There Is No ‘One Weird Trick’.

ECOLOGIES | Editorials  }

josie sparrow / October 16, 2021
An introduction to some of the themes and thinking behind our ECOLOGIES edition. 5269 words / 21 min read

Image: B. Mure

I’m writing this in June 2021. Here in southern England, the weather has lurched rapidly from intense, clear-skied heat to days of rain, where the air is so humid that it seems to cling to my skin. On the other side of the world, in what is currently known as North America, temperatures are at record (and, for many, fatal) highs. Central and southern Brazil—where rainfall has been unusually low since October 2019— is once again experiencing severe drought. This is likely to lead not only to water and food shortages, but forest fires in the Amazon, of the sort that provided ample ‘green’ cover for the right-wing Bolivian coup of 2019. The profoundness of our global inter- and intra-connections is being pulled into sharp focus. And this much is clear: we—the “we” of the imperial core, the Global North, the colonising nations—need to think, do, and be differently.

This understanding is where ECOLOGIES begins.

Something to note about the analysis that follows: it is, inevitably, Western, Global North, and Anglophone in perspective. This is, in many ways, a clear limitation: as Wittgenstein observed, “the limits of my language mean the limits of my world”.1 For example, when I try to write about the intra-relatedness of every thing, none of the ready-to-hand metaphors seem to work. Is life a tapestry? No; there’s no one great designer, abstracted and apart, working on it, to a pattern, from above.2 Is life a web? Not really; there’s no single builder or weaver. Even the word ‘ecology’ has its limits and its tensions, connected as it is to the logos, and thus to logic; the Western, taxonomic way of knowing that seeks to dominate and stifle all others. This isn’t just an etymological point: so much ecological thought and practice is focused on thresholds and measurements, reducing all things to a curve on a graph.3 This is why we have chosen to pluralise the term: ECOLOGIES. A recognition that there are multiple ways of knowing (λογία; logía) our home (οἶκος; oίkos), even while, as Anglophones, we remain caught within the difficulties of our language. It’s a contradiction, but we hope it is a generative one.

From the biomasses, to the masses.

Readers who are familiar with the work of New Socialist will already be aware of our opposition to what I’ll call “One Weird Trick-ism”: the idea that there’s some sort of quick fix that will make everything better. On the left, the proposed One Weird Trick to Save the Planet (“polluters hate him!”) can range from “New Green Jobs” to “a Green New Deal”, right through to “revolution!” Reserving criticism on their aims (which are broadly good and/or well-intentioned), what these fixes (and the whole continuum between them) have in common is that they rely on a top-down, managerial approach, be that the managerialism of the technocrat or that of the vanguardist.

These two camps, vanguardist and technocrat, have far more in common than they might want to admit: both are motivated by and committed to the belief that things would be much better, if only they were in charge. On some level, there’s a good chance that they’re right: the ameliorative actions proposed by Green New Deal advocates, for example, would very likely improve on the current situation for many in the Global North, and quite possibly in the Global South too. The problem is that this sort of top-down thinking, by its very nature, requires that existing relations of power, exploitation, and taxonomy remain intact. What I mean is that ‘being in charge’—the notion of mastery—is precisely the problem, and a problem that is severely under-examined, at that.

Vanguardist and technocrat have far more in common than they might want to admit: both are motivated by and committed to the belief that things would be much better if only they were in charge.

This is, perhaps, how certain figures of the British left can seriously advocate space mining as a solution to ecological crisis; how a capitalist vision of resource-focused, consumerist “luxury” is presented as not only desirable but possible, powered by fake meat and biomass fuels. What’s rendered invisible by these technoscientific utopian visions is precisely what makes them possible: the exploitation of lands, of peoples, of our other-than-human comrades—all considered “cheap” because they resist, in different ways, the logic of profit. The instrumentalising worldview of use and extraction, wheeled out once again, this time with a lick of shiny green paint.

The eco-logy—the way of being and knowing—that we propose, and that we try to live, in contradiction and in hope, takes a different path. From the biomasses, to the masses. We could call it an ecology from below. We could call it an ecology from within. In some ways (though not all ways), the nomenclature of this practice is far less important than the doing of it.

The essays we’ve commissioned approach this doing plurivocally: there is no One Weird Trick. We hope to resist the burgeoning tendency towards instrumentalist reading, the sort of reading that demands The Solution, neatly-packaged: another commodity to be consumed and discarded. Rather, our hope is that the multiplicity of approaches, perspectives, methods, and styles presented here will illuminate relationships, open up lines of thought, and suggest possibilities for collective action.

Between supply and discard.

It’s easy to declare that there’s “no ethical consumption under capitalism” when the realities of what Max Liboiron terms “colonial Land relations”4 mean that we are never truly forced to live within the afterlives of our consuming. In 2020, the British state exported 537,000 tons of plastic waste, ostensibly for recycling. But most of this waste was sent to Turkey and Malaysia—nations which have insufficient facilities to recycle their own waste—and there seems to be very little information on what happened to it when it arrived there. Moreover, a large proportion of it doesn’t seem to have been recyclable in the first place.

Kayayei (women who carry loads on their heads) in Accra’s Kantamanto market are, quite literally, bearing the burden of Global North attitudes towards consumption—and while fast fashion brands are certainly to blame, the bales of clothing carried by the kayayei also contain second-hand items as well as unsold fashion industry stock. Kantamanto teaches us that, while our individual actions are undoubtedly a drop in the ocean when compared to, say, the industrial-scale wastefulness of Amazon, many drops do, still, eventually add up to a significant body of water. To tell the whole story, then, we can’t just blame “corporations”, in the abstract: we also have to think about where we, ourselves, sit within these relations, and then do something about it wherever and however we can.

Presently, the figure of the consumer occupies a double position: on the one hand, we exist at the end of the supply chain; on the other, we exist at the beginning of the discard chain. Both positions assume what Liboiron describes as a “colonial entitlement to Land”,5 as well as a reliance on and entitlement to what Jason W Moore terms “cheap nature”.6 We also find ourselves subject to forms of exploitation under capital, some of which may place real restrictions on our capacity to act. If the self-exculpatory practice of infinite deferral encapsulated by the “no ethical consumption” line can’t tell the whole story, neither can the neoliberal rhetoric of “personal responsibility”. Both seek to completely disavow that we live within and because of a complicated world of relations. It doesn’t help that the words we often use to describe the relationships between system and self—complicity, accountability—suggest villainy, blame, and punishment. As abolitionists, we know that nothing forecloses possibility like the pressure of guilt. As Marxists, we know that there is no ‘pure’ state of being under capital—we’re ‘compromised’ from the get-go. Always already consumers, trapped between supply and discard.

If my Pret Protein Pot container can end up in a Turkish dump, then I can trace a clear line between my choices, the systems in which I live (and by which I may simultaneously benefit and be harmed), and the exploitation and violence that continues to be enacted upon a plurality of others: animal (both human and otherwise), vegetal, liquid, mineral, microbial, etc. Of course, choosing not to buy that snack—in this case, a single boiled egg, weirdly entombed in PET—will not bring about the fall of capitalism. The container has already been called into existence, and will likely end up in that Turkish dump anyway. And Jeff Bezos will continue to sign off on the wholesale discarding of perfectly functional high-end vacuum cleaners, simply because the warehouse space (again, access to land as resource) is more valuable than the likely profits from their sale.

But it’s not a zero-sum game: I can choose not to buy, and also militate in other ways. And I’ve found that when I make these choices, something begins to shift. It is a practice of affirming that, rather than some notional Individual Subject, I am a relational being, connected to and co-created by others, who are worthy of my concern, my consideration, my love. It is a practice of remembering, as Jason Moore has it, that “our breakfasts, our cars, and our working days [are] world-historical activity”.7 (We discuss this, and a lot more besides, in our interview with Jason—whose generous, comradely, non-extractive theory, practice, and attitude make him a true joy and a treasured comrade.)

“People make history,” goes the oft-quoted line from Marx—but the German (“Die Menschen machen ihre eigene Geschichte”) can also be translated as “people make their own story”. This ambiguity is instructive: we’re all drawn by the lure of the Singular Event, as though we can plot history as a series of points, like hurdles on a racetrack. But each Singular Event emerges out of and consists in numberless processes that cohere, conjunct, and coalesce. Some of those processes involve me. There is possibility here.

Thinking relationally helps me to be non-extractive; helps me to disrupt this grinding cycle of supply and discard. It helps me to situate myself with and for others, reminds me that what I do matters: I have the capacity to harm or to heal, and this is a form of power that, like all powers, must be exercised care-fully. Relational, ecological thinking teaches me that “we insignificant people,” in George Eliot’s words,“with our daily words and acts,” are perhaps not so insignificant after all. That, as Eliot continues,

the growing good of the world is partly dependent on un-historic acts, and that things are not so ill with you and me as they might have been is half owing to the number who lived faithfully a hidden life and rest in unvisited tombs.9

Hidden lives.

To a large extent, the form of relational ecology for which I’m arguing can be summed up as attending to the hidden lives. The word attend comes to us from the Latin attendere: to give heed to, to stretch toward. To attend might mean ‘to listen to’, or ‘to accompany or assist’; or even ‘to be with’. It might mean ‘to look after’, ‘to be present’, ‘to notice’, or ‘to be consequentially related’. All of the possible meanings contained within this word, attending, suggest a form of practice that is, perhaps, close to Paul Ricœur’s notion of ‘hearkening’: “a pre-ethical… mode of being which is not yet doing”.10 Attending to the hidden lives, thought in this way, means opening up a space—opening ourselves!—to whatever these hidden lives might have to tell us.

The form of relational ecology for which I’m arguing can be summed up as “attending to the hidden lives”.

And so we might allow ourselves to rest in that silence of which Ricœur writes; that active silence which “does not mean muteness”;11 which is the precondition for all speech, all ethics. Like still water, we could rest, and see what rises to the surface of our attention. We might begin to consider the hidden lives: the microbes, fizzing away to make our pickles and our bread; the soil upon which we tread, and whose generous giving and receiving is a condition for our possibility; the peasant farmers, whose subsistence agriculture is under threat from the well-meaning but misplaced universalism of anti-meat politics; the orang utans, surviving against all odds in their Sumatran forest homes, and those forests themselves, ever-decreasing so that we in the Global North might congratulate ourselves on our visions of palm oil-powered ‘green’ futures, all biofuels and industrial, dairy-free margarine. Every single living thing that’s exploited and (de/)valued as a resource, a sink, a dump. Cheap labour, cheap nature.

Attending to the hidden lives also calls our attention to what’s missing from this edition. In Mozambique, for example, a combination of COVID-19 and climate change has led to famine, conflict, and displacement. In Somalia, seasonal weather patterns have been severely disrupted, with grave consequences for herders and farmers, and therefore for food supplies. And in the Congo Basin, the world’s second-largest rainforest is under threat from increasing temperatures and drier weather—something that’s being framed as the potential loss of a carbon store, but in truth is so much more than that: the loss of hidden lives, no less real for the fact that we can only conceptualise of this place as a sink. These are the daily realities of ecological crisis. A lack of contacts in the region—itself a signal of colonial patterns of knowledge production in which we are all implicated, and which needs to change—has meant that we were unable to commission work from sub-Saharan Africa. This is a gap that must be attended to.

Another such gap is closer to home. In 2013, after three years of increasingly traumatic hospitalisations, Ella Kissi-Debrah of Lewisham, south London, suffered a fatal asthma attack. She was 9 years old. After a protracted legal fight, Ella’s mother, Rosamund Adoo Kissi-Debrah, finally forced the state to recognise that air pollution played a role in Ella’s death. A measuring station in Catford, not far from where Ella lived, detected “unlawful levels of air pollution”. A 2014 study conducted in Britain and the Netherlands found “substantial inequalities in air pollution exposure [in] areas with high proportions of ethnic minorities, even when area level deprivation is taken into account”. In other words, racialised communities are at the highest risk from these potentially fatal toxins, most of which (according to the study) are spewed out by vehicles that are only ever passing through. These communities are forced to bear the consequences of capital accumulation without ever really seeing much of the benefit. That even the unnecessary death of a child has failed to stir up much in the way of public outrage from the self-styled great and good is revealing. Hidden lives—and hidden deaths.

We wanted to commission something on environmental racism in Britain; for various reasons, it didn’t work out. But the least we can do to honour the memory of Ella Kissi-Debrah is to name this problem, and refuse to let it be hidden. Our breath is perhaps the closest thing we have to a birthright. Nobody should be unable to breathe safely.

Antipolitical ecology.

Ecology, then, is not “beyond politics”, however many neon banners XR produce insisting on the point. It is precisely political! It is about justice, about liberation, about what Emma Goldman called “everyone’s right to beautiful radiant things”.12 It is also about a small child’s right to breathe. Raymond Williams chose the term ‘non-political ecology’ to describe the tendency (of which XR are the most visible example) which wants to say (as Williams put it) “that politics is a superficial business… we’re tackling the social problems at a deeper level.”

The usual response from the XR leadership and their hardline supporters—as will be familiar to anybody who’s expressed disappointment with aspects of the movement on social media during the past few years—is that the ‘movement’ is all that matters, and that any criticism of their methods amounts to climate change denial. This might be fine if their practice was solely focused on direct action and the sorts of spectacular (but empty) gestures for which they’ve become known. But their ‘third demand’ is for the creation of ‘Citizen’s Assemblies’ selected through sortition. XR describe it as being “similar to jury service”.

One problem with this is that juries often disagree, and may well reach unjust conclusions. One can easily imagine, for example, an assembly in some parts of Britain agreeing to close the borders, to banish migrants, etc.—issues that will become more and more pressing as the effects of climate change intensify. But there’s also a problem of method. Sortition, as a process, relies entirely on what is known by the state, and how each of us might fit into a given demographic category. This means those about whom the state knows very little—often the most marginalised among us—are likely to remain unrepresented. Moreover, this demographically-determined process seems to suggest that people are fungible: that one Black person, or woman, or disabled person is much the same as another. Those of us who heard XR founder Roger Hallam effing and jeffing about “identity politics” and “the hard left” and “postmodernism” during his 2019 appearance on the ‘Politics, Theory, Other’ podcast might be forgiven for assuming that this flattening taxonomy is something of a party line.

Of course, problems of democratic representation are real, and they’re underthought by many groups and movements. In many ways, by suggesting this technocratic, managerial ‘solution’, XR are doing more than most. But, as ever, what isn’t called into question is unthinkingly inherited. And if we are to resist, mitigate, and repair the manifold crises and collapses precipitated by capitalism and colonialism, the tools, skills, and responses we need will not be found within the present system. As I’ve written elsewhere, if our climate movements are not prefigurative, and do not attend closely to political concerns, we risk repeating the same violences, the same mistakes, and the same cycle of crisis and collapse. This is too important; we have to do it properly. It has to be about justice—justice and liberation, all the way down.

If we are to resist, mitigate, and repair the manifold crises and collapses precipitated by capitalism and colonialism, the tools, skills, and responses we need will not be found within the present system.

Developing Williams’s term, then, the XR leadership’s performative, impossible disavowal of the political is perhaps better understood not as ‘apolitical’ or ‘non-political’, but as antipolitical. It elides and conceals the ways in which politics operates through, on, and between us all, and in so doing, preserves and reproduces the same structures of power and authority that got us here.

This is no revolution worthy of the name. But that’s precisely the point. Rebellion is all about expressing discontent from within an established system, without challenging the structure and architecture of that system. It’s very specifically not a revolution, and is nothing to do with radical transformation from below. The justification for this is urgency—the notion that we simply don’t have time to consider trivial things such as power, or justice, or what it might mean to actually live, with and for others. Against this, we want to suggest a more care-full way of thinking about time.

Against urgency.

Urgency is a response to the unavoidable fact, in terms of carbon emissions, that time is running out. The present realities of ecological collapse are real and resonant, and the inertia of the ruling class is profoundly frustrating—which is to say, I get it, really, I do. But, as Doethe Rosenow urges, we must “resist the temptation of urgency”; we must remember that nothing—and particularly not a manifold ecological crisis set in motion by centuries of European colonial-capitalist violence—is outside the political. If our fixation on urgency means that we’re not concerned with questions of justice, power, and decolonisation, or that we’re not open to the experiences and knowledges of non-European traditions, then more people will die. I have great sympathy for the ‘first aid’ argument—the idea that, in emergency cases (and I agree that this is an extreme emergency), the first priority is to stem the bleeding, stop the pain. But, as anybody who inhabits an othered body will attest, the medical gaze quite often misses or misunderstands what’s going on, perceiving as it does through the fogged lens of its own limited rationality. What are we missing when we make emergency our central organising principle?

It bears repeating: If our ecological activism is not connected to a thoroughgoing critique of the processes and systems that got us here, then it will only work to absorb the problem into capital’s interminable cycles of crisis and threat, and always at the expense of those who cannot bear the cost, and do not bear the blame. To once again appropriate (with apologies) Flavia Dzodan’s oft-misappropriated slogan, our ecological praxis will be anticolonial and political, or it will be bullshit—and, more crucially, it will fail.

A focus on urgency can also lead to reckless elisions. What does it mean to build a movement almost entirely around a single aspect (climate change) of the manifold—and long—ecological crisis? As Rob Nixon writes, in his important book Slow Violence:

impoverished resource rebels can seldom afford to be single-issue activists: their green commitments are seamed through with other economic and cultural causes as they experience environmental threat not as a planetary abstraction but as a set of inhabited risks, some imminent, some obscurely long term.13

In other words, it is only in the Global North, where our histories of extraction and Prometheanism—not to mention our ways of knowing—have alienated us from our condition as earthly creatures, that ‘climate change’ can be siloed off from the myriad other effects of the capitalist world-system. The question one wants to ask is this: is ecological collapse only important now it’s coming for us, in the form of climate change that threatens our food systems, our homes, our holidays? For all the apocalyptic imagery deployed by the Green New Deal Industrial Complex (how many more polemical books with titles relating to catastrophic fire can there possibly be left to write?), there is little acknowledgement that, for Indigenous peoples, for trafficked West Africans, for so many people, the apocalypse has already arrived—and that Europeans were its horsemen.

Even in living memory, we can find examples of actually-existing apocalypse. The Marshall Islands were devastated by 67 nuclear tests conducted by the US between 1946 and 1958. The islands and atolls remain in a post-apocalyptic state, with several atolls seemingly permanently uninhabitable due to radiological contamination. Some babies are born without bones. Some are never born at all.14 This is just one example of how violence can outlast the spectacular instant. The nuclear detonation is all noise and heat and flash, and certainly deadly—but the slow drift of fallout, or the interactions of isotopes with living cells, occur on an entirely different scale. So, too, must our organising.

In his essential review of Andreas Malm’s silly book How to Blow Up a Pipeline, James Wilt sounds a note of caution against the sort of act-now-think-later urgency promulgated by Malm and his ilk. Drawing on long histories of (often Indigenous, Black and/or Global South-led) environmental radicalism, as well as personal experience, Wilt describes the afterlives of protest—the slow violence of reaction that inevitably follows the spectacular instant—as a means of demonstrating the high stakes and real costs of escalation. Does Malm, asks Wilt, “truly think the state will just stand by and let the private property of the ruling class that it exists to represent be blown up in the name of climate justice?” A possible answer may be found in another review of Pipeline, by the Swedish anarchist Gabriel Kuhn. Observing that Malm’s main audience within Sweden seems to consist in centre-right and bourgeois circles, Kuhn suggests that Malm’s text, detached as it is from real movements, is less a proposal and more a provocation:

They pose no threat. They entertain. And for a bored bourgeois audience ready to be entertained by whatever, a call for militant environmentalist action sounds as good as anything.

And perhaps this is the central problem with the eco-politics of urgency. Its proponents stride onto the scene with the energy of a Tory dad hell-bent on speaking with the manager, demanding that “SOMETHING MUST BE DONE”. Implicit in that demand is the claim that, until they came along, nobody was doing anything at all. Their personal brands rely on this fiction of innovation—on the complete erasure of the long histories of resistance to capitalist, colonialist extraction. In many ways, the disruptions proposed by the likes of XR and Malm are best thought in the Silicon Valley sense: disrupting the marketplace of ecological ideas.

The slow violence of ecological destruction demands a slow and deep resistance. We need not only to destroy, but to protect, to create, to care and to love. As Wilt says, “only out of this kind of deep organising can any kind of escalation be actually planned for.”

The slow violence of ecological destruction demands a slow and deep resistance. We need not only to destroy, but to protect, to create, to care and to love.

Against technocracy.

At the other end of the scale, we find what I’ve already called the Green New Deal Industrial Complex. Here, I’m going to bring the focus back to Britain, as it’s this iteration of the GND with which I’m most familiar.

The Green New Deal, along with the Green Industrial Revolution, formed part of the 2019 Labour manifesto on the environment. Its purpose was to find a way of, as Williams put it, “making the necessary junction” between ecological and economic concerns—between the fact that extraction is destructive of life on a macro scale and that it is also reproductive of life, on a micro scale, through the jobs that workers must do in order to survive. If trade unions are ever to agree to a transition away from resource extraction, that transition, as Williams says, “will have to be done by negotiation, by equitable negotiation, and it will have to be taken steadily along the way”. The GND/GIR, with its focus on worker-led transition to a green economy, was a means of achieving this.

But the 2019 manifesto also recognised that cutting emissions was only the half of it. The ‘Plan for Nature’ offered a holistic and rigorous ecological vision. Here was a politics not just of the factory, but of the field. A politics of hedgehogs, of seed dispersals, of peat bogs and meadows and sparrows and insects. A politics of the small and the slow, as well as the grand and the spectacular. “Small,” the plan insisted, “is still beautiful—and Labour believes that no-one is too small to make a difference.”

Since that time—since the heartbreaking defeat of 2019—it feels that so much has been lost. We have retained the GND (though the more interesting Green Industrial Revolution formulation appears to have been cheerfully conceded to the Tories), but it feels that the horizons have narrowed. Good Green Jobs is the sole refrain; the aim, it appears, is to keep suggesting policy to a revamped and indifferent Labour Party, and call every grudging concession made by an individual politician a great victory. Where the spectacular urgency of Malm and XR has me longing for slowness, the technocratic tinkering (albeit often dressed up in the same millenarian aesthetic as Malm’s books) has me squirming with impatience.

What the two have in common, paradoxically, is their ‘can I speak to the manager?’ energy. Where Malm is the bluster of the puce-cheeked uncle who demands satisfaction, the GND wonks are a bit more apologetic—they don’t want to shout at you, the worker, but they do want to suggest to your manager some better ways that things could be done. The thing is, though, that speaking to the manager assumes that whatever has caused the complaint is antithetical to the functioning of the business. But if you’re being inconvenienced, it’s usually not the fault of the worker facing you—it’s a managerial or corporate decision taken in order to maximise efficiency and profits. Similarly, as Williams notes:

calling upon the leaders of the precise social orders which have created the devastation to reverse their own processes… [means] calling upon them to go against the precise interests, the precise social relationships, which have produced their leadership.

A store manager might make a one-off decision to offer you a refund, say, as a token gesture to get you out of their face, or to avoid bad PR on social media—but company policy will not change. And this is how I feel when I watch GND activists interact with the present iteration of the Labour Party. Yes, time is a problem, and yes, the state is a problem—and neither of these problems can be ignored or wished away. I’m just not convinced that it’s possible to shame or cajole the ruling class out of protecting their own power and interests.

With hasty patience.

Readers would be forgiven, then, for thinking that ecological praxis is all either spectacular urgency or technocratic management. But there’s so much inbetween—and beyond—those poles! This is why ECOLOGIES exists.

To think ecologically, then, is to think across scales: micro and macro, the one and the many, the system and the self, the instantaneous and the durational. To recognise and practice the interrelation of theory and action. To follow Daniel Bensaïd’s mole, who “does not withdraw to hibernate, but in order to drill a tunnel… does not disappear, [but] merely becomes invisible.” We forget at our peril the lesson of the mole, whose slow deep efforts below ground creates the conditions of possibility for the moments of emergence to and through the surface. The mole reminds us that each of us has something to contribute to the struggle, whether or not we fit into the dominant (and macho) paradigms of Parliamentary lobbying or spectacular direct action.

The mole reminds us that each of us has something to contribute to the struggle, whether or not we fit into the dominant (and macho) paradigms of Parliamentary lobbying or spectacular direct action.

What would it mean, borrowing again from Bensaïd, to think, to organise, to act, to live “with slow impatience. And with hasty patience”? To bring down this world in molehill increments, and always from below?

  1. Ludwig Wittgenstein. 1922. Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus. Proposition 5.6. 

  2. Not to preclude a religious view, but rather to set it within a cosmology of intra-relation. This is not the place for a digression on my complicated views regarding the immanent and the transcendent; for now, let me just say that, for me, what might be called ‘the divine’ is, broadly speaking, immanent, even when it is transcendent. 

  3. See Max Liboiron. 2021. Pollution is Colonialism. Durham, NC: Duke University Press. 

  4. Liboiron (2021), Pollution is Colonialism

  5. Liboiron (2021), Pollution is Colonialism

  6. See Jason W Moore. 2015. Capitalism in the Web of Life: Ecology and the Accumulation of Capital. London: Verso Books. 

  7. Moore (2015), Capitalism in the Web of Life, p.12. 

  8. Karl Marx.1852. Der achtzehnte Brumaire des Louis Bonaparte. My translation; most English translations, with tedious inevitability, read ‘Menschen’ as ‘men’. 

  9. George Eliot. [1871-2] 2011. Middlemarch: A Study of Provincial Life. London: Penguin 

  10. Paul Ricœur. 1975. ‘Religion, Atheism and Faith’, in The Conflict of Interpretations: Essays in Hermeneutics. Translated by Don Ihde. London: Athlone Press, p.449. 

  11. Ricœur (1975), p.451. 

  12. Emma Goldman. 1934. Living My Life. New York: Knopf, p.56. 

  13. Rob Nixon. 2013. Slow Violence and the Environmentalism of the Poor. Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press, p.4. 

  14. Nixon (2013), Slow Violence, p.7. 


josie sparrow (@ofthesparrows)

josie is a writer, an artist, and a philosopher. Her interests coalesce around the intersection of the poetic and the political, with a particular emphasis on process, relationality, socialism, ethics, ecologies, words, and flowers. Her future plans include dismantling capitalism and co-creating a more beautiful world, with and for others. She is General Editor at New Socialist. You can read more of her work at