imc indymedia

Los Angeles Indymedia : Activist News

white themeblack themered themetheme help
About Us Contact Us Calendar Publish RSS
latest news
best of news




A-Infos Radio

Indymedia On Air

Dope-X-Resistance-LA List


IMC Network:

Original Cities africa: ambazonia canarias estrecho / madiaq kenya nigeria south africa canada: hamilton london, ontario maritimes montreal ontario ottawa quebec thunder bay vancouver victoria windsor winnipeg east asia: burma jakarta japan korea manila qc europe: abruzzo alacant andorra antwerpen armenia athens austria barcelona belarus belgium belgrade bristol brussels bulgaria calabria croatia cyprus emilia-romagna estrecho / madiaq euskal herria galiza germany grenoble hungary ireland istanbul italy la plana liege liguria lille linksunten lombardia london madrid malta marseille nantes napoli netherlands nice northern england norway oost-vlaanderen paris/Île-de-france patras piemonte poland portugal roma romania russia saint-petersburg scotland sverige switzerland thessaloniki torun toscana toulouse ukraine united kingdom valencia latin america: argentina bolivia chiapas chile chile sur cmi brasil colombia ecuador mexico peru puerto rico qollasuyu rosario santiago tijuana uruguay valparaiso venezuela venezuela oceania: adelaide aotearoa brisbane burma darwin jakarta manila melbourne perth qc sydney south asia: india mumbai united states: arizona arkansas asheville atlanta austin baltimore big muddy binghamton boston buffalo charlottesville chicago cleveland colorado columbus dc hawaii houston hudson mohawk kansas city la madison maine miami michigan milwaukee minneapolis/st. paul new hampshire new jersey new mexico new orleans north carolina north texas nyc oklahoma philadelphia pittsburgh portland richmond rochester rogue valley saint louis san diego san francisco san francisco bay area santa barbara santa cruz, ca sarasota seattle tampa bay tennessee urbana-champaign vermont western mass worcester west asia: armenia beirut israel palestine process: fbi/legal updates mailing lists process & imc docs tech volunteer projects: print radio satellite tv video regions: oceania united states topics: biotech

Surviving Cities africa: canada: quebec east asia: japan europe: athens barcelona belgium bristol brussels cyprus germany grenoble ireland istanbul lille linksunten nantes netherlands norway portugal united kingdom latin america: argentina cmi brasil rosario oceania: aotearoa united states: austin big muddy binghamton boston chicago columbus la michigan nyc portland rochester saint louis san diego san francisco bay area santa cruz, ca tennessee urbana-champaign worcester west asia: palestine process: fbi/legal updates process & imc docs projects: radio satellite tv
printable version - js reader version - view hidden posts - tags and related articles

Peak Oil and Politics

by James Cooke Thursday, Jul. 06, 2006 at 9:16 AM

Among the many shouts of warning from environmentalists about global catastrophes, ‘Peak Oil’ stands out as the newest and most imminent. The issue has gained special acceptance from different sections of the left, who have chosen it as their primary concern – aside from of course, defeating Bush. Peak Oil and other environmental issues, such as global warming, have created important political questions that need to be addressed; the following is an attempt to analyze the different political considerations that arise when one discusses the topic of Peak Oil.

For those who are unaware, Peak Oil is typically defined as follows: the oil supply on earth is of a limited nature; when the supply of oil sinks below the ever-increasing demand, prices will surge, and chaos will ensue. Thus, a good place to begin is by asking: why has the mainstream media and politicians virtually ignored environmental issues, preventing any possible strategy to avert them, and how can this be changed? In asking these questions, ‘green’ radicals have found few answers worthy of optimism, creating the current state of indifference and outrage that is often the result; the activist is thus reduced to concluding, “If there is an inevitable peak-oil crisis, and no one in power is preparing for it, then nothing can be done”. This seems to be the mentality of many of those who have grown to resemble Christian fundamentalists— waiting for the inevitable apocalypse while, in the meantime, contenting themselves with a passive, self-righteous criticism of all things wrong.

How Peak Oil will play out, and what the full consequences will be, are yet unknown. Will the world’s economy suddenly be crushed, with all oil-dependent devices becoming obsolete? Or will a gradual raise in oil prices eventually lead to depression, the result of which will be indefinite? In either scenario, or in the plethora of other predictions that range from less-severe to even more apocalyptic, political solutions are lacking. To those most obsessed with peak oil, the general sentiment appears to be sternly defeatist. This group’s answer to the peak oil question lies somewhere between nuclear warfare preparedness and a wholesale rejection of civilization. The typical adherent to this perspective is an avid reader of Daniel Quinn and Derek Jenson, and limits political discussions to the topics of ‘sustainability’ and ‘buying locally’. Before one falls into the abysmal pessimism that apocalyptic thinking inevitably leads, other approaches to the problem should first be considered

At this point it can be stated with confidence that peak oil is a real phenomenon, but how one defines ‘peak oil’ is itself an important issue. Many point to the increase in gas prices during the last year as verification of the above-mentioned definition. In order for one to accept this particular viewpoint however, ‘supply and demand’ must be viewed from a strictly orthodox perspective; this implies a freely functioning ‘market’, meaning, that the there is a fixed supply of oil that responds ‘naturally’ to the demands of consumers around the world. The mistake in this explanation should be obvious: most of the world’s products do not function in a hypothetical ‘free market’, and especially not oil. Instead, the world’s commerce is at the mercy of import and export taxes, various state-sponsored subsidies, a stock-market induced speculation, war and ‘nation building’, regional monopolies (Exxon) and international cartels (OPEC). In reality, the free-market will be subverted whenever a powerful group desires a rise in profits. Just recently Exxon has announced quarterly profits of 8.4 billion; while their CEO was given a raise any Pharaoh would be envious of— these are significant obstructions to the ‘free market’. However, oil is still a finite resource, and although the above ‘market failures’ create artificially high prices and stifle supply, fixing them will not ultimately solve the larger issue.

In further thinking out the problem, one might ask the following: what various phenomena around the world put the largest, unnecessary strain on oil supplies? A simple brainstorm should make the necessary point: extraordinary military expenditures (tanks, aircraft carriers, f-16’s, etc), irrational transportation systems (a focus on single automobiles as opposed to public transportation), gas-guzzling luxury items (yachts, mansions, SUV’s, motor homes, private jets, etc), the giant manufacturing energy used to meet the often shallow demands of our consumer culture – one could go on. The point is that the above list is only valid within the context of a profit-driven economic system, i.e., capitalism. Warfare is needed to insure markets and raw materials, public transportation was destroyed to increase demand for oil, wasteful luxury items exist only where there are gross inequities in society, and a culture based on vulgar materialism happens to be extremely convenient for corporations.

In short, those fixated on the Peak Oil problem cannot see the economic and political context of the issue. The above phenomena, whether it be cartels or warfare, significantly affects the oil supply of the earth: Peak Oil is not a ‘natural’ event that cannot be planned for, although the above products of our economic system have created and exasperated the problem to the point where it is becoming an imminent danger. However, the problem cannot be solved by those who have caused it. Our leaders continue to represent the interests of those that benefit from the manufacturing of tanks and SUV’s; a world without speculation and profits is unthinkable to them. A political solution to this problem must come from the class of people unconcerned with corporate growth rates, that is, the majority of people in the U.S., not to mention the world.

There are some interested in Peak Oil that see the necessity for a political solution, and unfortunately put their energy into the Green Party. Those who seek salvation this way often argue that ‘an alternative economic system’ is needed, usually based on local production, sustainability, and decentralization, i.e., feudalism. Aside from the fact that such a system has already came into existence and passed away (making it the worst kind of conservatism), such a vision would be devastating to the third-world and beyond, resulting in millions –if not billions— of people starving to death. There are other problems too. The most prominent of these is the simplest: enacting an alternative economic system implies extreme resistance from those who benefit from the current one. The history of capitalism has been the methodical destruction of all independent persons, cultures, and economic systems. Most people advocating a ‘radical green’ perspective usually ignore the inevitable ‘coming to power’ that their ideas imply, since there is no other way to implement their vision; this failure to grasp the obvious makes the Green parties long term goals seem forever out of reach, and will most likely result in the worst kind of reformism, the likes of which we’ve been subjected to already, when ‘pressuring the Democrats’ was used as the Green battle cry during the last two presidential elections. Such political tactics cannot be called revolutionary. They are at best misled, but more realistically they are props for the current order, diverting important outrage into predictable dead-ends.

Yes the Peak Oil problem is both caused and sustained by the profit-system; alternative energies, rational planning, conservation, demilitarization, and any other sound solutions to the problem remain utopian babbling within the framework of capitalism. In the realm of short-term profits, words like sustainability become meaningless; unending economic growth is itself a foundation of capitalism which all environmentalism becomes dwarfed and marginalized: the profit system insures that nature will be exploited without any regard to future generations, livability, or imminent catastrophe.

Luckily, the majority of the earth’s population would support measures that could start to improve environmental conditions quickly. As to avoid high-sounding, ambiguous phrases like “justice” and “equality”, and instead focus on real, practical matters, our solutions should rely on the materials currently available, and what could be done immediately. The quickest way to nullify the profit motive that strangles all forms of progress is the nationalization of all banks, large corporations, transportation, communications, etc. In one stroke, all the conspirators of greed will have been displaced. Destroying the systems motivational impulse and removing from positions of power those who have lived lives in its shadow are necessary first steps towards organizing society with people, and the earth, first in mind.

A rationally planned economy means that problems like Peak Oil, hurricanes, and earthquakes are taken into consideration. For the first time, ideas about sustainable living and conservation could be debated and enacted, rather than the previous custom of being labeled ‘unpractical’, or dropped because of ‘lack of funding’. The phenomena of Peak Oil would not disappear, but instead would seem less dire, since the above oil-vacuums would be liquidated, and oil-wells could be drawn from beyond their ability to reap profit. The remaining oil reserves could be directed to where they could be best utilized, such as feeding the starving, alternative energies, production of oil efficient automobiles, bicycles, etc. Society’s resources could be finally directed towards sustainability, without the worry that such programs will be unprofitable.

The only thing preventing such a vision from occurring is the lack of a political movement; the resources available for such a world are already at hand, and are waiting for the masses to demand there use for practical purposes.

The public of the United States is rightly disillusioned with politics; the two-party system has created a monopoly of democracy, using its corporate might to crush all opposition. When popular discontent mounts, a left-leaning figure emerges that seems to represent popular opinion, only to show his true colors later. This exemplifies the necessity for a political party that has at its foundation, a strict opposition to capitalism, so that not anybody can make vague proclamations for progress and equality while intending to climb aboard the corporate gravy-train.

Without the firmest of political principles, a party is subject to the intrigues of international finance— a ruthless and indefatigable adversary. To insure that a party represents the needs of people— as opposed to business – it needs not only to be principally sound, but to be practically tested. The test is simple: Any policy that favors the elite instead of the masses is a betrayal, pure and simple. A leader who betrayals his constituency must be replaced immediately. The political parties of big business are recognizable by their institutionalized deception and consistent treachery. Behind such coded terms as ‘being practical’ or ‘realistic’, and always stressing the need for ‘compromise’, the interests of the average person is constantly surrendered to the demands of business. A political party is nothing but the organization of a class of people; the working class has currently no representation. No matter how much the Democrats claim that they are the ‘people’s party’, they cannot escape the obvious results of their policies: the working class is being devastated, while a small class of millionaires, and a handful of billionaires are flourishing.

In conclusion, Peak Oil cannot be solved without true democracy, since only the majority of the citizens have an interest in changing the status-quo; in fact, the majority of people have no special interest at all, aside from taking what they themselves have built. The problem is that Democracy, like sustainability, is impossible under the current arrangement. Democracy cannot exist in a country where 45 million live in poverty, while one man has 45 billion dollars.

Democracy cannot exist without Socialism; although hardly a cure all, it is a necessary first step. Since men have entered civilization, it has been under a class-system: a minority of men have benefited from the work of the overwhelming majority. Socialism is the people gaining control of their fate; it is an instinctual force in us that cannot be destroyed by the elite’s economists, philosophers, or historians, who claim that such an idea would be impossible to implement. There is absolutely no reason why man cannot organize the tools at his disposal without the bureaucrats and billionaires collecting their enormous tributes. We have been force fed lies about ‘human nature’, vague notions of the inevitable corruption of ‘authority’, and thousands of other excuses that prohibit the current system from ever changing. The realization of true democracy is perhaps the most difficult thing for humanity to achieve, but has never been as necessary. Although problems will certainly persist under socialism, the blind domination of profits over human relations will cease, and a world unpoisoned by slavery can begin.

Report this post as:

Listed below are the 10 latest comments of 1 posted about this article.
These comments are anonymously submitted by the website visitors.
The Devil (George Warmonger Bush) on Peak Oil The Devil (George Warmonger Bush) Thursday, Jul. 06, 2006 at 12:48 PM

Local News

Change Links 2018 July posted J09 1:27PM

More Pix: "Families Belong Together," Pasadena J02 12:16PM

"Families Belong Together" March, Pasadena J02 12:08PM

Short Report on the Families Belong Together Protest in Los Angeles J30 4:26PM

Summer 2018 National Immigrant Solidarity Network News Alert! J10 11:58PM

Watch the Debate: Excluded Candidates for Governor of California M30 10:20PM

Change Links June 2018 posted M28 12:41AM

The Montrose Peace Vigil at 12 Years M22 1:01PM

Unity Archive Project M21 2:42AM

Dianne Feinstein's Promotion of War, Secret Animal Abuse, Military Profiteering, Censorshi M17 3:22PM

CA Senate Bill 1303 would require an independent coroner rather than being part of police M10 2:08PM

Three years after OC snitch scandal, no charges filed against sheriffs deputies M10 1:57PM

California police agencies violate Brown Act (open meetings) M02 1:31PM

Insane Company Wants To Send Nuke Plant Waste To New Mexico A29 4:47PM

Change Links May 2018 A27 1:40AM

Worker-Owned Car Wash on Vermont Closed A26 10:37PM


lausd whistle blower A10 11:58PM

Website Upgrade A10 3:02AM

Help KCET and UCLA identify 60s-70s Chicano images A04 1:02PM

UCLA Luskin: Casting Youth Justice in a Different Light A02 11:58AM

Change Links April 2018 A01 11:27AM

Nuclear Shutdown News March 2018 M31 6:57PM

Join The Protest Rally in Glendale on April 10, 2018! M29 7:00PM

Spring 2018 National Immigrant Solidarity Network News Alert! M19 2:02PM

Anti-Eviction Mapping Project Shows Shocking Eviction Trends in L.A. M16 5:40PM

Steve Mnuchin video at UCLA released M15 12:34AM

Actress and Philanthropist Tanna Frederick Hosts Project Save Our Surf Beach Clean Ups M06 12:10PM

More Local News...

Other/Breaking News

14 Disturbing Facts About Scott Gottlieb, Trump's FDA Head J20 10:47PM

Behind the scenes at fbi National Academy J20 2:47PM

Treasury Takes Aim at Shell Companies J20 11:18AM

Paraphysique de l'intelligence J20 9:08AM

Oklahoma GOP Senator Jim Inhofe's Bloody Record J20 4:01AM

Globalization: hope on the horizon despite Fake Liberals. J20 3:41AM

Sorry President Trump,Ted Cruz Texas Judicial System,is Worse Than Many Shithole Countries J19 4:49PM

The Shortwave Report 07/20/18 Listen Globally! J19 4:33PM

The System Question as a Survival Question J18 8:54PM

Nation's Largest Voting Machine Co., ESS, Admits Lying Re Having Installed Remote Control J18 11:55AM

Du pain et des jeux J18 9:53AM

Paraphysique de martyrologie J17 8:00AM

Children Incorporated Earns 4-Star Rating on Charity Navigator J16 11:24AM

Democratic Socialists of America J14 4:57PM

Leonard Peltier Non Violent Native American Political Prisoner since 1970's J14 4:18PM

Paraphysique miscellanées de l'aggiornamento J14 12:54AM

FBI Investigated LA County Sheriff Baca,Why Not Hank Skinner's Persecution? J13 3:52PM

Updated Partial List Of Famous Vegetarians, Vegans, & Fruitarians J13 2:59PM

The Shortwave Report 07136/18 Listen Globally! J12 4:36PM

Social Policy as Social Infrastructure J12 3:38AM

Vol I: 84 Varieties Of GOP Election Fraud J12 1:50AM

Texas Can Call it An Execution,But It is A State Sponsored Murder of Hank Skinner.. J11 6:48PM

June 2018 Honduras coup update J11 3:35PM

Maria Estrada doubles down on racist support J11 1:40PM

New York Women in Film & Television Announces 2018 NYWIFT Ha Phuong Scholarship Recipients J11 10:14AM

Trapps de la domination, trapps de l'aliénation J11 1:31AM

Please Work For The Defeat Of Brett Kavanaugh And Why J09 8:54PM

Transinhumanisme ( transe inhumanisme ) J09 12:44PM

More Breaking News...
© 2000-2018 Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Unless otherwise stated by the author, all content is free for non-commercial reuse, reprint, and rebroadcast, on the net and elsewhere. Opinions are those of the contributors and are not necessarily endorsed by the Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Running sf-active v0.9.4 Disclaimer | Privacy