Contribution to GTI Roundtable "Marxism and Ecology"

Rasigan Maharajh

Congratulations to John Bellamy Foster for the wonderfully succinct and lucid elaboration on matters critical to our contemporary conjuncture. I found the exposition clear and cogent. Having clearly articulated the “complex, interconnected [co-]evolution” of Marxian ecological analysis, Earth system theory, and the Great Transition perspective, I share your proposition that “the integrative concept of ‘the global ecological rift’ [does represent] a growing convergence.” My resonance with your proposals for “common fonts of a Great Transition” derives from a shared critique of the contemporary political economy.1

Thanks also for sharing your conception of the chasm between Soviet and Western Marxism. Towards advancing the emergent “common font,” I very much encourage a broader representation of the debates amongst those generating theoretical determinations arising from struggles against imperialism, colonialism, and the predatory corporate financialized capitalism by wider working-class movements, mass-based organizations, and other formations of civil society. I believe that including such perspectives would complement and expand the literature forged in active economic, social, and political contestations.

For sustainable human development to be realized, we must collectively recognize that the “rational regulation of the metabolism between human beings and nature [is] fundamental to creating a rational society beyond capitalism.” My experiences in the southernmost part of Africa, perspectives from the global South, and aspirations as a global citizen serve to affirm that such a necessary and progressive endeavor is, however, unobtainable within the accumulative constraints of K and its current predatory corporate form. In the struggle to survive today’s “morbid symptoms” and construct a better and harmonious life for all, we are undoubtedly enjoined as fellow travelers. I would, however, urge caution against an over-compartmentalization of our struggles. I would suggest that we could approach socio-political and ecological transformation as being both inseparable and coterminous. In living through a variant of the two-stage conceptualization of transformation in my current location, I further appreciate embracing persistent transitions that are informed by inclusion, participation, and learning by doing.

Socialists and other progressives have and continue to generate valuable insights and practices that afford us liberatory potentials. Much has and, further, can be learned from the ongoing struggles against capitalism across the planet. Encouraging and facilitating the emergence of alternatives to the wage nexus, market fundamentalisms, ecological destructions, and other predatory accumulative and corporate strategies remains a critical and crucial task in the current conjuncture. Building together, we must ensure “equitable and sustainable human development in lasting accord with the earth.” Nurturing progressive movements that defend the marginalized and oppressed from the violence and brutalities of the world capitalist systems forms another fundamental task of our times. Such alternative organization configurations may well serve to advance global solidarity and cooperation. Transcending national boundaries is another fundamental which, whilst previously argued, has the potential of being further elaborated in the current text: "it is clear that a spectre is haunting capitalist globalization: the spectre of a new internationalism."2 Our survival, and possibilities to thrive, on Earth definitely demands an “integrated planetary praxis.” Thanks again for advancing common fonts for OUR great transition.

1. Rasigan Maharajh, “The Metabolic Rift, Anachronistic Institutions and the Anthropocene,” SPANDA Journal 6, no. 1 (July 2015): 1-10,,1.pdf
2. John Bellamy Foster, “Marx and Internationalism,” Monthly Review 53, no. 3 (July 2000): 11-22,

Rasigan Maharajh
Rasigan Maharajh is an activist scholar who is the founding Chief Director of the Institute for Economic Research on Innovation at Tshwane University of Technology, an Associate Research Fellow of the Tellus Institute in Boston, and the Chairperson of the Southern Africa Node of the Millennium Project.

Cite as Rasigan Maharajh, contribution to GTI Roundtable "Marxism and Ecology," Great Transition Initiative (October 2015),

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