“It is not possible to comprehend the full scope of […] political economy if one ignores its ecological dimension” - Camilla Royle
What we’re reading :
Clark, J. (2019). Between Earth and Empire: From the Necrocene to the Beloved Community. PM Press.
This week we’re reading Between Earth and Empire: From the Necrocene to the Beloved Community, a book in which anarchist philosopher John Clark argues that the contemporary ecological crisis can only be solved through large-scale social and ecological regeneration, rooted in the rebirth of a libertarian and communitarian social imaginary, and the flourishing of a free cooperative community on the global scale. Citing the Zapatista movement in Chiapas, the Democratic Autonomy Movement in Rojava, Indigenous movements in defence of the commons and the solidarity economy movement, Clark offers a perspective on climate change based upon principles of anarchism and other radical social movements.
Brown, A. (2019). She defended her land against a mine in Guatemala. Then she fled for her life. The Intercept.
This article traces the history of the mining industry in Guatemala to present day, with specific regard to the violence perpetrated against its opposition. Known as Land Defenders, Brown defines these activists as not only environmentalists defending their communities from contamination and lawyers fighting to enforce environmental regulations, but peasant farmers and Indigenous people as well. More broadly, this article tells the story of transnational influence and global power structures, the battle and right for land in the context of climate change, violence as a core measure of upholding the globalised, neoliberal economy, and how Indigenous, poor or communities of color all face the largest brunt of environmental risks.
Royle, C. (2019). Marx and the Robbery of the Soil and the Worker. International Socialism Quarterly Review.
In a Book review of Karl Marx’s Eco-Socialism: Capital, Nature, and the Unfinished Critique of Political Economy (Saito 2017), Royle examines the place of ecology in Marxist thought, arguing that while Marx should not be considered an authority on ecology, his theories are nonetheless still relevant. Namely, theories such as '“metabolic rift” have given Marxists a way to show how “the corruption of the natural environment is intrinsically linked to the alienation and exploitation of workers.” Capitalism distorts the relationship between humanity and nature, Royle argues, and a “capitalist system that treats only abstract labour as a source of value and systematically fails to recognise the contribution of other sources of wealth will necessarily result in such a metabolic rift.”
What we’re watching :
Documentary : Curry, M. (2011). If a Tree Falls.
Following a nationwide sweep of radical environmentalists involved with the Earth Liberation Front, an organisation operating in separate anonymous cells that had launched spectacular arsons against dozens of businesses they accused of destroying the environment, this film explores the history of the organisation, as well as discussing environmentalism, activism, and the way we define terrorism.
Documentary : Visser, W. and Sheldon, G. (2018). Closing the Loop.
This week we’re watching a documentary on and introduction to the zero-waste and circular economy, an economic vision that seeks to move from the linear model of production and consumption to a circular system that reuses inputs for new uses. Whereas it could be argued that the documentary lacks in discussing more radical systemic change and concepts of de-growth, the documentary does succeed in putting a spotlight on exemplary companies achieving zero-waste.
What we’re listening to :
Podcast: (2019). The Lungs of the North. Mothers of Invention.
This week we’re listening to the podcast Mothers of Invention, a podcast that aims to highlight inspiring women in pursuit of climate justice. In “the Lungs of North,” hosts Mary Robinson and Maeve Higgins discuss the movement of indigenous peoples in the Arctic fighting against climate change, invasions for mineral extraction, as well as shipping and fishing industry invasions in indigenous territories.
Further reading :