Post-Capitalist Possibilities for (and despite) a Scarred Earth: Decolonial, Ecosocialist, Ecofeminist

Post-Capitalist Possibilities for (and despite) a Scarred Earth: Decolonial, Ecosocialist, Ecofeminist 

Organizers: Laurel Mei-Singh (University of Hawai‘i Manoa), Nicholas Beuret (University of Essex)  and Jesse Goldstein (Virginia Commonwealth University)

As climate change intensifies and conditions suitable for abundant life deteriorate, struggles for a just future increasingly have no choice but to articulate their visions of and for a better world in environmental terms. For many indigenous movements, the critique of racial capital and colonial violence has always been inextricably linked to the material and social conditions of intergenerational reproduction. As Kyle Powys Whyte makes clear, for many thrust to the margins of global capitalism, a climate of violence, disruption, toxicity and unsustainability is nothing new at all.

However, now that this violence is beginning to threaten the relative peace of (petro)modern society, “climate change” has come to name a planetary crisis, one in which a much broader and at times seemingly universal “we” has an immediate, necessary stake in addressing. A number of debates attempt to define possibilities for left environmental struggle, and articulate visions of a viable and desirable post-capitalist, ecologically sustainable future.

In this panel, we want to explore how visions of post-, or non-capitalist possibilities differentially circulate with, through and against various concrete forms of political and ecological struggle. Decolonial? Ecofeminist? Ecosocialist? Ecomodernist? Buen vivir? Mino-mnaamodzawin? Aloha ‘aina? Degrowth? Green New Deal?

Implicit in these various approaches aiming to define the material and energetic flows of the future, communities work to address multiple forms of abundance at the horizon of possibility. To put it in Vandana Shiva and Maria Mies’ terms: do we fight for a freedom from necessity, or for a freedom within necessity? For example: does a path to a low carbon economy involve embracing 100% renewable energy systems or pragmatically accepting that nuclear power, carbon capture and storage and geo-engineering will play a role in our energy future? Or should we instead be questioning the prevailing uses of energy as they are inextricably tethered to colonial capitalist violence and marshaled towards the creation of a material and social abundance specific to capitalist society?

What kinds of post-carbon futures are being envisioned and by whom? How do these visions translate into concrete political agendas – or not? Who do they mobilize and towards what ends?

Possible issues abound:

  •         Racial capitalism and environmentalism,
  •         Indigenous self-determination and decolonization,
  •         Water issues including access, potability, and ecosystem viability,
  •         Housing, urbanisation and the city-country divide,
  •         Public health, sanitation and transportation infrastructures,
  •         Food systems, agro-ecology, and the material conditions necessary for sustaining life,
  •         Energy production and use,
  •         Resource extraction and material flows,
  •         Scientific and technological advances – towards what ends, and in who’s labs?
  •         And more...

In this session, we invite contributions that seek to reflect on the messy, increasingly contentious politics of anti-capitalist and anti-colonial environmentalisms, past, present and future. We are committed to assembling a diverse group of thinkers, speaking to a range of issues and struggles. Please send expression of interest and/or abstracts to Jesse Goldstein (jgoldstein2@vcu.edu). Depending on the interest we receive we will run a panel session, a paper session or one of each.

 

Citations:

McGregor, Deborah (2018) “Mino-Mnaamodzawin: Achieving Indigenous Environmental Justice in Canada” Environment and Society, 9:1, pp 7-24.

Mies, Maria and Vandana Shiva (1993) Ecofeminism. Melbourne: Spinifex.

Whyte, Kyle (2018) “Settler Colonialism, Ecology, and Environmental Injustice” Environment and Society, 9:1, pp 125-144.

 

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