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Ecosocialism

A consideration of democratic socialism should incorporate a thorough consideration of ecosocialism. McLaren and Houston (2005, p. 167) have argued that ‘escalating environmental problems at all geographical scales from local to global have become a pressing reality that critical educators can no longer afford to ignore’. They go on to cite ‘the complicity between global profiteering, resource colonization, and the wholesale ecological devastation that has become a matter of everyday life for most species on the planet’ (Ibid.) (see chapter 7 for a discussion). Noting the wealth of ecosocialist scholarship that has emerged in recent years (e.g. Williams 1980; Benton 1996; Foster 2000, 2002; see also Feldman and Lotz 2004), McLaren and Houston, following Kahn (2003), state the need for ‘a critical dialogue between social and eco-justice’ (ibid., p. 168). They call for a dialectics of ecological and environmental justice to reveal the malign interaction between capitalism, imperialism and ecology that has created widespread environmental degradation which has dramatically accelerated with the onset of neoliberalism (ibid., p. 172; see chapter 7 of this volume for a discussion of these interconnections; see also cole 2008b, chapter 7). McLaren and Houston (ibid., p. 174) then propose an educational framework, of which the pivot is class exploitation, but which also, following Gruenwald (2003), interrogates the intersection between ‘urbanization, racism, classism, sexism, environmentalism, global economics, and other political themes’. The classroom is a good arena to discuss issues, ranging from what is happening in the immediate vicinity of the school, to issues at the national policy level, through to global issues, including the ecosocial issues connected to the global survival of the planet. Students could begin by discussing the issues discussed chapter 7 of this volume: the destruction of resources; unhealthy food; genetic modification; and climate change. They could then interrogate the causes, and assess the likely chances of changes under neoliberal capitalism and the ‘New Imperialism’ (see chapter 7 of this volume)—for example, what can be done now to address these pressing issues, and how a world socialist system might do things differently.

 
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