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[2000f] "From Marx to Ecology and Return? A Brief Reply", Capitalism Nature Socialism, n° 42, sept 2000.(art. 291).
by Alain Lipietz | September 2000
Capital, Nature & Society
From Marx to Ecology and Return? A Brief Reply
It is a rare privilege and a piece of fun to see one’s paper at the center of a foreign debate. The first difficulties stem from translation. The work of K.P. Moseley seemed to me quite good, but of course any translation is a trade-off between fidelity to the source and acceptability in the target language. For instance, I learn from Joel Kovel that “paradigm” is “technocratic,” an invitation to “bow,” when used in English. In French, it is a rather preposterously overused tool in political science: a “paradigm” is just a family of connected ideas, unified by some kernel. Basically, my essay intended to outline the similarities and differences between red and green kernels, and also to raise some questions about the possibilities of importing the red kernel into the green paradigm. Indeed, in the French debates around the shift from red to green, “the” question for some French Marxists is, “should we have to enter the green paradigm? Do we enter the Green party with our Marxist paradigm?”
Here we meet a more serious problem: the differences in historical culture and political experiment, which decontextualize the debate. Some of my readers clearly know nothing about the conditions of development of European Green parties, nor about my writing on this and related subjects. That makes their criticisms sometime pointless.
An example is Paul Burkett’s intervention, which could be summarized as: “Lipietz doesn’t even see the difference between Marx and Stalin. Just the old Cold War cliché.” This is a good occasion to briefly present the“context” of my paper, as Walter Contreras Sheasby kindly and most usefully presents the U.S. context in his essay.
Download the whole text (pdf, 140 ko).