Ecological Leninism

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From an interview by Andreas Malm by Jacobin magazine:

"'* DM: You build on this by calling for an “ecological Leninism” in the book. Can you explain what you mean by this?'

AM: Given that capitalism will need to be challenged for any meaningful transition to occur, the socialist legacy offers a set of resources to draw upon. The problem with social democracy is that it has no concept of catastrophe — rather, it is premised on the opposite, namely the notion that we have time at our disposal and history on our side, meaning that we can move by incremental steps toward a socialist society. Whatever its historical veracity, this is certainly not the case now. We find ourselves in a situation of chronic emergency, with crises striking at an accelerated rate and thereby imposing a completely different timeline than that faced by, for example, Swedish social democracy during the 1950s and 1960s. It is therefore necessary to look to part of the socialist legacy that has an idea of catastrophe. Anarchism is also insufficient to this task, given that it is, by definition, hostile to the state. It is incredibly difficult to see how anything other than state power could accomplish the transition required, given that it will be necessary to exert coercive authority against those who want to maintain the status quo.

The obvious choice when looking for a tradition that has a concept of using state power in a situation of chronic emergency is the anti-Stalinist Leninist tradition. Built into this tradition is also an insight into the dangers and contradictions of state power that arises from the lessons of the Bolshevik Revolution. The whole strategic direction of Lenin after 1914 was to turn World War I into a fatal blow against capitalism. This is precisely the same strategic orientation we must embrace today — and this is what I mean by ecological Leninism. We must find a way of turning the environmental crisis into a crisis for fossil capital itself."