*Revolutionary Ecology and Beyond Reading Group – 3*

* – Judi Bari 1997 Revolutionary Ecology*

‘Starting from the very reasonable, but unfortunately revolutionary concept
that social practices which threaten the continuation of life on Earth must
be changed, we need a theory of revolutionary ecology that will encompass
social and biological issues, class struggle, and a recognition of the role
of global corporate capitalism in the oppression of peoples and the
destruction of nature. ‘


For full readings details ( or see bottom of email in this case )

or email …
 *Hugo Blanco on indigenous-ecological struggle in latin america*
” …Their struggle is to defend the natural environment where they have
lived for millennia. But now this nature—which they regard as their
mother—is under attack. The timber companies cutting the trees, the oil
companies poisoning the rivers—this is what their uprising is against. They
do not understand it as a class struggle. But nonetheless, it is a struggle
against the multinational corporations which are defended by the government.
So we understand that it is related to the class struggle.”

*Eddie Yuen on the failure of ‘green capitalism’*

“How can we understand the utter failure of the leaders of the world’s
nation states, with the sole exception of Bolivia, to make even a
perfunctory effort to assuage the crisis? It’s certainly not climate
denialism, as few if any countries are host to a political entity such as
the US Republican Party. On the contrary, global elites know full well what
is happening. China and many other Asian countries, where 9 of the 10 most
at-risk cities are located, are run by engineers and technocrats. Can it be
attributed primarily to a lack of vision – a systemic inability to look
beyond electoral cycles and quarterly profit reports, something that
liberal, communist and even fascist elites all seemed able to do not so many
decades ago? Is it due primarily to a lack of cohesion amongst global elites
resulting from the vacuum caused by the US’s precipitous fall from hegemonic
status? Or is it the failure of the boosters of green capitalism to pitch a
plausible new bubble opportunity to global finance capital? Whatever the
combination of these factors, there is a “growing acceptance”, as The
Economist says, “that the effort to avert serious climate change has run out
of steam”.

As insane as this is, it’s not hard to see why Northern elites are warming
to the idea of managed climate change. After all, they know that in this
game of “lifeboat ethics”, we’re not all in the same boat. As Mike Davis has
eloquently described, the existing inequalities between North and South will
be exacerbated by temperature rise – and ideologically “naturalized” in the
process.  ”

*Interrogating ‘Peak Oil’ from the radical left.*

“ Peak oil is the point in time when the maximum rate of global petroleum
extraction is reached, after which the rate of production enters terminal

*George Caffentzis ; Class perspectives on peak oil and the resource  curse.

‘ to strip both the peak oil hypothesis of its apocalyptic pathos and the
“resource curse” conjecture of its apologetic halo and examine them in the
light of historical materialist categories. This translation from the realms
of apocalypse and apology to a class analysis is a modest but, I believe,
necessary step in fashioning an anti-capitalist energy politics… the peak
oil complex claims that world oil production from the mid-nineteenth century
to the middle of the twenty-second century is best charted by a bell-shaped
(normal distribution) curve whose peak is to be reached sometime in the
beginning of the twenty-first (i.e., NOW)… Supporters of the hypothesis
predict that this period of energy crisis and transition would have a
“devastating effect” on the economies and standard of living of those in the
so-called developed world (Western Europe, North America, and Japan)… But is
that the only possible outcome of this crisis?… the Peak Oil hypothesis
can have positive consequences for workers in the oil-producing areas on two
counts, i.e., Peak Oil is not all gloom and doom for everyone. First, class
struggles over wages in these areas can dramatically increase and, second,
class disputes over the ownership of oil fields (especially claims for
common ownership) are becoming pivotal and the source of a tremendous
struggle (cf. (Caffentzis 2004)). These political consequences are exactly
what are shaping the class struggle in Bolivia, Venezuela, and Ecuador
independent of the literal truth of the peak oil hypothesis,… During the
energy transition period, demands will grow for reparations for the
environmental and social damage imposed in the last century of oil
exploitation throughout the planet…. Historically, we should remember that
capitalism began its trail of tears long before the “hydrocarbon” age. In
fact, capitalism begins as a “green” mode of production (water drove the
mills, wind drove the slave ships, wood and peat moss warmed the hearths and
fired the artisans’ furnaces, etc.) This was capitalism’s most savage,
genocidal, and rapacious period…. Therefore, there is no reason to think
that the new mode of production dependent on “sustainable,” “clean,”
“renewable” energy will be irenic… the translation of peak oil and resource
curse hypotheses into Marxist categories creates a clarity that dissipates
the power of the moral moods surrounding these hypotheses whatever their
epistemic value

 *Exner: Re: “Peak Oil” and “Resource Curses” from a Class Perspective *

“ In Georges account, I think that climate change and “geological facts” are
underrated and class struggle is overrated. I would rather think that class
alliances (“imperial lifestyle”, Ulrich Brand), underpin a global production
model that should not further use fossil fuels, whether it is capitalist or
not. (Of course, the use of renewables under capitalist relations will be
disasterous). Firstly because of climate change, secondly because of the
hard facts of resource needs of the infrastructural transition that we face
– a certain amount of oil will be necessary to secure a certain production
level of a renewable system. Unfortunately, I see hardly any chances to plan
such a transition, so most of the oil will get wasted and the renewable
system will consequently be much less productive than it could be.  ”

*Nik on oil and food*

It’s important to note this isn’t the peak oil thesis – what Moore argues is
that different capitalist arrangements incorporate different surpluses, in
different degrees. It’s unlikely there would be a crisis caused by lack of
labour anytime soon (unlike early periods of capitalism), but probably one
of oil. But the system could conceivably change away from oil to another
energy source (what if human labour, in near slave conditions, becomes more
economically viable than oil?

Capitalism was built on slavery and renewable energy after all…). The peak
oil thesis assumes no other configuration of capitalism is possible and that
the current energy configuration is the only one there could be. Personally
I could see an entire other world, just as bad or worse than this one.
Climate change limits ‘our’ reproduction as a species, but some humans are
more equal than others in this. Moore actually argues that food production
is a far more serious constraint that oil – being the fundamental surplus
that makes capitalism possible.

scroll to comment on march 23rd at 9.34am by Nic

*COP15: On the Failure of Ecology to Analyse and Subvert Suicide Capitalism

 “.. the following text encounters the idiocies of a no-growth economy
lamenting such naivety because capitalism seeks expansion at any cost.
Though easy to point to the rise of industrial capitalism in the China/India
nexus, what we emphasise here is the expansion of ‘internal’ capitalism –
nature as a dynamic component of exchange and marketing – as our everyday
lives, mores and bodies, including the tiny organisms beneath our feet are
commodified to the point of extinction. A long time ago the last days of
Icteric in Newcastle-upon-Tyne commented upon this personally invasive
imperialism which went something like “They pulled out of India only to
entrench themselves more deeply inside our skulls”.

COP15 was a victory for the pacifying function of art not protest. And it
also was a case of the converted preaching to the converted, there being
nothing as remotely stirring and unforeseen as the longshoreman who declared
that after Seattle 1999 he would no longer look on redwood trees as waiting
to be sawn down, milled and turned into planks for patios. Seattle marked a
beginning, COP15 an end, and the need for a major rethink was immediately
apparent in the days following its failure. ”

COP15: On the Failure of Ecology to Analyse and Subvert Suicide Capitalism
by revolt against plenty.

George Caffentzis and Andreas Exner on Class perspectives on peak oil,

resource curses and conditions of emancipation the left did not want.

and Nic Beuret comments in this thread.…

Accumulation Crisis as Ecological Crisis: The End of Cheap Food, Cheap
Energy, and Cheap Labor

 (sections of ) Nature, Capital, Communism by Will Barnes ( see comments for which bits – later )

Speculation and the Twin Energy and Economic Crises…

‘eco-socialism!’ or why so called left-green states are a problem for
revolutionary ecology .. and beyond