This quarter’s selection

Issue: 156

The summer issue of Jacobin has an environmental focus. As the editors say, climate change “has to be at the centre of how we mobilise and organise.” It includes two substantial pieces on extractive industries, one on Donald Trump’s secretary of state, former ExxonMobil boss Rex Tillerson and an enlightening article by Thea Riofrancos on the movement against extraction in Ecuador. As Riofrancos explains, Rafael Correa’s version of socialism for the 21st century built on state control and exploitation of natural resources—above all oil—has put him at odds with the environmental and indigenous movements who are resisting all the mining and drilling. Correa’s radical promise of collective, democratic control by ordinary people has, it seems, never been fully realised.

However, in a blog post, “Memo to Jacobin: Ecomodernism is not ecosocialism”, Canadian activist Ian Angus has taken issue with some of Jacobin’s coverage. Angus argues that its contributors (especially Christian Parenti) are looking towards techno-fixes such as storing carbon dioxide in rock. As he points out, many of these technologies are unproven. And a reformist approach based on technology will do nothing to address the fossil fuel based capitalism at the root of the problem.

Our last issue just missed New Left Review’s summer issue (II/105), which is notable for an article by Tom Hazeldine that offers a detailed historical and contemporary analysis of the decline of the once industrial North compare to the south-eastern “heartland” centred on the City and the role that this played in the Brexit referendum and this year’s general election. More dubiously, the current issue (II/106) starts with another long article, this time by Daniel Finn on Portugal, that praises the Communist Party and the Left Bloc for supporting a Socialist Party government that has alleviated, but not broken with, austerity. Admittedly this is a less pathetic record than that of Syriza in Greece, where the government of Alexis Tsipras has implemented worse cuts than the Tories and is running behind them in the polls, but that isn’t a high standard.