[Marxism] Fwd: Jason Moore’s “Capitalism in the Web of Life: Ecology and the Accumulation of Capital” | Louis Proyect: The Unrepentant Marxist

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Mon Oct 10 10:35:37 MDT 2016

Earlier this year I was startled to discover that a debate had broken 
out between supporters of John Bellamy Foster on one side and Jason 
Moore on the other over how to properly theorize ecology from a Marxist 
standpoint. Since Moore’s scholarship was influenced by Immanuel 
Wallerstein, I wondered what the problem could be. Weren’t they all on 
the same wave-length with Monthly Review having provided a platform for 
the dependency theory/World Systems schools that included Wallerstein, 
Andre Gunder Frank, Samir Amin and others?

As it happens, ecology is a topic that lends itself to debate since 
except for Marx’s relatively brief discussion of soil fertility and 
Engels’s observations on the despoliation of the Alps, there was very 
little analysis until the Green movement took off in the early 1960s. 
Rachel Carson’s article on DDT helped to create an awareness that 
pollution was not just an annoyance but a threat to human existence. 
This led to Marxist scholars trying to anchor the new movement 
theoretically even if they spoke in a hundred different voices. Unlike 
analyzing imperialism, there was no theoretical continuity to build 
upon. Basically ecosocialism had to be created from scratch.

For me it meant dumping some of the baggage I picked up in the 
Trotskyist movement. After all, Trotsky embraced nuclear power in “If 
America Should Go Communist” and Joe Hansen, who was Trotsky’s bodyguard 
in Coyoacan, lauded the Green Revolution (the term for chemical-based 
farming rather than ecology) in a 1960 pamphlet titled “Too Many 
Babies?: The Myth of the Population Explosion”.

When I began reading and writing about Marxism and ecology nearly 25 
years ago, I soon became aware that it was a highly contested field with 
almost as much acrimony as you could find in the Leninist left over how 
to build a revolutionary party. Although almost everybody except Frank 
Furedi could agree that fracking and industrial farming were threats to 
the environment, there were disagreements over how to theorize the 
nature/society nexus.


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