The Revolutionary Ecological Legacy of Herbert Marcuse

The Revolutionary Ecological Legacy of Herbert Marcuse: Inspired by the revolutionary legacy of Herbert Marcuse’s social and political philosophy, this volume appeals to the energies of those engaged in a wide range of contemporary social justice struggles: ecosocialism, antiracism, the women’s movement, LGBTQ rights, and antiwar forces.

Marcuse argued that U.S.-led globalized capitalism represented the irrational perfection of waste and the degradation of the earth, resurgent sexism, racism, bigoted nationalism, and warlike patriotism. The intensification of these regressive political tendencies today must be countered, and this can be best accomplished through radical collaboration around an agenda recognizing the basic economic and political needs of diverse subaltern communities. From Marcuse’s perspective, the world needs a strategy to go on the offensive for the real changes that can extend race and gender equality, labor freedom, economic abundance, leisure, communal well-being and peace. Marcuse’s “Great Refusal” captured the Sixties’ spirit of rebelliousness which expressed a visceral repugnance at the totality of the efficiently functioning social order of advanced industrial society. “The whole thing is outdated, crooked, humiliating. . . it does not have to be: one can live differently . . . as the ‘leap’ into a qualitatively different stage of history, of civilization, where human beings, in solidarity, develop their own needs and faculties.”

ISBN Print: 978-1-990263-44-6
Publication Date: September 2022
Page Count: 200
Binding Type: Soft-cover
Trim Size: 6in x 9in
Language: English
Colour: B&W

CAD $ 35.00

Charles Reitz: Retired Co-Director of Campus Intercultural Center and Director of Multicultural Education; Professor Emeritus of Philosophy and Social Science, Kansas City Kansas Community College. His previous books include: Art, Alienation, and the Humanities: A Critical Engagement with Herbert Marcuse…

    Inspired by the revolutionary legacy of Herbert Marcuse’s social and political philosophy, this volume appeals to the energies of those engaged in a wide range of contemporary social justice struggles: ecosocialism, antiracism, the women’s movement, LGBTQ rights, and antiwar forces.

    Marcuse argued that U.S.-led globalized capitalism represented the irrational perfection of waste and the degradation of the earth, resurgent sexism, racism, bigoted nationalism, and warlike patriotism. The intensification of these regressive political tendencies today must be countered, and this can be best accomplished through radical collaboration around an agenda recognizing the basic economic and political needs of diverse subaltern communities. From Marcuse’s perspective, the world needs a strategy to go on the offensive for the real changes that can extend race and gender equality, labor freedom, economic abundance, leisure, communal well-being and peace. Marcuse’s “Great Refusal” captured the Sixties’ spirit of rebelliousness which expressed a visceral repugnance at the totality of the efficiently functioning social order of advanced industrial society. “The whole thing is outdated, crooked, humiliating. . . it does not have to be: one can live differently . . . as the ‘leap’ into a qualitatively different stage of history, of civilization, where human beings, in solidarity, develop their own needs and faculties.”

    This volume consolidates and frames the dialectical counterpart to Marcuse’s Great Refusal―the “Ecosocialist EarthCommonWealth Project”―keyed to what we are struggling for and not just what we are struggling against. EarthCommonWealthenvisions the displacement and transcendence of capitalist oligarchy as such, not simply its most bestial and destructive components. This is a green economic alternative because its ecological vision sees all living things and their non-living earthly surroundings as a global community capable of a dignified, deliberate coexistence. Along the path developing a moral imperative to empathy and revolt, the text supplements Marcuse’s revolutionary ecological legacy with core ethical insights from African philosophical sources, indigenous American philosophy, and radical feminist philosophy. It finds core commonalities in the world’s major wisdom traditions including Daoism, Confucianism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Its intercultural ethical insights contribute not primarily to a politics of difference, but rather to a universally humanist politics of solidarity and hope. The work of Aldo Leopold also comes into play: understanding the earth in global ecological terms not merely soil and rock―it is a biotic pyramid, a fountain of energy flowing through a circuit of land, minerals, air, water, plants, and animals including the human species. Leopold proposed a dialectical and materialist “land ethic” as a call to conservation and cooperation, in which the individual’s rights to private property in land are contrasted unfavorably with historical patterns of communal ownership. The Ecosocialist EarthCommonWealth Project is searching for a new system of production, egalitarian distribution, shared ownership, and democratized governance having its foundation in the ethics of partnership with an ecosocialist and humanist commitment to living our lives on the planet consistent with the most honorable and aesthetic forms of human social and political fulfillment.

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