Marx, Capital, and the Madness of Economic Reason, Part 2

Capital Studies Group

We are extending our study of David Harvey’s recent Marx, Capital, and the Madness of Economic Reason. Those who convened starting on January 6 have decided to continue reading the book at a slower pace to allow for a full discussion of all that is contained in the chapters. We will finish reading this book and then begin reading Marx’s Volume 1 of Capital beginning Saturday, March 3.

We will begin chapter three on January 20.
$10 per session for January 20 and 27, no one turned away for paying less or the inability to pay. Registrations for Part 2 allow for attendance on January 20 and 27.

Please follow and like us:

Gowanus Canal Walking Tour: Where Environmental Justice and Housing Justice Meet

With Michael Higgins
Meet on the steps of the of Brooklyn Public Library.

Although people around the world are increasingly living in cities such as New York City, we still exist in and are dependent on the natural environment. Whether we live in rural or urban places, we are greatly influencing Earth system processes, such as how water cycles between places, how soils are intricately linked to the movement of water, exchange of gases, and growth of plants even on the Whole Foods rooftop garden along the Gowanus Canal, and how the composition of the atmosphere affects incoming and outgoing energy, which then impacts global climate change.

Come join in for a walk from Prospect Park to the Gowanus Canal.

Gowanus is an intensely contaminated community that is simultaneously undergoing multiple processes of environmental remediation and gentrification. The tour will explore these dynamics and the challenges and opportunities posed by the Gowanus Canal Superfund Clean Up, the rapid disappearance of commercial establishments and services that are affordable to low- and moderate-income households and the recently announced housing authority plan to build market-rate apartments at Wyckoff Gardens. Tour attendees will also learn about the Turning the Tide initiative, a multi-neighborhood effort that focuses on building social and environmental resiliency in five Brooklyn public housing developments.

Michael Higgins, Jr. is a member turned organizer at FUREE, Families United for Racial and Economic Equality. A native of Fort Greene, Michael works with public housing tenants in developments around Downtown Brooklyn, building power in low-income communities around issues of accountable development, environmental justice and municipal governance.

This tour will benefit The MEP and FUREE

Please follow and like us:

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.

Please follow and like us:

Small is Necessary: Shared Housing on a Shared Planet

A presentation and discussion with activist-scholar Anitra Nelson, whose forthcoming book from Pluto Press argues for smaller homes with shared spaces and facilities

Houses and apartments in countries like Australia and the US grew larger in the 20th century as household sizes shrank. Not only does this make housing less environmentally sustainable but contributes to the housing affordability crisis. The US mortgage fiasco triggered the Global Financial Crisis and many countries have experienced fluctuating or skyrocketing house prices since. Meanwhile, the withdrawal of state support for social and public housing means private ownership or rental seem like the only options for most people.

The solutions analyzed are not just smaller dwellings in compact settlements but also shared spaces and facilities. The presentation will look at a range of practical options from co-living in a household to cohousing and ecovillages, weighing up the pros and cons of the tiny house movement and assessing the potential and limits of radical squats along the way. Anitra considers collaborative housing/living futures managed by quite different drivers: governments, market developers and sharing economy initiatives, and grassroots communities. Anitra has had ten years’ experience living in two distinctive Australian housing collectives but her forthcoming book is research-based, especially drawing on ecological footprint studies.

Anitra Nelson is an activist-scholar whose research interests focus on housing and community-based sustainability, environmental justice and non-monetary futures. Associate Professor at the Centre for Urban Research, RMIT University (Melbourne, Australia), in 2016–2017 she was a Carson Fellow at the Rachel Carson Centre for Environment and Society at the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich completing Small is Necessary: Shared Living on a Shared Planet (forthcoming). She co-edited Planning After Petroleum: Preparing Cities for the Age Beyond Oil (2016), Sustainability Citizenship in Cities: Theory and Practice (2016) and Life Without Money: Building Fair and Sustainable Economies (2011).

Please follow and like us:

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.

Please follow and like us:

Integrating Social and Natural Systems

Integrating Social and Natural Systems:
Implications for Sustainability and Resilience in a Changing World

Seven more sessions with Rebecca Boger
February 9 to March, 23, 2017
Thursdays, 7:30 to 9:30 pm

Although people around the world are increasingly living in cities such as New York City, we still exist in and are dependent on the natural environment. Whether we live in rural or urban places, we are greatly influencing Earth system processes, such as how water cycles between places, how soils are intricately linked to the movement of water, exchange of gases, and growth of plants even on Manhattan rooftop gardens, and how the composition of the atmosphere affects incoming and outgoing energy, which then impacts global climate change. To move toward sustainable and resilient societies, we need to realize that social and natural systems are interconnected and that both need to be considered when implementing change. Without considering the connectedness of natural and social systems, we run the risk of harming the environment or people even when intentions may be good. Focusing on the urban context, this course will focus on key concepts in Earth system science (water, air, soil, and life) and systems thinking. Gaining a perspective of how we exist in the natural world even in built environments influences the framing of questions and then how these questions might be answered in order to understand ways we can become sustainable and resilient societies.

Rebecca Boger has a background in geospatial technologies, marine science, and science education. 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.

Please follow and like us:

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 www.solarUtopia.org. 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.

Please follow and like us: