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Friday, August 19, 2016

Can we move to "Space: the final frontier" without imperialism?

In the last century technology took human kind from a plane made of canvas and wood, to space probes that allowed us to know what the outer planets, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune were like. By the end of this century space probes will likely visit our nearest star system of Alpha Centauri, allowing us to see, close-up, what those stars and their planets look like.  
A recent article in Yahoo News, ponders the idea that humans will eventually travel to and colonize Earth like planets from nearby stars, such as Alpha Centauri:

What if our planet becomes unlivable and our future selves decide to take to the stars in the hope of starting all over again. Where would we go? Mars could be a good choice as it's the most habitable world beyond Earth in our solar system — though it would be a struggle.
But say if we found a planet, not too dissimilar to Earth, orbiting a nearby star? Could that incentivize us to not only become an "interplanetary species" but also an interstellar one?

It goes on to mention the recently discovered Earth-like planet around Proxima Centauri. The article then goes on to speculate that eventually our scientist will develop space ships and probes that will be able to make it to Alpha Centauri and Proxima Centauri in about 20 years. That is a great improvement over today's space ships that would take thousands of years to get there.
And for those of us involved in Marxist and/or Maoist movements it is only reasonable to speculate on necessary changes to prevent the kinds of human disasters and human atrocities that have taken place as humans have spread out and colonized new areas on Earth. Such movements and colonizing have taken place over thousands of years and have resulted in the slavery of conquered peoples and other human rights violations. From the possible extermination of the Neanderthal race by the more modern Cro-Magnon men to the destruction of the Native American Indian population and culture by Europeans, colonization has brought out the worst of humanity. As Marxists we don't believe such human rights violations are a thing of the past. We see all kinds of imperialist policies, from the Russians to the Iranians, and modern colonialism in Afghanistan and Iraq by the US.
While we don't know if there are any people or people-like intelligent life on any of these planets, there may be some form of indigenous life and even simple microbes have a right to exist in peace. As this article mentions, there is the planet Mars that humans might someday try to colonize on. In fact there is already a group of people who hope to begin settlements on Mars, possibly in the next 10 years. There are no humans or intelligent beings on Mars, but there may be some Martian microbes living on or in some parts of the planet. That brings up the moral question as to our right to disturb possible simple life forms.

For us Marxists and Maoists there is a serious question as to whether we should allow the present state of mankind, mostly capitalist and imperialist societies, to simply gut this planet to the point where resources have been crapped out. Should we simply implant the same system of greed and misuse of resources to new worlds in space? At present we have growth oriented countries dominating this world, including the US. Without change from a growth economy to a maintenance economy first world countries will use up all resources, land, fuel, food, etc. The results of this is that we already have bloody wars in the Middle east. they are actually more about access to resources (mostly oil) rather than religious or ideological contests.
Our present societies have embraced a policy of nearly perpetual war for the foreseeable future. We still have the same problems of colonialism, neo-colonialism, racism, classism and neo-fascist leadership. Do we really want to export all of that into outer space?
These issues are already being debated on line. For example; Sarah Fecht, wrote "SHOULD MARS BE INDEPENDENT, OR JUST A COLONY OF EARTH?" in Popular Science. In this article Fecht ponders the issue of what kind of government Mars should have:

But what if we gave Mars its independence right from the get-go? Rather than giving future colonies to governments or corporations, Jacob Haqq-Misra thinks we should let Martian colonists develop their own values, governments, and technologies, with minimal interference from Earth. Haqq-Misra is an astrobiologist at the Blue Marble Space Institute of Science, a non-profit organization that promotes international unity in space.

This whole thing almost looks like this planet is on the verge of some type of future we see on the old Star Trek TV franchises. In that show humans react with aliens, sometimes at war, some times in cooperation. But one thing we don't see being practiced now or any time soon would be the so called "Prime Directive" where the Enterprise Crew was forbidden to interfere in the growth and development of more primitive cultures. Nothing like that exist on the Earth today. In fact most of the first world imperialist countries have policies that are the exact opposite.

While we may be on the thresh hold of "space; the final frontier" we have our work cut out for us. The future of space technology and exploration are interesting and exciting. But there is also a danger that our present capitalist and imperialist system will only use these new technologies to push human kind further backward, when it comes to human social development.

- សតិវ​អតុ 

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