“Notes on Exterminism” for the Twenty-First-Century Ecology and Peace Movement

In 1980, the great English Marxist historian and theorist E. P. Thompson, author of The Making of the English Working Class and leader of the European nuclear disarmament movement, wrote the groundbreaking essay "Notes on Extermination, the Last Stage of Civilization." Although the world has undergone a series of significative changes since then, Thompson's essay remains a useful starting point for addressing the central contradictions of our time, characterized by the planetary ecological crisis, the COVID-19 pandemic, the New Cold War, and the current "empire of chaos," all stemming from deeply rooted features of contemporary capitalist political economy. - John Bellamy Foster

Finding Flow: exploring the potential for sustainable fulfilment

Materialistic values and lifestyles have been associated with detrimental effects on both personal and planetary health. Therefore, there is a pressing need to identify activities and lifestyles that both promote human wellbeing and protect ecological wellbeing. In this Personal View, we explore the dynamics of a psychological state known as flow, in which people are shown to experience high levels of wellbeing through involvement in challenging activities that require some level of skill, and can often involve less materially intensive activities. –– Amy Isham and Tim Jackson

Deforestation and World Population Sustainability: a Quantitative Analysis

In this paper we afford a quantitative analysis of the sustainability of current world population growth in relation to the parallel deforestation process adopting a statistical point of view. We consider a simplified model based on a stochastic growth process driven by a continuous time random walk, which depicts the technological evolution of human kind, in conjunction with a deterministic generalised logistic model for humans-forest interaction and we evaluate the probability of avoiding the self-destruction of our civilisation. Based on the current resource consumption rates and best estimate of technological rate growth our study shows that we have very low probability, less than 10% in most optimistic estimate, to survive without facing a catastrophic collapse. –– Mauro Bologna and Gerardo Aquino

Is China Transforming the World?

In the early years of the 21st century, many Western capitalists saw China as a "new El Dorado". In most Western media, China is now presented as a threat, a conquering "empire", an "imperialist" power, even if the term imperialism is taboo when it comes to the behavior of global banking establishments, companies or Western institutions. And this threat seems all the more serious because Beijing's "regime" is easily described as "dictatorial" or, in diplomatic terms, "authoritarian". The United States, which remains the world hegemon, is worried about China's rise to power, and its successive administrations are building up the anxiety-provoking image of a China eager to supplant them and steal their leadership of the capitalist world system. On the other hand, it is also the case, to some extent, for the governments of the European Union who realize they are trapped in their free trade dogma. -- Tony Andréani, Rémy Herrera and Zhiming Long

Re-visiting the Owenites–contemporary cultural co-ops

Co-operatives as an alternative business model to solely commercial firms are a widely known concept, partly through UK supermarket experiences. But, as Kate Oakley summarises early findings from her recent project, there’s much more to the practice of co-ops. Her interview study shows that the political, historical and ethical meanings attached to the idea of a co-op—and of working co-operatively—is what motivates workers and keeps them going in the long term. Institutional support, however, to maintain a co-op structure against mainstream pressure is often inadequate. –– Kate Oakley

Placing People at the Heart of Climate Action

Profound societal change along with continued technical improvements will be required to meet our climate goals, as well as to improve people's quality of life and ensure thriving economies and ecosystems. Achieving the urgent and necessary transformations laid out in the recently published IPCC report will require placing people at the heart of climate action. Tackling climate change cannot be achieved solely through technological breakthroughs or new climate models. We must build on the strong social science knowledge base and develop a more visible, responsive and interdisciplinary-oriented social science that engages with people and is valued in its diversity by decision-makers from government, industry, civil society and law. Further, we need to design interventions that are both effective at reducing emissions and achieve wider societal goals such as wellbeing, equity, and fairness. Given that all climate solutions will involve people in one way or another, the social sciences have a vital role to play. –– Patrick Devine-Wright et al

Is Population Crucial for Degrowth?

Most proponents of degrowth tend to avoid the population factor, many of them fearful of being perceived as Malthusian. This is not the case. However, in the context of a genuinely democratic ethos, we must incorporate population degrowth into the core of any degrowth imaginary, as we are the preeminent source of our planet's unsustainable consumption. If people become aware of the existential danger we face, we expect that many will choose to embark on a transition that includes gradual population degrowth as a key driver of our trajectory. If the majority refuses, that is always their right. In such a case, we will have to face the consequences of significantly reducing the chances of achieving a safe and just transition-ecologically safe for all species and socially just for people, especially in the Global South-to avoid the obvious existential threat we face. –– Álvaro J. de Regil

Trajectories of the Earth System in the Anthropocene

We explore the risk that self-reinforcing feedbacks could push the Earth System toward a planetary threshold that, if crossed, could prevent climate stabilization with intermediate temperature increases and cause continued warming on a "Greenhouse Earth" trajectory, even if human emissions are reduced. If the threshold is crossed, the resulting trajectory would likely cause severe disruptions to ecosystems, society and economies. Collective human action is needed to move the Earth System away from a possible threshold and stabilize it in a habitable state similar to the interglacial. Such action involves management of the entire Earth System -- biosphere, climate, and societies -- and could include decarbonization of the global economy, enhancement of the biosphere's carbon sinks, behavioral changes, technological innovations, new governance arrangements, and transformation of societal values. -- Will Steffen et al

Degrowth is About Global Justice

Campaigners for degrowth have thrown into question the dogma that holds that a growing economy is always a sign of progress. In Less is More, anthropologist Jason Hickel argues that only degrowth can steer the world away from its worsening ecological crisis. We sat down with him to discuss his new book and ask what degrowth would mean for relations between the Global North and South. –– Jason Hickel

Toward an Ecosocialist Degrowth

Today, we face the most pronounced and remarkable contradictions between "the time of capital" and "the time of nature". As a result, a series of intertwined ecological and social crises have come together, posing existential threats to life on the planet. In the face of today's profound crises, social organization and collective political action are necessary. Otherwise, as historian Vijay Prashad has afirmed, the climate justice movement "will have no legs." An ecosocialist degrowth must be built on internationalist alliances in which the periphery takes centre stage. The political subjects and collectives of the North are called upon to humbly assume the historical claims that the South has tirelessly and justly made. Only in this way will we be able to look with hope to the future and, above all, to the present. –– Alejandro Pedregal and Juan Bordera

Socialism and Ecological Survival: An Introduction

Capitalism has brought the world to the brink. We are rapidly approaching the planetary tipping point in the form of a climate Armageddon that threatens to make the earth uninhabitable for human and countless other species. Such an absolute catastrophe for human civilization and all species is still avoidable by a revolutionary-scale reconstitution of the current energy production, consumption and use system. However, the time to act is rapidly running out. –– John Bellamy Foster and Brett Clark

Notes on Time is Running Out

Time is running out for the world to carry out the social transformations necessary to avert irreversible climate catastrophe, keeping the increase in global average temperatures below 1.5°C (or below 2°C). The most optimistic scenario currently provided by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) describes a pathway in which the increase in temperature will not rise to 1.5°C until 2040, peaking at 1.6°C, and then falling back to 1.4°C by the end of this century. But to achieve this will require revolutionary scale transformational change in global social relations affecting the human relation to the climate and the planetary environment as a whole. –– The Editors of Monthly Review

The Blockade as a Double-Edged Sword

The blockade, which has been in existence for the entire history of the Cuban Revolution, despite brief movements toward normalisation, is a product of both U.S. criminal aggression and the Cuban Revolution itself. For the United States, as much as for Cuba, it has always been a double-edged sword, reflecting not only Washington’s continuing enmity to Cuba and the enormous harm inflicted on the latter, but also the U.S. failure to bring Cuba to its knees. Given continuing Cuban resistance, the termination of the blockade, as the analysis here shows, would only be a reflection of the ongoing decline and destabilisation of U.S. empire and the enduring strength of the Cuban Revolution, a dialectical process that now implicates the fate of the entire world. –– Roberto Regalado

The Present in History, 2021

In The 18th Brumaire of Louis Napoleon, Karl Marx observed that class struggle can create circumstances and relationships that make it "possible for a grotesque mediocrity to play the role of a hero." Donald Trump can be seen as one such grotesque mediocrity, infflated to "heroic" proportions by his reactionary followers. Unable to accept defeat, Trump attempted to seize power after losing the 2020 presidential election. His afirmation that victory was stolen from him by massive fraud and his effort to encourage Republican-held states and his vice president to give him the office-all possible within the formal rules established an ominous roadmap for Republican strategy in 2024. –– William K. Tabb

The Problematic Role of Materialistic Values in the Pursuit of Sustainable Well-Being

Strong materialistic values contribute to the maintenance of consumer capitalism but can negatively affect individual well-being, social equity and environmental sustainability. In this article, we add to the existing literature on the adverse consequences of materialistic values by highlighting their negative association with participation in attitudes and actions that support the achievement of sustainable well-being. – Amy Isham et al

The Defence of Nature: Resisting the Financialisation of the Earth

In 2016, more than fifty multinationals came together to design a framework for monetizing the global ecology, using invented shadow pricing systems based on the capitalist market system. The report highlighted the enormous opportunities for debt "leverage" represented by "emerging natural capital markets, such as water quality trading, wetland and endangered species banking, and natural carbon sequestration." Consequently, it was imperative to "put a price on the value of nature" or, put another way, "a monetary value on what nature does for...business." The future of the capitalist economy lies in ensuring that the market pays "for ecosystem services that were previously free," which could generate new economic value for companies able to convert natural capital securities into financial assets. –– John Bellamy Foster

Billionaire Space Race: the ultimate symbol of capitalism’s flawed obsession with growth

In 1972 a team of scientists at MIT published a very influential report on the Limits to Growth. Economists have fought over whether the economy can expand forever. Those who believe it is an appeal to the power of technology to "decouple" economic activity from its effects on the planet. Those who think it is impossible point to the scant evidence that decoupling will occur at the rate necessary to avoid a climate emergency. And now comes a group of confessed technology lovers finally admitting that the planet is too small for us. Yes, they were right; they imply: the Earth cannot sustain infinite growth. That's why we have to expand into space. –– Tim Jackson

Financial, Speculative and Parasitic Capital

It is a crime to rob a bank, but it is a greater crime to found one. - Berthold Brecht -- People eat little and badly. They are crazy to swallow this! Christophe Brusset, an agri-food industrialist, denounces. From the diversion of raw materials to the manipulation of products via controversial hygiene controls, Christophe Brusset denounces the many evils of which he has been, for twenty years, an accomplice or mastermind behind the scenes of the food industry. Indian paprika stuffed with peppercorns, Chinese green tea treated with pesticides, fake Moroccan saffron, cheeses transformed into veal, fruit jam without fruit, oregano cut into olive leaves, etc. Fraud with raw materials in the food industry is also part of this mafioso system. –– Alejandro Teitelbaum

Building the Vision of the Good Life

The crux of Kate Soper’s "Post-Growth Living" is simple: we need to redefine “the good life.” We need to move away from a culture that equates the good life with endless consumption and toward one that equates it with experiences that are not defined by the market. Not only is this transition ecologically necessary, but it will also lead to fairer, and far more pleasurable, experiences, such as Soper’s desired “alternative hedonism.” I am confident that this singular plea is both fecund and needed, even if, after reading, I am still not sure exactly what “alternative hedonism” actually is. –– Jordan Fox Besek

Providing Decent Living With Minimum Energy: A Global Scenario

It is increasingly clear that averting ecological breakdown will require drastic changes to contemporary human society and the global economy embedded within it. On the other hand, the basic material needs of billions of people across the planet remain unmet. Here,we develop a simple, bottom-up model to estimate a practical minimal threshold for the final energy consumption required to provide decent material livings to the entire global population. We find that global final energy consumption in 2050 could be reduced to the levels of the 1960s, despite a population three times larger. However, such a world requires a massive rollout of advanced technologies across all sectors, as well as radical demand-side changes to reduce consumption – regardless of income – to levels of sufficiency. Sufficiency is, however, far more materially generous in our model than what those opposed to strong reductions in consumption often assume. –– Joel Millward-Hopkins et al

The Deceptive Delusions of Green Capitalism — Why Endless Consumption of Our Finite Planet Will Take Us to Our Cliff of Doom and How We Can Prevent It

Endless Consumption of Our Finite Planet's Resources is Taking Us to Our Cliff of Doom... But we can save ourselves by saving the planet by changing our economic/consumption systemsBut we can save ourselves by saving the planet by changing our economic/consumption systems. This implies a radical transition of structures, replacing capitalism with a new paradigm whose sole purpose is to pursue the welfare of people and planet and NOT the market. To do this, people must organise to force change because all governments are subservient to the market and will lead to our extinction in this century. — Álvaro J. de Regil

Leaked Intergovermental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Reports

On the Climate Change Planetary Crisis. If we want future generations to live with happiness on a healthy planet, we must stop denying reality and take action, for all governments are driving us to our final demise. —(Required reading to become aware that it is up to us, the citizenry, to save ourselves by taking eco-revolutionary action. — The Editors of Monthy Review

Lithium and the Contradictions in the Energy Transition that Devastate the Global South In Favour of the Global North

Green Capitalism is a Hoax, because switching to batteries is not sustainable and it keeps depredating the ecosystems. — Nubia Barrera Silva

Notes on Ukraine

A MUST-READ —An assessment shedding sobering and objective light on the underlying causes of the eight-year civil war in Ukraine turned into a full-scale war. This is a New Cold War and a great human tragedy. — The Editors of Monthly Review

The Covid-19 Pandemic: "Their Contradictions and Ours"

It is urgent to define a clear set of demands and objectives that specifically defend the interests of the popular classes, i.e. the vast majority of the world's population. — Alain Bihr

Epidemic Response –The Legacy of Colonialism

The COVID-19 pandemic is at its root a crisis of globalisation, a crisis of racial capitalism, a crisis of colonialism, a crisis of the social organisation of our public health system. It is a crisis of treatment and care versus demonisation and wall building. And it is the latest pandemic in a long line of modern ones—from SARS to swine flu to HIV to Ebola—a predictable and predicted outcome, not the mysterious unforeseeable lightning strike as it is often portrayed. The COVID-19 pandemic is at its root a crisis of globalisation, a crisis of racial capitalism, a crisis of colonialism, a crisis of the social organisation of our public health system. — Jennifer Dohrn and Eleanor Stein

Show COP26 and Ecology

A true ecology of consumption—a new system of enduring needs is only possible by incorporating it into a new ecology of production, which requires the destruction of the capitalist system. — Alejandro Teitelbaum

Marketocracy and the Capture of People and Planet — The acceleration of Twenty-First Century Monopoly Capital Fascism through the pandemic and the Great Reset

This study examines the trajectory that the world has followed since neoliberalism was imposed on humanity half a century ago, assessing the subsequent motivations—and their consequences for humanity and the planet as a whole—of key global elite groups and individuals (Gates, Musk, Bezos and the World Economic Forum, and its proclaimed "Fourth Industrial Revolution" through "The Great Reset") who have powerful influence on the world's governments. We live in dangerous times on our planet that threaten the future of all living things, but there is a way to avoid such a future –––– Álvaro J. de Regil

COVID-19 and Catastrophe Capitalism — Commodity Chains and Ecological-Epidemiological-Economic Crises

COVID-19 has accentuated as never before the interlinked ecological, epidemiological, and economic vulnerabilities imposed by capitalism. As the world enters the third decade of the twenty-first century, we are seeing the emergence of catastrophe capitalism as the structural crisis of the system takes on planetary dimensions. — John Bellamy Foster and Intan Suwandi

Capitalism of Dispossession in the Palm Oil Plantations in the Countries of the Global South

The commodification of land has deepened the ecological, social and economic crises. The unprecedented global pandemic of the covid-19 virus comes from the destruction of the habitats of species of wild animals and plants and the subsequent migration to humans. The neoliberal model is unsupportable in the sustainable conservation of nature and the planet's economy. A change in the capitalist economy is urgently needed. — Nubia Barrera Silva

Transitioning to Geocratia — the People and Planet and Not the Market Paradigm — First Steps

Parting from the fact that saving Planet Earth, our home, changes everything, we need to build a new ethos where the majority of humankind commits to a system whose only purpose is the pursuit of the welfare of people and Planet Earth. This requires that all Earth resources necessary for the enjoyment of life of all living things be managed to achieve true long-term sustainability. — Álvaro J. de Regil

The Contagion of Capital

The U.S. economy and society at the start of 2021 is more polarised than it has ever been. The wealthy are awash in a flood of riches, marked by a booming stock market, while the underlying population exists in a state of relative, and in some cases even absolute, misery and decline. The result is two national economies as perceived, respectively, by the top and the bottom of society: one of prosperity, the other of precariousness. At the level of production, economic stagnation is diminishing the life expectations of the majority. At the same time, financialisation is accelerating the consolidation of wealth by a very few. Although the current crisis of production associated with the COVID-19 pandemic has sharpened these disparities, the overall problem is much longer and more deep-seated, a manifestation of the inner contradictions of monopoly-finance capital. Comprehending the parameters of today’s financialised capitalist system is the key to understanding the contemporary contagion of capital, a corrupting and corrosive cash nexus that is spreading to all corners of the globe, and every aspect of human existence. — John Bellamy Foster, R. Jamil Jonna and Brett Clark

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Research and analysis to provoke public awareness and critical thinking

We contribute to the liberalisation of the democratic instituions of society, for they have been captured by the owners of the market. They work in tandem with their market agents, who, posing as public servants, are entrenched in the halls of government. The political class has betrayed its public mandate and instead operates to impose a marketocratic state to maximise the shareholder value of the institutional investors of international financial markets. They own the global corporations and think they own the world on behalf of their very private interest.

Our spheres of action: true democracy – true sustainability – living wage – basic income – inequality – ecological footprint – degrowth – global warming –human development – corporate accountability – civil, political, economic, social, cultural and environmental rights, responsible consumption, sustainable autonomous citizen cells...

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Parting from an ethos of true democracy and true sustainability, We, the citizenry, work to advance the paradigm whose only purpose is to go in pursuit of the welfare of People and Planet and NOT the market.

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The Limits to Growth: Ecosocialism or Barbarism

This year marks the fiftieth anniversary of The Limits to Growth. This report warned of the serious ecological consequences for industrial society of maintaining the trajectory of global economic activity. Half a century later, however, the situation has only worsened in terms of environmental pressure and impact, while ideologies and practices built around the fetish of economic growth have continued to expand. The scientific community warns that time is running outand that the only way to avoid an environmental collapse with catastrophic consequences, especially for the most vulnerable social sectors, is to rescale economic activity to a level compatible with the planet's limits. Some international institutions and various national governments are approving programmes and policies to achieve these objectives, with meagre results. The alarm is growing at the possibility of a reactionary and eco-fascist solution to the eco-social crisis. In this article, we assess the state of the question and review how the model of production and consumption is behind the ecological disorders and why the only democratic political solution to the ecosocial crisis is the ecosocialist project.

 

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Exploring degrowth policy proposals: A systematic mapping with thematic synthesis

Degrowth – the planned and democratic reduction of production and consumption as a solution to the social-ecological crises – is slowly making its way to the sphere of policy-making. But there is a problem: proposals are scattered through a voluminous literature, making it difficult for decision-makers to pinpoint the concrete changes associated with the idea of degrowth. To address this issue, we conducted a systematic mapping of the degrowth literature from 2005 to 2020 using the RepOrting standards for Systematic Evidence Syntheses (ROSES) methodology. Out of a total of 1166 texts (articles, books, book chapters, and student theses) referring to degrowth, we identified 446 that include specific policy proposals. This systematic counting of policies led to a grand total of 530 proposals (50 goals, 100 objectives, 380 instruments), which makes it the most exhaustive degrowth policyagenda ever presented. To render this toolbox more accessible, we divided it into in 13 policy themes – food, culture and education, energy and environment, governance and geopolitics, indicators, inequality, finance, production and consumption, science and technology, tourism, trade, urban planning, and work – systematically making the difference between goals, objectives, and instruments. Following this, we assess the precision, frequency, quality, and diversity of this agenda, reflecting on how the degrowth policy toolbox has been evolving until today.

 

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The Political Economy of U.S. Systemic Militarism

After what seems a couple of decades of near quietude, Dwight Eisenhower’s bête noire, the military-industrial complex, is again fashionable. We see it in the 2021 outpouring of articles and books, a (now rare) U.S. Senate hearing, and even an extended encyclopaedia entry. A more accurate and meaningful term, which could lead the inquisitive to the structural roots of U.S. militarism, would be the industrial-military-congressional complex. Nonetheless, it must come as some relief to those who leverage the Pentagon, and did so with the better-named U.S. Department of War (1789–1947), that the focus is on the military in the first instance and not on the industrial interests that usually determine (or steer) the larger dynamics of procurement, geostrategic diplomacy, and military strategy. An adequate encapsulation is the iron triangle, with (1) military contractor corporations forming one side (the base) of the equilateral triangle; (2) the military forces, intelligence agencies, expedition-ready National Guard units, mercenary private security companies, and veteran organisations forming another side; and (3) the civilian national security state (headed by the chief executive, the secretary of state, the National Security Council, congressional members of key arms and security committees, NASA, and military-/contractor-funded but seemingly independent Washington DC think tanks) on the remaining side. The complex interdependent dynamics of the iron triangle take form as strategy, political-economy factors, and international affairs shift and drift—with constant, but varying, pressure (particularly from its base and both sides) to expand the resources it commands.

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Is Population Crucial for Degrowth?

Population size is inextricably linked to the ideal of achieving a sustainable and dignified ethos for all living beings

The vision of most degrowth proponents is to gradually yet radically decrease energy consumption and all earth’s resources until we reach a truly sustainable stationary/steady-state ethos. In such a state, the consumption levels by the planet’s inhabitants would enable our “home” to replenish what we need to secure and preserve dignified conditions in our existence, allowing all living things to reproduce and enjoy our lives sustainably. To succeed, humans need to embark on a degrowth transition that builds a radically different paradigm that replaces its exact opposite, capitalism.

A safe and just transition to a sustainable paradigm, which I have called Geocratia (“Government by the Earth”), since my paper on the subject of 2020, can only succeed by drastically decreasing our ecological footprint, by decreasing our consumption of energy and CO2 emissions. This inevitably entails drastically reducing our consumption of the Earth’s resources. To achieve this, we must not only replace the capitalistic system of sheer production/consumption but reduce the human population, tantamount to billions of people that capitalism utilises as billions of consumer units to fulfil its nature.

Most degrowth proponents tend to avoid the population factor, many afraid of being perceived as Malthusian, which is not the case. But in the context of a genuinely democratic ethos, we must incorporate population degrowth at the core of any degrowth imaginary, for we are the preeminent source of the unsustainable consumption of our planet. If people become conscientious of the existential danger we are facing, we hope that many will opt to embark on a transition that includes as a key driver in our trajectory the gradual degrowth of population. If the majority refuse, that will always be their right. In such a case, we will have to face the consequences of significantly reducing the chances of accomplishing a safe and just transition—ecologically safe for all species and socially just for people, particularly in the Global South—to avoid the evident existential threat that we are facing.

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We Only Have One Planet—Defending It Will Require Collective Measures

The Brazilian people and Latin Americans more generally are already suffering serious consequences from climate change and environmental crimes. The current destructive dimension of capitalism leads to far-reaching consequences. Millions of hectares of the Amazon and other biomes have experienced deforestation, been burned, and converted into agribusiness land every year. Agribusiness releases millions of litres of pesticides into the environment annually, poisoning the soil, water, and human beings. Mining is taking over vast territories, overexploiting mineral assets, with immense repercussions, including dam failures and contamination by heavy metals.

Climate change is already a reality. It has altered the conditions of food production across our continent. There are long periods of drought, as well as shorter periods without rain at decisive moments for what has been planted. Rain is concentrated and often associated with frosts and windstorms that destroymany crops. In cities, droughts turn into a water Activists, Indigenous people and youth from Fridays for Future Belém (Brazil) protest against the fires in crisis and concentrated rains lead to deaths and the destruction of homes and infrastructure, always disproportionately impacting the working class. Many popular and environmental leaders who defend their territories from this dynamic of exploitation are murdered. In short, we are living through a chaotic period, with worsening environmental living conditions.

We need to contribute to organising the working class, peasants, young people, women, students, religious people—in short, all working people—to carry out great mass mobilisations and fight in defence of our lives, the life of the planet, and the well-being of humanity. Time is short. Without mass struggle, there will be no change.

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 Transitioning to Geocratia — the
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Ecology and the Future of History

The subject of historical knowledge is the struggling, oppressed class itself. —Walter Benjamin

Nothing so clearly demonstrates the inherent limits of capitalist ideology as its innate denial of the future of history. The capitalist metaphysic, as Jean-Paul Sartre critically observed, is one of a “barred future”; there is “no exit” from the system and its burning house. Even in the context of the present planetary emergency brought on by capital accumulation, Margaret Thatcher’s well-known mantra that “there is no alternative” to the regime of capital—a view she repeated so frequently that she was nicknamed with the acronym Tina—continues to exercise its frozen grip on society.

The notion of bourgeois society as “absolutely the end of History,” intrinsic to liberal thought, found its most powerful concrete expression in the early nineteenth-century writings of G. W. F. Hegel. In recent years, credit for the questionable notion that capitalism marks the termination of the historical process has often been accorded to Francis Fukuyama, based on his 1992 book The End of History and the Last Man. In advancing the thesis of “a universal and directional history leading up to liberal democracy,” Fukuyama, who served as deputy director of policy planning and as deputy director of European political-military affairs in the U.S. State Department during the George H. W. Bush administration, was merely repackaging long-standing claims of liberal ideology in the context of the demise of the Soviet Union, which he took as representing the final defeat of socialism and the ultimate victory of capitalism, closing off history in any meaningful sense. Humanity, according to this hegemonic view widely circulated in the 1990s, had reached its political-economic-ideological apex: there was no future beyond capitalism and liberalism.

Yet, a mere quarter of century after the celebration of the end of history in the permanence of the liberal order, humanity is confronted with a chain of catastrophic threats extending beyond anything it has experienced in the long course of its development—all arising from the laws of motion of capitalism. In the present epochal crisis, there are multiple dire threats to the world as a whole and to “the wretched of the earth” in particular—from economic stagnation in the capitalist core, to the planetary ecological rift, to the epidemiological threat represented by COVID-19, to the renewed imperialism directed at the Global South and the New Cold War with its growing threat of nuclear holocaust. All rational responses to this age of impending catastrophe point to the need for a global transformation aimed at surmounting capitalism’s laws of motion and promoting a world of sustainable human development, that is, socialism and ecology. As Karl Marx indicated in the nineteenth century, in those cases where capitalism leads to the ecological destruction of entire social formations and the extermination of the material basis of human existence, the choice left to working populations and their communities inevitably becomes one of “ruin or revolution.”

 

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A Framework for Decoupling Human Need Satisfaction From Energy Use

Climate change poses great challenges to modern societies, central amongst which is to decouple human need satisfaction from energy use. Energy systems are the main source of greenhouse gas emissions, and the services provided by energy (such as heating, power, transport and lighting) are vital to support human development. To address this challenge, we advocate for an eudaemonic need-centred understanding of human well-being, as opposed to hedonic subjective views of well-being. We also argue for a shift in the way we analyse energy demand, from energy throughput to energy services. By adopting these perspectives on either end of the wellbeing-energy spectrum, a “double decoupling” potential can be uncovered. We present a novel analytic framework and showcase several methodological approaches for analysing the relationship between, and decoupling of, energy services and human needs. We conclude by proposing future directions of research in this area based on the analytic framework.

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Sustainable Prosperity in an Uncertain Future: A shared agenda between green growth and degrowth

This paper attempts to overcome the polarisation between inclusive green growth and degrowth. The authors suggest that the idea of “post-growth” can serve as a unifying concept and define the pillars of a progressive economic policy agenda that can help Germany, the European Union, and the United States achieve their net-zero ambitions while ensuring prosperity and reducing inequality.
 

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Spiral of contradictions between financialised capitalism and rural smallholdings in South and Mesoamerica

Irreversible destruction of the Earth's soil food webs leads to drought and collapse of global food security

CClimate collapse is being felt on Earth without the leaders of developed countries having met the mitigation targets they set themselves. This is an unpayable ecological-environmental and economic debt to the countries of the Global South, as they are the main dispossessed of their well-being. The centuries-old denial of the natural right to dispose of their natural wealth for the benefit of the quality of life standards (unlimited consumption) of the Global North. The spectre of climatic events, anticipated for decades since the last century, are no longer science fiction but realities that no one can hide in any of the continents.

Turning to the subjects of this paper, we expose the food insecurity in South America and Mesoamerica, shaped by the conversion of fertile land into monocultures of export cereals, which reduces the biological potential and regenerative capacity of arable land. We also discuss how the war in Ukraine has worsened access to the fertilisers needed to meet the needs of agricultural soils. In reference to the economic contradictions - the focus of this paper - we expose the conflicts between regional elites and corporations with rural farmers to the detriment of food sovereignty under the collapse of climate and geopolitical conflicts in the war in Ukraine. When referring to the agri-food model and soil depletion, we inevitably come to the dependence on hydrocarbons and the addiction of soils to chemical fertilisers, the contamination of groundwater and its effects on declining human health. In contrast, we present the political-organisational model of some integral agroecological systems resilient to the climate crisis as an alternative to deliberate economic degrowth in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic in short value chains.

 

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Castellano Transitioning to Geocratia — the