6 Responses

  1. Jeff White April 29, 2013 at 6:08 pm |

    Talking about the climate crisis doesn’t radicalize people, but only makes them apathetic, says Eddie Yuen, and even state governments are powerless to avoid the disaster. Yuen’s proclamation of the futility of trying to mobilize a mass movement to defend the planet thus becomes, ironically, the ultimate “catastrophism”.

  2. David Camfield April 26, 2013 at 9:34 am |

    Ian, I think you misinterpret Yuen’s argument. He doesn’t argue for “voluntarily engaging in intentional communities, sustainability projects, permaculture and urban farming, communing and militant resistance to consumerism” as a solution. Rather, he observes that growing numbers of people are doing those things. He wants a “radical environmental movement” to respond to the ecological catastrophe which he’s certain will happen (the question is catastrophe “for whom” (p. 130)), a movement that names “capitalism as the root cause of the crisis” and makes “a positive appeal to community and solidarity, rather than a moralistic plea for austerity and discipline” (p. 42). His assumption is that “the fear elicited by catastrophism disables the left but benefits the right and capital” (42). This argument about how to build a movement may be right or it may be wrong, but it’s not the position you criticize in your post.

  3. John R Bell March 27, 2013 at 2:18 pm |

    Ian Angus has performed a cardinal service with this review. The thesis advanced in this book–which, otherwise, may possess some virtues, is as stupid as it is dangerous and immobilizing. You do not overcome apathy and despair by accepting them as facts of life, by ignoring them or by pretending a serious threat to many species and not merely our own is of no great consequence. This review should be circulated widely.

  4. michael d. yates March 27, 2013 at 9:02 am |

    Ian Angus has written a good response to the essay on the environment in the Catastrophism book. When you face a catastrophe, you say so. It doesn’t matter what your class enemies say or do. You try to educate people about these, as well as the catastrophe. We’ve been traveling around the U.S. for 12 years now, and the environmental changes are palpable, even in that short period of time. And call it what you will, and all due respect to the resilience of capitalism and its capacity to absorb critique and turn it to its own advantage, but we are in a shitload of trouble on many fronts. As Mother Jones said, “educate yourself for the coming conflicts.”

  5. Antonis Petropoulos March 27, 2013 at 8:50 am |

    An obvious solution is to combine & involve intentional communities with activism, which is possible in this era of global online communication.

    There is a need to provide (and help build) credible, tangible, ecosocialist alternatives today rather than just verbally oppose capitalist ecocide and wait for the second coming of socialism.

    There is also a grain of truth about the danger of overemphasizing the ecocidal parameters of capitalism (which are of course undeniable), for example to someone who has just lost their job, or had their life savings stolen (as has happened in Cyprus). Even if capitalism manages to find a way out of the climate crisis, the need for socialism (social justice & human rights for ALL) will remain.

Comments are closed.