperately striving to eliminate. Every year the Formosa project will pump 800 tons of toxic chemicals, 6,500 tons of air pollutants and 13.6 million tons of greenhouse gases into the air. Additionally, wastewater and spill dumped into the Mississippi River will further endanger sea life in the Gulf of Mexico.
Democratic Governor John Bel Edwards has given Formosa a ten year tax break totaling $1.5 billion, which is $1.25 million per job since Formosa has promised 1,200 jobs to boost the local economy. Instead the New Afrikan sistahs who’re leading the struggle are demanding reparations for those affected by these corporations’ projects. St. James Parish is 91% New AFrikan with an average income of $17,000 a year. Surely jobs are needed, however, 85% of employment at the plants have gone to euro-Amerikkkans.
Neo-colonial puppets have exploited the dire situation of the grassroots. Although Cancer Alley, and St. James in particular, has 50 times the national average of cancer cases. Cedric Richmond spent 10 years in the House as a former congressman and ignored the people dying in Cancer Alley, his fellow New Afrikan people. Instead he allowed these corporations easy access to the land, while building his political career by heading the Congressional Black Caucus, he then co-chaired the Biden campaign, and is now a senior advisor to the President. What does this tell us? It should tell us, that for all the ‘BlackLivesMatter’ posturing done by demokkkrats, the reality is that these are still imperialist politicians and are the enemies of the people.
Many grassroots groups such as RISE St. James have been at this struggle for decades and have also had significant wins against these corporate entities. In 1993, 1998 and 2019, these groups led the charge in order to have proposed factories and plants blocked.
This year, Sharon Lavigne, founder of RISE, spoke to the U.N. on the perils of ‘environmental racism.’ These New Afrikan wimmin are putting up a valiant fight, refusing to leave their homes and heritage (New Afrikan). This is obviously a struggle for land.
Currently the Formosa project is on hold due to community unrest. The U.S. Army Corp of Engineers withdrew a wetlands permit and a lawsuit challenging 14 air permits is going to court.
To show your support to these modern day New Afrikans, sign the petition at stopformosa.org
Notes: Lois Danks, Battling racist Polluters in Cancer Alley, June-July 2021 Freedom Socialist Newspaper
A modern-day example of New Afrikans building independent institutions and public opinion for socialism is the groups carrying out the Jackson-Kush Plan in Jackson, Mississippi and the surrounding area. There are a number of different organizations involved in, and evolved out of, this Plan, and its roots go back to the Provisional Government of the Republic of New Afrika (PGRNA) in the 1960s. It is directly built on the long history of New Afrikan organizing for independence, going on since people were brought to the United $nakes from Africa as slaves. The Plan itself was formulated by the New Afrikan People's Organization and the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement between 2004 – 2010. (1, p. 3)
The project has gone through many different phases, all focusing on attaining self-determination for people of African descent in Mississippi and the surrounding region. Sometimes the organizing has been more heavily focused on electoral politics,(2, 3) sometimes more on purchasing land, and currently the Cooperation Jackson project appears to be at the forefront of pushing the Plan forward.
Cooperation Jackson's mission is to develop an intimate network of worker-owned cooperatives, covering all basic humyn needs, and more: food production and distribution, recycling and waste management, energy production, commodity production, housing, etc. The main goals of Cooperation Jackson (C.J.) are to provide sustainable livelihoods for its organizing base, which includes control over land, resources, means of production, and means of distribution. Currently C.J. has a handful of cooperatives in operation, and is building the Community Land Trust to have greater control over its target geography in Jackson. This is just a snapshot of the work of Cooperation Jackson, which is explained in much more detail in the book Jackson Rising.(1)
The Jackson-Kush Plan is being carried out despite big setbacks, repression, harassment, and roadblocks from the government and racist citizens alike, for decades. This is the nature of struggle and the folks working with the Plan are facing it head-on. C.J. and the other organizations involved are doing amazing work to establish what could be dual power in the state of Mississippi.
While the MIM has congruent goals with the Jackson-Kush Plan (at least including the self-determination of New Afrikan people; control over land, economy, and resources; environmental sustainability; an end of capitalism and imperialism), there are some notable differences.(4) We're holding out hope that the Plan is being intentionally discrete in order to build dual power, but the ideological foundations of some of its structure point instead to revisionism of Marxism.
Cooperation Jackson's plan includes working with the government in some capacity. It needs to change laws in order to operate freely and legally. This itself isn't wrong – MIM(Prisons) also works on and supports some reforms that would make our work of building revolution much easier. But because of its relationship to the state, C.J.'s voice is muffled. MIM(Prisons) doesn't have this problem, so we can say what needs to be said and we hope the folks organizing for New Afrikan independence will hear it.
Cooperation Jackson's structural documents paint a picture of a peaceful transition to a socialist society, or a socialist microcosm, built on worker-owned cooperatives and the use of advanced technology. Where it aims to transform the New Afrikan "working class" (more on this below) to become actors in their own lives and struggle for self-determination of their nation, we are for it. So often we hear from ULK readers that people just don't think revolution is possible. Working in a collective and actually having an impact in the world can help people understand their own inherent power as humyn beings. Yet it seems C.J. sees this democratic transformation of the New Afrikan "working class" as an end in itself, which it believes will eventually lead to an end of capitalism.
"In the Jackson context, it is only through the mass self-organization of the working class, the construction of a new democratic culture, and the development of a movement from below to transform the social structures that shape and define our relations, particularly the state (i.e. government), that we can conceive of serving as a counter-hegemonic force with the capacity to democratically transform the economy."(1, p. 7)
This quote also alludes to C.J.'s apparent opposition to the universality of armed struggle in its struggle to transform the economy. In all the attempts that have been made to take power from the bourgeoisie, only people who have acknowledged the need to take that power by force (i.e. armed struggle) have been even remotely successful. We just need to look to the governments in the last century all across the world who have attempted to nationalize resources to see how hard the bourgeois class will fight when it really feels its interests are threatened.
Where C.J. is clearly against Black capitalism and a bourgeois-nationalist revolution that stays in the capitalist economy, we are in agreement. Yet C.J. apparently also rejects the need for a vanguard party, and the need for a party and military to protect the interests and gains of the very people it is organizing.
"As students of history, we have done our best to try and assimilate the hard lessons from the 19th and 20th century national liberation and socialist movements. We are clear that self-determination expressed as national sovereignty is a trap if the nation-state does not dislodge itself from the dictates of the capitalist system. Remaining within the capitalist world-system means that you have to submit to the domination and rule of capital, which will only empower the national bourgeoisie against the rest of the population contained within the nation-state edifice. We are just as clear that trying to impose economic democracy or socialism from above is not only very problematic as an anti-democratic endeavor, but it doesn't dislodge capitalist social relations, it only shifts the issues of labor control and capital accumulation away from the bourgeoisie and places it in the hands of the state or party bureaucrats."(1, p. 8)
As students of history, we assert that C.J. is putting the carriage before the horse here. National liberation struggles have shown the most success toward delinking populations from imperialism and capitalism. Yes, we agree with C.J. that these national liberation struggles also need to contain anti-capitalism, and revolutionary ecology, if they plan to get anywhere close to communism. But C.J. seems to be saying it can dislodge from capitalism before having national independence from imperialism.
The end of this quote also raises valid concerns about who holds the means of production, and the development of a new bourgeoisie among the party bureaucrats. This is one of the huge distinctions between the Soviet Union under Lenin and Stalin, and China under Mao. In China, the masses of the population participated in the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution, which attacked bureaucrats and revisionists in the party and positions of power. These criticisms were led from the bottom up, and the Cultural Revolution was a huge positive lesson on how we can build a society that is continually moving toward communism, and not getting stuck in state-capitalism.
Another significant difference between the line of the MIM and of Cooperation Jackson is our class analysis. Cooperation Jackson is organizing the "working class" in Jackson, Mississippi, which it defines as "unionized and non-unionized workers, cooperators, and the under and unemployed."(1, p. 30) So far in our exposure to C.J., we haven't yet come across an internationalist class analysis. Some pan-Africanism, yes, but nothing that says a living wage of $11 is more than double what the average wage would be if we had an equal global distribution of wealth.(5, 6) And so far nothing that says New Afrika benefits from its relationship to the United $tates over those who Amerikkka oppresses in the Third World.
We can't say what the next steps for the Jackson-Kush Plan should be. There's still opportunity for people within the project to clarify its line on the labor aristocracy/working class, the necessity of armed struggle to take power from the bourgeoisie, and the significance of the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution. MIM(Prisons)'s Free Books for Prisoners Program distributes many materials on these topics. Some titles we definitely recommend studying are On Trotskyism by Kostas Mavrakis, The Chinese Road to Socialism by E.L. Wheelwright and Bruce McFarlane, and Imperialism and its Class Structure in 1997 by MIM.
by an Indiana prisoner August 2019 permalinkRed-Green Revolution
by Victor Wallis
2018 – Political Animal Press
Red-Green Revolution brings socialist theory into the 21st century. Wallis writes about the ecological crises that we face and very compellingly and comprehensively connects capitalism's drive to expand and exploit to the degradation of the natural world. In doing so he describes how the only way of saving the planet (and us) is for there to be social control of production as well as consumption (socialism). Merging the politics and economics of socialism with the need to preserve the natural environment shouldn't be an issue, but obviously it is. For the most part socialist movements don't always articulate the connection of capitalism to natural destruction, climate change, etc. (this shows in the way "green capitalism" movements seem to dominate the environmental movements, which Wallis discredits.) While environmental movements don't typically equate socialism with the solution to natural crises.
Wallis does an excellent job in joining the two, which should by now be a no-brainer. But it isn't, which is why this book is a necessary read. He begins by describing how the earth is used, subsumed under a system which uses it as a market. Market-driven incentives to exploit, expand, and profit make respect for natural limits minimal to non-existent.
"One can not expect people to be able to honor such limits until they are liberated from these drives." He could've ended the book right there on page 23. However, he continues to help us understand the totality and interconnectedness of the various aspects of ecology and socialism, further marrying the two.
This isn't the typical "appeal to people's conscience" environmental lit. It's got a blend of Marxist interpretation and is theoretical in its own right, as well as scientific and dialectical. Resting entirely on a materialist basis for socialist revolution, as it applies to ecology. Ecosocialism is the joining of the two. This is so very important, because it seems that the environmental movement is continuing to grow and even becoming more mainstream. Unfortunately, the more this happens the more it is kept within the framework of the capitalist system. "If a movement of this kind (ecosocial) is to grow, it must have theoretical underpinnings."(page 72)
Wallis truly does a great job of connecting most everything that has its "single issue" movement to the necessity of socialist revolution. From information/communication/education to agriculture/forests/fisheries to surveillance/repression/military to public health and health care services. Telling of how these things are operated under a capitalist market-oriented format and the subsequent effects allows one to further understand the totality of capitalism's domination of everything.
Regarding technology, the question of should it be democratically controlled or left in the hands of capital has its answer also in ecological concern, as Wallis articulates. He describes the various side effects and by-products that a lot of technologies (of which need for rests on no natural human need, but merely created by capitalism) produce and how they are detrimental to both the environment and human health. Which gives the answer to the above question: "The protection of human beings, not just as consumers but as involuntary recipients of particles with unknown properties, has become very much a collective responsibility. Hence the need for social control over production." (page 86)
In my opinion, one of the best points Wallis makes is in regard to the military actions. Rarely is this talked about how this is connected to environmental issues, but he does a nice job of doing so. Seeing how destruction, mass murder, displacement of populations, radiation caused by nuclear war, etc. all constitute environmental degradation, this should be easier to understand and unite against. He then connects these things to capital. "In the military sphere, the concentration of capitalist power has reached a previously unimagined level, where the agenda of global domination has become an article of consensus within the ruling class of the world's most powerful country" (page 87). Then in tearing down the commonly used pretext of "extending liberty" that capitalist empires (like the u.s.) use to intervene militarily into other nations affairs: "What unites the interventions, rather, is a pair of preoccupations central to the rule of capital, namely, 1) maximizing the sphere of corporate economic operations (now focusing especially on oil) and 2) blocking, punishing, and ultimately, destroying any attempt to chart an independent especially if socialist-development," (page 87) or what we would call "capitalist-imperialism."
There is much more in this only 198 page book, so I will close with encouraging all to read this thought provoking book and appreciate Wallis' contribution to socialist and ecological thought. Bringing the two together is an absolute necessity. Capitalism enjoys (enforces) hegemony in order to continue to exist. Among the people and our movements there must also exist a kind of people's hegemony if we will ever abolish oppression. I think environmental concerns are a great possible unifying theme that can bring more into the broader movement.
Where the book falls short is that Wallis doesn’t commit to a clear political line. He speaks of change but offers no clear line of possible action to achieve it. The book is a good read in that he unifies socialist politics with the environmental movement. This is not always linked within revolutionary theory, and is more important now that climate change is a popular conversation even in mainstream politics. But the book is specific to ecosocialism only, and Wallis doesn’t take a position on important questions like the cultural revolution or the labor aristocracy. His breakdown is useful in bringing environmentalists into the broader movement. His political line though quite cloudy.
MIM(Prisons) responds: We need more communist voices in the environmentalist movement. MIM published a theory journal on the topic of Environment, Society, Revolution back in 1997, in which it put forward a clear political line for Maoism as the path forward to stopping the destruction of the earth by humyns. In this journal MIM argued that "only by putting proletarian politics in command will we be able to address the problems of oppression and the exploitation of the non-human world." Books like this one from Wallis help get people on the correct path fighting imperialism, but we need to get more literature out there about the practical questions of revolutionary organizing today and the best path forward to ending the imperialist destruction of the earth.
As a prisoner I see this slogan almost every day while being housed in prison. It's the slogan stamped onto the inner sole of every pair of PIA shoes. Shoes made ultra-cheap due to the quality control that doesn't even exist. This is yet another way the state is saving a buck on our comfort. When I first came to join the PIA, prison issue were brown hard bottom boot, which they gave every convict coming out of reception. Those boots not only provided PIA workers with a job but also others prisoners with one as shoe shiners.
You might be thinking wow, what a low position. But if so, that's only because you weren't here. The shoe shine, if he mastered the art, got plenty of business and made however much he was willing to commit on working for. His customers were not only convicts, they also were Correction Officers usually of high rank and they paid well. Now PIA, by cutting cost and operating with the use of low grade, no quality materials, have wiped out several in-prison work assignments and legal hustles or trade exchange. Those boots were made out of leather and so there were leather hobby shops where prisoners were taught how to make belts, wallets, medallions, use special machines and recycle the unusable scraps from the boot line. Creating income, gifts for family, and educating prisoners on how to use their resources.
Now we have low-quality, low-top generic canvas shoes that they expect to fall apart within 90 days when you can get a new pair creating only more pollution and waste. No one benefits from these PIA show factories except those who work there, and I'd be willing to bet someone is lining their pocket with tax-payer money through building these contracts with under-the-table industries who supply such low grade materials. Another bad effect is due to the fact positions at these factories are low in volume. It establishes a classism among convicts, with PIA and private contractors being the highest source of income legally in the joint. Their workers became the ruling class as far as prisoners economics are concerned, with them averaging $100 a month compared to the top culinary assignment at $37 monthly, deducting 55% if they owe restitution before they even receive it.
Ask yourselves what is 45% of 9 cents an hour or 45% of 23 cents an hour? Then there's the poor non-employed convict who is the on the bottom when it comes to privileges by grand design of whom when it's time to unite and stand against any form of oppression are usually always down, with nothing to lose. On the other hand the slave class is divided amongst prisoners, the majority of this class talk about doing something to make a change in conditions, pay, treatment, but when it's time to peacefully demonstrate by striking at work they simply won't go that far. A smaller number out of the slave class will, knowing this is the only process towards change that works. The majority of the slave class are youngsters who enjoy the movement their job provides and don't want to rock the boat. Now the PIA working prisoners by no means will write in solidarity with the convicts in any class including their very own but will both encourage a strike for equal pay and treatment in the hopes of moving up, and others will report it directly to their masters the Correctional Authorities in the hopes of building a stronger rapport and gaining favor.
MIM(Prisons) responds:This comrade gives us a glimpse at some of the contradictions facing prison organizers at the PIA prisons in California. While there are some parallels between the prison system and slavery, we have critiqued the use of the term "slavery" to refer to prisoners. This comrade's description talks about how the prisoners are pawns in a system that is becoming ecologically wasteful, and likely benefitting bureacrats. The wages, while minimal, also play a role for the state in helping control and divide the population via petty economic interests. Battles for higher wages in U.$. prisons can be progressive in putting pressure on the economic viability of oppression. But generally, prison unions that represent the interests of all prisoners must focus on more pressing and common problems.
En meses recientes se ha vuelto más común leer cuentos noticieros sobre el hundimiento irreversible de glaciares en Antártica y en otras partes alrededor del mundo, como resultado de temperaturas crecientes en la Tierra. Este degradación de nuestro medioambiente global es accionado por emisiones humanas de gases invernaderos. Mientras la realidad de destrucción humana de sistemas naturales de la Tierra se hace más claro a diario, y científicos proporcionan más claras y alarmantes evidencias que estamos a punto donde los efectos no se podrán anular, vemos un argumento convincente para el comunismo como el único sistema económico que tiene la posibilidad de proveer la supervivencia a largo plazo de humanos.
Maoístas enfocan en combatir la represión y brutalidad de humanos contra humanos, cual es un elemento inherente de capitalismo. Cuando llega la pelea por la supervivencia de los humanos más oprimidos en el mundo, pelear por la vida del planeta en cual todos vivimos llega a ser inextricablemente entrelazado con nuestro humanismo. Sin un medioambiente que puede sustentar vida humana, la pelea contra opresión de grupos de pueblos se vuelve irrelevante. Vemos una fuerte razón para que comunistas apoyen ambientalismo revolucionario, y para unidad entre activistas ambientales y aquellos que pelean la opresión de pueblos. Pero no ganaremos la batalla por el medioambiente sin primero liberar los pueblos oprimidos del mundo y derribar el imperialismo.
Alla en 1997 MIM publicó la revista MIM Teoria titulado "Medioambiente, Sociedad, Revolución." En el escribió, "Nuestra meta fundamental es erradicar la opresión de pueblo sobre pueblo, y esta meta también es la manera más efectivo para liberar el medioambiente de agresión humana. No creemos que socialismo necesariamente lleve a cabo salvación ambiental, pero si argumentamos que solamente por el socialismo tendremos la posibilidad a si."
Históricamente la peor devastación ha sido causado sobre el medioambiente como resultado de opresión entre pueblos: guerras, fabricación usando trabajo explotado, y incautación de tierras por corporativos. En guerra, herbicidas y agentes químicos son usados para deforestar tierra y destruir producción de cosecha, que tiene severas, duraderos impactos no solo sobre la plantas, pero sobre la gente y fauna también. Agente Naranjo, uranio agotado, napalm, y fósforo blanco son ejemplos de este tipo de guerra. Una bomba que pone en blanco un "enemigo" también destruye el medioambiente en la área circundante. Producción capitalista permite prácticamente no regular el tiro de basuras en nuestros ríos y océanos, incluyendo derrames de petróleo. Cuando mercancía no puede ser vendido es literalmente tirada al océano o incinerado, impactando la vida oceánica y contaminación del aire.
Ademas, los imperialistas ponen en blanco al Tercer Mundo con residuos de países imperialistas, colocando industrias sucias ahí y vertiendo desechos tóxicos en patios de otra gente.(1) Y esta claro que los países que contribuyen lo menos a cambios de clima serán impactado lo máximo por el. Tifones golpeando el sureste de Asia y India, sequías en Africa, e islas que pronto desaparecerán a crecientes niveles del mar son todos consecuencias que ya han tomado las vidas de muchas personas y amenazan a destruir todavía más. Donde los países imperialistas podrán reconstruir infraestructura y defender contra los impactos de cambios de clima más fácilmente debido a su riqueza robado, residentes en el Tercer Mundo no tendrán este privilegio. Al mismo tiempo, contaminación y otros efectos de actividad humana han llegado a una escala donde es mas difícil para las naciones opresoras aislarse de estos problemas. Por esta razón, ambientalismo puede probar hacer la mas fuerte fuerza material para construir internacionalismo verdadero.
En los E$tados Unidos los capitalistas están intentando reformas pequeñas para tratar el creciente problema ambiental, pero estos intentos nos enseñan claramente porque capitalismo va fallar en salvar la raza humana. La Organización de Protección del Medio Ambiente recientemente propuso regulación de emisiones de plantas de poder, enfocandose en plantas de carbon existentes. En movimiento lento de capitalismo, la Organización de Protección del Medio Ambiente ultimará su propuesta algún día en 2015, dará un año a estados para descifrar como implementar los nuevos reglamentos, pelear los juicios que estados amenazan, y tal vez ver unos pocos cambios muchos años en el futuro. La Organización de Protección del Medio Ambiente optimistamente predice el propuesto podría reducir emisiones de bióxido de carbon de estas plantas hasta un 30% para 2030.(2) Los medios corporativos ya están quejandose de normas de emisiones siendo "mal para negocios," que bajo capitalismo es mas importante que vidas humanas. Y fiel a la moda capitalista, hay platica de sobornar a las compañías de carbon y compensar a personas quienes tienen buenos trabajos de sindicato con sueldo-alto que serán afectados.(3) Entonces por los capitalistas ricos y los pudientes trabajadores del Primer Mundo, habrá años de dispúta para la posibilidad de hacer algunos pequeños cambios, mientras gente en el Tercer Mundo están muriendo hoy de efectos de cambio de clima que ya están sucediendo.
Mucha gente bienintencionada piensa que pueden tratar problemas ambientales con soluciones individuos. Sugieren que todas necesitamos reciclar y manejar autos eléctricos, o quizás no comer carne. Es cierto que dietas Americanas, cultura de auto y producción despilfarrador tienen que ser cambiados dramáticamente en una sistema ecológico sostenible. Pero tal estilo de vida política están moviendo mas lenta que reformas capitalistas en términos de actualmente reducir los indices de contaminación, agotacion de recursos y destrozos de sistemas naturales. Movimiento social tiene que ser apoyado con organización, cambios estructurales y poder verdadero. Los capitalistas tienen todas estas cosas, pero les falta la motivación para el cambio. Estableciendo instituciones independientes que actualmente cambian nuestros sistemas de producción y consumo para estar en linea con lo demás del mundo natural tiene que ocurrir. Si esto puede ser antes de la toma de poder estatal, es algo que ecologistas revolucionarios tienen que explorar. Si sabemos que la dictadura conjunto del proletariado de las naciones oprimidas será necesario para finalmente hacer cumplir los cambios necesitados a la escala global. Esto es necesario porque una porción considerable de las naciones opresoras no reducirán su consumo por voluntad propia, y mientras haya la potencia para aprovechar por via de practicas ecológicas miopes, habrán personas que tratarán hacerlo. Hoy en los E$tados Unidos los fuerzas que mantienen el status quo son mas organizados que las fuerzas para imponer practicas ecológicas sanas.
Un tercer enfoque común para problemas ambientales es el enfoque de pura tecnología. Mientras la ciencia de ecología ha avanzado en décadas recientes, ha sido limitado por la estructura social forzada por el capitalismo. Primer mundialistas pueden crear carreras alrededor de trabajar con comunidades pequeñas para resolver problemas locales, pero estos curitas no pueden curar la herida cuando la navaja de especuladores capitalistas continua torciendo de un lado a otro. Tales ecologistas académicas pueden contribuir a nuestro conocimiento, pero sus esfuerzos no hacen nada para desafiar el modelo capitalista en si mismo. Es mucho mas eficiente y efectivo hacer cambios necesarios para la supervivencia de la humanidad con un gobierno centralizado actuando con los intereses de la mayoría, a un ONG o sector no lucrativo, o hasta por vía del método de acción directa favorecido por bandas anarquistas. Comunismo suelta la creatividad de todas la masas de una manera que empuja estos proyectos para delante con entusiasmo y anchura sin medida. (Vea nuestro discusión de China: Ciencia Camina Sobre Dos Piernas en nuestra revista de revolutionaryecology.com - only available in English right now). Animamos ecologistas con perspectivas globales ha desarrollar una estrategia que verdaderamente hace uso de su trabajo globalmente, y les recomendamos el comunismo como la mejor manera de cumplir sus metas que valen la pena. Hoy en los E$tados Unidos, tenemos mas estilistas de vida y reformistas en la banda ambientalista. Necesitamos mas revolucionarios.
Socialismo pondrá un fin a métodos "eficientes" capitalistas de hacer ganancias. Y con la tierra en los manos del pueblo, podemos empezar hacer decisiones mas inteligentes sobre uso balanceado para la supervivencia humana sin destrucción ambiental. La mayoría de los pueblos del mundo están interesados en vivir en una planeta saludable, pero los capitalistas con dinero y poder están enfocados en ganancias. Como tienen el poder y armas, ellos no tienen que darle cuentas a la mayoría. Desperdician recursos o hasta los destruyen, si les sirve a sus intereses competitivos. Y no les importa qué o quién muera en el proceso. Bajo el capitalismo vemos como agencias gubernamentales y el gobierno mismo están obligados con los intereses especiales mas ricos, y incapaz de implementar hasta reformas modestas. Solamente derribando a los capitalistas y hacer cumplir pólizas que aseguran la supervivencia de humanos en la tierra tenemos una chanza de hechar atrás la destrucción de el medioambiente.
In recent months it is becoming more common to read news stories about the irreversible collapse of glaciers in Antartica and elsewhere around the world, as a result of the rising temperature on earth. This degradation of our global environment is driven by humyn emissions of greenhouse gasses. As the reality of humyn destruction of Earth's natural systems becomes more apparent daily, and scientists provide more clear and alarming evidence that we are at a point where the effects cannot be reversed, we see a compelling case for communism as the only economic system that has a chance of providing for the long-term survival of humyns.
Maoists focus on combating the repression and brutality of humyns against other humyns, which is an inherent element of capitalism. When it comes to fighting for the survival of the most oppressed humyns in the world, fighting for the life of the planet on which we all live has become inextricably intertwined with our humynism. Without an environment that can sustain humyn life, the fight against oppression of groups of people becomes irrelevant. We see a strong reason for communists to take up revolutionary environmentalism, and for unity between environmental activists and those fighting oppression of people. But we will not win the fight for the environment without first liberating the world's oppressed people and overthrowing imperialism.
Back in 1997 MIM published the MIM Theory magazine entitled "Environment, Society, Revolution." In it they wrote: "Our fundamental goal is eradicating the oppression of people over people, and this goal is also the most effective way to liberate the environment from human aggression. We do not believe that socialism necessarily achieves environmental salvation, but we do argue that only through socialism do we have a chance at it."(1)
Historically the worst devastation has been wreaked on the environment as a result of oppression among people: wars, mass production using exploited labor, and corporate land seizure. In war, herbicides and chemical agents are used to deforest land and destroy crop production, which have severe, longlasting impacts on not only the plants, but the people and wildlife as well. Agent Orange, depleted uranium, napalm, and white phosphorous are examples of this type of warfare. A bomb that targets an "enemy" also destroys the environment in the surrounding area. Capitalist production allows for the practically unregulated dumping of waste into our rivers and oceans, including oil spills. When commodities cannot be sold, they are literally dumped into the ocean or incinerated, impacting ocean life and polluting the air.
Further, the imperialists target the Third World with imperialist-country waste, locating dirty industries there and dumping toxic waste in other people's backyards.(1) And it is clear that the countries that contribute least to climate change will be impacted the most by it. Typhoons hitting Southeast Asia and India, droughts in Africa, and islands that will soon disappear to rising sea levels are all consequences that have already taken the lives of many people and threaten to destroy even more. Where the imperialist countries will be able to rebuild infrastructure and defend against the impacts of climate change more easily due to their stolen wealth, residents in the Third World do not have this privilege. At the same time, pollution and other effects of humyn activities have reached a scale where it is harder for the oppressor nations to isolate themselves from these problems. For this reason, environmentalism may prove to be the most powerful material force for building true internationalism.
In the United $tates the capitalists are attempting small reforms to address the growing environmental problem, but these attempts show us clearly why capitalism will fail to save the humyn race. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently proposed regulation of power plant emissions, focusing on existing coal plants. In slow-moving capitalism, the EPA will finalize their proposal some time in 2015, give states a year to figure out how to implement the new regulations, fight the lawsuits that states are threatening, and maybe see a few small changes many years down the road. The EPA optimistically predicts the proposal could cut carbon dioxide emissions from these plants by up to 30% by 2030.(2) The corporate media is already complaining about emissions standards being "bad for business," which under capitalism is more important than humyn lives. And in true capitalist fashion, there is talk of paying off the coal companies and compensating people who have good high-paying union jobs that will be affected.(3) So for the sake of the rich capitalists and the well-off First World workers, there will be years of fighting over the possibility of making some small changes, while people in the Third World are dying today from climate change effects already happening.
Many well-meaning people think they can address environmental problems with individualist solutions. They suggest that everyone needs to recycle and drive electric cars, or perhaps not eat meat. It is true that Amerikan diets, car culture and wasteful production must all be dramatically changed in an ecologically sustainable system. But such lifestyle politics are moving even slower than capitalist reforms in terms of actually reducing the rates of pollution, resource depletion and natural systems disruption. Social movement must be backed by organization, structural changes and real power. The capitalists have all these things, but lack the motivation for change. Setting up independent institutions that actually change our systems of production and consumption to be in line with the rest of the natural world needs to happen. Whether this can be done prior to the seizure of state power is something for revolutionary ecologists to explore. We do know that the joint dictatorship of the proletariat of the oppressed nations will be necessary to eventually enforce the changes needed at a global scale. This is necessary because a significant portion of the oppressor nations will not willingly reduce their consumption, and as long as there is the potential to profit via short-sighted ecological practices, there will be people who will try to do so. In the United $tates today the forces which maintain the status quo are more organized than the forces to impose sound ecological practices.
A third common approach to environmental problems is the pure technology approach. While the science of ecology has advanced in recent decades, it has been limited by the social structure enforced by capitalism. First Worlders can build careers around working with small communities to solve local problems, but these band-aids cannot heal the wound when the knife of capitalist profiteering continues to twist and turn inside it. Such academic ecologists can contribute to our knowledge, but their efforts do nothing to challenge the capitalist model itself. It is far more efficient and effective to make changes necessary for the survival of humynity with centralized government acting in the interests of the majority, rather than through the NGO or non-profit sector, or even via the direct action method favored by anarchist camps. Communism unleashes the creativity of all the masses in a way that pushes these projects forward with immeasurable enthusiasm and breadth. (see our discussion of China: Science Walks on Two Legs in our review of revolutionaryecology.com) We encourage ecologists with global perspective to develop a strategy that will really make use of their work globally, and we advocate communism as the best way to accomplish their worthwhile goals. In the United $tates today, we have far more lifestylists and reformists in the environmentalist camp. We need more revolutionaries.
Socialism will put an end to "efficient" capitalist methods of making profits. And with the land in the hands of the people, we can start to make smarter decisions about balanced use for humyn survival without environmental destruction. The majority of the world's people do have an interest in living on a healthy planet, but the capitalists with the money and power are focused on profit. Since they have the power and the guns, they do not have to answer to the majority. They waste resources or even destroy them, if it serves their competitive interests. And they do not care who or what dies in the process. Under capitalism we see how government agencies and the government itself are beholden to the wealthiest special interests, and incapable of implementing even modest reforms. Only by overthrowing the capitalists and enforcing policies that ensure the survival of humyns on Earth do we stand a chance of reversing the destruction of the environment.
On May 1, in the northern Alaska village of Tanana, two state troopers were shot to death after being sent to the remote Alaska Native village to arrest a resident for misdemeanor violations including driving without a license and threatening a village public safety officer. The man's son shot the troopers as they entered into a physical altercation to arrest him.
The issue has been sensationalized in the bourgeois press as an extreme tragedy involving the deaths of the officers who were killed "in the line of duty." The young man who fired the shots is being vilified by the media as a murderer and arch-villain guilty of killing two cops who are painted as heroes and outstanding individuals. As droves of white settlers attended the long procession of police cars carrying and escorting the bodies of the troopers from the medical examiner to the airport in Anchorage, hands over hearts and tears in eyes, nary a word is to be heard in lament of the destruction of a young First Nation life and family. Upon further, deeper examination however, a picture emerges which places the emphasis on First Nation repression, police-state tactics, and a long history of neglect by the white ruling class of its oppressed, dependent and dominated rural native population.
It was not native or even just local law enforcement which came to intervene and attempt to take into custody the alleged offender, it was white outsiders who needed to be flown in from a far distant regional hub in the tradition of the imperialist colonial model. These intruders have no personal ties to such communities and they naturally are viewed with resentment and suspicion. This sort of "law enforcement" is seen as arbitrary, external, and illegitimate by many who are forced to recognize its jurisdiction at the barrel of a gun. It is also increasingly being challenged.(1)
At first glance, what would appear to have happened in this particular situation is that a local individual who was transgressing some relatively petty ordinances or laws (which, by the way, are mostly foisted upon the First Nation people by white settlerism from far-off white legislatures and courts) was confronted by what passes for law enforcement in most rural villages - a VPSO, or "village public safety officer." The alleged offender did not want to cooperate with the VPSO and threatened him. The VPSO then contacted state troopers. The troopers were eventually flown in, attempted to arrest said individual and a struggle ensued after the man resisted arrest. The man's son, upon witnessing this altercation, grabbed a firearm and shot the troopers in defense of his father. The media is portraying the son as a "cowardly and selfish" criminal who killed two of Alaska's finest. But let's now dig more below the surface to understand the real elements behind this unfortunate circumstance.
The father and son are connected with a group called the Athabascan Nation (Athabascan being their particular native tribe). This group denies the authority of the state over native lands. They have also questioned and challenged the authority of the VPSOs.(2)
The position of VPSO was created by the state legislature. Instead of allowing First Nation sovereignty, and also even allotting appropriate funding for tribes to create their own, this was the state's way of providing a law enforcement presence in villages.
Most VPSOs are the equivalent of a native "Uncle Tom," a puppet of the "man." Though it is only the equivalent of putting a band aid over a gaping wound, many tribes in the south have been granted a form of limited sovereignty under a set of laws incongruously titled "Indian Country." The Navajo Reservation in New Mexico is an example. However, in Alaska, a clever piece of settler legislation called the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act killed "Indian Country" sovereignty in Alaska and instead regional "corporations" were set up, which in turn were given lucrative contracts on oil and mineral exploitation (most of which is still dominated by Euro-Amerikan multinationals like BP and Exxon anyway). These corporations make considerable amounts of money for a relatively few shareholders while providing limited health care and other services but little else. In other words, it was and is the Euro-Amerikan exploiter class's way of bribing a significant enough portion of Alaska natives to be content with being an otherwise plundered and oppressed colonial, subjected people. This has effectively kept most pacified, while corporations appropriate natural resources, including oil, gas, minerals, timber, fish, etc, worth billions of dollars to the ruling class exploiters.
In order to maintain complete control over these lands, the white plunderer ruling class has even imposed their own arbitrary laws and regulations on the First Nation peoples' way of life — their traditional and time-honored means of subsistence. As an example, state fish and game officers forcefully prevent indigenous peoples from harvesting food resources that they have for thousands of years, in the name of preserving stocks and preventing depletion (so that great white hunters won't run short on sport-hunting). They are then forced onto the rolls of social welfare programs such as food stamps, thereby making them into a totally dependent population. The social evils this has produced are numerous and horrendous, including creating feelings of inadequacy and worthlessness amongst a formerly proud and self-sustaining, independent people and therefore contributing in large part to the extremely high rates of suicide and drug/alcohol dependency and in effect inflicting another indirect genocide on the First Nation peoples.
There is, of course, something patently obscene with a nation who have historically been the biggest polluters and foulers of the earth imaginable telling those engaged in indigenous practices that have proved sustainable over generations what they can and can't do on their land. From over-fishing by commmercial fisheries, mines like Pebble Copper and Usibelli Coal and, of course, fossil fuel extraction, Amerikan dominance of the Alaskan territories has brought ecological disaster. This March was the 25th anniversary of the Exxon Valdez oil spill, which dumped 11 million gallons of crude oil into Prince William Sound, killing hundreds of thousands of shorebirds. While bird populations are recovering, others have not, including the local Orca populations that have continued to decline since the spill.(3) And that's only beginning to scratch at the surface of the farcical nature of white colonial rule.
Returning to the VPSO issue, it can be seen they are only a quisling representative of white colonial rule and are additionally so powerless that they all are even unarmed, making them completely dependent on state enforcement. Tribal councils themselves are little more than puppet shows. Tribal authorities rarely challenge state rule or push for sovereignty because they are, for the most part, bought-off. They don't want to lose state funding and corporate backing or jeopardize their own salaries and positions. Members of the Athabascan Nation and other similar groups recognize this and fight against their treachery and hypocrisy. Unfortunately, the latest action against the troopers by an over-idealistic and perhaps protective young man amounts to focoism that has destroyed his life, but this has shed a lot more light on the need for natives to assert far more control and autonomy over their own affairs separate from state interference.
Showing their complete disregard for their own and their status as lapdogs of state authority, the tribal council of Tanana moved to banish the man troopers came to arrest as well as another "aggressive" member of the Athabascan Nation, calling them "intolerant." Why not also banish outside, militant and aggressive officers of an oppressive regime bent on stealing and keeping your land? They'd rather banish two of their own? This speaks volumes.
In contrast, even the young man who is accused of shooting the cops seems to have had a better grip on who his real friends and enemies were, as, even though he also drew a bead on the native VPSO who was present, he lowered his gun and declined to harm him. This in itself speaks loudly for the need for tribes to govern and police themselves. It is far harder to harm someone you identify with or know, than it is someone you have had no interaction with and view as a foreign aggressor. It is also interesting that after the shootings, the local VPSO was able to take the young man into custody with the help of a few community members without further incident. So clearly, this was not, contrary to most media reports, a case of an out-of-control, criminally minded and dangerous coward, but a young First Nation man coming to the defense of his father who was being accosted and assaulted without due cause by an aggressive, militant and foreign force he did not recognize and rightfully viewed with hostility and distrust.
Not very surprisingly, even reformist measures such as the concept of "Indian Country" are vehemently opposed by the state government. If enacted, this would take away state authority and create a dual-legal system on the small amount of tribal (vs. corporate) lands that would become "Indian country."(4) In other words, the white settler state might lose its ability to fully plunder and loot the First Nation people and their land, and lose its ability to legally impose its will on the people by force.
We must fight for the national self-determination of First Nations. The imperialists must be forced to end their absolute hegemony and domination over the indigenous populations and the vast wealth of their country. The First Nation people must not be subjected to a cruel, indirect genocide and forced assimilation into white Euro-Amerikan "culture," with all its comparatively decadent values, fetishization of money, and inherent corruption.
The only solution is the revolutionary one - to support and accept nothing less than full First Nation sovereignty for all indigenous peoples.
Revolutionary Ecology (RE) is a new website that appeared in 2014. We welcome its appearance as the Maoist movement is in great need of a dedicated cell to address our current ecological crisis. We promote a cell structure for the Maoist movement in the First World, with cells focused on specific projects or localities. MIM(Prisons) is a cell focused on the U.$. prison system. We need a cell (or cells) that are focused on the struggle against the destruction of our environment just as badly. As the RE comrades point out in many articles, these are problems of dire urgency. They are also problems that threaten First World youth directly, potentially connecting them to the interests of the majority of humynity. This website is a good addition to the arsenal of educational tools for communists working to build a movement to overthrow imperialism.
The organizers of RE describe it as "a collaborative project that seeks to popularize Marxism within the environmentalist and animal liberation movements." They go on to explain: "We are quite literally faced with two options: Communism or annihilation." In the article, "What Would Socialism Mean for the Environment", this is further explained: "Whereas capitalism involves productive relations of exploitation sustained toward the circular end of profit, socialism involves the democratic control over the means of production as part of the rational and increasingly egalitarian satisfaction of people's wants and needs. Implied in such rational and democratic production is the inclusion of ecological regeneration and co-dependence as regulative economic principles." In other words, instead of relying on the almighty invisible hand, socialism is about humynity taking conscious control of our collective destiny and organizing ourselves in a way to best serve the interests of all humynity. As should be obvious by now, these interests overlap greatly with preserving the natural systems that we live in and depend on.
The article "Capitalism's Steady March Towards Irreversible Ecological Tipping Points" describes how capitalism is moving humynity rapidly towards tipping points that will be devastating for the Earth, including the deforestation of the Amazon, while discussing the inability of single issue groups and government regulations to stop this process. Much of the website's content brings Marxist analysis into the ecological discussion, as with the article "Lake Michigan Oil Spill: Capitalism and Nature" which explains the role of commodities and money in the context of humyn's relations with nature. And we are reminded of the importance of internationalism in the revolutionary ecology struggle through articles about South African trade unions and First Nations, among others.
In response to the Deep Ecology platform, one article proposes a Revolutionary Ecology Platform:
The well-being and flourishing of human and non-human life are intimately related. The flourishing of non-human life is generally of direct and indirect utility to humans, and vice versa.
Richness and diversity of non-human life can contribute to utility for humanity at large. Thus, it should be promoted as such.
Real wealth is utility or the ability to satisfy human wants and needs. The source of all wealth is two-fold: nature and human labor. It is in the long-term interest of a majority of humanity to steward biodiversity and ecological well-being (along with other elements of nature).
Alienation from and the subjugation of nature is in the vital interest of a small proportion of humanity: the ruling classes. Increasingly under capitalist-imperialism, less real wealth (i.e., human utility) is produced in proportion to overall economic activity and at greater cost to human and non-human life.
Ecologically unsustainable economic activity is inherent to capitalist-imperialism, whereby economic activity must expand even as much of it is tertiary and adds no real wealth in terms of the satisfying basic wants and needs.[sic] Abolishing such parasitic economic activity and reassigning it to restoring the natural element of wealth would aid in re-establishing the basic link between human and non-human life and provide for the flourishing of both.
The whole structure of society needs to be changed. Only revolution — the seizure of power away from one set of classes by another — can create the necessary conditions for such a transformation. Any such revolution, if it is to be successful, must advance the interests of the most exploited and oppressed sections of humanity, not merely the privileged subjects of neo-colonial imperialism.
A total ideological change of reconnection between human and non-human life will not fully take place until the basic structure of society (i.e. the mode of production) has been transformed into one of democratically producing long-term utility instead of profit. Nonetheless, the ideological sphere and subjective forces are a leading variable component where class struggle is carried out.
Those who adhere to the above points must get organized to make revolution possible.
Point 5 is of particular importance for drawing the logical connections between Maoism and ecology. Many in the First World who are concerned about ecology are disgusted by the over-consumption of their peers. One example of the extremes this takes in rich countries has been circulating on the internet recently, exposing Amerikans in rural areas who are customizing their big diesel trucks to be less fuel efficient and spew out more pollution, while these excessive polluters are explicitly ridiculing and targeting people who drive more fuel efficient cars. While this is one example of the labor aristocracy taking capitalist values to ridiculous extremes, it is not the individual decisions of the consumer class that fuel the destruction of the natural world. Car culture was built by capitalist planners who developed and marketed suburbs and lobbied for state-sponsored roads. The focus on GDP, the stock market, and other economic indicators are an obsession in the First World that the majority have joined in on, with no thought to the fact that consumption must be reduced in First World countries in the creation of an ecologically sustainable system. But it is not the rural truck drivers who are the biggest obstacle to change, it is the very logic of capitalism itself, which requires ever-expanding production, markets and circulation. This system is backed up by the biggest, most ruthless militaries in the world today.
Nikolai Brown touches on over-production within capitalism in h article on e-waste, "Not only does the inherent focus on the realization of surplus value engender 'planned obsolescence,' a global division of labor enables the flow of resources necessary for the propagation of disposable electronics. True to the fashion of capitalism, by producing toxic e-waste on such a widespread basis, its two requisites, labor-power and the natural environment, are increasingly degraded."(1) This article introduces us to the concept of ecological unequal exchange: "the transfer of natural resources to the First World from the Third World, and the return of pollution and waste to Third from the First World." As ecological crises advance, this is a concept that deserves much attention in connection to the economic unequal exchange that occurs under imperialism.
While we don't have any fundamental disagreements with the principles proposed by RE above, we find their discussion of Deep Ecology idealist in its critique of Maoism's (and other socialist countries') environmental history. The article "Deep Green Maoism?" criticizes the history of socialism for its record on "environmental degradation and species destruction" without offering concrete facts on what is being critiqued. No doubt all socialist societies to date, including the Maoist countries, had much room for improvement around environmental protection. But we should not issue blanket critiques from a position of hindsight and idealism. For their day the Maoists advanced the environmental movement further than any previous struggle by overthrowing imperialism and building a society that aimed to put an end to oppression of people. In the process they set the masses free to solve farming sustainability problems creatively, and develop both farming and industry to more efficiently meet the needs of the people. These are critical first steps towards living harmoniously with the environment. And we can assume that as dialectical materialists, these socialists would have continued to improve and build an understanding and practice regarding the importance of environmental preservation, had those societies not been taken over by bourgeois elements from within the party.
One of the first things we try to teach to new comrades is the difference between idealism and materialism, and that materialism means comparing actual practices. When we compare Chinese socialism to the Soviet Union we see improvements in the overall political approach, which translated into better science and ecology. And when we compare both socialist countries to the capitalist countries, the socialists were industrializing in ways that were much friendlier to humyn workers and the rest of the environment. While we cannot make a comprehensive comparison here, we will provide some large-scale examples that indicate the advances of these real world examples of socialism over what was happening in capitalist countries at the time (and even today).
One Amerikan correspondent in the Soviet Union wrote in 1942, "Moscow has also the most scientific garbage disposal in the world. All the waste of this great city of more than 4,000,000 people is first used in 'biothermal processes' which heat large 'greenhouse farms' from underground. When the garbage and sewage is thoroughly rotted in this quite odorless manner, it is then used as a fertilizer for ordinary farming. This amazing development got no advertising whatever. I merely chanced upon it when I visited a farm."(2) Decades later in northern China, "cadres, peasants, workers, and technicians experimented for ten years with utilizing industrial waste waters. Now the city's daily 400,000 tons of sewage is processed to fertilize and irrigate 12,930 hectares of farmland. ... Reciprocally, agricultural wastes such as cottonseed shells, corncobs, sugar-cane residue, and animal viscera become raw materials for developing commune-owned industries. ... Decentralization and multipurpose use of wastes have, besides integrating industry and agriculture, been used to control industrial pollution. Like the relocation of factories, pollution control is generally coordinated on the local level."(3)
Local, self-sufficient agricultural production was a key to successful socialist development in Mao's opinion. This had more to do with class and economics, but reinforced and enabled ecologically sustainable practices. In discussing the balance between the foreign and native and the large, medium and small scale production, Mao wrote, "At the present time we have not proposed chemicalization of agriculture. One reason is that we do not expect to be able to produce much fertilizer in the next however many years. (And the little we have is concentrated on our industrial crops.) Another reason is that if the turn to chemicals is proposed everybody will focus on that and neglect pig breeding. Inorganic fertilizers are also needed but they have to be combined with organic; alone they harden the soil." (4) Aside from pigs, humanure (or "night soil" as they called it) was a major source of organic fertilizer that utilized local resources on hand while simultaneously dealing with the problem of humyn "waste" similar to the Soviet example above. The safe and efficient use of humanure was greatly accelerated under socialism. Under capitalism, in 2014, this resource is disposed of as a waste, and the movement away from synthetic fertilizers and pesticides is still very small.(5)
Guided by the popularization of the scientific method to serve production, the Chinese also developed bacterial fertilizers at the local level. This is something that has gained a lot of attention in India in recent decades as the problems of over-dependence on synthetic fertilizers are becoming more pronounced. A report by Science for the People from 1974 describes the process of culturing the fertilizer, which is "reported to help crops absorb nitrogen, to protect them against more than thirty-two bacterial diseases, and to promote speedier seed germination and a shorter growing period." The report states that, "Such small factories producing microbial products seem now to be common in the Chinese countryside." They report on the process by which this commune studied bacterial fertilizers and has since taught it to about 20 other communes. "Similar processes of face-to-face contact and exchange appear to be exceedingly important in the transmission and popularization of science in China. Because such exchange generates little or no printed material, western observers, who tend to believe that all scientific communication of any note eventually reaches print, are likely to overlook what appears to be a vast network of informal scientific exchange in the Chinese countryside."(6)
An author on revolutionaryecology.com argues that "...the environmental problems associated with the first world-wide wave of socialism were due to a lack of foresight and scientific knowledge about ecology, holdover culture from capitalism and semi-feudalism, and the partial impact of the theory of the productive forces." The socialists of the 1900s had only as much foresight and scientific knowledge as existed at that time, and holding them to the standards of knowledge available today is idealism. Further, we know that the Maoists aggressively attacked the theory of productive forces and undertook the Cultural Revolution to fight capitalist culture. Sure, once these battles were won the revolution in all aspects would advance further, but this is not a basis for a 20/20 hindsight critique of the Maoist environmental practice in the socialist countries of the mid-1900s. We know that some practices in Maoist China would not be undertaken today, with the current state of the environment and the knowledge we have of effects of these practices. But that does not constitute reason for this critique any more than we would criticize China for failing to use computers to advance socialism before computers were available.
The article argues further "...it is this same understanding on the unity between people and nature which was either missing or gravely misapplied during the socialism of the last century." Socialism "neglected to treat nature as part of and necessary to people. That is not to say that socialism treated the natural world and other species in terms other than of humyn utility, but that it did so in an often ill-conceived and short-sighted manner." Here again we ask for concrete examples of socialism's failure in this regard, which should have been corrected based on information available at the time. In farming areas the communes in China were acutely aware of their dependence on nature as essential for survival.
The article goes on to say: "In short, an ecologically informed Maoism offers the chance to build a 'socialism of a new type' for the 21st century which seeks to resolve the contradiction between people and their natural environment as much as the contradictions between people themselves." As humynity's ecological understanding expands, socialism will utilize this knowledge and it will do so without the barriers presented by capitalism. Humyn knowledge and scientific understanding is constantly expanding. We find it misleading to say that "a new type" of socialism is needed to address ecological problems.
Aside from these Revolutionary Ecology Platform issues, we have a few smaller disagreements with the website. First there is a question of setting a bad security example by including a Facebook plugin so that people can "like" the website via their persynal Facebook accounts. This means the website is pushing people to expose themselves publicly as supporting RE. Unfortunately, this is information now available to the state, and individuals who may be new to activism (plus some blissfully ignorant experienced folks) will think they are helping the movement by "liking" the website only to expose themselves as targets for state repression just as they deepen their political line and involvement. Even at the level of random readers, we should always promote good security practices, both as a point of keeping our comrades safe and as an educational point about the repression the so-called democratic state of Amerika will unleash against those who threaten the imperialist system.
RE does not provide much information for readers on how to get involved. They do solicit participation of writers for the website, and the site links to other websites that are generally anti-imperialist and/or Maoist, or have good resources for Maoists (Kersplebedeb), and some of these other websites provide a forum for broader activism. But as a friendly suggestion we'd encourage the organizers of RE to make it easier for newly interested readers to take some anti-imperialist action if they don't want to become writers for the site. Ecology is an appealing topic for white youth, and more must be done to pull those serious about real solutions to environmental destruction into the revolutionary movement. We look forward to more ecologists stepping up to build a powerful and active revolutionary ecology organization.