Why the Left Needs Degrowth

Why the Left Needs Degrowth

Aaron Vansintjan

May 29, Saturday, 12-3 PM EST. Online via Zoom.

To better enable an intimate educational experience, this seminar has limited space.

The theory and social movement of Degrowth argues that it is possible, and necessary, to radically decrease the material and energetic throughput of the economy. In addition, it argues that, in order to address the current crises, we must dismantle the hegemony of growth.

This seminar will make the case for why degrowth is necessary for the left.

The session will be organized around the forthcoming book, The Future is Degrowth: A Guide to A World Beyond Capitalism, by Matthias Schmelzer, Andrea Vetter, and Aaron Vansintjan. The book, to be published by Verso Books in 2022, is the first book to provide a rigorous survey of degrowth concepts from a leftist, anti-capitalist perspective. Participants will have the chance to engage with a selection of the book’s contents and arguments.

In the seminar, we will discuss:

  • What is meant by growth and why it has brought us to where we are today.
  • Various leftist critiques of growth brought forward by the degrowth movement, but which are not often discussed in a left context. We will focus on ecological, the cultural, eco-feminist, the North-South, and the industrial critiques.
  • How degrowth policy proposals align with, and challenge, various Green New Deal proposals.
  • The role of crisis (e.g. financial crises, pandemics, disasters) in growth and degrowth.
  • Responses to common criticism of degrowth arguments.

Participants are expected to have some working knowledge of leftist critiques of capitalism, patriarchy, and colonialism. The seminar will be participatory, encouraging discussion, debate, and critique.


  • The left should embrace degrowth, by Giorgos Kallis
  • The future is degrowth: A guide to a world beyond capitalism, Chapter 2 (will be emailed prior to the seminar)

Optional reading:

Facilitator: Aaron Vansintjan is a writer and researcher, focusing on degrowth, urban social movements, and ecological thought. He is co-editor of Uneven Earth, a website on ecological politics, the editor of In Defense of Degrowth by Giorgos Kallis, and co-author of The Future is Degrowth: A Guide to A World Beyond Capitalism, forthcoming with Verso Books.

Seminar Cost:

  • $30 – Member Ticket for Incite Seminars Patreon Supports at any level
  • $45 – Non-Member (True Cost) Ticket
  • $90 – Generous Supporter Ticket
  • $15 – Student/Contingent Scholar/Activist Ticket
  • Solidarity pay-what-you-can tickets are also available for those who cannot afford any of the above tiers. Please email us.


Please register by buying a ticket at our Eventbrite page. We are committed to making all our offerings accessible to those who are eager to learn, regardless of financial means. If you have any questions or concerns, please email inciteseminarsphila@gmail.com.

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