Global Fever

1 August, 2020 — Spectre Journal

A Review of Andreas Malm’s “Corona, Climate, Chronic Emergency: War Communism in the Twenty-First Century”

Gareth Dale

Corona, Climate, Chronic Emergency: War Communism in the Twenty-First Century
by Andreas Malm

What can a virus tell us about climate breakdown, in its causation and in humanity’s response? And what can both tell us about capitalism and communism? These are the questions that Andreas Malm addresses in his new book forthcoming next month. It is a remarkable work, a tour de force. It portrays capitalism not simply in metaphorical colors as a meta-virus run by parasites, but as the godfather of actual viruses, the patron of parasites. Written at whirlwind pace, one of its leitmotifs is tempo: the varying velocities of climate collapse, locust swarms, zoonotic pathogenic leaps, and the dynamics and gear changes of political response and strategy. While others were hesitantly piecing together analyses of COVID-19 and its links to climate change and the capitalist system, as the familiar coordinates heaved all around in April 2020, Malm seems to have summoned the energies of the crisis and guided them onto the page. The prose crackles—this is an urgent book.

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Barry Commoner: The systems we depend on are upside down

25 June 2019 — Climate & Capitalism

Ecosocialist Notebook

An Ecosocialist classic

Decades ago, he showed that environmental, energy and economic crises had a common cause: a system that demands increased profits at all costs

Martin Empson, a frequent C&C contributor, regularly reviews new and old books on his blog, Resolute Reader. Recently, he reviewed Barry Commoner’s 1971 classic The Closing Circle, calling it “an important contribution to our understanding of the struggle we need.” He says he wishes he had read it years ago.

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‘Karl Marx’s Ecosocialism’ wins the 2018 Deutscher Prize

25 November 2018 — Climate & Capitalism

Kohei Saito honored for his brilliant study of Marx’s views on the relationship between society and nature

I’m thrilled to report that Kohei Saito’s brilliant bookKarl Marx’s Ecosocialism: Capital, nature, and the unfinished critique of political economy, has won the 2018 Deutscher Memorial Prize. The prize, named for the great Marxist scholar and historian Isaac Deutscher, is awarded annually to “a book which exemplifies the best and most innovative new writing in or about the Marxist tradition.”

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On the environmental question, Sam Gindin has got it wrong By Brad Hornick

4 July 2014 —

[This is a response By Brad Hornick to Sam Gindin’s Unmaking Global Capitalism. WB]

Sam Gindin’s recent contributions to the The Bullet  and Jacobin explore the lost potential of the working class in revolutionary politics. On the economic and ecological fronts, he argues, working-class politics has been incapable of catalyzing widespread and consequential societal mobilization, or becoming vital sites of theoretical and practical struggle.

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Unmaking Global Capitalism By Sam Grindin

4 July 2014 — The Jacobin

[Two articles; this, the original essay and a response by By Brad Hornick On the environmental question, Sam Gindin has got it wrong. WB]

When Marx famously declared that while the philosophers have interpreted the world, the point is to change it, he was asserting that it was not enough to dream of another world nor to understand the dynamics of the present. It was critical above all to address the question of agency in carrying out transformative change. For Marx, that agent was the working class. The gap between workers’ needs and their actual lives — between desire and reality — gave workers an interest in radical change, while their place in production gave them the leverage to act.

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We Cannot Shop Our Way Out of the Problems John Bellamy Foster Interviewed by Max van Lingen

1 December, 2009 — MRZine-Monthly Review

John Bellamy Foster is the editor of the socialist magazine Monthly Review and teaches sociology at the University of Oregon.  He has written on numerous subjects, from political economy to Marxist theory.  This year Foster published The Ecological Revolution: Making Peace With the Planet.

Max van Lingen is a student of political philosophy and modern history at the University of Amsterdam and a journalist for the Dutch monthly The Socialist.  A shortened version of this interview appeared in Dutch in the December issue of The Socialist.  The entire interview appeared in Dutch on the website of the International Socialists:

Consciousness about climate change has increased enormously; however, it also seems as if there is a lack of criticism of business and government actions.  Instead it appears as if people are thinking: it doesn’t really matter why people act, as long as they act.

I think people on the left often try to be “practical,” which they interpret as somehow trying to accommodate themselves to the status quo, so as to make minor improvements.  Often this is a kind of desperation to effect change.  However, Copenhagen is already a dead deal before it begins.  The United States and the other leading powers have indicated that there will be no binding agreements, no significant changes, and no non-market solutions.

James Hansen, arguably the world’s greatest climate scientist, has called the latest U.S. climate legislation passed by the House “worse than nothing” in that it locks in a “temple of doom.” The changes, if we are to avoid planetary collapse, need to be much more massive and need to come from below.  Hansen himself has called for mass “civil resistance” and has been arrested while protesting mountain top removal coal mining.

The climate justice movement, which tends to be more radical, is where to take one’s stand at present.  The truth is that we need some extremely strong, short-term solutions to be followed by a long-term strategy of ecological and social revolution.  I have written about this in my new book Ecological Revolution and in an article to appear in the January 2010 Monthly Review.

At the same time people are making ‘green’ choices, which are sometimes much more expensive.  There is a lot of criticism from this group towards people who are opposed to environmental measures because they are afraid they are going to lose their jobs.  Does this contradiction stand in the way of a solution?

There is no doubt that the growing need to make lifestyle changes is important and critical.  A great deal is being learned in this process, which could play into an ecological revolution of the whole society — as part of a total revolutionary dialectic.  Seeking to have a smaller ecological footprint is important on an individual as well as a social level.  But divorced from fundamental economic and political change, such individual, voluntaristic changes, primarily in the realm of consumption, are limited.  We cannot shop our way out of these problems.

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London Conference: A Model of Ecosocialist Collaboration By Ian Angus

17 September, 2009 — Climate and Capitalism

On September 12, about 100 people attended ‘Climate and Capitalism,’ a one-day conference in London, England, organized by Green Left and Socialist Resistance.

I was invited to participate as editor of this website, and as editor of The Global Fight for Climate Justice, published this summer by Resistance Books. (The meeting was in part a launch-event for the book.) I spoke at the opening plenary, and in a workshop on the Global South.

Often, meetings like this are actually organized by one group, with one or two others as passive sponsors, named on the poster but otherwise not very involved. That was decidedly NOT the case this time. In fact, from everything I could see, this was almost a perfect example of collaboration between two groups – Green Left, the organized ecosocialist tendency within the Green Party of England and Wales; and Socialist Resistance, the British section of the Trotskyist Fourth International.

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Book Review: Climate Justice: Red is the New Green

17 August, 2009 — Socialist Voice

Book Review. The Global Fight for Climate Justice: Anticapitalist Responses to Global Warming and Environmental Destruction. edited by Ian Angus. Resistance Books, London, 2009. 284 pages. C$20/US$18/£10

Reviewed by Jeff White

The fight for climate justice, as that phrase is used in the title of this new anthology, comprises struggles around a compendium of related environmental and social issues. All of these struggles arise out of capitalism’s relentless assault on the natural resources of our planet and its exploitative systems of production and world trade.

The worldwide character of the growing environmental movement is reflected in the diverse list of contributors to the book. Australia and the U.K., with active climate justice movements, are well represented here, along with writers from France, Belgium, South Africa, USA, Canada, and Latin America. Several of these 46 works have been translated from other languages and appear in English for the first time in this volume.

Many of the articles, speeches, interviews and essays provide comprehensive descriptions and analyses of how capitalism has brought humanity to the brink of ecological destruction. Many also provide useful and practical perspectives for advancing the struggle further in an anticapitalist direction. Most of the book’s contributors write or speak from an ecosocialist perspective.

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