Special Documents

Global Revolututionary Ecosocialism
By Chen Chimutengwende

Since capitalism is a world system, it means that only another world system can truly, seriously, practically and effectively replace it. Such a replacement can only be in the form of global revolutionary ecosocialism. This is because ecosocialism is a more liberationist, sustainable, genuinely democratic and fairer system than capitalism.

The term “ecosocialism” is here used to mean scientific socialism that more than implies its commitment to the reversal of the degradation of the ecological environment. Most countries which called themselves Marxist or socialist abused the environment and most leading socialist writers did not give the environmental issue its due importance, unlike what Karl Marx and Frederick Engels did. Many of them tended to view the environmental issue as a mere middle class pastime. As a result, ecosocialism is socialism which explicitly, consistently and continuously emphasizes the environmental issue as one of its major focuses both in theory and practice, and both in the struggle before and after the destruction of capitalism. This means the reds must also be fully green. This is why ecosocialism is believed to be the only term at this point in history that gives a more appropriate and fuller picture of what the revolution is all about in the 21st century than any other word.

Ecosocialists recognize the fact that the world is in a state of ecocatastrophe. The use, which in fact has become the mindless abuse and destruction of the environment by the capitalist system is so massive and continuous that it has reached catastrophic proportions. This is exclusively and blindly driven by the insatiable and uncontrollable love for private profit by the capitalist ruling class irrespective of the consequences. It is the destruction of the environment by capitalism which has led to global warming among other ecological disasters. The climate situation is continuously, speedily and dangerously getting worse. This is why if the environmental destruction by capitalism is not urgently and drastically reversed, it will certainly lead, sooner or later, to the total extinction of human, animal and plant life on this planet. Such a complete reversal can only effectively and definitively happen by destroying capitalism as the cause of the problem in the first place.

The results of the environmental abuse and destruction by the capitalist system include the following:- desertification; disappearance of wetlands; global deforestation; severe droughts; extreme weather conditions; floods; cyclones; storms; falling water tables; acute shortages of water; water and air pollution; rivers running dry; eroding soils; poor yields; crop failures; rising seas; loss of coastal land; sinking of islands; depletion of fisheries; poisoned seafood; famine; extreme poverty; malnutrition; heat waves; wildfires; epidemic diseases; climate change refugees; disappearance of animal and plant species; proliferation and careless dumping of toxic wastes; rising carbon dioxide levels; acid rain; possibilities of wide-spread riots all over the world; and, wars leading to the irrational, dangerous and destructive use of science and technology. The abuse of the environment by capitalism does not recognize the concept of sustainability and is only driven by the principle of profitability.

The capitalist abuse and destruction of the environment knows no limits and yet the world’s resources are not unlimited. By its very nature, capitalism has to ensure that unlimited private profits are made and ideally with no restrictions from the state. In order to achieve such huge profits, there has to be continuous and unlimited growth and that leads to massive wastefulness and the destruction of the environment with disastrous consequences. Since the capitalist state is controlled by big business and is there to primarily promote the interests of the capitalists, it cannot give enough or meaningful protection to the environment.
This means that if the ecosocialist revolution does not succeed soon enough, capitalism will eventually be destroyed by capitalists themselves who will in the process also destroy this planet. Revolutionaries, therefore, cannot afford to wait for capitalism to destroy itself because it will not go alone, but together with the whole world. Capitalism is a system with fatal flaws and irreversible suicidal tendencies. Therefore, it must actually be fought and defeated by revolutionary forces so that life and the world can continue after capitalism.
One of the major aims of ecosocialism is to ensure the speedy reversal of environmental degradation and to put in place well-defined and unambiguously action-oriented policies for the sustainability of Mother Earth and its global socio-economic system. The overriding aim is sustainability for the benefit of both the present and the future generations. Full implementation of ecosocialism must also mean a continuously humane and sustainable society in which the principle: “From each according to his ability, to each according to his need” will apply.

Human beings have a dual nature. They have two contradictory instincts. One is selfishness (individualism/elitism/egoism) and the other is selflessness (altruism). These two instincts exist in every human being and they continuously fight each other. Capitalism encourages and protects selfishness, and ecosocialism discourages selfishness and encourages selflessness. Selfishness promotes the capitalist principle of the survival of the fittest which is barbaric and leads to oppression and exploitation. The dominant instinct should always be the selflessness part (ecosocialism) for the benefit of the majority in society.

Ecosocialism by its very nature is the only system that has the mass-line orientation, the will and the capacity to put in place and to manage a planned, systematic and irreversible movement for the speedy reduction and eventual elimination of mass poverty, squalor, endemic diseases, homelessness, unemployment, illiteracy, rural neglect and environmental degradation.  Ecosocialism is genuinely and uncompromisingly committed to the elimination of racism, injustice, gender inequality, classes, oppression, exploitation and corruption. It will put in place adequate and genuine checks and balances. The ecosocialist system will ensure that clean water, medical and educational services are made free for all and public transport is made free to the elderly, the unemployed, and affordable to the employed. In an advanced ecosocialist state, class struggle, workers’ control, workers’ management, workers’ leadership of the country and workers’ democracy will become and remain as some of the supreme and inviolable principles up to the end of the ecosocialist era.

Unlike world capitalism, global revolutionary ecosocialism will be able to speedily re-structure and democratize the current iniquitous and totally undemocratic system of international relations. The aim should be to fully and speedily achieve a fair and democratic ownership and redistribution of wealth and power both at the national and the international levels.

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April 10. 2010