Miljøpolitikk for arbeiderklassen

Av Matt T. Huber


Skal vi løse den økologiske krisa, kreves en massebevegelse som kan stå opp mot voldsomt mektige næringer. Men miljøspørsmål med base i den profesjonelle styringsklassen og med fokus på forbruk har små muligheter til å få støtte fra arbeiderklassen. Denne artikkelen argumenterer for at miljøkrisa må organisere arbeiderklassens ut fra deres interesser.

Oversatt av Unni Kjærnes, medlem av redaksjonen i Gnist.

Matt T. Huber er amanuensis i geografi ved Syracuse University. Han har skrevet Lifeblood: Oil, Freedom and the Forces of Capital (University of Minnesota Press, 2013). Nå arbeider han med en bok om klasse og klimapolitikk for Verso Books.

Artikkelen sto i Catalyst vol 3, nummer 1, våren 2019

Her finner du notene. De sto ikke i papirutgava. Når hele artikkelen legges ut, følger notene med.
Altså en god grunn til å abonnere.

1 Paul Griffin, The Carbon Majors Database: CDP Carbon Majors Report 2017 (London: Carbon Disclosure Project, 2017), 5.

2 Elizabeth Gamillo, “Atmospheric carbon last year reached levels not seen in 800,000 years” Science.

3 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Global Warming of 1.5 °C.

4 Maisa Rojas, Fabrice Lambert, Julian Ramirez-Villegas, and Andrew J. Challinor, “Emergence of robust precipitation changes across crop production areas in the 21st century,” Proceedings of The National Academy Of Sciences (early view, 2019).

5 Climate Guide Blog: “Non-survivable humid heatwaves for over 500 million people,” March 9, 2019.

6 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, “Summary for Policymakers of IPCC Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5ºC approved by governments,” October 8, 2018.

7 Democracy Now, “Climate Scientist: As U.N. Warns of Global Catastrophe, We Need a “Marshall Plan” for Climate Change,” October 9, 2018.

8 Griffin, 2017.

9 Naomi Klein, This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate (New York: Simon and Schuster, 2014).

10 Adaner Usmani, “Democracy and Class Struggle,” American Journal of Sociology 124, no. 3 (2018): 664–704.

11 Vivek Chibber, “Why the Working Class?” Jacobin,March 3, 2016.

12 Barbara Ehrenreich and John Ehrenreich, “The Professional-Managerial Class” in Pat Walker (ed.) Between Labor and Capital (Boston: South End Press, 1979), 5–45.

13 Leigh Phillips, Austerity Ecology and the Collapse Porn Addicts (London: Zero Books, 2015).

14 or recent, but somewhat different arguments along these lines see, Stefania Barca and Emanuele Leonardi, “Working-class ecology and union politics: a conceptual topology” Globalizations 15, no. 4 (2018): 487–503; Daniel Aldana Cohen, “Working-Class Environmentalism,” Public Books, November 16, 2017.

15 See Nato Green, “Why Unions Must Bargain Over Climate Change,” In These Times March 12, 2019.

16 Andrew Szaz, Shopping Our Way to Safety: How We Changed from Protecting the Environment to Protecting Ourselves (Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press, 2009).

17 I don’t have space to develop this here, but the concept of life here is crucial. Under capitalism, life is opposed to work or production. By quarantining life as the zone of freedom, choice, and politics, work remains an unfree space where political intervention is not permitted. I develop this in Lifeblood: Oil, Freedom and the Forces of Capital (Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press, 2013).

18 Neither lifestyle nor livelihood environmentalism are my terms. This blog post also argues they are deeply connected (but from a much different perspective than mine): Mat McDermott, “Is there a difference between lifestyle & livelihood environmentalism?” Treehugger, June 6, 2011.

19 Joan Martinez Alier, The Environmentalism of the Poor: A Study of Ecological Conflicts and Valuation (Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar, 2002).

20 Nicky Chambers, Craig Simmons, and Mathis Wackernagel, Sharing Nature’s Interest: Ecological Footprints as an Indicator of Sustainability (London: Routledge, 1996), xix.

21 Ibid, 60.

22 Timothy Gore, “Extreme Carbon Inequality: Why the Paris climate deal must put the poorest, lowest emitting and most vulnerable people first,” Oxfam International, December 2, 2015.

23 Ibid, 1.

24 Ibid, 3.

25 Kevin Ummel, “Who Pollutes? A Household-Level Database of America’s greenhouse gas footprint,” Working Paper 381, Center for Global Development.

26Chambers et al., Sharing Nature’s Interest, 66.

27 Phillips, Austerity Ecology, 37.

28E.F. Schumacher, Small Is Beautiful: Economics as if People Mattered (New York: Harper and Row, 1973).

29 Erik Olin Wright, “How to Be an Anticapitalist Today,” Jacobin,December 2, 2015.

30 I present a very sympathetic critique of these approaches here. My entire intellectual development is rooted in them still.

31 Piers Blaikie and Harold Brookfield, Land Degradation and Society (Oxford: Blackwell, 1987), 17.

32 Richard Peet and Michael Watts, Liberation Ecologies: Environment, Development, Social Movements (London Routledge, 1996 1st Ed; 2004 2nd Ed).

33 See, in particular, Anthony Bebbington, “Capitals and Capabilities: A Framework for Analyzing Peasant Viability, Rural Livelihoods and Poverty,” World Development 27, no. 12 (1999): 2021–2044.

34 David Harvey, The New Imperialism (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003).

35 See Robert Bullard, Dumping in Dixie: Race, Class, And Environmental Quality (Boulder, Co: Westview, 1990).

36 Eileen McGurty, Transforming Environmentalism: Warren County, pcbs, and the Origins of Environmental Justice (New Bruinswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 2009).

37 United Church of Christ, Commission for Racial Justice, Toxic Wastes and Race in the United States (New York: United Church of Christ, 1987).

37 Delegates to the First National People of Color Environmental Leadership Summit, “Principles of Environmental Justice.” Available online:

39 Richard Heede, “Tracing anthropogenic carbon dioxide and methane emissions to fossil fuel and cement producers, 1854–2010,” Climatic Change 122, no. 1–2 (2014): 229–241.

40 Chelsea Harvey, “Cement Producers Are Developing a Plan to Reduce CO2 Emissions,” E&E News, July 9, 2018.

41 Energy Information Agency, International Energy Outlook 2017. Table: Delivered energy consumption by end-use sector and fuel. Case: Reference | Region: Total World. Available online:

42 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Climate Change 2014 Mitigation of Climate Change Working Group III Contribution to the Fifth Assessment Report (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2014), 44.

43 Benjamin Goldman, “What is the future of environmental justice?” Antipode 28, no. 2 (1995): 122–141; 130. Given this was published after the Newt Gingrich Republican wave in 1994, I can only assume the metaphor was a conscious choice.

44 Ibid, 127.

45 Laura Pulido, Ellen Kohl, and Nicole-Marie Cotton, “State Regulation and Environmental Justice: The Need for Strategy Reassessment,” Capitalism, Nature, Socialism 27, no. 2 (2016): 12–31; 12.

46 Goldman, “What Is the Future of Environmental Justice?” 129.

47 Ibid 126.

48 Pulido et al., 27.

49 Ibid, emphasis in original.

50 Alan Greenspan, “The Impact of the 1973–1974 Oil Price Increase on the United States Economy to 1980,” US Council of Economic Advisors, Alan Greenspan, Box 48, Folder 1, Gerald Ford Presidential Library, Ann Arbor, Mich.

51 Herbert Marcuse, One Dimensional Man (Boston: Beacon Press, 1964), 255.

52 Guy Debord, Society of the Spectacle (London: Rebel Press, 1967), 32, 21.

53 William Leiss, Limits to Satisfaction: An Essay on the Problem of Needs and Commodities (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1976), x.

54 Christopher Lascsh, The Culture of Narcissism: American Life in An Age of Diminishing Expectations (New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 1979), 32, 73; Jimmy Carter, “The Crisis of Confidence Speech,” 1979.

55 Daniel Horowitz, Anxieties of Affluence: Critiques of American Consumer Culture, 1939–1979 (Amherst, MA: University of Massachusetts Press, 2004).

56 Matthew T. Huber, Lifeblood: Oil, Freedom and the Forces of Capital (Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press, 2013), 112.

57 Donella H. Meadows et al., The Limits to Growth (New York: Universe Books, 1974).

58 Paul Ehrlich and Anne Ehrlich, The End of Affluence: A Blueprint for your Future (New York: Ballantine Books, 1974).

59 William Catton, Overshoot: The Ecological Basis of Revolutionary Change (Urbana, IL: University of Illinois Press, 1980).

60 Leigh Phillips, Austerity Ecology and the Collapse Porn Addicts (London: Zero Books, 2015).

61 André Gorz, Ecology as Politics (Montreal: Black Rose Books, 1975), 68–69.

62 Richard White, “Are you an environmentalist or do you work for a living? Work and nature” in William Cronon (ed.), Uncommon Ground: Toward Reinventing Nature (New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 1996), 171–186.

63 Rudolph Bahro, From Red to Green: Interviews with the New Left Review (London: Verso, 1984), 184.

64 Troy Vettese, “To Freeze the Thames: Natural Geo-Engineering and Biodiversity,” New Left Review 111 (May–June 2018): 63–86.

65 Giacomo D’Alisa, Federico Demaria, and Giorgos Kallis, Degrowth: A Vocabulary for a New Era (London: Routledge, 2015), 3–4.

66 For a critique of degrowth and Vettese’s article in particular see, Robert Pollin, “De-Growth vs a Green New Deal,” New Left Review 112 (July–August 2018): 5–25.

67 I think there are significant political-ideological cleavages between “managerial” and “professional” occupations; particularly with regard to ecological politics where the former is likely quite oppositional and the latter quite supportive. See the Ehrenreichs’ full essay and a book full of commentary and critique in Pat Walker (ed.) Between Capital and Labor (Boston: South End Press, 1979).

68 Ehrenreich and Ehrenreich, 1979.

69 Ibid, 6.

70 Ibid, 7.

71 See, André Gorz, Strategy for Labor (Boston: Beacon Press, 1967) and Serge Mallet, Essays on the New Working Class (St. Louis, MO: Telos Press, 1975).

72 Nicos Poulantzas, Classes in Contemporary Capitalism (London: Verso, 1974).

73 Erik Olin Wright, Understanding Class (London: Verso, 2015).

74 Kim Moody, On New Terrain: How Capital is Reshaping the Battleground of Class War (Chicago: Haymarket, 2017), 40.

75 Poulantzas, ibid.

76 Ibid, 1.

77 Meadows et al. Limits, 11.

78 Barry Commoner, The Closing Circle: Nature, Man, and Technology (New York: Knopf Doubleday, 1970).

79 Ophuls, Ecology and the Politics of Scarcity (W.H. Freeman, 1977).

80 Joe Conley, Environmentalism Contained: A History of Corporate Responses to the New Environmentalism Doctoral Dissertation Manuscript, Princeton University, Program on the History of Science, November 2006.

81 bid, 62.

82 Ted Steinberg, “Can Capitalism Save the Planet? On the Origins of Green Liberalism,” Radical History Review 107 (Spring 2010): 7–24.

83 Ibid, 15.

84 Poulantzas, Classes in Contemporary Society, 298.

85 Ibid.

86 For others who fold decommodification into eco-socialist politics see: Thea Riofrancos, Robert Shaw, and Will Speck, “Eco-Socialism or Bust,” Jacobin, April 20, 2018; Greg Albo and Lilian Yap, “From the Tar Sands to ‘Green Jobs’? Work and Ecological Justice,” Bullet, July 12, 2016.

87 For a useful review see Scott Prudham, “Commodification” in Noel Castree, David Demeritt, Diana Liverman, and Bruce Rhoads (eds.), A Companion to Environmental Geography (London: Wiley, 2009), 123–142.

88 Daniel Aldana Cohen, “A Green New Deal for Housing,” Jacobin, February 8, 2019.

89 Kate Aronoff, “Could a Green New Deal Make Us Happier People?” Intercept, April 7, 2019.

90 Johanna Bozuwa, “Public Ownership for Energy Democracy,” The Next System Project, September 3, 2018.

91 David Roberts, “The key to tackling climate change: electrify everything,” Vox, October 27, 2017.

92 US Energy Information Administration,

93 Jim Lazar, Electricity Regulation in the US: A Guide. (Montpelier, VT: The Regulatory Assistance Project).

94 The Providence DSA chapter has embarked on a campaign on this terrain called “#NationalizeGrid.” See, Riofrancos, Shaw, and Speck, “Eco-Socialism or Bust.”

95 Spencer Piston, Class Attitudes in America: Sympathy for the Poor, Resentment of the Rich, and Political Implications (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2018).

96 Patricia Cohen and Maggie Astor, “For Democrats Aiming Taxes at the Superrich, ‘the Moment Belongs to the Bold,’” New York Times, February 8, 2019.

97 Keith Bower Brown, Jeremy Gong, Matt Huber, and Jamie Munro, “A Class Struggle Strategy for A Green New Deal,” Socialism Forum (Winter 2019).

98 Edward Abbey, The Monkey Wrench Gang (Salt Lake City, UT: Dream Garden Press, 1985).

99 Naomi Klein, This Changes Everything, 293–336

100 Sean Sweeney, “Earth to Labor: Economic Growth is No Salvation,” New Labor Forum 21, no. 1 (2012): 10–13.

101 Connor Kilpatrick, “Victory Over the Sun,” Jacobin, August 31, 2017.

102 Trish Kahle, “The Seeds of an Alternative,” Jacobin,February 19, 2015.

103 Erik Loomis, “Why labor and environmental movements split—and how they can come back together” Environmental Health News, September 18, 2018.

104 Jane McAlevey, No Shortcuts: Organizing for Power in the New Gilded Age (New York: Oxford University Press, 2016).

105 Alyssa Battistoni, “Living, Not Just Surviving,” Jacobin, August 15, 2017.

106 Bureau of Labor Statistics, “Work Stoppages Summary,” February 8, 2019.

107 Kate Aronoff, “Striking Teachers in Coal and Gas Country are Forcing States to Rethink Energy Company Giveaways,” Intercept, April 12, 2018.

108 Steven Greenhouse, “The strike isn’t just for wages anymore. It’s for ‘the common good.’” Washington Post, January 24, 2019 and Nato Green, “Why Unions Must Bargain Over Climate Change,” In These Times, March 12, 2019.

109 United Teachers of Los Angeles, “Summary of Tentative Agreement/UTLA and LAUSD January 22, 2019,”

110 Karl Marx, Capital Vol. 1 (London: Penguin, 1990), 381.