LBW: So you have four basic generalized alternatives
here and you’ve got Leviathan Behemoth Mao and then you’ve got Climate X Climate X is
this at least in my opinion I would like to have and I think something that you seem to
advocate for in some way as well so let’s just describe that real quick and give an
idea of what the more positive potential future could be regarding the research that you’ve
done define X that’s why the last section of the
book explores it in some detail but if I had to begin by putting it formulaically the future
that we describe the path into the future that we describe as Climate X is a scenario
where somehow we have managed to overcome the capitalist organization of the global
economy while also avoiding the creation of a planetary sovereignty and therefore have
managed to while indeed also while also overcoming the contemporary form of sovereignty which
is organized on to put it bluntly radically non-democratic basis so that’s a very tall
order and I think that the easiest way to understand it is is a utopian vision and so
as soon as I say well it’s utopian then one might reasonably ask then what’s the point
don’t we need something concrete and our response to that would be to say that climate change
is particularly complicated as politics because it presents itself as a crisis of the imagination
and that even on the political left we see a deep crisis of the inability to imagine
how to confront climate change except for accepting something we describe as Climate
Leviathan a capitalist world order that at least has some powerful adults at the top
trying to avoid some of the worst possible outcomes and so the problem is as long as
we’re stuck within a political horizon where that’s the best we can imagine then we really
are in trouble and we need to as a first step towards radically working our way out of this
difficult situation to develop a much clearer critical perspective on where we stand in
terms of the Earth’s natural history in terms of human political history as a way of sketching
a new imaginary of a new utopian prospect for a radically different organization of
power in the world that was a preface now I didn’t answer your question what is X what
does that really mean I mean what we’re really talking about is what we would and this clearly
this is not really our idea in any sense it’s an idea which already is playing itself out
all over the world in many people’s lives and we would never dare and try to take credit
for it but it’s the idea of trying to say okay well if we need to confront capitalism
in order to deal with climate change and if the way to do that is start with where you
are then what we’re describing is an effort of building upon the social and ecological
struggles that are already happening all over the world mainly led by poor people and women
and people of color and indigenous people and working people and so forth and so on
in other words it’s about trying to radicalize and unite all those disparate struggles so
that they could become something like the beginning of a very different way of organizing
the world so that’s concretely what we’re talking about and in that sense I suppose
someone could legitimately criticize our book as saying it’s just a really long winded way
of celebrating some of the most radical stuff that’s happening in the world but I think
Geoff and I would be quite flattered with that description because we do want to celebrate
the great things that are happening in the world but at the same time we think we also
have something important to contribute which is a very honest analytical theoretically
grounded historically aware perspective on just how great the challenge is and how far
we have to go so our effort to contribute to that struggle goes beyond our own political
involvement but into this kind of work that involves think and writing and teaching about
questions that we all need to attend to like what are we really trying to fight for that’s
a bit long winded let me put it to really bluntly put it more negatively if I could
when we’ve been involved in climate justice work we have often felt that if we’re really
honest a lot of what people think they’re struggling for and what they’re actually likely
to achieve are so far apart that we need to have a clearer understanding of what we we
are really trying to do and that’s what we want to contribute to because we don’t want
to accidentally find out that through some kind of ruse of history we’ve all been fighting
to build Climate Leviathan when what we really wanted was Climate X