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Marxism & ecology
Hugo Moldiz interviewed by Coral Wynter and Jim McIlroy
April 24, 2013 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Hugo Moldiz is a respected Marxist journalist and author living in La Paz. He has written several books, including Bolivia in the Times of Evo, published by Ocean Sur in 2009. He is editor of the weekly La Epoca and has also contributed many articles to the magazine America XXI. We interviewed him during a recent visit to La Paz, Bolivia. Translation from the Spanish by Coral Wynter.
* * *
What is the significance of the election of an Indigenous president in Bolivia?
Introduction by Ian Angus
April 23, 2013 -- Climate & Capitalism, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission -- I was unable to attend the Ecosocialist Conference in New York City on April 20, 2013, and it is clear from all reports that I missed an important and inspiring event. The meeting was organised by the Ecosocialist Contingent, the alliance that participated as a united anti-capitalist voice in the demonstration against the Keystone XL Pipeline in Washington on February 17.
Initiated by members of Solidarity and the International Socialist Organization, the Ecosocialist Contingent quickly expanded to include the broadest range of left organisations and individuals yet seen in the US environmental movement.
See the list of conference endorsers, which includes Climate & Capitalism, here.
By Simon Butler
March 23, 2013 -- Green Left Weekly -- Do oil spills make good economic sense? A witness called by Canadian firm Enbridge Inc.— which wants approval to build a $6.5 billion pipeline linking Alberta’s tar sands with the Pacific coast — told a recent hearing in British Columbia (BC) that the answer is yes.
He said oil spills could benefit the economy, giving business new opportunities to make money cleaning it up. He told Fishers Union representatives that an oil spill in BC might indeed kill the local fishing industry, but their lost income would be replaced by compensation payouts and new career prospects, such as working for oil cleanup crews.
Upon reading this, some readers might protest: “That’s just not fair! How come British Columbian communities reap all the economic gains of a potential oil spill disaster, when we have to live in relative safety?”
It’s easy to laugh at this kind of thinking, to write it off as a desperate ploy by a greedy oil company.
A group of volunteers wave green handkerchiefs as they ride their bicycles in Beijing on November 21, 2012, for the launch of a world-tour to promote low-carbon lifestyles.
[This article originally appeared in Chinese in Red Flag Manuscript, no. 22, 2012. This text is from the English edition of Qiushi Journal (vol. 5 no. 1, January 1, 2013), a publication of the Communist Party of China's central committee, via the Online University of the Left. The author is a former vice-chair of the standing committee of the National People’s Congress of China. Note: this article is also a slightly abridged version of the preface of the book Saving the Earth’s Biosphere — Concerning the Transformation of Human Civilization, which was edited by the author and published by Xinhua Press in September 2012. It indicates that despite the Communist Party of China's headlong rush to embrace environmentally unsustainable capitalism, there is some questioning of this course.]
By Jiang Chunyun
March 19, 2013 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The question is not should we advocate reducing production within capitalist society but rather: How do we best relate to those struggles that are already occurring? Activists across the globe are challenging the uncontrollable dynamic of economic expansion which threatens the survival of humanity. It has never been more urgent to provide a vision of a new society that can pull these efforts together.
March 11, 2013 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Fred Magdoff, a professor emeritus of plant and soil sciences, author of What Every Environmentalist Should Know About Capitalism, contributor to Monthly Review and ecosocialist spoke on the connection between the growing environmental crisis and capitalism. Professor Magdoff spoke at MIT University in Boston MA on March 11, 2013. This event was filmed by Doug Enaa Greene. Second part below.
For a moment he lost himself in the old, familiar dream. He imagined that he was master of the sky, that the world lay spread out beneath him, inviting him to travel where he willed. It was not the world of his own time that he saw, but the lost world of the dawn -- a rich and living panorama of hills and lakes and forests. He felt bitter envy of his unknown ancestors, who had flown with such freedom over all the earth, and who had let its beauty die. -- Arthur C. Clarke, The City and the Stars
By Chris Williams
Super Typhoon Bopha taken on December 2 from the International Space Station, as the storm bore down on the Philippines with winds of 135 miles per hour. Photo by NASA.
By Pablo Solon
December 18, 2012 -- Hoy es Todavia -- In baseball, when you have three strikes, you are out. In the climate change negotiations we already have had four strikes. The climate talks in Copenhagen, Cancun, Durban and now Doha. Four attempts and each of the results were bigger failures than the last. The emission reductions should have been at least 40 to 50% until 2020 based on 1990 levels. Four COPs later, the current numbers are down to a measly 13 to 18%. We are now well on our way to a global temperature increase of 4º to 8ºC.
“The perfect is the enemy of the good” is what some UN negotiators say. To which we can reply: “When our house is burning down, the worst thing you can do is lie to us.”
It’s time to rethink what is happening and try to find new strategies to avoid a global catastrophe.
No lack of evidence
"We have to put limits on the [capitalist] system's operation ... which means building a mass movement that has to build into itself not just the question of ecological justice, but also the question of social justice ... a movement with the radicalism of the 1960s' social movements with the social power of the union movements of the 1930s" -- Chris Williams.
Filmed by Doug Enaa Greene
Alvaro Garcia Linera: Geopolitics of the Amazon -- Patrimonial-Hacendado power and capitalist accumulation
Introduction and translation by Richard Fidler
December 2012 -- This essay first appeared in English in five parts at Richard Fidler's Life on the Left and has been posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission -- Álvaro García Linera is one of Latin America’s leading Marxist intellectuals. He is also the vice-president of Bolivia — the “co-pilot”, as he says, to President Evo Morales, and an articulate exponent of the government’s policies and strategic orientation.
In a recent book-length essay, Geopolitics of the Amazon: Patrimonial-Hacendado Power and Capitalist Accumulation, published in September 2012, García Linera discusses a controversial issue of central importance to the development process in Latin America, and explains how Bolivia is attempting to address the intersection between economic development and environmental protection.
[Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal urges its readers to consider taking out a subscription to Monthly Review, where this article first appeared. Click HERE to read more from John Bellamy Foster. For more articles on Marxism and ecology, click HERE.]
By John Bellamy Foster and Brett Clark
[English at http://links.org.au/node/3078.]
Por Chris Williams, traducción para www.sinpermiso.info por Lucas Antón
Si el estudio al que te aplicas tiende a debilitar tus afectos y destruir tu gusto por esos placeres sencillos en los que no es posible que se mezcle ninguna aleación, entonces ese estudio es ciertamente ilícito y no le conviene a la mente humana.
Frankenstorm Sandy from space.
By Chris Williams
If the study to which you apply yourself has a tendency to weaken your affections, and to destroy your taste for those simple pleasures in which no alloy can possibly mix, then that study is certainly unlawful, that is to say, not befitting the human mind.
If this rule were always observed; if no man allowed any pursuit whatsoever to interfere with the tranquility of his domestic affections, Greece had not been enslaved; Caesar would have spared his country; America would have been discovered more gradually; and the empires of Mexico and Peru had not been destroyed.
—Frankenstein, or, The Modern Prometheus, by Mary Shelley.
October 29, 2012 -- Climate and Capitalism -- There is little doubt that freakish and unnaturally assembled storms are a taste of what the future holds under an economic system that has “interfered with the tranquility of domestic affections,” galvanised the forces of nature into a fury of clashing dislocations as we pump ever-more heat-trapping gases into our atmosphere and industrial filth into our lungs.
"In recent years, and in increasingly more countries, growing multitudes have rebelled against the existing order and without a defined leadership have taken over plazas, streets, highways, towns, parliament, but, despite having mobilized hundreds of thousands of people, neither the magnitude of its size nor its combativeness have enabled these multitudes to go beyond simple popular revolts. They have brought down presidents, but they have not been capable of conquering power in order to begin a process of deep social transformation." -- Marta Harnecker.
By Marta Harnecker, translated by Federico Fuentes
This article seeks to reflect on the issues raised during the roundtable discussion, “State, revolution and the construction of hegemony”, that occurred at the VI International Forum on Philosophy, held between November 28 and December 2, 2011, in Maracaibo, Venezuela. Logically, here I once again repeat some ideas that I have expressed in other writings, but have ordered them differently, while further refining some of them. It was written in July 2012 and first published in English at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission.
Earth Day 1970 poster. People are the enemy.
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.
By the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation
June 13, 2012 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The "green economy": It will stop climate change and the extinction of species and in so doing will create high growth rates and millions of jobs. It’s seen as a miraculous weapon. Through it, global capitalism will be stabilised. And then it will be sustainable as well.
But what is the green economy? In it, policy parameters are supposed to ensure the flow of capital to make markets and the economy "greener" and create "green" jobs. Enterprises are to pay an "appropriate" price for environmental damage. And not least: the state is supposed to orient its public procurements to sustainability criteria and create sustainable infrastructures.
As of June 2012 at the UN’s Rio+20 conference in Rio de Janeiro, the green economy is to become a new central concept of global policy. The conference is taking place on the 20th anniversary of the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development, where the magic formula "sustainable development" was coined.
By Fred Magdoff
June 4, 2012 -- Monthly Review -- Let me begin by making clear that I am not a philosopher nor am I well versed in Chinese cultural history. My background is in agriculture, specifically soil fertility and health, from which I have branched out into areas of ecology and ecological approaches to agriculture and society.
Earth photographed from Russia's Electro-L weather satellite, taken from 36,000 kilometres with a high-definition 121-megapixel camera, creating the sharpest image of our planet yet.
By Pablo Solon
May 16, 2012 -- Focus on the Global South/Climate and Capitalism -- Twenty years after the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in 1992, the environmental crisis continues to worsen.
The unsustainable development model that gained dominance in the world resulted to grave loss of biodiversity, melting of polar ice caps and mountain glaciers, alarming increase in deforestation and desertification and the looming danger of an at least 4º C increase in temperature, which will threaten life as we know it.
Science is saying that we are approaching a point of no return that will change the way our planet has behaved over 650,000 years.
Under capitalism it is “profitable” to scar the precious mountains to retrieve coal in small seams.
By Mike Ely
April 24, 2012 -- Kasama, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with the author's permission -- There is a valuable exchange happening on the Kasama website site. I won’t try to encapsulate it here, but want to respond to it. I think there are some sharp contradictions here — that are posed within our theory, and within the very choices facing people.
A horizon beyond scarcity and inequality
By Ian Angus
March 21, 2012 -- Climate & Capitalism, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission -- The most popular techno-fix for global warming is green energy. If energy companies would only deploy wind, hydro, solar, geothermal or nuclear, then emission-intensive fossil fuels will eventually disappear. But will that actually work?
A new study by Richard York of the University of Oregon shows that it isn’t that simple. Rather than displacing fossil fuels, green energy sources have proven to be mostly additive.
“Do alternative energy sources displace fossil fuels?”, published this month in Nature Climate Change, discusses what happened when alternative energy sources were introduced in countries around the world, over the past 50 years.
Contrary to the accepted wisdom that new green energy replaces fossil-fuel use, York found that on average each unit of energy use from non-fossil-fuel sources displaced less than a quarter of a unit of energy use from fossil-fuel sources.