Ecosocialist Bookshelf is a monthly column, hosted by Ian Angus. Books described here may be reviewed at length in future. Inclusion of a book does not imply endorsement, or that C&C agrees with everything (or even anything!) these books say.
Six new books
The Value of a Whale: On the Illusions of Green Capitalism
Manchester University Press, 2022
A searing and insightful critique that examines the fatal biases that have shaped the response of our governing institutions to climate and environmental breakdown. Buller shows what’s wrong with carbon pricing, ‘green growth’, and the commodification of nature, exposing the self-defeating logic of ‘solutions’ based on creating new opportunities for profit.
Future on Fire: Capitalism and the Politics of Climate Change
PM Press & Fernwood Books, 2022
Only disruptive mass social movements can force governments to make the changes we need. Camfield argues that even a ravaged planet is worth fighting for and that ultimately the only solution to the ecological crisis created by capitalism is a transition to ecosocialism.
Beatrice Adler-Bolton & Artie Vierkant
Disability and healthcare activists Adler-Bolton and Vierkant argue for a radical new politics of solidarity built on an understanding that we must not base the value of human life on one’s willingness or ability to be productive within the current political economy.
How to Sell a Poison: The Rise, Fall, and Toxic Return of DDT
Bold Type Books, 2022
The story of an infamous poison that left toxic bodies and decimated wildlife in its wake — and now it’s back! Conis follows DDT from postwar farms, factories, and suburban enclaves to the floors of Congress, where industry barons and Madison Avenue brain trusts are selling the idea that a little poison in our food and bodies was nothing to worry about.
Origin: A Genetic History of the Americas
Twelve Books, 2022
Studies of complete genomes are providing new insights into who the first peoples in the Americas were, how and why they made the crossing, how they dispersed south, and how they lived. An overview of these new histories throughout North and South America, and a glimpse into how the tools of genetics reveal details about human history and evolution.
Endless Forms: The Secret Life of Wasps
Harper Collins, 2022
Everyone worries about the collapse of bee populations. But what about their cousins, the much-maligned wasps? Wasps are 100 million years older than bees; there are ten times more wasp species than there are bees. As predators and pollinators, they keep the planet’s ecological balance in check. A world without wasps would be just as ecologically devastated as one without bees, or beetles, or butterflies.
Six recent essays
- Ian Rappel
Feeling the heat: wildfires and capitalism
- Pedro Cardoso et al
Scientists’ warning to humanity on insect extinctions
- Ian Angus
Marx and Engels and Russia’s Peasant Communes
- Carles Soriano
Anthropocene, Capitalocene, and Other “-Cenes”
- Alex James and Neil Johnson
Who Holds Up Half The Earth? A Review of ‘Half-Earth Socialism’