[Marxism] fwd: Ecosocialism: Dystopian and Scientific

DW dwaltersmia at gmail.com
Mon Apr 29 08:56:48 MDT 2019

Since this was the topic it seems of the last two posts attempting to
counter the Huber article, here is the article.


Ecosocialism: Dystopian and Scientific

An effective ecosocialist politics can't just focus on dire threats to
scare us into action. It must also convince people that a better future is
*by* Matt Huber - Winter 2019

Climate change is bleak – coastal sea level rise, millions of climate
refugees and whole sections of the planet too hot for human life. Thus, for
good reason, ecosocialist politics often emphasizes a “dystopian” vision of
a future if capitalism is not replaced. The main mode of critique is laying
out what the science is telling us about current ecological collapse and
the projected worsening of planetary conditions (not just climate but mass
extinction, nitrogen dead zones etc.). However, part of socialist strategy
is also about convincing the mass of workers that a *better* future is
possible. Ecosocialist politics usually projects a dystopian future we must
avoid, rather than an emancipatory future worth fighting for.

Recently my local socialist reading group happened to be reading Friedrich
Engels’s classic *Socialism: Utopian and Scientific*
<https://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1880/soc-utop/index.htm>. For
Engels, a “scientific” socialism must be grounded in an analysis of what
kind of socialist society is possible given historical and material
conditions. Engels emphasized utopian socialists imagine an ideal society
“invented out of one’s brain”, but failed to articulate how socialism could
be realistically built out of the present. I make a similar claim in this
essay. The dystopian vision of the future among much of the green left
prevents it from explaining how socialism can be built out of the material
conditions that confront us. Ecosocialists often make impressive use of
natural science to project a dystopian future, but this is not the
“science” Engels called for (his “science” is better described as *historical


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