This is an adapted version of a lecture delivered to the John Cobb Ecological Academy in Claremont, California, on June 24, 2022, on the topic of ecological civilization. It was intended to follow up on the Fifteenth International Conference on Ecological Civilization,” held in Claremont on May 26–27, 2022. The talk, which was delivered to a largely Chinese audience, was followed by an extensive interview conducted by Chinese ecological Marxist scholars, entitled “Why Is the Great Project of Ecological Civilization Specific to China?,” which is being published simultaneously as a Monthly Review Essay at MR Online. Both the lecture and the interview are being co-published by the Poyang Lake Journal in China.
I would like to speak to you today about the connections between ecological civilization, ecological Marxism, and ecological revolution, and the ways in which these three concepts, when taken together dialectically, can be seen as pointing to a new revolutionary praxis for the twenty-first century. More concretely, I would like to ask: How are we to understand the origins and historic significance of the concept of ecological civilization? What is its relation to ecological Marxism? And how is all of this connected to the worldwide revolutionary struggle aimed at transcending our current planetary emergency and protecting what Karl Marx called “the chain of human generations,” together with life in general?1
The reaction to the sabotage of three of the four Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines in four places on Monday, September 26, has focused on speculations about who did it and whether NATO will make a serious attempt to discover the answer. Yet instead of panic, there has been a great sigh of diplomatic relief, even calm. Disabling these pipelines ends the uncertainty and worries on the part of US/NATO diplomats that nearly reached a crisis proportion the previous week, when large demonstrations took place in Germany calling for the sanctions to end and to commission Nord Stream 2 to resolve the energy shortage.
The German public was coming to understand what it will mean if their steel companies, fertilizer companies, glass companies and toilet-paper companies were shutting down. These companies were forecasting that they would have to go out of business entirely – or shift operations to the United States – if Germany did not withdraw from the trade and currency sanctions against Russia and permit Russian gas and oil imports to resume, and presumably to fall back from their astronomical eight to tenfold price increase.
It is impossible to track the geoeconomic turbulence inherent to the “birth pangs” of the multipolar world without the insights of Professor Michael Hudson at the University of Missouri, and author of the already seminal The Destiny of Civilization.
In his latest essay, Professor Hudson digs deeper into Germany’s suicidal economic/financial policies; their effect on the already falling euro – and hints at some possibilities for fast integrating Eurasia and the Global South as a whole to try to break the Hegemon’s stranglehold.
That led to a series of email exchanges, especially about the future role of the yuan, where Hudson remarked:
“The Chinese whom I’ve talked to for years and years did not expect the dollar to weaken. They’re not crying about its rise, but they are concerned about flight capital from China as I think after the Party Congress [starting on October 16] there will be a crackdown on the Shanghai free-market advocacy. Pressure for the coming changes has been long building up. The spirit of reform to rein in ‘free markets’ was spreading among students over a decade ago, and they have been rising in the Party hierarchy.”
China’s Congress of the Communist Party takes place this week. This is an important event not only for China, but globally. The Western media have concentrated on the fact that current party leader Xi Jinping will be confirmed for an unprecedented third term as party leader and thus also continue as President of China when the National Congress meets next March.
Naturally, the Western pundits are strongly opposed to Xi having a third term. The FT’s Keynesian guru, Martin Wolf reckoned Xi’s continuation in power would ‘dangerous’ for China and the world. “It is dangerous for both. It would be dangerous even if he had proven himself a ruler of matchless competence. But he has not done so. As it is, the risks are those of ossification at home and increasing friction abroad… Ten years is always enough.. It is simply realistic to expect the next 10 years of Xi to be worse than the last.” And apparently, that has been bad enough.
In part one of my analysis of China’s economic future, I dealt with the claims that China would slow towards stagnation because its investment rate was too high, the working population was falling fast and the economy needed to become like mature Western capitalist economies based on consumption-led growth. I argued that the Western capitalist model was hardly great shakes, given its regular and recurring crises and the much lower levels of consumption growth. Anyway, in an economy, consumption does not lead investment and national output. On the contrary, it is investment that leads in capitalist economies just as much as in China.
Even as Xi Jinping was promising China’s Communist Party’s national congress that China would “resolutely win the battle” in key areas of technology, employees of technology companies in China and elsewhere were being told to down tools. Dozens of the hundreds of executives and engineers with US citizenship or green cards who work in or with China’s semiconductor sector, many of them born in China, have been told by their employers – whether those are foreign or Chinese companies – to stop work while their employers seek clarification of a new US rule that bars US citizens and residents from supporting China’s advanced chip-making industry without a licence.
At first sight the title’s question seems ridiculous: What does a Hollywood bombshell with a “ditzy blonde” persona have to do with communist ideology? But sixty years since her death, a controversial Netflix movie (“Blonde”) based on her life raises, once again, the issue of Marilyn Monroe’s socio-political views which the U.S. cinema industry fears to address.
Was Marilyn Monroe a communist-sympathizer? Did she have any close ties with Communist Party members? What were her views on the Soviet Union, on Fidel Castro’s Cuba and the People’s Republic of China? There isn’t a straightforward answer to these questions. Back in 2012, files that document the FBI’s close scrutiny on Monroe were released.
When Ben Bradlee died last Oct. 21 at age 93, his widow Sally Quinn and his protegé Bob Woodward dutifully made the media rounds. They both lavishly praised his long tenure as executive editor of the Washington Post, which was predictable, since it was Bradlee who first hired Quinn at the Post (before marrying her) and Bradlee was influential in hiring Woodward, who then received much support from Bradlee.
The Post treated Bradlee’s death something like the passing of a former president, putting the story on the front page, above the fold, accompanied by a huge close-up picture of the man despite the fact that Bradlee had stepped down from the editor’s position more than two decades prior and although the Post had passed from the Graham family, which had hired Bradlee as editor and made him rich, to Internet entrepreneur Jeff Bezos who bought the paper in 2013.
Predictably, all of the above and more was quite flattering about Bradlee and his career in the newspaper business. The Post, which has fallen on hard times of late, wanted to remind its readers of a bygone age when the paper had much more cachet and influence than it does today (as did the rest of the mainstream media).
Ben Bradlee’s journalistic reputation is defined in the public’s mind by his role as the Washington Post’s gutsy executive editor during the Watergate scandal and especially by Jason Robards’s dramatic portrayal of him in the movie, “All the President’s Men.” Bradlee’s role in Richard Nixon’s political demise and his famous friendship with John F. Kennedy created an image of Bradlee as an icon of the “liberal media,” but those chapters of his life are misleading and miss the point of who Ben Bradlee really was and what his legacy truly is.
As we saw in Part One, Bradlee came from the American ruling elite and operated within a social framework that involved close personal relationships with leading figures in the U.S. government and its intelligence community, including CIA rising star Richard Helms who had been Bradlee’s friend since childhood.
In The Lancet Global Health, the Global Burden of Disease Study (GBD) 2019 Indonesia Collaborators report on 30 years of disease burden and risk factors in Indonesia, expanding their analysis to a more granular subnational level.
Given the ongoing challenges of obtaining comparable subnational data, the GBD data provides enlightening evidence for decision makers at the subnational level for future programmatic planning and policy strategies specific to their local health issues. These findings will ultimately help narrow down the inequality gaps at regional levels. This paper is perfectly timed to captured and illustrate the health status in Indonesia before and after the launch of the universal health coverage (UHC) programme Badan Penyelenggara Jaminan Sosial Kesehatan (BPJS) in 2014. The BPJS has now covered more than 75% of the Indonesian population.
Although excellent programmatic interventions and policies have significantly reduced the disease burden in the past three decades, communicable diseases remain the main source of disability-adjusted life-years (DALYs) in Indonesia, along with the rising burden of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) such as diabetes. Diabetes has become one of the main priorities of the national government as programmatic research and efforts towards prevention, early detection, and treatment of diabetes are increasing. Apart from poor quality of life, health-care costs related to diabetes complications are high, with diabetic retinopathy accounting for nearly 2% of the total national state budget, and are estimated to triple by 2025.