Green Hopes

glevy at acnet.pratt.edu glevy at acnet.pratt.edu
Sat Nov 18 04:59:07 MST 1995


Alain Lipietz wrote a book in 1993 [_Vert esperance: L'avenir de
l'ecologie politique_, Paris, Editions La Decouverte, 1993] which has
recently been translated into English as _Green Hopes: The Future of
Political Ecology_, Cambridge, Polity Press, 1995.
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Lipietz _was_ probably the best-known Marxist economist in France and one
of the most respected internationally. He _was_ one of the leaders of
"regulation" theory (that based out of Paris, rather than Grenoble).

He is now Green _rather_ than Red (and Marxist). An alternative title to
his work, he explains, could have been "To a Left-Wing Friend Still
Hesitating to Join the Ecologists." Although Lipietz suggests a number of
similarities between the "green paradigm" and Marxism (materialism,
dialectics, progressive), he argues that the Marxist perspective which he
claims concentrates on the growth of the productive forces, material
goods, the centrality of class conflict, the progressive role of the
working class, etc. are all outdated and represent collectively a threat
to our planet. Marxism, he argues, has a teleological bias and a concern
primarily with humankind rather than the ecosystem with disasterous
consequences.

Although he goes on to argue that "political ecology" is anti-capitalist,
he identifies other Green "values" such as solidarity, autonomy,
individual and social responsibility, democracy, and harmony as being
necessary values for our age. He supports calls for "sustainable
development" and a "participatory ecological democracy" in which each
individual is held responsible for the polution and environmental
degredation that his/her consumption of material goods brings forth.

Many Marxists will read this book with sadness, but, it is a very hopeful
and optimistic work rather than  one of disillusionment and pessimism.
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Here are my questions:

1) Has this work been critiqueed in other languages yet? If so, who can
     summarize those critiques?

2) To what extent is this transition, from Red to Green [and non-Marxist]
     happening in  other European countries? Are other adherents of
     regulation theory in France, for instance, following suit?

3) What experiences do political activists on the list have with working
     with the Greens? What is the best way to build Green/Red alliances?

4) Who can offer the best answers for some of the legitimate concerns
     that Greens have about Marxism?
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The above questions are, IMO, *very* important. The Green movement has
been on the rise internationally for years and is now a major political
force in many countries (e.g. Germany). There is also the vital question
of how socialists can develop the best possible pro-environment movement.
It is not an exaggeration to say that these questions will have a
profound affect on our ability to ensure the reproduction of life on this
planet and, consequently, the survival of children, orchids, and tigers
alike.

Let's discuss this topic for a while. It is more important than some
recent threads, IMO.

Jerry


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