John Bellamy Foster: The Anthropocene and Socialist Politics + Tariq Ali: The American Empire and its Discontents

Burning Ourselves

Image by Akhilesh Ravishankar via Flickr

Dandelion Salad

swpTvUk on Jul 12, 2016

John Bellamy Foster discusses the theoretical and programmatic challenges that the Anthropocene, a dangerous new epoch in planetary history, poses for socialists in the 21st century.


Tariq Ali: The American Empire and its Discontents

swpTvUk on Jul 7, 2016

Writer Tariq Ali introduced a meeting on The American Empire and its Discontents. He argued that the US was an “ultra imperialist” power that had united other advanced capitalist powers under its leadership.

He said, “The dominance of the US remains unchallenged.” In the discussion others argued that Ali underplayed the weaknesses of US imperialism.

Read the full article here:…

From the archives:

Marxism in Noir By Alan Wald

John Pilger: The Threat of World War Three

Michael Parenti: The 1% Pathology and the Myth of Capitalism

Noam Chomsky: Climate Change and Nuclear Proliferation Pose the Worst Threat Ever Faced by Humans

Chris Hedges and Tim DeChristopher: Coping with the Reality of Climate Change Destruction

Blowback Denial, Climate Denial, and Apocalypse by David Swanson

7 thoughts on “John Bellamy Foster: The Anthropocene and Socialist Politics + Tariq Ali: The American Empire and its Discontents

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  5. Thanks Lo, I found JBF’s address very interesting, so shall listen again.

    It prompted me to reconsider Andy Fisher’s radical ecopsychology, but I also found it resonant with the compelling concepts Donna Haraway has been talking about so fluently and colorfully in recent years.

    I’m only just beginning to realize what a profoundly convergent revolution in thought & perception is occurring, at the intersection of science, feminist biosphere politics, radical activism, art & poetics….

  6. Excellent, coherent narrative from Tariq Ali. ‘Chimerica?’ ~ indeed. China has always perplexed & confounded the ‘great powers.’

    A critique of class: I’m with Lenin on this, as Tariq points out at the end. We must continue to ask those really difficult questions.

    Is class even really a legitimate term? Does it have authentic sociological adequacy, or equivalent integrity to any other mathematical term like set theory or scale-free networks, or is it simply a metaphysical, even rhetorical device ~ a convenient social default and ‘safe house’ for left-discourse?

    Is class, ‘as a class’ so to speak, a category no different in kind from those pragmatic cultures who count sequentially small numbers say, up to 5; but thereafter defer to the notion of ‘many’ or ‘rather a lot?’

    We must interrogate these cultural assumptions robustly, because they are so closely intertwined with the idea of identity; and we should be ever more vigilant and even more skeptical, about all and any hereditary convictions and received prejudices ~ be they about race, religion, history, culture, progress or evolution.

    Access…to an ‘educated imagination’ ~ and to a substantiated and realizable ethical (also ethnic, ‘native’ or indigenous) identity ~ that is the real metaphysical challenge, we must lay claim to.

    For without the option to understand ourselves as self-determining agents, whose capacity of will is both an ontological opportunity & a right ~ arguably actually an existential obligation ~ then we are spiritually impoverished creatures; only subject to external coercive forces & prescriptive genetics; restricted slaves/victims of circumstance; rather than autonomous vehicles of transcendent purpose.

    We dwell in accepted mutual contexts, not as equals, but as diverse individuals embedded within a fluid social dynamics, of shared ecological potentials and physical geography, provisional environmental constraints and opportunities, in fact, all the options that human existence bestows.

    How then shall 8 (?) billion human-beings agree to function & thrive both integrally and effectively? How should we conceptualize the pragmatic, structural holisms, that must shape the agreed parameters of our mutual co-existence? This is what the Canadian philosopher John McMurtry calls life-value and life economy…

    The very first, unequivocal principle, I would suggest, is that we must face the urgent need to re-evaluate our relationship with the living soil, to the food-web; & accept our responsibility to the forests that are so crucial to the regulation of climate, to the reciprocating planetary, solar and cyclic rhythms of the biosphere that nourish all life; and therefore, we have to get deadly serious about the quintessential role of the oceans.

    Our seas, the fundamental terrestrial prime-mover & (Lunar-dependent) engine of change, drive and sustain all deep inter-species well-being, through the macro-scale functioning of our evolutionary biodiversity. That is to say, the marine ecosystem is the indisputable essence and sine qua non of all Earthly existence, intimately acting in concert with the universal life-forces of the Sun ~ possibly augmented by the entire system of planetary satellites.

    We don’t know enough yet, to be sure what boundaries, if any, really exist. Nor can we any longer afford to indulge in specious arguments about degrees of authority, exceptionalism or ‘special relationships.’ We are universal creatures, this much we can infer is now empirically given.

    What our real capabilities are, remains to be seen.

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