Seven questions for ecosocialists

From the Solidarity Ecosocialist Working Group

  1. How does ecosocialist politics differ from traditional socialist and labor politics? To what extent does the kind of ecosocialist orientation we need today reflect a continuity with, and to what extent does it represent a break from, previous ideological and programmatic perspectives of the revolutionary workers’ movement?
  2. What role do science, technology, labor productivity and production play in the transition from capitalism to ecosocialism, also in an ecosocialist society after the transition?
  3. Since the self-emancipation of the working class and other oppressed layers is central in the transition from capitalism to socialism, and therefore to ecosocialism, what do we think will motivate these social forces to see the necessity of ecosocialism? How does the ecological crisis affect the orientation of unions and their place in the class struggle? Beyond traditional kinds of demands and programs, are there other demands and programs that might supplement or perhaps supplant the traditional approach of unions?
  4. How, if scaling back production is necessary, will ecosocialist strategy remain committed to meeting human needs? Or can we envision continued expansion and economic growth under ecosocialism, as the working classes and others in the industrialized nations have come to expect? If so, how does this differ from expansion and growth under capitalism? What will enable it to take place without an even greater destruction of the environment? If not, how do we ensure the generalized satisfaction of needs for all, including the equalization of living standards between the industrialized nations and the rest of the world?
  5. What ideas do ecosocialists raise in the climate change movement? Are James Hansen’s proposals (for example, advocacy of a “carbon tax” rather than “cap and trade”) in some form useful for ecosocialists as transitional demands, or are they simply an attempt to solve the ecological crisis within the context of capitalism? What is the relationship today between issues that can mobilize traditional kinds of mass struggles, such as hydrofracking or the Keystone XL pipeline, and proposals to promote what some might term “life-style” actions (what others refer to as “prefiguration”) such as personally using fewer resources, boycotting GMO foods and buying organic, putting a priority on recycling, creating/promoting urban gardens, food coops, and similar institutions?
  6. Related to #5: What kinds of cooperatives that can be built today might be able to teach us something about a post-capitalist world? What role, if any, should ecosocialists seek to play in these communities?
  7. Is it possible for left governments in developing countries to pursue a more egalitarian social project, in the context of a global economy that continues to be dependent on extractivism, without violating basic ecological principles—in particular the demands of their own indigenous populations? If so how? If not, what priorities should be established in the context of difficult/contradictory choices?

Some responses to questions 1-6

The article by Marc Becker, “Ecuador’s Bitter Choice”, addresses question 7 to some extend.

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On Sept 19, 2023 ahead of the Climate Ambition Summit in New York City, climate activists gathered for a rally and civil disobedience outside Bank of America Tower in Midtown Manhattan as part of the March to End Fossil Fuels wave of actions resulting in multiple arrests. Activists demand Bank of America to “Defund Climate Chaos and Defend Human Rights” Photo: Erik McGregor (CC BY-NC 2.0 Deed)

Let’s Save Each Other

Let’s Save Each Other

Illustration by Stephanie McMillan. Used with permission