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sources of an ecological impulse

Hi Mazin,
Your reply to Dianne helps me understand your earlier question better. It's easy to explain the importance of the overthrow of capitalism to achieving a sustainable society, but I wasn't sure how to respond to the question of what the strategic importance of the ecological struggle is to the overthrow of capitalism. From reading your reply to Dianne, I think you're looking for an explanation of how the struggle for an ecologically sustainable society can arise organically from the workers' movement, analogously to how we assert that the struggle for a communist society arises organically from the workers' movement. Would you say that's a correct summary of what you're asking for?

To be honest, I've never thought about ecosocialism in those terms before. Usually my thinking has been motivated by trying to figure out what would be necessary to solve the ecological crisis. I think you're suggesting that I shouldn't just assume that that's a valid material basis on which to expect a society to be able to undertake a radical transformation. I think this question touches on some important strategic questions many of us have grappled with, such as: why has there often seemed to be a divorce between workers' and ecological struggle, and what is the potential for working-class ecological struggle now?

You're raising a substantial question which, as you suggest, will require some serious dialogue. One approach to answering it might be looking at the self-interest of workers and what workers want, which presumably includes clean air and water, good healthy food, and the security of knowing that they and their children and grandchildren have a stable and happy future to look forward to (which, of course, is threatened by the ecological crisis). Another approach might be to look at alienation and the idea that un-alienated labor will foster ecologically sound forms of production, connecting alienation of labor with alienation from the earth. A third lens to explore this question would be commodification. John Bellamy Foster and Brett Clark wrote an interesting article recently which argues that because of capitalism's need to produce not just useful things, but commodities, huge amounts of waste are embedded into every level of capitalist production, which I thought was a fairly deep critique. So solving the ecological crisis has to include overcoming commodity-based production.

None of these provide a full answer to your question, but those are my ideas of ways to start.


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