Liam Mac Uaid’s blog contains the following statement about the Socialist Resistance magazine. Here is my initial response:
It means a lot more than using environmental issues to have another kick at capitalism.
This is a key sentence in my opinion. Many of us are used to seeing the Left picking up ideas such as environmentalism and instead of actually engaging with their content, using them to pad out their own already existing ideaology. Some kind of real engagement is necessary and a consequent evolution of ideas and actions is what I would like to see come out of a Left / Green dialogue via ecosocialism.
Our political conclusion is:
“This new phase of capitalism forces an inevitable conclusion – only by a total transformation in politics and production, in other words a transformation of our social relations, can a sustainable future for humanity be established.”
Again, I have little real disagreement here. However, I would caution against slipping into the terminology of “phases of capitalism” for a couple of reasons. First, the predictions of the far-Left regarding the various phases etc. have tended to both be inaccurate and a stumbling block to action. Debates and disagreements of this nature are from my point of view offputting. Secondly, whilst right here, right now we can (and must) focus on capitalism we must recognise the environmental degradation caused by pre-capitalist societies and the consequences that these had.
Ecosocialism is the cross-fertilisation of ecological ideas in the Marxist left and the spread of Marxist ideas in the green movement. It is becoming more and more common for environmentalists to point at the ecological situation and attribute much human created global warming and environmental destruction to the capitalist economic model.
It should also be noted that not everyone in the ecosocialist current is moving leftwards from some kind of liberal environmentalism towards Marxism, many of us have always maintained a clear anticapitalism without necessarily adopting Marxist ideas.
At the same time some socialists have been rethinking their own assumptions about continuous growth of production as a requirement of a socialist society and many of us owe a great debt to the pioneering writings of John Bellamy Foster who has reminded us of Marxism’s contribution to ecological thinking.
This is a good step. Too often in the past in debates with the Left I’ve encounterd a manic productivism, with a caveat that a socialist socioety would automatically be better for the environment.
The transformation of politics and production we are fighting for will oblige us to replace capitalism with a society in which common ownership of the means of production has replaced capitalist ownership, and in which the preservation and restoration of ecosystems will be central to all activity. Capitalism’s need to make profits and produce destructive, wasteful useful things is not something that we will be able to modify with reforms. To do that we need a revolutionary change in the way we govern, produce, distribute and consume. From this it follows that economic and political power have to be taken away from capitalists and their politicians and put in the hands of working people and their communities.
Once again, I have nothing to disagree with here. Although, I don’t think we should underestimate capitalism’s abilty to transform limited environmentaol reform into profit. We are already seeing steps taken towards this. Capitalism may well be able to put the crisis on hold long enough to squeeze a bit more profit out of it.
Ecosocialism is much more advanced outside the rich world. That’s especially true in Latin America, where anti-imperialist governments headed by Evo Morales in Bolivia, Rafael Correa in Ecuador, and Raul Castro in Cuba, are pressing for strong anti-capitalist, pro-environment measures.
Whilst moves taken in these countries are certainly positive, we should remain cautious about their extent and be on guard against any strain of authoritarianism that may be present within left populism. A cautious welcome, for sure, but not cheerleading.
This new magazine has set itself the ambition of becoming the principal English language ecosocialist publication.
Will it be truely non-partisan? Many of us remember another small Trotskyist grouplet liquidising itself to produce a new voive for the movement…WRP(Workers Press) if I recall correctly folded to produce Reclaim the Future for the RTS/EF!/antiroads etc movements. Not sommething wanted by the movements themselves.
I’m cautious about anyone claiming to be the “voice” of what is still an amorphous current. Would the title change to reflect this?
Having said all of this, I like forward to seeing how your project develops and whether it fits into the grassroots, autonomous, libertarian socialism that provides the left for my “Green Left”