CFP Dossier || Marx and the ecosocialist critique of capital


Call for Papers Volume 6 Number 29 September 2021

Dossier Marx and the Ecosocialist Critique of Capital: Conceptual and Political Implications

Guest Editor: George García-Quesada

Submission deadline: July 30, 2021

Editorial guidelines: instructions and templates

Submission method: Consult the checklist

APC: Consult policies and waivers

Accepted languages: Spanish, English, or Portuguese


For decades, Karl Marx's contributions to environmental reflection and activism were dismissed. Marx was accused of having maintained optimism that productive forces could eventually overcome any natural limits, and of having considered nature from a strictly anthropocentric and utilitarian point of view.

Thus, the first generation of ecosocialists attempted to "green" Marxism by criticizing Marx's (and historical socialism's) alleged ecological inadequacies and by inserting some Marxist elements into a predominantly neo-Malthusian Green Theory. This group, comprising, among others, the approaches of Ted Benton, Ariel Salleh, and Joan Martinez-Alier, considered that it was necessary to complement Marx with other theories on ecology in order to articulate environmental and socialist struggles.

In a second stage, however, the expansion of the corpus of Marx's writings and their systematic reading from the environmental perspective has demonstrated the centrality of the relationship between society and nature in Marx's critique of capitalism, and his recognition of the limits that the environment imposes on societies. Moreover, authors such as Paul Burkett, John B. Foster, and Kohei Saito have argued that Marx was critical of the "social costs" that capital externalizes towards the population and nature, generating ecological contradictions that eventually have serious social effects.

The scope of this revision of Marx's production is not only of a theoretical nature – showing the unity of social and environmental theory – but also political by raising the need for convergence between the struggle of the working classes and the defense of the environment. The third stage of ecosocialism, therefore, already normally applies Marxian concepts such as those of social metabolism, metabolic fracture, and natural-material basis of use-value to understand problems such as carbon metabolism, gender environmental justice, marine ecology, dependence on nitrogen fertilizers, and ecological imperialism, among others. Highlighted here are Naomi Klein and Andreas Malm's research on fossil fuels (Foster and Burkett, 2017, pp. 1-11).

This call aims to explore some of the implications for Latin America of this renewed eco-socialism, both conceptually and politically. It seeks to show strategies and relationships between social actors at regional and global levels in the face of the socio-metabolism of capital.

Special topics of interest

Environment - Gender - Gender - State - Social movements - Socialism - Philosophy - Political ecology - Social movements - Political ecology