at Pittsburgh Green Left
Socialism is inspired partly by traditional worker-oriented socialist views,
but attempts to transcend class struggle by organizing popular struggle for
true democracy, ecology, and freedom.
As we enter the
second decade of the 21st century, ecological and social crisis exist
simultaneously in multiple forms within the US and across the world.
Global neoliberal capitalism has captured the world’s economic and political
structures, and we feel the growing pressures of poverty and climate change
under the threat of a pervasive police state.
deteriorating conditions imply that historical socialist revolutionary
movements have largely failed to produce the widespread change they described
in their visions. There’s an increasing feeling, particularly by the youth,
that the “old ways” are insufficient to confront 21st century capitalism and
win — particularly with the climate change clock running out — and that a new
form of social movement and politics is necessary to directly confront
capitalism and broader ecological and social issues.
I believe the
new model for the 21st century must be Green Politics, or what I will call
“Green Socialism” here to distinguish from other tendencies that lay claim to
the more broad term “eco-socialism”. Green Politics is today largely associated
with the Green Party, however anyone can practice Green Politics in or outside
of the Green Party.
description of Green Politics might be to list the 4 pillars — grassroots democracy,
peace, social justice, and ecological wisdom — and the 10 Key Values of the
movement, but to create a deeper discussion of what Green Politics and Green
Socialism really means, a good place to start might be to address some
complaints and criticisms of the Green Party and Green Socialism that you have
no doubt already heard, particularly from other socialists.
Left Voice for example ran an opinion piece by author Ezra Brain making “a socialist case against” the Green Party and Howie Hawkins, the party’s 2020 presidential candidate, which echoes a number of common leftist complaints against Green Politics.
However these complaints often ring hollow, either as grave
misunderstandings of the Green platform that betray a lack of deeper research
and knowledge about the subject — ironically often appropriating bourgeois
neoliberal talking points against Green Politics — or as legitimate complaints
that have a feel of “stones thrown from glass houses” as those same complaints
often apply to other socialist and leftist organizations in the US and simply
illustrate the challenge of organizing against global neoliberal capitalism in
the 21st century.
One of the
first complaints Brain makes is that “the Green Party is organized around an
‘issue’ — the environment — rather than a class”. To understand how deeply
flawed this statement is requires some background history on the Green
Socialism movement. Rewind the clocks to the 1960s when numerous activist
movements — the civil rights movement, the peace movement, the beginnings of an
environmental movement spawned by outrage from books like Rachel Carson’s Silent
Spring — are all growing in popular support and political power. These
movements brought real change in the form of the end of segregation and the
passage of the Civil Rights Act, the creation of the Environmental Protection
Agency, and more.
changes were widely acknowledged to be a beginning, not an end point, and many
activists wondered what the next step was. There was a growing sense that these
issues were not independent issues but in fact connected in some mutual struggle.
Martin Luther King, Jr., expressed a similar sentiment when he called out the
“triple evils” of capitalism: poverty, militarism, and racism. The organization
Greenpeace was formed by members of the environmental and anti-war movements
joining together (Green + Peace). While cross-movement cooperation was growing,
many activists still looked for a more cohesive ideology to better explain how
these issues were interconnected, in a way that would guide future actions and
This search led
to a booming interest in leftist history and philosophy, with many activists
finding themselves drawn to various leftist tendencies of socialism and
anarchism. Enter socialist organizer and activist Murray Bookchin. Bookchin
grappled with these tendencies and the issues himself, and after joining
several socialist and anarchist groups in his youth, came to a few conclusions.
Bookchin connected many of the dots between the different struggles and
surmised that ecological crisis was rooted in social crisis. One
cannot properly tackle ecological issues of climate change, “factory” farming,
environmental damage due to industry, and more, without closely looking at the
societies that produced it.
analysis, it becomes clear how capitalism’s exploitation of the working class
for the benefit of the rich ruling class has led directly to capitalism’s
exploitation and destruction of nature itself — the “Grow or Die” imperative of
capitalism to always produce more and expand leads to not only stealing more
wealth from the working class, but also to stealing and destroying more and
more of nature. Instead of sustainable farming, for example, corporations
deplete the soil and move on to new land “because it is cheap” — land often
obtained “cheaply” historically via imperialist genocide of indigenous peoples
living on such land. If we are to save the environment — nay, nature itself,
including humanity — we must engage in struggle against capitalism and all
forms of exploitation and dominance.
is what separates ecology from mere environmentalism. Taking
the best ideas of socialism and anarchism and rooting them in an
ecologically-based ethics, Bookchin created a political philosophy and praxis
now known as Social Ecology.
Social Ecology was well-received, and after some electoral success by the
newly-formed German Green Party, members of the same civil rights,
environmental, and anti-war movements gathered in the early 1980s to discuss
forming a US Green Party. Bookchin and his Institute of Social Ecology hosted
the first organizing meeting and strongly urged participants to adopt a social
ecologist platform for the new party. Many participants were receptive to this
message, and so the Left Green Network was formed shortly afterward to
encourage continued discussion on creating a national Green Party built on
social ecology and eco-socialist organizing principles.
The movements represented at the meeting essentially became the 4 pillars of the party — the civil rights (Social Justice), environmental (Ecology), and anti-war (Peace) movements, all linked by a common call for Grassroots Participatory Democracy and an acknowledgement that all of these issues were deeply intertwined and could only be resolved with mutual struggle to end capitalism and create real systemic change. This network eventually founded the Greens/Green Party USA (GPUSA) in 1991 — whose founding platform and strategy shows heavy influence from social ecology thought — which merged with other Green groups to form the Green Party of the United States (GPUS) in 2000.
of social ecology and eco-socialism can still be found within the GPUS, and
this was made more explicit in 2016 when the party platform was amended to
specifically call itself an “anti-capitalist” party that advocated for a
community-based economics often referred to as “eco-socialism”. Make no mistake
— this isn’t a recent change of heart, but rather acknowledging what has always
to Brain’s comment that the Green Party is built “around an issue”, it should
be clear now that this is nonsense. Ecology, not mere
environmentalism, is a broader and more fundamental concept, recognizing that
ecological crisis is rooted in social crisis, or stated
another way, that our vision of an ecological society must also be, by
necessity, a critique of capitalist society.
acknowledge that existential threats like climate change can only be resolved
when social crisis caused by capitalism’s “Grow or Die” profit imperative is
ended — which will require ecologically-minded socialist modes of production
and distribution, and a popular social movement for cultural, economic, and
political change. Therefore at the heart of ecological crisis is a
social crisis rooted in class struggle, and more broadly, popular
struggle against all forms of hierarchy and oppression.
State and Class
argues that “Socialism means workers’ control of the means of production
through a workers’ state, as a step toward the disappearance of all social
classes” before berating Greens and Howie Hawkins by stating “At the end of the
day, the Green Party believes in an economy that is neither capitalist
nor socialist but rather ‘eco-socialist’.” (Emphasis mine, for
clarity.) I believe Brain is deriving his statement from the GPUS platform,
however it is a very poor paraphrasing that misrepresents the actual party
stance. Let’s first quote the GPUS
platform Section (IV)(A)(4) here (emphasis mine):
Party seeks to build an alternative economic system based on ecology and
decentralization of power, an alternative that rejects both the capitalist
system that maintains private ownership over almost all production as
well as the state-socialist system that assumes control over industries without
democratic, local decision making.
explains: “Many countries have nationalized industries, but that doesn’t make
them socialist — the state is still controlled by the bourgeoisie”, to which
Brain clarifies that the key difference is that socialist industry must be
“under workers’ control”.
As the platform
states above, Green Socialists reject capitalism as well as state-socialism
without local decision making — in other words, Greens reject collective
ownership without local democratic control. There’s no disagreement
from Greens here that nationalization alone does not make socialism, but there
is a more subtle distinction here that “workers’ control” referenced by Brain
is not the same as “local decision making” referenced by the Greens. What’s the
distinction and why is that important?
In the essay
“Workers’ Control, Community Control, and the Cooperative Commonwealth”, Howie
Hawkins writes about the failures of the workplace organizing model of many
socialists over the last century. Many worker-centric organizing models and the
once radical unions promoting those models have essentially devolved into
“managers” of capitalism — perhaps with improved working conditions and wages,
but also nowhere near the worker-controlled socialism that the movements
leadership now typically cooperates with capital for contracts rather than
continuing to demand more democracy and oppose private ownership in the first
place. The “Growth or Die” imperative eventually captures even the staunchest
worker co-ops and unions, because if you aren’t growing, you are being undercut
by your capitalist competitors and losing sales, and therefore losing the
ability to pay your own workers.
means of production alone also did not stop the advance of fascism in Spain and
other countries during the early 1900s, and neither did it prevent the Russian
soviets from being captured by the Bolsheviks into a centralized authoritarian
state after the Russian revolution.
There’s also a
certain parochial elitism that can grow from trade unions, in which members
view themselves separately from other workers — in other words, rather than
finding working class solidarity, trade unions in a capitalist system
ironically sometimes create new classes and subclasses to further divide the
It’s not hard
to find today trade union members in the oil and gas industry that not only
have failed to advocate socialism within their workplaces, not only work for an
industry that is destroying the planet and its habitability for humans, but
will vote Republican and actively look down on service industry workers for
being “unskilled” labor that merely needs to “pull itself up by the bootstraps”
if it wishes to do better — better like they have it in their unionized oil and
gas jobs, presumably.
If our goal is
a democratic and ecological society without class distinctions, there’s clearly
a missing ingredient here beyond simply advocating worker control. At a
minimum, the organizing must be industry-wide and cross-industry, but as we
discussed above, even such whole industry movements have historically not been
successful at toppling capitalism.
Aside from the
elitism trades may develop among themselves, such a model completely leaves
many groups out of economic decision-making entirely — young adults still in
school, the disabled, the child-rearers, the elderly care workers, to name a
few groups that live in the community and are affected by economic decisions
but are not industry workers.
therefore advocates a community-controlled economy, where the
community as a whole democratically sets economic policy and goals, better
ensuring that everyone who may be affected by such decision-making gets a say
in the decision. Workplaces would still be unionized, but unions would become
more administrative, making day-to-day workplace decisions in line with, and
accountable to, the community-decided policy that takes precedence.
speaks of “nationalization”, what he’s really calling for is municipalization —
placing the economy into the direct control of communities via municipal
organizations. Nationalization of “key industries” only serves as a first step
to halt capitalist control prior to “breaking industry up” for municipal
control. If Brain can advocate a model of a socialist state as a first
transitional step toward ultimately ending class distinctions and the state
itself, it is unfair to then criticize Hawkins’ campaign platform for also
speaking about transitional steps while ignoring Hawkins’ deeper vision and
One might think
of agriculture, which can begin the path to municipalization today by community
action toward community gardens, food co-ops, and the like. One needs only form
a community movement, and through local self-governance, begin to create the
structures needed; no nationalization or national directive required. There is
no inconsistency here, although the tendency to grow movements “bottom-up” from
municipal levels is much more common among anarchist circles and perhaps a bit
foreign sounding to the “top-down” centralizing views of many socialists, so
perhaps it isn’t a surprise that Brain did not pick up on this distinction.
Hence, there is
a clear and important distinction between Brain’s “workers’ control” and the
Hawkins and Green Socialist view of “local democratic control”. Brain may
disagree with this conclusion, but that doesn’t make the Green Socialist view
any less socialist for having a different take on how to best democratize the
Let’s return to
an interesting point made in the last section regarding trade unions. Hawkins
noted a tendency for worker-oriented movements to ironically create more class
structure and further divide the working class between various industry trades
and so-called “unskilled” workers. Brain makes several digs at the Green Party
and Hawkins for being a “multi-class party,” including that it “operates on the
principle that it is possible to reconcile the conflicting interests of the working
class and the capitalist class”.
It should be
evident from the discussion above that this is yet again a misunderstanding and
misrepresentation of Hawkins and a more general Green Socialist viewpoint. From
Hawkins’ “Workers’ Control, Community Control, and the Cooperative
Commonwealth” (emphasis mine):
years in which worker-oriented theories have dominated the Left, it is easy to
forget that most of the high points of revolutionary upheaval in the last
millennium have been communal peasant movements and urban municipal movements.
From the free cities and the leagues or confederations they formed for periods
from the tenth century on, through the many peasant uprisings seeking communal
autonomy from oppressive landlords, the American and French Revolutions with
their town meetings and neighborhood assemblies, and even such high points of
‘proletarian socialism’ as the Paris Commune of 1871 and the Spanish Revolution
of 1936–37, it has been multi-class, popular movements aimed at local
self-government in opposition to the centralized state that have shaken the
foundations of hierarchical society, both feudal and capitalist. Indeed, in
the larger historical perspective, it is the workers’ movement that is the ‘new
social movement’ — and probably a transitory one corresponding to the rise and
fall of the factory system.
contrary, for the last 40 years, it has been the transclass issues that have
mobilized people — the so-called ‘new social movements’ around peace, the
environment, feminism, gay liberation, racial equality, ethnic autonomy,
community control, and a whole array of cultural movements that reject the alienated
structure of needs and the compensatory consumption that have grown with the
commodification of social relations. … The ‘immense majority’ today are
the many alienated and oppressed sectors of society, not a single class defined
by its relationship to the means of production. Economistic ‘class
struggle’ is too one-sided and parochial to express the universalization of the
struggle against multiple forms of hierarchy and irrationality. The democratic
struggles of ‘The People’ better express this generalization of the struggle
against myriad forms of domination than the two-class struggle of wage labor
working class” originally envisioned by Marx and others has never actually
materialized; as industrial capitalism has expanded into global neoliberal
capitalism, if anything, the working class has stratified into various classes
kept in tension with each other by the capitalist ruling class that exploits
racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, xenophobia, even a fear of material scarcity
and poverty, to maintain class distinctions. When Hawkins and Green Socialists
speak of “multi-class” movements, we refer to uniting these various economic
classes and social identities against their oppressors.
The struggle is
not merely an economic class struggle at the point of production but a general
popular struggle against all forms of hierarchy and oppression. Put another
way: ending economic class distinctions alone will not immediately cure racism,
sexism, homophobia, transphobia, or xenophobia. Ironically, even the article’s
publisher Left Voice says in their “Who We Are” page that
“We are against all forms of oppression. Class reductionism isn’t welcome here.
in social movements and for the rights of oppressed people; we are active parts
of the socialist feminist, environmental, Black Lives Matter, LGTBQ+,
immigrants rights movements, and more.” (Compare the social movements listed
here with those listed in Hawkins’ article, for example.) Brain’s critique of
multi-class organizing misrepresents the Green position and comes dangerously
close to a class reductionist point of view.
struggle against hierarchy is the more fundamental struggle
that Green Socialists try to focus on, for hierarchies affect not only social
relations but also human society’s relationship with nature; yes, class
struggle is a part of that struggle, but not the
only or the ultimate struggle. It’s not less socialist, as Brain implies, to
try to keep the overarching struggle against hierarchy and exploitation in
as Electoral Revolution
major complaint is the perceived Green focus on electoralism. Brain states,
“Real change cannot be won through elections — We win real concessions by
protesting in the streets and challenging the capitalists’ control of the means
of production.” The implication here of course is that Greens rely too heavily
on, and advocate change primarily through, elections, but similarly to our
previous arguments, this appears to again largely be a misunderstanding — this
time about elections and the term “political party”.
Hawkins, in his letter announcing his
candidacy for president, cites one of his major goals as “To build the
Green Party as an activist and viable opposition to the
two-capitalist-party system of corporate rule.” (emphasis my own). The Green
Party has always had its roots in activism and direct struggle; Hawkins himself
came from the direct struggle movements of the 1960s and 1970s, and has even
been arrested several times during his protests. I do not believe any Green
would object to the idea of “protesting in the streets” to demand change and
question is more: exactly how do we win real change, and what role does
“protesting in the streets” — or electoralism, for that matter — play in that
strategy? What we’re really asking about is how to build popular power,
and there’s a few different angles on this.
“protesting in the streets” necessarily build power? It depends largely on what
is being done in the streets — in other words, the context of the action. A
large-scale non-violent civil disobedience action, for example occupying public
offices and shutting down the ability to conduct normal business, gets the
attention of decision makers in today’s system and can often work. However it
does generally require a lot of planning and preparation, as well as large
numbers of people, to be effective — the key being that the protest or action
must inconvenience those in power to get noticed.
demonstration might not be noticed or “felt” by those in power. All too often,
folks “protest in the streets” on a Saturday morning when there is no
pedestrian or vehicle traffic, when the ruling class is out on the golf course
or at the beach home, and so the action “in the streets” gets zero attention,
puts zero pressure or attention on the decision makers, and most decidedly does not “get
the goods”. History is unfortunately full of major labor strikes and actions
that failed because they weren’t large enough, or not planned well-enough, to
succeed at pressuring the ruling class for long enough to matter — several
strikes sadly ended up with workers, unsupported by the unions that instigated
the action, being unable to put food on the family table and the workers
walking right back to their jobs.
commentary does not address what’s required for effective action, nor does it
describe what to do when the action is effective and the state
decides to retaliate with violence, such as police arrests. In short, while it
is the start of an answer, it is not an answer on it’s own — we must be
well-organized and prepared before “protesting in the streets” can work.
question arises: what sort of organizing is necessary then? Previously, the
labor union was discussed as being insufficient for organizing a truly
democratic movement that was inclusive of the whole community, but what other
organizing structures exist? There is one option that is well-known by the
general population — the political party. As a community-based
political civic organization, a political party can — if well-designed, of
course — provide the framework for community organizing.
parties are already understood to exist at local neighborhood levels, and send
delegates to county, state, and national conventions. This structure actually
supports well a community-wide directly democratic organization, which may
serve as an umbrella for all types of political organizing — perhaps elections,
but also to organize direct actions and mutual aid for party members. In short,
the community-based organizing model appears to be best accomplished via
political party rather than a trade union.
Party of the late 1800s and early 1900s actually exemplified this model very
well, using the party both to elect thousands of socialists to local office
across the country, as well as help organize labor unions and represent them in
public political debate. The Green Party is a natural extension of this concept
from a worker-centric model to a community-wide model that represents not only
labor, but all members of the community who may not be engaged in traditional
paid labor, and even nature itself.
That said, we
must acknowledge that despite the many successes of the Socialist Party, it too
was unable to topple capitalism and ultimately disappeared into the Democratic
Party, as its membership was attacked via sedition laws during World War 1, and
the party’s platform was co-opted by the New Deal in order to “save capitalism”
(as FDR put it) during the Great Depression.
combination of attacks and co-option led many socialist organizers to decide
that their hopes and futures rode on using the New Deal to turn the Democratic
Party into a working class party, and therefore the Socialist Party was largely
abandoned by the 1960s. However, in the decades since, the Democratic Party has
shifted further right-wing and continued to suppress progressive and socialist
voices within the party, showing it too has been a failed strategy.
therefore recognize that the Green Party organizing model must learn from
history, and take a different approach to building community power — it lies
neither in “protesting the streets” nor electoralism alone, but some synthesis
of these ideas that can directly challenge capitalism and the state while
building new directly democratic institutions, avoiding at once both electoral
co-option as well as avoiding the parochialism and lack of authentic grassroots
democracy found in some workers’ or activist movements. What would such a
synthesis look like?
Going back to
Bookchin’s Social Ecology, which had a large influence and role on the
foundations of the Green Party and helped define Green Socialism, we find that
Bookchin also proposed a revolutionary praxis for implementing Green Socialism
that appears to meet our criteria: he called it “libertarian municipalism”.
After extensive research into the history of popular revolutions, Bookchin
concluded that most successful revolutions in history of the last millennium
shared a number of common traits, particularly that they were popular
movements for democratic self-determination at the local community levels.
The main agenda
of municipal electoralism would be to pass ordinances that would directly clear
a path toward recognizing the people’s assemblies as the legitimate power in
the municipality, rather than a small elected council — the council would then
become primarily an administrative one, rather than a rule-making one. The
municipality then becomes the revolutionary organization of the people,
the location where the community gathers to debate and determine economic and
social policy. The organizing to make this transition occur makes the most
sense as a type of political party devoted to both activist
and electoral struggle against capital and the State — this is exactly the
Green Party’s mandate.
municipalities would then form confederations for mutual aid
and self-defense according to shared principles in order to expand the network.
At some point, these revolutionary municipalities in confederation, through
mutual aid organizing and democratic self-determination, will encroach severely
on the powers the State affords itself — for example, when a municipality wants
to ban fossil fuel infrastructure in an effort to develop municipal renewable
energy — and it is this tension between municipality and State that directly
confronts capitalism and forces a revolutionary moment.
discussion earlier that actions which did not grab the attention of the ruling
class would fail; the direct tension between grassroots municipalities and
top-down oligarchic state rule is one of the biggest ways to get their
attention as it can directly stop their activities and profits. Popular
institutions are essentially forced into revolution, to either side with
municipalities or face popular wrath by attempting to prop up the capitalist
State. If “The People” in their confederations have prepared enough for the
confrontation, they will prevail, and the “new world will be born in the shell
of the old”, to paraphrase an old anarchist saying.
confrontation, it is critical to be involved in community organizing and direct
actions including mutual aid, but also to develop a political organization particularly
at the municipal levels against the State.
This is of
course a brief summary and by no means a full elaboration of the concept or
strategy, but hopefully this discussion was sufficient to dispel a number of
Brain’s contentions. Firstly, to the extent that Greens are involved in
“electoralism”, it is primarily to build local organizing along with grassroots
municipal power. Secondly, since the end goal of this municipalist strategy is
a revolutionary confrontation between socialist municipalities and the State,
Brain’s remarks about Green Socialists not being revolutionary are clearly
remark: this discussion actually highlights a problem with Brain’s own remarks
about socialism requiring a “workers’ state”. Green Socialists reject this
view, in the sense that it is the State itself which we are opposing. The State
is a hierarchical entity and therefore its own source of class and identity
divisions, no matter whether the stewards of the State are elected bourgeoisie
or socialist workers.
will always occur in such hierarchies; ideas such as work rotation, which
Hawkins advocated in his essay, help mitigate the formation of classes at least
on the basis of trade skills, but will never prevent all types of classes that
may form under a hierarchical State. In this sense, Green Socialists see the
very concept of a “workers’ state” as an oxymoron; instead, we seek a Green
Socialist society built from the grassroots at the municipal level, cutting the
State out entirely and transitioning more directly to a classless and
hierarchy-free system. To be fair, the reality of the struggle is not as
clear-cut as it sounds, but the cognitive dissonance in the typical
worker-oriented approaches must be noted.
Yes, GPUS Is
Not A Perfect Messenger — But We Can Work To Improve It
All of the more
philosophical arguments aside, I believe one would be hardpressed to find a
Green Party member that wouldn’t agree there are serious deficiencies in the
way the GPUS is organized today. For various complex historical reasons, the
GPUS bylaws are a bit of a mess lacking real teeth in key areas, and the
platform does have some contradictions, particularly around economics and
monetary theory, that Brain rightly points out.
success of the German Green Party was in many ways more of a curse than a
blessing because it brought a contingent of more “social democrat”
neoliberal-minded “Greens” into the party in its early days, which is part of
the reason the bylaws and platform are a bit Jekyll-and-Hyde. Some state
parties have also not done the necessary organizing to grow, leading to a very
haphazard view where some states have a stronger Green presence dedicated to
socialist organizing, while other states barely register on the map other than
to issue sadly liberal “critiques” of Democrats.
Green Party is itself a classic example of what not to do, as it quickly traded
in its radical anti-capitalist stances for more mild social programs in order
to quickly win votes and gain representation in government; as such, it
essentially became exactly the kind of party it was trying to not be when it
first declared itself the “anti-party party”.
of this takes away from the fact that Green Socialism is a coherent socialist
philosophy, even if a bit different from some other worker-oriented socialist
movements. Green Socialists still make up a majority of the party, which is
indicated for example by its vote in 2016 to more explicitly identify itself as
such to the public, and for the GPUS Youth Caucus to rename itself the “Young
Eco-Socialists” around the same time.
active currents and caucuses within the party organizing to correct many of the
deficiencies identified: to hold members more accountable to our values with
bylaws with “more teeth”; to update the platform to finally remove the
inconsistent language that has been stuck since early drafts; to recognize that
the sustaining donor model GPUS implemented in the early 2000s was a failure
because it too closely emulated capitalist parties, and to return to a dues-paying
working-class membership as the early GPUSA had in the 1990s.
progress on all of these fights; sometimes the hold up is the bylaws itself,
which require a 2/3rd majority on all votes to implement, which is a fairly
high bar for most organizations that has its roots in a desire to form as wide
a consensus as possible. Some votes have failed by one or two votes (that is,
64% in agreement, a clear majority, rather than 66% necessary to pass), and the
No votes are not always “liberals” or “capitalists” in the party but sometimes
the various Leftist tendencies in the party dueling over how far to lean toward
worker-oriented Marxist socialism versus more community-oriented anarchism or
some other tendency.
These are all
real socialist debates — over best organizing practices, over best policy, how
to accomplish our goals as quickly as possible with the climate change clock
counting down, etc. — that are worthy debates to have, and so slow changes in
platforms and machinery shouldn’t be interpreted as a lack of motion but rather
the difficulty of challenging 21st century capitalism and the array of ideas on
how to best approach it. Greens are not unique in facing this struggle; DSA,
SAlt, PSL, and others face their own criticisms of organizing strategy and
internal policy, and the ISO even disbanded over its own internal crisis.
against capitalism is hard, democracy is messy, and
since we haven’t won yet against capitalism, there’s lots of ideas about how to
best proceed, and lots of challenges in doing so, both internal and external.
We probably all need to learn to be a bit more friendly and comradely with
constructive criticism about our mutual struggle rather than looking for
reasons to divide the movement and ostracize each other.
GPUS must adapt
and change its structure in order to better represent Green Socialist thought,
that much is certain. At the same time, I believe the future of Green Socialist
thought is bright, if you’ll forgive the mild pun, precisely because it is a
well-formed, coherent philosophy based in democracy and ecology as first
principles thanks to its roots in Social Ecology. Green Socialism isn’t just a
good idea, but is quickly becoming in my view the imperative as
climate change accelerates.
US youth are looking for a philosophy and organizing principle that will save our communities and the whole planet and I encourage them to look more at Social Ecology and Green Socialism. I hope that more “traditional” socialists like Brain will give Green Socialism, and even GPUS, a second look — sure, with critiques as needed (many of which we acknowledge and invite help on solving), but also open-mindedness. Only together can we build a popular movement to confront capitalism and end climate change, social and natural exploitation, and hierarchy.