Sarah Ensor

To save nature, we must destroy capitalism

Issue section: 
Issue: 
Author: 

The struggle for the natural world has always pitted the left against the right, now it’s become a battle for survival, argues Sarah Ensor

In the 19th century some scientists tried to understand the work of the ‘creator’, while others wanted knowledge to improve people’s lives. Chemist Justus von Liebig was trying to solve capitalism’s developing crisis of soil fertility in farming. His research into nitrates and chemical interactions in soil began to show that declining soil fertility was caused by the processes of capitalism, and was not natural. This work was deeply influential on Marx and Engels’s ecological thinking in relation to metabolic rift and the dialectics of nature.

The looming tragedy of extinction

Issue section: 
Issue: 
Author: 

Global capitalism is not only creating climate change but bringing about the extinction of millions of animal and plant species. Sarah Ensor explains the crisis, and what we can do to stop it.

In less than 80 years global capitalism has created a biodiversity crisis on a scale that has never been seen before in human history. One million of the estimated eight million animal and plant species on Earth are currently at risk of extinction. If the causes of this catastrophe aren’t challenged, many will die out without ever being identified, named, understood or appreciated for their vital role in our ecosystems.

A Redder Shade of Green

Issue section: 
Author: 

The author describes this collection of articles as “debates, polemics and arguments because although environmentalists, scientists, and socialists share concerns about the devastation of our planet, we frequently differ on explanations and solutions”. The argument Angus repeatedly returns to is a defence of the Marxist method as he understands that, “If our political analysis doesn’t have a firm basis in the natural sciences, our efforts to change the world will be in vain.”

How fishing became a killer issue

Issue section: 
Issue: 
Author: 

There has long been an argument over the EU's role in the fishing industry, exemplified by Nigel Farage's flotilla down the River Thames. But whose side should socialists take in an industry that has serious environmental consequences? Sarah Ensor explains the real economic dynamics at sea

When Nigel Farage sailed up the River Thames in a flotilla in the run-up to the EU referendum, he was tapping into a deep vein of bitterness in Britain’s fishing industry. The flotilla was part of the Fishing for Leave campaign which demanded “the restoration of our waters to national control”. They wanted to “highlight the indignities and devastation wrought to the UK fishing industry by the fatally flawed Common Fisheries Policy”.

Moonstone

Issue section: 
Author: 

This short, beautiful novel tells the story of Máni Steinn Karlsson, a movie-obsessed teenager living with his one ancient relative in an attic in the centre of Reykjavik, Iceland, in 1918. Máni Steinn, translated as Moonstone, roams the small town looking for the odd jobs available to a boy who struggles to read and planning which film he will see next in either of the two cinemas.

The Headscarf Revolutionaries

Issue section: 
Author: 

In 1968 three trawlers from Hull, the Kingston Peridot, St Romanus and Ross Cleveland, sank within days of each other in storms off Iceland, killing 58 men.

When news of the second sinking reached Hull, Lillian Bilocca, whose husband and son worked on trawlers, began a campaign that became international news and completely overhauled safety standards on British trawlers.

This is a compelling and detailed account by local author and historian Brian Lavery of ordinary women changing history.

Massacre

Issue section: 
Author: 

On 18 March 1871 French head of state Adolph Thiers sent troops into Paris to capture cannons from the mainly working class National Guard. In a few hours thousands of ordinary Parisians, especially women, took the streets; troops had refused to shoot, generals had been shot for murder and the working class found that it held the city. This “unexpected revolution”, known as the Paris Commune, lasted only a few weeks, finally overrun on 28 May by the regrouped troops from Versailles.

Olive Kitteridge

Issue section: 
Author: 

Olive Kitteridge is not a happy woman. In the first two minutes of this slow-paced, bleakly humorous HBO mini-series she is preparing to shoot herself in the glorious autumn woods of Maine, northeastern US. The series is based on a Pulitzer Prize winning novel by Elizabeth Stout and directed by the acclaimed film maker Lisa Cholodenko.

Most of the rest of the series is a flashback to 25 years earlier, in the 1980s. Then she was a spiky middle-aged maths teacher in a small coastal town, living with her teenage son and her husband who she finds deeply irritating.

Unspeakable Things

Issue section: 
Author: 

Journalist Laurie Penny’s second book, Unspeakable Things, argues that “feminism is a tool to build a better world” and that “a change of consciousness is coming that will bring sexual and social revolution”.

As with many books about the conditions of women’s lives written in the past few years, she uses the language of women’s liberation with a different meaning. Penny is not talking about “consciousness-raising” or that all women have to fight for liberation against all men.

Trotsky in Norway

Issue section: 
Issue: 
Author: 

Leon Trotsky and his wife, fellow revolutionary Natalia Sedova, arrived in Norway in June 1935 after their supporters persuaded the newly-elected Norwegian Labour government to give them asylum.

They came from France where the Popular Front government and trade union leaders were trying to control the rising tide of militancy and wanted Trotsky out of the way.

Pages

Subscribe to RSS - Sarah Ensor