“Degrowth Communism”: Green Communism whose Explicit Goal is to Destroy the Economy

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From Watts Up With That?

These people teach our kids: Swedish Researcher Timothée Parrique singing the praises a virulent new strain of academic Communist ideology.

Economic growth is fuelling climate change – a new book proposes ‘degrowth communism’ as the solution

Timothée Parrique
Researcher in Ecological Economics, Lund University
March 3, 2023 5.09pm AEDT

I’m often told that degrowth, the planned downscaling of production and consumption to reduce the pressure on Earth’s ecosystems, is a tough sell. But a 36-year-old associate professor at Tokyo University has made a name for himself arguing that “degrowth communism” could halt the escalating climate emergency.

Kohei Saito, the bestselling author of Capital in the Anthropocene, is back with a new book: Marx in the Anthropocene: Towards the Idea of Degrowth Communism. The book is dense, especially for those not fluent in Marxist jargon who, I suspect, care little about whether or not Karl Marx started worrying about nature in his later years.

And yet, the way Saito mobilises Marxist theory to make a plea for “the abundance of wealth in degrowth communism” (the title of the last chapter of his book) is as precise as it is gripping. This is what attracted my attention as an economist working on degrowth: Saito’s attempts to reconcile Marxism with newer ideas around alternatives to economic growth might bring critiques of capitalism to an unprecedented level of popularity.

Economic growth creates scarcity

Saito turns the concept of economic growth on its head. Many people assume that growth makes us richer but what if it did the precise opposite? 

Read more: https://theconversation.com/economic-growth-is-fuelling-climate-change-a-new-book-proposes-degrowth-communism-as-the-solution-199572

I used to think Communism, with its famines, purges and abuses, was probably the worst system of government which could be inflicted on people.

Now I know better.

Before you dismiss the idea of Degrowth Communism as too absurd to win traction, consider that it potentially reconciles some outstanding political contradictions on the radical left wing of politics.

We all laugh about greens being Watermelons, but Soviet era Communist labor movement, with its emphasis on industrial production and material wellbeing for the workers (at least according to the brochure), never had an entirely happy marriage with the green movement.

You can see that tension playing out in today’s Australian politics, the struggle between the Australian Labor Government, which wants to preserve the jobs of unionised supporters in the coal mines, and their Green Party junior coalition partners, who want to shut down extractive industries they believe contribute to climate change.

Greens have long toyed with the idea of medieval feudalism dressed up as village scale socialism, but they failed to develop a solid connection, a clean route of succession from 20th century left wing idealogical movements. Such a connection might have provided greens the voting strength to fulfil their visions.

Degrowth Communism may be the missing link they are looking for, the bridge which can connect young green radicals with their radical left wing union activist parents. The core claim, that economic growth is a deceit which has been impoverishing ordinary people, is designed to appeal to people of all ages, to fan feelings of resentment in people who believe they are not receiving their fair share of society’s bounty.

Proponents of Degrowth Communism claim they are building on some of the later writings of Karl Marx, in which Marx apparently expressed dismay at the ecological damage caused by Capitalism, and expressed hope that Communism might be kinder to nature – which provides the succession route, the idealogical bridge which connects the 21st century green movement to 20th century radical Labor movements.

Expect to hear more about “Degrowth Communism” in coming years, I don’t think this idea is about to go away. If proponents of Degrowth Communism succeed in pulling off their re-imagining of the left, if they succeed in renewing the radical left by reconciling radical industrial activism with green communism, they could become even stronger.