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Pre-Congress, 17th World Congress

The capitalist destruction of the environment and the ecosocialist alternative

Wednesday 9 August 2017, by Fourth International Ecology Commission

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This version 2 of the resolution is submitted by the Ecology Commission to the discussion and vote of the World Congress. – September 2017

In memory of Berta Caceres, indigenous activist, ecologist and feminist from Honduras, assassinated on the 3rd of March 2016 by the henchmen of the multinationals and in memory of the martyrs in the struggles for environmental justice.

1. Introduction

1.1. The pressure humanity exerts on the Earth System has been growing ever more rapidly since the 1950s. At the beginning of the 21st century, it has reached an extremely alarming level, and continues to grow in almost all areas. Thresholds are already exceeded in some areas, particularly greenhouse gases concentration in the atmosphere. This increasing quantitative pressure, observable everywhere and in most fields, leads to a qualitative shift that could be abrupt (within a few decades) and largely irreversible. The Earth System would then enter a new dynamic equilibrium regime, characterized by very different geophysical conditions and an even more marked decrease in its biological richness. At the least, in addition to the consequences for other living creatures, the transition to this new regime would endanger the lives of hundreds of millions of poor people, especially women, children and the elderly. At the most, it cannot be excluded that it contributes to a collapse of our species.

1.2. The danger increases day by day, but the catastrophe can be averted, or at least limited and contained. It is not human existence in general that is the determining cause of the threat, but the mode of production and social reproduction of this existence, which also includes its mode of distribution, consumption and cultural values. The mode in force for about two centuries – capitalism – is unsustainable because competition for profit, its driving force, implies a blind tendency to limitless quantitative growth. During the 20th century, the countries of "really existing socialism" were unable to offer an alternative to the productivist destruction of the environment to which they also contributed in an important way. At the beginning of the 21st century, humanity is confronted with the unprecedented obligation to control its development in all fields in order to make it compatible with the limits and the good health of the environment in which it has developed. No political project can ignore the conclusion of scientific studies on "global change". On the contrary, every political project must be assessed first of all by taking into account the risk, the systemic responses it brings, the conformity of these responses with the fundamental requirements of human dignity, and their articulation with its program in the other areas, particularly in the social and economic sphere.

2. A deep gap between the urgency of a radical ecosocialist alternative on the one hand and the relationship of forces and the levels of consciousness on the other hand.

2.1. An entirely different relationship of humankind to the environment is an urgent necessity. This new relationship, based on a caring model for both humans and the environment, will not be simply the result of individual changes in behaviour. Rather it needs a structural change in the relationships between humans: the total and global eradication of capitalism as the mode of production of social existence. This total eradication is indeed the necessary condition for a rational, economical and prudent management in the exchanges of matter between humanity and the rest of nature. Sciences and technologies can facilitate this management, but only on the condition that their development is not subjected to the dictates of capitalist profit.

2.2. Green capitalism and the Paris agreement do not allow us to get rid of the environmental destruction in general and of the dangers of climate denial in particular. The alternative can only come from a worldwide policy which satisfies real human needs. These are not determined by the market but by a democratic discussion that allows people to take their destiny in their own hands, liberated from market alienation. This will break the impersonal logic of productivist accumulation typical of capitalism.

2.3. The key demands of this alternative are:

1- the socialization of the energy sector: this is the only way to break free of a fossil energy economy, stop nuclear energy, reduce radically the production/consumption of energy and realize as fast as possible the transition towards a renewable, decentralized and efficient energy system according to ecological and social imperatives;

2- the socialization of the credit sector: this is essential given the interweaving of the energy and financial sectors in heavy and long-term investments and in order to have the necessary financial resources for transition investments;

3- the abolition of private ownership of natural resources (land, water, forests, wind, solar energy, geothermal energy, marine resources, …) and intellectual knowledge;

4- the destruction of all stock of arms, suppression of useless (weapons etc.) or harmful products (petrochemicals, nuclear energy), the production of use values decided democratically instead of exchange values;

5-a common and democratic management of resources at the service of real human needs, with respect for the good functioning and the capacities for renewal by the ecosystems;

6- the abolition of all forms of inequality and discrimination based on gender, race, ethnicity, religion, or sexual preferences; emancipation of all the oppressed, particularly the emancipation of women and people of color;

7- the abolition of imposed working hours for the production of commodities as an alienating category that destroys leisure time and discourages non-commodified human activities;

8- a lengthy-term socio-economic policy aiming at rebalancing urban and rural populations and overcoming the opposition between town and countryside;

2.4. There is a deep gap between this objectively necessary alternative and the social relationship of forces and the current levels of consciousness. This gap can only be closed by concrete struggles of the exploited and the oppressed in the defence of their living conditions and of the environment. By winning immediate demands, larger layers will radicalize and their struggles will converge. They will formulate transitional demands incompatible with the capitalist logic.

In this strategic framework, some key demands are:

1 - disinvest in the fossil fuel sector; stop subsidies for the development of projects based on fossil energy and its combustion; oppose public-private partnerships that currently dominate the energy sector worldwide;

2- mobilise against all extractivist projects – especially new oil exploitations such as shale gas (fracking) andlarge-scale useless investments at the service of the fossil sector (airports, motorways etc.);

3- stop nuclear energy, the end of the exploitation of coal, tar sands and lignite;

4- support for popular educational programs concerning ecological sustainability;

5- refuse any capitalist appropriation of land, of oceans and of their resources;

6- defend women’s rights beginning with the fight against all attempts to criminalise women’s decisions concerning their reproductive capacities. Free abortion and contraception on demand, paid for by the social security/health care system. De-feminise and de-privatise caring for the young, the sick, the elderly. These are communal responsibilities;

7- recognize the first nations/indigenous people’s right to self-determination. Recognize their knowledge and their sustainable management of the ecosystems;

8- give refugee status to the victims of ecological/climate disasters; full respect for the democratic rights of refugees including freedom of movement and settlement;

9- ensure a good social security system with guarantees for all individuals, and including adequate pensions;

10- abolish multilateral and bilateral free trade agreements; remove ecological technologies from GATTs;

11- respect the Green Fund commitments ($100 billion / year) to be made in the form of grants not loans. Public management of the Green Fund, not by the World Bank but by representatives of the countries of the South, under the control of communities and social movements;

12- tax on international air and maritime transport; the product of this tax should go directly to the countries of the South as a (partial) compensation of the ecological debt;

13- recognize the ecological debt to the countries of the South. Abolish (without compensation except for small holders) public debts used by imperialism to impose an unjust and unsustainable development model;

14- tax financial transactions and construct a redistributive fiscal reform so that owners of capital and their inheritors pay for the transition;

15- abolish the patent system and in particular, stop all patents on life and on technologies concerning energy conversion and storage. End the theft of ancestral knowledge of indigenous people, notably by pharmaceutical companies;

16- reorganize public research; end the system that submits research to industry;

17- promote food sovereignty and the protection of biodiversity by agrarian reforms;

18- put in place an ecological, local agriculture, without GMOs nor pesticides and recognize it as a public good;

19- abolish industrial animal breeding; strongly reduce production/consumption of meat. Respect animal welfare;

20- ban advertising and institute recycle, reuse, reduce: end consumerist, wasteful and energy-demanding model imposed by capital;

21- establish free energy and water for basic necessities and, above this threshold, impose strongly progressive tariffs tied to usage in order to fight against waste while insuring basic access; develop a strategy to extend distribution of free goods (basic food products) and services (public transport, education, health care, etc.).;

22- guarantee to workers whose companies are to be closed within the framework of the transition the right to propose alternative production needed to build a sustainable infrastructure, if those plans prove unrealistic, workers maintain social rights to retraining, new work or retirement ;

23- develop public enterprises aimed at job creation through the implementation of the ecological transition regardless of profit, under workers’ and citizens’ control (in particular in the fields of electricity generation, water management, construction-insulation-renovation of buildings, mobility of people through the exit of the "all-car" system, recycling of waste and repairing of ecosystems);

25- reduce working time without wage loss, with lower work rates; implement proportional hiring (especially of youth, women and minorities): together with the development of the public sector, this is the best way to reconcile the reduction of the production of goods, of energy consumption, full employment and democratic transition;

24- guarantee workers’ right to organize and exert control in the workplace, in particular on occupational health, product sustainability, production efficiency, etc. Protection of whistle blowers;

26- reform of urban areas aimed at breaking land speculation, "disartificialising" the city (through fostering community gardening and urban agriculture, restoring biotopes embedded in the urban framework) and freeing it from the car in favour of public transport and soft mobility (developing areas exclusively for walking and biking);

2.5. This program is not exhaustive; it is and will continue to be enriched by concrete struggles. In an ecosocialist perspective, this enrichment must be guided by the main keys of a just transition: environmental and social justice, common but differentiated responsibilities, fight against inequality and for an improvement of living conditions, the end to green colonialism and environmental racism, a priority for collective solutions, internationalism, the principle of precaution. Above all, the exploited and the oppressed must develop their empowerment by democracy, decentralization, control, and the collective appropriation or re-appropriation of the commons. What is common is defined by the social process of its democratic construction, not by nature which would make certain things as "commons", while others would be doomed to private appropriation.

The above demands do not therefore constitute a key door-to-door solution: they indicate the general way forward for an anti-capitalist, internationalist, ecosocialist and ecofeminist perspective that will change all spheres of activity (production, reproduction, distribution, consumption) and will be accompanied by a profound change in cultural values. They are applicable separately, but an end to the crisis is possible only through their coordinated and planned application. These measures form a coherent whole, incompatible with the normal functioning of the capitalist system. There is no other way to deal with the urgency of the situation.

3. Wage-labour, alienation and ecosocialism

3.1. The exploited and the oppressed alone can lead the environmental struggle to the end because the abolition of the capitalist system corresponds to their class interests. Yet capital incorporates the worker by the purchase of his/her/their labour power. Commodification and destruction of the environment are the result. Under the "normal" circumstances of the capitalist mode of production, daily existence of the proletarians depends on the functioning of the system which mutilates them directly and, by mutilating their environment, indirectly. This contradiction makes it both very difficult and of decisive importance to mobilize the labour movement in the ecological struggle. In the present moment, given the restructuring of the economy with its mass unemployment, decline in class consciousness and the deterioration in the balance of forces between labour and capital this difficulty has increased.

3.2. The majority leadership of the trade union movement is in favour of class collaboration with the project of so called "green capitalism". They have the illusion that the "just transition", if it is well negotiated, will reduce massively unemployment and favour growth thanks to "green” production. Faced with this dominant trade union trend, certain sectors are inclined towards protectionism, or even climate denial. Indeed, in certain cases climate defence is used as a pretext for capitalist attacks, or unionists have the illusion that doubting on this reality could help to avoid the destruction of jobs in the fossil fuels sectors. Fostering a debate on ecosocialist alternatives and helping to develop a left-wing breaking with capitalism and class collaboration is therefore a task of prime strategic importance.

3.3. Left-wing sectors are taking part in environmental struggles – f.i. "Trade Unions for Energy Democracy", “Labor Network for Sustainability” and the “Climate Jobs Campaigns”. These initiatives engage trade unions and their membership to overcome that fear of massive job losses. All those important union initiatives attribute the responsibility for getting out of the fossils economy to polluting companies and the governments who protected and subsidized them. As such, they develop anticapitalist demands which can be amplified and coordinated when workers are being confronted with the severity of the ecological crisis. For example, “Trade Unions for Energy Democracy” defends the socialization of energy. It is clear that pro-capitalist forces will try to limit the radicalism of these campaigns by insisting that they remain within a framework of “respect for the competitiveness of companies” (ITUC, Vancouver Congress, resolution on “Just Transition”). Furthermore, campaigns for climate jobs are sometimes based on too optimistic projections concerning the “growth” of employment thanks to the transition. Sustainability creates the necessity of a reduction of production, and this is not always taken into account. The closure of harmful industries – from the production of weapons to coal-fired electricity plants – and the reconversion of the production of cars into the production and maintenance of a system of mass public transport are priority measures of the transition. And indeed, the transition will create a growth of employment in other sectors. For example, the dismantlement of agribusiness in favour of ecological farming and the development of a public or community sector, under democratic control, will offer possibilities for reconversion.

We must also take into account the fact that reorganizing activities according to social needs, and the reduction of inequalities, constitute objectives which are not limited to a specific region. They constitute global objectives implying new jobs for repairing the damages inflicted to the countries of the South. However, a global reduction of material production is necessary. The workers movement must give an answer to this by demanding a reduction of working hours without loss of wages. A radical reduction of working hours is the antiproductivist demand “par excellence”. It constitutes the best way to “manage in a rational way the exchange of matter with nature and at the same time respecting human dignity”, reconciling full employment and the suppression of useless and wasteful production and planned obsolescence.

3.4. The deterioration of the balance of power between capital and labor has resulted in a deterioration in working conditions. The health of the most precarious workers is especially endangered. Thus the fight against the increase in occupational diseases constitutes a lever to increase workers’ awareness of the fact that Capital destroys both the Earth and the laborer. This destruction includes rising psycho-social risks, resulting not only from the forms of organization and control of workers, but also from the environmental damage that many workers are forced to realize by the dictates of capital. The defense of the health of workers is also a lever for the often difficult convergence of demands by the workers of polluting companies and by the surrounding populations – who also suffer from this pollution – and movements for the environment.

4. Women’s struggles and ecosocialism

4.1. Indigenous peoples, peasants and youth are at the forefront of environmental struggles, and women play a leading role in these three sectors. This situation is the product of their specific oppression, not their biological sex. Patriarchy imposes on women social functions directly linked to "caring" and places them at the forefront of environmental challenges. Because they produce 80% of the food in the countries of the South, women are directly confronted with the ravages of climate change and agribusiness. Because they take on most of the child-rearing and home maintenance tasks, women are directly confronted with the effects of environmental destruction and poisoning on the health and education of their communities.

4.2. On the ideological level, women’s movements remember how women’s bodies have been used in the name of science (forced sterilization campaigns, etc.). This instrumentalist view has been another tool of domination and manipulation.

4.3. Women’s struggles also have a special, valuable and irreplaceable contribution to the development of a global anticapitalist consciousness that favors the integration of struggles. According to the UN the full range of modern family-planning methods still remain unavailable to at least 350-million couples world-wide. More than 220 million women are denied basic reproductive services—which can be (and often are) the difference between life and death. 74,000 women die every year as a result of failed back-street abortions—a disproportionate number of these in the Global South. Every year, around 288,000 women die from preventable causes related to pregnancy and childbirth—and 99% of them occur in developing countries. By fighting against the patriarchal appropriation of their bodies and against the exploitation of their free domestic work, women grow to realize that capitalism relies not only on the appropriation of nature and the exploitation of the labor force through wage labor but also on the patriarchal invisibility of the labor of care and reproduction of the labor force. Added to these three pillars of capitalism is a fourth, exploitation based on race. All have a common denominator that is the appropriation of natural resources, in which the human workforce is a part. Women’s struggles (i) for the right to control their bodies, sexuality and reproductive capacities, free of violence, (ii) against sexist and racist discrimination in the wage labor market and in production in general, and (iii) for social recognition and reorganization of domestic work are thus an integral part of the ecosocialist struggle. The struggles of women deepen and enlarge the horizon of liberation.

5. The agrarian question and ecosocialism

5.1 Around the world farmers, landless peasants and agricultural workers are the world’s most heavily involved social sector in the fight for the environment in general and climate in particular. This vanguard role is attributable to the brutal aggression of capital, which wants to eliminate the independent peasants and replace with them agricultural workers, subcontracted workers and the unemployed ( in order to put pressure on wages). The industrial agricultural system produces cheap goods at low cost for the market rather than quality food for local populations. Peasant unions such as Via Campesina carry out organizational and awareness-raising work, including helping the landless take over abandoned lands.

5.2 Unlike salaried workers, small-scale farmers are not incorporated into capital. Although production for the market tends to impose productivist objectives and methods on them, they also retain the mentality of the craftsperson anxious to do "fine work". Despite a powerful capitalist enemy, they mobilize to retain or re-conquer the ownership of their means of production. But the very unequal balance of power in the face of agribusiness and large-scale distribution forces them to seek alliances with other social movements, in particular with wage-earners and the environmental movement. Agricultural workers, especially undocumented seasonal workers who are over-exploited, have little prospect of leaving the ultra-precarious margins of wage-earners. Despite employer intimidations and even repression, some have managed to form unions and raise their wages and working conditions. Their struggle is objectively anti-capitalist.

5.3 The importance of the agrarian question should not be judged only by the proportion of farmers in the labor force, but based on five objective facts:

5.3.1 The industrial modes of agricultural production and fisheries are at the center of decisive human health issues (obesity, cardiac diseases, allergies, etc.) and the protection of the environment, which reveal the destructive force of capital. Changes in behavior by consumers will not lead the ecological transition, but choices made in food consumption can support the reorientation of agriculture and have a significant ecological impact. The demand of "food sovereignty" makes it more difficult for multinational companies to use food as a weapon against the struggles of the people. It makes it possible to unify consumers and producers around practices generating anti-capitalist consciousness.

5.3.2. Women play an important role in agricultural production, making up 43% of the agricultural workforce in so-called "developing" countries. Patriarchal discrimination is reflected in the smaller size of their farms and livestock, the lower level of mechanization, a heavier workload for a lower yield (due to the weight of non-productive chores – such as obtaining water and firewood), less access to training and credit (but a more important part than men in microcredit). The emancipation of women farmers as women is one of the decisive conditions for addressing both the challenge of food sovereignty and ecological agriculture. It is therefore an ecosocialist issue in itself.

5.3.3. The agricultural-forestry sector as a whole is responsible for more than 40% of greenhouse gas emissions. Agribusiness is also a key agent for chemical poisoning of the biosphere, while industrial fishing and water pollution by agribusiness are key determinants of the biodiversity loss in aquatic environments. At the same time, warming threatens land productivity and acidification caused by rising CO2 levels threaten aquatic ecosystems.

5.3.4. Biodiversity loss will not be stopped mainly by the creation of nature reserves but by the development of an ecological agriculture. Moreover, reducing greenhouse gas emissions to zero is no longer sufficient to curb climate change. In the coming decades carbon must be removed from the atmosphere. Given the logic of profitability, capital can only react with dangerous technologies such as geo-engineering and a general appropriation of “ecosystemic services”. Peasant farming and rational forestry are the only means of achieving this removal efficiently, safely while respecting social justice. Thus the protection of biodiversity and of the climate reinforce the need for the ecosocialist alternative. The decisive role of agro-ecological farming is materially grounded in this overall alternative.

5.3.5. The transition to environmentally friendly agriculture (and fisheries and forestry) is a major condition for building an ecosocialist society. This aspect is of the same importance as the democracy of producers and the use of 100% renewable energy. However, agro-ecology is more labor-intensive than industrial agriculture. The transition to sustainable forestry and the restoration / protection of ecosystems entail an increase in the share of the population invested in these activities. To answer to this challenge requires a long-term policy of upgrading agricultural trades, training workers, equipping rural areas with infrastructure and personal services and building urban gardens.

6. Indigenous peoples, buen vivir and ecosocialism

In North, Central and South America, Africa, Asia and Oceania, indigenous peoples are on the front line. Their struggle often combines with that of peasants and rural communities, but it is specific. Indigenous peoples produce their social existence from a direct relationship with the environment they have shaped and which constitutes their way of life. As a result, these peoples are blocking many powerful capitalist players eager to plunder natural resources: oil, gas, mining, wood, pulp, meat multinationals, agribusiness, pharmaceutical sector and those who finance carbon offsetting disguised as ecological defenders of the forest. All of these extractivist plunderers generally act with the complicity of national governments and local authorities, who invoke development goals and ecological needs to conceal their greed and neocolonial contempt for indigenous peoples. For their part, these peoples generally have no title to property or the resources of their environment. They have no other means but to struggle against displacement. Through their struggle indigenous peoples protect and make known their cosmogony, which is a precious asset to the whole of humanity and an inspiration for ecosocialism. As capitalism seeks to push them aside and appropriate their resources and their knowledge, they play a vanguard role in the struggle for a society of ecological balance. Even when indigenous people live in urban areas, they maintain ties to their communities and culture although they also face particular problems within cities, including discrimination. They rightly look for allies to strengthen their fight.

7. Self-management, control and political prospects

7.1. The profound changes in lifestyle and development prospects that ecological transition requires cannot be imposed from above, either authoritatively or technocratically. They are only feasible if the majority of the population acquires the conviction that they are indispensable and compatible with a significant improvement in their living conditions, hence desirable. This requires a major shift in consciousness to value time, control over what is produced, and unalienated labour over endless material things. Therefore popular education about the severity of environmental destruction and its causes is essential. In the face of capitalist deception, the movement for sustainability must stimulate democratic processes of active control, take charge of the transition, intervene in public decision-making, and even take over production and social reproduction, as well as protect endangered ecosystems. By their very nature, these processes combine with the struggles of oppressed nationalities for their social rights and democratic right to self-determination. It is a matter of sketching in practice the invention of emancipated relationships between human beings, and between humanity and the rest of nature, to show that "another world is possible". These practices of the social sectors most involved in struggles encourage the workers’ movement to combat the influence of protectionism and productivism within it.

7.2. The movement for the divestment of fossil fuels and the transition town’s movement must be actively supported. In general, the experiences of workers’ control, citizen control, participatory management and self-management, as well as women’s struggles for social recognition and the sharing of domestic tasks, favor an anti-capitalist consciousness and project that includes the ecosocialist dimension at its core. Experiments in cooperative ecological agriculture, particularly in Europe but especially in Latin America, demonstrate this and also have an influence in the labor movement. Many self-management production experiments also involve fired workers, excluded and precarious workers, even undocumented migrants and asylum-seekers. These alternatives provide an immediate response to massive and permanent social exclusion, which degrades the lives and dignity of people. They have an important place in an ecosocialist strategy because they refuse fatalism, create solidarity and enlarge the circles of environmental activists.

It is, however, an illusion to believe that their generalization would make it possible to avoid ecological catastrophe. Structural socio-economic measures, in particular the socialization of credit and energy, are absolutely necessary. Transitional initiatives must be based on democratic planning, meeting social needs while respecting ecological constraints. Without such an articulation, these initiatives may have an effect of depoliticisation, or even constitute long term coexistence with a profit-based system.

7.3. The struggle against major fossil infrastructures is a key element in the general movement of interference, control and transition. Mass demonstrations, occupations of sites, mines, and civil disobedience campaigns make it possible to concretely oppose the "growth" and "extractivist" dynamics of capital. These fights have a key importance in defending the ecosystems and the human communities that live there and shape them. They are of strategic importance in defending the climate because the current level of infrastructure constitutes a bottleneck in the development of fossil capital. Thus they constitute a privileged means of building bridges between the struggles of peasants, indigenous peoples, youth, women and from there, to challenge the labor movement to join the struggle. The international networking of these resistances makes it possible to improve the balance of power, to dispel the accusations of NIMBY and to reinforce the legitimacy of the demands. In some cases, this can impose reforms which, while remaining within the capitalist framework, serve as a basis for subsequent radicalization.

7.4. The necessary convergence of social and environmental struggles is not a gathering of a stable compromise but a dynamic process of clarification, recomposition and radicalization. Such a process involves multiple conflicts between social sectors, particularly conflicts with sectors of the labor movement that engage in class collaboration with productivism. While demonstrating the necessary tactical sense and emphasizing the benefits of the ecological transition to the workers (especially in terms of jobs and health), it is necessary to challenge the worker’s movement under protectionist and productivist influence. In a conflict between the social sectors involved in the environment and sectors of the workers movement believing in productivism we defend the former whilst trying to convince workers to change their point of view. In these cases, we must try to propose solid programmatic alternatives aiming improving the rights and well being of both workers and communities. They should not pay for the decisions of the corporations and governments that supported them.

7.5. To win the labor movement and other social actors to the struggle for an ecosocialist transitional program is ultimately achievable only through the emergence of political alternatives for a comprehensive plan of structural anticapitalist reforms that satisfies both social needs and environmental constraints. Without the construction of such political alternatives, and without their articulation with social movements, this will always be a chimera: the environment will be sacrificed on the altar of the social, or the latter on the altar of the first. The creation of an ecosocialist government that breaks with capitalism through social mobilization is the cornerstone of an ecosocialist emergency program. But there is no possible ecosocialism in one country. The formation of such a government is, in turn, only a transitory stage of a permanent process which aims at the overthrow of capitalism on the whole surface of the globe.

8.Technologies, self management and decentralization

8.1 "The Commune is the political form finally found of the emancipation of labor," announced Marx in his work on the Commune of Paris. In the 19th century, capitalism created an increasingly uniform and centralized energy system, whose technical and political control involved a large bureaucratic apparatus and a complex system of delegations of power. This system is obviously not the cause of the bureaucratic degeneration of the USSR – which was the result of the Stalinist counter-revolution – but it favored it to some extent. Conversely, the flexibility and modularity of renewable technologies are no guarantee for socialist democracy, but they open up new possibilities for anticapitalist structural reforms. These can be aimed at decentralized territorial development, organized around the democratic control by local communities of the renewable energy resources available on the site and its use. But the realization of these possibilities depends on the class struggle. The confiscation of only part of the fortunes accumulated by the Arab petromonarchies would suffice to finance regional projects of alternative development in the Near and Middle East based on the solar energy and directed towards the satisfaction of the social needs at the local scale. Similarly, it is deplorable that the so-called "progressive" Latin American governments have not invested a large portion of the revenues of fossil exploitation in social and ecological transition plans aimed at another type of decentralized development: democratic, more balanced urban-rural, community-based and 100% renewable.

8.2. Renewable energy technologies also modify the link between structural measures and control or self-management experiences at the territorial level, with new possibilities for energy autonomy. The project of a democratic eco-socialist society based on a network of decentralized bodies of power thus regains credibility. The physical nature and the difficulty of storage of electrical energy make it is easier to manage in a decentralized, combined and complementary system than in the current system, which is subjected to the dictates of the market. Along with food sovereignty this field of struggle is particularly important for the countries of the South, as part of an alternative development model to the imperialist model.

9. Environmental destruction and the social role of scientists

Capitalist responses are insufficient ecologically and socially unjust because they are biased by the assimilation of the social market rules with unavoidable natural laws. This reality pushes some scientists to engage in the field of the struggle. Their commitment is against the background of the increasing fragmentation of scientific research and its increasingly strong subordination to the needs of capital. A growing number of researchers perceive the necessity of interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary work that implies collaboration with social movements. In this context, an opportunity arises to redefine "knowledge", liberating it from capital. Scientists are further challenged by the rise of irrationality and denial of objective facts within certain sectors of the ruling class, two reactionary traits embodied in particular by Donald Trump. Ecosocialists need to encourage scientists to speak out. It is not a question of subjecting the social movement to the dictatorship of "science" or of experts, but rather of putting expertise at the service of the movement, even while stimulating criticism. This can greatly increase the credibility and legitimacy of anti-capitalist options. In particular, the experience of international scientific cooperation is a powerful asset in developing and deepening internationalism.

10. Self-organization of the affected populations

The capacity to ward off the coming environmental catastrophe is behind schedule. As we already witness, "anthropogenic" ecological disasters are therefore likely to multiply, particularly due to extreme weather events (floods, cyclones, etc.). This creates situations of disorganization and chaos exploited by speculators with the aim of domination (political, economic, geostrategic). At the same time, these same situations may be conducive to initiatives aiming at building solidarity networks that are alternative to imperialist agencies. This self-organization of aid, reception of refugees and even reconstruction of social life in general is critical to building social solidarity. These initiatives then benefit from a great legitimacy because they become vital in these circumstances and are more efficient than international aid. Such a perspective is an integral part of our ecosocialist strategy as a revolutionary strategy. More generally, the failure of capitalism to respond to the growing ecological crisis poses an alternative: either we succumb to devastation or we rescue ourselves.

11. Ecosocialism and internationalism

11.1. In the ecosocialist emergency plan, the requirements of localization of production and food sovereignty are part of a self-management and internationalist perspective that is radically opposed to both capitalist globalization and “free trade” on the one hand, and to capitalist protectionism and national sovereignty, on the other. In developed countries in particular, the greatest vigilance is required in the face of the far right’s attempt to shift ecological demands towards nationalist pseudo-responses. These are always at the service of capital and make the link with the racist, islamophobic and reactionary-traditionalist themes. These attempts are most often found in the demand for localization of production and food sovereignty. It is therefore crucial to frame demands to these issues carefully.

11.2. We are opposed to the relocation of companies to low-cost countries, and are in favor of localization of production in general, but we do not support the demand for relocation in imperialist countries of companies that have moved towards low-cost countries. This idea would entail that workers in low-cost countries should lose their jobs so that those in the imperialist countries will regain their own. Instead of uniting the workers of different countries against their exploiters, this demand puts them in competition, and therefore disarms them in the face of the pressure of employers for competitiveness on the markets. The location of production is part of an entirely different project, based on ecological and social needs, in particular the right to employment and income for all, close to the place they are living. Similarly, food sovereignty, for us, is not a national sovereignty, but a sovereignty at the level of territories historically defined par the communities. They must respect their own history. We defend solidarity between communities in order to manage common resources and exchange them on the basis of solidarity and complementarity rather the on competition and over exploitation.

11.3. In general, various formulas of "Left-wing Protectionism based on solidarity" support the idea that competition from low-wage countries that do not protect the environment are the decisive cause of industrial job losses in developed countries. Yet the main cause of these job losses is the increase in labor productivity, whether through intensifying the work day, automation or outsourcing to facilities where workers have fewer rights and a lower wage package. The obvious solution is to reduce working hours but that has been blocked by the deterioration of the balance of power between labor and capital.. By adopting the obsolete vision of a global economy based on competition among countries, while the dominant role today is played by multinationals, "left-wing protectionism" divert attention from the capital-labor contradiction to an interclass front in defense of competitiveness. "Left-wing protectionism" pretends to be internationalist, but it is silent on the destructive competition of low-cost agribusiness exports from developed countries to the South—such as corn shipped from the United States has destroyed most Mexican milpa farms—and other manifestations of imperialist domination. The danger of racist contamination starting with chauvinist positions is significant. Indeed, in the more developed countries, the defense of employment by safeguarding the competitiveness of firms against the competition of low-wage countries can easily be transformed in the defense of employment by combating illegal or foreign workers’ competition, since the latter represent, so to speak, "a third world at home". It is precisely in this deadly trap that the extreme right wants to attract the labor movement and the environmental movement.

There is no shortcut, no possible front between capitalists and their work force, that can confront both unemployment and destruction of the ecosystem. Instead workers must develop solidarity campaigns where they can find unity and strength to overcome the crisis.

11.4. An Ecosocialist government, brought to power as the result of the mobilization of the exploited and the oppressed, would beginning to break with capitalism through measures such as the monopoly of foreign trade, control of capital movements and so on. But this does not mean protecting capitalist companies from international competition. Quite the opposite, it is a matter of protecting anti-capitalist policies while calling on the exploited and oppressed of other countries to join the fight. This is an internationalist perspective for overthrowing world capitalism. Such a policy is at the very opposite of "protectionism", which always amounts to subordinating ecological and social demands to the needs of strengthening national capitalism on the world market, that is to say, ultimately, to free trade.

11.5. Ecosocialism can begin at the national level but can only be achieved at the world scale. Rational and prudent management of the Earth System asks for global democratic planning. The global scientific work realized by bodies like the IPCC, the IGBP and others shows this global democratic planning is possible. Their model of international cooperation could be carried out by democratically elected representatives of the social movements too. In fact it is partly accomplished today by organizations like Via Campesina.

12. Conclusion: ecosocialism and revolution

The absurd capitalist logic—the irrational expansion, unlimited accumulation as well as a productivism obsessed by the search for profit at all costs—are responsible for placing humanity at the edge of the abyss: facing climate change and ecological destruction.

Moving from the “destructive progress” of capitalism toward ecosocialism constitutes a historical process, a revolutionary permanent transformation of society, culture and consciousness. This transition will not only bring us to a new world of production, to an egalitarian and democratic society, but also to an alternative way of life, a new civilisation, beyond the rule of money, beyond habits of consumption artificially produced by advertising and beyond the unlimited production of useless commodities. And, as Marx has said, the Kingdom of Freedom start, with diminishing working time...

It is important to underline that such a process cannot happen without a revolutionary transformation of social and political structures through mass action by a large majority of the population. In the development of a socialist, feminist and ecological consciousness, the collective experience of people’s struggles is the decisive factor, from local confrontations to a radical change of society.

To dream and to fight for green socialism or as some say, for solar communism, does not mean that we do not to fight for concrete and urgent reforms. Without any illusion in “green capitalism”, we must try to win time and impose on the powers in place concrete measures against the ongoing catastrophe, starting with a radical reduction in the emission of greenhouse gases.

These urgent ecological demands can favour a process of radicalisation under the condition that we refuse to limit their objectives by obeying the capitalist market or accepting “competitivity”.

Each small victory, each partial advance can immediately bring us to a higher and more radical demand. These struggles on concrete problems are important, not only because partial victories in themselves are welcome, but also because they contribute to the growth of an ecological and socialist consciousness, and promote autonomy and self organisation from below. This autonomy and this self organisation are the necessary and decisive preconditions for a radical transformation of the world. This means a revolutionary transformation is only possible through the self- emancipation of the oppressed and the exploited: workers and peasants, women, indigenous communities, and all stigmatized because of their race, religion or nationality.

The leading elites of the system, retrenched behind their barricades, are incredibly powerful while the forces of radical opposition are small. Their development into a mass movement of unprecedented number, is the only hope to stop the catastrophic course of capitalist “growth.” This will allow us to invent a desirable form of life, more rich in human qualities, a new society based on the values of human dignity, solidarity, freedom and respect for “Mother Nature”.


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