Eco-Marxism a Flawed World View

By Forbes, Scott | Winnipeg Free Press, April 30, 2016 | Go to article overview

Eco-Marxism a Flawed World View


Forbes, Scott, Winnipeg Free Press


What Lenin, Trotsky and Stalin tried to bring through the front door, Naomi Klein, Avi Lewis and David Suzuki are trying to sneak through the back. The noted wordsmith Conrad Black found exactly the right term to describe the Leap Manifesto: Eco-Marxism.

The Leap Manifesto is simply an attempt to reintroduce Marxist principles, ones comprehensively rejected across the globe during the 20th century, by wrapping them in the cloak of environmental exigency: global climate change.

There is no doubt the climate is changing (it always does), the pace of change is rapid and largely human induced. It poses a serious challenge. But is a return to Marxism the solution? Certainly not.

Had the authors of the Leap Manifesto not wanted to draw attention to its Marxist origins they would have changed the name. So let us look at the record of Marxism 1.0 in addressing environmental problems. It isn't pretty.

Stalin preferred heavy industry to a clean environment to fuel economic growth. Rivers and lakes in the Soviet Union were treated as open sewers: even today half of Russia's surface water remains fouled with chemical and human waste. Air quality in Soviet cities was the worst in the world. The U.S.S.R. dumped reactors and spent nuclear fuel into the sea and drained one of the largest lakes in the world, the Aral Sea, for irrigation.

What did Marxism 1.0 do for climate change? Here the record is considerably better. Greenhouse gas production in Russia plummeted with the implosion of the post-Soviet economy in the 1990s. Therein lies the secret to how the Leap Manifesto could abate climate change: by fostering widespread economic collapse.

The Leap Manifesto presents a utopian vision of future society, one liberated from the evils of capitalism and the oppression of global trade. By insisting on local production, we will recapture manufacturing jobs lost overseas. Instead of importing bananas grown in warm climates, we will live on locally grown produce (more kale) in rural agrarian societies. But with bullet trains. Run on renewable energy.

What it leaves out is that since petroleum-based fertilizer is verboten, we will need a couple of extra planets for the land required by low-intensity agriculture to feed the global population. However, I do look forward to catching a fast train to Tuktoyaktuk.

Instead of the inherent waste associated with corporations providing citizens with what they want, central planning will choose what we need. This, obviously, is much more efficient.

We don't need, for example, modern automobiles that capitalism has wastefully presented in a dizzying array of choices, from the utilitarian Honda Civic and Ford F-150 to the technologically advanced Toyota Prius and Tesla Model 3. …

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