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(en) France, Union Communiste Libertaire AL #307 - Ecology, Pierre Madelin (essayist): "The State is an ecocidal power" (de, fr, it, pt)[machine translation]

Date Thu, 13 Aug 2020 09:33:59 +0300

Ecology is at the center of Pierre Madelin's thoughts. In his "political ecology essay", After capitalism1, he designates it as the enemy to be defeated, warning against an ecological transition that would not be accompanied by a political transition. ---- Alternative Libertaire : Do you think that we can solve the ecological crisis without leaving the capitalist system ? ---- Pierre Madelin : Obviously, no. Countless authors have pointed out for decades, and more and more of us are realizing it: the accumulation of Capital and the preservation of living conditions on Earth are incompatible, or to put it like the decreasing ones.: "Infinite growth in a finite world is impossible". Of course, we can undoubtedly imagine a capitalism that is a little more efficient, a little less expensive, a capitalism which would lead us to + 3 ° instead of + 5 °, which would destroy a little less the tissue of living beings, but that does not change nothing at the bottom of the matter: this system will leave to the humans who will survive it a field of ruins more or less uninhabitable.

Alternative Libertaire : Is the State compatible with such a radical change ?

Pierre Madelin : For some of the anti-capitalist forces, the answer to this question is probably less clear. but in my eyes, again, it is no, because capitalism and the state are closely linked and, so to speak, inseparable from each other. Without the State, capitalism would lack the legal and institutional framework it needs to deploy, and of course the repressive forces on which it relies in the event of social protest.

But I think we have to go even further. If the State is an ecocidal power, it is not only because it is instrumentalised by Capital and subjected to its interests, which could give the impression that the destructiveness of the State is linked to specific historical circumstances. who are ours, so that the problem lies with the capitalist state and that a state freed from the tutelage of Capital could do the trick. Nothing is less true, because just as there is at the heart of capitalism a compulsion to grow, there is at the heart of the state-form a compulsion to power, the desire to accumulate technological and military power to stay competitive in the rivalry between states. However, this accumulation necessarily requires economic and financial power, so that one could say that the State also instrumentalizes Capital to achieve its own ends. He has his own agenda, just as destructive ...

Afterwards, of course, we must be lucid, in the short or medium term at least, the abolition of the State is not possible. On this point, I agree with the positions of the UCL - whose manifesto I recently read: in a non-revolutionary period like the one we are living in, we must above all try to defend the social and political gains (rights, freedoms) and multiply the checks and balances, hope that the multiple radical forces present in our society can constitute a centrifugal power capable of limiting the increasing commodification and statization of our world, that they can offer the germ of another collective organization in waiting for more favorable circumstances, forcing the state to promulgate laws and take decisions that it would never take on its own.

Alternative Libertaire : According to you, what is the cause of our collective inability to weigh in the direction of immediate change ? Can these few unprecedented weeks of economic paralysis prove to be conducive to accelerating awareness and stimulating the desire for profound change ?

Pierre Madelin : Let's say that this collective powerlessness stems from several layers: ideological, political, material. At the ideological level, we must not lose sight of the fact that we are the heirs of a civilization which has deeply devalued our earthly condition, which has placed the human being at the center and at the top of Creation or of the Cosmos. For this civilization, the vocation of the human being is to "tear away To nature, to free itself from it, and in particular in modern times through scientific and technological progress. This imagination is so deeply rooted in our societies that it is difficult for us to admit that our fate and that of the Earth are intimately linked, that nature is not a distant sphere that we could destroy with impunity. Then, of course, there are the structural constraints exerted on our lifestyles and on our forms of collective organization by the accumulation of Capital and state logic.

However, unlike a vulgate which has spread in recent years in certain militant circles, it is not possible to reduce state-capitalist domination to the 1% who derive the most profits from it, as if it were therefore sufficient to get rid of this 1 % to find a healthy society. In reality, both State and Capital form, one with the other, a set of totalizing social relations on which we all end up being more or less dependent and on which it is extremely difficult to establish. emancipate, even when we consider them harmful. This is, in my eyes, one of the keys to understanding the difficulty of getting out of the ecological crisis: for example, almost all of us depend, for the satisfaction of our short-term needs, on income dependent on activities that threaten the satisfaction of these same needs. needs (and sometimes until our survival) in the medium and long term. This is also one of the great lessons, it seems to me, from the coronavirus crisis.

For those of us who aspire to another society, it has I believe aroused mixed feelings: on the one hand, there was something joyful about this incredible relaxation of the imperative of accumulation, but of l on the other hand, we quickly realized that at the end of the road, there was not decline but recession, and therefore more precariousness and suffering. In short, we realized that shutting down the economy could only be effective if we relearn, at least partially, to meet our needs independently.

Interview by Ernest London (UCL 43)

Pierre Madelin, After capitalism: political ecology essay , Ecosociété, 152 pages, 13 euros

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