Joel Kovel

Joel Kovel

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Joel Kovel is an American
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 politician, academic, writer, and eco-socialist
Eco-socialism
Eco-socialism, green socialism or socialist ecology is an ideology merging aspects of Marxism, socialism, green politics, ecology and alter-globalization...

. A practicing psychiatrist and psychoanalyst until the mid-1980s, he has lectured in psychiatry
Psychiatry
Psychiatry is the medical specialty devoted to the study and treatment of mental disorders. These mental disorders include various affective, behavioural, cognitive and perceptual abnormalities...

, anthropology
Anthropology
Anthropology is the study of humanity. It has origins in the humanities, the natural sciences, and the social sciences. The term "anthropology" is from the Greek anthrōpos , "man", understood to mean mankind or humanity, and -logia , "discourse" or "study", and was first used in 1501 by German...

, political science
Political science
Political Science is a social science discipline concerned with the study of the state, government and politics. Aristotle defined it as the study of the state. It deals extensively with the theory and practice of politics, and the analysis of political systems and political behavior...

 and communication studies
Communication studies
Communication Studies is an academic field that deals with processes of communication, commonly defined as the sharing of symbols over distances in space and time. Hence, communication studies encompasses a wide range of topics and contexts ranging from face-to-face conversation to speeches to mass...

. He has published many books on his work in psychiatry
Psychiatry
Psychiatry is the medical specialty devoted to the study and treatment of mental disorders. These mental disorders include various affective, behavioural, cognitive and perceptual abnormalities...

, psychoanalysis
Psychoanalysis
Psychoanalysis is a psychological theory developed in the late 19th and early 20th centuries by Austrian neurologist Sigmund Freud. Psychoanalysis has expanded, been criticized and developed in different directions, mostly by some of Freud's former students, such as Alfred Adler and Carl Gustav...

 and political activism. Kovel is a member of the Green Party of the United States
Green Party (United States)
The Green Party of the United States is a nationally recognized political party which officially formed in 1991. It is a voluntary association of state green parties. Prior to national formation, many state affiliates had already formed and were recognized by other state parties...

 (GPUS). He is a Marxist and an anti-Zionist
Anti-Zionism
Anti-Zionism is opposition to Zionistic views or opposition to the state of Israel. The term is used to describe various religious, moral and political points of view in opposition to these, but their diversity of motivation and expression is sufficiently different that "anti-Zionism" cannot be...

 Jew, whose work Overcoming Zionism was a cause of controversy.

Early and personal life


In 1936, Kovel was born in Brooklyn, New York, and spent his childhood between Brooklyn
Brooklyn
Brooklyn is the most populous of New York City's five boroughs, with nearly 2.6 million residents, and the second-largest in area. Since 1896, Brooklyn has had the same boundaries as Kings County, which is now the most populous county in New York State and the second-most densely populated...

 and Long Island
Long Island
Long Island is an island located in the southeast part of the U.S. state of New York, just east of Manhattan. Stretching northeast into the Atlantic Ocean, Long Island contains four counties, two of which are boroughs of New York City , and two of which are mainly suburban...

. He first attended Yale College
Yale College
Yale College was the official name of Yale University from 1718 to 1887. The name now refers to the undergraduate part of the university. Each undergraduate student is assigned to one of 12 residential colleges.-Residential colleges:...

 and then studied medicine at Columbia University
Columbia University
Columbia University in the City of New York is a private, Ivy League university in Manhattan, New York City. Columbia is the oldest institution of higher learning in the state of New York, the fifth oldest in the United States, and one of the country's nine Colonial Colleges founded before the...

, where he gained a medical degree in 1961. Following this, he studied psychiatry at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine
Albert Einstein College of Medicine
Albert Einstein College of Medicine is a graduate school of Yeshiva University. It is a not-for-profit, private, nonsectarian medical school located on the Jack and Pearl Resnick Campus in the Morris Park neighborhood of the borough of the Bronx of New York City...

, becoming Director of Residency Training (1977–83) and Professor of Psychiatry (1979–86) at the college. He also holds a diploma in psychoanalysis
Psychoanalysis
Psychoanalysis is a psychological theory developed in the late 19th and early 20th centuries by Austrian neurologist Sigmund Freud. Psychoanalysis has expanded, been criticized and developed in different directions, mostly by some of Freud's former students, such as Alfred Adler and Carl Gustav...

 from the Downstate Medical Center Institute.

Kovel is married, has three children, three stepchildren and five grandchildren, and resides in Willow, a rural district of Woodstock, Ulster County, New York. Kovel is the Father-in-law
Father-in-law
A parent-in-law is a person who has a legal affinity with another by being the parent of the other's spouse. Many cultures and legal systems impose duties and responsibilities on persons connected by this relationship...

 of comedian Greg Fitzsimmons
Greg Fitzsimmons
Greg Fitzsimmons is an American stand-up comedian, television writer/producer and radio host.-Life and career:Fitzsimmons has performed his comedy on numerous programs such as The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Late Show with David Letterman, Late Night with Conan O'Brien, Chelsea Lately and Comedy...

.

Academic career


Kovel took up a career in psychiatry
Psychiatry
Psychiatry is the medical specialty devoted to the study and treatment of mental disorders. These mental disorders include various affective, behavioural, cognitive and perceptual abnormalities...

 and psychoanalysis
Psychoanalysis
Psychoanalysis is a psychological theory developed in the late 19th and early 20th centuries by Austrian neurologist Sigmund Freud. Psychoanalysis has expanded, been criticized and developed in different directions, mostly by some of Freud's former students, such as Alfred Adler and Carl Gustav...

 until the mid-1980s, when he became disillusioned with the health care system. In addition to his work in Psychiatry, Kovel has been Adjunct Professor of Anthropology at the Graduate Faculty in the New School for Social Research; Visiting Professor of Political Science and Communications at the University of California (1986-7); Visiting Professor at San Diego State University
San Diego State University
San Diego State University , founded in 1897 as San Diego Normal School, is the largest and oldest higher education facility in the greater San Diego area , and is part of the California State University system...

 (1990); Visiting Professor of Communication at the University of California
University of California
The University of California is a public university system in the U.S. state of California. Under the California Master Plan for Higher Education, the University of California is a part of the state's three-tier public higher education system, which also includes the California State University...

 (1993); and Alger Hiss
Alger Hiss
Alger Hiss was an American lawyer, government official, author, and lecturer. He was involved in the establishment of the United Nations both as a U.S. State Department and U.N. official...

 Professor of Social Studies, Bard College
Bard College
Bard College, founded in 1860 as "St. Stephen's College", is a small four-year liberal arts college located in Annandale-on-Hudson, New York.-Location:...

 between 1988 and 2003, and Distinguished Professor of Social Studies at the institution from 2003 to 2008.

In 2009, Kovel accused Bard College
Bard College
Bard College, founded in 1860 as "St. Stephen's College", is a small four-year liberal arts college located in Annandale-on-Hudson, New York.-Location:...

 of terminating him in retaliation for his political views. The college president, Leon Botstein
Leon Botstein
Leon Botstein is an American conductor and the President of Bard College . Botstein is the music director and principal conductor of the American Symphony Orchestra and conductor laureate of the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra, where he served as music director and principal conductor from 2003-2010...

, countered that the reasons were financial and not political. The firing took place at the height of the global financial crisis of 2008–2009, when the college let several members of the faculty go. College President Leon Botstein
Leon Botstein
Leon Botstein is an American conductor and the President of Bard College . Botstein is the music director and principal conductor of the American Symphony Orchestra and conductor laureate of the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra, where he served as music director and principal conductor from 2003-2010...

 wrote to Kovel accusing him of "tak(ing) what is self-evidently a result of economic constraint and turn(ing) it into a trumped-up case of prejudice and political victimization".

Kovel has contributed to many journals and magazines. He is currently the Editor-in-Chief of Capitalism Nature Socialism, a quarterly journal on Eco-socialism.

As a writer, Kovel has published nine books and over a hundred articles in various publications. Many of his books have been related to his work in psychiatry and psychoanalysis. White Racism: A Psychohistory, released in 1972, was nominated for a National Book Award
National Book Award
The National Book Awards are a set of American literary awards. Started in 1950, the Awards are presented annually to American authors for literature published in the current year. In 1989 the National Book Foundation, a nonprofit organization which now oversees and manages the National Book...

 in Religion and Philosophy. His work in the psychiatric-psychoanalytic system was documented in 1981 with the publication of The Age of Desire: Case Histories of a Radical Psychoanalyst. The Radical Spirit: Essays on Psychoanalysis and Society won "Choice Outstanding Academic Book" for 1989.

Other works have focused on politics and eco-socialism
Eco-socialism
Eco-socialism, green socialism or socialist ecology is an ideology merging aspects of Marxism, socialism, green politics, ecology and alter-globalization...

, including Against the State of Nuclear Terror (1983) and 1994's Red Hunting in the Promised Land, a study of anticommunist
Anti-communism
Anti-communism is opposition to communism. Organized anti-communism developed in reaction to the rise of communism, especially after the 1917 October Revolution in Russia and the beginning of the Cold War in 1947.-Objections to communist theory:...

 repression in America. The Enemy of Nature: The End of Capitalism or The End of the World, was published in 2002.

Kovel's most recent book, Overcoming Zionism: Creating a Single Democratic State in Israel-Palestine, became the focus of intense controversy in 2007.

Political career


Kovel became involved in political activism during the Vietnam War
Opposition to the Vietnam War
The movement against US involvment in the in Vietnam War began in the United States with demonstrations in 1964 and grew in strength in later years. The US became polarized between those who advocated continued involvement in Vietnam, and those who wanted peace. Peace movements consisted largely of...

. He has been an active member of anti-nuclear movement and peace campaigns, Central American and Caribbean solidarity movements, the movements for democratic media
Media democracy
Media democracy is a set of ideas advocating reforming the mass media, strengthening public service broadcasting, and developing and participating in alternative media and citizen journalism. The stated purpose for doing so is to create a mass media system that informs and empowers all members of...

 and environmental campaigns
Environmentalism
Environmentalism is a broad philosophy, ideology and social movement regarding concerns for environmental conservation and improvement of the health of the environment, particularly as the measure for this health seeks to incorporate the concerns of non-human elements...

. As part of his campaigning work, he lived briefly in Nicaragua
Nicaragua
Nicaragua is the largest country in the Central American American isthmus, bordered by Honduras to the north and Costa Rica to the south. The country is situated between 11 and 14 degrees north of the Equator in the Northern Hemisphere, which places it entirely within the tropics. The Pacific Ocean...

 in 1986 and joined the Pastors for Peace as they broke the US blockade on Cuba
Torricelli Act
The Torricelli act also known as The Cuban Democracy Act is another part of the United States' long running embargo against Cuba. The law was enacted in 1992, on an initiative by Robert Torricelli, who was then a member of the United States House of Representatives, and supported by Senator...

 in their 1994 Friendshipment.

In 1990, Kovel moved into party politics by joining the Green Party of the US
Green Party (United States)
The Green Party of the United States is a nationally recognized political party which officially formed in 1991. It is a voluntary association of state green parties. Prior to national formation, many state affiliates had already formed and were recognized by other state parties...

. In 1998
United States Senate elections, 1998
The U.S. Senate election, 1998 was a roughly even contest between the Republican and Democratic parties. While the Democrats had more seats, Republican attacks on the morality of President Bill Clinton failed to connect with voters and anticipated Republican gains failed to materialize...

 he ran as the party's candidate for US Senator from New York, finishing fourth among the six candidates. Kovel also ran for the party's presidential nomination in 2000
2000 Green National Convention
The 2000 Green National Convention was held on July 23-25, in Denver, Colorado. The convention was convened by the Association of State Green Parties, which was later to be renamed the Green Party of the United States...

 finishing fourth overall well behind nominee Ralph Nader
Ralph Nader
Ralph Nader is an American political activist, as well as an author, lecturer, and attorney. Areas of particular concern to Nader include consumer protection, humanitarianism, environmentalism, and democratic government....

.

Kovel is an advisory editor of Socialist Resistance
Socialist Resistance
Socialist Resistance is a Trotskyist and ecosocialist organisation in Britain which publishes a Marxist periodical of the same name. In July 2009 the International Socialist Group merged into it, making SR the British Section of the Fourth International.-Origins:It was launched on 8 September...

.

Eco-socialist views


In 2001, Kovel and Michael Löwy
Michael Löwy
Michael Löwy is a French-Brazilian Marxist sociologist and philosopher. He is presently the emeritus research director in social sciences at the CNRS and lectures at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales...

, an anthropologist
Anthropology
Anthropology is the study of humanity. It has origins in the humanities, the natural sciences, and the social sciences. The term "anthropology" is from the Greek anthrōpos , "man", understood to mean mankind or humanity, and -logia , "discourse" or "study", and was first used in 1501 by German...

 and member of the Trotskyist Fourth International, released An ecosocialist manifesto, which set out to define eco-socialist
Eco-socialism
Eco-socialism, green socialism or socialist ecology is an ideology merging aspects of Marxism, socialism, green politics, ecology and alter-globalization...

 ideology and has been adopted by some organisations. Kovel's 2002 work, The Enemy of Nature: The End of Capitalism or the End of the World?, is considered by many, such as Derek Wall
Derek Wall
Derek Wall is an English politician and member of the Green Party of England and Wales. Formerly the party's Principal Speaker, he is known as a prominent ecosocialist, campaigning both for environmentalism and socialism. Alongside his political role, Wall is an academic and a writer, having...

, to be the most up-to-date exposition of eco-socialist thought.

Critique of capitalist expansion and globalisation


Kovel is anti-capitalist
Anti-capitalism
Anti-capitalism describes a wide variety of movements, ideas, and attitudes which oppose capitalism. Anti-capitalists, in the strict sense of the word, are those who wish to completely replace capitalism with another system....

 and anti-globalization
Anti-globalization
Criticism of globalization is skepticism of the claimed benefits of the globalization of capitalism. Many of these views are held by the anti-globalization movement however other groups also are critical of the policies of globalization....

, seeing globalization
Globalization
Globalization refers to the increasingly global relationships of culture, people and economic activity. Most often, it refers to economics: the global distribution of the production of goods and services, through reduction of barriers to international trade such as tariffs, export fees, and import...

 as a force driven by capitalism
Capitalism
Capitalism is an economic system that became dominant in the Western world following the demise of feudalism. There is no consensus on the precise definition nor on how the term should be used as a historical category...

 – in turn, the rapid economic growth
Economic growth
In economics, economic growth is defined as the increasing capacity of the economy to satisfy the wants of goods and services of the members of society. Economic growth is enabled by increases in productivity, which lowers the inputs for a given amount of output. Lowered costs increase demand...

 encouraged by globalization causes acute ecological crises. He believes that capitalist firms have to continue to generate profit through a combination of continually intensifying exploitation and selling to new markets: this means that capitalism must grow indefinitely to exist, which seems impossible on a planet of finite resources.

In the Ecosocialist manifesto, Kovel and Löwy
Michael Löwy
Michael Löwy is a French-Brazilian Marxist sociologist and philosopher. He is presently the emeritus research director in social sciences at the CNRS and lectures at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales...

 suggest that capitalist expansion causes both "crises of ecology" through "rampant industrialization" and "societal breakdown" that springs "from the form of imperialism
Imperialism
Imperialism, as defined by Dictionary of Human Geography, is "the creation and/or maintenance of an unequal economic, cultural, and territorial relationships, usually between states and often in the form of an empire, based on domination and subordination." The imperialism of the last 500 years,...

 known as globalization
Globalization
Globalization refers to the increasingly global relationships of culture, people and economic activity. Most often, it refers to economics: the global distribution of the production of goods and services, through reduction of barriers to international trade such as tariffs, export fees, and import...

". They believe that capitalism
Capitalism
Capitalism is an economic system that became dominant in the Western world following the demise of feudalism. There is no consensus on the precise definition nor on how the term should be used as a historical category...

's expansion "exposes ecosystem
Ecosystem
An ecosystem is a biological environment consisting of all the organisms living in a particular area, as well as all the nonliving , physical components of the environment with which the organisms interact, such as air, soil, water and sunlight....

s" to pollutants, habitat destruction and resource depletion
Resource depletion
Resource depletion is an economic term referring to the exhaustion of raw materials within a region. Resources are commonly divided between renewable resources and non-renewable resources...

, "reducing the sensuous vitality of nature
Nature
Nature, in the broadest sense, is equivalent to the natural world, physical world, or material world. "Nature" refers to the phenomena of the physical world, and also to life in general...

 to the cold exchangeability required for the accumulation of capital
Capitalism
Capitalism is an economic system that became dominant in the Western world following the demise of feudalism. There is no consensus on the precise definition nor on how the term should be used as a historical category...

", while submerging "the majority of the world's people to a mere reservoir of labor power" as it penetrates communities through "consumerism
Consumerism
Consumerism is a social and economic order that is based on the systematic creation and fostering of a desire to purchase goods and services in ever greater amounts. The term is often associated with criticisms of consumption starting with Thorstein Veblen...

 and depoliticization". Furthermore, Kovel sees the form of neo-liberal
Neoliberalism
Neoliberalism is a market-driven approach to economic and social policy based on neoclassical theories of economics that emphasizes the efficiency of private enterprise, liberalized trade and relatively open markets, and therefore seeks to maximize the role of the private sector in determining the...

 globalization
Globalization
Globalization refers to the increasingly global relationships of culture, people and economic activity. Most often, it refers to economics: the global distribution of the production of goods and services, through reduction of barriers to international trade such as tariffs, export fees, and import...

 as "a return to the pure logic of capital" that "has effectively swept away measures which had inhibited capital’s aggressivity, replacing them with naked exploitation of humanity and nature"; for Kovel, this "tearing down of boundaries", which was "a deliberate response to a serious accumulation crisis" in the 1970s, has become the definition of modern 'globalization
Globalization
Globalization refers to the increasingly global relationships of culture, people and economic activity. Most often, it refers to economics: the global distribution of the production of goods and services, through reduction of barriers to international trade such as tariffs, export fees, and import...

'.

As eco-socialists disagree with the elite theories of capitalism, which tend to label a specific class or social group as conspirators who construct a system that satisfies their greed and personal desires, Kovel suggests that the capitalist system itself is self-perpetuating, fuelled by extra-human or impersonal forces. He uses the Bhopal Union-Carbide industrial disaster
Bhopal disaster
The Bhopal disaster also known as Bhopal Gas Tragedy was a gas leak incident in India, considered one of the world's worst industrial catastrophes. It occurred on the night of December 2–3, 1984 at the Union Carbide India Limited pesticide plant in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, India...

 as an example. Many anti-corporation observers would blame the avarice of those at the top of many multi-national corporations. Conversely, Kovel traces systemic impulses. Union Carbide
Bhopal disaster
The Bhopal disaster also known as Bhopal Gas Tragedy was a gas leak incident in India, considered one of the world's worst industrial catastrophes. It occurred on the night of December 2–3, 1984 at the Union Carbide India Limited pesticide plant in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, India...

 were experiencing a decrease in sales that led to falling profits, which, due to stock market conditions, translated into a drop in share values. The depreciation of share value made many shareholders sell their stock, weakening the company and leading to cost-cutting measures that eroded the safety procedures and mechanisms at the Bhopal
Bhopal disaster
The Bhopal disaster also known as Bhopal Gas Tragedy was a gas leak incident in India, considered one of the world's worst industrial catastrophes. It occurred on the night of December 2–3, 1984 at the Union Carbide India Limited pesticide plant in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, India...

 site. Though this did not, in Kovel's mind, make Bhopal
Bhopal disaster
The Bhopal disaster also known as Bhopal Gas Tragedy was a gas leak incident in India, considered one of the world's worst industrial catastrophes. It occurred on the night of December 2–3, 1984 at the Union Carbide India Limited pesticide plant in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, India...

 inevitable, it illustrates the effect market forces can have on increasing the likelihood of ecological and social problems.

Use and exchange value


Kovel follows Marx's
Marxism
Marxism is an economic and sociopolitical worldview and method of socioeconomic inquiry that centers upon a materialist interpretation of history, a dialectical view of social change, and an analysis and critique of the development of capitalism. Marxism was pioneered in the early to mid 19th...

 theories about the contradiction between use value
Use value
Use value or value in use is the utility of consuming a good; the want-satisfying power of a good or service in classical political economy. In Marx's critique of political economy, any labor-product has a value and a use-value, and if it is traded as a commodity in markets, it additionally has an...

s and exchange value
Exchange value
In political economy and especially Marxian economics, exchange value refers to one of four major attributes of a commodity, i.e., an item or service produced for, and sold on the market...

s. As he explains in The Enemy of Nature, within a market economy, goods are not produced to meet needs but are produced to be exchanged for money that we then use to acquire other goods. As we have to keep selling in order to keep buying, we must persuade others to buy our goods just to ensure our survival, which leads to the production of goods with no previous use that can be sold to sustain our ability to buy other goods. Kovel stresses that this contradiction has reached a destructive extent, where certain essential activities – such as caring for relatives full-time and basic subsistence – are unrewarded, while unnecessary economic activities earn certain individuals huge fortunes.

The role of the state and transstatal organisations


Capitalist expansion is seen by Kovel as being "hand in glove" with "corrupt and subservient client states
State (polity)
A state is an organized political community, living under a government. States may be sovereign and may enjoy a monopoly on the legal initiation of force and are not dependent on, or subject to any other power or state. Many states are federated states which participate in a federal union...

" that repress dissent against the system, governed by international organisations "under the overall supervision of the Western powers
Western world
The Western world, also known as the West and the Occident , is a term referring to the countries of Western Europe , the countries of the Americas, as well all countries of Northern and Central Europe, Australia and New Zealand...

 and the superpower
Superpower
A superpower is a state with a dominant position in the international system which has the ability to influence events and its own interests and project power on a worldwide scale to protect those interests...

 United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

", which subordinate peripheral nations economically and militarily. Kovel further claims that capitalism itself spurs conflict and, ultimately, war
War
War is a state of organized, armed, and often prolonged conflict carried on between states, nations, or other parties typified by extreme aggression, social disruption, and usually high mortality. War should be understood as an actual, intentional and widespread armed conflict between political...

. Kovel states that the 'War on Terror
War on Terror
The War on Terror is a term commonly applied to an international military campaign led by the United States and the United Kingdom with the support of other North Atlantic Treaty Organisation as well as non-NATO countries...

', between Islamist extremists and the USA, is caused by "oil imperialism
Imperialism
Imperialism, as defined by Dictionary of Human Geography, is "the creation and/or maintenance of an unequal economic, cultural, and territorial relationships, usually between states and often in the form of an empire, based on domination and subordination." The imperialism of the last 500 years,...

", whereby the capitalist nations require control over sources of energy
Energy
In physics, energy is an indirectly observed quantity. It is often understood as the ability a physical system has to do work on other physical systems...

, especially oil, which are necessary to continue intensive industrial growth
Economic growth
In economics, economic growth is defined as the increasing capacity of the economy to satisfy the wants of goods and services of the members of society. Economic growth is enabled by increases in productivity, which lowers the inputs for a given amount of output. Lowered costs increase demand...

 – in the quest for control of such resources, Kovel argues that the capitalist nations, specifically the USA, have come into conflict with the predominantly Muslim
Muslim
A Muslim, also spelled Moslem, is an adherent of Islam, a monotheistic, Abrahamic religion based on the Quran, which Muslims consider the verbatim word of God as revealed to prophet Muhammad. "Muslim" is the Arabic term for "submitter" .Muslims believe that God is one and incomparable...

 nations where oil is often found.

Kovel believes that state or self-regulation
Regulatory economics
Regulatory economics is the economics of regulation, in the sense of the application of law by government that is used for various purposes, such as centrally-planning an economy, remedying market failure, enriching well-connected firms, or benefiting politicians...

 of markets does not solve the crisis "because to do so requires setting limits upon accumulation", which is "unacceptable" for a growth
Economic growth
In economics, economic growth is defined as the increasing capacity of the economy to satisfy the wants of goods and services of the members of society. Economic growth is enabled by increases in productivity, which lowers the inputs for a given amount of output. Lowered costs increase demand...

-orientated system; they believe that terrorism
Terrorism
Terrorism is the systematic use of terror, especially as a means of coercion. In the international community, however, terrorism has no universally agreed, legally binding, criminal law definition...

 and revolutionary impulses cannot be tackled properly "because to do so would mean abandoning the logic of empire
Empire
The term empire derives from the Latin imperium . Politically, an empire is a geographically extensive group of states and peoples united and ruled either by a monarch or an oligarchy....

". Instead, eco-socialists feel that increasing repressive counter-terrorism
Counter-terrorism
Counter-terrorism is the practices, tactics, techniques, and strategies that governments, militaries, police departments and corporations adopt to prevent or in response to terrorist threats and/or acts, both real and imputed.The tactic of terrorism is available to insurgents and governments...

 increases alienation
Social alienation
The term social alienation has many discipline-specific uses; Roberts notes how even within the social sciences, it “is used to refer both to a personal psychological state and to a type of social relationship”...

 and causes further terrorism
Terrorism
Terrorism is the systematic use of terror, especially as a means of coercion. In the international community, however, terrorism has no universally agreed, legally binding, criminal law definition...

 and believe that state counter-terrorist
Counter-terrorism
Counter-terrorism is the practices, tactics, techniques, and strategies that governments, militaries, police departments and corporations adopt to prevent or in response to terrorist threats and/or acts, both real and imputed.The tactic of terrorism is available to insurgents and governments...

 methods are, in Kovel and Löwy
Michael Löwy
Michael Löwy is a French-Brazilian Marxist sociologist and philosopher. He is presently the emeritus research director in social sciences at the CNRS and lectures at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales...

's words, "evolving into a new and malignant variation of fascism
Fascism
Fascism is a radical authoritarian nationalist political ideology. Fascists seek to rejuvenate their nation based on commitment to the national community as an organic entity, in which individuals are bound together in national identity by suprapersonal connections of ancestry, culture, and blood...

". They echo Rosa Luxemburg
Rosa Luxemburg
Rosa Luxemburg was a Marxist theorist, philosopher, economist and activist of Polish Jewish descent who became a naturalized German citizen...

's "stark choice" between "socialism or barbarism", which was believed to be a prediction of the coming of fascism
Fascism
Fascism is a radical authoritarian nationalist political ideology. Fascists seek to rejuvenate their nation based on commitment to the national community as an organic entity, in which individuals are bound together in national identity by suprapersonal connections of ancestry, culture, and blood...

 and further forms of destructive capitalism at the beginning of the twentieth century (Luxemburg
Rosa Luxemburg
Rosa Luxemburg was a Marxist theorist, philosopher, economist and activist of Polish Jewish descent who became a naturalized German citizen...

 was in fact murdered by proto-fascist
Fascism
Fascism is a radical authoritarian nationalist political ideology. Fascists seek to rejuvenate their nation based on commitment to the national community as an organic entity, in which individuals are bound together in national identity by suprapersonal connections of ancestry, culture, and blood...

 Freikorps
Freikorps
Freikorps are German volunteer military or paramilitary units. The term was originally applied to voluntary armies formed in German lands from the middle of the 18th century onwards. Between World War I and World War II the term was also used for the paramilitary organizations that arose during...

 in the revolutionary atmosphere of Germany
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

 in 1919).

Critique of other forms of green politics and socialism


Kovel criticises many within the Green movement
Green Movement
The Green Movement refers to a series of actions after the 2009 Iranian presidential election, in which protesters demanded the removal of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad from office...

 for not being overtly anti-capitalist
Anti-capitalism
Anti-capitalism describes a wide variety of movements, ideas, and attitudes which oppose capitalism. Anti-capitalists, in the strict sense of the word, are those who wish to completely replace capitalism with another system....

, for working within the existing capitalist
Capitalism
Capitalism is an economic system that became dominant in the Western world following the demise of feudalism. There is no consensus on the precise definition nor on how the term should be used as a historical category...

, statist system, for voluntarism
Voluntarism (action)
Voluntarism is sometimes used to mean the use of, or reliance on voluntary action to maintain an institution, carry out a policy, or achieve an end. In this context the word voluntary action means action based on free will, which in turn means action which is performed free from certain constraints...

, or for reliance on technological fix
Technological fix
A technological fix or technical fix refers to an engineering or technical solution to a problem caused by human nature. Frequently the solution is an impractical and/or humorous proposal such as the Internet Protocol Evil bit or the "suitable application of high explosives" to interpersonal problems...

es. He suggests that eco-socialism
Eco-socialism
Eco-socialism, green socialism or socialist ecology is an ideology merging aspects of Marxism, socialism, green politics, ecology and alter-globalization...

 differs from Green politics
Green politics
Green politics is a political ideology that aims for the creation of an ecologically sustainable society rooted in environmentalism, social liberalism, and grassroots democracy...

 at the most fundamental level because the 'Four Pillars
Four Pillars of the Green Party
The Four Pillars of the Green Party are a foundational statement of Green politics and form the basis of many worldwide Green parties. The Four Pillars are:* Ecological wisdom* Social justice* Grassroots democracy* Nonviolence...

' of Green politics (and the 'Ten Key Values' of the US Green Party
Green Party (United States)
The Green Party of the United States is a nationally recognized political party which officially formed in 1991. It is a voluntary association of state green parties. Prior to national formation, many state affiliates had already formed and were recognized by other state parties...

) do not include the demand for the emancipation of labour
Emancipation of Labour
Emancipation of Labour group was the first Russian Marxist group. Founded by Georgi Plekhanov, Vasily Ignatov, Vera Zasulich, Leo Deutsch, and Pavel Axelrod in Geneva in 1883. Leo Deutsch left the group in 1884 when he was arrested and sent to Siberia. Sergey Ingerman joined the group at 1888...

 and the end of the separation between producers and the means of production
Means of production
Means of production refers to physical, non-human inputs used in production—the factories, machines, and tools used to produce wealth — along with both infrastructural capital and natural capital. This includes the classical factors of production minus financial capital and minus human capital...

.

Opposition to within-system approaches, voluntarism and technological fixes


Kovel is highly critical of those Greens
Green politics
Green politics is a political ideology that aims for the creation of an ecologically sustainable society rooted in environmentalism, social liberalism, and grassroots democracy...

 who favour "working within the system". While he recognises the ability of within-system approaches to raise awareness, and believe that "the struggle for an ecologically
Ecology
Ecology is the scientific study of the relations that living organisms have with respect to each other and their natural environment. Variables of interest to ecologists include the composition, distribution, amount , number, and changing states of organisms within and among ecosystems...

 rational world must include a struggle for the state
State (polity)
A state is an organized political community, living under a government. States may be sovereign and may enjoy a monopoly on the legal initiation of force and are not dependent on, or subject to any other power or state. Many states are federated states which participate in a federal union...

", he believes that the mainstream Green movement
Green Movement
The Green Movement refers to a series of actions after the 2009 Iranian presidential election, in which protesters demanded the removal of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad from office...

 is too easily co-opted by the current powerful socio-political forces as it "passes from citizen-based activism
Activism
Activism consists of intentional efforts to bring about social, political, economic, or environmental change. Activism can take a wide range of forms from writing letters to newspapers or politicians, political campaigning, economic activism such as boycotts or preferentially patronizing...

 to ponderous bureaucracies scuffling for 'a seat at the table'". For Kovel, capitalism is "happy to enlist" the Green movement
Green Movement
The Green Movement refers to a series of actions after the 2009 Iranian presidential election, in which protesters demanded the removal of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad from office...

 for "convenience", "control over popular dissent" and "rationalization". He further attacks within-system green initiatives like carbon trading
Carbon trading
Carbon trading may refer to:*Carbon emission trading*Personal carbon trading*Emissions trading...

, which he sees as a "capitalist shell game" that turns pollution
Pollution
Pollution is the introduction of contaminants into a natural environment that causes instability, disorder, harm or discomfort to the ecosystem i.e. physical systems or living organisms. Pollution can take the form of chemical substances or energy, such as noise, heat or light...

 "into a fresh source of profit".

In addition, Kovel criticises the "defeatism" of voluntarism in some local forms of environmentalism
Environmentalism
Environmentalism is a broad philosophy, ideology and social movement regarding concerns for environmental conservation and improvement of the health of the environment, particularly as the measure for this health seeks to incorporate the concerns of non-human elements...

 that do not connect together: he suggests that they can be "drawn off into individualism
Individualism
Individualism is the moral stance, political philosophy, ideology, or social outlook that stresses "the moral worth of the individual". Individualists promote the exercise of one's goals and desires and so value independence and self-reliance while opposing most external interference upon one's own...

" or co-opted to the demands of capitalism, as in the case of certain recycling
Recycling
Recycling is processing used materials into new products to prevent waste of potentially useful materials, reduce the consumption of fresh raw materials, reduce energy usage, reduce air pollution and water pollution by reducing the need for "conventional" waste disposal, and lower greenhouse...

 projects, where citizens are "induced to provide free labor" to waste management
Waste management
Waste management is the collection, transport, processing or disposal,managing and monitoring of waste materials. The term usually relates to materials produced by human activity, and the process is generally undertaken to reduce their effect on health, the environment or aesthetics...

 industries who are involved in the "capitalization of nature". He labels the notion of voluntarism "ecopolitics
Green politics
Green politics is a political ideology that aims for the creation of an ecologically sustainable society rooted in environmentalism, social liberalism, and grassroots democracy...

 without struggle".

Kovel notes that "events in nature are reciprocal and multi-determined" and can therefore not be predictably "fixed"; socially, technologies cannot solve social problems because they are not "mechanical". He posits an analysis, developed from Marx
Karl Marx
Karl Heinrich Marx was a German philosopher, economist, sociologist, historian, journalist, and revolutionary socialist. His ideas played a significant role in the development of social science and the socialist political movement...

, that patterns of production and social organisation are more important then the forms of technology used within a given configuration of society. Under capitalism, he suggests that technology "has been the sine qua non of growth
Economic growth
In economics, economic growth is defined as the increasing capacity of the economy to satisfy the wants of goods and services of the members of society. Economic growth is enabled by increases in productivity, which lowers the inputs for a given amount of output. Lowered costs increase demand...

" – thus he believes that, even in a world with hypothetical "free energy", the effect would be to lower the cost of automobile
Automobile
An automobile, autocar, motor car or car is a wheeled motor vehicle used for transporting passengers, which also carries its own engine or motor...

 production, leading to the massive overproduction
Overproduction
In economics, overproduction, oversupply or excess of supply refers to excess of supply over demand of products being offered to the market...

 of vehicle
Vehicle
A vehicle is a device that is designed or used to transport people or cargo. Most often vehicles are manufactured, such as bicycles, cars, motorcycles, trains, ships, boats, and aircraft....

s, "collapsing infrastructure", chronic resource depletion
Resource depletion
Resource depletion is an economic term referring to the exhaustion of raw materials within a region. Resources are commonly divided between renewable resources and non-renewable resources...

 and the "paving over" of the "remainder of nature
Nature
Nature, in the broadest sense, is equivalent to the natural world, physical world, or material world. "Nature" refers to the phenomena of the physical world, and also to life in general...

". In the modern world, Kovel considers the supposed efficiency of new post-industrial commodities is a "plain illusion", as miniaturized
Miniaturization
Miniaturization is the creation of ever-smaller scales for mechanical, optical, and electronic products and devices...

 components involve many substances and are therefore non-recyclable
Recycling
Recycling is processing used materials into new products to prevent waste of potentially useful materials, reduce the consumption of fresh raw materials, reduce energy usage, reduce air pollution and water pollution by reducing the need for "conventional" waste disposal, and lower greenhouse...

 (and, theoretically, only simple substances could be retrieved by burning out-of-date equipment, releasing more pollutants). He is quick to warn "environmental liberals
Liberalism
Liberalism is the belief in the importance of liberty and equal rights. Liberals espouse a wide array of views depending on their understanding of these principles, but generally, liberals support ideas such as constitutionalism, liberal democracy, free and fair elections, human rights,...

" against over-selling the virtues of renewable energies
Renewable energy
Renewable energy is energy which comes from natural resources such as sunlight, wind, rain, tides, and geothermal heat, which are renewable . About 16% of global final energy consumption comes from renewables, with 10% coming from traditional biomass, which is mainly used for heating, and 3.4% from...

 that cannot meet the mass energy consumption of the era; although he would still support renewable energy
Renewable energy
Renewable energy is energy which comes from natural resources such as sunlight, wind, rain, tides, and geothermal heat, which are renewable . About 16% of global final energy consumption comes from renewables, with 10% coming from traditional biomass, which is mainly used for heating, and 3.4% from...

 projects, he believes it is more important to restructure societies to reduce energy use before relying on renewable energy
Renewable energy
Renewable energy is energy which comes from natural resources such as sunlight, wind, rain, tides, and geothermal heat, which are renewable . About 16% of global final energy consumption comes from renewables, with 10% coming from traditional biomass, which is mainly used for heating, and 3.4% from...

 technologies alone.

Critique of Green economics


Kovel believes that eco-socialists must reject at a fundamental level what he calls "ecological economics
Ecological economics
Image:Sustainable development.svg|right|The three pillars of sustainability. Clickable.|275px|thumbpoly 138 194 148 219 164 240 182 257 219 277 263 291 261 311 264 331 272 351 283 366 300 383 316 394 287 408 261 417 224 424 182 426 154 423 119 415 87 403 58 385 40 368 24 347 17 328 13 309 16 286 26...

" or the "ecological wing of mainstream economics" for being "uninterested in social transformation". He furthers rejects the Neo-Smithian
Adam Smith
Adam Smith was a Scottish social philosopher and a pioneer of political economy. One of the key figures of the Scottish Enlightenment, Smith is the author of The Theory of Moral Sentiments and An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations...

 school, who believe in Adam Smith
Adam Smith
Adam Smith was a Scottish social philosopher and a pioneer of political economy. One of the key figures of the Scottish Enlightenment, Smith is the author of The Theory of Moral Sentiments and An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations...

's vision of "a capitalism of small producers, freely exchanging with each other", which is self-regulating and competitive. The school is represented by thinkers like David Korten
David Korten
David C. Korten is an American economist, author, and former Professor of the Harvard Business School, political activist and prominent critic of corporate globalization, "by training and inclination a student of psychology and behavioral systems". His best-known publication is When Corporations...

 who believe in "regulated markets" checked by government
Government
Government refers to the legislators, administrators, and arbitrators in the administrative bureaucracy who control a state at a given time, and to the system of government by which they are organized...

 and civil society
Civil society
Civil society is composed of the totality of many voluntary social relationships, civic and social organizations, and institutions that form the basis of a functioning society, as distinct from the force-backed structures of a state , the commercial institutions of the market, and private criminal...

 but, for Kovel, they do not provide a critique of the expansive nature of capitalism away from localised production and ignore "questions of class
Social class
Social classes are economic or cultural arrangements of groups in society. Class is an essential object of analysis for sociologists, political scientists, economists, anthropologists and social historians. In the social sciences, social class is often discussed in terms of 'social stratification'...

, gender
Gender
Gender is a range of characteristics used to distinguish between males and females, particularly in the cases of men and women and the masculine and feminine attributes assigned to them. Depending on the context, the discriminating characteristics vary from sex to social role to gender identity...

 or any other category of domination". Kovel also criticises their "fairy-tale" view of history, which refers to the abuse of "natural capital
Natural capital
Natural capital is the extension of the economic notion of capital to goods and services relating to the natural environment. Natural capital is thus the stock of natural ecosystems that yields a flow of valuable ecosystem goods or services into the future...

" by the materialism
Materialism
In philosophy, the theory of materialism holds that the only thing that exists is matter; that all things are composed of material and all phenomena are the result of material interactions. In other words, matter is the only substance...

 of the Scientific Revolution
Scientific revolution
The Scientific Revolution is an era associated primarily with the 16th and 17th centuries during which new ideas and knowledge in physics, astronomy, biology, medicine and chemistry transformed medieval and ancient views of nature and laid the foundations for modern science...

, an assumption that, in Kovel's eyes, seems to suggest that "nature had toiled to put the gift of capital into human hands", rather than capitalism being a product of social relations in human history.

Other forms of Community-based economics
Community-based economics
Community-based economics or community economics is an economic system that encourages local substitution. It is most similar the lifeways of those practicing voluntary simplicity, including traditional Mennonite, Amish, and modern eco-village communities...

 are also rejected by Kovel, including followers of E. F. Schumacher
E. F. Schumacher
Ernst Friedrich "Fritz" Schumacher was an internationally influential economic thinker, statistician and economist in Britain, serving as Chief Economic Advisor to the UK National Coal Board for two decades. His ideas became popularized in much of the English-speaking world during the 1970s...

 and some members of the Cooperative movement, for advocating "no more than a very halting and isolated first step". He thinks that their principles are "only partially realizable within the institutions of cooperatives in capitalist society" because "the internal cooperation" of cooperatives is "forever hemmed in and compromised" by the need to expand value and compete within the market
Free market
A free market is a competitive market where prices are determined by supply and demand. However, the term is also commonly used for markets in which economic intervention and regulation by the state is limited to tax collection, and enforcement of private ownership and contracts...

. For Kovel, Community-based economics
Community-based economics
Community-based economics or community economics is an economic system that encourages local substitution. It is most similar the lifeways of those practicing voluntary simplicity, including traditional Mennonite, Amish, and modern eco-village communities...

 and Green Localism
Localism (politics)
Localism describes a range of political philosophies which prioritize the local. Generally, localism supports local production and consumption of goods, local control of government, and promotion of local history, local culture and local identity...

 are "a fantasy" because "strict localism belongs to the aboriginal stages of society" and would be an "ecological nightmare at present population levels" due to "heat loses from a multitude of dispersed sites, the squandering of scare resources, the needless reproduction of effort, and cultural impoverishment". While he feels that small-scale production units are "an essential part of the path towards an ecological society", he sees them not as "an end in itself"; in his view, small enterprises can be either capitalist or socialist
Socialism
Socialism is an economic system characterized by social ownership of the means of production and cooperative management of the economy; or a political philosophy advocating such a system. "Social ownership" may refer to any one of, or a combination of, the following: cooperative enterprises,...

 in their configuration and therefore must be "consistently anti-capitalist
Anti-capitalism
Anti-capitalism describes a wide variety of movements, ideas, and attitudes which oppose capitalism. Anti-capitalists, in the strict sense of the word, are those who wish to completely replace capitalism with another system....

", through recognition and support of the emancipation of labour, and exist "in a dialectic with the whole of things", as human society will need large-scale projects, such as transport infrastructures. He highlights the work of Herman Daly
Herman Daly
Herman Daly is an American ecological economist and professor at the School of Public Policy of University of Maryland, College Park in the United States....

, who exemplifies what eco-socialists see as the good and bad points of ecological economics
Ecological economics
Image:Sustainable development.svg|right|The three pillars of sustainability. Clickable.|275px|thumbpoly 138 194 148 219 164 240 182 257 219 277 263 291 261 311 264 331 272 351 283 366 300 383 316 394 287 408 261 417 224 424 182 426 154 423 119 415 87 403 58 385 40 368 24 347 17 328 13 309 16 286 26...

 – while he offers a critique of capitalism and a desire for "workers ownership", he only believes in workers ownership "kept firmly within a capitalist market", ignoring the eco-socialist desire for struggle in the emancipation of labour and hoping that the interests of labour and management today can be improved so that they are "in harmony".

Critique of Deep Ecology


Kovel has attacked deep ecology
Deep ecology
Deep ecology is a contemporary ecological philosophy that recognizes an inherent worth of all living beings, regardless of their instrumental utility to human needs. The philosophy emphasizes the interdependence of organisms within ecosystems and that of ecosystems with each other within the...

 because, like other forms of Green politics and Green economics, it features "virtuous souls" who have "no internal connection with the critique of capitalism and the emancipation of labor". He is particularly scathing about deep ecology
Deep ecology
Deep ecology is a contemporary ecological philosophy that recognizes an inherent worth of all living beings, regardless of their instrumental utility to human needs. The philosophy emphasizes the interdependence of organisms within ecosystems and that of ecosystems with each other within the...

 and its "fatuous pronouncement" that Green politics is "neither left nor right, but ahead", which, for him, ignores the notion that "that which does not confront the system becomes its instrument".

Even more scathingly, Kovel suggests that in "its effort to decentre humanity within nature", deep ecologists
Deep ecology
Deep ecology is a contemporary ecological philosophy that recognizes an inherent worth of all living beings, regardless of their instrumental utility to human needs. The philosophy emphasizes the interdependence of organisms within ecosystems and that of ecosystems with each other within the...

 can "go too far" and argue for the "splitting away of unwanted people", as evidenced by their desire to preserve wilderness
Wilderness
Wilderness or wildland is a natural environment on Earth that has not been significantly modified by human activity. It may also be defined as: "The most intact, undisturbed wild natural areas left on our planet—those last truly wild places that humans do not control and have not developed with...

 by removing the groups that have lived there "from time immemorial". Kovel thinks that this lends legitimacy to "capitalist elites", like the US State Department and the World Bank
World Bank
The World Bank is an international financial institution that provides loans to developing countries for capital programmes.The World Bank's official goal is the reduction of poverty...

, who can make preservation of wilderness
Wilderness
Wilderness or wildland is a natural environment on Earth that has not been significantly modified by human activity. It may also be defined as: "The most intact, undisturbed wild natural areas left on our planet—those last truly wild places that humans do not control and have not developed with...

 a part of their projects that "have added value as sites for ecotourism
Ecotourism
Ecotourism is a form of tourism visiting fragile, pristine, and usually protected areas, intended as a low impact and often small scale alternative to standard commercial tourism...

" but remove people from their land. Between 1986 and 1996, Kovel notes that over three million people were displaced by "conservation projects"; in the making of the US National Parks, three hundred Shoshone
Shoshone
The Shoshone or Shoshoni are a Native American tribe in the United States with three large divisions: the Northern, the Western and the Eastern....

 Indians
Indigenous peoples of the Americas
The indigenous peoples of the Americas are the pre-Columbian inhabitants of North and South America, their descendants and other ethnic groups who are identified with those peoples. Indigenous peoples are known in Canada as Aboriginal peoples, and in the United States as Native Americans...

 were killed in the development of Yosemite. Kovel believes that deep ecology
Deep ecology
Deep ecology is a contemporary ecological philosophy that recognizes an inherent worth of all living beings, regardless of their instrumental utility to human needs. The philosophy emphasizes the interdependence of organisms within ecosystems and that of ecosystems with each other within the...

 has affected the rest of the Green movement
Green Movement
The Green Movement refers to a series of actions after the 2009 Iranian presidential election, in which protesters demanded the removal of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad from office...

 and led to calls from restrictions on immigration
Immigration
Immigration is the act of foreigners passing or coming into a country for the purpose of permanent residence...

, "often allying with reactionaries in a... cryptically racist
Racism
Racism is the belief that inherent different traits in human racial groups justify discrimination. In the modern English language, the term "racism" is used predominantly as a pejorative epithet. It is applied especially to the practice or advocacy of racial discrimination of a pernicious nature...

 quest". Indeed, he finds traces of deep ecology
Deep ecology
Deep ecology is a contemporary ecological philosophy that recognizes an inherent worth of all living beings, regardless of their instrumental utility to human needs. The philosophy emphasizes the interdependence of organisms within ecosystems and that of ecosystems with each other within the...

 in the "biological reduction" of Nazism
Nazism
Nazism, the common short form name of National Socialism was the ideology and practice of the Nazi Party and of Nazi Germany...

, an ideology many "organicist thinkers" have found appealing, including Herbert Gruhl, a founder of the German Green Party (who subsequently left when it became more Left-wing) and originator of the phrase "neither left nor right, but ahead". Kovel warns that, while 'ecofascism
Ecofascism
Ecofascism, can be used in two different ways:# The term is used as a pejorative by political conservatives, centrists, and leftists to discredit deep ecology, mainstream environmentalism, radical environmentalism and other ecological positions....

' is confined to a narrow band of far right
Far right
Far-right, extreme right, hard right, radical right, and ultra-right are terms used to discuss the qualitative or quantitative position a group or person occupies within right-wing politics. Far-right politics may involve anti-immigration and anti-integration stances towards groups that are...

 intellectuals and disaffected white power skinheads who involved themselves alongside far left
Far left
Far left, also known as the revolutionary left, radical left and extreme left are terms which refer to the highest degree of leftist positions among left-wing politics...

 groups in the anti-globalization movement
Anti-globalization movement
The anti-globalization movement, or counter-globalisation movement, is critical of the globalization of corporate capitalism. The movement is also commonly referred to as the global justice movement, alter-globalization movement, anti-globalist movement, anti-corporate globalization movement, or...

, it may be "imposed as a revolution from above
Revolution from above
A revolution from above refers to major political and social changes that are imposed by an elite on the population it dominates. By contrast, the plain term revolution suggests that pressure from below is a major driving force in events, even if other social groups cooperate with — or ultimately...

 to install an authoritarian
Authoritarianism
Authoritarianism is a form of social organization characterized by submission to authority. It is usually opposed to individualism and democracy...

 regime in order to preserve the main workings of the system" in times of crisis.

Critique of bioregionalism


Bioregionalism
Bioregionalism
Bioregionalism is a political, cultural, and environmental system or set of views based on naturally defined areas called bioregions, similar to ecoregions. Bioregions are defined through physical and environmental features, including watershed boundaries and soil and terrain characteristics...

, a philosophy developed by writers like Kirkpatrick Sale
Kirkpatrick Sale
Kirkpatrick Sale is an independent scholar and author who has written prolifically about political decentralism, environmentalism, luddism and technology...

 who believe in the self-sufficiency of "appropriate bioregional boundaries" drawn up by inhabitants of "an area", has been critiqued by Kovel, who fears that the "vagueness" of the area will lead to conflict and further boundaries between communities. While Sale
Kirkpatrick Sale
Kirkpatrick Sale is an independent scholar and author who has written prolifically about political decentralism, environmentalism, luddism and technology...

 cites the bioregional
Bioregionalism
Bioregionalism is a political, cultural, and environmental system or set of views based on naturally defined areas called bioregions, similar to ecoregions. Bioregions are defined through physical and environmental features, including watershed boundaries and soil and terrain characteristics...

 living of Native Americans
Indigenous peoples of the Americas
The indigenous peoples of the Americas are the pre-Columbian inhabitants of North and South America, their descendants and other ethnic groups who are identified with those peoples. Indigenous peoples are known in Canada as Aboriginal peoples, and in the United States as Native Americans...

, Kovel notes that such ideas are impossible to translate to populations of modern proportions, and evidences the fact that Native Americans
Indigenous peoples of the Americas
The indigenous peoples of the Americas are the pre-Columbian inhabitants of North and South America, their descendants and other ethnic groups who are identified with those peoples. Indigenous peoples are known in Canada as Aboriginal peoples, and in the United States as Native Americans...

 held land in commons, rather than private property
Private property
Private property is the right of persons and firms to obtain, own, control, employ, dispose of, and bequeath land, capital, and other forms of property. Private property is distinguishable from public property, which refers to assets owned by a state, community or government rather than by...

 – thus, for eco-socialists, bioregionalism
Bioregionalism
Bioregionalism is a political, cultural, and environmental system or set of views based on naturally defined areas called bioregions, similar to ecoregions. Bioregions are defined through physical and environmental features, including watershed boundaries and soil and terrain characteristics...

 provides no understanding of what is needed to transform society, and what the inevitable "response of the capitalist state
State (polity)
A state is an organized political community, living under a government. States may be sovereign and may enjoy a monopoly on the legal initiation of force and are not dependent on, or subject to any other power or state. Many states are federated states which participate in a federal union...

" would be to people constructing bioregionalism
Bioregionalism
Bioregionalism is a political, cultural, and environmental system or set of views based on naturally defined areas called bioregions, similar to ecoregions. Bioregions are defined through physical and environmental features, including watershed boundaries and soil and terrain characteristics...

.

Kovel also attacks the problems of self-sufficiency. Where Sale
Kirkpatrick Sale
Kirkpatrick Sale is an independent scholar and author who has written prolifically about political decentralism, environmentalism, luddism and technology...

 believes in self-sufficient regions "each developing the energy of its peculiar ecology", such as "wood in the northwest [USA]", Kovel asks "how on earth" these can be made sufficient for regional needs, and notes the environmental damage of converting Seattle into a "forest-destroying and smoke-spewing wood-burning" city. Kovel also questions Sale
Kirkpatrick Sale
Kirkpatrick Sale is an independent scholar and author who has written prolifically about political decentralism, environmentalism, luddism and technology...

's insistence on bioregions
Bioregionalism
Bioregionalism is a political, cultural, and environmental system or set of views based on naturally defined areas called bioregions, similar to ecoregions. Bioregions are defined through physical and environmental features, including watershed boundaries and soil and terrain characteristics...

 that do "not require connections with the outside, but within strict limits", and whether this precludes journeys to visit family members and other forms of travel.

Critique of variants of eco-feminism


Kovel acknowledges the importance of "the gendered bifurcation of nature" and supports the emancipation of gender
Gender
Gender is a range of characteristics used to distinguish between males and females, particularly in the cases of men and women and the masculine and feminine attributes assigned to them. Depending on the context, the discriminating characteristics vary from sex to social role to gender identity...

 as it "is at the root of patriarchy
Patriarchy
Patriarchy is a social system in which the role of the male as the primary authority figure is central to social organization, and where fathers hold authority over women, children, and property. It implies the institutions of male rule and privilege, and entails female subordination...

 and class
Social class
Social classes are economic or cultural arrangements of groups in society. Class is an essential object of analysis for sociologists, political scientists, economists, anthropologists and social historians. In the social sciences, social class is often discussed in terms of 'social stratification'...

". Nevertheless, while he believes that "any path out of capitalism must also be eco-feminist", he criticises types of ecofeminism that are not anti-capitalist
Anti-capitalism
Anti-capitalism describes a wide variety of movements, ideas, and attitudes which oppose capitalism. Anti-capitalists, in the strict sense of the word, are those who wish to completely replace capitalism with another system....

 and can "essentialize women's closeness to nature and build from there, submerging history into nature", becoming more at place in the "comforts of the New Age
New Age
The New Age movement is a Western spiritual movement that developed in the second half of the 20th century. Its central precepts have been described as "drawing on both Eastern and Western spiritual and metaphysical traditions and then infusing them with influences from self-help and motivational...

 Growth Centre". These limitations, for Kovel, "keep ecofeminism from becoming a coherent social movement".

Critique of Social Ecology


Though Kovel recognises Social Ecology
Social ecology
Social ecology is a philosophy developed by Murray Bookchin in the 1960s.It holds that present ecological problems are rooted in deep-seated social problems, particularly in dominatory hierarchical political and social systems. These have resulted in an uncritical acceptance of an overly...

 as part of a similar radical tradition as eco-socialism
Eco-socialism
Eco-socialism, green socialism or socialist ecology is an ideology merging aspects of Marxism, socialism, green politics, ecology and alter-globalization...

, he still distinguishes one from the other because Social Ecologists see hierarchy "in-itself" as the cause of ecological
Ecology
Ecology is the scientific study of the relations that living organisms have with respect to each other and their natural environment. Variables of interest to ecologists include the composition, distribution, amount , number, and changing states of organisms within and among ecosystems...

 destruction, whereas eco-socialists focus on gender
Gender
Gender is a range of characteristics used to distinguish between males and females, particularly in the cases of men and women and the masculine and feminine attributes assigned to them. Depending on the context, the discriminating characteristics vary from sex to social role to gender identity...

 and class
Social class
Social classes are economic or cultural arrangements of groups in society. Class is an essential object of analysis for sociologists, political scientists, economists, anthropologists and social historians. In the social sciences, social class is often discussed in terms of 'social stratification'...

 domination embodied in capitalism and recognise that forms of authority that are not "an expropriation of human power for... self-aggrandizement", such as a student-teacher relationship that is "reciprocal and mutual", are beneficial. In practice, Kovel describes Social Ecology
Social ecology
Social ecology is a philosophy developed by Murray Bookchin in the 1960s.It holds that present ecological problems are rooted in deep-seated social problems, particularly in dominatory hierarchical political and social systems. These have resulted in an uncritical acceptance of an overly...

 as continuing the anarchist
Anarchism
Anarchism is generally defined as the political philosophy which holds the state to be undesirable, unnecessary, and harmful, or alternatively as opposing authority in the conduct of human relations...

 tradition of non-violent direct action, which is "necessary" but "not sufficient" because "it leaves unspoken the question of building an ecological society beyond capital". Furthermore, Social Ecologists and anarchists
Anarchism
Anarchism is generally defined as the political philosophy which holds the state to be undesirable, unnecessary, and harmful, or alternatively as opposing authority in the conduct of human relations...

 tend to focus on the state
State (polity)
A state is an organized political community, living under a government. States may be sovereign and may enjoy a monopoly on the legal initiation of force and are not dependent on, or subject to any other power or state. Many states are federated states which participate in a federal union...

 alone, rather than the class relations behind state domination (in the view of Marxists
Karl Marx
Karl Heinrich Marx was a German philosopher, economist, sociologist, historian, journalist, and revolutionary socialist. His ideas played a significant role in the development of social science and the socialist political movement...

). Kovel fears that this is political, springing from historic hostility to Marxism
Marxism
Marxism is an economic and sociopolitical worldview and method of socioeconomic inquiry that centers upon a materialist interpretation of history, a dialectical view of social change, and an analysis and critique of the development of capitalism. Marxism was pioneered in the early to mid 19th...

 among anarchists and sectarianism, which he points out as a fault of the "brilliant" but "dogmatic" founder of Social Ecology, Murray Bookchin
Murray Bookchin
Murray Bookchin was an American libertarian socialist author, orator, and philosopher. A pioneer in the ecology movement, Bookchin was the founder of the social ecology movement within anarchist, libertarian socialist and ecological thought. He was the author of two dozen books on politics,...

.

Critique of 'Actually Existing Socialisms'


For Kovel and Lowy
Michael Löwy
Michael Löwy is a French-Brazilian Marxist sociologist and philosopher. He is presently the emeritus research director in social sciences at the CNRS and lectures at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales...

, eco-socialism
Eco-socialism
Eco-socialism, green socialism or socialist ecology is an ideology merging aspects of Marxism, socialism, green politics, ecology and alter-globalization...

 is "the realization of the 'first-epoch' socialisms" by resurrecting the notion of "free development of all producers", distancing themselves from "the attenuated, reformist aims of social democracy
Social democracy
Social democracy is a political ideology of the center-left on the political spectrum. Social democracy is officially a form of evolutionary reformist socialism. It supports class collaboration as the course to achieve socialism...

 and the productivist
Productivism
Productivism is the belief that measurable economic productivity and growth is the purpose of human organization , and that "more production is necessarily good".-Arguments for productivism:...

 structures of the bureaucratic variations
Bureaucratic collectivism
Bureaucratic collectivism is a theory of class society. It is used by some Trotskyists to describe the nature of the Soviet Union under Joseph Stalin, and other similar states in Central and Eastern Europe and elsewhere .- Theory :...

 of socialism", such as forms of Leninism
Leninism
In Marxist philosophy, Leninism is the body of political theory for the democratic organisation of a revolutionary vanguard party, and the achievement of a direct-democracy dictatorship of the proletariat, as political prelude to the establishment of socialism...

 and Stalinism
Stalinism
Stalinism refers to the ideology that Joseph Stalin conceived and implemented in the Soviet Union, and is generally considered a branch of Marxist–Leninist ideology but considered by some historians to be a significant deviation from this philosophy...

. They ground the failure of past socialist movements in "underdevelopment in the context of hostility by existing capitalist powers", which led to "the denial of internal democracy" and "emulation of capitalist productivism
Productivism
Productivism is the belief that measurable economic productivity and growth is the purpose of human organization , and that "more production is necessarily good".-Arguments for productivism:...

". Kovel believes that the forms of "actually existing socialism" consisted of "public ownership of the means of production
Means of production
Means of production refers to physical, non-human inputs used in production—the factories, machines, and tools used to produce wealth — along with both infrastructural capital and natural capital. This includes the classical factors of production minus financial capital and minus human capital...

", rather than meeting "the true definition" of socialism as "a free association of producers", with the Party-State bureaucracy acting as the "alienating substitute 'public'".

In analysing the Russian Revolution
Russian Revolution of 1917
The Russian Revolution is the collective term for a series of revolutions in Russia in 1917, which destroyed the Tsarist autocracy and led to the creation of the Soviet Union. The Tsar was deposed and replaced by a provisional government in the first revolution of February 1917...

, Kovel feels that "conspiratorial" revolutionary movements "cut off from the development of society" will "find society an inert mass requiring leadership from above". From this, he notes that the anti-democratic Tsarist
Russian Empire
The Russian Empire was a state that existed from 1721 until the Russian Revolution of 1917. It was the successor to the Tsardom of Russia and the predecessor of the Soviet Union...

 heritage meant that the Bolsheviks, who were aided into power by World War One
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

, were a minority who, when faced with a counter-revolution and invading Western
Western world
The Western world, also known as the West and the Occident , is a term referring to the countries of Western Europe , the countries of the Americas, as well all countries of Northern and Central Europe, Australia and New Zealand...

 powers, continued "the extraordinary needs of 'war communism
War communism
War communism or military communism was the economic and political system that existed in Soviet Russia during the Russian Civil War, from 1918 to 1921...

'", which "put the seal of authoritarianism
Authoritarianism
Authoritarianism is a form of social organization characterized by submission to authority. It is usually opposed to individualism and democracy...

" on the revolution; thus, for Kovel, Lenin
Vladimir Lenin
Vladimir Ilyich Lenin was a Russian Marxist revolutionary and communist politician who led the October Revolution of 1917. As leader of the Bolsheviks, he headed the Soviet state during its initial years , as it fought to establish control of Russia in the Russian Civil War and worked to create a...

 and Trotsky
Leon Trotsky
Leon Trotsky , born Lev Davidovich Bronshtein, was a Russian Marxist revolutionary and theorist, Soviet politician, and the founder and first leader of the Red Army....

 "resorted to terror", shut down the Soviets
Soviet (council)
Soviet was a name used for several Russian political organizations. Examples include the Czar's Council of Ministers, which was called the “Soviet of Ministers”; a workers' local council in late Imperial Russia; and the Supreme Soviet of the Soviet Union....

 (workers' councils) and emulated "capitalist efficiency and productivism
Productivism
Productivism is the belief that measurable economic productivity and growth is the purpose of human organization , and that "more production is necessarily good".-Arguments for productivism:...

 as a means of survival", setting the stage for Stalinism
Stalinism
Stalinism refers to the ideology that Joseph Stalin conceived and implemented in the Soviet Union, and is generally considered a branch of Marxist–Leninist ideology but considered by some historians to be a significant deviation from this philosophy...

. Lenin
Vladimir Lenin
Vladimir Ilyich Lenin was a Russian Marxist revolutionary and communist politician who led the October Revolution of 1917. As leader of the Bolsheviks, he headed the Soviet state during its initial years , as it fought to establish control of Russia in the Russian Civil War and worked to create a...

, in Kovel's eyes, came to oppose the nascent Bolshevik environmentalism
Environmentalism
Environmentalism is a broad philosophy, ideology and social movement regarding concerns for environmental conservation and improvement of the health of the environment, particularly as the measure for this health seeks to incorporate the concerns of non-human elements...

 and its champion Aleksandr Bogdanov, who was later attacked for "idealism"; Kovel describes Lenin
Vladimir Lenin
Vladimir Ilyich Lenin was a Russian Marxist revolutionary and communist politician who led the October Revolution of 1917. As leader of the Bolsheviks, he headed the Soviet state during its initial years , as it fought to establish control of Russia in the Russian Civil War and worked to create a...

's philosophy as "a sharply dualistic materialism
Materialism
In philosophy, the theory of materialism holds that the only thing that exists is matter; that all things are composed of material and all phenomena are the result of material interactions. In other words, matter is the only substance...

, rather similar to the Cartesian
Cartesianism
Cartesian means of or relating to the French philosopher and mathematician René Descartes—from his name—Rene Des-Cartes. It may refer to:*Cartesian anxiety*Cartesian circle*Cartesian dualism...

 separation of matter and consciousness, and perfectly tooled... to the active working over of the dead, dull matter by the human hand", which led him to want to overcome Russia
Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

n backwardness through rapid industrialization. This tendency was, according to Kovel, augmented by a desire to catch-up with the West
Western world
The Western world, also known as the West and the Occident , is a term referring to the countries of Western Europe , the countries of the Americas, as well all countries of Northern and Central Europe, Australia and New Zealand...

 and the "severe crisis" of the revolution's first years. Furthermore, Kovel quotes Trotsky
Leon Trotsky
Leon Trotsky , born Lev Davidovich Bronshtein, was a Russian Marxist revolutionary and theorist, Soviet politician, and the founder and first leader of the Red Army....

, who believed in a Communist
Communism
Communism is a social, political and economic ideology that aims at the establishment of a classless, moneyless, revolutionary and stateless socialist society structured upon common ownership of the means of production...

 "superman" who would "learn how to move rivers and mountains". Kovel believes that, in Stalin
Joseph Stalin
Joseph Vissarionovich Stalin was the Premier of the Soviet Union from 6 May 1941 to 5 March 1953. He was among the Bolshevik revolutionaries who brought about the October Revolution and had held the position of first General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union's Central Committee...

's "revolution from above" and mass terror in response to the early 1930s economic crisis, Trotsky
Leon Trotsky
Leon Trotsky , born Lev Davidovich Bronshtein, was a Russian Marxist revolutionary and theorist, Soviet politician, and the founder and first leader of the Red Army....

's writings "were given official imprimatur", despite the fact that Trotsky
Leon Trotsky
Leon Trotsky , born Lev Davidovich Bronshtein, was a Russian Marxist revolutionary and theorist, Soviet politician, and the founder and first leader of the Red Army....

 himself was eventually purged, as Stalinism
Stalinism
Stalinism refers to the ideology that Joseph Stalin conceived and implemented in the Soviet Union, and is generally considered a branch of Marxist–Leninist ideology but considered by some historians to be a significant deviation from this philosophy...

 attacked "the very notion of ecology... in addition to ecologies". Kovel adds that Stalin
Joseph Stalin
Joseph Vissarionovich Stalin was the Premier of the Soviet Union from 6 May 1941 to 5 March 1953. He was among the Bolshevik revolutionaries who brought about the October Revolution and had held the position of first General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union's Central Committee...

 "would win the gold medal for enmity to nature", and that, in the face of massive environmental degradation
Environmental degradation
Environmental degradation is the deterioration of the environment through depletion of resources such as air, water and soil; the destruction of ecosystems and the extinction of wildlife...

, the inflexible Soviet
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

 bureaucracy became increasingly inefficient and unable to emulate capitalist accumulation, leading to a "vicious cycle" that led to its collapse.

Strategies


Kovel advocates the non-violent dismantling of capitalism and the state
State (polity)
A state is an organized political community, living under a government. States may be sovereign and may enjoy a monopoly on the legal initiation of force and are not dependent on, or subject to any other power or state. Many states are federated states which participate in a federal union...

, focusing on collective ownership of the means of production
Means of production
Means of production refers to physical, non-human inputs used in production—the factories, machines, and tools used to produce wealth — along with both infrastructural capital and natural capital. This includes the classical factors of production minus financial capital and minus human capital...

 by freely associated producers and restoration of the Commons.

Agency


Kovel focuses on working-class involvement in the formation of eco-socialist parties or their increased involvement in existing Green Parties; however, he believes that, unlike many other forms of socialist
Socialism
Socialism is an economic system characterized by social ownership of the means of production and cooperative management of the economy; or a political philosophy advocating such a system. "Social ownership" may refer to any one of, or a combination of, the following: cooperative enterprises,...

 analysis, "there is no privileged agent" or revolutionary class
Social class
Social classes are economic or cultural arrangements of groups in society. Class is an essential object of analysis for sociologists, political scientists, economists, anthropologists and social historians. In the social sciences, social class is often discussed in terms of 'social stratification'...

, and that there is potential for agency in numerous autonomous, grassroots individuals and groups who can build "prefigurative" projects for non-violent radical social change. He defines "prefiguration" as "the potential for the given to contain the lineaments of what is to be", meaning that "a moment toward the future exists embedded in every point of the social organism where a need arises". If "everything has prefigurative potential", Kovel notes that forms of potential ecological
Ecology
Ecology is the scientific study of the relations that living organisms have with respect to each other and their natural environment. Variables of interest to ecologists include the composition, distribution, amount , number, and changing states of organisms within and among ecosystems...

 production will be "scattered", and thus suggests that "the task is to free them and connect them". While all "human ecosystem
Ecosystem
An ecosystem is a biological environment consisting of all the organisms living in a particular area, as well as all the nonliving , physical components of the environment with which the organisms interact, such as air, soil, water and sunlight....

s" have "ecosocialist potential", Kovel points out that ones such as the World Bank
World Bank
The World Bank is an international financial institution that provides loans to developing countries for capital programmes.The World Bank's official goal is the reduction of poverty...

 have low potential, whereas internally democratic anti-globalization
Anti-globalization
Criticism of globalization is skepticism of the claimed benefits of the globalization of capitalism. Many of these views are held by the anti-globalization movement however other groups also are critical of the policies of globalization....

 "affinity groups" have a high potential through a dialectic that involves the "active bringing and holding together of negations", such as the group acting as an alternative institution ("production of an ecological
Ecology
Ecology is the scientific study of the relations that living organisms have with respect to each other and their natural environment. Variables of interest to ecologists include the composition, distribution, amount , number, and changing states of organisms within and among ecosystems...

/socialist
Socialism
Socialism is an economic system characterized by social ownership of the means of production and cooperative management of the economy; or a political philosophy advocating such a system. "Social ownership" may refer to any one of, or a combination of, the following: cooperative enterprises,...

 alternative") and trying to shut down a G8
G8
The Group of Eight is a forum, created by France in 1975, for the governments of seven major economies: Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States. In 1997, the group added Russia, thus becoming the G8...

 summit meeting ("resistance to capital"). Therefore "practices that in the same motion enhance use-values and diminish exchange-values are the ideal" for eco-socialists.

Prefiguration


For Kovel, the main prefigurative steps "are that people ruthlessly criticize the capitalist system... and that they include in this a consistent attack on the widespread belief that there can be no alternative to it", which will then "deligitimate the system and release people into struggle". Kovel justifies this by stating that "radical criticism of the given... can be a material force", even without an alternative, "because it can seize the mind of the masses of people", leading to "dynamic" and "exponential", rather than "incremental" and "linear", victories that spread rapidly. Following this, he advocates the expansion of the dialectical eco-socialist potential of groups through sustaining the confrontation and internal cohesion of human ecosystem
Human ecosystem
Human ecosystems are complex cybernetic systems that are increasingly being used by ecological anthropologists and other scholars to examine the ecological aspects of human communities in a way that integrates multiple factors as economics, socio-political organization, psychological factors, and...

s, leading to an "activation" of potentials in others that will "spread across the whole social field" as "a new set of orienting principles" that define an ideology
Ideology
An ideology is a set of ideas that constitutes one's goals, expectations, and actions. An ideology can be thought of as a comprehensive vision, as a way of looking at things , as in common sense and several philosophical tendencies , or a set of ideas proposed by the dominant class of a society to...

 or "'party-life' formation".

In the short-term, Kovel advocates activities that have the “promise of breaking down the commodity form”. This includes organizing labor, which is a “reconfiguring of the use-value of labor power”; forming cooperatives, allowing “a relatively free association of labor”; forming localised currencies, which he sees as “undercutting the value-basis of money”; and supporting “radical media” that, in his eyes, involve an “undoing of the fetishism of commodities”. He advocates economic localisation in the same vein as many in the Green movement
Green Movement
The Green Movement refers to a series of actions after the 2009 Iranian presidential election, in which protesters demanded the removal of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad from office...

, although only as a prefigurative step rather than an end in itself. He also advises political parties attempting to “democratize the state
State (polity)
A state is an organized political community, living under a government. States may be sovereign and may enjoy a monopoly on the legal initiation of force and are not dependent on, or subject to any other power or state. Many states are federated states which participate in a federal union...

” that there should be “dialogue but no compromise” with established political parties, and that there must be “a continual association of electoral work with movement work” to avoid “being sucked back into the system”. Such parties, he believes, should focus on “the local rungs of the political system” first, before running national campaigns that “challenge the existing system by the elementary means of exposing its broken promises”.

Kovel believes in building prefigurations around forms of production based on use value
Use value
Use value or value in use is the utility of consuming a good; the want-satisfying power of a good or service in classical political economy. In Marx's critique of political economy, any labor-product has a value and a use-value, and if it is traded as a commodity in markets, it additionally has an...

s, which will provide a practical vision of a post-capitalist
Post-capitalism
Post-capitalism refers to any hypothetical future economic system that is to supersede capitalism as the dominant form of economic organization.-Post-capitalist systems:There have been a number of proposals for a new economic system to replace capitalism...

, post-statist
Anti-statism
Anti-statism is a term describing opposition to state intervention into personal, social, and economic affairs. Anti-statist views may reject the state completely as well as rulership in general , they may wish to reduce the size and scope of the state to a minimum , or they may advocate a...

 system. Such projects include Indymedia ("a democratic rendering of the use-values of new technologies such as the Internet
Internet
The Internet is a global system of interconnected computer networks that use the standard Internet protocol suite to serve billions of users worldwide...

, and a continual involvement in wider struggle"), open-source software
Open-source software
Open-source software is computer software that is available in source code form: the source code and certain other rights normally reserved for copyright holders are provided under a software license that permits users to study, change, improve and at times also to distribute the software.Open...

, Wikipedia
Wikipedia
Wikipedia is a free, web-based, collaborative, multilingual encyclopedia project supported by the non-profit Wikimedia Foundation. Its 20 million articles have been written collaboratively by volunteers around the world. Almost all of its articles can be edited by anyone with access to the site,...

, public libraries and many other initiatives, especially those developed within the anti-globalisation movement.

Internationalization of prefiguration and the 'Eco-socialist Party'


Kovel believes that examples like the Christian
Christianity
Christianity is a monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus as presented in canonical gospels and other New Testament writings...

 Bruderhof Communities
Bruderhof Communities
The Bruderhof Communities are Christian religious communities with branches in New York, Florida and Pennsylvania in the US, the United Kingdom, Germany, and Australia. They have previously been called The Society of Brothers and were loosely affiliated with the Hutterian Brethren...

 (despite elements of patriarchy
Patriarchy
Patriarchy is a social system in which the role of the male as the primary authority figure is central to social organization, and where fathers hold authority over women, children, and property. It implies the institutions of male rule and privilege, and entails female subordination...

 that he attacks) show that "communistic" organizations can "survive rather well in a heavily industrialized market
Free market
A free market is a competitive market where prices are determined by supply and demand. However, the term is also commonly used for markets in which economic intervention and regulation by the state is limited to tax collection, and enforcement of private ownership and contracts...

" if they are "protected" from the dependence on the market
Free market
A free market is a competitive market where prices are determined by supply and demand. However, the term is also commonly used for markets in which economic intervention and regulation by the state is limited to tax collection, and enforcement of private ownership and contracts...

 by "anti-capitalist
Anti-capitalism
Anti-capitalism describes a wide variety of movements, ideas, and attitudes which oppose capitalism. Anti-capitalists, in the strict sense of the word, are those who wish to completely replace capitalism with another system....

 intentionality". He further posits that class struggle
Class struggle
Class struggle is the active expression of a class conflict looked at from any kind of socialist perspective. Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels wrote "The [written] history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggle"....

 is "internationalized in the face of globalization
Globalization
Globalization refers to the increasingly global relationships of culture, people and economic activity. Most often, it refers to economics: the global distribution of the production of goods and services, through reduction of barriers to international trade such as tariffs, export fees, and import...

", as evidenced by a wave of strikes
Strike action
Strike action, also called labour strike, on strike, greve , or simply strike, is a work stoppage caused by the mass refusal of employees to work. A strike usually takes place in response to employee grievances. Strikes became important during the industrial revolution, when mass labour became...

 across the Global South in the first half of the year 2000; indeed, he says that "labor's most cherished values are already immanently ecocentric". Kovel therefore thinks that these universalizing tendencies must lead to the formation of "a consciously 'Ecosocialist Party'" that is neither like a parliamentary or vanguardist party. Instead, Kovel advocates a form of political party
Political party
A political party is a political organization that typically seeks to influence government policy, usually by nominating their own candidates and trying to seat them in political office. Parties participate in electoral campaigns, educational outreach or protest actions...

 "grounded in communities of resistance", where delegates from these communities form the core of the party's activists, and these delegates and the "open and transparent" assembly they form are subject to recall
Recall election
A recall election is a procedure by which voters can remove an elected official from office through a direct vote before his or her term has ended...

 and regular rotation of members. He holds up the Zapatista Army of National Liberation
Zapatista Army of National Liberation
The Zapatista Army of National Liberation is a revolutionary leftist group based in Chiapas, the southernmost state of Mexico....

 (EZLN) and the Gaviotas
Gaviotas
Gaviotas is an ecovillage located in the llanos of the Colombian department of Vichada. It was founded in 1971 by Paolo Lugari who assembled a group of engineers and scientists in an attempt to create a mode of sustainable living in one of the least hospitable political and geographical climates in...

 movement as examples of such communities, which "are produced outside capitalist circuits" and show that "there can be no single way valid for all peoples". Nonetheless, he also firmly believes in connecting these movements, stating that "ecosocialism will be international or it will be nothing" and hoping that the Ecosocialist Party can retain the autonomy of local communities while supporting them materially. With an ever-expanding party, Kovel hopes that "defections" by capitalists will occur, leading eventually to the armed forces
Armed forces
The armed forces of a country are its government-sponsored defense, fighting forces, and organizations. They exist to further the foreign and domestic policies of their governing body, and to defend that body and the nation it represents from external aggressors. In some countries paramilitary...

 and police
Police
The police is a personification of the state designated to put in practice the enforced law, protect property and reduce civil disorder in civilian matters. Their powers include the legitimized use of force...

 who, in joining the revolution
Revolution
A revolution is a fundamental change in power or organizational structures that takes place in a relatively short period of time.Aristotle described two types of political revolution:...

, will signify that "the turning point is reached".

Eco-socialist revolution


Kovel uses the term “Eco-socialist revolution” to describe the transition to an eco-socialist world society. In the immediate socio-political transition, he believes that four groups will emerge from the revolution – revolutionaries, those “whose productive activity is directly compatible with ecological production” (such as nurses, schoolteachers, librarians, independent farmers and many other examples), those “whose pre-revolutionary practice was given over to capital” (including the bourgeoisie
Bourgeoisie
In sociology and political science, bourgeoisie describes a range of groups across history. In the Western world, between the late 18th century and the present day, the bourgeoisie is a social class "characterized by their ownership of capital and their related culture." A member of the...

, advertising executives and more) and “the workers whose activity added surplus value to capitalist commodities”. In terms of political organisation, he advocates an “interim assembly” made up of the revolutionaries that can “devise incentives to make sure that vital functions are maintained” (such as short-term continuation of “differential remuneration” for labor), “handle the redistribution of social roles and assets”, convene “in widespread locations”, and send delegates to regional, state, national and international organisations, where every level has an “executive council” that is rotated and can be recalled. From there, he asserts that “productive communities” will “form the political as well as economic unit of society” and “organize others” to make a transition to eco-socialist production; he adds that people will be allowed to be members of any community they choose with “associate membership” of others, such as a doctor
Physician
A physician is a health care provider who practices the profession of medicine, which is concerned with promoting, maintaining or restoring human health through the study, diagnosis, and treatment of disease, injury and other physical and mental impairments...

 having main membership of healthcare communities as a doctor
Physician
A physician is a health care provider who practices the profession of medicine, which is concerned with promoting, maintaining or restoring human health through the study, diagnosis, and treatment of disease, injury and other physical and mental impairments...

 and associate membership of child-rearing communities as a father. Each locality would, in Kovel’s eyes, require one community that administered the areas of jurisdiction through an elected assembly. High-level assemblies would have additional “supervisory” roles over localities to monitor the development of ecosystem
Ecosystem
An ecosystem is a biological environment consisting of all the organisms living in a particular area, as well as all the nonliving , physical components of the environment with which the organisms interact, such as air, soil, water and sunlight....

ic integrity, and administer “society-wide services” like transport in “state-like functions”, before the interim assembly can transfer responsibilities to “the level of the society as a whole through appropriate and democratically responsive committees”.

Transnational trade and capital reform


Part of the eco-socialist transition, in Kovel’s eyes, is the reforming money
Money
Money is any object or record that is generally accepted as payment for goods and services and repayment of debts in a given country or socio-economic context. The main functions of money are distinguished as: a medium of exchange; a unit of account; a store of value; and, occasionally in the past,...

 to retain its use in “enabling exchanges” while reducing its functions as “a commodity in its own right” and “repository of value”. He argues for directing money
Money
Money is any object or record that is generally accepted as payment for goods and services and repayment of debts in a given country or socio-economic context. The main functions of money are distinguished as: a medium of exchange; a unit of account; a store of value; and, occasionally in the past,...

 to “enhancement of use-values” through a “subsidization of use-values” that “preserves the functioning core of the economy while gaining time and space for rebuilding it”. Internationally, he believes in the immediate cessation of speculation
Speculation
In finance, speculation is a financial action that does not promise safety of the initial investment along with the return on the principal sum...

 in currencies
Currency
In economics, currency refers to a generally accepted medium of exchange. These are usually the coins and banknotes of a particular government, which comprise the physical aspects of a nation's money supply...

 (“breaking down the function of money as commodity, and redirecting funds on use-values”), the cancellation of the debt of the Global South (“breaking the back of the value function” of money) and the redirecting the “vast reservoir of mainly phony value” to reparations and “ecologically sound development”. He suggests the end of military aid and other forms of support to “comprador
Comprador
Comprador or Compradore is a term used to describe native managers of European business houses in East Asia.-History:...

 elites in the South” will eventually “lead to their collapse”.

In terms of trade
Trade
Trade is the transfer of ownership of goods and services from one person or entity to another. Trade is sometimes loosely called commerce or financial transaction or barter. A network that allows trade is called a market. The original form of trade was barter, the direct exchange of goods and...

, Kovel advocates a ‘World People’s Trade Organization’ (WPTO), “responsible to a confederation of popular bodies”, in which “the degree of control over trade
Trade
Trade is the transfer of ownership of goods and services from one person or entity to another. Trade is sometimes loosely called commerce or financial transaction or barter. A network that allows trade is called a market. The original form of trade was barter, the direct exchange of goods and...

 is... proportional to involvement with production”, meaning that “farmers would have a special say over food trade” and so on. He posits that the WPTO should have an elected council that will oversee a reform of prices in favour of an ‘Ecological Price’ (EP) “determined by the difference between actual use-values and fully realized ones”, thus having low tariff
Tariff
A tariff may be either tax on imports or exports , or a list or schedule of prices for such things as rail service, bus routes, and electrical usage ....

s for forms of ecological production like organic agriculture; he also envisages the high tariff
Tariff
A tariff may be either tax on imports or exports , or a list or schedule of prices for such things as rail service, bus routes, and electrical usage ....

s on non-ecological production providing subsidies to ecological production units. The EP would also internalize the costs of current externalities
Externality
In economics, an externality is a cost or benefit, not transmitted through prices, incurred by a party who did not agree to the action causing the cost or benefit...

 (like pollution
Pollution
Pollution is the introduction of contaminants into a natural environment that causes instability, disorder, harm or discomfort to the ecosystem i.e. physical systems or living organisms. Pollution can take the form of chemical substances or energy, such as noise, heat or light...

) and “would be set as a function of the distance traded”, reducing the effects of long-distance transport like carbon emissions and increased packaging of goods. He thinks that this will provide a “standard of transformation” for non-ecological industries, like the automobile industry, thus spurring changes towards ecological production.

Ecological production


Kovel pursue "ecological
Ecology
Ecology is the scientific study of the relations that living organisms have with respect to each other and their natural environment. Variables of interest to ecologists include the composition, distribution, amount , number, and changing states of organisms within and among ecosystems...

 production" that goes beyond the socialist
Socialism
Socialism is an economic system characterized by social ownership of the means of production and cooperative management of the economy; or a political philosophy advocating such a system. "Social ownership" may refer to any one of, or a combination of, the following: cooperative enterprises,...

 vision of the emancipation of labor to "the realization of use-values and the appropriation of intrinsic value". He envisions a form of production in which "the making of a thing becomes part of the thing made" so that, using a high quality meal as an analogy, "pleasure would obtain for the cooking of the meal" – thus activities "reserved as hobbies under capitalism" would "compose the fabric of everyday life" under eco-socialism. This, for Kovel, is achieved if labor is "freely chosen and developed... with a fully realized use-value" achieved by a "negation" of exchange-value, and he exemplifies the Food Not Bombs
Food Not Bombs
Food Not Bombs is a loose-knit group of independent collectives, serving free vegan and vegetarian food to others. Food Not Bombs' ideology is that myriad corporate and government priorities are skewed to allow hunger to persist in the midst of abundance...

 project for adopting this. He believes that the notion of "mutual recognition... for the process as well as the product" will avoid exploitation
Exploitation
This article discusses the term exploitation in the meaning of using something in an unjust or cruel manner.- As unjust benefit :In political economy, economics, and sociology, exploitation involves a persistent social relationship in which certain persons are being mistreated or unfairly used for...

 and hierarchy
Hierarchy
A hierarchy is an arrangement of items in which the items are represented as being "above," "below," or "at the same level as" one another...

. With production allowing humanity to "live more directly and receptively embedded in nature
Nature
Nature, in the broadest sense, is equivalent to the natural world, physical world, or material world. "Nature" refers to the phenomena of the physical world, and also to life in general...

", Kovel predicts that "a reorientation of human need" will occur that recognises ecological
Ecology
Ecology is the scientific study of the relations that living organisms have with respect to each other and their natural environment. Variables of interest to ecologists include the composition, distribution, amount , number, and changing states of organisms within and among ecosystems...

 limits and sees technology
Technology
Technology is the making, usage, and knowledge of tools, machines, techniques, crafts, systems or methods of organization in order to solve a problem or perform a specific function. It can also refer to the collection of such tools, machinery, and procedures. The word technology comes ;...

 as "fully participant in the life of eco-systems", thus removing it from profit-making exercises.

In the course on an Eco-socialist revolution, Kovel advocates the “rapid conversion to ecosocialist production” for all enterprises, followed by “restoring ecosystem
Ecosystem
An ecosystem is a biological environment consisting of all the organisms living in a particular area, as well as all the nonliving , physical components of the environment with which the organisms interact, such as air, soil, water and sunlight....

ic integrity to the workplace” through steps like workers ownership. He then believes that the new enterprises can build “socially developed plans” of production for societal needs, such as efficient light-rail transport components. At the same time, Kovel argues for the transformation of essential but, under capitalism, non-productive labour, such as child care, into productive labour, “thereby giving reproductive labour a status equivalent to productive labour”. During such a transition, he believes that income should be guaranteed and that money will still be used under “new conditions of value… according to use and to the degree to which ecosystem integrity is developed and advanced by any particular production”. Within this structure, Kovel asserts that markets and will become unnecessary – although “market phenomena” in personal exchanges and other small instances might be adopted – and communities and elected assemblies will democratically decide on the allocation of resources.

Kovel is quick to assert that the focus on “production” does not mean that there will be an increase in production and labor under Eco-socialism. He thinks that the emancipation of labor and the realization of use-value will allow “the spheres of work and culture to be reintegrated”. He cites the example of Paraguayan Indian communities (organised by Jesuits) in the eighteenth century who made sure that all community members learned musical instruments, and had labourers take musical instruments to the fields and takes turns playing music or harvesting.

Commons, property and ‘usufruct’


Kovel focuses on a modified version of the notion of ‘Usufruct
Usufruct
Usufruct is the legal right to use and derive profit or benefit from property that either belongs to another person or which is under common ownership, as long as the property is not damaged or destroyed...

’ to replace capitalist private property
Property
Property is any physical or intangible entity that is owned by a person or jointly by a group of people or a legal entity like a corporation...

 arrangements. As a legal term, Usufruct
Usufruct
Usufruct is the legal right to use and derive profit or benefit from property that either belongs to another person or which is under common ownership, as long as the property is not damaged or destroyed...

 refers to the legal right to use and derive profit or benefit from property
Property
Property is any physical or intangible entity that is owned by a person or jointly by a group of people or a legal entity like a corporation...

 that belongs to another person, as long as the property is not damaged. According to Kovel, a modern interpretation of the idea is “where one uses, enjoys – and through that, improves – another’s property”, as its Latin
Latin
Latin is an Italic language originally spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome. It, along with most European languages, is a descendant of the ancient Proto-Indo-European language. Although it is considered a dead language, a number of scholars and members of the Christian clergy speak it fluently, and...

 etymology “condenses the two meanings of use – as in use-value, and enjoyment – and as in the gratification expressed in freely associated labour”. The idea, according to Kovel, has roots in the Code of Hammurabi
Code of Hammurabi
The Code of Hammurabi is a well-preserved Babylonian law code, dating to ca. 1780 BC . It is one of the oldest deciphered writings of significant length in the world. The sixth Babylonian king, Hammurabi, enacted the code, and partial copies exist on a human-sized stone stele and various clay...

 and was first mentioned in Roman law
Roman law
Roman law is the legal system of ancient Rome, and the legal developments which occurred before the 7th century AD — when the Roman–Byzantine state adopted Greek as the language of government. The development of Roman law comprises more than a thousand years of jurisprudence — from the Twelve...

 “where it applied to ambiguities between masters and slaves with respect to property”; it also features in Islam
Islam
Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

ic Sharia law
Sharia
Sharia law, is the moral code and religious law of Islam. Sharia is derived from two primary sources of Islamic law: the precepts set forth in the Quran, and the example set by the Islamic prophet Muhammad in the Sunnah. Fiqh jurisprudence interprets and extends the application of sharia to...

, Aztec
Aztec
The Aztec people were certain ethnic groups of central Mexico, particularly those groups who spoke the Nahuatl language and who dominated large parts of Mesoamerica in the 14th, 15th and 16th centuries, a period referred to as the late post-classic period in Mesoamerican chronology.Aztec is the...

 law and the Napoleonic Code
Napoleonic code
The Napoleonic Code — or Code Napoléon — is the French civil code, established under Napoléon I in 1804. The code forbade privileges based on birth, allowed freedom of religion, and specified that government jobs go to the most qualified...

.

Kovel highlights the fact that Marx mentioned the idea when he stated that human beings are no more than the planet’s “usufruct
Usufruct
Usufruct is the legal right to use and derive profit or benefit from property that either belongs to another person or which is under common ownership, as long as the property is not damaged or destroyed...

aries, and, like boni patres familias, they must hand it down to succeeding generations in an improved condition”. Kovel has taken on this reading, asserting that, in an eco-socialist society, “everyone will have... rights of use and ownership over those means of production necessary to express the creativity of human nature”, namely “a place of one’s own” to decorate to personal taste, some personal possessions, the body and its attendant sexual and reproductive rights
Reproductive rights
Reproductive rights are legal rights and freedoms relating to reproduction and reproductive health. The World Health Organization defines reproductive rights as follows:...

. However, Kovel sees property
Property
Property is any physical or intangible entity that is owned by a person or jointly by a group of people or a legal entity like a corporation...

 as “self-contradictory” because individuals emerge “in a tissue of social relations” and “nested circles”, with the self at the centre and extended circles where “issues of sharing arise from early childhood on”. He believes that “the full self is enhanced more by giving than by taking” and that eco-socialism is realized when material possessions weigh “lightly” upon the self – thus restoration of use-value allows things to be taken “concretely and sensuously” but “lightly, since things are enjoyed for themselves and not as buttresses for a shaky ego”. This, for Kovel, reverses what Marxists see as the commodity fetishism
Commodity fetishism
In Marx's critique of political economy, commodity fetishism denotes the mystification of human relations said to arise out of the growth of market trade, when social relationships between people are expressed as, mediated by and transformed into, objectified relationships between things .The...

 and atomization of individuals (through the “unappeasable craving” for “having and excluding others from having”) under capitalism. Under eco-socialism, he therefore believes that enhancement of use-value will lead to differentiated ownership between the individual and the collective, where there are “distinct limits on the amount of property
Property
Property is any physical or intangible entity that is owned by a person or jointly by a group of people or a legal entity like a corporation...

 individuals control” and no-one can take control of resources that “would permit the alienation of means of production
Means of production
Means of production refers to physical, non-human inputs used in production—the factories, machines, and tools used to produce wealth — along with both infrastructural capital and natural capital. This includes the classical factors of production minus financial capital and minus human capital...

 from another”. He then hopes that the “hubris” of the notion of “ownership of the planet” will be replaced with usufruct
Usufruct
Usufruct is the legal right to use and derive profit or benefit from property that either belongs to another person or which is under common ownership, as long as the property is not damaged or destroyed...

.

Non-violence


Kovel asserts that "violence is the rupturing of ecosystem
Ecosystem
An ecosystem is a biological environment consisting of all the organisms living in a particular area, as well as all the nonliving , physical components of the environment with which the organisms interact, such as air, soil, water and sunlight....

s" and is therefore "deeply contrary to ecosocialist values". He believes that revolutionary movements must prepare for post-revolutionary violence from counter-revolutionary sources by "prior development of the democratic sphere" within the movement, because "to the degree that people are capable of self-government, so will they turn away from violence and retribution" for "a self-governed people cannot be pushed around by any alien government". It is therefore essential, in Kovel's view, that the revolution "takes place in" or spreads quickly to the USA, which "is capital's gendarme and will crush any serious threat", and that revolutionaries reject the death penalty and retribution against former opponents or counter-revolutionaries.

Criticism


Writing in Capitalism Nature Socialism, Doug Boucher, Peter Caplan, David Schwartzman and Jane Zara criticise eco-socialists in general (and Kovel in particular) for a deterministic "catastrophism
Catastrophism
Catastrophism is the theory that the Earth has been affected in the past by sudden, short-lived, violent events, possibly worldwide in scope. The dominant paradigm of modern geology is uniformitarianism , in which slow incremental changes, such as erosion, create the Earth's appearance...

" that overlooks "the countervailing tendencies of both popular struggles and the efforts of capitalist governments to rationalize the system" and the "accomplishments of the labor movement" that "demonstrate that despite the interests and desires of capitalists, progress toward social justice
Social justice
Social justice generally refers to the idea of creating a society or institution that is based on the principles of equality and solidarity, that understands and values human rights, and that recognizes the dignity of every human being. The term and modern concept of "social justice" was coined by...

 is possible". They argue that an ecological socialism must be "built on hope, not fear".

Some environmentalists
Environmentalism
Environmentalism is a broad philosophy, ideology and social movement regarding concerns for environmental conservation and improvement of the health of the environment, particularly as the measure for this health seeks to incorporate the concerns of non-human elements...

 and conservation
Conservation movement
The conservation movement, also known as nature conservation, is a political, environmental and a social movement that seeks to protect natural resources including animal, fungus and plant species as well as their habitat for the future....

ists have criticised Kovel from within the Green movement. In a review of The Enemy of Nature, David M. Johns criticises eco-socialism for not offering "suggestions about near term conservation policy" and focusing exclusively on long-term societal transformation. Johns believes that species extinction "started much earlier" than capitalism and suggests that eco-socialism neglects the fact that an ecological
Ecology
Ecology is the scientific study of the relations that living organisms have with respect to each other and their natural environment. Variables of interest to ecologists include the composition, distribution, amount , number, and changing states of organisms within and among ecosystems...

 society will need to transcend the destructiveness found in "all large-scale societies". Johns questions whether non-hierarchical social systems can provide for billions of people, and criticises eco-socialists for neglecting issues of population pressure. Furthermore, Johns describes Kovel's argument that human hierarchy is founded on raiding to steal women as "archaic". Overall, Johns feels that eco-socialism asks "many of the right questions" and will encourage conservationists "to better understand which obstacles to conservation are structural", but still feels that eco-socialists suffer from trying "to fit ecological processes and problems into categories long used to describe human society", the very tendency that Kovel himself attacks among capitalists and traditional leftists who attempt to reduce nature to "linear" human models.

Controversy regarding Overcoming Zionism


The American distributor of Kovel's book Overcoming Zionism, the University of Michigan Press, temporarily suspended distribution of the book in August 2007 after accusations of anti-semitism. Philip Pachoda, Director of the University of Michigan Press
University of Michigan Press
The University of Michigan Press is part of the University of Michigan Library and serves as a primary publishing unit of the University of Michigan, with special responsibility for the creation and promotion of scholarly, educational, and regional books and other materials in digital and print...

, characterized Kovel's book as "hate speech". Three members of the University's board of Regents criticized the University Press's distribution of books by other publishers on the grounds that it "debases the press’s franchise and leaves the press and the university open to damage”. Betsy Kellman, director of the Michigan Anti-Defamation League
Anti-Defamation League
The Anti-Defamation League is an international non-governmental organization based in the United States. Describing itself as "the nation's premier civil rights/human relations agency", the ADL states that it "fights anti-Semitism and all forms of bigotry, defends democratic ideals and protects...

 chapter described the book as dealing in "anti-Semitic canards
Antisemitic canard
An antisemitic canard is a false story inciting antisemitism. Despite being thoroughly disproved, antisemitic canards are often part of broader theories of Jewish conspiracies. According to Kenneth S. Stern,Historically, Jews have not fared well around conspiracy theories. Such ideas fuel...

". A group of six religious organizations, including the National Christian Leadership Council for Israel and the Michigan chapters of the American Jewish Congress, the Jewish Community Relations Council, and B'nai Brith, issued a statement describing Kovel's book as "often anti-Semitic in nature".

Nevertheless, the University of Michigan Press
University of Michigan Press
The University of Michigan Press is part of the University of Michigan Library and serves as a primary publishing unit of the University of Michigan, with special responsibility for the creation and promotion of scholarly, educational, and regional books and other materials in digital and print...

 "voted unanimously" in October 2007 to continue distributing books with Kovel's publisher, Pluto Press
Pluto Press
Pluto Press is a radical, progressive, independent publisher based in London. Pluto Press specialises in "progressive, critical perspectives in politics and the social sciences", and describes itself as "one of the world’s leading radical publishers". It has published authors such as Noam Chomsky,...

, overturning the original suspension. This came after what Democracy Now!
Democracy Now!
Democracy Now! and its staff have received several journalism awards, including the Gracie Award from American Women in Radio & Television; the George Polk Award for its 1998 radio documentary Drilling and Killing: Chevron and Nigeria's Oil Dictatorship, on the Chevron Corporation and the deaths of...

 called a "growing campaign led by fellow academics and civil libertarians", including historian Howard Zinn
Howard Zinn
Howard Zinn was an American historian, academic, author, playwright, and social activist. Before and during his tenure as a political science professor at Boston University from 1964-88 he wrote more than 20 books, which included his best-selling and influential A People's History of the United...

. Zinn wrote a letter on behalf of the Committee for an Open Discussion of Zionism (CODZ) – a group formed in September 2007 to support Kovel immediately and then organise a conference "that will address both the issue of suppression and Zionism itself" – urging the end of the suspension, which he blamed on an "ultra-Zionist
Zionism
Zionism is a Jewish political movement that, in its broadest sense, has supported the self-determination of the Jewish people in a sovereign Jewish national homeland. Since the establishment of the State of Israel, the Zionist movement continues primarily to advocate on behalf of the Jewish state...

 group called StandWithUs
StandWithUs
StandWithUs is a non-profit pro-Israel education and advocacy organization based in Los Angeles. As of 2009, it has branches in Los Angeles, New York, Denver, Michigan, Chicago, Seattle, Orange County, San Francisco, Santa Cruz, the UK, Australia, and Israel....

" with links to Campus Watch
Campus Watch
Campus Watch is a web-based project of the Middle East Forum, a think tank with its headquarters in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. According to its website, Campus Watch "reviews and critiques Middle East studies in North America with an aim to improving them." Critics of Campus Watch say that it is a...

; he described Overcoming Zionism as "serious, well researched work espousing a humanistic resolution". CODZ, whose Honourary Co-Chairs include Zinn and Norman Finkelstein
Norman Finkelstein
Norman Gary Finkelstein is an American political scientist, activist and author. His primary fields of research are the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the politics of the Holocaust. He is a graduate of Binghamton University and received his Ph.D in Political Science from Princeton University...

, further claimed to have "successfully solicited hundreds of letters in support of continuing the distribution agreement with Pluto Press Publications". Other groups, such as Students Allied for Freedom and Equality (SAFE) at the University of Michigan, also supported Kovel.

Following a review of its arrangements with all outside publishers, the University of Michigan Press announced in June 2008 that it would sever its ties with Pluto Press when the current contract expired at the end of 2008, ending UMP's distribution of Kovel's book.

See also

  • Green Party (United States)
    Green Party (United States)
    The Green Party of the United States is a nationally recognized political party which officially formed in 1991. It is a voluntary association of state green parties. Prior to national formation, many state affiliates had already formed and were recognized by other state parties...

  • Eco-socialism
    Eco-socialism
    Eco-socialism, green socialism or socialist ecology is an ideology merging aspects of Marxism, socialism, green politics, ecology and alter-globalization...

  • Marxism
    Marxism
    Marxism is an economic and sociopolitical worldview and method of socioeconomic inquiry that centers upon a materialist interpretation of history, a dialectical view of social change, and an analysis and critique of the development of capitalism. Marxism was pioneered in the early to mid 19th...

  • Socialism
    Socialism
    Socialism is an economic system characterized by social ownership of the means of production and cooperative management of the economy; or a political philosophy advocating such a system. "Social ownership" may refer to any one of, or a combination of, the following: cooperative enterprises,...

  • Green politics
    Green politics
    Green politics is a political ideology that aims for the creation of an ecologically sustainable society rooted in environmentalism, social liberalism, and grassroots democracy...

  • Environmentalism
    Environmentalism
    Environmentalism is a broad philosophy, ideology and social movement regarding concerns for environmental conservation and improvement of the health of the environment, particularly as the measure for this health seeks to incorporate the concerns of non-human elements...

  • Environmental movement
    Environmental movement
    The environmental movement, a term that includes the conservation and green politics, is a diverse scientific, social, and political movement for addressing environmental issues....

  • Anti-globalization
    Anti-globalization
    Criticism of globalization is skepticism of the claimed benefits of the globalization of capitalism. Many of these views are held by the anti-globalization movement however other groups also are critical of the policies of globalization....

  • Anti-capitalism
    Anti-capitalism
    Anti-capitalism describes a wide variety of movements, ideas, and attitudes which oppose capitalism. Anti-capitalists, in the strict sense of the word, are those who wish to completely replace capitalism with another system....


Selected publications

  • Overcoming Zionism: Creating a Single Democratic State in Israel/Palestine, (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2007)
  • The Enemy of Nature: The End of Capitalism or the End of the World? 2nd edition, (London: Zed Books, 2007), ISBN 1842778714; 1st edition, (London: Zed Books, 2002), ISBN 1-84277-081-0
  • Red Hunting in the Promised Land (New York: Basic Books, 1994), ISBN 0-465-00364-8.
  • History and Spirit (Boston: Beacon Press, 1991), ISBN 0-8070-2916-5.
  • The Radical Spirit: Essays on Psychoanalysis and Society (London: Free Association Books
    Free Association Books
    Free Association Books is an innovative project started in 1980s London. It arose as the brainchild of Bob Young and colleagues, who, disillusioned by the decline of the liberatory movement, began a search using psychoanalysis to understand the problems of liberation...

    , 1989), ISBN 0-946960-57-7.
  • In Nicaragua (New York: Columbia University Press, 1989), ISBN 0-946960-90-9.
  • White Racism: A Psychohistory (New York: Columbia University Press, 1984), ISBN 0-231-05797-0.
  • Against the State of Nuclear Terror (Boston: South End Press, 1984), ISBN 0-89608-220-2.
  • The Age of Desire: Case Histories of a Radical Psychoanalyst (New York: Pantheon, 1981), ISBN 0-394-50818-1.
  • “Therapy in Late Capitalism”. Telos 30 (Winter 1976-77). New York: Telos Press.
  • A Complete Guide to Therapy (New York: Pantheon, 1976), ISBN 0-394-48992-6.

External links