Brian Tokar

45 Years of Earth Days – A Critical View

The 1990 Earth Day Wall Street Action reflected the flowering of grassroots environmental activity in response to the compromises of the big environmental groups.
  • ecochal2014
    Permalink Gallery

    Video: Brian Tokar at the Oslo Ecological Challenges conference

Video: Brian Tokar at the Oslo Ecological Challenges conference

The New Compass has just posted a video of Brian Tokar’s presentation from last September in Oslo, titled “Climate Change as a Challenge to Democracy.” This was the opening session of the 3-day Ecological Challenges conference at the University of Oslo, and included a panel of academic and activist respondents to the opening talk. In April, New Compass Press will publish the full proceeds of the conference, under the title Social Ecology and Social Change.

Brian Tokar: Defying Apocalypse

This commentary appears on the occasion of the forthcoming “Apocalypse Now?” issue of the Occupied Times of London, as well as the People’s Climate March in New York City and events before and after, and also the publication of the newly revised and expanded edition of my book, Toward Climate Justice.  It also appears on Counterpunch, ZNet and Toward Freedom:

Today it often feels as though we are hopelessly mired in apocalyptic thinking, both in our social movements and in popular culture. [...]

More links on Kurdish communalism

I originally added a series of updated links as a comment to our earlier post on this topic, but there are now enough of them to easily justify a new post:

 •  Surprising coverage of this story on (commercial) British TV this week:!

•  Also a current on-the-scene report:

•  An earlier account, albeit written in a more typically jaded American journalese, can be found in an Atlantic article from 2007:

•  A more in-depth, richly detailed account, tracing many [...]

Recent articles (Winter 2014)

2 recent posts to the ISE Blog contain links to new articles of mine that are featured elsewhere:

Myths of Green Capitalism

Dave Van Ronk vs. “Llewyn Davis”

I also have an extended essay and 2 short pieces in the book described here:

New international handbook of the climate change movement

And a chapter in this book, edited by Jeffrey St. Clair and Joshua Frank of Counterpunch:

Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion

As well as this recent book from Food First, based in Oakland:

Food Movements Unite! Strategies to Transform Our Food Systems

Brian Tokar: Myths of Green Capitalism

An article from the Winter 2014 issue of the journal New Politics, based on a presentation at the 2013 Left Forum in New York City. Tokar examines the political and ideological origins of “market-oriented” approaches that aim to substitute permit-trading regimes for environmental regulation:
The theoretical origins of carbon trading go back to the early 1960s, when corporate managers were just beginning to consider the consequences of pollution and resource depletion. Since the work of Arthur Pigou at [...]

“Apocalypse, Not?” by Brian Tokar

A review of Catastrophism: The Apocalyptic Politics of Collapse and Rebirth, by Sasha Lilley, David McNally, Eddie Yuen and James Davis (Oakland: PM Press, 2012, 178 pp.).

“Toward Climate Justice” now in Greek translation

From Antigone in Thessaloniki, Greece, titled Klimatiké Dikaosyni.  Translated by ISE alum, Stavros Karageorgakis, with editorial support from Alexandros Georgopoulos and Eliza Kolovou.  More information will soon be online at The original edition of my book, Toward Climate Justice: Perspectives on the Climate Crisis and Social Change, published by Communalism/New Compass Press, is still available in the US from AK Press.


Tuesday, March 5th was Town Meeting Day in Vermont and, following a long tradition of our towns taking a stand on issues of wider importance, at least 29 towns, including Montpelier and Burlington, overwhelmingly passed resolutions opposing the proposed transport of tar sands oil through our region. The resolutions also supported efforts to eliminate oil derived from the Alberta tar sands from fuel supplies across New England.

The main purpose of this effort was [...]

New book: “Our Food, Our Right”

This outstanding introduction to today's community-based food movements is designed by Annie Brulé of SEEDS, the social ecology project on Washington state's Vashon Island. This review was written for the publisher's website at Local food is all the rage these days, and rightfully so. People across the US are increasingly frustrated by the chemical-laden, processed calories that pass for food in most major supermarkets and are increasingly looking to alternative sources, from farmers markets and farm share programs to co-ops and natural food stores. But with food prices rising everywhere, healthy food is in danger of becoming even more of an elite niche market, accessible only to those with surplus income to spend. While some of us will pay more for food that is local, organic and fair-trade, many of our neighbors are often limited by shrinking household budgets to food that is nutrient-deficient, genetically engineered, and potentially hazardous to health.