A Leftist guide for the coming catastrophes.

Abstract: Socialists have historically thought a lot about the catastrophic risks society faces. Today many DSA chapters have gotten involved in mutual aid to respond to the Covid crisis, generating a debate about how mutual aid fits into socialist work. One form of community engagement that is likely to be increasingly necessary, and is an opportunity for radicalizing angry neighbors, is disaster preparedness. While the prepper subculture is perceived as right-wing, and parts are tied into the militia movement, there are also opportunities for progressive organizations to work with FEMA and local governments. …


Photo by Li-An Lim on Unsplash

Back in 1983, while I was working in Sri Lanka, the German Greens were first elected to the Bundestag. As a post-Marxist social theorist, interested in ecological thinking, and someone looking for a way to connect spirituality, new social movements and the traditional Left, I began following Green politics closely. When I got to graduate school the US Green Party had organized, and I started the short-lived EcoSocialist Review (1988–1994) to discuss the overlaps and tensions between Green and social justice politics, around themes like environmental racism and how to build labor support for climate policies. …


As a teenage Buddhist socialist I wrote essays about how I planned to work on enlightenment while trying to change the world. The connection between moral enhancement and political change has been on my mind every since. Once I started writing about the ways we can implement moral enhancement in liberal democratic societies, however, I began thinking about the fact that all societies, including liberal ones, have moral parameters, and use forms of moral enhancement to encourage compliance. …


In Citizen Cyborg I argued that the political landscape around technopolitics would soon reflect the complicated intellectual landscape of Bush-era bioethics. In the 2000s there were right-wingers and left-wingers who were (and still are) on both the pro and anti sides of myriad technology debates. I argued then that while 20th century politics in the West had been shaped by the struggle for the Enlightenment in the cultural sphere, and by struggles between different Enlightenment values in economics, these two axes would soon be joined by a third technopolitical axis. …

James J. Hughes PhD

James J. Hughes is Executive Director of the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies, and a research fellow at UMass Boston’s Center for Applied Ethics.

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