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					                                                                                                                                       April 2009
         Common                                                                   Earth Day
Ownership                                                                         Edition
                                                                                                                                     Vol. 2 Num. 4


                                                                                                                           Common Ownership
The Oceans: new Dumping grOunDs                                                                                            means that the resourc-

         fOr capiTalism
                                                                                                                           es of the world and the

                                                                                                                           means to produce useful
    t isn’t sufficient for capitalism   until recently because it is in a rela-   nomic events with passengers an-
    to pollute the land, air, rivers,   tively unused part of the ocean and       nually spending $US 1.5 billion in       goods from them would
    and forests of this planet. Hav-    most debris floats below the sur-         Caribbean ports. With tourism as
ing achieved that, being the dynam-     face. Much of the plastic is trans-       the major industry, it is evident that   be owned by everyone
ic, resourceful, and enterprising       parent and. when immersed in wa-          many businesses could not survive
system it is, capitalism is now pol-    ter, becomes virtually invisible, and     without it, and governments would        and, therefore, by no
luting the oceans by using them as      is not picked up by satellite images.     lose a major part of their tax rev-
an enormous, free garbage dump.         The Caribbean, unlike the North           enue. For example, the island of         one. All humanity would
In 1977, Trash Island was discov-       Pacific, is well traveled, especially     Saba, population 1500, is building a
ered in the pacific, and by 2008 had    by cruise ships that, apparently, feel    new pier to accommodate the larger       be producers meeting as
influenced the circulation of ocean     free to dump ground up glass, rags,       cruise ships. Some islands fear that
                                                                                                                           equals to decide what,
currents and divided into two enor-     and cardboard packaging at will.          a ban on dumping would push ships
mous entities, an eastern one be-       Environmentalists say that debris         to dock in their competitors’ ports.     how, and where to pro-
tween Hawaii and North America,         dumped in the oceans can entangle         At present, a battle rages between
and a western one between Hawaii        sea creatures, damage water quality,      the environmentalists and capital.       duce based solely on
and Japan. Together, the two islands    and alter eco systems. Some trash         The UN and the US coastguard
make an area more than twice that       washes ashore with the winds and          have held seminars on six islands to     mankind’s needs. Dis-
of the continental USA. The west-       currents, fouling the beaches. In the     push for a regional approach in the
ern patch almost reaches Japan,         Cayman Islands, the government            Caribbean, including the Gulf of         tribution of goods and
while the eastern section is within     has traced milk cartons found on          Mexico. The officers have stressed
five hundred miles of California.       shore to a passing cruise line. At the    how vulnerable their tourism-            services would deny no
Frequently, the western arm en-         urging of environmentalists, some         driven economies are to polluted
croaches on the beaches of Hawaii       politicians have passed laws to pre-      coastlines. One may well wonder          one access to what they
leaving a whole slew of plastic be-     vent or reduce dumping at sea, but        if, eventually, cruise lines would
hind. Some of this plastic is biode-    that brings forward the problem of        steer clear of the Caribbean per-
                                                                                                                           needed.   This   system
gradable but large amounts are non      dealing with the effects of capital-      manently. Of course, it is possible      would end the present
degradable and durable. Some fifty-     ism within the system. Some of the        but the hotel and resort interests,
year-old plastic objects have been      countries with coastlines abide by a      who depend on tourists for patron-       class system and ren-
found on the beaches. Tiny plastic      UN dumping ban that requires them         age and profit will fight strongly
pellets, or nurdles, are the raw ma-    to treat ship-generated garbage on        for immediate gain, ignoring long        der money, trade, em-
terial of the plastics industry. Hun-   land. The Caribbean Islands, how-         term considerations. Given the
dreds of millions of them are lost,     ever, have yet to adopt the ban, say-     anarchic, unpredictable, nature of       ployment, exploitation,
or split, each year and many find       ing they do not have the capacity         capitalism, it is a natural response.
their way, through drainage sys-        to treat the ship garbage on shore.       The companion parties of social-         want, and war obsolete.
tems, into the oceans. Plastic is now   The UN International Maritime             ism have explained clearly for over
thought to make up ninety per cent      Organization outlawed dumping in          a century that the ownership of the
of all the rubbish floating in the      1993 for the Caribbean, a largely         tools of production by a minority         We welcome cor-
seas. A United Nation’s research        enclosed area where a string of           and production for profit are the         respondences
program concluded that an aver-         islands blocks currents that would        root of this and other problems we
age square mile of ocean contains       flush waste into the Atlantic. It will    face today. They cannot be eradi-         with our read-
46 000 pieces of floating plastic.      not take effect until enough of the       cated within the system if the pro-       ers. Send email
The rotation of the North Pacific       surrounding countries report their        posed solution interferes with the
water around the islands helps gar-     ability for treating trash from cruise    profit motive, as shown above. In         to    spc@iname.
bage from California and Japan          ships. This has not been the case,        a socialist society one could enjoy       com or write us at
to accumulate. Some is thrown           so far. The Caribbean Islands have        a cruise, and waters and beaches
from ships and from oil rigs,           struggled to establish a common           could be clean because there would        BOX 4280, Victo-
but eighty per cent originates on       policy, but when it comes to the          be no profit consideration to stop        ria BC, V8X 3X8
land. It includes footballs, kay-       cruise ship industry, they see them-      it. Why not organize for socialism
aks, lego blocks, and carrier bags.     selves as competitors, not partners.      and give capitalism a ‘wide berth’.
Trash Island has gone undetected        Cruise ship arrivals are major eco-
                                      a clean, green earTh

     t would be hard to find a        “Companies like Wal-Mart that          isn’t always the case. For firms      of competition, money and profit,
     single human being on this       maintain thousands of their own        competing in the global markets,      then, and only then, can common
     earth who wouldn’t want a        buildings, have discovered that        making the best product at the        sense reign and the whole system
clean, green planet with sustain-     they can achieve significant en-       right price comes first. Reducing     be operated in the interests of all.
able human production of neces-       ergy savings. A pilot supercentre      greenhouse gases is less urgent.”     That must be the driving force of
sary goods; with human activity       in Las Vegas consumes up to 45         These three points underline the      our economy, not the enlargement
in harmony with nature, taking        % less power than similar stores,      problem in a profit and money         of capital. In socialism, produc-
care not to destroy the habitats      in part by using evaporative cool-     driven economy. Unless there is       tion will be mainly local and re-
of those with whom we share           ing units, radiant floors, high-ef-    a definite monetary gain, none of     gional; self-sustaining communi-
the earth. Obviously, this is not     ficiency refrigeration, and natural    the players, including the popu-      ties will share resources and ideas
the case in the real world today.     light in shopping areas.” The ar-      lation at large, are interested in    and techniques that work for all
Our current mode of production        ticle goes on to say that retrofits    doing anything about pollution,       stakeholders; intellectual prop-
plunders the earth with little re-    and smart design could reduce          even if they all agree it would be    erty rights, industrial espionage,
gard to consequences, be it clear     carbon emissions by 200 tons           good to do so. Business enterpris-    and competition that leads to dirty
cutting the forests, open pit min-    per year in the USA but without        es have to compete and therefore      production, cheap and shoddy
ing, discharging toxic                                                                        shun any mean-       goods, and, sometimes, to war
effluences into our air,                                                                      ingful progress      will disappear. It is our last and
land, and waterways,                                                                          beyond the usual     only chance to set things right.
or causing habitat                                                                            inane platitudes,
destruction and spe-                                                                          and, in fact,
cies reduction. But if                                                                        must do all they        Socialist Party of
everyone would like                                                                           can to fight the            Canada
a green earth and sus-                                                                        implementation
tainability, how is it                                                                        of controls. They
                                                                                                                     BOX 4280 Victoria BC
that we have achieved                                                                         create a false          V8X 3X8, Canada
the opposite? Over                                                                            “green”       and
several decades, many                                                                         “natural” façade     Victoria
forces have lined                                                                             in their advertis-   Bill Johnson
up against the will-                                                                          ing while furi-
ful destruction of the                                                                        ously lobbying
environment. Many                                                                             governments to
organizations, such as Green-         new building codes, appliance          gut existing environmental laws       Vancouver
peace and WWF, have sprung up         standards, and financial incen-        and strangle new ones and they        John Ames
to fight the worst violations, but,   tives, it is unlikely to be success-   use their financial and political
apart from bringing fleeting pub-     ful. The same source continues,        clout to attack and discredit sci-
licity to a few issues, they have     “Commercial building owners,           entists and their findings. Capital
been spectacularly unsuccessful       for example, have had little in-       dominates the way our system op-      Manitoba
in halting environmental degra-       centive to pay more for improve-       erates, and its only constant and     Jaime Chinchilla Solano
dation. In fact, year after year,     ments like high-efficiency win-        iron rule is growth. Capital has
the problem gets worse. Scien-        dows, lights, heating, or cooling      no morality and those in charge
tists have released dire warnings     systems, since their tenants,          of investments from other people
about the consequences of inac-       not they, pay the energy bills.”       have a fiduciary duty to follow
tivity, and the world’s leading       Emissions due to transportation        the rule, no matter what it takes.    John Ayers
climatologists, through the UN’s      are unlikely to improve as auto-       The Socialist Party of Canada,
Intergovernmental Panel, have re-     mobile fuel efficiency is slow to      and its companion parties in the
leased regular reports of how we      improve and the total mileage          World Socialist Movement be-          Jacob Hodgins
are doing – badly. Governments        driven keeps rising as develop-        lieve this current system must go
have convened world assemblies        ers push neighbourhoods fur-           if we are to avoid environmental
to address the problems and even      ther and further from the city.        disaster. That doesn’t mean going     com
set targets, at the Kyoto Summit,     A third major source of carbon         back to some feudal, agrarian so-
for example, but to no avail, the     dioxide, the industrial sector, is     ciety. Our science and technology     Quebec
targets are invariably missed.        likewise not improving. The Na-        must move forward and bring           Michael Descamps
The March, 2009, National Geo-        tional Geographic article points       new techniques and innovations.
graphic issue provides some           out, “ You would think such en-        But with the Common Owner-
clues. This edition is dedicated      terprises would have eliminated        ship of the production and dis-
to energy saving. It reports,         inefficiencies long ago. But that      tribution of wealth, with the end

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