Struggles in the Planet Factory: Class Composition and Global Warming

  • Nick Dyer-Witheford
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Educational Futures book series (PSEF)


This chapter examines the class composition of global warming. It looks at the class struggles integral to both capital’s ongoing burning of fossil fuels and the rebound of solar radiation, examining the conflicts igniting and ignited by each within a global “planet factory”. On the ascending emissions side, we begin with the class dynamics of capital’s mining and oil industries; go on to the class clashes and armistices that created the Fordist factory and its mass production of automobiles; and then to the cognitive labor of a digitized capitalism whose computerized infrastructures and scientific labors at once identified global warming, aggravated its industrial effects, and fostered new movements of environmental protest. On the descending side, where the trapped heat returns to land and ocean, we find anti-extractivist revolts; the migrations of desperate populations fleeing drought and war; and the travails of China’s new proletarians, toiling in industrial cities beset with smog and flood. The chapter concludes by assessing the likelihood of new climate-change-driven cycles of class struggle.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nick Dyer-Witheford
    • 1
  1. 1.University of Western OntarioLondonCanada

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