Ecology and Class

Ecology and Class


This major second edition looks at the ecological crisis facing us today, what is being done about it and sets out in detail our views on what an ecologically sustainable world would be like. .

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Many people are aware of the worldwide problem of environmental pollution and destruction. Rainforests such as Amazonia are being decimated, large areas of land turned into desert. Droughts, floods and earthquakes affect millions; large-scale pollution is causing dangerous climatic change. Ecology (the science of living things and how they interact with each other), is therefore vital, literally a matter of life and death.
In Africa and Asia, deforestation and desertification reinforce the effects of grossly unfair land ownership, producing starvation and malnutrition for millions of people. In Europe and North America, cancers from the environmental degradation caused by mass industrial society affect tens of thousands; the death and injury toll from cars is huge and the resulting air pollution causes a worsening asthma problem. Drinking water is becoming more polluted due to pesticides from farming, pollution from industry and, in Britain, water suppliers may soon be compelled to add the harmful chemical fluoride to water because of its supposed benefits to children’s teeth. Food is generally laden with chemicals (additives, pesticides, pollution, irradiation (to prolong shelf life), and is increasingly genetically modified.
Ecological analysis needs to be part of a wider class analysis. For too many environmentalists however, green issues and politics are “neither left nor right” or “beyond politics”. This is dangerous nonsense. It leads to flirtations (or worse) with paganism, eastern  religions and mysticism. It encourages people-hating ideologies. Let’s not forget the nationalism and racism of leading American
Earth First! activists in the 1980s or links to neo-fascist ideas (David Icke, for instance, or the Third Stream groups in Britain and elsewhere). On the other side, class analysis cannot ignore ecology, for instance by treating all technology as neutral. If it does, it will be incapable of creating a future society that is free and equal (anarchist communism); such a society must be in harmony with the rest of nature.
This pamphlet is the result of the Anarchist Federation’s commitment to developing a coherent ecological analysis and practice as a vital part of our politics. It does not claim to be the last word, merely the start of the process. Ecology is an important strand in anarchist communism through people who were both theorists.