Red/Green Revolution

The Politics and Technology of Ecosocialism
with author Victor Wallis

Red-Green Revolution is an impassioned and informed confrontation with the planetary emergency brought about by accelerated ecological devastation in the last half-century. Victor Wallis argues that sound ecological policy requires a socialist framework, based on democratic participation and drawing on the historical lessons of earlier efforts.

In the age of Trump and with a lack of sound U.S. ecological policies, Wallis’s book could not come at a better time. Red-Green Revolution confronts the emergency produced by the accelerated devastation of the last half-century. The human species is in a race against time to salvage and restore what it can of the environmental conditions that make a healthy existence possible. This task requires us to reconsider not only the type of energy that we use, but also the institutions, the technology, and the social relationships that determine what is produced, in what quantities, by what methods, and to what ends.

At the heart of Wallis’s call to action is the ever-vital debate of capitalism vs. socialism and their relationships to protecting ecological order. Arguing that proper ecological policy requires a socialist framework, based on democratic participation and drawing on the historical lessons of earlier efforts, Wallis writes about how the task of establishing such a framework may evolve through the convergence of popular struggles – against all forms of oppression – as these have emerged under conditions of crisis.

Victor Wallis is a professor of Liberal Arts at the Berklee College of Music. For twenty years he was the managing editor of Socialism and Democracy and has been writing on ecological issues since the early 1990s. His writings have appeared in journals such as Monthly Review and New Political Science, and have been translated into thirteen languages.

Creating an Ecological Society

A reading group
Five more Tuesdays

We will read and discuss the just-published book by Fred Magdoff and Chris Williams, Creating an Ecological Society: Toward a Revolutionary Transformation. Sickened by the contamination of water, air, and the Earth itself, more and more people are coming to realize that it is capitalism that is, quite literally, killing us – and indeed, degrading the Earth’s very ability to support all forms of life. The authors identify the root causes of the global environmental crisis in capitalism’s imperative to make profits at all costs and expand without end. They lay out a program for building a society that is genuinely democratic, equitable, and ecologically sustainable.

Fred Murphy has co-led several MEP study groups on Marxism, science, nature, and ecosocialism. He studied and taught historical sociology at the New School for Social Research.

Steve Knight has participated in and co-led MEP study groups on ecosocialism since 2015. His review of Anthropocene or Capitalocene? Nature, History and the Crisis of Capitalism appeared last year in the journal Marx & Philosophy.

No one turned away for inability to pay. Stated fees are sliding scale.

Ecological Imperialism, Settler Colonialism & Indigenous Resistance

A 10-Week Study Group led by Fred Murphy and Gerardo Renique
February 8 – April 12, 2017
9 Sessions Remain

The inspiring struggle at Standing Rock has united Native Americans across many tribes and countries against the Dakota Access Pipeline, in defense of water and life and for territorial sovereignty. Throughout the Americas, land grabs for massive energy and extractive projects are calling forth similar resistance from indigenous peoples, local farmers, and allies among urban working people. This study group will use materials from the #StandingRockSyllabus and other readings to deepen our understanding of ecological imperialism, settler colonialism, and indigenous resistance in both North and South America. We will also critically examine the varied approaches that Marxists have taken toward these questions.

Fred Murphy studied and taught historical sociology at The New School and has traveled extensively in Latin America as a journalist. He is currently translating the memoirs of Hugo Blanco, a leader and activist in Peru’s peasant, indigenous and environmental movements since the 1950s.

Gerardo Renique teaches history at the City College of the City University of New York is a frequent contributor to Socialism and Democracy and NACLA: Report on the Americas. His research looks at the political traditions of popular movements in Latin America; race, national identity and state formation in Mexico.

Anthropocene or Capitalocene?: Nature, History, & the Crisis of Capitalism

Jason W. Moore
and Christian Parenti
Jason W. Moore and Christian Parenti introduce a new essay collection, Anthropocene or Capitalocene? Nature, History, and the Crisis of Capitalism. The book challenges the theory and history offered by proponents of the “Anthropocene” and stresses how climate change and related crises are rooted in the rise and domination of capital.The book challenges the theory and history offered by proponents of the “Anthropocene” and stresses how climate change and related crises are rooted in the rise and domination of capital – hence the “Capitalocene.” This work offers a more nuanced and dialectical view of human environment-making, joined at every step with and within the biosphere.

Jason W. Moore is a historical geographer and world historian at Binghamton University, where he is Associate Professor of Sociology and Research Fellow at the Fernand Braudel Center. He is author of Capitalism in the Web of Life (Verso, 2015) and editor of Anthropocene or Capitalocene? Nature, History, and the Crisis of Capitalism (PM Press, 2016). He writes frequently on the history of capitalism, environmental history, and social theory. Moore is presently completing Ecology and the Rise of Capitalism, an environmental history of the rise of capitalism, and with Raj Patel, Seven Cheap Things: A World-Ecological Manifesto – both with the University of California Press. He is coordinator of the World-Ecology Research Network.

Christian Parenti is a professor in the Global Liberal Studies Program at New York University. His latest book, Tropic of Chaos, explores how climate change is already causing violence as it interacts with the legacies of economic neoliberalism and cold-war militarism. Previous works analyzed the US occupation of Iraq and surveillance, police, and prisons in the United States. His contribution to Anthropocene or Capitalocene? focuses on the role of national states as environment-making institutions.

Day 4, Session 4—Approaching Science from the Left

Approaching Science from the Left: Uses and Abuses of Knowledge in the Planetary Crisis
Rebecca Boger, Stuart Newman, Dave Schwartzman, moderated by Fred Murphy

As awareness has grown – among both working people and the global capitalist class – about the scope and complexity of the multiple crises facing the planet and its biosphere, a wide gamut of solutions and palliatives have been put forward across the physical and biological sciences. These range from dystopian geoengineering projects to genetic modification schemes to renewable and sustainable forms of energy use and agriculture. With this closing panel we aim to open a conversation among scholars and activists about how scientific knowledge and practice can help point the way forward, as well as about how science is abused in efforts to preserve and extend capitalist power over labor and resources.

Rebecca Boger has a background in geospatial technologies, marine science, and science education. Before coming to Brooklyn College, she worked for an international science and education program, GLOBE, where she worked with teams of scientists and educators to develop classroom materials, conduct workshops, and facilitate international collaborations. She continues to work with GLOBE to develop online training materials and a citizen science network. At Brooklyn College, CUNY, she teaches geospatial technologies and works with anthropologists and archaeologists in Barbuda on socio-ecological resilience research, community based mapping, and environmental modeling. In the NYC area, she works with NYC Parks and Gateway National Recreation on historical mapping and trends analysis of marshes and shoreline. She continues her education work with a greater emphasis on sustainability, resilience, and climate change topics where she is helping to build an urban sustainability program and online materials.

Stuart Newman is a professor of cell biology and anatomy at New York Medical College, Valhalla, New York. He has contributed to several scientific fields, including biophysical chemistry, developmental biology, and evolutionary theory. He has been a critic of genetic determinism in biology and an opponent of eugenic applications of biotechnology since his student days in the 1960s. Newman was a founding member of the Council for Responsible Genetics and is a columnist for Capitalism Nature Socialism.

David Schwartzman is Professor Emeritus, Howard University (biogeochemist, environmental scientist, PhD, Brown University). An active member of the DC Statehood Green Party/Green Party of the United States. Website with his older son Peter Schwartzman is Publications include: Life, Temperature and the Earth (2002), several recent papers in Capitalism Nature Socialism (CNS). Member of the following Advisory Boards: Science & Society, Capitalism Nature Socialism, Institute for Policy Research & Development.