#191   A Green NEW Deal that works for people and planet with Max Ajl

apple podcasts




you tube

What would a genuinely progressive, regenerative Green New Deal look like if it took into account he well-being of all life on the planet? We discuss the options with Max Ajl, author of A People’s Green New Deal.

Our guest this week is Max Ajl, who is an associate researcher with the Tunisian Observatory for Food Sovereignty and the Environment and a postdoctoral fellow with the Rural Sociology Group at Wageningen University. He has written for multiple journals and is an associate editor at Agrarian South & Journal of Labor and Society.

It was his 2021, his book, A People’s Green New Deal, published by Pluto Press, that brought Max to my attention. If you’ve been listening to the podcast for any length of time, you’ll know that one of our regular contributors, Simon Michaux, is adamant that the material flows for the various posited Green New Deals don’t exist – that they are logistical impossibilities. But what Max argues strongly and with brilliant clarity in his book and elsewhere, is why these things should not happen even if they could: why they are better viewed as extensions of the Giant Vampire Squid wrapped around the face of humanity (not his phrase) – and that there’s a better, much more deeply green set of ideas and ideals based in actual earth connection, the restoration of what should be fundamental human rights across the world and the widespread implementation of agro-ecological principles.

His book seems to me an eco-socialist manifesto and while its values are closely aligned with the podcast, the nature of this as a political theoretical and practical concept is not something we’d previously explored on the podcast. So now we have.

In the course of our early discussion, we touched on the Cochamamba Peoples’ Agreement – and then never came back to it. So very briefly, I’d like to fill you in, because this agreement is both an internationally agreed document and, in itself, a statement of core ecosocialist principles. The conference from which it arose took place in April 2010, when more than 35,000 people from 140 countries gathered in Cochabamba, Bolivia, and developed a consensus-based document reflecting substantive solutions to the climate crisis.

Two things arise immediately. First, thirteen years on, we would call it the climate, ecological and cultural crisis. Second, and more important than the semantics – much though they matter – was the ways this agreement came into being. There were 17 working groups, and a lot of effort was put into consensus building – working out what mattered and what worked, or could be imagined to work – not the failed COP process of deleting anything that offends a member state until you have a basically meaningless document. I’ve attached links in the show notes and I really recommend you follow them, because it is profoundly important.

It is, in fact, the framework we need to work towards. What’s distressing is that it’s over 13 years old and hardly anyone in the hegemonic nations of what Max Ajl calls the core – as opposed to the periphery – has heard about it and still fewer care. So we need to change that. If you do one thing after this podcast, as Max says, it’ll be to join an organisation. If you do two things, the second will be to tell people about the Cochabamba People’s Agreement. And Max’s book.

The sound quality was not the best. but Alan has woven his production magic and I hope your ears will accept the result as a price worth paying for the ideas we explore here.

In Conversation

Manda: Hey, people, welcome to Accidental Gods. To the podcast where we believe that another world is still possible and that if we all work together, there is time to create the future that we would be proud to leave to the generations that come after us. I’m Manda Scott your host in this journey into possibility. And this week my guest is an internationally renowned thought leader and a multi published author whose primary topic is Ecosocialism. What it is, how it works and how it could bring about that flourishing future that we would be proud to leave to our children and all our descendants. Max Ajl is an associate researcher with the Tunisian Observatory for Food Sovereignty in the Environment and a postdoctoral fellow with the rural sociology group at Wageningen University in the Netherlands. He has written for multiple journals and is an associate editor at Agrarian South, a Journal of Labour and Society. But it was his 2021 book, A People’s Green New Deal, published by Pluto Press that brought Max to my attention. If you’ve been listening to the podcast for any length of time, you’ll know that one of our regular contributors, Dr. Simon Michaux, is adamant that the material flows for the various positive green new deals don’t actually exist. That these deals are logistical impossibilities. But what Max argues strongly and with brilliant clarity in his book is why these deals shouldn’t happen; why they are neither green nor new, and are deals only with predatory capital. Why they are better viewed as extensions of the giant vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity (and no, that’s not his phrase, but you know what we mean) and that there’s a better, much more deeply green, much more equitable, regenerative set of ideas and ideals based in actual earth connection, based on the restoration of what should be fundamental human rights across the world and the widespread implementation of agro ecological principles. He might see it otherwise, but his book seems to me to be an Ecosocialist manifesto. And while its values are closely aligned with the podcast, the nature of this as a political, theoretical and practical concept is not something we previously explored. And so now we have. Yay! So this is a slightly new angle, but only in terms of some of the language.

Manda: In the course of our early discussion, we touched on the Cochabamba People’s Agreement and then we never came back to it. And it really is an Ecosocialist manifesto. So very briefly before we start, I’d like to fill you in on that because this is an internationally agreed document and it is not nearly enough widely known in our corners of the world. So here we go. There are links in the show notes to follow this up, but, not too briefly: The agreement arose in April 2010 when more than 35,000 people from 140 countries gathered in Cochabamba in Bolivia and set about developing a consensus based document to reflect substantive solutions to the climate crisis. And there are two things to note with that. First, 13 years on, I think we would call it the climate, ecological and cultural crisis. And I don’t imagine that any of the people who went would disagree with that. Second and more important than the semantics, much, though they matter, was the ways that this agreement came into being. There were 17 working groups and huge amounts of effort were put into building consensus. Working out what mattered to the people who were there and what worked, or at least what could be imagined to work. Which is really different as far as I can tell from the failed COP process, of deleting anything at all from the final text that offends any member state, and a lot of these are Petro states. Until you have what is basically a meaningless document that has been hijacked by the fossil fuel industry. So the Cochabamba People’s Agreement is not that. It’s quite long, but I’m going to read you a bit of it because I think this really does matter. Here we go:

Manda: It is imperative that we forge a new system that restores harmony with nature and among human beings. In order for there to be balance with nature, there must first be equity amongst human beings. We propose to the peoples of the world the recovery, revalorisation and strengthening of the knowledge, wisdom and ancestral practices of indigenous peoples which are affirmed in the thought and practices of:  “Living well. Of recognising Mother Earth as a living being, with which we have an indivisible, interdependent, complementary and spiritual relationship. To face climate change, we must recognise Mother Earth as the source of life and forge a new system based on the principles of harmony and balance amongst all things and with all things. Complementarity, solidarity and equality. Collective well-being and the satisfaction of the basic necessities of all. People in harmony with nature. Recognition of human beings for what they are, not what they own. Elimination of all forms of colonialism, imperialism and interventionism. Peace among the peoples and with Mother Earth”.

Manda: So those are the underlying principles. It goes on to say: The model we support is not a model of limitless and destructive development. All countries need to produce the goods and services necessary to satisfy the fundamental needs of their populations. But by no means can they continue to follow the path of development that has led the richest countries to have an ecological footprint five times bigger than what the planet is able to support. Currently, the regenerative capacity of the planet has already been exceeded by more than 30%. If this pace of overexploitation of our Mother Earth continues, we will need two planets by the year 2030. In an interdependent system in which human beings are only one component. It is not possible to recognise rights only to the human part without provoking an imbalance in the system as a whole. To guarantee human rights and to restore harmony with nature, it is necessary to effectively recognise and apply the rights of Mother Earth. For this purpose, we propose the attached project for the Universal Declaration on the Rights of Mother Earth. In which it is recorded that:. 

Manda: The Earth (And everything on it, I would suggest) has the right to live and to exist. The right to be respected. The right to regenerate its biocapacity and to continue its vital cycles and processes free of human alteration. The right to maintain their identity and integrity as differentiated beings, self regulated and interrelated. The right to water as the source of life. The right to clean air. The right to comprehensive health. The right to be free of contamination and pollution, free of toxic and radioactive waste. The right to be free of alterations or modifications of its genetic structure in a manner that threatens its integrity or vital and healthy functioning. The right to prompt and full restoration if there is violation of the rights acknowledged in this declaration caused by human activities.

Manda: There are aspects of the grammar of that that make my grammar nerd inside go a bit wild, because the subject changes periodically, but you get the gist. This is really important and really sane. And why are we not living by it already? That’s a rhetorical question, but the answer is because we live inside predatory capitalism and we haven’t found a way to change it yet. So we need to change that. If you do one thing after this podcast, as Max says, it will be to join an organisation. If you do two things, the second one will be to tell anybody who’s interested, even the people who are not very interested about the Cochabamba People’s Agreement. And Max’s book, obviously. So let’s get going. I’ve taken long enough. The sound quality in the podcast wasn’t the best, but Alan has woven his production magic and I hope your ears will see the result as a price worth paying for the ideas we are about to explore. So people of the podcast, please welcome Max Ajl author of A People’s Green New Deal.

Manda: Max, welcome to the Accidental Gods podcast and thank you for taking the extraordinary time. Because the last time we tried, our technology fell apart completely. So now you’re in Brooklyn, which has slightly better Internet connection than Tunisia. How are you this morning or this afternoon, whatever time it is in Brooklyn?

Max: I’m very good. I’m very good. How are you?

Manda: Good. Yeah, much better than I was last week. I had stress hives last week, it was extremely unpleasant. But all is well now, peaceful, no more stress. I didn’t even know stress hives was a thing, I have to say, but I have a friend who watches Grey’s Anatomy and they had it on one of the episodes. So now we’ve made diagnosis by trash TV, which is jolly useful. Anyway, that apart you have written a People’s Green New Deal, which is one of the most striking books I’ve read in the past couple of years. Because it laid out so clearly where we are, why we are where we are and a route through to something much better. And it seemed to me that apart from critiquing various of the other versions of the Green New Deal, this is an Ecosocialist manifesto. And that’s not something we’ve explored on the podcast before, and I would really like to explore it. That’s not a phrase we’ve even used before. So to begin with, can you expand for us what an Ecosocialist manifesto is and folding into it the Green New Deal concepts. Over to you.

Max: An Ecosocialist manifesto is concerned with laying out what a different form of society looks like, where the means of production and reproduction, that is all the things that we use to produce what we need collectively for our daily lives and also to live in complex modern human societies. All of that is collectively owned, Collectively managed. Managed in such a way that the overall distribution of goods is more or less equal. More or less egalitarian, more or less fulfilling everyone on the planet’s basic needs. More or less demanding an equal amount of work from everyone on the planet who is capable of doing the needed work. And finally, nesting all of that in a more or less permanently sustainable interaction with the remainder of nature. That is the part of nature that is not human beings.

Manda: Right. Thank you. Gosh, so many questions arising from that. What does collectively owned and managed look like? Let’s start at the top, because it seems to me in the UK we’ve got a lot of argument just now about taking the water companies back into national ownership because they were privatised and now there were 300,000 incidences last year of them throwing raw sewage into the rivers and the oceans. They’re just not bothering, because they are basically money laundering schemes now. But I am not a great fan of the idea of bringing water companies back into ownership by a government that is fundamentally not competent. And it seems to me that there are other models of governance, of things in collective ownership where there’s more collectivity to the ownership. How do you see collective ownership working? What are the structures? Let’s take a water company in the UK as an option or anything else that strikes you.

Max: So when we say collective ownership, it’s aspirational in the sense that what we’re talking about is removing it from private ownership. And what we are talking about is putting it under some form of democratic control. In particular, democratic control in the hands of those best equipped to make decisions concerning what will happen with a given set of resources or a given set of institutions in the first case. And second of all, under the democratic control, including the delegation of democratic decisions, under the control of people who will be affected by any set of decisions. So, for example, to put it in a bracket, it becomes a contradiction in terms to talk about democratic control over NATO or Democrat control over Raytheon, to take two very good examples. Right. I mean, the the Democratic control over NATO can only be a question of taking control over the states that make up NATO and saying goodbye to NATO, for example. Because we cannot accept that NATO has a justification for existing, given its historical, contemporary and prospective role within the world system. So when we talk about democracy and collectivity, we’re always thinking holistically. We’re always thinking about the fact that democracy cannot be understood merely at a certain scale and procedurally, but also has to be understood in terms of the people who deal with the consequences of certain democratic decisions, who may not be those with their immediate hands on certain levers.

Max: Now, the question of scale is, of course, very important. So if you take a farm or a cooperative farm, it’s very clear that a lot of decisions over the types of crops, the type of labour rotations, the types of watering operations, the types of terracing and land management operations, the questions of pest control and how to manage it and how to apply knowledge with respect to that. Those decisions have to be made very locally, in the sense that you want people who are best equipped to make technical decisions using their own knowledge about how to farm. They need to be in a position to make those decisions, preferably, of course, in a collectivised farm structure. That is, there’s sufficient experience with excessively top down decisions about farming that tell us that in general, the technical decisions about farming should be left in the hands of farmers. This is not such an obsessive sense of or a delimited sense of democracy that it precludes the idea that the state should not fund agro ecological research and extension services. Or that those services should not go out and be like, Hi, the way you’re farming is actually not a great idea. It doesn’t mean you go in with a gun and say you need to do it differently, but it does mean that there’s an ambition towards a certain vision of social change that is in a dynamic relationship with the local management of institutions.

Max: And so the scale is multi-scalar. I mean, if you take something like a postal service or if you take something like a Social Security system, for example, which not only will be with us, but should be actively defended and expanded in any foreseeable future to Ecosocialist world system, in my argument. Those types of institutions need to be managed, as far as I can see, at the state level. A postal service has a certain level of decentralisation of local capacity, but it also requires a lot of centralisation in order for the various parts to be able to work well together. A Social Security system is balancing current incomes and future incomes and intergenerational risk and taking care of old people and injured people. And you want to level that out over an entire population in order to have a sufficient pool of resources, in order to be able to assure people their well-being when they’re sick or when they’re old. And so I think the Social Security system is a very good example of a system that in theory is effectively managed by the state for the short to medium term future.

Manda: So that’s the case, how do we define the nature of the state? Because because Hobbes previous definition of a state was ‘that geographic entity within whose borders a political entity has a monopoly on the legal use of force’, which is not a happy definition of a state, but it seems to be the one that’s in action as we speak. If we’re moving to an ecosocialist future, I’m considering the United States, say, or a European state of United States. There are things like postal services. The Postal Service should be global, effectively, whereas there are other areas where we’re going to need to divide geography or people, perhaps along geographic lines, but perhaps not. Perhaps along lines of intention or other more social constructs. We don’t need any more to have national boundaries where we put up barbed wire fences and stare at each other down the barrel of a gun, I hope. In an ecosocialist future as you see one evolving, how does the nation state decide on its boundaries and how how big does it need to be? And are we looking at a global state in some cases? And if so, how would that be set up?

Max: I would I would quibble a little bit with ‘we’, and also the question of the path to an ecosocialist future and the ecosocialist future itself. So ‘we’ looks very different if you are the Houthi movement or the Yemeni government, which is dealing with US armed Saudi organised mercenaries who are coming over the border from Saudi Arabia to Yemen. Yemen has a very clear need in the short run to harden its national borders at an extreme level and to defend those national borders. Now, this doesn’t mean that Yemen should not be part of an internationalist project looking at the long term abolition of nation state borders. But in any type of discussion of transition, we have to keep in mind the transition is starting from somewhere, not from nowhere. And it’s not only starting from somewhere, it’s starting from many somewheres. And this is usually one of the hardest conversations. And one of the issues that gets dropped out the most in terms of the conversations in the North is that people somewheres are endangered in manifold ways in the South, in ways they are not endangered in the north. So the slogan ‘Down with Borders’ has an appeal in the north, when we look at the militarisation of the Mediterranean, when we look at the militarisation and death that occurs on the US-Mexico border, when we look at what Australia is doing in terms of its hardened apartheid policies on its northern frontier with South and Southeast Asia, when we look at what’s going on in Ceuta and Melilla in Morocco, which is occupied by Spain. When we look at those geographies, then a border looks like a site of extreme violence.

Max: When we look at other geographies, a border looks like a cradle or a nest for the actual flourishing of ecosocialism. And the problem is that people tend to often pay lip service to that when it’s brought up, and then it drops very quickly from the discussion. And, you know, part of my understanding and ambition for Ecosocialism is understanding that there are countries that have defence needs from our governments, which are carrying out very nasty things in the remainder of the world. So this is one aspect of why the nation state is very central, in the short to medium term, including a question of its role in a prospective transition. Now this doesn’t preclude either normative or kind of more blueprint oriented thinking about what the appropriate scale for Ecosocialism is. I think we can do both very much at the same time, and it’s in fact necessary to have certain types of utopias sketched out in various forms. The lines can be very light on the paper, but they need to be sketched out precisely because you need an idea of what a good plan for transition and what a good plan for an outcome looks like. Whether that’s at the very basic level, for example, basic needs oriented framework with appropriate technology, whether or not that’s okay, do we want to generalise a system of Social Security and universal health care and agroecology? 

Max: There’s no one size fits all and there’s also no cookie cutter templates. But there are certain things that we can understand are important contributing elements to an ecosocialist future. Now this immediately intersects with the question of scale. And here, you know, I think one of the one of the best books that’s ever been written, if not the best about agriculture’s role in Ecosocialist transition is Colin Duncan’s The Centrality of Agriculture. Where he points out that the intrinsic localness of sustainable agriculture, as opposed to the superficial or apparent or temporary placelessness of industrialised forms of agriculture, actually provides the scaffolding for ecosocialist transition, precisely because we understand that agriculture is nested into watersheds. Watersheds and the more or less uniformity of climactic patterns and also the shared concerns over common control over, for example, this very basic resource, which is water, provides a kind of spatial scaffolding for an ecosocialist transition. So I take that as very fundamental for informing our thinking about what a transition to Ecosocialism should look like, while always keeping in mind that the question of bioregional scaffolding for Ecosocialism is just not a priority for Yemen or Palestine or Zimbabwe right now. Like it just isn’t. And that has to be respected as well as thinking in the long term should be respected.

Manda: Right. Okay. And that again opens up many possible avenues. So we have a situation where globally we’re heading very close to the edge of biophysical tipping points that may well be irreversible. At much more local levels, there are personal, individual and collective tragedies happening that still seem to be a direct result of a worldview that is extractivist. You said something in your book, that capitalism is not a system of production of useful things, but a system for the production of waste, which amongst many, many other things that I have underlined in your book, if everybody were to take that on board as a concept to live with, it seems to me it would begin to change the ways that we did things. Because I completely think you’re right. We need to have our plan for an outcome. We need to have a vision of where we’re heading. And part of that needs to be letting go of the vision that we’ve all grown up with, or at least in the global north or the centre, have grown up with. Which is that the way to survive in a world which is predicated on separation and scarcity and powerlessness is to get more stuff and that if you don’t get more stuff, you’re going to end up living under a railway arch, out of plastic bags and sleeping in cardboard boxes. And the fact that half of the world is doing that because you need to get your stuff is completely written out. And so what struck me about your book, apart from the fact that you articulate very well the fact that the centre did not develop the periphery, the centre was developed at the expense of the destruction of the periphery. And now at the expense of destruction of large aspects of the centre. Very few people are thriving in the current system.

Manda: But the current system still holds the hearts and minds, because we haven’t given people either a good plan of what a better future could look like, or reasonable ways to get there. And in your book, you mentioned the Cochabamba Convention or the People’s Agreement, which is beautiful and absolutely has at its heart the regeneration of the Earth and all of the ecosocialist principles that you mentioned. And we might read it out later or I might read it at the end. But what I still haven’t found and what I’m hoping to get today, is a practical route to get there. Given what you said, if you’re in Yemen, if you’re in Palestine, which is being bombed as we speak, then your main interest is surviving long enough to have a concept tomorrow. If you’re in large parts of the rest of the world where the waste is being thrown, then you are still simply trying to survive. And the best way to survive wherever you are in the world at the moment seems to be to accumulate dollars and raise yourself a little bit up the very steep sided pyramid so you can crap on everybody down below. How do we help the people who are in survival mode and don’t have the luxury of the capacity to think more broadly? How do we help those to have the visions of a different world in sufficient numbers to take on the people who are currently holding the reins of power in a death grip and have no intention of letting it go?

Max: I have one friend whose answer to that question would essentially be Join an organisation and I still think this is one of the best answers. Now it does matter what organisation you join, but it also matters that you can struggle over what an organisation is or will become. And the point is to believe that things are changeable and actually enter collective activity with other people who believe that things are possible. And this is actually how you change the horizon of what people on a broader scale think is possible. You know, never retreat, always advance. I mean, there are crises of organisation and there are also crises of resignation and there are also crises of ideological disorganisation. That is, people on a wide scale don’t know what to do, don’t know what to aim for, and don’t feel that it’s possible to get where they need to go, even if they want to go there. And unfortunately, I think in the north in many ways, maybe the French are a little bit different, there is not a wide enough awareness that there is a possibility of complete and radical rupture with the existing system. And so there are widespread discourses about democratic socialism but what’s actually being called for is social democracy. That is a softened form of capitalism. And one can be very sympathetic to anyone and everyone who lives in a shithole like America or England and is like, okay, I want a full adequate state funding of a universal health care system that has very minimal wait times, zero paperwork and is going to provide me the basic needs of health care that I and my children and my parents need for our day to day and future well-being. And that is a very important horizon of struggle. Now that is a very important horizon of struggle, but it matters how one is going to get there. It matters what else is being demanded and it also matters if you just want health care for people in the UK and the US. Or do you want a pattern of political struggle that’s capable of achieving such just universal health care for everybody on the planet? And finally, do you see a relationship between what happens somewhere else, that is the denial of people’s health care somewhere else, and the ultimate attack on your health care at home?

Max: So you need a theory that tells you what is the relationship of those things. And the theory does not by any means tell you what to do politically. And actually, I’m not going to tell you really what to do politically at all, because I always tell people, I’m not Lenin over here. And if I knew what to do politically, like I would be doing that sorry. And I at least would have written it better in the book, what to do politically. I don’t exactly know what to do politically, it’s very clear. And so in this sense, although I’m a bit flattered and touched that you called what I wrote Ecosocialist manifesto, I really did mean it as a contribution to a conversation, because there’s a lot of things missing. I’m usually living in Tunisia, although I’m deeply connected to what’s going on in the United States. I’m not necessarily in a position to tell people politically, organisationally what to do at all in the UK or the US, although of course I’m involved in political work in the United States. So I don’t exactly know what to do. But I do know that there are certain things that are important to bring into the conversation. Especially the conversation about ecological transition in progressive spaces in the United States and Europe, where the conversation is extremely and deliberately and I would even say maliciously stunted in certain ways, by the moulders of what passes for progressive opinion. A kind of rant that we can bracket or I’m happy to embark upon, as you would like. But so be that as it may, right, I think we need to broaden the people’s knowledge.

Max: We’re really in an embryonic stage in some ways in places like the United States and Europe and we need to broaden awareness of the unity of struggles. And the deeper people’s theoretical awareness, which doesn’t mean people have to be sitting down and reading dependency theory treatises, but people should understand at a deep level that internationalism is actually part of domestic transformation. To take one example, which I can explain in a clear way, but the essence of it is that if you allow predation and exploitation to occur abroad, the same institutions, once they’re done hunting on the periphery, are going to come back and eat you at home. To put it in very blunt and visceral terms. I mean it’s logical and kind of manifest once you put it in those terms, I think. And this is something that’s very, very frequently elided, suppressed or forgotten in these conversations. And so I think once we’re aware of that, we incubate an internationalist instinct within our own work, which is very central, I think, to the broader transformation that was envisioned in Cochabamba and is still being struggled for by a lot of popular movements and also national popular states in Latin America. Some of which are actively demonised or under siege by our own governments.

Manda: Bolivia.

Max: Bolivia. And of course you want to tell me that the Bolivian government is not perfect?

Manda: Governments are not perfect by definition. So, yeah.

Max: Governments are not perfect. People are not perfect. My kitchen table is not perfect. My iPhone is not perfect. And the can of seltzer I’m drinking is not perfect. But we use things that are not perfect because we’re human beings and we live in an imperfect world. And that includes governments. And the question is, do you make things perfect by screaming about their imperfections when your government is actively trying to destroy those governments? This doesn’t seem very pragmatic to me.

Manda: Okay. I very much would like to go into more depth of the wider conversation we could have. I want to take us back a step, though, before we get there. Because it seems to me that health care in many ways is emblematic in the same way that farming could be said to be emblematic. But we talk endlessly about farming on this podcast, so we’ll talk about health care instead. In that health care is incredibly energy and materials intensive. You go into any hospital in the centre in the global north and the levels of waste are actually terrifying. There is no concept that there is a planet out there that matters, all that matters is that somebody has decided, say, that syringes should be single use and they will go into the incinerator because they might be contaminated and it’s faster and easier. And who cares? You can get another syringe for very little money as far as they’re concerned. If we were to give everybody access to that level of health care, we would destroy the planet by definition. And actually we’d probably run out of stuff long before we did that. I speak a lot to Simon Michaux, who’s a materials engineer, and he reckons that I think it’s 800 billion tonnes of copper mined in the whole of human history, and that if we were simply to fulfil the projections of the existing green new deals in places where those green new deals are actually not really either radical or going to change much, we would need to mine the same amount of copper in the next 22 years, which is logistically impossible even given the fact that it would also destroy many, many countries in the periphery and the lives of millions of people.

Manda: So it’s not actually technically possible to roll out the kind of health care. And I have friends who call it sickness care. You know, it’s predicated on an intellectual model where one part of the behemoth that is predatory capitalism is busy destroying people’s health. And often the same part is then profiting out of slightly patching them up so they can survive long enough to make some more money to pay for the next lot of being slightly patched up. This is not really health care. And yet, we could not have the conversation that said, guys, this is not working. We need a whole different model of health care starting with you need to eat completely differently. We need to get rid of all of manufactured foods, basically, and you need to go back to eating like your great grandparents ate, because we would be strung up from a lamppost before we’d got through the second sentence. It may be what needs to happen, but I’m really interested if you are thinking down the thought lines of how we create that to be a reality that people can understand. Because if all they hear is we’re going to shut the hospitals, it’s not going to happen. They’ve got to hear, here’s a whole new model of health that you will feel better with, but yes, I’m sorry, you’re not going to be eating cream doughnuts ever again. Is this a thought pattern that you’ve gone down? 

Max: Yeah. So I think it’s it’s critical to fight against the kind of reductionist approaches that are dominant when we think about sectoral approaches to health care and also geographically limited approaches or geographically demarcated approaches to health care or transition to just medical systems. So let me let me expand on what I mean by both. Approachers to health care need to approach health care as a system embedded in a broader system of how we take care of ourselves and the environment, which is particularly related to nutrition. I don’t know the percentage, but a substantial portion at the very least, of health issues are intimately linked at the immediate level to pathologies in terms of what our food intake looks like.

Manda: Just to interrupt, Robert Lustig reckons that 93% of Americans have metabolic disease. He is now seeing babies that are born obese because their mitochondria are not functioning, because their parents were not able to eat food that actually had decent nutritional content. So yeah, 93% metabolic disease is probably underlying quite a lot of the rest of the chronic illness that we’re seeing. So it’s kind of high.

Max: Right and also I was just reading some studies stating that all sorts of vitamins, for example, are lacking in something that’s considered the repository of vitamins like fruits and vegetables, because first of all, the the the genetics of them are weak and they’re selecting for things like growth and appearance.

Manda: And sweetness. Which then gets rid of all the things that are bitter, which tend to be the things that we actually need to be eating. Yes.

Max: Right. And sweetness, right. Certain things are being selected for in the first place. But in the second place, the destruction of the organic structure of the soil itself is decreasing the amount of vitamins that are available for the plants to to metabolise in ways that are suitable for human consumption. Let’s just take one example. It’s well known, for example, that the Green Revolution semi-dwarf varieties of wheat are much less healthy than older varieties of hard wheat, let alone the more complex sets of grains. The orphan grains that were used across and are still in use across pockets of the Arab region of Africa, of Latin America and so forth. And still we’re basically talking about health care rather than broader ecological resilience issues. But once we zoom out to the question of the fact that health care is actually part of a broader system of how we take care of ourselves, our bodies and the planet, then we understand that, of course, if you want to reduce health care spending and make it less technologically intensive, in the kind of conventional understanding of technology as a piece of metal, granite and glass and transistors, then you can actually achieve superior health care outcomes if you actually focus on a transformation in the food system. That’s one thing.

Max: Another aspect is of course the spatial organisation and also the kind of mindset and planning mindset behind health care systems. So, for example, should health care investment be in intensive diagnostic machinery? Or should it be in decentralised preventive and community health care? Which is the Cuban system, the system they use in Kerala, the system they’re using in a variety of places, the system they started to put in place in Venezuela when the Cuban doctors were there. Their presence is much reduced at the current moment and so forth. So you can have a preventative and community health centred model of health care that achieves superior health care outcomes, with far decreased spending. Now this in turn is based on a social decision about the amount of investments you put in training doctors and also training nurses. And this is entirely a social decision about how you allocate it. It’s also linked to a question of one breaking through the kind of guild system, which is how doctors, for example, maintain relatively higher wages in the United States. Because the medical schools limit the amount of people who can be accepted to medical schools. And this is justified in terms of maximising the quality of health care. But in fact, what it does, if you compare it to the Cuban model, is it reduces the number of doctors who are available to the entire population. Secondarily, it also relies on a brain drain, which has been a central north south dynamic going back to the 1970s. That relies on a brain drain from the south. So the North, Canada, the United States, Great Britain are systematically extracting both doctors and nurses from the periphery.

Max: So, for example, Salimah Valiani has an excellent, excellent, excellent book discussing the kind of global labour arbitrage involved in extracting nurses, particularly from the Philippines and their transmission to the United States and Canada. So in fact you have an extraction of the kind of human resource capacity, the human wealth embodied in training and skills, in the physical person of a nurse who is trained somewhere else using that society’s resources and is then imported as a fully functional, highly skilled labourer to the United States and Great Britain, whereupon they then play their role in increasing and enhancing health care outcomes in these wealthy global North states that in fact don’t have to devote enough resources themselves. And so, for example, you have a huge system of training of doctors in the Caribbean, instead of the US just investing more in developing its own health and resource doctor training capacity. Now these are all political decisions that could be changed by political will and democratic deliberation. But they are also political decisions that need to be taken, considered and carried out on a global scale. Like what is the appropriate level of health care needed on a world scale? Should we or should we not be extracting doctors from the periphery? The answer is obviously, from my perspective, no. We also we have a major, major brain drain from Tunisia to France and Germany, because there’s a systematic underpayment of doctors. Now this is also related to the fact that these societies are, because of decades of first neo colonial assault on their productive capacity and capacity to sustain internal developmental processes. And then because of the imposition of neoliberalism as part and parcel of the neo colonial assault on these societies, it becomes logical for them to first to export their human medical care capacity in the first place. In the second place to use that medical care capacity for medical tourism, which is a burgeoning north south dynamic. Many people from the north are now going to India, Turkey, Tunisia, Brazil, a great variety of places where they can actually access very comparatively cheap medical care. And this is a north south dynamic, right? So, again, the critical thing is to be thinking holistically about the reconstruction of a medical care system. Finally, if you have a global South government that starts investing massively on a very large scale in building up its health care system, offering free universal health care to its population, investing in training doctors. Well, we have a very good example of that, which is a country called Cuba. And Cuba has been under a US siege and embargo for 60 years. So there are actually direct coercive measures taken against countries that want to shift to a more human centred, socialised model of medicine. And that needs to be kept in mind, unless you just want good medicine at home but aren’t concerned if people over in the Caribbean have good medicine. And again, I don’t think that’s a just political horizon.

Manda: No. So what we have is a system where aspects of the global North Predatory capital makes extraordinary amounts of money by creating the brain drain from the periphery into the core. While at the same time then exporting people out to the periphery where they can get cheaper health care if they want. And they’re preventing places from taking on the Cuban model. And the Cuban model, from what I’ve looked into, seems to work extremely well. There’s a huge amount of propaganda saying that it doesn’t, and there seems to be active violence if people begin to look like they’re going to take it over. There’s a tweet that has since been deleted by one of the very wealthy tech bros in the US. He was speaking about Bolivia and wanting their lithium resources, but it applies to everything else. And what he said was, we will coup whoever we want, get over it. And actually he was just speaking the quiet part out loud. America’s been doing that ever since America existed. So the tendency to ‘coup whoever we want, get over it’ is not going to go away. I’m regularly reminded of a conversation that Steve Bannon had with Michael Muir and Muir was making Fahrenheit 101. And Muir asked Bannon why the right kept winning in the US and Bannon said ‘because we’re going for headshots and you’re still in a pillow fight’. And the guys are still going for headshots. I’m watching in the UK where they are doing things that in any previous administration would have been considered illegal and then they’re just doing them and going, Yeah, and what are you going to do about it? And nobody does because the other side is still in a pillow fight.

Manda: And anyway, nobody wants to get in a shooting match. If you’re on the progressive side, the whole point is that you not foment violence. Have you ideas? Collectivism works, I’m sure. But I know if you’re an employee of Amazon, they will do whatever it takes to make sure you can’t join a union. If you’re part of just stop oil in the UK, they will lock you up for ten years for holding a blank piece of paper because they have now passed a law that says they can do you for causing a nuisance and a nuisance is what they define it as. We’re heading to the point, you pointed out, that colonialism comes back to roost. And somebody I read recently said fascism is colonialism when it comes home. We are heading to that very fast. And becoming collective under the eye of the state is probably going to become increasingly hard, which all begins to sound incredibly depressing. But I read your book and I feel great hope. So I realise you’re not necessarily going to give us a political blueprint, but are you seeing sparks of things happening around the world in spite of the tendency to crush dissent and push us all back to a neoliberal model?

Max: Of course. Of course. I might just interject something before I directly answer that question, which is the criminalisation basically, of political activity in the wealthy states. Of course, it goes back a very long time. You can say it goes back to Haymarket or it goes back to post 1917 laws in the Palmer raids.

Manda: I think it goes back to the Romans, which is 2000 years ago, and possibly to Alexander. So, yeah, it goes back a long way.

Max: Right, right. Absolutely. So, you have a long standing process of criminalisation, but the modern form of criminalisation, of political dissent, which is happening aggressively in the UK, is starting to heat up again in certain ways. In the US, for example, through what’s happening, for example, in Cop City in Atlanta, what recently happened with the Uhuru Freedom movement, who is accused of being Russian agents.

Manda: Oh, but the president was a Russian agent. They can’t accuse anybody else of that too!

Max: Yeah. Well, you know, the US, the president commits the same crimes as everybody. It’s part of us democracy and egalitarianism. These things are very much rooted in targeting the internationalist components of the US left and also the criminalisation of resistance movements in the poorer parts of the world. People don’t know about it, but there are terrorists in the United States that prohibit material support to any of the national liberation movements in the periphery. And also to the point of criminalising entire state structures, like the Republican Guards in Iran, which own a substantial portion of the productive infrastructure of Iran are held by the ICRC. Now, if you call that a criminal organisation, what you’re saying is the entire productive infrastructure portion of the productive infrastructure of your state is terror. Like what? No, Like, sorry. No, no, that’s America. Actually, that’s the Pentagon system. That’s not Iran. Right. First of all we should be very clear this criminalisation, this wanton criminalisation started there and is now again bouncing back into places like the United States and the UK. Effectively through the criminalisation of dissent. In France, the criminalisation of the boycott, the BDS, the kind of moral or de facto social criminalisation of boycott activities in the UK, because unfortunately the Labour left did not fight hard enough for Corbyn with all of his flaws.

Max: He’s allowed to have flaws, by the way. But, you know, Morales is not allowed to have flaws. So I want to say that we can see the dynamic back and forth between the core and the periphery, the international and the national at every moment of the day. And the shrugging at what happens there, has allowed the sharks to kind of circle and penetrate into the core in a very deep way. Now, in terms of sparks, I mean, I think it’s very similar. And again, it’s things that people don’t think of as related to ecological politics. I spent all my time reading and thinking about ecological politics and planning and so forth. And I think it’s critically important, but I think the separation of certain sparks from our thinking of what is ecology is extremely damaging to the ecological struggle itself and the struggle for Ecosocialism. And I can give some examples. Again, this is coming from my background as a Palestine solidarity activist, but what’s happening in Jenin is amazing. I mean, it’s a refugee camp of people who have been chased from the land, right? This is always forgotten. These people are fighting to reclaim the land as the basis for building up their future. Now, people who are interested in agriculture and ecology are, and it’s a very good thing, are interested, I think, in the role of land, agriculture and so forth in the construction of an eco socialist future.

Max: But the interior, the previous question tends not to always be posed clearly enough, which is what do you do if you don’t have land? Or what if you’ve been chased from your land? Well, you’ve either got to get that land back or if your land is under threat, you need to kind of secure your control over it so that you can build up agro ecological farms on your land. Right? So I look at Jenin and I’m like, okay, these people have nothing. These people, their brothers and sisters or themselves are regularly being thrown into prison for 20 years and they are carrying out a wide scale resistance operation against the occupation of their land. In addition to that, you also have a lot of interest in cooperatives and agroecology right now in the West Bank. Although I lived in Gaza, I’m less aware of what’s going on there in terms of agroecology. And there’s a lot of interesting things going on that don’t make it into the news or Western ecological discussions enough. And I think it’s very important. I mean, there’s a huge interest in cooperatives amongst substantial portions of the youth in the West Bank who are trying to figure out how to make cooperatives work.

Max: There’s ongoing interest in an agro ecology, and there’s Soviet trained agronomists who took a turn into agro ecology starting in the 90s or the 2000 as kind of agro ecology burgeoned as an alternative production system. Now the situation there is very bleak. Everybody knows that. But there are effective forms of resistance going on there. I take another example, which is that Zimbabwe recently announced that it is going to insist on doing value added processes to its lithium, instead of exporting it in its raw form. Now, this is very important. I mean, if you want to carry out an egalitarian transition in the world system, you need to do what economists call value added processes within your national borders, so that value is retained more domestically. Which means it can be redistributed more domestically, which means you have higher incomes, which means you have greater access to do things like if necessary, pay for health care or housing and so forth. And so an element of that is, because of the way the world works at our current moment, and the hand history has dealt us, we’re living in these geopolitical units called nation states. And a geopolitical unit called a nation state like Zimbabwe is in a position to pass legislation stating that lithium, which is a core element of a worldwide green transition, should undergo a value added process domestically before it is exported. Which has great developmental implications for Zimbabwe and also has a demonstration effect that other states who are also major retainers of lithium reserves can also engage in the same type of legislation and therefore make sure that the green energy transition doesn’t become a neocolonial process, but becomes something that can actually incarnate, embody, the principles of the Cochabamba Declaration. Which means that there’s no longer a Western monopoly on the technology needed for a green transition.

Max: Instead, the green transition becomes both a means and an end. Becomes a means towards the decentralised, egalitarian, internationalist developmental convergence. And it also becomes a means towards ecosocialist transition, emphasis on the eco because we all understand that we need that lithium, although the Chinese developed a salt battery, I believe, that’s supposed to be much less resource extractive, much less polluting and can scale a lot more easily. But in any event, the point is that something like that are policies that are actually very effective. And what does that then rest on? That rests on the fact that, first of all, Zimbabwe carried out an armed national liberation struggle, through out the British. And then there was a huge process of national popular consciousness raising amongst the population.

Max: They carried out an agrarian reform. Ideology of popular nationalism gained more and more traction throughout the 1990s, the 2000s, the 2000 teens, whatever we’re calling that decade, and now into the 2020s. And part of that historical process, which is messy, covered with warts, ruts and so forth, is that Zimbabwe is now in a position to carry out this process of taking its proper role in a process of green transition within the global energy sector. And so there’s lots of hope once you look for it, but you have to be able to look for it. And you have to except that hope does not look like what the BBC or for that matter Verso Books tells you what hope should look like. Hope has the shape that’s meaningful to the people who need that specific chunk of hope in their day to day struggle. That’s where it needs to have the first resonance. And internationalism means accepting that hope, and the political crystallisation of that hope, takes forms that not only will be foreign but will actually be actively demonised, left to right in the core in the UK, in the US. And accepting that hope needs to be woven into our own form of thinking about what a transition looks like. And this is how we can actually build an internationalism that doesn’t depart from kind of a priori framework about what political struggle needs to look like, but builds from existing struggles on the ground. Which is, you know, something that should resonate with people from Marxist or anarchist perspectives, for that matter, is that you build up from existing struggles.

Manda: Right.

Max: If you look hard enough, you see, okay, oh, that’s where in Zimbabwe they took land from white farmers and gave it to poor black people living in slums and had a reagrarian partially of the population. And they’re carrying out lithium green transition. Oh, the people in Jenin are actually fighting for the liberation of their land and they are having at the same time, simultaneous with that, there are important cooperative experiments going on elsewhere in the West Bank. Oh, the people in the Houthi government in Yemen is fighting for the sovereign defence of its land. And at the same time there is a national program for food and agrarian production, which has elements of food sovereignty discourse. And surely, although I don’t know what are the direct links, is both the fruit of long standing endogenous interests in Yemen and a return to traditional food ways, and also the development of their existing agro ecological heritage, which is a system of check dams and terraces.

Max: I mean, the Yemenis do not need to be told how to do agroecology, right? They have a long standing interest. They also have long standing interest in sorghum breeding. There’s long standing interest for example, in the development and the nutritional aspects of traditional food ways. Mohammed El Habashi is a Yemeni engineer who’s has a long standing interest in these types of hydraulics. My colleague Martha Mundy has worked with a number of Yemeni researchers working on this. So there’s a long standing interest in it. And those people, of course, need the cradle of nation state that’s not under attack by the US and Saudi Arabia, in order for these embryonic experiments to grow into their full and proper adulthood. And so the Resistance project is actually part and parcel of what I see as a potential not yet actual, of course, agro ecological transition in a place like Yemen. But people aren’t seeing or willing to accept those connections frequently enough, even though once you do, you see hope shining all over the place so much that it can blind you if you look at it too much. And you know, I would like people to look more at these other places of hope and understand that this has a lot to do with what kind of political practice we should embrace in the wealthier countries.

Manda: Brilliant. I love the idea of being blinded by the hope. I think we found a title for the podcast, so we’ve got a few minutes left before the end. If all these little pockets of hope begin to join up somehow, if we make good choices now, if the people in the West are able to look at the pockets of hope elsewhere and bring the ethos of that to roost at home, so that we can begin to act collectively across the world. And the great thing, I’m talking to you in Baltimore in real time. No generation before ours has had the capacity to join up in the way that we do if we choose to and if we can find the nexus and the values around which to proceed. Have you a vision of a world, because you said at the beginning that we need that utopia to aim for. We need to tell people what they’re going for to make the struggle worth it. Let’s look. I don’t know. Let’s not define a time span, but enough down the road that we can see more of progress than unprogress. What does the world look and feel like? What are we prodding people, nudging people towards that they can wake up in the morning and look forward to?

Max: You know, there’s no reason that in 20 years you could not have worldwide universal health care systems. And there’s no reason that in 30 years you couldn’t have basically a worldwide agro ecological system of land management and farming that is attentive to biodiversity concerns that has turned agriculture into a negative emissions sector, and that is putting a full stop to the ongoing extinction events that are pocking the planet. There is no reason you can’t have in 20 years a partial and in 30 years a full transition to mass transit systems almost fully replacing, except for emergency situations like ambulances, disabled people and so forth, replacing cars and the kind of hugely energetically inefficient automobile culture, which is a huge crutch, a huge basis for monopoly capital on a world scale. These transitions can certainly happen in 20 to 30 years. I mean, I’m not so optimistic that we can get rid of capitalism that quickly. But I think you can begin to set in place a lot of these kind of eco socialist transitional programs, both in the core and the periphery. And I’m also confident that you can begin that you could see a shift to a multi-polar world anchored in working class, social and political power within 20 to 30 years. Beginning to soak up the labour reserves in the periphery, eliminating completely extreme poverty, increasing lifespans on a world scale, having decentralised medical systems. Using systems of decentralised where necessary or possible electricity generation through check dams, decentralised solar where necessary and important. Where you still need centralised electricity installations you do it because everyone needs electricity in order to live in complex human civilisations. And to be able to start using rational systems of planning as to the amount of industry that is appropriate for complex human civilisations.

Max: I mean all of this at a technical level, you can implement it much quicker. At a political and social level, in the core I don’t see these transitions gaining that much traction immediately. They’ll take time. Then they can accelerate very rapidly. And you know, in 30 years the world could look very different. I mean, one, it could be a hell hole, you know, where the south is burnt up and it’s 50 degrees and you have recurrent crop failures across the periphery and you have blights and you have armoured walls across all the main migration zones from the periphery to the core. The Mexico border wall is even more militarised, hardened, taller, wider. And you have gun ships in the Mediterranean, you have gunships setting out from northern Australia. Those things are possible. And it’s also possible that you could have resistance sufficient to those policies in order to instead devote social resources, social interest and social consciousness towards worldwide transitions in our productive base, increased development in the South, so as to be able to actually have sovereign control over their productive systems and control their own green energy transitions, control their own infrastructure development, control their own mass transit installation, control their own national health care systems, and massively increase health outcomes. Of course, all of this necessarily nested in agroecology and landscape management. I mean, there’s no one who can say what is or isn’t possible in that period of time. No one can say it.

Manda: No. And in the thought experiments that you do going forward, do cities still exist? Because I struggle to see, given the material flow limits that we have, which seem to me quite real and given the need for an agro ecological future, creating mass food and transporting it from the periphery of the cities into the cities strikes me as quite hard. And that there’s going to have to be quite a realignment from urban to rural life. And that in itself is going to take a lot of material and we may not have the material flows to do it. Or do you think that cities will still exist and how are we going to to do the agro ecological to city link if they do?

Max: You know, in the absence of systemic social collapse, I see cities maintaining a lot of the same kind of morphology, especially in the north that they do today. In fact, you know, I do think I’m a huge advocate of creating programs to encourage all forms of urban and peri urban farming, almost less for food supply, and more because the overall greening and biodiversity benefits and cooling and resilience to floods. I call them ancillary, but even they could be primary. The ecological effects might be in some ways more important in the north. And this question of food production itself, also the fact that urban children would be exposed to dirt, which is very important for immune systems of young people and developing into healthy adults. But I don’t actually see any relocalization really of people from cities. But we’ll see. I think it will be much more important actually to focus, for example, on wide scale agrarian reform in the core so that the people who are already relocated from cities like Mexico City or Tijuana and then migrate through these circular migration processes to the south, where in California they’re an agricultural proletariat instead become landowners. And let’s be honest, that struggle would take 5 to 10 years at a minimum to succeed in a place like the US.

Max: So you do need a new rural urban balance that should look somewhat similar. But I think we should not be thinking about collapse as our kind of catalyst in the North. I think the South is very different. In the South you have an immediate material interest in an element of representation and a transport of human beings, by their own volition, from bidonvilles, from slums surrounding cities like Harare, surrounding Lagos, surrounding Rio de Janeiro, surrounding Sao Paulo, surrounding Caracas. You have a clear interest from those populations that is manifest and has been very successful for example in Zimbabwe, of shifting certain periurban or slum populations to farming if they are offered land and state support for agriculture. So I do see a new rural urban balance, because these labour reserves in the South are unmanageable through the same type of developmental trajectory that occurred in the north, primarily through colonial looting, neocolonial looting and the slave trade. So the south will look different. I don’t see food transport being a major problem.

Max: I do see there being in the longer run issues related to what kind of food is accessible to people in the north. I mean, right now, the so called resolved agrarian question in the north rests on tropical goods imports from the south. And this is one of the bases for the variety and richness of northern diets. How are you going to achieve a proxy replacement for that in the north, with the current levels of agricultural employment, when these types of products or their analogues, for example, berries, fruits and so forth in the north are much more more labour intensive and are less amenable to mechanisation? This requires a lot of thought and decision about what kind of world do people want to live in. If people want that type of good food to be available to them, there may need to be some slightly higher percentage of northern populations involved in agriculture. So this has to be figured out collectively. What that looks like I honestly don’t know. And it will be it will be determined in the next ten, 20, probably 30 or 40 years.

Manda: Final question. We’re running over time, but we keep coming back to the fact that we have to make decisions collectively to change the way that we’re doing things. And I watch the huge majority of the population who are never going to listen, frankly, to a podcast like this. Much though I would love them to and who are instead consuming what they’re being given and they’re being given the things by the people who have the money and who have a very powerful vested interest in maintaining the status quo. Have you thoughts on how, within the existing system, we can spread the ideas to get the collective decision making that stands behind and underneath everything that you said.

Max: My answer is a bit superficial, which is that we just need to keep diffusing information and analysis that we think is relevant to the world we want to see. And this is why I say that the struggle in places like the UK and the US is in some ways still embryonic. Because there’s not a wide enough diffusion and conversation about the types of information and analysis that are necessary in order to build that future. So, at a variety of levels, both the decentralised and individual level, that the new media enables people to get a very wide reach for the diffusion of information and analysis. Print on demand, the Internet, Twitter. I mean, there’s a lot of media now, of channels, vectors for information to reach a relatively wider critical mass that can enable, in turn an even broader social transformation. So we have to just keep chucking.

Manda: And hope that Twitter hasn’t gone down between the time we record this and the time it goes out. But then there’s always Mastodon. Mastodon is great. All right. That makes a lot of sense. We’re so far over time that it doesn’t matter. We’ll have to do some fancy editing. Is there anything else you would like to say to people listening, with a view to disseminating these ideas, to people who at least bother to listen to this podcast? Is there an idea that people listening could take and carry and spread that perhaps we could share other than the whole podcast, which we hope they will?

Max: Join an organisation.

Manda: Okay. All righty. Perhaps try and find a list of ones that people could. I mean, I would join Extinction Rebellion over here in the UK, but that’s slightly unpopular these days. Okay. Join an organisation, find other people, get some kind of mass result. That’s great. Thank you so much, Max. It’s been such a pleasure talking to you. And I’m so inspired that you exist in the world. And I hope everybody will read your book. Thank you.

Max: Thank you.

Manda: Well, there we go. So much to think about there. As Max says, joining an organisation now is really important. We need to start acting in far greater numbers. During the podcast because my brain was probably not switched on as well as it could be, I just thought of Extinction Rebellion. Since then in the UK it has occurred to me Landworkers Alliance. If you’re remotely interested in creating the agro ecological future that we know we need, definitely that. And the international wider version of that is La Via Campesina. I’ve put links to both of those in the show notes. But there will be hundreds if not thousands of unions, youth organisations. Organisations of passion and of purpose that get this. That understand the ecosocialist agenda, that understand that the way that we’re living now is not sustainable and we are racing towards the edge of the cliff. So I would be quite interested in creating a list of these and putting it on the website version of the show notes so that it’s there as a permanent resource. So if you’re listening and you know of an organisation, national, international, local, doesn’t matter. One that’s got really good grounded principles and a reasonably large membership. Then let me know. I will check it. I do get final say. Don’t get upset if I don’t put it up, but if it’s good, I will put it up.

Manda: So give it a go and let’s see if we can begin to change the trajectory of the world. And that apart, I do highly recommend Max’s book. It’s a beautifully written book and a really straightforward read and totally eye opening. So go for that too. And that’s it for this week. We’ll be back next week with another conversation. In the meantime, huge thanks to Alan Mills of Airtight Studios in Manchester for the production. Caro C for the music at the head and foot. To Faith Tilleray for the website and for very long hours late into the night, getting all of the episodes up onto YouTube. I might have mentioned this once or twice already, but if you have nothing better to do, please go and subscribe. It will keep her very happy. Thanks to Anne Thomas for the transcripts. And as ever, an enormous thanks to you for listening. If you know of anybody else who really wants to get to grips with the depth of thinking of how we can move beyond the present system. Of the flexibility of thought that we’re going to need, of the way we’re going to need to broaden our understanding of what’s good and useful and right, then please send them this link. And that’s it for now. See you next week. Thank you and goodbye.

You may also like these recent podcasts

The Jay, The Beech and The Limpetshell with author Richard Smyth

The Jay, The Beech and The Limpetshell with author Richard Smyth

Today we speak to the author of ‘The Jay, the Beech and the Limpetshell’ – a work that is both memoir and eulogy for a dying world. It brings together Richard’s passionate love of the natural world with his care for his two young children and considers how we help the generations that come after us to fall in love with a world that is going to be so, so different from when we were young – however old you are now, whatever your memories.

Clean Air, Clean Water, Clean Politics with Baroness Natalie Bennett of the Green Party

Clean Air, Clean Water, Clean Politics with Baroness Natalie Bennett of the Green Party

In this second election special, we talk to Natalie Bennett (or Baroness Bennett of Manor Castle if we’re going to be formal – but she said we didn’t need to be) – one of two Green Party members in the House of Lords. Natalie is author of the Book ‘Change Everything: How we can rethink, repair and rebuild society’ – one of the essential books of our time that outlines in detail how we can create the total systemic change we need.


For a regular supply of ideas about humanity's next evolutionary step, insights into the thinking behind some of the podcasts,  early updates on the guests we'll be having on the show - AND a free Water visualisation that will guide you through a deep immersion in water connection...sign up here.

(NB: This is a free newsletter - it's not joining up to the Membership!  That's a nice, subtle pink button on the 'Join Us' page...) 

Share This