École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales, Paris
The 149 proposals issued by the French Citizens’ Convention on Climate last June, with the goal of achieving at least a 40% reduction in greenhouse gases by 2030 compared to 1990, manifestly belong to a thoroughly reformist approach. Nevertheless, Emmanuel Macron, only days after environmentalist candidates made gains in municipal elections, rejected three of those proposals:
- the reduction of the motorway speed limit to 110 km/h (what else could one expect from the Finance Minister under Hollande who wanted to create competition between buses and trains?);
- a 4% tax on dividends (the rejection of this proposal is consistent with the President’s abolition of the wealth tax among his first acts after being elected, in line with the demands of Medef);
- the inclusion of ecology in the preamble to the Constitution (this proposal is clearly contrary to the principles of the President’s neoliberal worldview, which sees ‘nature’ itself only as something to be turned into a commodity to be submitted to the market and exploited for profit).
1. Health crisis, environmental crisis and social rights
It is surely no coincidence that the three measures that the President rejected are the only ones that might challenge the economic and financial system, along with the neoliberal ideology that underpins it — the very system that created the climate ‘crisis’. From this point of view, the Convention’s reformist proposals seem quite inadequate in the face of the social and environmental issues that were revealed once again by the economic and social consequences of the forced lockdown, which immediately preceded their publication. Indeed, in addition to the ecological crisis, the health crisis that has swept across the world has produced the most severe consequences in the very countries that are most deeply engaged in the process of economic and financial globalisation initiated in the late 1980s. The crisis has hit in particular the large countries with the greatest social inequalities, and which are also the most active participants in a form of globalisation based on the imperatives of neoliberal capitalism: the United States, Brazil, Peru, Russia, India, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom and, in the Europe Union, the southern countries rather than those in the north.
What sort of answers to these problems can be imagined? Ecosocialism can help us to formulate them.
In fact, by partially shutting down an economy based on growth through productivism and financial profit through the exploitation of labour and ‘natural resources’, the health crisis has only accelerated and intensified the ongoing crisis of an economic and social system constrained only by the ‘laws’ of the market. This recurrent crisis is inherent to capitalism, now globalised, and the neoliberal ideology that underpins it.
From an economic point of view, the relations of domination established by capitalism over both human communities and their environment are sustained by the power of large multinational companies which, through ‘free trade’ treaties, benefit from private arbitration tribunals; they therefore have access to a parallel ‘justice’ system which allows them to confront states and their social and environmental policies, even though these are produced through more or less democratically elected political powers. From a financial standpoint, and therefore in terms of investment in the economy, capitalism clearly relies on the power of private banks, including the World Bank; with the help of credit rating agencies, the banks are able to impose structural adjustment and austerity plans on indebted countries and political powers, which enforce the privatisation of public services and the withdrawal of the basic services offered to the population by a state with a more or less social agenda. This is carried out on the pervasive ideological basis of the development of individual freedom at the expense of the weakest in society, and the fulfilment of the ‘self’ in fierce competition with, or rather against, others, all measured against the yardstick of performance and personal satisfaction.
In this respect, the growth of the epidemic to become a globalised pandemic has revealed the fragility, as well as the necessity, of certain basic services:
- the health system, including not only doctors but whole teams of care workers, who often operate within inadequate infrastructures (in European countries the number of emergency care beds has been halved on average since the 1990s);
- the system of producing, distributing and selling food, with all the risks that it creates for workers in agriculture and retail alike;
- the education system, with all the pedagogical and technical difficulties of distance learning faced by teachers, parents (especially mothers) and pupils themselves, especially in the most disadvantaged areas;
- the housing system, given the difficulty of maintaining social distancing measures in the cramped apartments of the large urban housing estates, not to mention in refugee camps (especially in Greece), improvised migrant camps, shantytowns, and for large numbers of homeless people.
These same services, providing medical care, food, education and housing, correspond to the social rights of every individual as enshrined in Articles 25 and 26 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). Furthermore, Article 23.1 states that: ‘Everyone has the right to work, to free choice of employment, to just and favourable conditions of work and to protection against unemployment’. Let us recall that the first victims of the economic crisis exacerbated by the Covid-19 health crisis were the so-called ‘undocumented’ (in the sense of people without a residence permit): immigrants, migrants, refugees are forced to accept precarious jobs without being able to claim unemployment benefits, leading to an invisible unemployment problem which particularly affects women. In the geopolitical context of the immediate post-war period, when Europe was coming to terms with the worst acts of genocide committed in human history, these social rights came to be recognised as the basic needs of every human being in order to live with dignity, and which could only be fulfilled in an environment that provides the necessary material resources.
2 Industrialisation, growth, globalisation
However, from the beginning of industrialisation in Western Europe, the technical production of the means required to satisfy these basic needs has been subject to the rules of the accumulation of capital. On the one hand, a new concept of labour was introduced, which corresponds to the manufacturing of products henceforth conceived as commodities, thereby constituting a source of surplus value to be appropriated by the capitalist company and its boss, before being redistributed in part to its owners and shareholders. On the other hand, the environment which ensures the survival of human beings was objectified as ‘nature’, now considered as a totality of resources — ‘natural resources’ — ready to be exploited for financial gain, just as the labour of workers is exploited. In the neoliberal version of this system, the capitalist management of the company goes as far as reducing salaried workers themselves to the state of ‘human resources’. The production of goods to satisfy basic needs is thus subject to the market: the exchange value prevails over the use value of manufactured goods, all thanks to the labour of salaried workers.
From the middle of the last century, mainly under the impetus of the United States, the capitalist appropriation of labour power and environmental resources has been accentuated by two related trends.
The first of these trends is that the satisfaction of basic needs has come to be assessed exclusively in terms of economic and financial growth; the value of large companies is now measured only in terms of their share price and a country’s development is measured in purely quantitative terms of ‘gross domestic product’. The imperative of growth based on productivism and capitalist profit has led to the creation of new needs, especially through advertising’s injunction to consume and overconsume, and through the ideological demand for (‘free and undistorted’) competition and competitive behaviour. Meanwhile, the focus on the growth in profits, combined with national governments’ obsession with increasing GDP, has resulted in particular in the transformation of traditional agriculture into intensive agriculture and the exponential increase in the exploitation of both raw materials and non-renewable energy resources (coal, oil, natural gas, nuclear).
The second trend, dating back to the resolutions of the Bretton Woods Conference (1944), is the use of a policy of economic and financial domination of the world by the United States and its ally the United Kingdom, according to the principles of what has become, particularly under the political impetus of Ronald Reagan in the US and Margaret Thatcher in the UK, neoliberalism. This domination relied on the international banking institutions that those countries helped to create, and which they controlled for many years: the International Monetary Fund, the first incarnation of what would later become the World Bank, and later, with regard to economic affairs, the World Trade Organization. As well as ensuring that the US dollar alone was pegged to the value of gold, the policy of these institutions, conducted according to the principles of the strictest economic and financial liberalism, had three major effects:
- transferring the bulk of the production of consumer goods and technological tools to countries that provided a labour force with minimal wages and working conditions that practically amount to a new form of slavery;
- opening up the poorest countries to investment by rich countries in order to abolish agriculture based around local food production, replacing it with intensive export monocultures, and to refocus and control local production, monopolise the exploitation of ‘natural’ resources and appropriate the benefits of those resources;
- controlling and developing the extraction and production of raw materials, and making it subject to the international market, starting with the production of food.
In this way, the countries of the Global North, characterised by a form of capitalism based on an increasingly deregulated market and speculation in the financial domain, established relations of neo-colonial domination with the poorest and most indebted countries. This practice was pursued not only through ‘low-intensity’ wars or open armed conflicts led by the United States, usually with the complicity of its European allies, such as the conflicts in Chile, Colombia, Iraq and Afghanistan, but also using tools such as structural adjustment plans forcing countries of the ‘Global South’ to privatise, if not eliminate, their few existing public services. These changes particularly affect the very services corresponding to the basic needs enshrined as social rights in the UDHR, while free trade treaties ensure that multinational corporations maintain control over local political powers, encouraging a race to the bottom in wages and working conditions, and practices of tax evasion by moving funds to wealthier countries and to tax havens such as Switzerland.
Now, in addition to the widening of inequalities and decline in living standards leading to forced population movements both within countries and internationally, and the social and cultural destruction of human communities based on different traditions, we are faced with the destruction of an environment that has endured unbridled extractivism and various forms of pollution caused by the over-exploitation of the soil and the over-consumption of hydrocarbon or nuclear-based energy. Climate change, together with the new forced migrations that it is causing, is only one of the manifestations — albeit a spectacular one — of the damage to the biosphere caused by a way of life imposed by the commercial institutions of rich countries and their political mouthpieces, in their obsession with economic and financial growth, or in other words, their obsession with profit.
So much for the situation we find ourselves in, described here in brief outline. But moreover, what can we do about it?
3. Breaking from neoliberal capitalism and creating an ecosocialist definition of labour
First, in terms of what we are working against — in other words, from an anti-capitalist stance —the ecosocialist commitment to social and ecological equity, which we shall try to define, involves a series of radical breaks:
- a break from the principle of ‘free and undistorted’ competition and competitive behaviour,which leads to the prevalence of exchange value over use value;
- a break from the demands of growth measured in particular in quantitative terms of GDP;
- a break fromproductivism based on financial profit, leading to extractivism, energy waste, various forms of pollution of the environment and the biosphere, slave-like working conditions and consumer addiction;
- a break from free trade and the treaties it has imposed, and consequently a break from globalisation subject to the rules of the market, capitalist profit and the domination of multinationals;
- a break from the neo-colonial economic and political domination exercised by rich countries over the poorest, and by countries holding capital over the most disadvantaged and economically weakest countries;
- a break with the ideology of neoliberalism based on individual development and the generalised commodification of human relations, leading in particular to new forms of exclusion and racism.
In terms of what we are working towards, ecosocialism aims to guarantee the provision of the basic needs of every human being — food, housing, health, education, culture and now transport and communications too —by means of democratically controlled public services.
Insofar as these needs are met by the technical activities and intellectual practices of women and men in close interaction with their environment, ecosocialismfirst of all requires a complete redefinition of work. Work is viewed both as a labour force and as a practice based on physical and mental abilities; furthermore, work is placed at the service of men and women in relation to an environment which they make meaningful in order to better interact with it. We should recall the central role played by the hand, which enables human beings to develop a form of intelligence based on technical skills.
This means that, by this broad definition, work includes not only productive practices and manual trades, but also practices aimed at satisfying the basic social needs of human beings: production, of course, but especially human, social and ecological reproduction. Work therefore includeseducational tasks, medical care, personal care, the various forms of communication (both in-person and digital interactions) and cultural creations and practices (I shall return to this last category in the conclusion). Work, in the sense of‘living labour’, should be a source of individual and social emancipation.
Technology, and especially information and communication technology, plays an increasingly important role in almost every field, including production, manufacturing, transport, medicine and the media. It is essential to distinguish this conception of technology fromthe Californian obsession with innovation, aiming only at profit by means of a proliferation of ‘start-ups’; without denying the obvious benefits that,first, industrialisation and later information and communication technologies have brought with them, in the future it will be necessary to develop technologies in accordance with the criteria of social usefulness and environmental compatibility. This also means that both scientific research in all its domains andthe various practices of knowledge transmission must be integrated into the broad concept of work and salaried employment.
Both this broad definition of work and the need for full employment require a reorganisation of labour, placing a higher value on manual work and sharing jobs more equitably. And work means pay, following a scale tending towards equality, in a situation of full employment whichprecludes any need for a universal basic income. It should be noted that the latter is in fact only envisaged in an economic-political system based on capitalism; indeed, it can only be granted to everyone by drawing on the tax levied by nation states on the income of individuals and legal entities, in a tax system with a modestly redistributive function, admittedly, but one that is constantly denigrated by the advocates of neoliberalism.
4. Ecosocialist planning and social and environmental justice
The task of redefining the whole concept of work and achieving full employment requires a planned economy. The concept of a planned economyhas historically been associated with the centrally planned command economy of the former Soviet Union in pursuit ofproductivist objectives. However, the social and solidarity economy provides an example of a different approach to economic planning and development,based on different criteria both from those imposed by Soviet communism and by those used in Western neoliberal economic management (which instead uses the terms ‘governance’ and ‘operational objectives’). The planning of an economy aimed at satisfying basic human needs, according to both social and ecological criteria, and with the objective of an equitable distribution of goods and services in the Global North and Global South,involves a complete reorganisation of the existing industrial apparatus.
This reorganisation with a view to social and environmental justice will be supported, on the one hand, by the expropriation and socialisation of the existing productive apparatus, both from the point of view of extraction and production, and on the other hand, by a kind of regionalised globalisation, in a broad movement towards the relocalisation of food, industrial and technological production, and the equal distribution of production across the six inhabited continents. As for the democratic planning and organisation of work in this system, it has been proposed very recently, as a simple hypothesis, that this could be entrusted — in ascending order of authority — to ‘works councils’for organising work at the level of the production or service unit, to ‘economic councils’for assigning the objectives for production at the level of a particular industry or service sector, and to ‘social councils’ (at municipal, regional and national level) for deciding the relative priority of needs and how they are to be met, while determining the prices of the corresponding products and services.
In short, these proposals call into question the current form of nation states,as they have developed over the course of the 19th and 20th centuries, with the more or less permeable borders that delimit their territories and the extent of their political powers. From this perspective, in each country whose territorial and political boundaries are to be redefined, the existing political institutions willundoubtedly be distributed between instances of parliamentary democracy and those of participatory democracy. A good system of organisation would be a confederation of regions and municipalities. They would then have to determine the legislative framework specific to each of these three levels of political organisation: the confederation, the region and the municipality.
The autonomy of these confederations of regions and municipalities will nonetheless be subject to major international institutions, which will be responsible for ongoing reflection on, and enforcement of the general and determining criteria of social utility and environmental protection. They will have to draw up legally binding inter-federal agreements adapted to this globalised ecosocialistsystem. This will require a fundamental reform of the ILO and the WHO in particular, but also, in the political domain, a reform of the UN and the WTO itself.
All of this naturally leads to the abolition of large-scale private property, in terms of land, businesses and infrastructure, with the notable exceptions of local agriculture, personal property and individual savings, as well assmall-scale production and service businesses. It will be replaced by various forms of cooperatives, particularly for housing.
5. Medium and short-term ecosocialistdemands
These ecosocialist proposals give rise to the following demands for the medium term:
- a regional industrial apparatus ensuring that production is conducted according to social and ecological criteria in the fields of clothing, construction, transport, medicines, medical technology and information and communication technologies, while eliminating the arms industry;
- the social and political appropriation of the industrial infrastructures corresponding to those fields, and consequently the dismantling of the monopolies exercised by companies such as: Nike,Inditex/Zara and Adidas for clothing; LafargeHolcim and Vinci for construction; Boeing, Airbus, Volkswagen, Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi, Toyota, Ford and Alstom-Bombardier for transport; DowDupont, BASF, Bayer, Roche and Novartis for chemicals and pharmaceuticals; and of course the big five tech giants for ICT;
- the socialisation of the major companies involved in the extraction and trading of raw materials, starting with hydrocarbons: the expropriation of Sinopec, Royal Dutch Shell, BP, ExxonMobil, etc., followed by Glencore, Trafigura or Gunvor (all currently sheltered by the Swiss tax haven), to give just a few examples;
- the ‘nationalisation’ and socialisation (before regionalisation) of the big banks, accompanied by political and collective control over currency, allowing for the necessary investment in an ecological and social transition planned and managed in a democratic and decentralised way;
- the transfer of the economy, once removed from the control of large private enterprise, to decentralised, democratic (but not bureaucratic) planning, according to social and ecological criteria;
- the establishment of democratic controlover management of regional and urban planning, breaking from private ownership of land and buildings, and consequently breaking from the practiceof speculation in land and property;
- the removal of scientific research from the private sector and a reorientation towards the satisfaction of social needs and basic ecological requirements, through the use of new technologies;
- the replacement of free trade and bilateral treaties with regional treaties of mutual cooperation and exchange in terms of reciprocity.
Ecosocialist demands for the immediate future are as follows:
- substantial energy savings, notably aiming not only at becoming carbon neutral by 2050, but at eliminating the production of greenhouse gases;
- the transfer of road and air transport of people and goods, as far as possible, from buses, trucksor planesonto trains;
- the elimination of individual motorised traffic, except for practical reasons, and a sharp reduction in air traffic; alongside these measures, the promotion of ‘soft mobility’ in cities, and the removal and ecological restoration of obsolete road and airport infrastructures;
- before common ownership of land is established, the planning and strict management of land use, aimed in particular at avoiding long commutes;
- for the production of ‘consumer’ goods, the promotion of regional markets drawing onrelocalised production units, with a view to increased sustainability and the elimination of programmed obsolescence;
- as for the distribution of goods, the elimination of large shopping centres outside built-up areas and strong limits on distance selling;
- from the point of view of production and services, not ‘degrowth’ but rather development according to criteria of social and ecological justice, replacing neo-colonial relations between countries of the Global North and Global South;
- a highly progressive and redistributive tax system at the municipal, regional and state levels;
- in line with the broad definition of work proposed here, extended to include services that have become public, a new organisation of labour that brings about full employment;
- in order to achieve full employment, a redefinition of work and the establishment of equal pay and social and ecological democracy in companies and public services, in close cooperation with trade unions, breaking from entrepreneurial management;
- a major reduction in wage differentials, initially in the range of 1 to 5 (as proposed by Attac in the 2000s);
- in the (relocalised) field of drug production, a generalisation of compulsory licences accompanied by the abolition of patents, including patents on living organisms;
- in order to promote food based on local agricultural production, a major restriction on imports (out-of-season fruit and vegetables, GMO-based products, industrially produced meat and poultry, etc.) in order to achieve food sovereignty and, with regard to catering, a boycott of ‘junk food’, which is responsible in particular for a worrying increase in obesity;
- from a financial point of view, the possibility for states to cancel illegitimate debts, in line with the objectives of CADTM, together with the promotion of cooperative credit banks and alternative banks;
- addressing the unavoidable issue of limiting population growth, which must be achieved not through coercion, but through education, particularly at school level, and especially in the countries of the Global South;
- also in relation to the challenge of population growth, the strengthening and extension of public services in the fields of education and health, but also in the management of water, transport, telecommunications, etc.;
- on the political level, a sharing of powers between electoral and parliamentary democracy and participatory democracy, in close collaboration with citizen associations and‘civil society’;
- on the international level, the removal of secure borders (ineffective in a context of forced migrations) allowing the free movement and settlement of people, in contrast with strong limitations on the free movement of goods;
- finally, with regard to culture, a break from a North American culture focused on the profits to be made from the promotion of a self-indulgent lifestyle in thrall to capitalism (Hollywood film production, commercial rap music, trashy TV series, reality TV, violent video games, intrusive and misleading advertising, a sexist porn industry, an entrepreneurial management culture in service industries, a shopping mall culture for consumption, SUVs and Harley-Davidsons for individual transport and leisure, etc.).
6. Anthropo- and eco-poietic conclusions
It is obvious, then, that the ecosocialist transition requires a complete redefinition of the relationship between human communities and their environment, and the necessarily reciprocal and interactive relationship between human beings and the biosphere, which is essential to their survival. Beyond the four ‘ontologies’ identified by the anthropologist Philippe Descola in the relationships envisaged by human cultures, ranging from an attitude of ‘interiority’to one of ‘physicality’ (animism, naturalism, totemism and analogism), beyond the opposition between culture and nature conceived from the perspective of a destructive anthropocentrism and favoured by neoliberalism, beyond an idea ofa nature humanisedby attributing rights and personhood to the Earth, or even making it a deity under the name of Gaia, the new ideological paradigm proposed by ecosocialism could be, from an anthropological point of view, that of an eco-poietic‘anthropopoiesis’. These Greek-inspired terms are useful fordescribingthe necessary process of social and cultural construction in the relational identity of every human being, while interacting both with the people close to them and with an environment that they fashion and which fashions them in return.
Indeed, the present climatic disorder, now accentuated by the health crisis, and the economic crisis of a world subject to capitalist and technocratic globalisation, demonstrate this point once again: in relation to the representations that humans make of their environment and of those people close to them, in relation to the language that they use and spread while describing those representations, the technical arts that they inventand use have a determining impact both on human communities and on their environments. The reason for this is that practices of a technical nature involve creation of a semiotic nature: the technical arts give meaning to the environment in order to transform it for the benefit of humans in society. Without recourse to that objectification of the environment as a ‘nature’ for exploitation and profit, mentioned above, our environment, and indeed the biosphere, correspond to a world that is indispensable to the survival of humans, who by necessity live in society and who make that world meaningful through their sensory and intellectual perception. It is impossible to escape from this anthropocentrism.
Like our relations with others, our environment is constantly configured, refigured and shaped by our knowledge, language and practices in an interaction that now, owing to our subjection to neoliberal ideology, confronts us with the ecological and health problems mentioned above. The ecological turning point, with its necessary ecosocialistbreak from capitalism’sdestruction of human communities and their environments, therefore requires an anthropopoietics coupled with an ecopoietics of a semiotic nature. This double process should be understood as the construction of human beingsin interaction and solidarity with their social community and their environment, through communication and social relations as well as technical practices, all of which involve the creation of meaning. Anthropopoiesis and ecopoiesis therefore bring about an intersectional emancipation of individuals and their relations with those close to them in a certain environment; both processes support their social and cultural identity in reciprocity, but they also involve the social and ecological mastery of the necessary and constant interaction between the human being and the environment, which ensures theirbiological survival, particularly through information and communication technologies.
Translated by Dr Sam Ferguson
Publication in French: Les Possibles 25, 2020
From a historical point of view and in terms of my (admittedly limited) personal experience with concrete examples of socialism in practice, reference can be made, on the one hand, to the German Democratic Republic of the late 1960s, and on the other hand to the People’s Republic of China after the Cultural Revolution. Looking beyond the Stasi, which was established and imposed by the Soviet ‘big brother’, with regard to industrial production in the GDR I would mention the ‘VolkseigenerBetrieb’ (VEB, publicly owned enterprise), the (obviously too centralised) ‘Planwirtschaft’, full employment, and — why not? — the ‘Kartoffeleinsatz’ (the potato harvest programme).
In the Chinese context, after the destructive errors of the ‘Great Leap Forward’, we find the socialisation of the peasantry and agriculture in poor communities throughout the country, ample food, a guaranteed basic income through work, schooling for all children even in the most remote communes, cycling as a mode of transport in cities, and, as for housing, the absence of shantytowns and a universal health system (with ‘barefoot doctors’, who nevertheless lacked training and resources).
Finally, for other examples of living in a social community in relation to a specific environment, we could point to the communities living along the Sepik River in Papua New Guinea, who were relatively unaffected by Australian colonialism: these communities give meaning, through myths and rituals, to the environment that ensures their survival and bring this meaning to bear in social relations within the community, as well as in conflictual relations with their neighbours…
Both the practice of critical history and that of cultural and social anthropology can open up the field of possibilities.
My reflection on the intricacies of a practical ecosocialism has benefitted from several books and texts, in particular:
- Christophe Aguiton, Geneviève Azam, Elizabeth Peredo, PabloSolón, Le monde qui émerge. Les alternatives qui peuvent tout changer, Paris, Les Liens qui Libèrent – Attac, 2017(focuses on the rights of ‘Mother Earth’ and on the notion of ‘buenvivir’ [living well], but fails to call into question the neo-colonial relations between the Global North and South based on economic and financial globalisation, despite the inclusion of a good chapter on ‘deglobalisation’).
- Jérôme Baschet, Adieux au capitalisme. Autonomie, société du bien vivre et multiplicité des mondes, Paris, La Découverte, 2014 (politicalproposals for a post-capitalist society tendingtowards ‘cultural pluri-universalism’).
- Christophe Bonneuil and Jean-Baptiste Fressoz, L’événement Anthropocène. La Terre, l’histoire et nous, Paris, Seuil, 2016 (2nd, with an excellent additional chapter on the inaccurately named ‘capitalocene’).
- Philippe Corcuff (ed.), Marx XXIe siècle. Textescommentés, Paris, Textuel, 2012.
- Jean-Marie Harribey, Le trou noir du capitalisme. Pour ne pas y êtreaspiré, réhabiliter le travail, instituer les communs et socialiser la monnaie, Bordeaux, Le Bord de l’eau, 2020 (proposes a break from the domination of the market economy over society and the Earth-system in particular through the revaluing of work and the restitution of common goods while socialising currency: an important contribution to the formulation of ecosocialist proposals).
- Hervé Kempf, Pour sauver la planète. Sortez du capitalisme, Paris, Seuil, 2009 (remains attached to the market economy, but regulated in terms of its environmental impact and with a view to social justice).
- Michael Löwy, Qu’est-ce que l’écosocialisme?, Paris, Le Temps des Cerises, 2020 (revised 2nd ofÉcosocialisme. L’alternative radicale à la catastrophe écologique capitaliste, Paris, Mille et une nuits, 2011, adopts a criticalMarxist perspective and includes the important text of the ‘Déclaration écosocialiste de Belém’ fromJanuary 2009).
- Bruno Latour, Oùatterrir? Comment s’orienteren politique, Paris, La Découverte, 2017 (after an initial, extensive essay, it manages to restore the figure of Gaia disguised as a terrestrial being and then invites us to be ‘disrupters of globalisation’, but without calling into question the capitalist system that underpins it. SeealsoImaginer les gestes-barrières contre le retour à la production d’avant-crise : https://aoc.media/opinion/2020/03/29/imaginer-les-gestes-barrieres-contre-le-retour-a-la-production-davant-crise/).
- Andreas Malm, L’anthropocène contre l’histoire. Le réchauffementclimatique à l’ère du capital, Paris, La Fabrique, 2017 (a critique of the ‘narrative of the Anthropocene’, focusing on the role played by British imperialism and by ‘fossil capital’).
- Daniel Tanuro, Trop tard pour être pessimistes!Ecosocialismeoueffondrement, Paris, Textuel, 2020 (relevant for its presentation of scientific analyses of ecological degradation and its denunciation of green capitalism and the ‘Green New Deal’, but rather vague in its ecosocialist proposals, which do not offer an alternative to capitalist productivism and which ignore the question of neo-colonialism viewed from an altermondialist perspective).
- Nicolas Haeringer, Maxime Combes, JeannePlanche, Christophe Bonneuil (eds), Crimeclimatique: stop!Paris, Seuil, 2015 (various contributions on climate chaos as ecocide and a crime against humanity).
On the ongoing health crisis:
- Fabien Escalona and Romaric Godin, ‘Les quatre scénarios pour l’hégémonie politique du “monde d’après“’, Mediapart5.20 – https://www.mediapart.fr/journal/france/230520/les-quatre-scenarios-pour-l-hegemonie-politique-du-monde-d-apres
- Monique Chemilier-Gendreau, ‘Vers des jours heureux…’Mediapart4.20- https://blogs.mediapart.fr/edition/les-invites-de-mediapart/article/280420/vers-des-jours-heureux (on the renewal of international institutions and justice).
- Les Possibles 23, spring 2020 – https://france.attac.org/nos-publications/les-possibles/numero-23-printemps-2020/: the textproduced by Attac-France, ‘Coronavirus: une révolution écologique et sociale pour construire le monde d’après’, and a collection on ‘planification sociale et écologique’ (see in particular the texts by Pierre Khalfa, Michael Löwy and Dominique Plihon).
- Les Possibles 24, summer 2020 -https://france.attac.org/nos-publications/les-possibles/numero-24-ete-2020/especially Alexis Cukier’stext:‘Démocratiser le travail dans un processus de révolution écologique et sociale’.
- Attac, Plan de sortie de crise: Plus jamais ça! Un monde à reconstruire– https://france.attac.org/IMG/pdf/le_plan_de_sortie_de_crise.pdf
- ‘Déclaration finale de la conférence écosocialiste pour la justice climatique’ (26-28.6.20) – https://www.gaucheanticapitaliste.org/declaration-finale-de-la-conference-ecosocialiste-pour-la-justice-climatique/
The texts gathered in the following collection address the effects of economic and financial globalisation on forced migration as a result of growing inequalities and environmental degradation:
Claude Calame and Alain Fabart (eds), Migrations forcées, discriminations et exclusions. Les enjeux de politiques néocoloniales, Vulaines sur Seine, Éditions du Croquant, 2020.
The following essay of my own addresses the relationship between man and his environment:
Claude Calame, Avenir de la planète et urgence climatique. Au-delà de l’opposition nature/culture, Fécamp, Lignes, 2015.