Category: ENVIRONMENTAL STRUGGLES

Thirty Years Gone: Remembering “Cactus Ed”

MICHAEL K SMITH—Abbey called himself a racist in Confessions of a Barbarian, though he defined the term as an aversion to being dominated by a race to which one did not belong, which definition would render nearly all of humanity “racist”: “Am I a racist? I guess I am. I certainly do not wish to live in a society dominated by blacks, or Mexicans, or Orientals. Look at Africa, at Mexico, at Asia.” Abbey was aware of the contributions of Western colonialism and imperialism to the widespread misery found in those regions, but argued it was but “Western guilt neurosis” to assign primacy to them in accounting for Third World conditions in the late twentieth century.

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We’re Killing Off Our Vital Insects Too

F W ENGDAHL—Scientists at the University of Texas have identified in experiments that glyphosate, the controversial herbicide in Monsanto Roundup, harms the microbiota needed by honeybees for growing and resisting pathogens. This, combined with earlier studies linking the group of neonicotinoid pesticides to bee deaths, suggest we need an urgent review of the toxins being widely applied to our agriculture crops. Notably, the world’s largest purveyor of both neonicotinoids and of glyphosate-based Roundup today is the merged giant Monsanto/Bayer.

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Scurrying Fascist Cockroaches

JOHN STEPPLING—The Green New Deal is the fig leaf that provides material for this manufacturing of a new fascist narrative. The green fascism of these new ‘products’ from the Democratic Party laboratories is pretty much in line with what Bill Clinton ushered in and what Obama sort of perfected. There is no potential for change in electoral movements in the U.S. That system is closed. Any radical third party would be quickly stopped, on that Mitch McConnell and Nancy Pelosi both agree. And the idea of an American gilets jaunes (or Occupy redux) would likely lack both leadership and, more importantly perhaps, a narrative.

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The Ecological Civilization Debate in China

Modernization has been a dream of China’s for a century. After the Great Cultural Revolution, the Chinese government joined most developing countries in treating modernization as its goal. China’s achievements on this path, such as its fast GDP growth, have amazed the world. However, the price has been extremely high, including environmental problems, an increasing gap between the rich and the poor, and growing disenchantment with growth within the populace as a whole. Is there any alternative to the current form of modernization? “Constructive postmodern thinking proposes such an alternative.”81 Kang Ouyang, a leading Marxist scholar in China and vice president of Huazhong University of Science and Technology, has explored the positive and negative sides of modernization. For him the negative includes: treating economic growth as the ultimate goal; neglecting ecology, the value of tradition, and aesthetic wisdom as complements to scientific knowledge; rejection of the positive role that religion can play in human life; and overemphasis on individuality at the expense of community.

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