“Are present ecological stresses so strong that if not relieved they will sufficiently degrade the ecosystem to make the earth uninhabitable by humans? Obviously no serious discussion of the environmental crisis can get very far without confronting this question.”
Barry Commoner in The Closing Circle: 1971
More than fifty years after Commoner wrote those words, the environmental problem is almost infinitely worse and what is presently called climate change once thought to affect future generations is engulfing the entire planet right now. While warnings from a scientific community not on corporate payrolls grow more desperate the global polital power of capitalism, the primary cause of nature’s breakdown under stress, especially at its fading but still essential center in the USA, is making things worse not just by the hour or minute but every second.
While the U.S. conducts a proxy war against Russia, killing thousands and spending billions, and moves closer to a greater direct war with China with threat of nuclear conflict greater than since what was called the Cold War, fossil fuels not only grow in use but face puny measures at control compared to what is needed if there is to be a tomorrow for the present generation and not simply future humanity. The numbers are staggering and call for united global action of a radical nature to bring about total transformation of the market dominated private profit system that has brought great progress to many – as did slavery – but tragic loss to far many more with the loser group threatening to soon include those among us who did well enough to still enjoy the trappings of comfortable existence but this only while greater numbers than ever are not only suffering the horrors of political economic subjugation to a system that can only benefit some at the expense of most but now faces the war against nature of these past few hundred years bringing on a counter attack of heat waves, floods, earthquakes, tidal waves and more with no end in sight until and unless the people take democratic control of their lives and end the political economy that is bringing us all closer to needing a final solution to capitalism before it brings on a final dissolution of humanity.
We presently face the worst possible situation imaginable since the end of the second world war when the USA took control of the world and ran it with words about democracy and equality and acts of hypocrisy and mass murder. The number of humans we have killed since the end of war two is far greater than can be imagined since most of the murders were and are committed under pretense of fighting evil and creating peace. Control of public thinking, which was manifest in the last century, has become more so in the present and especially among Americans a view of material reality exists to make religious mythology seem like hard-core materialism.
American taxpayers foot the bill for trillions of dollars of warfare weaponry while hundreds of thousands of us are homeless and millions are in greater debt than can ever be repaid by present or future generations. While we hear of the dreadful debt burden of a relatively privileged class that can at least attend college, which is beyond a majority of Americans who only get there to clean toilets or build sports arenas, an even great number of Americans carry an even more staggering debt in order to have what passes for health care. This and countless other contradictions could bring social revolution if only understood by the majority carrying this burden so a minority can remain richer than any past generation of royalty and bigotry that placed some humans over and above the rest simply because of control exercised by the power of the sword, mace, gun, bomb or nuclear weapons. The weaponry, like the minority control of our mental state, has grown far more deadly over time.
While most people and nations of the world have done nothing to support America’s proxy war against Russia in the Ukraine, growing numbers are quietly aligning themselves with the promise of a new and different world focused on cooperation and national power based on truly democratic principles rather than the growingly fascistic tendencies of the capitalist world under American control. China is playing the major role in setting a new standard and is therefore seen as an even greater enemy than Russia with both capitalist countries very close to surpassing the USA through market and not military power, though their growing warfare capabilities in the face of American threats can be seen as necessary to their survival and not designed to take over other countries and call that democracy as America has been doing for more than 75 years.
Whatever the death tolls suffered by Russians and Ukrainians since Feb. 24, the date of the Russian incursion, we have killed more than 15,000 in our undeclared war on drivers and pedestrians with our ongoing road war killing an average of 100 Americans every day. If that were reported as a brutal assault on citizens by a political economy totally out of control of its consumer-citizens we might all be as conscious of the dreadfulness and work to save American lives which are taken regularly without any attack by foreign power but mere wretched excess of our economic life.
While the people of the United States may seem to be totally afflicted with hatred for much of the world and mostly for their own people, being armed to protect themselves from the horror of other Americans, there are countless movements under way trying to bring people together as communities of common interest, most especially at the work place where union drives offer hope for greater solidarity. Of course, as long as ruling powers control of media and therefore most of what we think we know, ignorant belief in crackpot stories still control all too much, with people driven into smaller and smaller identity groups to make democratic majority action seem impossible. How can I join with others if I’m dealt with as a disabled polish American gay Jew of color, or possessing testicles or vaginas, both or neither? Left out of such identity is the far more important fact of humanity and our need for food, clothing and shelter before any heartfelt or brain implanted notion of difference because of what is forced between our ears or loins by ruling power?
Two Chinese professors, Sit Tsui and Lau kin chi, part of a movement to balance that nation’s progress initiated at the urban minority top by bringing a substantial contribution from the rural majority bottom, offer these words of futurism that make hope a larger word than has recently seemed possible in the western world. Here, “farm to table” is an ad addressing good food in fine restaurants. There it represents as it once did in America, peasant dining with awareness of nature being far more important than market considerations. Heed their words:
“We propose that ecology take precedence over economy, agriculture over industry and finance, and life over money and profit.”
Whether we label that eco-socialism, democratic communism or simply common sense it is the only path to our future, if there is to be one.