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Marxist Ecology

Monthly Review Volume 76, Number 2 (June 2024)

June 2024 (Volume 76, Number 2)

In this month’s “Notes from the Editors,” MR editors confront the Tower of Babel that has emerged over Marx’s early “Prometheanism” and later “degrowth communism.” This ahistorical interpretation has engendered further critique of ecosocialism and degrowth on the part of self-identified productivist writers, who attempt incorrectly to paint degrowth as a Malthusian project, rather than a realistic effort to live within Earth’s planetary capacities. | more…

The Melbourne incarnation of the Global Climate Strike

Ecosocialism and Degrowth

Originally published in the German journal Widerspruch, Arman Spéth interviews John Bellamy Foster about the growing interest in degrowth thought and the importance of incorporating democratic planning aimed at true equality into all levels of society. And what of the ecosocialist revolution? “Opportunities,” Foster says, “are everywhere. Obstacles, largely a product of the present system, are also everywhere.… Nothing can or will remain the same. That is the very definition of a revolutionary situation.” | more…

Monument to Karl Marx in front of the Bolshoi Theater in Moscow

Was Karl Marx a Degrowth Communist?

Brian M. Napoletano considers the implications of recent work by Kohei Saito, in which Saito argues that Marx’s thought progressed from early productivism to middle-stage ecosocialism, and finally to degrowth communism. Napoletano concludes, that in arguing for an artificially contrived “epistemological break” between Marx’s supposed early growth-oriented perspective and his later purported “degrowth communism,” Saito fails to recognize Marx’s actual consistent emphasis throughout his work on a dialectically conceived process of sustainable human development, requiring a true social and ecological revolution. | more…

New this week!
Entrance to El Maizal Commune

The Dream of a Thing: Refounding the Economy of a Venezuelan Commune

In a vividly drawn account of El Maizal Commune, Chris Gilbert provides readers with a window into the inner workings of a community being refounded with an eye toward building a new “alternative communal economy.” The task, Gilbert finds, is one that is not only revolutionary, but liberating and creative, having the potential to collectively reimagine the social relations of a community. | more…

Monthly Review Volume 76, Number 1 (May 2024)

May 2024 (Volume 76, Number 1)

The MR editors revisit the words of Monthly Review editors Harry Magdoff and Paul M. Sweezy, writing in the twenty-fifth-year anniversary issue. Writing on the innate contradictions plaguing the capitalist system, the editors in 1974 noted that the ecological limitations of capital accumulation was “unsolvable” under capitalism, thus setting the stage for the magazine’s continued exploration of ecosocialism as humanity’s future. | more…

Young people call for action on climate change in London

The Necessity of System Change: An Ecological and Marxian Synthesis

In a world of convergent crises, leading voices have called for radical changes to food, financial, and energy systems. However, these fail to account for a deeper systemic crisis: unfettered and accelerating of capital accumulation. In this article, M. Graziano Ceddia and Jacopo Nicola Bergamo provide a more comprehensive narrative, one which emphasizes capital as a social relation—and the potential of the environmental proletariat to dismantle its dominance. | more…

A gas pipeline burns after a collision with a barge and the tugboat Shannon E. Setton near Perot Bay in Lafourche Parish, LA on March 13, 2013

The Ecological Crisis of Capitalism and Human Survival

In this remarkable reprise reprinted from Monthly Review‘s October 1992 issue, Harry Magdoff and Paul Sweezy look ahead to the ecological crisis that has continued to unfold into the twenty-first century. Presaging the critical juncture at which we find ourselves today, they write that “only a change in the in the nature of power structures on a global scale could bring a realistic hope for the long-term continuation of human civilization…. If you think that is true, what do you think are the implications?” | more…

The Dialectics of Ecology: Socialism and Nature

Today the fate of the earth as a home for humanity is in question—and yet, contends John Bellamy Foster, the reunification of humanity and the earth remains possible if we are prepared to make revolutionary changes. As with his prior books, The Dialectics of Ecology is grounded in the contention that we are now faced with a concrete choice between ecological socialism and capitalist exterminism, and rooted in insights drawn from the classical historical materialist tradition. In this latest work, Foster explores the complex theoretical debates that have arisen historically with respect to the dialectics of nature and society. He then goes on to examine

Monthly Review Volume 75, Number 10 (March 2024)

March 2024 (Volume 75, Number 10)

Paul Burkett’s death on January 7, 2024, at age 67, means that the world is suddenly bereft of the figure who played the leading role over the last three decades in developing a Marxist ecological economics in the face of the growing planetary crisis. His loss leaves ecological Marxism without its foremost exponent of the ecological critique of capitalist value relations. It also means the loss of a warm and compassionate human being, and a beloved jazz musician. | more…

Panel indicating the beginning of the buffer zone of the Ndiael Reserve

The Senegal Delta and Global Capitalism

As Pietro Daniel Omodeo observes in this review, “environmental politics cannot be separated from political decision-making.” Using the example of the Senegal delta, as explored in Maura Benegiamo’s La terra dentro il capitale, Omodeo shows that the neocolonial “Great Expropriation of the global commons” is underway in the Global South, with grim ecological and social consequences for those living in the delta. | more…

The Dialectics of Ecology: An Introduction

In this introduction to his forthcoming The Dialectics of Ecology (Monthly Review Press, 2024), John Bellamy Foster charts the relatively recent reconstruction of Marxian ecology, based on the classical Marxist understanding of the social-metabolic system linking humanity and nature. It is through dialectical naturalism, he writes, that we can face the crises of the Anthropocene while building a society that truly supports the well-being both of society and Earth itself. | more…