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Pentagon report and global environmental crisis

by John Throne Tuesday, Feb. 24, 2004 at 6:31 PM
loughfinn@aol.com

The Pentagon is saying in the report printed below that world capitalism is going to be thrown into severe crisis by the developing environmental catastrophe. For all activists, and for the working class in general, this is the most important report to be made available to us in decades.



Pentagon report and global environmental crisis

by John Throne - labors militant voice Monday, Feb 23 2004, 6:47pm

loughfinn@aol.com

national / anti-capitalism / opinion/analysis

This is serious.

The Pentagon is saying in the report printed below that world capitalism is going to be thrown into severe crisis by the developing environmental catastrophe. For all activists, and for the working class in general, this is the most important report to be made available to us in decades. We all have a duty to read and study it and to draw the political and organizational conclusions from it.



Labors Militant Voice, the small group of which I am part has been trying to discuss and understand the likely developments for society in the coming decades. We think that this report confirms some of the fundamental aspects of the perspectives that we have been developing. One in particular. We have

been arguing that the environmental crisis which is made up of global warming, the pollution of the air,

land and water, the crisis of water supply, these now stand as major obstacles to the development of capitalism.

We have been discussing that with the collapse of Stalinism, capitalism regained the territories and resources, including the labor, of the former Soviet Union, China, etc. With this victory and the collaboration of the workers leaders internationally, capitalism was able to step up its offensive against

The working class worldwide and US imperialism was able to launch its offensive "full spectrum domination." That is total domination of the world by US capitalism.

At the same time the defeats of the working class in the west and the development of new technology gave increased impetus to capitalist economic growth in general. We have been discussing the prospects for the rise of Chinese capitalism. We have raised that the theory of the permanent revolution does

not apply to the former Stalinist countries and therefore what is it, if anything, that stands in the way of these countries developing into modern capitalist economies and opening up a new period of upswing for world capitalism.

But we have raised in contradiction to this that capitalism is destroying the environment to such an extent and with such speed that this would cut across the prospects suggested above. We pointed out that it was impossible for the Chinese economy to develop into a USA type economy as such a development, long before it reached fruition would have added such impetus to the destruction

of the environment that the world would be thrown into chaos, breakdown and wars.

The issue of "Peak Oil", that is when the supply of oil would begin to decline dramatically, is another factor in this, but we think that the issue of the environment is more immediate.

We also have discussed that with the pressure of Stalinism gone then capitalism would once again move much more towards unrestrained vicious competition and conflict. That increasingly savage competition and wars between the capitalist powers would come much more onto the agenda. Yes the fear that

nuclear war would destroy all would be somewhat of a restraining factor but the more powerful factor

would be that with the threat of Stalinism gone so also is the restraint that this placed on the inevitable inter-capitalist conflict.

We have also begun to discuss the issue of how capitalism sees itself keeping control in this situation of crisis that is developing. A few weeks ago General Frank a top US General spoke of the possibility that a dictatorship might be needed in the US at some time in the future. Faced with the information in

the report of the Pentagon below it is clear why he and the capitalist class in the US and internationally would be considering such an option. Not in the months or immediate years ahead but on the basis of the breakdown that is posed in this report then bourgeois democracy would be a "luxury' that capitalism could no longer afford.

The "Patriot Act" in the US shows the way the wind is blowing in terms of US capitalism controlling the US working class. And the development of their missile defense system shows the way they are thinking in terms of nuclear war and their thinking that the US would be able to emerge from this partially intact.

Of course the working class will not be passive in this process of developing catastrophe under capitalism. As a class we will rise to attempt to defend ourselves and to offer the prospect for a new world in which the necessities of life are in abundance for all and an economic system that is Capitalism will do its best to divide us along nationalist and racist lines and we are likely to see the rise of support amongst the top capitalist forces for fascist and military dictatorship "solutions" not only in the former colonial countries but also in the imperialist countries. Of course the move in this will evoke powerful opposition from the working class and in the process radicalization and a determination to create an alternative to capitalism.

We in Labors Militant Voice believe that all anti capitalist and working class activists should be building united front struggles and structures to oppose the offensive and crisis of capitalism and out of this process build a new anti capitalist international which would base itself on direct action fight to win tactics. Within this anti capitalist, working class based, direct action fight to win international all the various currents of anti capitalism, the various currents basing themselves on Marxism, the various currents basing themselves on anarchism, all anti capitalist currents in fact, would be able to organize and express their views while working together as a fighting anti capitalist International.

We believe these are the organizational conclusions that should be drawn from this report of the pentagon. We are keen to discuss with all who are interested in considering such an alternative.

Ten or twenty years ago I was involved in the production of a pamphlet in Ireland. We entitled it Socialism or Catastrophe. In the light of the new technology, the collapse of Stalinism, the Celtic tiger, the growth cycle of the 1990's, the rise of Chinese capitalism, this pamphlet and title did not have

much attractive power. In fact I do not even have a copy of it myself. The arguments and perspectives in it were not very accurate to put it mildly.

However in light of the developments outlined in the Pentagons report its title might be coming back to a position where it would begin to correspond to the essence of the world situation and the needs of the human species, in fact all species.

I believe the struggle for an anti capitalist international is more urgent than ever and the simultaneous

struggle for a revolutionary socialist current in that international equally so. All activists have a responsibility to review their own views and methods of work to see if they are not obstacles to the

steps that are now necessary.

Sean O'T. http://www.laborsmilitantvoice.com

Below is the article in the Observer on the Report from the Pentagon.

Now the Pentagon tells Bush: climate change will destroy us

Secret report warns of rioting and nuclear war. Britain will be 'Siberian' in less than 20 years.

Threat to the world is greater than terrorism

Mark Townsend and Paul Harris in New York

Sunday February 22, 2004

The Observer

http://www.guardian.co.uk/climatechange/story/0,12374,1153530,00.html

Climate change over the next 20 years could result in a global catastrophe costing millions of lives in wars and natural disasters.

A secret report, suppressed by US defence chiefs and obtained by The Observer, warns that major European cities will be sunk beneath rising seas as Britain is plunged into a 'Siberian' climate by 2020. Nuclear conflict, mega-droughts, famine and widespread rioting will erupt across the world.

The document predicts that abrupt climate change could bring the planet to the edge of anarchy as countries develop a nuclear threat to defend and secure dwindling food, water and energy supplies. The threat to global stability vastly eclipses that of terrorism, say the few experts privy to its contents.

'Disruption and conflict will be endemic features of life,' concludes the Pentagon analysis. 'Once again, warfare would define human life.'

The findings will prove humiliating to the Bush administration, which has repeatedly denied that climate change even exists. Experts said that they will also make unsettling reading for a President who has insisted national defence is a priority.

The report was commissioned by influential Pentagon defence adviser Andrew Marshall, who has held considerable sway on US military thinking over the past three decades. He was the man behind a sweeping recent review aimed at transforming the American military under Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.

Climate change 'should be elevated beyond a scientific debate to a US national security concern', say the authors, Peter Schwartz, CIA consultant and former head of planning at Royal Dutch/Shell Group, and Doug Randall of the California-based Global Business Network.

An imminent scenario of catastrophic climate change is 'plausible and would challenge United States national security in ways that should be considered immediately', they conclude. As early as next year widespread flooding by a rise in sea levels will create major upheaval for millions.

Last week the Bush administration came under heavy fire from a large body of respected scientists who claimed that it cherry- picked science to suit its policy agenda and suppressed studies that it did not like. Jeremy Symons, a former whistleblower at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), said that

suppression of the report for four months was a further example of the White House trying to bury the threat of climate change.

Senior climatologists, however, believe that their verdicts could prove the catalyst in forcing Bush to accept climate change as a real and happening phenomenon. They also hope it will convince the United States to sign up to global treaties to reduce the rate of climatic change.

A group of eminent UK scientists recently visited the White House to voice their fears over global warming, part of an intensifying drive to get the US to treat the issue seriously. Sources have told The Observer that American officials appeared extremely sensitive about the issue when faced with complaints that America's public stance appeared increasingly out of touch.

One even alleged that the White House had written to complain about some of the comments attributed to Professor Sir David King, Tony Blair's chief scientific adviser, after he branded the President's position on the issue as indefensible.

Among those scientists present at the White House talks were Professor John Schellnhuber, former chief environmental adviser to the German government and head of the UK's leading group of climate

scientists at the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research. He said that the Pentagon's internal fears should prove the 'tipping point' in persuading Bush to accept climatic change.

Sir John Houghton, former chief executive of the Meteorological Office - and the first senior figure to liken the threat of climate change to that of terrorism - said: 'If the Pentagon is sending out that sort of message, then this is an important document indeed.'

Bob Watson, chief scientist for the World Bank and former chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, added that the Pentagon's dire warnings could no longer be ignored.

'Can Bush ignore the Pentagon? It's going be hard to blow off this sort of document. Its hugely embarrassing. After all, Bush's single highest priority is national defence. The Pentagon is no wacko, liberal group, generally speaking it is conservative. If climate change is a threat to national security and the economy, then he has to act. There are two groups the Bush Administration tend to listen to, the oil lobby and the Pentagon,' added Watson.

'You've got a President who says global warming is a hoax, and across the Potomac river you've got a Pentagon preparing for climate wars. It's pretty scary when Bush starts to ignore his own government on this issue,' said Rob Gueterbock of Greenpeace.

Already, according to Randall and Schwartz, the planet is carrying a higher population than it can sustain. By 2020 'catastrophic' shortages of water and energy supply will become increasingly harder to

overcome, plunging the planet into war. They warn that 8,200 years ago climatic conditions brought widespread crop failure, famine, disease and mass migration of populations that could soon be repeated.

Randall told The Observer that the potential ramifications of rapid climate change would create global chaos. 'This is depressing stuff,' he said. 'It is a national security threat that is unique because there is no enemy to point your guns at and we have no control over the threat.'

Randall added that it was already possibly too late to prevent a disaster happening. 'We don't know exactly where we are in the process. It could start tomorrow and we would not know for another five years,' he said.

'The consequences for some nations of the climate change are unbelievable. It seems obvious that cutting the use of fossil fuels would be worthwhile.'

So dramatic are the report's scenarios, Watson said, that they may prove vital in the US elections. Democratic frontrunner John Kerry is known to accept climate change as a real problem. Scientists disillusioned with Bush's stance are threatening to make sure Kerry uses the Pentagon report in his campaign.

The fact that Marshall is behind its scathing findings will aid Kerry's cause. Marshall, 82, is a Pentagon legend who heads a secretive think-tank dedicated to weighing risks to national security called the Office of Net Assessment. Dubbed 'Yoda' by Pentagon insiders who respect his vast experience, he is credited with being behind the Department of Defence's push on ballistic-missile defence.

Symons, who left the EPA in protest at political interference, said that the suppression of the report was a further instance of the White House trying to bury evidence of climate change. 'It is yet another example of why this government should stop burying its head in the sand on this issue.'

Symons said the Bush administration's close links to high- powered energy and oil companies was vital in understanding why climate change was received sceptically in the Oval Office. 'This administration is ignoring the evidence in order to placate a handful of large energy and oil companies,' he added.

http://www.laborsmilitantvoice.com

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