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Marxist Ecology

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Illustration of Degrowth

Planned Degrowth: Ecosocialism and Sustainable Human Development

In the introduction to this summer’s special issue on “Planned Degrowth,” John Bellamy Foster outlines the major themes of degrowth thought, including, above all, a recognition of the need to challenge current notions of “growth” and “prosperity” and move toward a more sustainable model of human development, one that meets the needs of individuals and communities. This, Foster writes, requires a massive revolutionary shift in the social relations governing the means production and the prioritization of planning our economy around the survival of the species, rather than the endless drive to accumulation that has devastated the planet. | more…


Degrowth and Socialism: Notes on Some Critical Junctures

Increasingly, scholarship around degrowth and socialism are coalescing around certain shared ideas, namely, that capitalism is at the root of our planetary crisis. Güney Işıkara and Özgür Narin draw out key points of convergence among these thinkers, as well as discrepancies in the two approaches to creating a future egalitarian and sustainable society. | more…

AE Solar Factory in China (April 1, 2017)

Degrowing China—By Collapse, Redistribution, or Planning?

Minqi Li asks: How can China, the world’s largest energy consumer, be “de-grown”? What policies and institutions must change, and what are the potential social implications? How can social ownership of production, redistribution of wealth the working class, and democratically controlled planning bring the country closer to a zero growth scenario? | more…

Plan Pueblo a Pueblo food distribution activity at Mateo Liscano School, Quibor, Venezuela. Photo by Gerardo Rojas

‘Where Danger Lies…’: The Communal Alternative in Venezuela

Chris Gilbert examines the ecological aspects of Venezuela’s project of communal socialism, as well as its relation to the country’s inherited extractive economy. These democratically run communities present an alternative to the extractivist and productivist social relations driving the planet to ruin. | more…

Ferdinand Smith and Earl Dickerson meeting with Donald Nelson to promote African-American man-power in war production (circa 1945)

Planning an Ecologically Sustainable and Democratic Economy: Challenges and Tasks

As the impending planetary crisis looms ever-closer, Martin Hart-Landsberg proposes a new focus on the Second World War industrial conversion experience, in which production and consumption were guided by central planning agencies. These successes and pitfalls of this period provide many useful lessons for activists and organizers working toward planned degrowth. | more…

Construction workers complete electrical connections on phase 2 of a solar microgrid project at Fort Hunter Liggett, CA (March 12, 2013)

Planning and the Ecosocialist Mode of Cooperation

Economic planning, Nicolas Graham writes, was not, perhaps a major theme in Capital. However, Marx’s understanding of such planning—as yet unrealized societal capability—yields great insight into how we might reorient modes of production toward cooperation and coordination. “Despite bourgeois and neoliberal ideology,” he writes, “planning is both an urgent necessity and a liberatory potentiality.” | more…


Degrowth—What’s in a Name? Assessing Degrowth’s Political Implications

“Degrowth” may often be associated with the left, but can also have conservative—even ecofascist—implications. What do proponents and critics mean by “degrowth”? How do these differences play out ideologically? Ying Chen writes that, for radicals, the answer is to place the economic system at the center of the degrowth narrative, thus naming the system that must be replaced with a more just and equitable socialist society. | more…

Marx as Prometheus

Marx’s Critique of Enlightenment Humanism: A Revolutionary Ecological Perspective

This issue’s Review of the Month discusses Marx’s role as the foremost revolutionary critic of bourgeois Enlightenment humanism. To this day, his conception of “the universal metabolism of nature” remains a powerful antidote to the phantasmagoric “dark ecology” posited by today’s posthumanism. | more…