Volume 23, Issue 2, 2020
The Radical Tradition, Politics, and Climate Change
Reed M. Kurtz
Direct Action and the Climate Crisis
Interventions to Resist and Reorganize the Metabolic Relations of Capitalism
How should we conceptualize direct action against climate change? Although direct action is an increasingly significant tactic by the global climate movement, we lack understanding how direct action contributes to the systemic change necessary for addressing the crisis. Drawing upon critical theories of climate change as a crisis in the social reproduction of the metabolic relations between humans and nature in capitalism, I conceptualize direct action as attempts to intervene directly in the organization of the social metabolism, towards reorganizing these relations in a more socially just and ecologically sustainable manner. My framework thus expands and clarifies the scope and potential of direct action as a means of confronting the capitalist climate crisis, as evidenced by Greta Thunberg’s school strike for climate.