Loyalists celebrate the murder of Michael McIlveen (the flag can stay, but please remove the tires)
The sham “environmental movement” that insists the rescue of the planet from the ravages of capitalist accumulation be born by individuals and their “consumer choices” is just another marketing ploy. Sustainable capitalism is impossible since the nature of capitalist production is to expand: the limits to that expansion are only known when they are exceeded and we get the kind of crisis we have now.
“Green technologies” within the logic of imperialism don’t get us any farther. As my brother says; “if we had solar power tomorrow the United States would invade Jamaica for the sunny beach space.” Every night as I watch the increasingly awful Jim Lehrer Newshour on “public television” a guy comes on to inform me that the program is brought to my home by the good graces of that vanguard of environmental policy Exxon/Mobile. He looks like he might have been at Woodstock, or rather he looks like what the marketers at Exxon think, with his gray hair and hideous little soul patch, a veteran of that long ago youth festival might look like.
He pushes up his glasses and softly spews hokum about hydrogen and “green technology” for the automobile. That automobile, whose destructive impact on our environment goes well beyond carbon emissions. Exxon spent less than 1/10th of 1% of its profits (40 billion) on renewable energies last year, the hippy looking fellow’s job title must be “mask of responsibility”.
Now I am all for bringing sustainable practices into our lives whenever possible, though this be short of overthrowing the wild rule of capital. The ecological crisis is real, profound and well past upon us; we drift nearer the precipice every day; our ship of state rudderless, capitalism’s appetites boundless. Going over seems all but assured given the current balance of forces. We need an approach to the crisis as serious and radical as the crisis itself. As counterpoint to that seriousness this story from Ireland makes clear the bullshit associated with Madison Avenue Environmentalism.
Every year on the 12th of July (and for months surrounding that hallowed date) loyalist bigots build bonfires across the North of Ireland in celebration of defeat and subjugation of the native population as part of Britain’s conquest. Hardly a mildly unamusing throwback to a bloody conquest, these bonfires are symbolic of a continuing sectarian domination and division. They are bigoted protestations of Protestant supremacy and are so innocuous that half the nationalist population of Belfast heads to Donegal for the week. The other half bolts the shutters in hope that a petrol bomb doesn’t fly through the window from the hands of a drunken mob.
The celebrations of the Glorious Twelfth promise to get eco-friendly next year. The bonfires may be replaced by wood burning “beacons”. Sammy Wilson, loyalist bigot, of the Democratic Unionist Party says: “We do not want to undermine tradition. However, we cannot overlook the fact that they have increasingly become environmental liabilities, stacked with heavily polluting tyres and wooden pallets.” They burn effigies of Catholics on these fires, and occasionally real ones around the 12th, and the concern is the pollution from burning rubber tires? In this day and age who can afford not to seem environmentally conscious? The loyalists, after all, need their government grants.
The Twelfth is indicative of some serious social problems, to put it mildly, in the North, I would not have thought that pollution was the most important problem one would see the bonfires as representing. Perhaps we can ask the Klan to use flashlights (hand cranked of course; batteries seep all kinds of pollutants) to alight the Fiery Cross rather than environmentally damaging kerosene and tar wood next time they would like to instill a little racist terror? We, each one of us, have our part to play in saving the planet.Here I am inspecting Belfast’s bonfires for any potential environmental infringements last year. We had to cut short our visit due to the menacing crowd of unenvironmentally-friendly locals that had gathered.