Is Energy White?
And if so, What Does that Mean for Left Strategy?

by Larry Lohmann

first published 22 January 2021

In the 19th century, many new equivalences became embedded in the landscape among heat, mechanical force, muscle power, electricity, magnetism and so forth. At the same time, other relations also spread across some of the same spaces: wage labour relations, cotton slavery, new flows of waste and waste work and so on. These relations represent the hierarchies coded in thermodynamic or abstract energy. They are key to understanding today's energy as white, colonialist and patriarchal.

This powerpoint presentation argues that this understanding will be important in bridge-building between movements for, say, a Green New Deal (largely originating in the white middle class of the global North) and movements that are more critical of the dominant energy regime itself (many of which are to be found in the global South as well as among communities oppressed by energy extraction and energy production in the global North).