Re: [OPE-L] accelerated destruction of the Amazon rainforest

From: Gerald_A_Levy@MSN.COM
Date: Tue May 24 2005 - 08:58:23 EDT

> The ecological damage and transformation of the mediteranean
> basin as a result of deforestation 2 to 3 thousand years
> ago, produced vast ecological changes, producing large
> semi-arid areas in what were once forested land.

Paul C,

What has changed, in part, is our understanding of and
consciousness towards the environment.  This is not simply
a consequence of scientific advances, but is more significantly
a result of international social movements.  We don't have to
go back 2 thousand years ago to see this transformation; it
began as a mass popular movement in the early 1970s.

[A greater appreciation of the Amazon environment was part
of the culture of the estimated 90 indigenous tribes native to this
area which have been destroyed -- in Brazil alone -- since the
beginning of  the XX Century.  That is,  part and parcel of European
colonialism in Latin America was the annihilation of native cultures
and the substitution of European (pro-capitalist; 'Christian') culture --
a tradition that had a very different perspective on the relation of
nature to human societies.]

> It is just that it is too easy to criticise the government
> of Brazil in these circumstances when they are doing no more
> than what is normal for the development of capitalist
> and even pre-capitalist agriculture.
> You are holding up standards that could only possibly apply
> in a planned world economy - the preservation of forest lands
> in one part of the world to benefit another part.
> In the absence of a planned world economy you can not criticise
> the head of state in an economy dependent on the world
> market for allowing the production of exports demanded
> by that world market.

I don't think this is a valid claim in general, but I'll reply below
re the specific context of Brazil.

Let us recall that the leading political party in the Brazilian federal
government is the Workers' Party.  Let us recall that Lula has
claimed -- recently at Porto Allegre -- that the Workers Party is
committed to an anti-globalization strategy and is part of an
international anti-globalization movement.

Under these circumstances, workers and progressives in Brazil most
certainly should hold the government to a higher standard than
"doing what is normal for the development of capitalist and even
pre-capitalist agriculture."    By not acting against the owner of the
world's largest soybean corporation -- the party largely
responsible for the most recent de-forestation -- they are not
representing the interests of workers or the anti-globalization

In solidarity, Jerry

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