I would not say it is uncommon to find myself more than frustrated with opinions published in the mainstream press. A piece in today’s Sydney Morning Herald by John Passant, whose blog En Passant has the byline ‘revolutionary reflection on this world of ours’ did get me riled a little. The limited writings of his I have glanced at speak of tired same-old card carrying socialist rantings that literally equate the working class with religious icons. For example, apparently working class men do not benefit from women’s oppression — what cave is he living in! His piece in the today’s SMH, first published on his blog, attacks the Australian Greens. My issue with it is his reference to those concerned about population as neo-Malthusians. His lefter than left (i.e. holier than thou) rhetoric is unsurprising, unfortunately. His anthropocentric techno-utopianism fails to transcend solidly founded critiques of 60s era neo-Marxists and numerous others (including neo-Liberals today). When will the the blinkered political left and right realise that whereas technology may save us (i.e. Humans) in some form (as well as continue to impact on our lives in multitude and unforeseen ways, not all positive), what about all the other species and ecosystems that we exist alongside?
To put it plainly, ecosystems, bioregions and this planet all have carrying capacities. Passant attacks Bob Brown, the spokesperson for the Australian Greens for referring to a figure of 35 million people as not supportable. I already think Australia’s population is beyond the carrying capacity of this continent. And this has nothing to do with neo-Malthusians ideas. Infrastructure and ‘quality of life’ are not my priorities. Our individual and collective ecological footprints already exceed what the areas in which we live can handle. On a simple level, there is not enough water. We already flush our shit out of site, and we bury our ‘waste’ in holes in the ground — waiting to become toxic cesspits. Whereas we are impacted by this, it is orders of magnitude less than the billions of others who inhabit this planet with us.
I long for the day when neo-Marxists move beyond anthropocentrism and consider ourselves part of the environment. Yet, can we really expect vanguardists to eschew hierarchy? They are unashamedly speciesist and have vehemently dismissed, based on appeals to the ‘masses’, any criticisms. Similarly, environmental concerns were not seen as a key issue only a few decades ago, rather bourgeois ideology. The same can be said of Women’s struggle a few decades prior. Environmental issues are now one of their key recruitment tools. I must add a caveat, that there are many good people in the organisation, and I would much rather they exist than not.
Can we not already move beyond the techno-utopianism that has and will continue to not provide the salvation we continue to hope it will? This is not a neo-Malthusians idea. I am not opposed to immigration. You can be critical of population growth, promote population reduction, and not be racist. In calling for population reduction we need to challenge the political elite and decision makers who first target non-white immigrants. Humanitarian immigration should be the priority. What it comes down to, is people here need to stop breeding — it is not a ‘right’ to bear child. The earth is not ours to do as we please. It is time for the neo-Marxists to smell the roses
Somewhat unrelated, the increasing cross-pollination of the blogosphere in the mainstream press has interesting connotations. It is quite rare for a piece by a card carrying socialist to be published. This begs the question, why was it? Are the Greens being seen as a threat to mainstream politics (Socialist Alliance, who Passant is a member of, could not be considered a blip in electoral politics)? What is the agenda of the SMH? Perhaps time will tell…