Eco-socialism as a very transformed, fully greened, neo-socialism
We clearly are in a period of Red-Green alliances:
My hope is that it’s part of a process of transitioning the left “from Red to Green.” This would entail a significant transition of thought.
I’m anti-capitalist, but I’m a Green first and foremost. I don’t identify with the traditional socialist movement where activists prioritize reading Marx, have illusions about “the historic role of the working class,” and call each other “comrade.” I think Marxist theory was more wrong than right. In general, the movement’s theorists, luminaries, and cultural expression are retrograde in many aspects (aside, even, from the counterproductive association with all the socialist failures of the twentieth century).
The socialist movement retains support because it is identified with a valid critique of the status quo. Socialists are correct in their assertion that the capitalist system is socially and ecologically ruinous. Flowing from that has been a natural, but problematic, assumption that the goal of our social change work therefore needs to be some kind of socialism. For several hundred years the issue has been presented as “system change” and framed as an either-or proposition. Only very recently have there been discussions on the left of alternative viewpoints advocating a “neither capitalism nor socialism” perspective.
I believe that eco-socialism can be part of that discussion if it entails a vision apropos of a Green paradigm of social change.
Meaning: Eco-socialism will be a stage. Not the “next higher stage of history” as per the bogus Marxist conception of a process of historical materialist progressive development. Rather: eco-socialism as a necessary transitional period viewed as part of a “greening” process, a stage of history where the interlocking juggernaut of capital, technology, and the state — the scourge of humanity dating back millennia — is deconstructed. A stage where human communities, over time, transition toward degrowth, decentralization, and devolution of power.
The end goal of that process should not be some universal kind of socialist society, but rather a green world characterized by bioregionalism and cultural diversity. Diversity in regard to all aspects of lifeways, including economic relations. “Green” implies that it will be necessary (and desirable) to live more simply, more lightly, and more locally. Surely Marx would not have embraced that vision of an ultimate destination. And it has little to do with “the proletariat as the agency of social change.” Leftists need to let go of chimerical and discredited notions that don’t correspond to reality. A major transition of the leftist orientation is needed in our time.