After Neoliberalism: From Eco-Marxism to Ecological Civilization: Part 1

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This is Part 1 of an article aimed at defending Marx against orthodox Marxists to reveal the possibilities for overcoming capitalism. It is argued that Marx’s general theory of history as technological determinism along with his call for the dictatorship of the proletariat is inconsistent with his profound insights into alienation and commodity fetishism as the foundations of capitalism. Humanist Marxists focused on the latter in opposition to Orthodox Marxists, but without fully acknowledging this inconsistency and its implications, failed to realize the full potential of Marx’s work. The outcome has been the triumph of “neoliberalism,” effectively a synthesis of the worst aspects of capitalism with Soviet managerialism. Here I argue that eco-Marxists should combine humanistic Marxism with the defence of genuine science to revive a tradition of thought going back to Aleksander Bogdanov and Ernst Bloch, and to Marx himself. However, traditional Marxists’ lack of appreciation of the importance of the “superstructure” has hindered even eco-Marxists from developing the culture required to replace capitalism. In Part 2 I will argue that the call for an “ecological civilization” brings into focus what is required: a realistic vision of the future based on ecological concepts.
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Archival date: 2021-07-17
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