“Foreword” to Paul Burkett, Marx and Nature

“Foreword” to Paul Burkett, Marx and Nature: A Red and Green Perspective (Chicago: Haymarket Books, 2014), pp. 7-13.

Reprinted as “Paul Burkett’s Marx and Nature Fifteen Years After,” Monthly Review, vol. 66, no. 7 (December 2014), pp. 56-62.

Every book more than a few years old needs to be seen within the historical context in which it was written—works of social science most of all. Re-reading Paul Burkett’s Marx and Nature today, nearly a decade and a half after its first publication, reminds me of how different in some respects the historical context was then, at the end of the twentieth century, from what we face today, in the second decade of the twenty-first century.… A decade and a half ago the contribution of Marx and Marxism to the understanding of ecology was seen in almost entirely negative terms, even by many self-styled ecosocialists. Today Marx’s understanding of the ecological problem is being studied in universities worldwide and is inspiring ecological actions around the globe.… These changes are of course connected. As the environmental problems engendered by capitalist society have worsened, the necessary movements of ecological defense have radicalized and spread across the face of the planet.

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