The Tragedy of the Worker
Towards the Proletarocene
Part of the Salvage Editions series
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112 pages / July 2021 / 9781839762949
July 2021 / 9781839762963

Facing irreversible climate change, the planet is en route to apocalypse

To understand the scale of what faces us and how it ramifies through every corner of our lives is to marvel at our inaction. Why aren’t we holding emergency meetings in every city, town and village every week?

What is to be done to create a planet where a communist horizon offers a new dawn to replace our planetary twilight? What does it mean to be a communist after we have hit a climate tipping point?

The Tragedy of the Worker is a brilliant, stringently argued pamphlet reflecting on capitalism’s death drive, the left’s complicated entanglements with fossil fuels, and the rising tide of fascism. In response, the authors propose Salvage Communism, a programme of restoration and reparation that must precede any luxury communism. They set out a new way to think about the Anthropocene. The Tragedy of the Worker demands an alternative future—the Proletarocene—one capable of repairing the ravages of capitalism and restoring the world.


Salvage is the most exciting journal to appear on the anglophone left over the past decade: avant-garde Marxism with no illusions, perfectly pitched to our dismal times. Here the formidable Salvage Collective tackles the defining question of those times: the ecological crisis. The result is the most beautiful and urgent essay yet written on what climate catastrophe means for the struggle for communism, in the past, present and future. This is one for the ages.”

“The kind of realism we need to meet this moment: eyes wide open. Strangely poetic, as befitting a tragedy. I never want to read books about the ecological crisis twice, but this one I will return to many times, because it’s layered. Layered but legible; bold and without pretention — this is a book you can’t wait to pass along to a friend, because despite its grimness, it evokes that feeling of common cause.”

“A book that ought to be essential reading for all … detailed, convincing and critically important.”

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