Quotes

The world’s climate scientists tell us we’re doomed unless we shut down the coal industry and sharply reduce our consumption of all fossil fuels. But even the world’s largest corporations, such as Exxon Mobil, can’t afford to take such losses, to sacrifice its owners — merely to save the humans. Corporations can’t make the socially and ecologically rational decisions that need to be made to save the humans because they represent only private particular interests, not the social and universal interests of humanity, the environment, and future generations. Richard Smith

The picture that emerges for Earth sometime in the distant future, if we should dig up and burn every fossil fuel is thus consistent with…an ice-free Antarctica and a desolate planet without human inhabitants. Although temperatures in the Himalayas may have become seductive, it is doubtful that the many would allow the wealthy few to appropriate this territory to themselves or that humans would survive the extermination of most other species on the planet…. It is not an exaggeration to suggest, based on the best available scientific evidence, that burning all fossil fuels could result in the planet being not only ice-free but human-free. James Hansen

“Growth” measures the conversion of nature into cash, and commons into commodities. Thus nature’s amazing cycles of renewal of water and nutrients are defined into non-production. The peasants of the world, who provide 72 percent of the food, do not produce; women who farm or do most of the housework do not fit this paradigm of growth either. A living forest does not contribute to growth, but when trees are cut down and sold as timber, we have growth. Healthy societies and communities do not contribute to growth, but disease creates growth through, for example, the sale of patented medicine. Vandana Shiva

As I argued earlier, what the left-wing critics…. ignore are the internal dynamics of social movements and how participation alters the ideas of those involved. A key tenet of Marxism–not to mention basic pedagogy–is that those involved in struggle “learn by doing,” much more quickly and on a much deeper and more visceral level than they ever could by reading left-wing critiques, however correct these may be in the abstract. Chris Williams

As long as we do not change the capitalist system for a system based in complementarity, solidarity and harmony between the people and nature, the measures that we adopt will be palliatives that will limited and precarious in character. For us, what has failed is the model of “living better”, of unlimited development, industrialisation without frontiers, of modernity that deprecates history, of increasing accumulation of goods at the expense of others and nature. For that reason we promote the idea of Living Well, in harmony with other human beings and with our Mother Earth. Evo Morales

In future, historians (if there are any) will look back on this curious spectacle taking shape in the early 21st century. For the first time in human history, humans are facing the significant prospect of severe calamity as a result of their actions – actions that are battering our prospects of decent survival. Those historians will observe that the richest and most powerful country in history, which enjoys incomparable advantages, is leading the effort to intensify the likely disaster. Leading the effort to preserve conditions in which our immediate descendants might have a decent life are the so-called “primitive” societies: First Nations, tribal, indigenous, aboriginal. The countries with large and influential indigenous populations are well in the lead in seeking to preserve the planet. The countries that have driven indigenous populations to extinction or extreme marginalization are racing toward destruction. Thus Ecuador, with its large indigenous population, is seeking aid from the rich countries to allow it to keep its substantial oil reserves underground, where they should be. Meanwhile the U.S. and Canada are seeking to burn fossil fuels, including the extremely dangerous Canadian tar sands, and to do so as quickly and fully as possible, while they hail the wonders of a century of (largely meaningless) energy independence without a side glance at what the world might look like after this extravagant commitment to self- destruction. This observation generalizes: Throughout the world, indigenous societies are struggling to protect what they sometimes call “the rights of nature,” while the civilized and sophisticated scoff at this silliness. Noam Chomsky

‘Nothing should be made by man’s [sic] labour which is not worth making; or which must be made by labour degrading to the makers…Worthy work carries with it the hope of pleasure in rest, the hope of the pleasure in our using what it makes, and the hope of pleasure in our daily creative skill. All other work but this is worthless; it is slaves’ work — mere toiling to live, that we may live to toil.’ E.P. Thompson’s biography of William Morris

Re: Steady State and Degrowth: It is undeniable today that economic growth is the main driver of planetary ecological degradation. But to pin one’s whole analysis on overturning an abstract “growth society” is to lose all historical perspective and discard centuries of social science. As valuable as the degrowth concept is in an ecological sense, it can only take on genuine meaning as part of a critique of capital accumulation and part of the transition to a sustainable, egalitarian, communal order; one in which the associated producers govern the metabolic relation between nature and society in the interest of successive generations and the earth itself (socialism/communism as Marx defined it). What is needed is a “co-revolutionary movement,” to adopt David Harvey’s pregnant term, that will bring together the traditional working-class critique of capital, the critique of imperialism, the critiques of patriarchy and racism, and the critique of ecologically destructive growth (along with their respective mass movements). John Bellamy Foster

As Eugene Victor Debs once said, “A vote for socialism is no more socialism than a menu is a meal.” A long as the Amercan working class has not organized itself politically and what passes for a socialist movement is nothing more than a handful of microscopic and hopelessly divided groupescules and sectlets socialism will be nothing but a pipe dream. Gabe Gabrielsky. 

Modern bourgeois society, with its relations of production, of exchange and of property, a society that has conjured up such gigantic means of production and of exchange, is like the sorcerer who is no longer able to control the powers of the nether world whom he has called up by his spells. Karl Marx

Lamentably, it is an historical fact that privileged groups seldom give up their privileges voluntarily. Individuals may see the moral light and volunterily give up their unjust posture; but…groups tend to be more immoral than individuals. We know through painful experience that freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor, it must be demanded by the oppressed. Martin Luther King

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