Green movement: corporate Trojan Horse

Posted on | april 16, 2011 | No Comments

Climate Change Conference Meets in Kyoto, Japan; 1-10 December 1997. UN Photo/Frank Leather

It is true that there are many in the ecology movement that cannot be classified right or left, and indeed many scientists working on such matters – everything from producing pollution-free energy to efficient waste management and recycling. However, the application of the science itself is subject to politics. If a scientist invents an energy-saving device because s/he is motivated by genuine concern about the environment, but the device is then applied to industry that uses it to maximize profits, while also claiming that the real goal is saving energy, is the scientist serving humanity, the industry, or both? And is the scientist a conduit to enhancing corporate profits?

“Right and Left” labels may appear meaningless especially for intellectuals in the particular field who may not be political in intent or even have a political conscious. But does apolitical consciousness entail apolitical use and end result by third parties? I am concerned about some trends in the ecology movement, especially that it has become a vehicle for improving the image of corporations and furthering their interests to the detriment of genuine ‘sustainable development’ – a cliche that corporations and governments also use to present an eco-friendly image to the public. I am also convinced that at its core this has always been a bourgeois creation and as I have stated the cyber-eco-bourgeoisie is what the future hold in the evolution of social discontinuity.

First, the ecology movement is thoroughly co-opted and used by mainstream institutions, especially by corporations that pollute but use ‘green’ rhetoric for public relations to soften their predatory image. Is Monsanto interested in promoting a green economy in India and Mexico, among other places, or is it in capital accumulation? Do multinational corporations, including logging/timber companies that devastate forests, have any regard for people and ecology or are they simply using trendy ‘green’ rhetoric to make money? Does it not turn your stomach when you read that logging/timber companies in Africa, Latin America and Asia are engaged in ‘sustainable forest management’, instead of candidly admitting they are cutting down trees to make money? No doubt some are reforesting out of necessity, but is their goal nature’s green or ‘dollar green’?

Second, that the World Bank among other transnational institutions use the ‘green’ movement to support financing of projects intended to strengthen private capital and not the environment. Case an point here is the World Bank’s ten-year policy of supporting ‘water and sanitation’ projects throughout the world with the intention of privatization but promoting those projects as part of ‘sustainable green development’. Is there anything worse than this ‘Trojan Horse’ strategy intended to deceive people?

Third, governments use the ‘green movement’ as PR because they know people support it, although in reality most are doing nothing about the environment. The natural disaster in Japan is a wake up call to this exact point, considering that not just nuclear contamination from the damaged plants, but nuclear waste storage from all plants is a serious issue. Japan is now on the verge of declaring that it cannot possibly meet the enormous costs of meeting Kyoto protocol obligations on emissions. But Japan is not alone in violating Kyoto. Canada whose economy has fared very well in the last ten years has been violating Kyoto, but presenting itself as a supporter.

Fourth, I am concerned that some scholars and others present ecology as a spiritual quest that transcends religious expression. The idea that mainstream religions are also becoming ‘green’ is as nauseating to me as banks offering ‘green loans’ and multinationals like Monsanto and ADM claiming to support the environment. Equally nauseating is ‘postmodern animism’; in my view a concept stolen from Hinduism and applied by the ‘greens’ to make themselves feel less guilty about their endless appetite for material consumption that is at least partly responsible for ruining the environment. Let me stress that I have nothing against corporations reforestation programs, nothing against ‘green volunteers’ picking up trash in public parks, etc. But the issue is much broader. Human beings have a will that they exercise to determine their own evolution, but it is the institutional mainstream that holds the key and is catalytic in the evolutionary process.

Finally, the green movement as an integral part of the institutional mainstream (private and public sectors) is right-wing because it is a ‘Trojan Horse’; that is, used as a vehicle to further the bourgeois state and corporate interests, and it is left if it based has a genuine ‘sustainable development’ goal with the welfare of people as a target and not corporations trying to privatize everything from water to public lands. ‘Sustainable development’ however, is an overly used term that has become almost meaningless because corporations and governments use it as they wish to define it, thus making me suspicious that there is some validity to my ‘Trojan Horse’ theory.

AUTHOR: Jon Kofas
E-MAIL: jonkofas [at]


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