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Creating an Ecological Society: Toward a Revolutionary Transformation


Sickened by the contamination of their water, their air, of the Earth itself, more and more people are coming to realize that it is capitalism that is, quite literally, killing them. It is now clearer than ever that capitalism is also degrading the Earth’s ability to support other forms of life. Capitalism’s imperative—to make profits at all costs and expand without end—is destabilizing the Earth’s climate, while increasing human misery and inequality on a planetary scale. Already, hundreds of millions of people are facing poverty in the midst of untold wealth, perpetual war, growing racism, and gender oppression. The need to organize for social and environmental reforms has never been greater. But crucial as reforms are, they cannot solve our intertwined ecological and social crises. Creating an Ecological Society reveals an overwhelmingly simple truth: Fighting for reforms is vital, but revolution is essential.

Because it aims squarely at replacing capitalism with an ecologically sound and socially just society, Creating an Ecological Society is filled with revolutionary hope. Fred Magdoff and Chris Williams, who have devoted their lives to activism, Marxist analysis, and ecological science, provide informed, fascinating accounts of how a new world can be created from the ashes of the old. Their book shows that it is possible to envision and create a society that is genuinely democratic, equitable, and ecologically sustainable. And possible—not one moment too soon—for society to change fundamentally and be brought into harmony with nature.

This must-read book provides a powerfully clear analysis of the inherently destructive nature of capitalist relations of production to global humanity and to the survival of the larger environment of organisms of which human beings are an integral life force. The authors make a convincing, urgent call for a decisive choice to revolt and to transform our lives and replenish our planet through systematic expansion of promising, sustainable projects of social and environmental justice.

—Danny Glover, Citizen-Artist

Remarkably clear, wise, balanced, well written, and at times poetic, this important book takes on one of the great questions of our time.

—Jonathan Neale, author, Stop Global Warming, Change the World

Pushing back against pervasive and debilitating pessimism, Magdoff and Williams have revived the hard work of imagining what an eco-socialist future might actually involve. Regardless of what the future holds, our present struggles will benefit from the optimism of their political imagination.

—Christian Parenti, author, Tropic of Chaos Climate Change and the New Geography of Violence

Creating an Ecological Society is a much-needed vision of what the future might look like if a socio-ecological revolution could be implemented. Such a society would be consistent with bio-ecological cycles and the fulfillment of human needs. Anyone who wishes to rethink the planet as a sustainable human/ecological system should read this book.

—Carolyn Merchant, author, The Death of Nature: Women, Ecology, and the Scientific Revolution

A comprehensive, systematic map of the dire straits we’re in and the way out. Not to be missed. Dispels the myth that human nature is to blame and puts the necessary confrontation with capitalism front and center.

—Andreas Malm, author, Fossil Capital: The Rise of Steam Power and the Roots of Global Warming

With a remarkable command of the science on why our planet is dying and inequality is growing, these authors also provide ample hope into how to radically transform our toxic political, economic and social systems. By borrowing from the beautiful intelligence of other species and building profoundly new relationships with nature, our food, our cities, our governments and each other, we’re shown in these pages that a revolution is not just possible, but it might actually bring us great happiness.

—Joanna Kerr, Executive Director, Greenpeace (Canada)

In today’s increasingly unstable and often very frightening times, it is a huge help to find the authors’ clear, calm prose carving a path towards a sustainable future with the precision of diamond. Exhaustively researched, driven by authentic passion for our planet, full of hope and ideas for action, it is essential reading not just for activists but for everyone with the slightest stake in the future of humanity on earth.

—Emma Thompson, actor and environmental activist

This book offers building blocks for a socio-ecological revolution and human salvation. Read it and join in imagining and creating a vibrant, just, and ecologically nourishing world.

—James Early, former Director, Cultural Heritage Policy, Smithsonian Institution

Through the lens of social justice, Magdoff and Williams detail the planetary emergency. They warn us if we don’t radically transform the current system of inequity and exploitation, the Earth as we know it today will cease to exist. A clear and comprehensive diagnosis of the climate crisis, the role of capitalism, and a revolutionary alternative. Creating an Ecological Society is a road map to a sustainable future. Read this book and act.

—David Barsamian, host, Alternative Radio

A brilliant resource for green-lefts and left-greens! Magdoff and Williams don’t just describe the global environmental crisis, they identify its root causes, and lay out a program for building a truly ecological society. If you are concerned about the future of life on earth (as you should be!), then this is a book you must read and share.

—Ian Augus, author, Facing the Anthropocene: Fossil Capitalism and the Crisis of the Earth System

With the clock ticking, the predictions dire, the authors make clear that all the solar panels, electric cars, and rearrangement of the deck chairs in the world are not going to lessen the looming catastrophe unless capitalism is abolished and the profit motive removed from humanity’s future. This is a call and a guidebook to action.

—Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, author, An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States

Increasing numbers of environmental activists know that capitalism is to blame for the ecological crises that we face. Moving to a post-capitalist, ecologically sustainable society has never been more urgent. But what would that society look like, and how might it organise in the interests of people and the wider environment? In this important book Fred Magdoff and Chris Williams give us a socialist vision of a socially just and ecological sustainable world, and offer some arguments as to how we might get there.

—Martin Empson, author, Land and Labour: Marxism, Ecology and Human History

In Creating an Ecological Society, Fred Magdoff and Chris Williams provide us with an eloquent encyclopedia of eco-social rebellion. They portray chillingly the dangers of impending disaster, demolish the myths that feed planetary destruction, and present intellectual building blocks for a transformational mass action. They have given us an indispensable handbook for eco-socialist action.

—John Riddell, author, To the Masses: Proceedings of the Third Congress of the Communist International, 1921

Here at last is a road map through the apocalypse built on hope, not despair. Synthesizing a stunning compendium of knowledge, Chris Williams and Fred Magdoff boldly confront the grave risks capitalism poses to humanity and the planet and argue with passion and conviction as to how we can find solutions in the society and nature already around us and not in some futuristic technology or political savior.

—Arun Gupta, editor, The Guardian Newsweekly and The Guardian editor of the Indypendent magazine; founder, The Occupied Wall Street Journal; contributor, The Washington Post, The Nation, and Jacobin

Humans are now facing the most severe challenges that have arisen during their brief stay on Earth, both self-induced: nuclear weapons and ecological catastrophe, the latter a broad category including not just global warming, disastrous enough, but also destruction of species, radical disruption of nutrient cycles, and other unprecedented calamities. This careful and comprehensive study is a very valuable contribution to addressing the social and ecological challenge, not only with its remarkable breadth of scope and expert understanding but also in its analysis of the inherent unviability of capitalist institutions and hopeful message that the “revolutionary systemic change” necessary to avert catastrophe is within our reach.

—Noam Chomsky, Professor Emeritus, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

With expansive analysis and synthesis of political ecology and economy Magdoff and Williams conclude that capitalism, not the physics of carbon or human nature, is responsible for the myriad entangled social-ecological crises of our time, including climate change; and so it must be abolished. They then make a revolutionary proposal with concrete examples toward creating an ecologically sound and socially just society. The impressive blending of biological with social, of elegiac narrative with practical instructions, will surely make Creating an Ecological Society a memorable and indispensable companion in the ecosocial revolution already underway.

—Subhankar Banerjee, Lannan Chair and Professor of Art & Ecology, University of New Mexico

To heal the rifts between society and nature, and create a system of co-evolutionary human development, we need a materialist social ecology that can serve as an instrument of worker-community struggles in and against capitalism. Magdoff and Williams pursue this project forthrightly and relentlessly. Creating an Ecological Society is required reading for anyone concerned about the planetary crisis and the needed changes in our systems of material provisioning.

—Paul Burkett, author, Marx and Nature: A Red and Green Perspective and, with John Bellamy Foster, Marx and the Earth: An Anti-Critique

Fred Magdoff and Chris Williams have produced a comprehensive, documented, informative, thought-provoking study that is impressively ‘reader friendly’ in organization and presentation. A work that will have immense value and appeal for professionals and non-specialist general readers alike, Creating an Ecological Society is unreservedly recommended for both community and academic library Contemporary Economics collections in general, and Environmental Studies supplemental reading lists in particular.

Midwest Book Review

Fred Magdoff is Professor Emeritus of Plant and Soil Science at the University of Vermont. Among his recent books are Agriculture and Food in Crisis (edited with Brian Tokar) and What Every Environmentalist Needs to Know About Capitalism (with John Bellamy Foster).

Chris Williams is an environmental activist, teacher, journalist, and author of Ecology and Socialism: Solutions to Capitalist Ecological Crisis.

Format Clear
SKU: mrp6295 Categories: , , , Tag:

Number of Pages: 388

Publication Date: February 2017

eBook ISBN: 9781583676318

Cloth ISBN: 9781583676301

Paperback ISBN: 9781583676295