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Ideology Wars: How corporates and neoliberals conned environmentalists into “fighting as individuals”

Posted By Jo Nova On July 27, 2017 @ 12:49 am In Global Warming | Comments Disabled

Feel the hate. Martin Lukacs in The Guardian blames “corporates” for everything. It’s all a big 40 year neoliberalist plot to trick you, make you feel guilty, and worst of all, to fool you into thinking you are an individual instead of, err… a group. What could be worse?

In the declining stage of the Climate Wars, the excuses are running amok. The Lukacs “analysis” tries to foment an us-n-them class warfare, but will offend quite a lot of believers by tossing their individual actions (their plastic bag penance) under a bus.

He is so busy looking at the world through marxist-colored-glasses he doesn’t seem to have noticed that many of the “big polluters” — the oil and gas giants — all lobby and profit from carbon action. Big Oil and Big Gas want carbon rules and carbon subsidies because it helps them compete with their real rival, Big Coal. Meanwhile Lukacs wants everything back under government ownership, but the worst real polluters on the planet are the wasteful communist regimes and socialist dictators, not the free West and the publicly listed corporations.

The saddest thing is that The Guardian editors thought this was worth publishing as is, and that the feisty, good Guardian commenters that used to turn up to mock this kind of vacuous philosophy are nowhere to be seen.

Neoliberalism has conned us into fighting climate change as individuals

Lukacs argues that most individual green eco-actions are just pointless busywork to distract people from the real task, which is “taking on corporate power”:

While we busy ourselves greening our personal lives, fossil fuel corporations are rendering these efforts irrelevant. The breakdown of carbon emissions since 1988? A hundred companies alone are responsible for an astonishing 71%. You tinker with those pens or that panel; they go on torching the planet.

He obviously hasn’t noticed that an astonishing 70% of the top ten “corporates” are state owned entities.  Yet he wants everything government owned.

The freedom of these corporations to pollute – and the fixation on a feeble lifestyle response – is no accident. It is the result of an ideological war, waged over the last 40 years, against the possibility of collective action. Devastatingly successful, it is not too late to reverse it.

 We are all Thatcher’s children, he cries. Exploited, duped by the “ insidious anti-social toxin” called neoliberalism. Save the workers!

Anything resembling a collective check on corporate power has become a target of the elite: lobbying and corporate donations, hollowing out democracies, have obstructed green policies and kept fossil fuel subsidies flowing; and the rights of associations like unions, the most effective means for workers to wield power together, have been undercut whenever possible.

Neoliberalism has not merely ensured this agenda is politically unrealistic: it has also tried to make it culturally unthinkable. Its celebration of competitive self-interest and hyper-individualism, its stigmatization of compassion and solidarity, has frayed our collective bonds. It has spread, like an insidious anti-social toxin, what Margaret Thatcher preached: “there is no such thing as society.”

Apparently you give power to the people by taking away their individual choices:

At the very moment when climate change demands an unprecedented collective public response, neoliberal ideology stands in the way. Which is why, if we want to bring down emissions fast, we will need to overcome all of its free-market mantras: take railways and utilities and energy grids back into public control; regulate corporations to phase out fossil fuels; and raise taxes to pay for massive investment in climate-ready infrastructure and renewable energy — so that solar panels can go on everyone’s rooftop, not just on those who can afford it.

Are you a global parasite, contributing nothing, living off welfare and destroying the planet too? If you feel guilty about that, blame the ideology that provides everything for you:

Neoliberalism has taken this internalized self-blame and turbocharged it. It tells you that you should not merely feel guilt and shame if you can’t secure a good job, are deep in debt, and are too stressed or overworked for time with friends. You are now also responsible for bearing the burden of potential ecological collapse.

And if the worst polluters are not China, or Exxon, but The Pacific Ocean, or the Siberian forests? Can they be Unionized?

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