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Marxism in the Anthropocene: Dialectical Rifts on the Left

Marxism in the Anthropocene: Dialectical Rifts on the Left,” [PDF], International Critical Thought vol.6, no. 3 (2016): 393-421. DOI: 10.1080/21598282.2016.1197787.

Natural scientists have pointed to the Anthropocene as a new geological epoch, with the precise dating not yet decided, but often traced to the Great Acceleration of the human impact on the environment since 1945. Thus understood, the Anthropocene largely coincides with the rise of the modern environmental movement and corresponds to the age of planetary crisis. This paper looks at the evolution of Marxian and left contributions to environmental thought during this period. Although Marx’s ecological materialism is now widely recognized, with the rediscovery of his theory of metabolic rift, the debate has recently shifted to ecological dialectics, including dualism, monism, totality, and mediation, generating a conflict between ecological Marxism and radical ecological monism. It is argued here that only an ecological Marxism, rooted in a materialist dialectic of nature and society, is able to engage effectively with the Great Climacteric that increasingly governs our times.

 

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