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role of small businesses under the general heading  the agents of change
(Porritt, 1984a, p. 139). He goes on:  In the kind of long-term economy
that we envisage, small businesses would not just be a useful adjunct to
the world of corporate big business: they would be the mainstay of all
economic activity (Porritt, 1984a, p. 139). The problem with the notion
of small businesses as agents of change is that their success, and even
survival, depends on their producing and reproducing the products and
values demanded by the system within which they operate. In the name
of efficiency, such businesses may  have to cut the workforce, deunion-
ize it, hire temporary labour with no security and provide poor condi-
tions of work. There is no guarantee whatsoever that small businesses,
far from acting as agents for social change, will not rather be vehicles
for the reproduction of the system they seek to overcome. Indeed, in the
absence of any strategy for disengaging from the system, the latter is far
more likely to be the case.
Beyond the middle class, one sometimes reads that the  new social
movements represent new forms of political activity that anticipate
new forms of society (Doherty, 2002). Fritjof Capra, for example,
writes of a  winning majority of  environmentalists, feminists, ethnic
minorities etc. , and then that  the new coalitions should be able to
142 Green Political Thought
turn the paradigm shift into political reality (Capra, 1983, p. 465).
More explicitly, Murray Bookchin refers to  the new classes and
argues that they are  united more by cultural ties than economic ones:
ethnics, women, counter-cultural people, environmentalists, the aged,
the dclass, unemployables or unemployed, the  ghetto people
(Bookchin, 1986, p. 152).
Similarly Jrgen Habermas has theorized a  new politics centring
on  the peace movement, the anti-nuclear and environmental move-
ment, minority liberation movements, the movement for alternative
lifestyles, the tax protest movement, religious fundamentalist protest
groups and, finally, the women s movement (Roderick, 1986, p. 136).
Habermas goes on to make an important distinction that helps us to
make some sense of the social pot-pourri offered up by himself, Capra
and Bookchin. He argues that not all of these groups have the same
emancipatory potential, and suggests that we distinguish between those
that seek  particularistic change and  those that seek fundamental
change from a universalistic viewpoint (Roderick, 1986, p. 136). This
ought to remind us of the quotation from Marx cited earlier in
which he argued that the source of social change must be found in
 a sphere which is not opposed to particular consequences but is totally
opposed to the assumptions of the German political system . Roderick
For Habermas, at the present time only the women s movement
belongs to this latter category to the extent that it seeks not only
a formal equality, but also a fundamental change in the social
structure and in real concrete life situation.
(Roderick, 1986, p. 136)
This is a very important observation, particularly in the context of
the most typical critique of social movements as agents for social
change: i.e. that they have no common interest and therefore cannot
act coherently. As Boris Frankel has written, for example,  women,
environmentalists, peace activists, gays, etc., do not have a ready formed
identity as a social movement (1987, p. 235). This is undoubtedly true,
but with reference to Habermas distinction it is hardly important. The
crucial project would not be to manufacture an identity between het-
erogeneous groups, but to identify that group (or those groups) whose
project most profoundly questions the presuppositions on which cur-
rent social practices depend. Only such a group can already be in a
sufficiently  disengaged position to resist the attempts at colonization
by the system it seeks to overcome, and even then, of course, success is
Strategies for green change 143
by no means guaranteed. I shall pick up the suggestion that women may
constitute such a vanguard shortly.
The point of all this is to suggest that a possible strategy for the green [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]


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