On Wall St. and Organizing Nature




A provocative interview published in 2011 in the Toronto-based journal Upping the Anti offers a fresh outlook on key questions of society and nature, and offers important resonances with Murray Bookchin’s writings. The piece addresses how societies define ecological relationships, and touches on issues of technology, productivity, commodification, and the accumulation of capital. The interviewee, Jason Moore, is based at Umeå University in Sweden.

Moore argues that:

There is no social dimension to these problems [of financialization, world hunger and climate change]; there is no environmental dimension. At least, not in the way these adjectives are typically understood. The securitization of municipal bonds is a way of organizing the relations between humans and the rest of nature. The dietary immiseration of one billion people is, in the same fashion, a consequence of neoliberal food policies and pressures that are part of a mighty project to reshape all of nature.

I consider ecology to be a “way of seeing.” Ecology is typically used interchangeably with a series of terms that are familiar to all of us – nature, the environment, and so forth. It does not usually include human activity, for which we reserve a whole series of other familiar terms – culture, economy, society, politics. At the same time, most of us now understand that there is no culture, economy, society, or politics that operates independently of biological and geophysical relations; the web of life. This includes the ways that our bodies articulate with other humans and the rest of nature.

The latest issue of Upping the Anti includes interviews with three organizers of campaigns vs. tar sands pipelines, including ISE board and faculty member Brian Tokar talking about organizing in Vermont and New England.  A description of that feature can be found here.