The environment

Readings on degrowth

For a study session on degrowth, I thought I'd share some more readings on the topic. This is by no means comprehensive but should give a flavour of the arguments that have been taking place in Capitalism Nature Socialism and New Left Review. Personally I think none of them manage to develop a Marxist analysis of the matter. Nonetheless, it is important to engage in and contribute to this discussion. Happy to help any questions about the texts - and please share more [e.g. in the comments] if you have come across something. We will be reading the first too for our reading group (a...

Kohei Saito’s "Marx’s Ecosocialism" — Study course

Marxism and ecosocialism: study course Thursdays 8pm (UTC+1), 15 July 2021 to 5 August 2021 Please register (free) on Eventbrite https://www.eventbrite.com/e/karl-marxs-ecosocialism-study-group-on-saitos-book-tickets-162039455373 Zoomlink each Thursday https://us02web.zoom.us/j/81679399952?pwd=WW9lRzF1M1l4VVVsWTZVOFdyTS84dz09M Study guide for the course Powerpoint for session 1 (15 July) Powerpoint for session 2 (22 July) Powerpoint for session 3 (29 July) Powerpoint for session 4 (5 August) Click here for review of Saito's book

The politics of carbon drawdown

A review of books by Elizabeth Kolbert and Holly Jean Buck. Buck will be speaking at Ideas for Freedom, 10-11 July. Elizabeth Kolbert’s new book Under a White Sky describes a pattern in the relationship between human beings and our environment that we can observe being played out at different scales and on different terrains throughout recent history. The reversing of the Chicago River to solve Chicago’s sewage problem was initially successful. A canal diverted Chicago’s waste into the Des Plaines river rather than Lake Michigan. It had the unintended consequence of connecting two of the world...

The G7: resistance in Cornwall

More photos below article My trip to Cornwall to demonstrate around the G7 summit (11-13 June) felt a bit like a set of concentric circles: I was part of and helping to cohere a delegation of Workers’ Liberty supporters and friends; we were seeking to imbue socialist politics, internationalism, and a working-class orientation into the wider anti-G7 movement; and that movement was challenging the G7 and the politics they represent. It was only en route towards the most southwesterly tip of this island, cutting through the darkening fog in a car-share with newly-acquainted comrades — and...

Malm's "Fossil Capital": mired in slurry

Andreas Malm’s writings on climate change have been widely lauded across the left in recent years, including in Solidarity (Zack Muddle, 588, 14 April 2021). In my view, Malm is a charlatan, a pretentious poseur, who sows confusion on Marxism and climate change politics. This became clear with his book Fossil Capital (2016) and has worsened subsequently. Fossil Capital Britain was the first industrial capitalist state. Climate scientists estimate that Britain accounted for 80% of global emissions of CO2 from fossil fuel combustion in 1825 and 62% in 1850. Therefore accelerating fossil fuel use...

Environmentalists in Singapore mobilise on May Day

On May Day, SG Climate Rally, a youth-led environmentalist organisation, held an online public meeting entitled “Workers Rights = Climate Action”. The meeting commemorated Labour Day (1 May in Singapore) and marked the conclusion of SG Climate Rally’s petition for the rights of food couriers and ride-hailing app drivers. The petition was started in response to the government’s new petrol tax hike, announced in its Budget as an environmentalist policy. Ironically, the same Budget allocated $870 million to Singapore Airlines, an aviation firm that is not only incredibly pollutive, but which has...

Meeting the crises to come

A 2020 report from the US Commission on Commodity Futures Trading found: “A sudden revision of market perceptions about climate risk could lead to a disorderly repricing of assets, which could in turn have cascading effects on portfolios and balance sheets and therefore systemic implications for financial stability.” In short, economic shocks will be an early impact of climate change and will start as people begin to grasp the reality of climate change and the bleak view of the future. Consider the effect of sea level rise on world property markets. A lot of coastal settlements will flood with...

How class struggle shaped fossil fuel

The devastating and sometimes fatal Texas power outages of February 2021 show “how the Green New Deal would be a deadly deal for the United States of America,” so spewed Texan governor Greg Abbot: “It just shows that fossil fuel is necessary.” As eye-popping as this shameless lying may be, Abbot only acts as the personified caricature of the irrationality we see systemically with international capitalism. The urgent necessity to halt climate change is universally accepted by scientists. It is the greatest danger facing humanity. Leading bourgeois economists, champions of capitalism, are urging...

Diary of an engineer: Capping the laughing gas

The apprentices haven’t seen each other since November, and it’s good to work with L. He has a lot of electrical knowledge, works diligently and has a very cool head. We work together installing a fan in the workshop (P’s fan, we call it, as it was his idea). Free of supervision, we can take our time cutting and tapping metal conduit so it fits snugly against the ceiling, running the cable neatly and listening to L’s “classic rock” playlist — now and then L breaks out in songs and head-banging. He’s twenty-one, likes cars, fishing, and scotch whisky. We learn this week about two projects the...

Study guide: Fossil Capital by Andreas Malm

See a review here, a previous one here, a recording of a talk on the book here: and get the book here. Download a version of this study guide as a PDF here. Possible study schedule A suggested 9 week study schedule: Chapter 1: Setting the scene, the fossil economy (read chapter 2 if you like, or come back to that later with chapter 12) Chapters 3 and 4: Energy types and prime movers; proto-fossil economy; the industrial revolution and the first structural crisis Chapters 5 and 6: the advantages of water, and of reservoirs and aqueducts; some peculiarities of the capitalist mode of production...

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