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population

South Africa: Overpopulation? Hindsight is also a blinkered perspective

[More on the population debate HERE. More by Terry Bell HERE.]

By Terry Bell

July 13, 2014 -- Terry Bell Writes, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission -- “The misery of people here is very great, with beggars innumerable and increasing every day ... pigs and calves live better than they.” That rhyming comment could apply to the legions of the poor in many parts of the world today. And South Africa is no exception.

But that statement was made nearly 300 years ago by the Archbishop of Dublin, writing about conditions in England’s first colony, Ireland. Land seizures and a system of gross exploitation had reduced most of the Irish population to destitution.

What has this to do with South Africa today? Actually a lot. Because one of the arguments by the powers that be — and their supporters — at that time in Ireland was that the misery of the mass of Irish people was a consequence of them breeding too much. There were simply too many poor, too many children “in the arms, or on the backs, or at the heels of their mothers”, as the great Irish satirist Jonathan Swift noted.

What did that ‘NASA-funded collapse study’ really say?

The four formulas in the HANDY Model
Can four equations explain the collapse of civilisations?

By Ian Angus

March 31, 2014 -- Climate & Capitalism, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission -- If hundreds of newspaper and online reports are to be believed, scientists at NASA’s Goddard Space Agency have proven that Western civilisation will collapse unless we radically reduce inequality and shift to renewable resources.

That would be important news if it were true. Is it?

Why we need an ecosocialist revolution (with video)

This is the text of Ian Angus'  talk at the Socialism 2013 conference in Chicago, June 29, 2013, organised by the international Socialist Organization (USA). The video and audio of Angus' talk is also available, thanks to Wearemany.org.

Is population control an anti-capitalist policy?

Poor peasants are to blame?

By Ian Angus and Simon Butler

March 10, 2013 -- Climate and Capitalism, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission -- This article responds to an article that appeared in Dissident Voice on February 17, 2013. We submitted our reply on February 24, but the editors have not acknowledged our submission, or even had the courtesy to answer a follow-up email we sent a week later.

Since they have since published articles that we know were written long after ours, we can only conclude that DV does not wish to publish criticism of one of their regular writers.

We would think that a publication that says it is devoted to “challenging the distortions and lies of the corporate press”, would welcome a challenge to the distortions they publish themselves. Apparently not

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Nature’s matrix: Linking agriculture, conservation and food sovereignty

Nature's Matrix: Linking Agriculture, Conservation and Food Sovereignty
By Ivette Perfecto, John Vandermeer, and Angus Wright
Earthscan, 2009

Review by Ian Angus

October 17, 2012 -- Climate and Capitalism, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission -- In any discussion of biodiversity and species extinction, someone usually insists that overpopulation is the problem. More people equals more farms equals less wilderness equals more extinctions. Life is a zero-sum game: you can have people and farming OR wildlife and biodiversity, but not both.

Barry Commoner, 1917-2012: one of ecosocialism's most important pioneers

For more tributes to Barry Commoner, visit Climate & Capitalism and Climate Change Social Change.

By Ian Angus

October 2, 2012 -- Climate & Capitalism, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission --  Barry Commoner died on September 30, at the age of 95 in New York. He never called himself an ecosocialist, but he was one of our most important precursors.

He was a founder of the modern environmental movement, an anti-war activist and a powerful critic of capitalism. His 1971 book, The Closing Circle, was a pioneering analysis of the economic and social causes of environmental destruction. At a time when most writers were blaming individual behaviour or overpopulation for pollution, Commoner exposed the role of capitalism and profit.

Ian Angus: The return of the population bombers

Earth Day 1970 poster. People are the enemy.

[For more discussion on the population issue, click HERE.]

The following talk was presented at the Marxism 2012 conference in Toronto in May, and at the Socialism 2012 conference in Chicago in June. A recording of the Chicago presentation can be heard online at wearemany.org.

Overpopulation ideology undermined the environmental movement in the 1970s, diverting social protest into harmless channels. To prevent a similar setback today, we must understand populationism’s conservative role, and why it is attractive to a growing number of green activists.

By Ian Angus

July 22, 2012 -- Climate and Capitalism, posted at Links International Journal of socialist Renewal with permission -- As you know, Simon Butler and I have written many articles and an entire book refuting the claim that the environmental crisis is caused by overpopulation and the related idea that environmentalists should make reducing birth rates and immigration a top priority.

Royal Society’s tunnel vision on population and poverty

People and the Planet
Royal Society Science Policy Centre Report
April 2012

Review by Ian Angus

May 23, 2012 -- Climate and Capitalism, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with the Ian Angus' permission -- The radical ecologist Murray Bookchin once compared populationism to a phoenix, the mythical bird that periodically burns up and is reborn from its own ashes. No matter how often the “too many people” argument is refuted, it always returns, making the same claim that people are breeding too much and consuming too much, devouring the Earth like a plague of locusts.[1]

Anti-immigration groups organise against book that exposes population myths

By Ian Angus

January 31, 2012 -- Climate and Capitalism -- Simon Butler and I wrote Too Many People? Population, Immigration, and the Environmental Crisis to promote discussion among environmental activists about two questions:

  • Is population growth a significant cause of the global environmental crisis?
  • Should the environmental movement support population reduction programs as solutions to environmental problems?

Since the book was published in September 2011, we’ve been very pleased by the eagerness of activists around the world to join in that discussion. Some readers are convinced by our arguments, some are not – in either case we look forward to continuing discussions while we work together to build a global movement against ecocide and for environmental justice. We expected such debates, and will continue to welcome them.

Raj Patel: Feeding 10 billion (audio)

January 11, 2012 -- In a Saskatoon lecture, writer and activist Raj Patel argues that the only way to feed everyone is to completely rethink agriculture and empower women. He outlines the history of the "Green Revolution" and how it was based on attempts to defeat "communism", control population and spread the market system. The lecture was broadcast on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation's Ideas program.

David Attenborough asks corporations to buy wilderness to lock out poor people

By Ian Angus

January 18, 2012 -- Climate and Capitalism, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission -- David Attenborough, in addition to making nature films, is a patron of Optimum Population Trust, a British outfit that, using the name Population Matters, promotes birth control for poor people and immigration restrictions to keep those same people out of Britain.

Last year we reported a talk he gave to a posh gathering in London, chaired by no less a personage than Prince Phillip, in which he said only “flat earthers” disagree with his view that only population reduction can save the planet. Contraception, he said, “is the humane way, the powerful option which allows all of us to deal with the problem, if we collectively choose to do so”.

(Updated Jan. 24) 'Too Many People?' Ecosocialists debate population and environment

[For more on the population debate, click HERE.]

January 9, 2012 -- Links international Journal of Socialist Renewal/Climate and Capitalism -- Veteran British socialist Alan Thornett has published a highly critical review of the new book, Too Many People? Population, Immigration, and the Environmental Crisis. Below is Thornett’s critique, followed by a reply from the book’s authors, Ian Angus and Simon Butler.

Too Many People: a review

By Alan Thornett

January 2, 2012 -- Socialist Resistance -- As a long-time comrade of Ian Angus, a fellow ecosocialist, and an admirer of his work on Marxism and ecology, I am disappointed by the tone he has adopted in his new book on population Too Many People? – which he has authored jointly with Simon Butler, co-editor of the Australian publication Green Left Weekly.

Ανατέμνοντας τους αριθμούς για τον υπερπληθυσμό

[In English (Αγγλική εκδοχή σε) at http://links.org.au/node/2520.]

των Ίαν Άνγκους και Σάιμον Μπάτλερ

Μαρξιστική Σκέψη, τόμος 4, Ιανουάριος-Μάρτιος 2012, σελ. 416, 13€

 

Από το 1798, όταν ο Πάτερ Μάλθους υποστήριξε ότι ο πληθυσμός αυξάνεται με γεωμετρική πρόοδο (2, 4, 8, 16...), ενώ η προσφορά τροφίμων αυξάνεται μόνο αριθμητικά (2, 3, 4, 5...), το επιχείρημα για τον υπερπληθυσμό έχει εξαρτηθεί από τους αριθμούς. Είναι σπάνιο να διαβάσει κανείς ένα άρθρο, φυλλάδιο ή ιστοσελίδα για τον υπερπληθυσμό που δεν περιλαμβάνει δηλώσεις όπως αυτές:

Who’s causing the environmental crisis: 7 billion or the 1%?

October 26, 2011 -- Grist via Climate and Capitalism, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission -- Ironically, while populationist groups focus attention on the 7 billion, protesters in the worldwide Occupy movement have identified the real source of environmental destruction: not the 7 billion, but the 1%

This article, published today on the environmental website Grist, has provoked a vigorous discussion there. Many of the comments defend variations of the “consumer sovereignty” argument,  that corporations only destroy the environment in order to provide the products and services consumers demand. We encourage readers to join that conversation.

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By Ian Angus and Simon Butler

The United Nations says that the world’s population will reach 7 billion people this month.

Two radio interviews with Ian Angus: What is ecosocialism? Are there too many people?

October 24, 2011 -- Is the ecosocialist revolution coming? Ian Angus is a veteran of the socialist and environmental movements in Canada. He is also the founder of climateandcapitalism.com, and co-author of the new book, Too Many People? Population, Immigration and the Environmental Crisis. He visited Adelaide, South Australia, in September, to speak at a public forum organised the Socialist Alliance, on “Political solutions to the climate crisis: What is ecosocialism?” He was in Australia to participate in the Climate Change, Social Change conference in Melbourne, September 30-October 3.

Ian Angus: How to make an ecosocialist revolution

By Ian Angus

October 8, 2011 -- Green Left Weekly/Climate and Capitalism/Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Ian Angus is editor of Climate and Capitalism and co-author, with Simon Butler, of the new book Too Many People? This is his keynote presentation Climate Change Social Change conference in Melbourne, on October 2, 2011. For more material from the conference, click HERE. Thanks to artist Margaret Scott for permission to use her drawings in the PowerPoint slides visible in the video.

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'Dissecting those "overpopulation" numbers', excerpt from "Too Many People?" by Ian Angus and Simon Butler

October 4, 2011 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Haymarket Books has kindly given permission for Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal to publish "Dissecting those 'overpopulation' numbers", an excerpt from the just published Too Many People? Population, Immigration and the Environmental Crisis by Ian Angus and Simon Butler. Links' readers are urged to purchase this essential book. You can order it directly from the publisher HERE; Australian readers can also purchase it at Resistance Bookshops in their city, or online at Resistancebooks.com.

Download "Dissecting those 'overpopulation' numbers" HERE (PDF), or read it on screen below.

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Deep ecology versus ecosocialism: A letter on population, wilderness and ecosocialism

"If ecosocialists support wilderness clearances and population reduction they will be on the wrong side of some of the most important struggles in the world today." -- Ian Angus
[Ian Angus will be a feature speaker at the World at a Crossroads II: Climate change: social change conference, in Melbourne, Australia, September 30-October 3, 2011.]

July 4, 2011 -- The following is Climate and Capitalism editor Ian Angus’s response to "Saral Sarkar on Malthusianism and Ecosocialism" and Sarkar’s "Reply to some points made by my critics and sympathizers". It is part of a continuing discussion taking place on Climate and Capitalism (see the links at the end of the article).

* * *

Dear Saral Sarkar,

Excerpts from 'Environment, Capitalism and Socialism': Sources of modern environmentalism; Currents in ecological thought

The following are excerpts from Environment, Capitalism and Socialism, drafted for the  Democratic Socialist Party of Australia by Dick Nichols,and  published by Resistance Books in 1999. The book can be purchased from Resistance Books' website. The extensive footnotes are only available in the hard copy. (The DSP merged with the Socialist Alliance in January 2010.) Despite its age and inevitable flaws, this book was ahead of its time in many respects and was among the first serious attempts by a revolutionary party to apply a Marxist analysis to the environment question. It remains an essential document for socialists and ecologists alike.
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Deep ecology versus ecosocialism

[Ian Angus will be a feature speaker at the World at a Crossroads II: Climate change: social change conference, in Melbourne, Australia, September 30-October 3, 2011.]

By Ian Angus

June 19, 2011 --This article first appeared at Climate and Capitalism. It is posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission -- Some people believe that deep ecology is not just compatible with ecosocialism, but a way to improve it. That’s a profound misconception that ignores deep ecology’s anti-human core. The following was first posted on the online discussion group that was set up after the founding of the Ecosocialist international Network. I have added some suggestions for further reading.

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