Category: Ecology

A Radical Direction for the Environmental Movement

green capitalism

Climate scientists tell us we face a “climate crisis”: Since the 1990s, scientists have been trying to convince governments to keep atmospheric CO2 concentrations below 350 ppm in order to keep the global temperature below 1.5 degrees Centigrade above pre-industrial . . .

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Inequality and the Ecological Transition

Last month Branko Milanovic published a blog post about the Yellow Vest movement against the fuel tax in France.  He was worried – like many analysts – that the uprising proves it will be virtually impossible to roll out the policies necessary . . .

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A Greener New Deal?

Demands for a Green New Deal (GND) are a beacon of hope in an otherwise dystopian contemporary landscape. In her platform document, for example, newly elected Representative and Democratic Socialist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez states that “it’s time to shift course and . . .

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New York Progressives Must Demand More

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I campaigned for governor with the slogan of “Demand More!” because Gov. Cuomo has governed as a social liberal but as an economic conservative. Although he touts the agenda he outlined in his January 15 State of the State and Budget presentation as “progressive,” New York progressives should not be satisfied. It is still a conservative economic program. Progressives must demand more.

Green, Union Jobs: Organizing at Buffalo’s Tesla Factory

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Rob Walsh, originally from a small town just outside Utica, is a material handler at the Tesla plant just south of Buffalo, New York’s downtown—dubbed Gigafactory 2—and part of the joint United Steelworkers/International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers organizing committee. One of plant’s earliest hires, he works 12-hour shifts three to four days a week, making $16.50 an hour. He is one of roughly 400 employees that work around the clock at the plant producing Tesla’s solar roof tiles. During those shifts, Walsh delivers production from the warehouse to the floor and then takes the finished product out to be shipped.

Seasons Greetings from France’s Yellow Vests: “We Are Not Tired”

ImageIs the Yellow Vest (Gilets Jaunes) rebellion, now in its seventh week, “petering out?” Such was the near-unanimous pronouncement of the mainstream media, when I returned home to Montpellier, France, eager to participate and to observe first-hand this popular insurrection which I had been afraid of missing.

The Green New Deal Promises Peace and Progress. Will Nuclear Advocates Undermine it?

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The environmental policy centerpiece of the incoming Democratic House of Representatives is what’s now known as “The Green New Deal.” But it’s already hit deeply polarizing pushback from the old-line Democratic leadership. And it faces divisive jockeying over the future of nuclear power.

The French Yellow Vests: A Self-Mobilized Mass Movement with Insurrectionist Overtones

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The White-Hot Anger of French Working People as a Real Fact

After rumbling on social media for weeks, the Yellow Vests (Gilets Jaunes) movement emerged suddenly on November 17, when no less than 300,000 protestors occupied roads, traffic circles in exurbs and rural areas. They wore the yellow safety vests the government requires all motorists to purchase, and which immediately became the emblem of the movement.  That week and the next, Yellow Vests also ventured into the heart of Paris, blocking the gilded Boulevard Champs-Elysées and almost reaching the nearby presidential palace.  From the beginning, women were unusually prominent in the local occupations and the street marches.  At the same time, the Yellow Vests chased away many politicians who visited their protest sites, including some from the left.

Yellow vests: Macron’s fuel tax was no solution to climate chaos

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The French government has decided to suspend a planned eco-tax on fuel in response to mass protests. While the movement of the ‘yellow vests’ (gilets jaunes) has turned into a broader revolt against inequality and Macron’s neoliberal reforms, economist and climate activist Maxime Combes (Attac France) argues that as a way to tackle climate change, the tax is neither fair nor effective.

Analysis originally published on the daily internet journal of ideas AOC and translated by Taisie Tsikas.

Ecosocialism’s Greatest Challenge: The Color-Line and the Twenty-First Century Ecoleft

ImageThe problem of the twentieth century is the problem of the color-line.”  —W.E.B. Du Bois

Shortly before protesters gathered around the world on the eve of the Global Climate Action Summit, an ecosocialist friend commented on the pointlessness of engaging in more “feel good” marches. Something struck me as horribly wrong about this casual dismissal of mass actions in which we take to the streets to bear witness to the mounting opposition to global ecocide.

The Fires This Time and Their Implications for Ecosocialists

Image“Deindustrialization.” That’s a word you virtually never hear in the debate around global warming. Not surprising. It’s a word that’s loaded with negative implications: economic collapse, mass layoffs, falling living standards. Who wants to think about those, let alone think about this as a strategy of suppressing CO2 emissions?

Democracy and Ecological Crisis

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Last fall 15,000 scientists issued a second dire notice to humanity that we are on a collision course with the limits of our planet. They concluded, “To prevent widespread misery, humanity must practice a more environmentally sustainable alternative to business as usual,” including “reassess[ing]… the role of an economy rooted in growth.” That means that we have to challenge capitalism; there is no capitalism without growth. Rosa Luxemburg’s statement on the eve of World War I that the choice is between socialism or barbarism was never more true. But today our struggle is about our very existence.

Revolution in a Warming World: Lessons from the Russian to the Syrian Revolutions

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It doesn’t take much imagination to associate climate change with revolution. If the planetary order upon which all societies are built starts breaking down, how can they possibly remain stable? Various more or less horrifying scenarios of upheaval have long been extrapolated from soaring temperatures. 

Developing Marx’s Mode of Production Theory

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It is not surprising that Karl Marx is having a comeback today, after the 2008 financial crisis, the growing awareness of capitalism’s propensity to crises and ecological problems, and the fact that global inequality has increased to an obscene degree – all of which Marx foresaw.

An unforgettable five-day Freedom Fast culminates with 2,000-strong Time's Up Wendy's March through the Heart of Manhattan!

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A fast, when done in protest, is a call to arms. While eminently non-violent, it is a battle cry, issued in a whisper.

A Socialist Case Against Climate Geoengineering

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Since the 2015 UN Paris Agreement, climate geoengineering – the intentional large-scale manipulation of the earth’s natural systems – has shifted from the margins to the mainstream of climate policy discussions. The idea counts among its supporters both liberal technocrats and neoconservatives like U.S. Rep. Lamar Smith, a notorious climate denier who sees geoengineering as an alternative to “forcing unworkable and costly government mandates on the American people.”

China Can’t Save Capitalism From Environmental Destruction

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A year ago at the World Economic Forum, China’s president, Xi Jinping, won plaudits from Davos elites for his commitment to open trade. Of course, because China’s economy is heavily dependent on exports, so-called “free trade” is in its interest, so President Xi’s stand was no surprise.

The Environmental Justice Movement in South Baltimore

United Workers Take on the Multiple Crises of Capitalism

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In an era when the federal government is increasingly dominated by fossil-fuel interests that limit regulation of oil rigs and pipelines, the environmental justice movement seems to have diminished significantly.

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Socialism or Ecocide

      Ecosocialism: A Radical Alternative to Capitalist Catastrophe, while excellent and valuable in its own right, isn’t quite the introduction to “green Marxism” that one might have expected. Michael Löwy is a veteran for decades of the democratic revolutionary left in France and a frequent contributor to New Politics.

Fossil Fuels and Toxic Landscapes – Issue Launch and Panel

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Hugo Blanco: The Future Is Indigenous

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On a gray Saturday afternoon in Lima, Peru, this past April, I received a phone call from Hugo Blanco, veteran guerilla and survivor of multiple death sentences. “You wanted to talk?” he asked. “Come over now.” An hour later, after a ride through the city’s torturous streets, I was in the plaza in front of his house, an unpretentious single-level in a middle-class neighborhood north of the colonial center. I knocked and collected myself; I hadn’t actually expected him to respond to my request.

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