Six new books for green-lefts and left-greens

October 28, 2017

Climate & Capitalism editor and author of A Redder Shade of Green: Intersections of Science and Socialism Ian Angus takes a look at six new books on Marx’s ecosocialist views, climate change and health, theory and action, inevitability versus contingency in evolution, new politics and the meaning of Marx’s Capital.


Karl Marx’s Ecosocialism: Capital, Nature, and the Unfinished Critique of Political Economy
By Kohei Saito
Monthly Review Press, 2017

Delving into Karl Marx’s central works, as well as his natural scientific notebooks — published only recently and still being translated — Saito builds on the works of scholars such as John Bellamy Foster and Paul Burkett to argue that Karl Marx actually saw the environmental crisis embedded in capitalism.

“It is not possible to comprehend the full scope of [Marx’s] critique of political economy,” Saito writes, “if one ignores its ecological dimension.”

Enviromedics: The Impact of Climate Change on Human Health
By Jay Lemery & Paul Auerbach
Rowman & Littlefield, 2017

The impact climate change will have on human health is tremendous and we are only just now discovering what the long-term outcomes may be.

Weighing in from a physician’s perspective, Lemery and Auerbach clarify the science, dispel the myths and explain the tremendous threats that climate change poses for human health.

We Can Do Better: Ideas for Changing Society
By David Camfield
Fernwood Publishing, 2017

David Camfield proposes a reconstructed historical materialism that fuses critical Marxism with insights from anti-racist queer feminism, and treats capitalism and class as inextricably interwoven with gender, race and sexuality.

Arguing that the key to achieving change for the better is social struggle, he offers ideas about moving from social theory to social action.

Improbable Destinies: Fate, Chance, and the Future of Evolution
By Jonathan B. Losos
Riverhead/Penguin Random House, 2017

Are today’s plants and animals inevitabilities or evolutionary flukes? Jonathan Losos reveals what the latest breakthroughs in evolutionary biology can tell us about one of the greatest ongoing debates in science.

In doing so he offers insights into natural selection and evolutionary change that have far-reaching applications for protecting ecosystems, securing our food supply, and fighting off harmful viruses and bacteria.

Out of the Wreckage: A New Politics for an Age of Crisis
By George Monbiot
Verso, 2017

George Monbiot argues that new findings in psychology, neuroscience and evolutionary biology cast human nature in a radically different light: as the supreme altruists and cooperators.

He shows how we can build on these findings to create what he calls a “politics of belonging” that would enable us to take back control and overthrow the forces that have thwarted our ambitions for a better society.

Marx, Capital and the Madness of Economic Reason
By David Harvey
Profile Books, 2017

Karl Marx’s Capital is one of the most important texts of the modern era. David Harvey lays out its key arguments, placing his observations in the context of capitalism in the second half of the 19th century.

He considers the degree to which technological, economic and industrial change during the past 150 years means Marx’s analysis and its application may need to be modified.

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