Naomi Klein’s latest

Meanwhile, I was pleased to see the distinction between major and minor used to parse Naomi Klein’s excellent book on neo-liberalism and climate change (This Changes Everything), in a New Inquiry blogpost (later reposted to lib.com).  Here’s what I had to say in response (on lib.com): It is great to see the major/minor distinction being used to good effect to highlight two axes of struggle against neoliberal-capitalist-induced climate change: grass-roots (often indigenous) social movements and governmental policy changes. It is a serious mistake, however, to cast them as “incommensurable” and to claim they cannot coexist. Faced with imminent crisis, we cannot afford anarchist purism (or what Foucault called “state-phobia”): as laudable as the withering away or elimination of the state is in the long run, unless we address climate change directly with all the collective means at our disposal, we probably won’t have a long run. I agree that the minor currents identified here are clearly preferable in theory, but we also need changes in public policy to be able to move quickly enough “beyond the ecocidal logic of endless growth, and with it beyond capitalism” to avoid climate catastrophe. Perhaps in an even more charitable reading, Out of the Woods might agree. On a side note, readings that are more or less charitable are one thing; accounts that are inaccurate or misleading are quite another. Readers should be aware that the question of whether it is “possible to be a real environmentalist if you d[on]’t have kids” does not arise from Klein’s own convictions, as suggested here, but on the contrary from a position she explicitly critiques and disavows. Invocations of “reproductive futurism” and a “politics of the baby’s face” suggest a kind of queer purism that we can’t afford, either. Breeders and non-breeders alike must be enlisted in the struggle against neo-liberalism if we are to have a fighting chance at successfully addressing climate change.

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