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We will need to fight against market fundamentalism and help our politicians remember that they exist to serve not only the economy, but the people of a country as well.

 

“As we have seen, cutting carbon with carbon pricing or regulation is not politically painless, so the main efforts from citizens should be directed at the political process by encouraging what Jaccard calls “climate-sincere” politicians. Since making real economic changes is politically difficult, politicians prefer ineffective window-dressing that does little except making voters think they are taking action.

“These might include funding for electric vehicle rechargers, a tax-break for wind power, training for electric car technicians, grants for biofuel producers, climate research, adaptation planning, an educational kit for schools … subsidies for home insulation … funding for urban transit feasibility studies…” writes Jaccard in a much longer list.

He calls such spending political sleight-of-hand to avoid real action and that merely demonstrates the politicians are not sincere at all. While Jaccard himself drives an electric car and heats his home with an electric heat pump, he says the most important place for concerned citizen to invest in stopping climate change is political action.

The trouble is changing your own personal behaviour by say, selling your car or refusing to fly, may make you feel like you are doing something useful, but the effect is tiny when all your neighbours drive SUVs and air travel continues to soar.  

In fact, rather than trying to assuage your guilt at flying or driving by buying carbon offsets as many are now doing, Jaccard recommends taking the money and donating it to a pro-climate group that can identify and support climate-sincere politicians and point a finger at the majority of those who are “faking it.”

Because in the long run, getting carbon out of world’s atmosphere cannot be completed by a few individuals doing good, it must instead be a project of people using politics to transform regional and national rules about carbon. Jaccard says those regions and countries will then combine to put carbon tariffs on the world’s free riders, not a project for 2020.”

Let’s hope we can get most politicians on board before it is too late.

 

 

     Silly me.  I thought Alberta was timidly embracing the idea that the province was going to be run for the benefit of someone other than the corporations and the rich.  This latest poll (via the CBC) suggests that many of the people of Alberta want to get back to the good times of kowtowing to the business class and letting the rest of us dine on the meagre scrapes that ‘trickle down’ from the lavish head-table feast. 

   “In focus groups CBC conducted after the survey found that most people — from all political stripes — said the NDP wasn’t to blame for Alberta’s tough economic times, but that the party wasn’t doing enough to dig the province out.

Yet, there was praise for Premier Rachel Notley.

“There’s not too many politicians that could have navigated what she’s had to,” said 44-year-old Kelly Kernick, who participated in CBC News’s focus group of middle-of-the-road voters.

Right-leaning Tristan Arsenault, 22, echoed others in the focus groups, saying the recent recession hit people hard and many still aren’t feeling the recovery.”

Undoing the damage of 40 plus years of one party rule isn’t exactly a small endeavour.  Cleaning out the cronyism, and rot takes time.  Yet it seems that after a brief 5 year stint we Albertans are done with this idea of government being run for the benefit of the people and are rushing back to the party that best enshrines the idea of the neo-liberal corporate state.

The election is still far away, and there is the chance that our dear UCP party will have more than a few bozo eruptions that boldly illustrate their incompetence and inability to govern.

I’m not ready to be plunged back into yet another dark conservative political regression.

Hey Alberta, can we not vote in the regressive conservatives?  That’d be great, thanks.

First published in 1949 in the Monthly Review.

I republish the second half of the article as it deals more directly with socialism and why it should be implemented.

“I have now reached the point where I may indicate briefly what to me constitutes the essence of the crisis of our time. It concerns the relationship of the individual to society. The individual has become more conscious than ever of his dependence upon society. But he does not experience this dependence as a positive asset, as an organic tie, as a protective force, but rather as a threat to his natural rights, or even to his economic existence. Moreover, his position in society is such that the egotistical drives of his make-up are constantly being accentuated, while his social drives, which are by nature weaker, progressively deteriorate. All human beings, whatever their position in society, are suffering from this process of deterioration. Unknowingly prisoners of their own egotism, they feel insecure, lonely, and deprived of the naive, simple, and unsophisticated enjoyment of life. Man can find meaning in life, short and perilous as it is, only through devoting himself to society.

The economic anarchy of capitalist society as it exists today is, in my opinion, the real source of the evil. We see before us a huge community of producers the members of which are unceasingly striving to deprive each other of the fruits of their collective labor—not by force, but on the whole in faithful compliance with legally established rules. In this respect, it is important to realize that the means of production—that is to say, the entire productive capacity that is needed for producing consumer goods as well as additional capital goods—may legally be, and for the most part are, the private property of individuals.

For the sake of simplicity, in the discussion that follows I shall call “workers” all those who do not share in the ownership of the means of production—although this does not quite correspond to the customary use of the term. The owner of the means of production is in a position to purchase the labor power of the worker. By using the means of production, the worker produces new goods which become the property of the capitalist. The essential point about this process is the relation between what the worker produces and what he is paid, both measured in terms of real value. Insofar as the labor contract is “free,” what the worker receives is determined not by the real value of the goods he produces, but by his minimum needs and by the capitalists’ requirements for labor power in relation to the number of workers competing for jobs. It is important to understand that even in theory the payment of the worker is not determined by the value of his product.

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