Volkswagen Scandal—The Bosses Can’t Be Trusted!

volkswagen logoUS regulators have discovered that German automaker Volkswagen has been systematically cheating its emissions tests on diesel vehicles in order to increase its profits. The scale of the scandal is huge, with Volkswagen subsequently admitting to installing “defeat devices” on 11 million of its vehicles.

This is likely to be the tip of the iceberg, since “cheating” is an inevitable outcome of a system based only on profit. Rather than “thou shall not cheat,” the mantra of the capitalists is simply “thou shall not get caught”! Volkswagen is simply another link in the long chain of companies caught engaging in one form of corruption or swindling.

Capitalism Has Failed California

CA DroughtAccording to scientists, basing themselves on dendrochronology and sediment analysis, California currently faces the worst drought it has seen in over 1,000 years. News coverage ranges from highlighting the influence of global climate change on California water systems, the possible economic effects of the drought, why water use for agriculture is to blame, and the response of the Californian government. Like most problems working people face today, the drought in California inexorably knots many layers together, unified in liability.

“This Changes Everything” by Naomi Klein

thischangeseverythingOne of my favorite poems, by Emily Dickinson, speaks of dancing “through endless summer days” and exalting in the beauty and power of the natural world. A delightful image; but perhaps a verse more in tune with the modern world is: “Because I could not stop for death— He kindly stopped for me.” I don’t know about “kindly,” but as Naomi Klein makes clear in her latest book, death is indeed prepared to stop for humanity if we do not stop and reconsider our course.

The Environment, Consumerism, and Socialism

gogreenThe philosophical premise behind the consumerist strategy is the idea that we can in effect will a change in society through our purchasing choices. The idea is that if we could just change everyone’s mind about their role in the environment, then we would change society and its structure. If we could only convince everyone individually to be more caring towards the environment and to change their personal lives, then we could change the world.

Climate Change and the Socialist Revolution (Part 1)

hurricane sandyWe see it everywhere: from the nightly news to our own neighborhoods; in the newspapers and on the internet; we taste it in our food; we feel it in our declining health—the environment is being pillaged. Scientists predict that the arctic could have its first ice-free summer as soon as 2040. Meanwhile, sea levels have risen by about 7 inches in the last century despite almost no changes for 2,000 years prior to that. Extreme droughts and floods threaten farmers’ livelihoods around the globe and giant superstorms like hurricane Sandy destroy homes and wipe out infrastructure.