Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Dobbin and Deverell: Prescient Knowledge

The following editorial was written by Murray Dobbin and John Deverell in 1973. It is astonishing how it reflects the necessites of our times, particularly with respect to the environmental crisis we are facing.

Although we failed to build a sustained organization of the left, we need to learn from our past and start building again.

What should socialists do?
A socialist in Saskatchewan has a hard time these days trying to find ways to give effect to his or her political beliefs and ideals. Yet in the larger scheme of things there has never been a time when it was more necessary to mobilize all socialist and progressive people into an effective political force.

We live in times in which many of the assumptions of the past will not hold. In particular, the environmental issue challenges the notion that time is on the side of socialism. Industrial society, driven primarly by the motor of capitalist expansion, is beginning to threaten the very capacity of the earth to support life. Not only are the wealthy industrial societies pushing against the limits of growth, but there is every possibility that they will exceed those limits before even knowing what they are.

This new dilemna adds an urgency to socialist political thinking. It is now entirely possible that the international capitalist system, driven by its need to expand or die, may destroy the potential for a socialist future long before its own internal contradictions bring it to the point of collapse.
Read the full article in NYC, April 1973 (large pdf)

Nowadays, John Deverell , retired from CUPW and the Toronto Star, is a senior figure in Fair Vote Canada while Murray Dobbin remains active as a freelance journalist, broadcaster and author. He is also a leading activist and analyst in the movement against corporate globalization and a research associate and board member with the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives.

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