Thompson, William Morris and Ecosocialist Tasks
Publisher: Against the Current
Date Written: 01/11/2013
Year Published: 2013
Resource Type: Article
Cx Number: CX20284
Bernabe highlights E.P. Thompson's biography of William Morris and his theories regarding ecosocialism.
Marxism must insist that labor's struggle against capital cannot but have an ecological dimension, without which it cannot claim to be the bearer of a full break with the exploitive and destructive consequences of capitalism.
But this is a two-way street: The ecological movement needs to recognize that capital's inherent tendency to enclose, commodify and consequently turn all aspects of nature within its reach into a source of private profit places it in irreparable contradiction with natural rhythms and cycles.
Ecology speaks of material limits that we must take into account, but capitalist accumulation is limitless. This refers to fundamental longterm tendencies, beyond the daily misuses of the environment by capital in the pursuit of an extra ounce of profit.
To the extent that the ecological movement fails to recognize this and to extract the logical anticapitalist conclusion, to that extent it turns its back not only on socialism but on the environment it seeks to protect. The destiny of the labor movement is as central to the future of ecologism as it is to the future of socialism.
Where does William Morris come into this picture? It was not the relations of exploitation at the center of capitalism that first fueled Morris's indignation, but the base material surroundings it created: its "sordid, aimless, ugly, confusion" in which "the pleasure of the eye was gone from the world."