Marxism and Environmentalism

Mr S C Drew S.Drew at
Wed Feb 1 14:21:43 MST 1995

In my experience the debates between greens and socialists have resulted
in little but hot air and frayed tempers.

Whilst there are several green theorists and activists with views which
any socialist could, and indeed must, dismiss as backwards, even
recationary, (witness Dave Foreman's comments on AIDS and Mexican
immigrants) there are many who are prepared to enter into dialogue with
socialists and these should not be dismissed by us on the left as so
often happens.

Much of ecological political theory is compatible with Marxism and
further Red/Green dialogue should be encouraged.

As for my part I would suggest that both Marxists and Greens (of
whatever shade) should (re)examine the work of the early Marx (in
particular the 1844 Manuscripts).  In it Marx gives a detailed
description of human-nature relations which, coupled with his writings
on alienation (from nature where nature is regarded as a social product)
provide powerful conceptual tools which may assist both orthodox
ecocentrists and orthodox expansionist Marxists in understanding the
environmental crisis.

Simon Drew
Philosophy Dept.
Lancaster University

S.Drew at


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