- Capitalism and Alternatives -

Hot air don't save the world, or feed the poor, or right wrongs.

Posted by: Farinata ( L'inferno ) on December 20, 1999 at 16:07:29:

In Reply to: Setting the record straight. posted by Frog's Friend on December 20, 1999 at 15:37:13:

: "Frog" was my houseguest this weekend. I read through your responses to her message, and want to point out the following:

: a. Frog works as a court-appointed attorney for poor, abused and neglected children. Her work brings her into the poorest, most dangerous parts of the city.

Fine. Very laudable.

: b. Frog's husband is a co-director of a medical clinic for the poor.

Irrelevant; but also laudable.

: c. Frog is a staunch environmentalist.

So what is she doing about it?

'Being a staunch environmentalist' is frequently used to describe people who worry about the environment in a vague and existential way; it's like being against genocide - everyone's against genocide; but how many are willing to go to prison to stop genocide in another country?

The fact remains; major companies break environmental laws on a day-to-day basis as part of normal practice; relying on cronies in government to get them off if need be. You can be concerned and shed bitter tears about trees being cut down; it doesn't matter a damn if you still get into your car at the end of the day and go and wolf down a large steak.

'Being a staunch environmentalist' means nothing unless you're prepared to get your hands mucky doing something about it. It's the difference between someone writing letters to your local representative and recycling bottles and someone who is prepared to spend two years of their life up a tree to stop it being cut down.

It's not that writing letters is bad per se; it's just that elected representatives do not have the power to counter the global corporates; it's a waste of time and money. When corporates assume power, the only way to oppose them is directly and on the street level; anything else just fails, as it always has done.

: In other words, Frog is very aware of the problems you all speak of.
Which means precisely zip in itself. What is she doing about them?

: Your responses to her, ranging from false assumptions to immature insults, underscored her main point: self-styled revolutionaries who believe they alone know the truth,

Speaking personally, I was citing news articles from the BBC; these aren't my own personal truths; they're headline news...

And your friend might have received a better reception had she not voiced her message in tones ranging from the condescending ("Most adults..."[1]) to the patronising ("That's life for working people").

This is a political debating board; it's what this board is here for; for your friend to pop up and rubbish everyone's efforts here is somewhat silly.

And furthermore, how does she imagine that positive change will come about through 'working within the democratic system.'?

The democratic system is currently a mess; the few tatters of genuine democracy have been bought up by the major parties; and the major parties are controlled rigidly by commercial interests.

The ultimate government in the world consists of multinationals; and if multinationals decide that they can maximise their profits by feeding excrement to the masses, it's going to be shit sandwich time for all but the elite few.

Governments do what they're paid to do, not what is in the public interest; yet you still think this is democracy?


[1]- in fact, all of the responses have been from adults, three of whom are also graduates, one of whom has a Ph.D.

What your friend is saying is that she can't do what she'd like to do because work comes first. Unfortunately, that attitude leads to environmental destruction, tolerance of atrocity and injustice and political apathy.

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