Saturday, April 07, 2007

Remaking Society

As the networks opened their news shows yesterday, most opened with the new report of the IPCC on the consequences of Climate Change. And, as is usual nowdays, the geographic state of the United States is once again one of the bad guys. This time at least, we are joined by our new partner in pollution, China. The Saudi's joined in too of course.

U.S., China Got Climate Warnings Toned Down
By Juliet Eilperin
Washington Post
April 7, 2007; Page A05

Some sections of a grim scientific assessment of the impact of global warming on human, animal and plant life issued in Brussels yesterday were softened at the insistence of officials from China and the United States, participants in the negotiations said.

In particular, U.S. negotiators managed to eliminate language in one section that called for cuts in greenhouse gas emissions, said Patricia Romero Lankao, a scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) in Boulder, Colo., who was one of the report's lead authors.

In the course of negotiations over the report by the second working group of the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, U.S. officials challenged the wording of a section suggesting that policymakers need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions because countries will not be able to respond to climate change simply by using adaptive measures such as levees and dikes." more

It's rather tiresome and a little bit more than disconcerting to read over and over again that the US is now seemingly the "evil empire" we once struggled to defeat. Whether it is global treaties on cigarettes, or land mines, climate change, nuclear proliferation, treatment of prisoners under the Geneva coventions, or perhaps most gravely, attacking another country for their resources, the US has become the leader of the world in representing its primary constituency here at home....


Many years ago, my favorite writer was Murray Bookchin. Recently, I bought a copy of his Remaking Society. It took some effort to get back into his mind, but while in the mountains, I was able to regress into the time/space of his writings.
Here is a small snippet out of the Chapter on "Turning Points in History". It comes after his discussion of the other turning points; the rise of the warriors, the emergence of the city, and the third turning point, the emergence of the nationstate and capitalism.

"To speak of "limits to growth" under a capitalistic market economy is as meaningless as to speak of "limits to warfare" under a warrior society. The moral pieties that are voiced today by many well-meaning environmentalist, are as naive as the moral pieties of multinationals are manipulative.

Capitalism can no more be persuaded to limit growth than a human being can be persuaded to stop breathing. Attempts to "green capitalism", to make it ecological, are doomed by the very nature of the system as a system of endless growth.

Indeed, the most basic precepts of ecology, such as the concern for balance, a harmonious development toward greater differentiation, and ultimately, the evolution of greater subjectivity and consciousness, stand radically at odds with an economy that homogenizes society, nature, and the individual, and that divides human against human and society against nature with a ferocity that must ultimately tear down the planet."

So it should be no surprise that in the face of consequences well beyond anything we have ever faced as a people, the third great turning point in our history, "capitalism", continually seeks to marginalize the negative effects of its continued expansion, while consistently protecting itself from any responsibility.

Bookchin concludes the chapter with,

"it (capitalism) embodies every social disease,--from patriarchial values, class exploitation, and statisim to avarice, militarism, and now growth for the sake of growth- that has afflicted civilization and tainted all its great advances.

Were he alive today, Bookchin would not be surprised at our situation.

As the Nation proclaimed on the liner notes of the back cover of Remaking Society:

"We should have listened to Murray Bookchin. For two decades he has been warning us about what we are doing to our society and what we are doing to one another."

And we still are.

And we still don't.

And we still must

Remake Ourselves.



Blogger Seven Star Hand said...

You never really know how karma will manifest itself. I hate to sound like a broken record, but until humanity turns away from money, religion, and politics, and learns to live wisely without causing harm to other people and life-forms, these "plagues" will continue, unabated.

Welcome to "armageddon."

Armageddon refers to the valley of great decision(s), hence "judgment(s)." It thereby symbolizes a low place in time and human circumstances leading to humbling (wise) decisions and great realizations (revelations, apocalypse).

Look at the widespread "plagues" that have been afflicting human civilization in recent years. Global climate change and its many ramifications are merely one aspect of this unfolding scenario.


Here is Wisdom !!

10:00 PM  

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