A brief note on ‘social democracy’ and atrocity today

If we are to take the contemporary mass-persistence of hunger and starvation among humans as a serious problem, it should likely follow that policies which perpetuate and exacerbate this problem be opposed and resisted. The cultivation—production—of ‘biofuels’ is one such policy, as many commentators have pointed out, since ‘biofuels’—better, agrofuels—are grown on lands that could otherwise allow for the cultivation of food-crops. The need for the prioritization of the latter today should not be doubted, given the number of humans who presently experience the acute deprivation constituted by starvation: over 1.2 billion, the U.N. claimed last summer.1

With this in mind, let us imagine that we have a state whose official government—one that can be described as promotive of the political project of ‘social democracy’—has overseen the setting-aside of significant amounts of the state’s arable land for the cultivation of palm-oil and jatropha crops: 75,000 hectares in the case of the former, 15,000. Let us also imagine that the leading figure of the wing of an extreme-rightist national party of such a state has announced that he would like an addition 30,000 hectares to be dedicated to the cultivation of jatropha crops in the state within two years, and that the state’s governor recently held a conference that called for agrofuel production to provide for 1.5 percent of the country’s demand within five years and 22.5 percent within ten.

Let us also imagine that, two years ago, 39.5 percent of the residing populace of such a state were found to suffer from what has been referred to bureaucratically as ‘severe food insecurity.’

The government promoting and overseeing all of this would in fact be complicit with atrocity, would it not?


1 Joe Kishore, “More than 1 billion hungry worldwide in 2009,” World Socialist Web Site, 20 June 2009

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