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Dear Friend of CNS

If one is going to ask for money it should be for a really important reason, for example, to help us understand whether we have a future worth living, and how we can help make this happen.

The grim fact today is that no thinking person can be sure whether a worthwhile future exists. Colossal hurricanes, melting polar icecaps, growing water, food and energy shortages, species extinction at a rate greater than anything since the disappearance of the dinosaurs, the threat of new pandemic diseases, and conditioning everything, a society entering a phase of permanent war—all this shadows our future. The malignant Bush adminstration is both a symptom of our times and a force accelerating the breakdown of the global ecology.

I offer neither a crystal ball nor a ready-made solution to the ecological crisis. But I do spend a lot of time working on a journal, Capitalism Nature Socialism (CNS), that takes the widest, deepest and most uncompromising look at this crisis and fearlessly stands for the possibility of a radical solution worthy of humanity and nature. Our name declares our line of approach: Capitalism is the problem, a regime whose profit-seeking and endless expansion sow chaos across the planet; Nature is being invaded and destabilized by capital on an expanding scale; consequently, we need to create a post-capitalist alternative, by definition Socialist, yet a socialism that is ecologically rational and therefore radically different from twentieth century models.

To be “ecologically rational” is to stand for the flourishing of life in the face of the system that would subsume life into money. It means going beyond pop journalism, timid academicism, the standard nostrums of the left as well as the alternatives posed by the system. It means being open to multiple genres and perspectives from across the world, and committed to first-rate scholarship as well as radical action.

In our forthcoming December issue, for example, you will find an article explosing the official system of trading emissions credits to control greenhouse gases as “carbon fraud” and neocolonialism; and another that treats with anthropological depth the resistance of Nigerian women who use nudity to challenge the incursions of Big Oil. You can also find the thoughts of the great eco-feminist Maria Mies about her “subsistence perspective”; an exploration of scarcely known links between Karl Marx and Islamic philosophy; a discussion of “micro-communities” of resistance and affirmation; a description of female-centered grassroots stuggle toward rational and just production of cotton; and Manifestos for ecological socialism from the struggle in Italy and India. December’s CNS even has a poem about the Hudson Valley and a meditation on the vagaries of psychoanalytic therapy—in other words, the gamut of what is critical of capital, affirmative of nature’s intrinsic value, and open toward a radical ecosocialist alternative.

CNS was founded by James O’Connor and Barbara Laurence 16 years ago. I have been its Editor-in-Chief for the last year, since Jim retired, and I come to you now to ask for your support for our efforts on behalf of an ecologically rational world. We need first to guarantee sustainability of the day to day work of the journal by bringing aboard a salaried Managing Editor to take over the work that Barbara Laurence has until now done gratis, and to build a New York office. But we want also to go beyond where we are, to realize our larger goals. These include:

Strengthening our international network. CNS has editorial groups in New York, Boston, San Francisco, Toronto and London, and works with sister journals in Italy, Spain and France. In 2005, we plan to develop working relationships with groups in India, Turkey and South Africa, with the aim of building a global alliance of like-minded people.

Organizing an international conference. Planned for next July at Toronto’s York University, on the theme of “Ecology, Imperialism and the Contradictions of Capitalism”; it will also be a celebration of the life and work of James O’Connor.

Expanding our Web presence. We are seeking to greatly improve our Web facilities at, by adding a paid Web Developer to our staff. This will provide a forum for our editors to exchange ideas, post drafts and carry on debates. We will better serve our readers through newsletters, bulletins and blogs. And the site will create a new avenue to involve more people by offering CNS’s unique materials to a wider public as well as interactive consultations about environmental concerns.

Developing our publishing facilities to include books and monographs that will further enable us to develop our message.

I ask that you give generously to enable us to reach these goals. These changes will allow CNS to involve a wider range of contributors, reach a larger audience in more parts of the world and continue to develop a critical red-green intellectual culture. CNS, with editors in 16 countries, has the scope and credentials to play a leading role in the international movement to bring a better, ecologically sustainable world into being, and your support will underwrite the strong, healthy and vibrant organization such work requires.

Thank you in advance. The whole world is at stake.

Joel Kovel
Editor-in-Chief emeritus

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Last Update 12.13.2009

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