Marxism and the Earth: A defence of the classical tradition

Empson, Martin
Date Written:  2017-01-03
Publisher:  International Socialism
Year Published:  2017
Resource Type:  Article
Cx Number:  CX20592

A review of John Bellamy Foster and Paul Burkett, Marx and the Earth: An Anti-Critique.



Marxist analyses of the natural world have been the focus of intense debate recently, and the publication of any book that further explores what Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels thought about the subject is something to be welcomed. John Bellamy Foster and Paul Burkett have proven track records of writing some of the clearest books on the subject, and while Marx and the Earth is not a specific response to some of their recent critics, it is an important defence of Marx’s and Engels’s original work.

The authors call their work an “anti-critique”, in the vein of books such as Engels’s Anti-Dühring, as a way of reasserting and developing their core arguments in the context of a defence of the original work. As they write: “We have gradually come to see our own efforts to define a historical materialist ecology, in opposition to those ecosocialists who want to dump the greater part of the classical Marxist legacy, as taking on the overall character of an anti-critique". As such the book systematically examines the work of those who have critiqued (and in some cases tried to develop) the work of Marx and Engels on ecological questions.

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