Much of Fractivism Is Modern-Day Marxism

delaware riverkeeper - Tom ShepstoneTom Shepstone
Natural Gas NOW

 

Let’s be honest. Much of fractivism today is motivated by a hatred of capitalism and represents nothing more than modern-day Marxism with a new face.

Anyone who has spent any amount of time reading this blog knows I frequently refer to the fact fractivism is radical and, at its roots, is anti-capitalist. I don’t think I’ve ever actually called fractivists Marxists, but it’s time to be totally honest; much of fractivism today is simply modern-day Marxism. It represents an ideology of contempt for all of modern society, an animus toward the values of Western Civilization that it believes to be oppressive, largely because its adherents aren’t in control and at the mercy of envy. Like, Marx himself, they live off others and the system that enables them while calling for its destruction of that system. It’s time we called out the opposition for exactly what it is.

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Karl Marx

Obviously, not every opponent of shale gas development is a modern-day Marxist. Some are motivated by genuine concerns and have open minds or, even if they’ve made up their minds, have rational perspectives. After all, a NIMBY is rational to the extent he or she at least acts in their own interest. We might say their case represents “economic man” at work. NIMBYs, though are not the heart of fractivism. Rather, they’re just along for the ride because it serves their interests. True green fractivism, by contrast, is an ideology of utopianism that demands, first of all, destruction of what now exists so that something new and wonderful that just happens to put activists in charge can be forged from the twisted metal of the ruins.

Fractivism can also be distinguished from environmentalism as it was originally conceived and still practiced by many. Real environmentalists who see opportunities to reduce pollution, fight global warming or tackle some other actual or perceived problem don’t wallow in hyperbole and histronics and don’t ignore opportunities to make a difference. They don’t demand 100% agreement with their own views and pose threats of banishment from the movement or worse for failure to agree. They get about the business go getting things done. Groups such as the Pennsylvania Environmental Council and Environmental Defense Fund come to mind. They take many positions I dislike but they’re not stupid or blinded by their ideology either. They seek to move forward without first scorching the earth in front of them. They talk with at least a modicum of reason.

Fractivists aren’t much interested in talk. They’re committed to destruction as their first objective and that begins with polemics against capitalism or, more likely, their favorite proxies, which allows them to attack from the side so as to obscure the real target. That’s why fossil fuels are such a convenient stand-in bogeyman. Fracking is an even more enticing figure toward which they can direct their wrath. The phonetics of this slang term appeal to every rebellious teenager-in-mind, of course, but there’s also the supposed mystery of it all as if it were some laser weapon in the hands of a Darth Vader. The imagery is addictive to the fractivist mind, ever on the look for ways to denigrate what they imagine is a corrupt and oppressive modern industrial society.

fractivismNo member of the fractivist set is long able to suppress or obscure their real intent. We have a pitch-perfect example in a letter appearing on the New York Times this past Friday. It’s by Ellen Cantarow, a writer for The Nation, AljazeeraTruth-Out and Mother Jones, among others (and a member of Modern Language Association of America its “Radical Caucus”). Not being a regular reader of The Nation (which also publishes drivel such as this), I don’t follow Cantarow much.  Her name pops up from time to time, though, when she takes time from advocating for other radical causes (e.g., attacking Israel and even Elie Wiesel) to join up with Ithaca fractivists to opposing things such as Crestwood’s propane and natural gas storage project in Watkins Glen, falsely portraying it as a battle of locals against big oil or something. The reality, of course, is far different, but that’s another story told in-depth here and here.

The reality is irrelevant to Cantarow and like-minded fractivists – nothing more than a cover story intended to deflect from the fact they care not a whit for the rural residents for whom they say they speak. They couldn’t care less, in fact, about the economic welfare of rural areas or the energy needs of the region. They are, rather, obsessed with a vision, their vision, which is one of destruction of the existing order and its replacement by something they suppose is superior, something designed and implemented by them and their elitist comrades roaming the halls of Ivy League institutions such as Cornell. It’s a profoundly Marxist vision and Cantarow, in a moment of honesty, reveals it in her New York Times (emphasis added):

Many thanks for your thorough and hard-hitting investigation of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and its advocacy for Big Tobacco, led by the chamber’s chief executive, Thomas J. Donahue. You call this “American style” capitalism. In fact, it is simply capitalism in its most brutal form.

Consider not only Big Tobacco but also the fossil fuel industry: In a country bereft of effective and wise government leadership attentive to citizens’ needs, this unchecked economic system is wrecking our country and destroying the planet.

Yes, it is capitalism that Cantarow ultimately opposes. It is capitalism that is her real chosen enemy. She hides it most of the time by suggesting it’s all about everything else, but when the anger takes over, the truth comes out; it’s about destroying capitalism but whatever means available. She slanders the natural gas industry by linking it to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the tobacco industry, as if the fracking debate was about corporatism and hiding health impacts when the truth is precisely the opposite. The corporatism is to be found in the funding of fractivism by the wealthiest of all special interests; the Rockefeller family, the Heinz family, the Haas family and the Ithaca-based Park Foundation who she writes for when she authors pieces for Truth-Out and Mother Jones, for example (which are both funded by the Park Foundation).

Her’s is a special form of corporatism; one that relies upon the sons and daughters of capitalism to fund an attack on it, secure in the knowledge nothing will touch them. That is the nature of modern-day Marxism. It seeks to destroy everything around it in a desire to recreate a society where it is more firmly in control than ever. Fractivism is about denying economic and energy independence to other Americans and keeping them under its thumb. It hates all ideas but its own, denies any innovations but its own and seeks to squelch any power but its own. Fractivism is nothing but recycled Marxism, the failed ideology of spoiled children in the mold of its namesake.

And, by the way, if you think Ellen Cantarow really gives a damn about fracking you should know this: she doesn’t. It’s a head fake. How do I know? Well, check out this photo from a site called Houzz, which allows kitchen designers and homeowners to share their ideas on the perfect kitchen. Ellen Cantarow offered her ideas in this post and here is one of the seven photos depicting stoves, all of which were gas ranges.

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Gas range depicted in Ellen Cantarow’s Houzz Ideabook.

Marxists are, by definition, hypocrites.

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13 thoughts on “Much of Fractivism Is Modern-Day Marxism

  1. unfortunately, calling people hypocrites has not worked for the last 7 years, and these wealthy utterly spoiled scions have elevated hypocrisy to an entirely new and villainous level.

    they own regional politicians, the courts and most media, and have converted enough useful idiots to stay in power.

    only reality seeping in to their enclave here from outside- the rest of the nation- will end their war on the rural middle class.

  2. Tom, once again you are right on target. So much of the anti-capitalism crowd is just that, opposed to business, industry, individual rights and in favor of the collective, government regulation, onerous taxes and group think. Good bye Jefferson, Lincoln and The Founding Fathers, hello Marx. It is sad that those who think like that are so numerous and so misguided. I guess that explains the appeal of Bernie!

  3. The faction of not just the fractivist world but the environmental word in general that equates capitalism with most environmental problems unfortunately is actually dominating a lot of discussion right now. I think this is a real problem when it comes not just to natural gas but also climate change discussions as well. The title of Naomi Klein’s book (or perhaps this is a subtitle) really is a good example…it is “capitalism vs the climate”. There is a clear connection between Naomi and the antifracking movement as well.

    Ellen Cantarow is also awful as a reporter and her latest piece on FERC the despicable agency permitting all the despicable pipelines, which is also attributed to Dory Hippauf, isn’t just hyperbolic and hysterical, its also full or errors. I mean you might think that since she’s been reporting on the antifrackin movement for years she might get some details on even it straight, but even there she is inaccurate.

  4. Tom: Your thought process is excellent, and it can not be repeated enough who the actual funders are. The more the better for you to publish the list of the usual suspects that are building on their previous success manipulating the American public, hence gaming the system. It got a President in twice, so this crowd is getting pretty arrogant now days. The good news is that the country will soon have to find another economic path, as well as another political path. The bad news is that this President has gotten us about three weeks away from WWIII with Russia. The system is broke, so there will be changes. The other tidbit, you so aptly pointed out, is how vast fortunes are generally the sole funders (1% are actually dues paying) of various lofty sounding fronts – all known as “environmental” groups. Rarely do truly environmental groups like the Audubon Society ever get hoisted into their lofty clubhouse. This Cretin, Cantarow, truly plays the stooge for some really venal sycophants. John D. Rockefeller, Larry’s great grand daddy, through the Standard Trust, drove the price of oil from $5.00/bbl down to $.05/bbl. The Trusts today only continue in what is known as corporate barbarism, to more odious population control, and have no ethical qualms about wiping out an entire American industry, i.e., the shale industry, to suit their political and financial demands. John D. showed all of them how to do it, and it will be done, if they win the fight. Keep up the excellent writing as you are a valuable asset in this war.

    • I had never seen these fracking-ally diatribes against me until now. I won’t dignify the swears and insults (“cretin,” etc.) with a response. Yes, indeed: I am anti-capitalist. And far ahead of my time, since the younger generations are turning increasingly against an economic system that has outlived its usefulness (yes: it WAS useful for several hundred years) and is now destroying life on Earth.

      Capitalism is based on endless exploitation of resources for profit. “Resources” means what grows or (in the case of fossils – coal; oil) what remains of growth millions of years ago, on our planet. The sole end of capitalism is profit maximization. There is nothing else. All else is “externalities.” Thus, if the exploitation of oil for profit is the object, what this causes (contamination, spills, air, soil, and water pollution) is all “externalities.” I oppose capitalism because Earth’s resources are finite while capitalism’s object is infinite growth. Hence there must at some point be a clash. That clash is now exploding around us: the name given it is “climate change.” If human beings do not stop using fossil fuels and convert to renewable energies, life on Earth will be lost. Already the planet’s major glaciers are melting; sea levels are rising; island populations are already feeling the catastrophic results, as are populations in North America, which includes Puerto Rico. So now to those photographs of kitchens and stoves. Yes: I plead guilty to having a gas stove. Also to liking to look at those pretty Houzz pictures, though if I were younger I would live in a zero-net-energy house. Since I am almost 80 and live in New York City to be near my son and daughter-in-law, in a building that does have partial solar-powered energy, I cannot convert now to zero-net-energy. Blame it on my age. The attacks on me are posted by fossil-fuel interest acolytes and are beyond-cretinous. They actually do not deserve the dignity of a response.

  5. You hit the nail squarely on the head Tom! …and explained the situation clearly. I am baffled why these so-called ‘greens’ can be so-against the very same society that has made our middle class (and even the poor) the envy of most of the world, and cleaned up the environment while doing it! Why they cannot travel to Russia and China et al to fairly see and report the results of socialism/communism in practice is beyond me. We have way too many of the ‘useful idiots’ who do not understand history and the rest of the world’s alternate societal-constructs.

  6. Pingback: Fractivism Is Love? No, It's the Opposite.

  7. Well, Tom, I had never seen your diatribe against me until now. Yes, indeed: you sussed me out. I am anti-capitalist.
    Why? Capitalism is based on endless exploitation of resources for profit. “Resources” means what grows or (in the case of fossils – coal; oil) what remains of growth millions of years ago, on our planet. The sole end of capitalism is profit maximization. There is nothing else. All else is “externalities.” Thus, if the exploitation of oil for profit is the object, what this causes (contamination, spills, air, soil, and water pollution) is all “externalities.” I oppose capitalism because Earth’s resources are finite. Capitalism’s object is infinite growth. Hence there must at some point be a clash. that clash has been reached: the name given it is “climate change.” If human beings do not stop using fossil fuels and convert to renewable energies, life on Earth will be lost. Already the planet’s major glaciers are melting; sea levels are rising; island populations are already feeling the catastrophic results, as are populations in North America, which includes Puerto Rico. So now to those photographs of kitchens and stoves. Yes: I plead guilty to having a gas stove. Also to liking to look at those pretty Houzz pictures, though if I were younger I would live in a zero-net-energy house. Since I am almost 80 and live in New York City to be near my son and daughter-in-law, in a building that does have partial solar-powered energy, I cannot convert now to zero-net-energy. Blame it on my age. The attack on me is a stupid one, and I am almost embarrassed to be answering it. It really does not deserve the dignity of a response.

  8. Much water under the bridge since Tom wrote his querulous diatribe about me. Among other things, Physicians for Social Responsibility and Concerned Health Professionals of New York have found that fracking causes sickness in people, including asthma, heart attacks, and even death. (My reports include other illnesses, but it is important to have such prestigious scientists on the record about the impacts of this industry on human health.) In addition, past reports by well-known veterinarians in New York confirm sickness and deaths in animals within fracking regions. Further: the constant spills of fracked oil from pipes confirms what I and others reported in articles on the pandemic of leaks in oil and explosions in gas pipelines. The typical American industry response to citizen outcries is either denial, soothing platitudes or, when the attacks include evidence that gets too close for comfort, scurrilous and stupid attacks like Shepstone’s and those of his supporters that follow his remarks. As for my anti-capitalism, yes. Like increasing numbers of people around the world, I think that while in its formative stages capitalism was a useful and productive economic system, in its late stages it is literally killing life on Earth. Climate change, Mr. Shepstone? I don’t know if you’re a “denier” or a “believer,” but physics will impact your grandchildren as well as mine. I don’t know if you care that in two generations young Americans will be living in paroxysms of cyclones, ruinous floods, ravaging wildfires, just as now, islanders in South Asia are no longer able to live on their islands and must migrate to other regions. This IS late-stage capitalism: the final “resource” Shepstone and oil colossi like Exxon-Mobil are now trying to mine to the end, is precisely fossil-fuels. The ver substances that are causing climate change. So the “captains of industry” are leading humanity, animals, and insects, over the cliff to extinction. A headline that should worry Mr. Shepstone (though I am not sure I can credit him with disinterested thinking) is the one that ran, “Insect Population Declines Threaten Nature.” Got it, Tom? NATURE. That means: the entire natural world, including you, your children and grandchildren, your animals, wildlife, etc etc etc etc etc. Maybe you’ve “moved” in your thinking. Such catastrophic times demand radical changes in thought, even in industry-philes like you. (In fact I understand that some fossil-fuel companies are now leaning towards renewables.) Fracking, finally, has been banned in countries in Europe and, I think, in some US states.

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