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Review of Catastrophism: The Apocalyptic Politics of Collapse and Rebirth // Mr. McKibben, are your efforts doomed to failure?

February 13th, 2013 · No Comments

update: the review just came online: http://www.amazon.com/review/R3JMMQWH82RZ0J/ref=cm_cr_rdp_perm

I just reviewed
Catastrophism: The Apocalyptic Politics of Collapse and Rebirth (Spectre)
at Amazon…
It was an irritating, but interesting book. We have lost a generation on climate change, as the efforts of activists have failed. To abandon the old left’s demand to move beyond capitalism is thus, to me, a mistake. I think that part of the problem is the lack of a new platform here that people can accept.

Issue activism versus a postcapitalist framework, February 13, 2013
By John C. Landon “nemonemini” (New York City) – See all my reviewsAmazon Verified Purchase(What’s this?)
This review is from: Catastrophism: The Apocalyptic Politics of Collapse and Rebirth (Spectre) (Paperback)
This is an interesting and useful study/critique of the issue of catastrophism, with a good set of insights into the theoretical misuse of the idea of crisis. But I was left wondering at the strategy/motives here. We are in the middle of an immense crisis, a catastrophe in the realm of climate change, and suddenly many of what must be limousine leftists get cold feet and scotch the warnings. In part the problem lies with celebrity activists who won’t associate with leftists unless they moderate their platforms. A similar sentiment arises at the end of the otherwise brilliant Tropic of Chaos, by Parenti. The idea is, apparently, that the left’s critique of capitalism should be set aside to focus on isolated issues like climate change activism. Given the old left’s history, that is not always surprising. But it is dangerous nonsense: we have had a generation of issue oriented activism on climate change, with no result. We need a rewrite of the old left’s now failed legacy, replacing it with a radical upgrade that looks toward a resolution of the real problem: capitalism run amok. The book, in any case, has some useful insights into the way that crisis/apocalypse tends to enter demands for change, and it is present even in the works of marxism, which has hurt its message with confusions over apocalyptic predictions. But while the critique is apt, and useful, the fact remains that a platform that aims beyond capitalism must be part of the mix. We can’t lost another generation, as with the last…

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