SOME PARTING WORDS
By Lorna Salzman
Before we depart Monday for a two week holiday in Rome (where we lived 1956-58 on my husband's Fulbright), I thought I would just post some comments on Copenhagen and on some of the comments posted about what happened and didn't happen there.
Most of these comments are from leftists, the "usual suspects", but also from sincere progressives, peace activists, greens, and (probably) traditional liberals. These comprise the broad category of people that environmentalists like myself have tried to inform and educate since 1970...with no success, and often meeting with hostility from those who thought the fate of the earth was secondary to social and economic justice.
Now, thanks to Copenhagen and global warming, these people are now learning, belatedly, that all of these things are linked and that the survival and welfare of the poor and undeveloped nations, as well as the impoverished and disenfranchised in the developed ones, will be determined by policies being dictated by the large capitalist and nominally socialist nations whose own development model and attitude towards the planet's ecosystems are no less destructive than those of the large developed countries even though their wealth and influence have lagged behind.
In one posting I read, which quoted Evo Morales, president of Bolivia, capitalism was cursed as the underlying cause of global warming...which indeed it is because capitalism depends on unlimited economic growth and expansion of energy production and goods consumption. But Morales' friends in the other South American countries, like Chavez and Lula and Bachelet, are committed capitalists in this respect, even though their propaganda reeks of some peculiar exhalations of socialism.
Many undeveloped countries, not haven taken ecology and the earth any more seriously than the developed world, now have their hands out for billions of dollars in reparations and payoffs. Many of these countries are, of course, utterly corrupt. Many, like China, continue to resist any international monitoring process. Others want payoffs to protect, they say, their as yet uncut forests, though they have already destroyed most of these anyway. Some of the wealthier countries want carbon credits and offsets from the less developed countries so they can continue to emit CO2 without making any serious effort at curbing energy consumption or developing renewable energy.
All around there is insincerity, deception, duplicity, horse trading and a grasping greed as means of shaming the developed countries into paying for their past sins. The less developed countries are, of course, vastly and dangerously overpopulated, and without population control and reduction, these countries are not likely to be spared the impacts of global warming such as desertification, drought and loss of freshwater supplies, floods, wildfires, etc. And many of these countries are poor precisely because they are run by corrupt elites, oligarchs, monarchs, theocrats and technocrats beholden to transnational finance and corporations, who will swallow any reparation revenues in a blink of an eye if there is no meaningful oversight.
Meanwhile our president has turned out to be one of the biggest deceivers in history, and our congress one of the most blatantly corrupt and thieving and callous. The problem here, to return to the liberals, is not only that they still relegate environment to another entry on a long balance sheet but that they have no leadership and no guts to categorically reject Obama and the Democratic Party which has betrayed on this issue and on health care (to mention only two betrayals).
These progressives have been passive, not revolutionary, not even moderately reformist. And there is still no sign that they, and the minorities and the unions, are even considering the only logical and honest alternative: a political movement and/or party to kick out the most disgusting Democrats like Lieberman, Pelosi, Nelson and Boxer, or Obama himself. Come 2012 we will see these meek Democrats enter the voting booth, having been again intimidated by the Democratic Party and its warning against the Republicans...the same "lesser of two evils" mentality that brought us the evil of Obama.
When will this obeisance and lap dog licking of the Democrats' hind quarters ever end? How much more, and for how long, will Democrats and liberals tolerate the mirror image of the Republicans and the slick phoniness of Obama and his corporate capitalist cronies? Matt Taibbi of Rolling Stone has been the only voice of sanity and objectivity in the media. The rest of them have rolled over and played possum as the whole American citizenry has been royally screwed in every orifice.