To mark what would have been Raymond Williams’s 99th birthday today, we’re launching a three-part series titled ‘Raymond Williams and Ecosocialism’. First up is a recording of ‘Ecology and Socialism’, a lecture given to the Socialist Environment and Resources Association (SERA) on 28th June 1980.
‘Socialism and Ecology’, as it was later retitled, was first published as a SERA pamphlet in 1982 before appearing in Resources of Hope: Culture, Democracy, Socialism (Verso 1988). You can read it for free online, thanks to the New Socialist, and listen to the original lecture here:
Williams was an early proponent of ecosocialism and his thinking remains a challenge to the labour, socialist, and green movements, particularly around discussions of production and expansion and the problems with what he described as a social order reproducing poverty inside growth. His writings on such matters are a compelling feature of his late work. He was a member of SERA – a socialist society affiliated with but independent from the Labour Party – and insisted the way past defeat for socialists was with the movements of peace, ecology, and feminism, putting forward the case for an international socialism and a new kind of politics.
Tomorrow, the society releases Part Two of ‘Raymond Williams and Ecosocialism’ when we publish the transcript of ‘Ecology and the Labour Movement’ by Williams. On Wednesday, Peter Hill’s essay ‘From Production to Livelihood – Raymond Williams on Ecosocialism’ completes the series.
Many thanks to the Barry Amiel and Norman Melburn Trust for making this project possible and to Merryn Williams for her continued support.