Class and Climate - A Marxist Approach

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5:00 PM to 6:30 PM
Brunei Gallery
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About this event

The climate justice movement increasingly frames the struggle in terms of inequality. In short, the climate crisis is caused by the global rich with their high carbon footprints, and the consequences are borne by the global poor, or marginalized and frontline communities, who suffer increased disasters like droughts and floods. Conspicuously absent in this telling are the classes that form the basis of a Marxist theory of capitalism: capitalists who own and control the means of production and workers who own nothing but their labour to sell on the market. How does our understanding of the climate crisis shift, if we ground it in this Marxist class analysis? This presentation will give a basic overview of Marxist class theory and how it differs from liberal ideas of class (which also inform climate politics). It will show that a Marxist class approach to climate change grounded in production both more clearly explains the powerful forces we need to overcome – mainly capitalist who own and profit from energy investment – and the strategic centrality of the working class in building a mass movement capable of winning large scale climate action.


Feyzi Ismail

Lecturer in Global Policy and Activism at Goldsmiths, University of London and active trade unionist.


Matthew T. Huber, Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University

Matthew T. Huber is Professor of Geography in the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University. He is the author of Lifeblood.