Volume 19, Issue 3, 2016
Patricia S. Mann
On the Precipice with Naomi Klein, Karl Marx and the Pope
Towards a Postcapitalist Energy Commons and Beyond
Why hasn’t the Marx-inspired Left seized upon catastrophic climate change as the basis for reconceiving historical materialism and the contradictions fueling anticapitalist struggle in the twenty-first century? Defining core participants as energy users and abusers, anchored in the opposition to fossil-fueled profit and growth rather than in traditional class conflicts, the struggle to create a postcapitalist energy commons can become the leading edge of a more broadly conceived global struggle for a sustainable and just postcapitalist society. The new global movement will be enabled by technologies of green energy microproduction, an energy internet for sharing energy on postcapitalist grids, and efforts to create more sustainable community relationships and practices. Catastrophic climate change can become the occasion for reigniting a Marx-inspired sense of transformative agency and solidarity that will enable us to confront transnational capitalism globally and locally in ways that are beyond the imaginative bounds of the current paper.