James Plested
James Plested

James Plested is an editor of Red Flag.

Crimes against nature
James Plested

If you’re among those who, understandably, feel a growing sense of despair and hopelessness in the face of accelerating ecological breakdown—when every day seemingly brings word of new catastrophes—then Jeff Sparrow’s book Crimes Against Nature: Capitalism and Global Heating, published last year by Scribe, is for you. At the book’s core is a message famously conveyed by fantasy and science fiction writer Ursula Le Guin: “We live in capitalism. Its power seems inescapable. So did the divine right of kings. Any human power can be resisted and changed by human beings”.

On fossil fuels and living costs
James Plested

For decades the right in Australia and around the world have argued that any serious shift away from fossil fuels would, in addition to massive job losses, result in a punishing rise in living costs. This has, perhaps, been their single most effective piece of propaganda—one that positions them as the champions of workers and the poor who will be most impacted by increases in the price of electricity and other essential goods and services.

Explaining the federal election ‘Green-slide’
Explaining the ‘Green-slide’
James Plested

While there’s no doubt the Greens in Brisbane went into the election with a favourable set of circumstances for their campaign, it was the campaign itself, and the work done in the months and years preceding it, that super-charged their vote and delivered a historic breakthrough for the party.

There is no ‘green transition’
There is no ‘green transition’
James Plested

It has become common, in recent years, to hear assertions that the world is already in the midst of a transition to a green economy. This kind of “green triumphalism”, however, is little more than a fantasy—one that is (and often consciously intended to be) a barrier to winning the kind of radical change we need.

Against 'ethical consumption'
James Plested

Few people today are so naive as to believe that recycling, using a “keep cup”, switching off lights or having shorter showers will be enough to avert the unfolding environmental and climate catastrophe. The accumulation of evidence of the global and systemic nature of the problem has been sufficient to convince most that any genuine solution must involve radical changes to society as a whole, rather than just a shift in the consumption choices of individuals.

Dadaism in Berlin
James Plested

“We took an oath of friendship”, wrote French poet, writer and performer Tristan Tzara in his account of the origins of Dadaism, “on the new transmutation that signifies nothing, and was the most formidable protest, the most intense armed affirmation of salvation liberty blasphemy mass combat speed prayer tranquillity private guerrilla negation and chocolate of the desperate”. Today, unfortunately, Dadaism has suffered the ultimate fate of all major aesthetic movements under capitalism.

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