1936-2018 Remembering Joel Kovel, a towering pioneer of ecosocialism

Michael Löwy reflects on the life and contributions of our friend and comrade, ecosocialist Joel Kovel, who died on April 30.

The passing of Joel Kovel is a great loss not only for us, his friends and collaborators, but for the broad international ecosocialist movement, of which he was a towering pioneer.

I first met Joel at an International Marxist Conference at the University of Nanterre (Paris), convened in 2001 by my friends of the journal Actuel Marx. We immediately sympathised, and found a common interest: the urgent need to bring together the “Red” and the “Green,” under the aegis of a new concept: Ecosocialism. We felt that the most of the left had not yet understood the need for an ecological turn, and we believed one should attempt to contribute to such a re-orientation. The Fourth International, with which I was associated, had just decided to adopt an ecosocialist program, and Joel felt encouraged by this decision.

Joel tells the story of our meeting in The Lost Traveller’s Dreambut, in his unassuming and modest way, does not say that the idea of writing an International Ecosocialist Manifesto was his. I immediately agreed with the proposition and we worked out the document together, after several drafts. As he says, it was like sending a message in a bottle thrown into the sea.
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