[Marxism] Fwd: A letter to a Bard College Center for Environmental Policy professor | Louis Proyect: The Unrepentant Marxist

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Tue Oct 18 07:46:27 MDT 2016

Dear Gidon Eshel,

Let me start off by introducing myself. I graduated Bard College in 1965 
and blog as the Unrepentant Marxist. In that capacity, I have written 91 
articles on ecology since 1991 (just a coincidence) mostly triggered by 
a talk that Joel Kovel gave at the Brecht Forum in NYC a few years 
earlier where he likened capitalist growth to metastasizing tumors. Does 
the name Kovel ring a bell? He used to teach environmental studies at 
Bard College until Leon Botstein fired him in 2009 for his anti-Zionist 

When I am not writing about politics, I review films—mostly 
documentaries such as Leo DeCaprio’s “Before the Flood” that I saw at a 
press screening last night. Among the Green activists and thinkers he 
spoke to in the course of his travels around the world was you. In 
making the case for eating less beef, you raised very important 
questions about the impact cattle have on climate change both through 
the clearing of forests for grazing, the discharge of methane and the 
unconscionable waste of water that raising such animals requires.

When I saw you identified as a Bard professor, a lot of memories I have 
had about the institution stirred to the surface like the ‘madeleine 
moment’ in Proust. To start off, I could not help but remember the first 
encounter I had with Botstein a few years before I got on the Internet 
and that was conducted by snail mail. When I discovered that Martin 
Peretz had become a member of the board of trustees, I reminded Botstein 
that he had been stumping for aid to the Nicaraguan contras in the New 
Republic, in contradiction if you will to the values Bard College stood 
for. I asked Botstein how he could defend the values of a liberal arts 
education when Peretz called for the funding of counter-revolutionaries 
who burned schoolhouses to the ground in Nicaragua.


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