Autonomist Marxism and World-Ecology: For a Political Theory of the Ecological Crisis

This paper aims to articulate an “encounter” between operaismo (Wright, 2017 – in English literally “workerism”, but often referred to as “Autonomist Marxism”, from now on AM, highlighting a horizon of worker autonomy from capital) and World-Ecology (Moore, 2015a – from now on WE), that is, between two theoretical paradigms increasingly discussed globally, but until now never juxtaposed (§1). The purpose of the essay is to show that, although the two perspectives relate to the question of the (ecological) crisis in a very different way (§2), they can be effectively integrated if placed in communication on a different level, that of the historical-political analysis of the environmental issue (§3). From this plausible “convergence”—which is actually a rather demanding theoretical exchange, such as to require some renunciation of both positions—a political interpretation of the contemporary ecological crisis can finally emerge. Such interpretation is capable of questioning the relationship between capitalism and nature, avoiding the difficulties of both catastrophism and the elective affinity between the logic of profit and the logic of environmental protection.

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