The Communist University in South London (CUiSL) is embarking on a new venture. CUiSL is an independent, self-styled open university, sponsored by the Croydon Branch of the Communist Party and promoted by its London District Committee. Until now it has confined its activities to learning through interactive group study. We are now looking to conduct original research with a view to publishing a discussion paper on Marx’s Crisis Theory and how it might be applied to the environmental crisis and, in particular, the threat of global warming.
The starting point for this exercise is
- class struggle and historical materialism as outlined in the Communist Manifesto and the Preface to A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy,
- Marx’s theory of capitalist crisis as described in Capital, volumes 1 to 3, the clarification and confirmation by Alan Freeman [i]and Andrew Kliman[ii] of the Tendency of the Rate of Profit to Fall (TRPF) and the refinement by David Harvey[iii] of Marx’s theory of capitalist crisis initiated by TRPF.
We will examine whether this theoretical foundation can be extended to encompass a world, unforeseen by Marx and Engels in the middle of the nineteenth century, of rising global temperature due to CO2 emission. If this can be done, we will examine its implications.
In the course of our study, we will examine the response of businesses and governments, both of the developed, capitalist nations and of China and Cuba. We will also study the response of the former USSR to previous environmental crises and look at the work done in the former USSR and elsewhere on climate change prior to the discovery of global warming and the link with CO2 emission.
Finally, we will study the implications for humanity of a world subject to irreversible global warming.
The envisaged discussion paper is intended to influence progressive opinion and thereby both to contribute to action on global warming and to help prepare for a world where this action has proved insufficient.
CUiSL meets on the third Thursday of every month (except August and December) at 7.30 pm at Ruskin House, 23 Coombe Road, Croydon CR0 1BD. If you are interested in participating in this project, either by attending CUiSL or as a correspondent, please e-mail the convenor at firstname.lastname@example.org.
[i] Price Value and Profit – a continuous,, general, treatment by Alan Freeman, included in Marx and Non-Equilibrium Economics, Edward Elgar, 1996
[ii] The Failure of Capitalist Production – underlying causes of the Great Recession, by Andrew Kliman, Pluto Press, 2012
[iii] The Limits to Capital, by David Harvey, Verso, revised 2006