Magazine article New Internationalist


Magazine article New Internationalist


Article excerpt

The New Internationalist welcomes your tetters. But please keep them short. They may be edited for purposes of space or clarity. Letters should be sent to or to your local N1 office. Please remember to include a town ami country for your address.

The views, expressed on the letters page are not necessarily those of the New Internationalist.

Blatant contradictions

I was excited to see an essay take up both socialism and: the environment ('Rescuing socialism', Welcome to Copenhagen!, NI 428). But I had problems with Seabrook's approach. The current economic crisis exposes the cracks in our economic system, and we should use this opportunity to encourage any industrial action taking place, not scorn socialism for failing to topple capitalism.

Right now in Austria and Germany university students are occupying lecture theatres because they are fed up with banks getting billions of bail-out dollars while their study arad living conditions deteriorate. It is Marx's .compelling understanding of how capitalismi works that allows us to understand why these blatant contradictions occur all around us.

Socialism did not fail by 'accepting the capitalist evaluation of wealth'. This is not a debate in definitions! The article implies that if we only free ourselves from conservative concepts of wealth, and instead learn to value compassion, mercy and tenderness, we can emancipate ourselves from capitalism. But poverty is not generated by a misunderstanding of 'wealth' - it is generated by the systematic exploitation of the many by the few. The reason that socialism has no 'independent existence' from capitalism is that it is only by directly confronting the foundations of capitalism that we can ever have socialism.

It is true that the green movement is reviving a kind of 'Utopian socialism', where it tackles climate change by trying to secure sustainable bubbles of equality. But meanwhile our coal industries are expanding, and with emissions trading schemes coming in, our governments are paying them billions of dollars of compensation to do it!

Sustainable bubbles of equality are nice, but in the end a redefinition of wealth cannot save us. The demoralized Left, the conservative Marxists and the exhausted labour movement can!

Erima Ball Sydney, Australia

Unlikely heroes

I suppose Jeremy Seabrook actually means to rescue socialism, but he seems chiefly to want to rescue it from other socialists, mainly followers of Marx. Unfortunately, few of his heroes are socialists - nor did they intend to be.

Mr Seabrook is keen on the 'Greens'. They're an odd lot. Their aspirations are based on science, but they don't like science. His great hero is Andre Gorz, who may have some good ideas but they're hidden in a multitude of interminable polysyllables. Oh dear!

Geoff Skeet Nairn, Scotland

Viewing pleasure

I was interested to read about the Austrian tourists who were forbidden from photographing a London bus ('You couldn't make it up', Terror takeover, NI 427). I suggest they acquire a set of DVDs of the TV show On the Buses. They can then laugh at British laws at their leisure.

Franklin I Wood North Rockhampton, Australia

Inflated figure

The November issue (NI 427) is excellent as usual but I urge you to be more rigorous about fact checking given that more and more people seem to have had a commonsense bypass and can believe a dozen impossible things before breakfast. …

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