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  1. John Riddell May 13, 2013 at 9:54 am |

    Chris Gilbert’s searching and provocative article raises many question that need further discussion. Here are three:

    1. Does classical Marxism have a cosmovision? What comes to us from the era of the early Soviet state suggests a drive for limitless accumulation of use-values. In terms of the relationship to nature, this bears a certain resemblance to the capitalist drive to accumulate profits, giving rise to the current controversy about “productivism”.

    2. Does the issue of cosmovision have anything to do with gender relations? That may appear far-fetched, but consider the cross-cultural conception of the earth as female (Mother Earth). In capitalism, human activity is imagined as “man conquering nature” — that is, in gender terms, as patriarchal. For a sensitive and, in its way, inspiring presentation of this approach, see the final paragraphs of Trotsky’s easily googled “Literature and Revolution.”

    Abbie Bakan recently cited an evocative presentation of this approach in an early Zionist assessment of Palestine: “The bride is beautiful, but she has another husband” — colonial seizure of the land as theft of a wife.

    3. How will an ecosocialist cosmovision win influence among masses of working people? Voices like that of Chris Gilbert don’t reach large numbers of people. But the fundamentals of the cosmovision that he is arguing for are advanced by movements rooted in survivals of precapitalist social relations, especially those of indigenous peoples and working farmers. For an outstanding expression of this, see the documents of the Cochabamba conference (on the Climate and Capitalism subject list). Viewed from this angle, the ecosocialist cosmovision appears as a “revolutionary return.”

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