Tag Archives: ecosocialism

Based on a talk that I gave to the Kent Socialist Workers Party group. To many people these ideas will be obvious, but sometimes it helps to be reminded of the obvious. References are at the bottom.

There are three main tasks that face a revolutionary socialist party. The first is the SWP’s role, or any socialist party’s role, as an antifascist opposition; second is the importance of education on socialism: this topic is the majority of this article; third is the importance of internationalism and of relating individual struggles, as explained by Duncan Hallas.

At the recent Party Council of the SWP (June 2nd), Weyman Bennett (UAF) made a point about the role of socialists in fighting the far right. Recent experience has shown that social-democracy  (that is, introducing socialist politics through reformist methods) in Europe, for example in Sweden, Denmark, and arguably the area controlled by our own Green Party, has shown no opposition to austerity. Many problems and kinds of unrest caused by capitalism make the rise of fascism all the easier. Trotsky in his last article (August 1940), Bonapartism, Fascism, and War gives many examples of these problems but there are three that are most relatable to our current situation: “the gravest crisis of capitalist society; growing confusion and indifference; the growth of hostility to the proletariat”.

I could give specific examples, but they are fairly self-explanatory. The polling strength of the racist Swedish Democrats is the result of scapegoating inequality and other social ills on immigrants. It is quite clear that if the periodical and inevitable crises of capitalism can lead to the popularity of fascist and right-wing populist ideas, a dedicated anti-capitalist party will also be the most effective antifascist party. Left-reformists themselves have a lot to answer for in the rise of the far right. The Labour party has taken a typically conservative stance on immigration, while Ed Milliband expresses his respect for UKIP. All this serves to normalise anti-immigrant hatred.

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Based on a talk I have given and hope to give again. A friend has let me borrow Jonathan Neale’s book on ecosocialism, so I will have more insights soon hopefully.

Believe it or not, I think that climate change has not been politicised enough. It is central to questions of austerity and nationalisation, and is likely to affect the world’s poorest people the most. There are certainly some useful parallels therefore to be found between class struggle and environmentalism. We cannot expect “green capitalism” to work. If a radical new socialist way of organising society is needed, it should include investment in jobs, technology, and scientific research that will reduce the effects of global warming.

A few weeks ago, I noticed what I see as a contradiction between two publications of the Green Party of England and Wales. The first text is the third page of a welcome pamphlet, on which the party’s ten core values are listed. They are simple, thoughtful, and difficult to disagree with. The second core value in particular sounds very Marxian:

“The Earth’s physical resources are finite. We threaten our future if we try to live beyond those means, so we must build a sustainable society that guarantees our long-term future.”

This principle weirdly echoes chapter 32 of Marx’s Capital Volume 1, which argues that capitalism cannot go on indefinitely, and that crises and an eventual collapse is inevitable, because of overproduction and other contradictions inherent in the capitalist mode of production.

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