Eco-Socialism: From Deep Ecology to Social Justice by David Pepper

By David Pepper

First released in 2004. Routledge is an imprint of Taylor & Francis, an informa corporation.

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Sample text

With their environment), responsibility and repair must come through individual (lifestyle) reform. Society and social determinants are eclipsed, while collective political action is avoided and derided. Then, when individual lifestyle reform does not radically improve things, individuals feel guilty. Obviously they did not try hard enough. Guilt culture, thinks Atkinson (1991, 159–61), is specifically a facet of individualism. The worth of actions is judged by the actor, so ineffective actions are the actor’s fault, requiring repent.

The exercise is instructive because, first, it helps to define what ‘greens’ we are and are not discussing in this book. Secondly, it suggests that there are, indeed, grounds for concern on the part of those green activists who believe that their political ideology is too eclectic or lacking in coherence: the role of pressure groups has always had inherent weaknesses: to concentrate on pushing the establishment in a certain direction fails to challenge their power head on…. Those in power have also welcomed the pressure groups with suspiciously open arms, seeing… a relatively cheap method of courting popularity….

Poverty, egalitarianism and market intervention These are central concerns in the ‘old polities’ which greens often claim to reject. Yet they were always at issue in modern environmentalism too, where they have lately occupied centre stage. This is not so much in response to the pleas of those socialists who argue that the labour movement’s crusade against poverty is and always was essentially an environmental crusade (Weston 1986). Rather, it reflects the growing tendency to articulate third world concerns as central to those of Western ecologism.

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