This abstract goes over some core aspects of the PhD dissertation that I’m working on. Below I’ll get into details about what I’ve done with this abstract.
To begin to compare the approaches of Erich Fromm and Murray Bookchin, this presentation traces three major themes in their works: gender, affect, and ecology. Fromm was a neo-Marxist and neo-Freudian who had a significant role in the initial formation of the Frankfurt School. Bookchin’s Social Ecology was an offshoot of Marxism, with considerable ties to anarchism, and the Frankfurt School. The wide-ranging critical theories of Fromm and Bookchin includes accounts of bureaucracies, large-scale technologies, and governments — among other societal conditions. Each of these intellectuals offers multiple vantage points on gendering, interpersonal bonds, and other emotions. Their theories intersect directly, in regards to feminized affectual ties between parents and children, across different historical periods. In their works, these themes are interrelated with ecological issues, given their perspectives on how interpersonal relations and societal conditions are associated with nature. Although Fromm tended to neglect ecological topics, Bookchin foregrounded these questions, in works which have considerable ties with subsequent eco-feminism.
That abstract is an updated version of one that I prepared in for an Institute for Social Ecology colloquium in the summer of 2011. I sent in a written version for the colloquium, but I didn’t make it out to Vermont to present and discuss it (due to an unforeseen personal situation). I simply used the title “Gender, affect, and ecology in the works of Bookchin and Fromm” for the abstract, in the summer. Then, in early 2012, I did some more work on the abstract, with the intention of sending it in for a Sociology conference. Yet, I ended up proposing a different presentation, which is about Erich Fromm and Henri Lefebvre — and, primarily, about their approaches to class, production, and other economic topics.
This is the summary write-up that went with a presentation that I gave in an Environment & Sustainability seminar, a couple of days ago -
Proponents of environmental justice focus on how groups who are more vulnerable to environmental and human health impacts also can be less responsible for these ecological problems. Above all, these environmental justice critiques and concerns are about how social inequality — including inequities along ‘race,’ class, and gender lines — can be bound up with environmental problems. I will illustrate this perspective by pointing to ways in which it would apply to Sarnia-Lambton’s Chemical Valley, to the recent Gulf Coast oil disaster, and to the Alberta tar sands. Throughout this presentation, I will be providing an overview of forms in which environmental justice priorities have taken, over time. By the 1980s, research and social movement activity in the name of “environmental justice” had begun in the United States. Since these beginnings, this environmental justice label has tended to be associated more with certain American issues. In particular, proponents of this approach have devoted considerable attention to toxic waste sites near people of colour in the United States. Yet, as others have been indicating, an environmental justice approach is much more widely applicable — to different countries, and to groups who have received less attention in American environmental justice discourse, and practices. There also is a prehistory of inequities which have environmental justice dimensions, despite how this language had not been applied to these issues before the 1980s (even as relevant indigenous land claim conflicts have occurred for centuries — to mention one pertinent set of issues). Around the turn of the new millennium, a “climate justice” variation on this approach has arisen, as some have began to collectively focus on climate and fossil fuel issues.
The people in the audience focus on empirical studies in Biology. In their terms, it is far too general to say that an environment is “toxic,” and it’s almost impossible to specify how industrial plants are connected with human health impacts. Just making statements about what the industries actually are emitting can be an immense challenge — especially when there are a set of plants, with each releasing a series of substances. A Biologist would ask: how much of each substance (e.g. coal particulates) was released during a particular measurement time frame, and where did it blow or flow to? It also would be necessary to take into account previous environmental conditions (e.g. in the soil), for baseline comparisons. To make any claims about health impacts, it would be necessary to specify exposure rates for each individual, within their wider personal history, and in relation to each source of each substance; so any industrial plant would have to be tied to all of those other contextual details.
Here in London, Ontario a few of us have produced a local version of a statement from Toronto which was, above all, about G20 police conduct and detention conditions in Toronto during the recent Summit of ‘world leaders’ there. The local statement was prepared by Climate Justice London and People for Peace London. And the following pre-amble (which I’m just re-posting verbatim) explains how this statement is connected with the original one from Toronto -
Local activists have prepared this London, Ontario version of the Toronto statement about police tactics at the G20 Summit there. We believe it is important for Londoners to present a unified voice to demand the civil liberties that were attacked in Toronto.
We invite signatures from anyone living, campaigning, or working in London, Ontario, or elsewhere in the nearby region.
Our statement is an abbreviated version of the original Toronto call – with added points about links between London activists, London police, and the Toronto summit. (These added points are in paragraph three, and demands 6 and 7, at the end of the statement.) The original Toronto statement basically offers a more detailed summary of events in Toronto in late June.
We also have made one addition to the text from the Toronto call. In the following sentence, we have changed the words “harassment by police” to “harassment and sexual violence from police” -
“The reports of those released from detention reveal a pervasive pattern of sexual, gender, trans, homophobic and racist harassment and sexual violence from police.”
This is a summary of a paper I will be presenting at a Sociology conference in Montreal, on June 1st -
A burgeoning array of activists, organizers, and critics are adopting and circulating “climate justice” goals and critiques. These proponents of climate justice claim that groups who are less responsible for global warming also tend to be more vulnerable to these and other climate changes—which some climate justice advocates also see as outcomes of market systems (such as carbon trading). Focusing on gender and race inequities, I will convey how these forms of inequality are bound up with purported causes and consequences of climate change. The gendered injustices I will address include additional burdens borne by women who are responsible for gathering water amidst droughts, as well as food from failing crops. Interrelated climate vulnerabilities—if not ongoing hardships—experienced by Africans, Inuit peoples, and other indigenous groups, all are pertinent instances of climate injustices along race lines which I will discuss. Although climate justice proponents usually highlight international economic disparities, gender and race injustices also are important sides of climate justice concerns and critiques, as I will explain. My overview will bridge various manifestations of the term “climate justice,” while offering a framework that is compatible with some other potential instances of climate justice approaches.
I also delivered an earlier version of this during a Research Day, in my Sociology department.
A key point which the abstract doesn’t convey is the emphasis that I placed on market factors during the presentation — even as I focused on racism and patriarchy.
Update (March, 2011) –
Starting this abstract with “burgeoning array” comes across as being too pompous. There was bound to be some awkwardness involved in trying to talk about the (then) largely non-academic climate justice movement in a professional-scholarly context, but I think that I over-compensated when I started the abstract with those words.
Below, there is some more writing that adds to that piece. First, here are some remarks about the Waging Nonviolence post -
That post revolves around a monument which is dedicated to women in a campaign against nuclear cruise missiles at a military base in the UK (at the Greenham Common, in Berkshire). I’ve provided some background and context — while highlighting a history of wider campaigns.
The nuclear issues foregrounded in the title actually are just part of the post; feminism, anti-militarism, and ecology all are raised in there as well.
There also is a little writing about me. One of the editors suggested that I should write about my personal experiences at the monument site. I mainly wrote myself in there like that to convey what it is like to see the monument. Basically, I’ve communicated what it’s like to see it without a grasp of the inside references there. It’s more likely that the monument would resonate with people from the UK, but there must be a lot of people over there who don’t know anything about the Greenham Common networks and peace camp.
April Streeter (in this blog post) -
“Even in bike-crazy Portland, the stats have showed an approximate split of 70% male riders versus 30% female riders. In Paris, there’s a similar split, says mobility consultant Eric Britton. The numbers are even more skewed in other places.”
(I agree that we should find ways to make bicycling attractive, but I also think that we should challenge mainstream standards of sexiness and beauty (like waifish models of femininity); I’ll elaborate on that point below.)
“The numbers are actually worse in New York, where only 21 percent of trips by bicycle are made by women. According to a voluntary survey by members of the New York Cycle Club, the largest organization of its kind in the city, only about a third of the club’s members said they are female.”
“With the exception of areas [of New York] like Central Park and designated bike trails — which female cyclists populate almost as zealously as their male counterparts) — bike riding in most parts of the city is hardly leisurely. ‘It’s like going into battle,’ Mr. Pucher said. ‘You need a helmet and gloves.’”
“Indeed, a ride through Midtown during the rush often means dodging trucks and speeding taxis, weaving through flocks of ear-budded pedestrians, swerving around gouged asphalt, and rocketing across intersections when the traffic signal does not say go.’
Mr. Pucher said to make cycling more appealing to women, and children and the elderly, for that matter, cycling in the city needs to be safer.”
In other words, our streets needn’t be macho battlegrounds.
(Mr. Tao also stresses fashion issues in his post.)
A recent “Human Rights Watch (HRW) report focuses on six cases of Israeli drone-launched missile attacks in which 29 Palestinian civilians, eight of them children, were killed. Based on cross-referenced eyewitness accounts corroborated by doctors, as well as ballistics and forensic evidence collected on the attack sites, the report asserts that ‘in none of the cases did HRW find evidence that Palestinian fighters were present in the immediate area of the attack at the time.’ ”
“Marc Garlasco, senior military analyst at the emergencies program of HRW, estimates that at least 87 civilians were killed in 42 drone attacks.”
“Israel is the world leader in drone technology.”
“Israeli drones have advanced sensors, combining radars, electro- optical and infrared cameras, and lasers providing real time imaging by day and night.”
“According to Palestinian sources, 900 civilians were killed during the military operations, among a total of more than 1,400 killed. The HRW report says a third of the fatalities were from drone-launched missiles. Israeli sources put the civilian death toll at 300.”