Environmental Politics: Analyses and Alternatives

Review Essay on special Autumn 2000 issue of Capital and Class on environmental politics, [PDF], Historical Materialism, no. 8 (Summer 2001), pp. 461-77.

Writing about the relative neglect of Volumes Two and Three of Capital within the socialist movement of her day, Rosa Luxemburg observed that Marx’s critique of capital and his contribution to social science as a whole constituted one ‘titanic whole’ with an ‘immeasurable field of application’. It propelled him far beyond the immediate needs of the class struggle (exemplified by the theory of exploitation in Volume I), and caused him to explore other aspects of capitalism in Volumes II and III, such as the reproduction schemes, competition between capitals, the distribution of surplus value, etc. – issues that seemed to transcend the most pressing struggles of the social movement. Yet, history and the development of the movement, Luxemburg contended, would lead to renewed appreciation of Marx’s intellectual corpus: ‘Only in proportion as our movement progresses and demands the solution of new practical problems, do we dip once more into the treasury of Marx’s thought in order to extract therefrom and to utilize new fragments of his doctrine.’


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