A revolutionary politics without a Revolution

https://simplicityinstitute.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/WildDemocracySamuel-Alexander.pdf

In this work Samuel Alexander advocates a participatory and egalitarian eco-communitarian politics that seeks to take root beyond the tired parliamentary distinctions of Left and Right, and also beyond (and yet between) the antagonistic but enriching poles of anarchism and Marxism. He presents a vision of a localized politics with a global perspective, positioning itself beyond the state and yet, at times, pragmatically engaged with the state. In short, a revolutionary politics without a Revolution, as such — a paradox he explicates in detail.

Alexander argues that both anarchism and Marxism should be informed by a Deep Green sensibility that recognizes the reality of severe environmental limits to growth and appreciates the radical implications of those limits on any coherent conception of a just and sustainable society. His framing question is: How can seven billion people (and counting) live sustainably on our fragile planet? His framing answer is: Surely not by globalizing consumer lifestyles via continuous economic growth. More than anything else, it is this ‘limits to growth’ perspective that demands a contemporary re-evaluation of traditional political and economic ideologies and strategies.

There is so much groundwork to be done establishing a politically engaged post-capitalist consciousness that the disagreements between revolutionary imaginations are less important than the agreements. The goal of eco-anarchists, eco-socialists, Deep Greens, and otherwise-identifying radical reformers should be to work collaboratively to resist, transcend, and transform the destructive capitalist dystopia that lies in the way of any ecozoic or humane political economy.

Transcending dystopia is quite ambitious enough. But it is not intended to mean simply living in deconstructive resistance to the status quo. Rather, it means prefiguring alternative, post-capitalist modes of existence — even if, at first, they are partial, compromised, and small-scale. Ecovillages and Transition Towns come to mind as exemplars.

A co-editor of Green Horizon Magazine, Steve has been a Green movement activist for almost thirty years.