Thursday, April 1, 2010

Two comments on The Belem Ecosocialist Declaration - CCDS

Comment on The Belem Ecosocialist Declaration by Walter Teague from Comments for CCDS-Discussion by Walter Teague

I think the issue is not just what should be best position of pro-socialist organizations, but more importantly, what positions and goals should we and ultimately all political organizations be taking on this crisis. If the Left and socialists fail to connect the science and politics, to develop a realistic strategy against catastrophic climate change, we could all lose.

At our last CCDS convention we adopted a resolution that said in part “CCDS asserts that a successful “What is to be done” for a climate change plan requires a socialist point of view. This eco-socialist perspective means a realistic, scientific and humanistic based analysis of environmental changes, the related economics and political issues and the consequences of addressing these factors all based on the interests of the majority of the world’s people. To obtain this plan will require a mass based demand on the current world leadership, both those in power and those controlling the resources. This leadership must be required to truthfully inform people of the specific dangers and likely time lines of climate change and the science based realities of effectively countering climate changes. This leadership must also quickly develop and implement a global plan based on preventing as much as possible of the damages from climate change and all in the interests of the majority of the people of the world.”

In essence, we and the world are facing some externally defined deadlines, tipping points that are not only scientific, but also political. The choices discussed in the comments above can be seen as asking whether we should accept an adaptive or preventative strategy. Each approach can have many facets and steps, but the question of whether we ultimately succeed is determined by whether we prevent sufficient climate catastrophes that we have the time and means of reaching any of the social and political goals.

Therefore if not socialists, who will make sure the public understands and demands a winning strategy against the irreparable catastrophes of climate change? You only have to look our collective failures to prevent or even prepare for the many relatively smaller and easier challenges and resulting catastrophes such as Katrina, Haiti, and so many others.

People may be fearful of the coming storms, but they will better prepare if they know what to do. That is our job, all of us together and unafraid to point out both the scientific and political realities. And I think we fail to be relevant if we don’t include this as part of our publicly professed strategy.

Walter Teague 3/22/2010.

Comment on The Belem Ecosocialist Declaration by David Schwartzman from Comments for CCDS-Discussion by David Schwartzman

The Belem Declaration states:

“To theorize and to work toward realizing the goal of green socialism does not mean that we should not also fight for concrete and urgent reforms right now. Without any illusions about “clean capitalism,” we must work to impose on the powers that be – governments, corporations, international institutions – some elementary but essential immediate changes: [and then goes on to list some really radical changes such as drastic and enforceable reduction in the emission of greenhouse gases, the development of clean energy sources, and the elimination of nuclear energy, and war spending.]

So I disagree with the implication that the Declaration is ultraleft because it argues we sit by and wait for capitalism to be replaced with ecosocialism before the climate crisis can be confronted. This Declaration does assert “If capitalism remains the dominant social order, the best we can expect is unbearable climate conditions, an intensification of social crises and the spread of the most barbaric forms of class rule, as the imperialist powers fight among themselves and with the global south for continued control of the world’s diminishing resources.”

Yes, this formulation is problematic. Just how much change in “real existing capitalism” is necessary to mount a successful campaign to avoid the tipping points which would result in catastrophic climate change (“C3”)? The Military Industrial Fossil Fuel Nuclear Terror Complex (“MIC”) is now hegemonic in real existing capitalism, with US imperialism being its front line enforcer.

I have argued that the undermining and termination of MIC will remove the main obstacle to implementing a global prevention program to avoid C3 and at the same time will open up an unprecedented path out of capitalism (March 2009, Capitalism Nature Socialism; I will send a pdf upon request; To be sure, we can construct computer models of sustainable reproduction of capital in a global solar capitalism. However, the historical legacy of real capitalist development makes its realization virtually impossible. A global ‘‘solar capitalism’’ is an illusionary prospect, because the level of red and green struggle required to solarize global capitalism will itself likely result in ecosocialist transition.

I think we all agree that replacing Capitalism with Ecosocialism cannot be a prerequisite to begin taking effective preventative action to avoid climate catastrophe. But ecosocialist theory and practice are essential to make this prevention possible, thereby creating a real opportunity to end the global rule of capital on our planet.

Carl Davidson wrote: “Moreover, I have no idea what the Belem document means by ‘productivity socialism,’ which it opposes.”

(The Declaration states: “It [ecoscocialist movement] criticizes both capitalist “market ecology” and productivist socialism, which ignored the earth’s equilibrium and limits. It redefines the path and goal of socialism within an ecological and democratic framework.”)

I interpret “productivist socialism” as the dominant form of real existing socialism of the 20th Century. On the other hand, the one real living model of ecosocialism, with all its imperfections, is a survival from 20th Century socialism, Cuba. The WWF’s Living Planet Report 2006 assesses sustainable development using the United Nations Development Programme’s (UNDP) Human Development Index (HDI) and the ecological footprint. The index is calculated using life expectancy, literacy and education, and per capita GDP. The UNDP considers an HDI value of more than 0.8 to be high human development.

According to the ecological footprint, a measure of human demand on the biosphere, 1.8 global hectares per person or less denotes sustainability. The only country in the world that met both of the above criteria is Cuba. ((Viva La Revolución Energética, Laurie Guevara-Stone, Solar Energy International). And if Cuba, a living example of ecosocialist transition, could accomplish so much, under such difficult circumstances imposed by U.S. Imperialism, just think of what is really possible for our future!

Finally, I propose CCDS substitute Ecosocialism for Socialism in our name, making Ecosocialism our “brand”, since the only viable socialism of the 21st Century is Ecosocialism and I know of no other U.S. socialist group to proudly proclaim itself as ecosocialist (our Metro DC CCDS has by its website name and its contents).

And recognizing its imperfections, the Belem Ecosocialist Declaration still inspires and envisions a 21st Century Socialism. I have no regrets in signing it and urge others to do likewise. And lets get on with the actual struggle isolating MIC, defeating its Imperial Agenda and helping to create a broad class base for truly clean energy, green jobs and drastic and rapid cuts in carbon emissions with a chance to prevent C3.

1 comment:

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