Reading for reds & greens

Ecosocialist Bookshelf, Jan. 2021

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Capitalism and Community; Engels and Nature; After Covid-19; The Marx Revival; For Degrowth; Super Polluters; How to Blow Up a Pipeline.

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Ecosocialist Bookshelf is an occasional feature. We can’t review every book we receive, but we will list and link to any that seem relevant to Climate & Capitalism’s mission, along with brief descriptions. Books described here may be reviewed in future. Inclusion of a book does not imply endorsement, or that we agree with everything (or even anything!) these books say.

Michael A. Lebowitz
Monthly Review Press, 2020
Extending the arguments he made in his award-winning Beyond Capital, Lebowitz argues that the struggle of workers in common and activities based upon solidarity point towards an organic system of community. If we are to escape the barbarism portended by the existing crisis of the earth system, the subordination of the system of capitalism by that of community is essential. The path to community cannot emerge spontaneously but requires a revolutionary party that stresses the development of the capacities of people.

Kaan Kangal
Palgrave MacMillan, 2020
Engels’ unfinished book Dialectics of Nature has been praised and condemned: for some it is an invaluable contribution to Marxist theory, for others it contradicts and vulgarizes Marx’s views. Kangal examines the debate and Engels’ ideas in depth, arguing that his work is less complete than we usually think it is but that he achieved more than most scholars would like to admit.

Renata Ávila & Srećko Horvat, editors
The world after Covid-19

OR Books, 2020
Prominent commentators from around the world weigh progressive possibilities in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Against a return to the normal and, indeed, the notion that there ever was such a thing, these conversations insist that urgent, systemic change is needed to tackle not only the pandemics arising from the human destruction of nature, but also the ceaseless debilitations of contemporary global capitalism.

Marcello Musto, editor
Key concepts and new interpretations

Cambridge University Press, 2020
Karl Marx, freed from the chains of “real socialism”, is being rediscovered all around the world as the thinker who provided us with its most insightful critique. Twenty-two leading socialist scholars and activists examine what Marx actually wrote on key issues, focusing on areas that require updating as a result of changes since the late-nineteenth century, and the reasons why his views are so relevant in today’s world.

Giorgos Kallis, Susan Paulson, Giacomo D’Alisa, & Federico Demaria
Polity Books, 2020
The relentless pursuit of economic growth benefits few and demands monstrous social and ecological sacrifice. Is there a viable alternative? How can we halt the endless quest to grow global production and consumption and secure socio-ecological conditions that support lives worth living for all? The authors argue for degrowth, defining it as living well with less and living differently by prioritizing wellbeing, equity and sustainability.

Don Grant, Andrew Jorgenson, & Wesley Longhofer
Tackling the world’s largest sites of climate-disrupting emissions

Columbia University Press, 2020
A groundbreaking global account of who bears the blame for our warming planet, focusing on the energy sector’s vast emissions and what can be done about them. The authors challenge the claim that improvements in technical efficiency will always reduce emissions, and examine which energy and climate policies are most effective at abating power-plant pollution.

Andreas Malm
Learning to fight in a world on fire

Verso, 2021
A controversial discussion of the politics and ethics of pacifism and violence, democracy and social change, strategy and tactics, and a movement compelled by both the heart and the mind. Malm calls on the climate movement to escalate its tactics in the face of ecological collapse. We need, he argues, to force fossil fuel extraction to stop — with our actions, with our bodies, and by defusing and destroying its tools.