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The Leap Manifesto unveiled by Naomi Klein and a coalition of somewhat kindred spirits this week in Toronto illustrates the phenomenon of regrouping in which the shattered Old Left, heavily buffeted eco-zealots, imperishable agitators for the native people, and the detritus of organized labour, together with an endearing rag-tail of old do-gooders, posturers and hemophiliac bleeding hearts have stood on each other’s shoulders and proclaimed once more that they are the wave of the future.
The inspiriting tocsin for this bedraggled resurrection, which if any of it actually occurs will be the greatest comeback since Lazarus, seems to have been Naomi Klein’s book last year, This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate. Her organizing principle is that ecological necessities have made much of commerce, and especially the carbon-based economy, obsolete and unsustainable.
The bone-crushing defeat of international communism — the metamorphosis of China into a pure-capitalist/command-economy hybrid and of the Russian core of the old Soviet Union into a gangster state run by avaricious and cynical friends of the regime — has forced the traditional Marxists of the West to engage in frenetic networking and consensus-building. They have made their big move toward the environment zealots.
These, too, have taken their lumps, as Dr. Michael Mann’s renowned hockey stick has been exposed as an infamous fraud, and the whole marching juggernaut of global warming alarmists has been reduced to tired knots of dissidents, like hung-over New Year revellers, still blowing the odd noise-maker about the much-diluted concept of climate change.
From the butterfly collectors and bird-watchers through all the shadings of the environmental movement to the anti-carbon militants, a joint command structure seems to have been rallied by Klein’s fervent improvisation that the evils of carbon-sourced energy will drive a revulsion against capitalism, and the left, guided by her essentially Marxist roadmap, will snatch victory from the obese stomach of the bovine capitalist monster.
It is a plucky effort: the Marxist army that was practically annihilated and the Global Warming Force that has been very roughly handled, linking arms with aboriginal groups and the Luddite remnants of organized labour, carry Klein’s book about like a Talmudic scroll, and incant the dawn of their new day.
It is the predictable hodge-podge of anti-materialism, Marxist materialism, localism, social deconstruction and primitivism, all hitched to the one engine that could be imagined capable of implementing what amounts to the Manifestants’ mad belief in the pastoralized, post-materialist perfection of man: the omnipotent state.
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