Donate to Links


Click on Links masthead to clear previous query from search box

GLW Radio on 3CR



Recent comments



Syndicate

Syndicate content

Marxism & ecology

Beautiful green world? On the myth of the green capitalist economy

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.

Harmony and ecological civilisation: Beyond the capitalist alienation of nature


[Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal urges its readers to consider taking out a subscription to Monthly Review, where this article first appeared.]

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.

Pablo Solon on Rio+20: 'We must change the capitalist system, not Earth's system'

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.

Revolutionising production itself: for humanity and for the world

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

Green energy alone won’t save the Earth without system change

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.

An exchange on Marx and Engels and 'small is beautiful'

[Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal urges its readers to consider taking out a subscription to Monthly Review, where this article first appeared.] 

By Samar Bagchi; response by John Bellamy Foster and Fred Magdoff

February 2012 -- Monthly Review -- I am a regular reader of Monthly Review. I read with interest the recent articles on ecology and Marxism (Fred Magdoff and John Bellamy Foster, “What Every Environmentalist Needs to Know About Capitalism,” MR, March 2010, and Fred Magdoff, “Ecological Civilization”, MR, January 2011).

It is true that Marx and Engels conceive that capitalism engenders a “metabolic rift” in nature and society. But both of them emphasise that the industrial growth that socialism would produce is beyond imagination under capitalism. Engels writes in Principles of Communism: “Once liberated from the pressure of private ownership, large-scale industry will develop on a scale that will make its present level of development seem as paltry as seems the manufacturing system compared with the large-scale industry of our time. This development of industry will provide society with a sufficient quantity of products to satisfy the needs of all.”

What happened to the gravediggers?

By John Rainford

December 3, 2011 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- In his survey of developments in Western Marxism from the time of the Russian Revolution, Perry Anderson sets out a number of questions for enquiry into the future of historical materialism. These questions, which range from the structure of bourgeois democracy and revolutionary strategy to the contemporary laws of motion of capitalism, are not directly taken up here. This paper focuses on how his precondition for their solution, “the rise of a mass revolutionary movement, free of organisational constraint, in the homelands of industrial capitalism”1 might be realised.

Anderson notes that almost all of the theorists of historical materialism, beginning with Karl Marx and Frederick Engels, have been intellectuals from the “possessing classes” – and indeed of higher rather than lower bourgeois origin. Antonio Gramsci, with an exceptional background of poverty, was nevertheless born at some distance from the working class.2 What follows is an attempt, in the Gramscian tradition, to test Anderson’s assertion that in the long run, the future of Marxist theory lies with theorists produced by the industrial working class.3

Australian socialists debate ecosocialism

By Ian Angus

December 13, 2011 -- Climate and Capitalism (Canada) -- Should ecologically concerned socialists call themselves ecosocialists? Members of the Socialist Alliance are conducting a public policy debate.

Is there a need for the word “ecosocialism”? Does it mean something substantially different from socialism without the prefix? Will using it help to build the left? Or is it an unnecessary and dangerous concession to greens who lean to liberalism and anarchism?

Here at Climate and Capitalism, we gave our answers to those questions long ago, by putting the words “Ecosocialism or barbarism: there is no third way” at the top of every page.

But on that question we are in a minority. While the word “ecosocialism” is used by growing numbers of green lefts and left greens, it is still very far from being universally accepted.

Of course, it is just a word. What’s important is the idea that in the 21st century the fight against environmental destruction and the fight against capitalism are inextricably linked – neither can succeed without the other. The label anyone chooses to apply to that concept is far less important.

Capitalism, not consumers, is the big green problem

By Simon Butler

December 4, 2011 -- Green Left Weekly -- Most environmentalists would agree consumerism and consumer culture put too heavy a burden on the planet. Consumer spending is central to the capitalist economy, which is why economists and governments also pay it close attention. But most mainstream economists say endless economic growth, which implies limitless consumption, is both possible and desirable. This ignores how it helps fuel our ecological problems.

Today, most things sold on the market are made to be thrown out and replaced. A big part of economic activity is made up of selling products “designed for the dump”.

It's not hard to see why this suits the biggest firms with the most market power. They make more money selling new products regularly than they can from products that are long-lasting, repairable and easy to upgrade.

This cycle begins with the extraction of raw materials from the earth. The throwaway economy needs to turn more and more of nature into products for sale: fossil fuels, soil nutrients, fresh water, metals and timber.

The cycle ends with the steady release of waste back into the ecosphere: waste gases into the sky, waste pollutants into water, and waste chemicals and toxics into the soil.

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.

* * *

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.

John Bellamy Foster: Capitalism and the accumulation of catastrophe

Film produced by Jill Hickson and John Reynolds.

[For more material from the conference, click HERE.]

October 20, 2011 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- At the 2011 Climate Change Social Change Conference held in Melbourne, John Bellamy Foster, Marxist academic, editor and author on economics and ecology, was a featured speaker. Above is the video of his keynote speech on September 30.

The conference was sponsored by the Office of Environmental Programs, Melbourne University, and organised and co-sponsored by Green Left Weekly, Resistance, Socialist Alliance and Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal. Other co-sponsors included Friends of the Earth (Melbourne), the Labor Party Pakistan and Sydney University Political Economy Society.

Australia: Climate Change, Social Change conference attracts hundreds

[For more material from the conference, click HERE.]

By Viv Miley

October 8, 2011 -- Socialist Alliance -- More than 500 people gathered in Melbourne over September 30 to October 3 to take part in four days of stimulating talks and discussion at the second Climate Change Social Change conference. The conference, which featured five plenary sessions, 39 workshops and more than 90 speakers, was organised by Green Left Weekly, Socialist Alliance and Resistance. Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal also sponsored the conference.

The conference brought together activists, academics and unionists from Australia, Asia, North America and the Pacific to share ideas and experiences from the movements for Indigenous people's rights, against environmental destruction, for women's rights, for queer rights, for peace, social justice and workers’ rights.

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.

* * *

Derek Wall: 'Ecosocialism places Marx at the centre of its analysis'

September 10, 2011 -- Green Left Weekly -- Economist, activist and writer Derek Wall (pictured above) is a member of the Green Party of England and Wales (and the Green Left grouping within it) and is the author of several books on ecology and politics. Wall will speak via video link at the Climate Change Social Change activist conference in Melbourne,r September 30 to October 3. He maintains the ecosocialist blog Another Green World. He spoke to Green Left Weekly’s Simon Butler about the politics of ecosocialism.

* * *

What are the most valuable insights ecosocialists can bring to discussions about the source of our ecological problems?

Ecosocialism, without being reductionist, cuts to the roots of the ecological crisis. The destruction of the environment is not an accident. It is not simply a problem of false ideas and it is not a product of inappropriate policies that can easily be dealt with by electing a new set of politicians.

Foundations of an ecosocialist strategy

September 1, 2011 -- Life on the Left, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with the permission of the translator and of Nouveaux Cahiers du Socialisme -- The following article by a leading European ecosocialist, Daniel Tanuro, was written especially for the latest issue of the Montréal-based journal Nouveaux Cahiers du Socialisme (NCS), which features a number of articles on the ecological crisis (not yet on-line). Tanuro is the author of an important book-length Marxist critique of “Green capitalism", L’impossible capitalisme vert, soon to be published in English. Other articles by Daniel Tanuro, in both French and English, may be found at Europe solidaire sans frontières. I have translated the French text of this article as published by NCS. – Richard Fidler

* * *

By Daniel Tanuro, translated by Richard Fidler

John Bellamy Foster: The ecology of Marxian political economy

[This article is an extended version of a talk delivered at the Marxism 2011 Conference, University College of London, July 3, 2011. Click HERE to view a video of that talk. Readers of Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal are urged to consider subscribing to Monthly Review, where this article first appeared. John Bellamy Foster will be a featured international guest at the second World at a Crossroads: Climate Change – Social Change Conference, Friday, September 30 – Monday, October 3, 2011, Melbourne University.]

* * *

By John Bellamy Foster

Marxism and ecology (video): John Bellamy Foster at Marxism 2011


John Bellamy Foster addresses the British SWP's Marxism 2011, July 3, 2011.

For an extended text version of the talk delivered at the Marxism 2011 Conference, University College of London, July 3, 2011, click HERE. John Bellamy Foster will be a featured international guest at the second World at a Crossroads: Climate Change – Social Change Conference, Friday, September 30 – Monday, October 3, 2011, Melbourne University.

Keynote speech by John Bellamy Foster: "Capitalist crises, ecology and socialism"

Friday, September 30, 2011, 7.30-9.30 pm,

Sidney Myer Asia Centre (http://maps.unimelb.edu.au/parkville/building/158), Melbourne University.

Syndicate content

Powered by Drupal - Design by Artinet