Wednesday 9 November 2022

Extract From: Ecosocialism Not Extinction

Written by Allan Todd (2022) 

“The central preomise of ecosocialism, already suggested by the term itself, is that non-ecological socialism is a dead end, and a non-socialist ecology cannot confront the present ecological crisis.”  

[Michael Löwy, Ecosocialism: a Radical Alternative to Capitalist Catastrophe, 2015, p.xi] 

As a clear and concise explanation of the nature of ecosocialism, the above quotation from Michael Löwy would be difficult to better.

Essentially, ecosocialists recognise that, because of the profound crises currently facing humanity and the rest of the planet’s species, both the socialist and the ‘green’ projects need to be redefined.  These multiple and interlinked crises - climate, ecological, economic, social and political - mean that, in the twenty-first century, it is no longer simply a question of either trying to ‘green’ parts of capitalism, or even replacing capitalism with twentieth-century conceptions of socialism.  We need to have an ecologically-sustainable planet, because, quite simply, there can be no viable life, let alone socialism, on a dangerously-degraded planet. Given the failures and part-failures of the COP process, it is now absolutely clear that capitalism cannot deliver that ecologically-sustainable planet… 

Climate Crisis

For ecosocialists, it is now abundantly clear that capitalism is creating dangerous - and possibly fatal - ruptures in the Earth System. Yet, even today, many activists in social movements and centre-left parties are failing to grasp just what is likely to be coming round the corner if serious climate action is not taken in the next few years.  To put it starkly, we are currently living through the greatest crisis in human history: a crisis consisting of several unprecedented but linked crises. If these crises are not radically and quickly addressed, the result will almost certainly be the collapse of human civilisation as we know it.  Or, at the most extreme, the extinction of huge numbers of most of the species on this planet, including humans… 

Ecological/Biodiversity Crisis

One rapidly accelerating, impact of global heating is the loss of species - so much so, that it is now generally accepted by experts that we are living through the sixth mass extinction of animal and plant species in Earth’s history, with an extinction rate 1000 times higher than the normal rate. And this is what is happening now, when the increase in the average global temperature is around 1.3oc. Yet, in 2012, the World Bank had reported that scientists were almost unanimously predicting that, if no significant policy changes were undertaken, then the average global temperature would have risen by 4oc by the end of this century - and possibly by as early as 2060. 

A study in 2018 predicted that such a rise in average global temperature would see up to half of animal and plant species becoming extinct by the end of the century. While, in 2019, a UN study predicted that some one million species are facing extinction in the near future.  Such a collapse in biodiversity would put human communities at risk, as a result of loss of food sources, pollution of fresh water systems and the oceans, and erosion of natural defences against extreme weather events. Yet, so far, most pledges made at the various COP meetings have yet to be fully implemented.  Of particular concern is the fact that earlier predictions regarding the timing and intensity of the impacts of global heating have proved to be too optimistic….

Origins of ecosocialism

As a succession of modern ecosocialist writers, including John Bellamy Foster and Paul Burkett, have convincingly established, there has long been a close connection between socialism and ecology. This connection goes back to Karl Marx who, in the second half of the nineteenth century, developed several key ecological ideas on the relationship between human activity - more precisely, capitalist activity - and nature. 

As early as the 1850s, Marx drew attention to what he called the dangerous ‘metabolic rift’ - or unsustainable ecological dislocation - that capitalism, because of its built-in drive for continuously-increasing production and ever-rising profits, inevitably creates between humans and the rest of the natural world. Essentially, the capitalist mode of production and accumulation treats nature as capital to be exploited, and ignores the Earth’s planetary boundaries to growth.  In the early 1860s, Marx also became interested in the concept of the atmospheric ‘greenhouse effect’, which was just being raised by the Irish physicist, John Tyndall. Marx made the point that neither human societies in general, nor private companies in particular, own the natural world, and that therefore they should not degrade it. Instead, Marx argued that each generation had a duty to pass it down to succeeding generations “in an improved condition.” 

Engels, too, also produced ecological writings, commenting on capitalism’s increasingly destructive impact on nature, of which we are a part, and on which our survival as a species ultimately depends. As early as the 1840s, he wrote of the environmental and industrial pollution associated with capitalist manufacture and urbanisation.  Sadly, some of Engels’ work on ecological matters - as with some of Marx’s writings - were not widely disseminated at the time, indeed some were not published until decades after they were written. Thus they were largely unknown to those who nonetheless saw themselves as socialists or Marxists. 

Engels, for instance, in The Dialectics of Nature (an unfinished work from 1883, not published until 1925), warned about the possible consequences of our interference with nature, and commented that humans should not be fooled by apparent ‘victories’ over nature, because of unforeseen effects: “For each such victory nature takes its revenge on us.”  […], it is possible to see the emergence of Covid-19 as an example of nature taking its revenge on us… 

Why we need it

 The various COPs - even those of COP21 in Paris in 2015, and COP26 in 2021 in Glasgow - have mostly been problematic, in that the majority of the pledges made have rarely been implemented in any meaningful way. This is, in part, because they are not legally binding. To a large extent this is down to the relentless lobbying of politicians by those corporations most likely to be impacted by the pledges made by the countries involved in the COP process… 


 As well as taking action within Britain, it is also vital to make international connections and to co-operate with like-minded organisations across the world. The reach of capitalism is global and so should be our response. Ecosocialists attempt to develop practical solutions at all levels: local, regional, national, continental and global. Ultimately, if we are to mitigate and then end today’s multiple crises across the globe, we need an international ecosocialist coalition of radicals - rather like the Zimmerwald Movement which developed in 1915-16 during the crisis of WW1. The formation of the Global Ecosocialist Network in 2020 - to raise awareness of ecosocialist arguments - was a really useful step in the right direction… 

Join us in this vital struggle. Help us to bring together environmental and social justice campaigns with trade union struggles and begin to build a movement capable of winning. 

As is increasingly clear to many, with corporations, governments and mainstream parties refusing to put climate protection before capitalist profits, the choice facing us and most of the other species on this heating-up planet is, quite simply: ‘either ecosocialism - or capitalist barbarism and extinction!’ Whilst it is necessary to fight hard for all the reforms, mitigations and policies we can force from governments, ultimately we will have to make a decisive break with the logic of capitalism itself.  As Marx would (probably!) have said if he were alive today:

“People of the world unite, rise up, and ACT!  You have a planet to save!”

The full booklet is available from: Resistance Books 

Allan Todd is a climate and anti-fascist activist, and a member of Left Unity’s National Council and of Anti-Capitalist Resistance. He is the author of Revolutions 1789-1917 (CUP) and Trotsky: The Passionate Revolutionary (Pen & Sword). His next book is Che Guevara: The Romantic Revolutionary.

Friday 4 November 2022

COP27- Still Fiddling While the World Burns - Ecosocialist Alliance Statement

Ecosocialist Alliance has released a statement ahead of the COP27 meeting at the heavily fortified Sharm El-Sheikh resort, in Egypt.

In England on 5 November, people celebrate the averting of an attempt to blow up the Houses of Parliament, known as the ‘Gunpowder Plot’ of 1605. It is sometimes named after one of the plotters as ‘Guy Fawkes Night,’ but also as ‘Bonfire Night.’ From 1606 when the authorities encouraged people to light bonfires on the anniversary, the night has seen fireworks and bonfires across the country. An effigy of Guy Fawkes is often burnt, but these days, in some places, current political leaders and others are used as the effigies.  

So, it is appropriate that this date is chosen on the eve of COP27, for Ecosocialist Alliance to release this statement. The whole planet is in danger of becoming a bonfire, with the United Nations warning we are on track for at least 2.5C to 2.8C increases in temperature, which will be devastating.

These COP meetings are largely a photo opportunity for world leaders, but nothing solid ever comes out of them. We need to adopt a programme something like this statement, before it is too late, and the planet burns.    

COP27- Still Fiddling While the World Burns

COP 27, which will meet from the 6th - 18th November 2022, unfolds against a backdrop of growing climate chaos and ecological degradation. As this latest COP approaches, economic recession, increased poverty and war run alongside the multiple interlinked and inseparable crises of climate, environment, extinction and zoonotic diseases. We now face a global economic recession likely to be deeper even than that of 2008.

The economic spiral into recession will make addressing environmental crisis even more difficult, as states and corporations rush to increase fossil fuel production to offset the deepening energy crisis. They will try to make working people pay with their living standards and their lives, for the crisis of their rotten system. Resources which should be directed at adaptation and amelioration of the climate crisis will be diverted to war and fossil fuel production including dangerous Fracking and Underground Coal Gasification (UCG).

We face increasingly destructive wars, most notably in Ukraine which is destabilising world food supplies, and which has the potential for the use of nuclear weapons. War causes huge physical and social damage to people and societies and the military industrial processes produce 6% of all greenhouse gasses. The impact of wars in Ukraine, Yemen, Palestine and other places in terms of human and environmental cost, and on food production and energy costs, will continue to exacerbate the crises facing the environment and the global economy. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine must not be the pretext for a rush to fossil fuels, new coal and gas and the resumption of fracking. Quite the opposite- it should be a spur to shift more rapidly towards renewables.

As Ecosocialists, we say another world is possible. A massive social and political transformation is needed, requiring the mobilisation of the mass of working people, women and men, across the globe. Only the end of capitalism’s relentless pursuit of private profit, endless waste, and rapacious drive for growth, can provide the basis for a solution not only to climate change, environmental degradation, and mass extinction, but to global poverty, hunger, and hyper exploitation.

The COP 27 conference will take place in an isolated, heavily policed tourist resort, with only one major road in and out, and hotels charging rates that will likely push the entire COP beyond the means of many grassroots organisations, especially those from poorer countries in the Global South. The Egyptian government say there will be room for opposition, but what they mean, is that activists will be offered fake protests opportunities where state-affiliated NGOs demonstrate around the convention giving the impression of an independent local civil society. No real Egyptian or other opposition will be allowed near Sharm El-Sheikh. We send solidarity to Egypt’s climate campaigners, women’s organisations, Trade Unionists and workers fighting for democracy.

2022 has seen floods in Pakistan, directly affecting thirty-three million people, Australia and elsewhere. We have seen wildfires, extreme heat, ice melt, drought, and extreme weather events on many continents, yet governments pursue still more fossil fuel production. 2022’s summer of disasters broke records worldwide. In 2021, global sea level set a new record high and is projected to continue to rise. The United Nations reports that research shows that women and children are up to fourteen times more likely than men to die during climate disasters.

The big issues of climate change will be debated in Egypt but whatever is agreed, capitalism left to itself can at best mitigate, not end them. Environmental destruction is woven into the very fabric of the system itself. However, much big business resists, we will have to force it to act on a global scale. Ultimately, only the ending of capitalism itself and its replacement by democratic Ecosocialist planned production for need and not private profit can guarantee the necessary action.

Genuine climate solutions cannot be based on the very market system that created the problem. Only the organised working class, and the rural oppressed of the global south -women and men have the power to end capitalism, because their labour produces all wealth and they have no great fortune to lose if the system changes, no vested interests in inequality, exploitation, and private profit.

Sustainability and global justice

The long-term global crisis and the immediate effects of catastrophic events impact more severely on women, children, elders, LGBTQIA+, disabled people and the people of First Nations. An eco-socialist strategy puts social justice and liberation struggles of the oppressed at its core.

Migration is, and will increasingly be, driven by climate change and conflicts and resource wars resulting from it. Accommodating and supporting free movement of people must be a core policy and necessary part of planning for the future.

Action now to halt climate change!

We demand:

•           All new fossil fuels must stay in the ground – no new gas, coal, or oil! No to Fracking and UCG!

•           A rapid move to renewable energy for transport, infrastructure, industry, agriculture, and homes.

•           A massive global programme of public works investing in green jobs, and replacing employment in unsustainable industries.

•           The retrofitting of homes and public buildings with insulation and other energy saving measures to reduce fuel use and to address fuel poverty.

•           A globally funded just transition for the global south to develop the necessary sustainable technologies and infrastructure.

•           A major cut in greenhouse gas emissions of at least 70% by 2030, from a 1990 baseline. This must be comprehensive - including all military, aviation, and shipping emissions – and include mechanisms for transparent accounting, measurement, and popular oversight.

•           The end of emissions trading schemes.

•           No to ‘offsetting’ of carbon emissions- we need a real zero not net-zero.

We call for:

•           Immediate cancellation of the international debt of the global south.

•           A rapid shift from massive factory farms and large-scale monoculture agribusiness towards eco-friendly farming methods and investment in green agricultural technology to reduce synthetic fertiliser and pesticide use in agriculture and replace these with organic methods and support for small farmers.

•           A massive reduction in meat and dairy production and consumption, with a view to its phasing out, through education and provision and promotion of high- quality, affordable plant-based alternatives.

•           The promotion of agricultural systems based on the right to food and food sovereignty, human rights, and with local control over natural resources, seeds, land, water, forests, knowledge, and technology to end food and nutrition insecurity in the global south.

•           The end of deforestation in the tropical and boreal forests by reduction of demand for imported food, timber, and biofuels.

•           A massive increase in protected areas for biodiversity conservation.

•           End fuel poverty through retrofitting energy existing homes and buildings with energy efficient sustainable technologies.

We demand a just transition:

•           Re-skilling of workers in environmentally damaging industries with well-paid alternative jobs in the new economy.

•           Full and democratic involvement of workers to harness the energy and creativity of the working people to design and implement new sustainable technologies and decommission old unsustainable ones.

•           Resources for popular education and involvement in implementing and enhancing a just transition, with environmental education embedded at all levels within the curriculum.

•           Urgent development of sustainable, affordable, and high-quality public transport with a comprehensive integrated plan which meets peoples’ needs and reduces the requirement for private car use.

•           A planned eco-socialist economy which eliminates waste, duplication and environmentally harmful practices, reduction in the working week and a corresponding increase in leisure time.

•           Work practices reorganised with the emphasis on fair flexibility and working closer to home, using a free and fast broadband infrastructure.

•           An end to ecologically and socially destructive extractivism, especially in the territories of Indigenous peoples and First Nations .

•           Respect for the economic, cultural, political and land rights of Indigenous peoples and First Nations.

As eco-socialists we put forward a vision of a just and sustainable world and fight with every ounce of our energy for every change, however small, which makes such a world possible. We will organise and assist wherever worker’s and community organisations internationally, raising demands on governments and challenging corporations.

If you would like to support the statement or contact Ecosocialist Alliance please email

Ecosocialist Alliance, October 2022


Left Unity, UK

Anti-Capitalist Resistance, UK

Green Left, UK

Global Ecosocialist Network, International

RISE, Ireland

Parti de Gauche Marseille Nord, France

Socialist Project, Canada

Breakthrough Party, UK

People Before Profit, Ireland

Climate and Capitalism, International

XR Camden, UK

Anti-Fracking Nanas, UK

West Cumbria Friends of the Earth, UK

Save Euston Trees, UK

Ecosocialist Alliance UK Facebook Group, UK


Beatrix Campbell, OBE, Writer, UK

George Monbiot, Environmental Writer & Activist, UK

Ken Loach, Film maker, UK

Julia Steinberger, Professor of Ecological Economics, Lausanne University, Switzerland

Victor Wallis, author of Red Green Revolution, USA

Professor Krista Cowman ,Historian, UK

Marina Prentoulis, Associate Professor in Politics & Media, UEA; author of Left Populism in Europe, UK

Romayne Phoenix, Ecosocialist Campaigner, UK

Dr Jay Ginn, (retired academic researcher, UK

Alistair Sinclair Green Eco-Socialist Councillor, Lancaster City Council, UK

Clara Paillard, Unite the Union & Tipping Point UK, UK

Felicity Dowling, Left Unity Principal Speaker, UK

Derek Wall, Former GPEW Principal Speaker; Political Economy Lecturer, Goldsmiths; Author of Climate Strike,UK

Rob Marsden, Red Green Labour editorial board- personal capacity, UK

Jo Alberti, veteran left activist, UK

Doug Thorpe, Left Unity National Secretary, UK

Kevin Frea, Deputy Leader, Lancaster City Council, UK

Dee Searle, One Vote for the Planet activist, UK

Jim Hollinshead, Left Unity, UCU, UK

Ed Bober, UK

Patrick Fitzgerald, Artist, Vizcaya, Spain

Allan Todd, Climate & Anti-Fascist Activist; member of Left Unity’s NC, UK

Gordon Peters, Ecosocialist activist, UK

Tim Dawes, Former Chair Green Party of England and Wales; Rtrd. Senior Local Govt. Officer/Consultant, UK

Joe Human. climate activist, UK

Fiona Prior, Climate activist, grandmother, UK

Peter Murry, Ecosocialist activist, UK

Lucy Moy-Thomas, Climate Emergency Camden, UK

Tina Rothery, Climate Campaigner, UK

Dr. Richard Nicholson, Haywards Heath Town Councillor, UK

Sally Lansbury, Labour Party Cllr., Allerdale Borough Council, UK

Deanna Austin-Crowe, Health Worker, UK

Chris Bluemel, Musician & Activist, UK

Lucy Early, Ecosocialist Alliance member, UK

Joseph Healy, International Officer of Left Unity & UNITE Regional Officer, UK

Al Barnes, Paramedic & XR Activist, UK

Steve Masters, Climate activist and Green party councillor, UK

Alice Brown, One Vote for the Planet, UK

Jane Walby, Global Justice Now, Camden Fairtrade Network, Debt Justice, UK

Dorothea Hackman, Save Euston Trees, UK

Penelope Read, Eco-Warrior, Actor & Musician, UK

Samantha Barnes, Solicitor, UK

Charlotte Christensen, Mum & Anarchist, UK

Howard Coakley, University Mental Health Mentor, and Activist, UK 

Joe Hill, Germany

Bob Whitehead, Secretary of the West Midlands Climate Coalition, UK

Wednesday 28 September 2022

The Socialist Green New Deal

From Green Left


In this document, we trace the development of a Green Socialist New Deal (GSND) from its origins in the ‘New Deal’ of the 1930s, to the more recent Green New Deal.

We believe that the latter can only be effective in tackling the multiple crises of finance, climate change, environmental degradation, social and global justice and peace through an eco-socialist alliance of workers and trade unions that challenges the current capitalist order.

We outline a set of interim policies in our GSND, concluding that these medium-term changes would reduce climate change and also enhance our democracy and human welfare.

History of New Deals

The ‘New Deal’ was a package of regulations, financial reforms and public works in the USA introduced by President Roosevelt in response to the depression after 1929. It was designed to deliver “the three Rs” – Relief from poverty, economic Recovery and financial Reforms.

Whilst full employment was not restored until after the USA joined World War II in 1941, when public expenditure for the war effort doubled GDP, the New Deal led to significant economic recovery, major improvements in health and growth in employment. Some programmes continue today and the concept of a New Deal remains a powerful symbol of what governments can achieve when free market mechanisms fail.

In 2008 a group of prominent individuals in Britain (Economist Ann Pettifor, Caroline Lucas MP, the Guardian’s Larry Elliott and Tony Juniper published a set of proposals under the title 'Green New Deal' (GND) in response to the ‘triple crunch’ facing the world: the financial crisis in 2007-8, accelerating climate change and soaring energy prices. This concept of a GND has enthused radical movements across the world and versions have proliferated on both sides of the Atlantic.

Most of these are confined to technical measures for addressing climate change but few address the root causes of climate change; environmental degradation, loss of biodiversity, poverty, inequality and injustice. For eco-socialists, a GND must involve restructuring societies and economies, through democratic discussion across all of society, including workers, unemployed people, pensioners, carers and their organisations.

By 2019, after ten years of Tory austerity, both Labour and the Green Party included versions of the GND in their General Election manifestos. Both featured imaginative proposals to rejuvenate Britain’s infrastructure, energy systems, housing, transport, environment, health and welfare. These were significant policy advances to build on but have been insufficiently radical to address our problems and their causes successfully.

Transition to an eco-socialist future

The survival of many species, including human, requires a transition to a postcapitalist, democratic, green socialist future, to be achieved by a new alliance of workers and eco-socialists. Our Green Socialist New Deal is properly understood as a stepping stone on the journey to that destination. The policies outlined here can be implemented swiftly in the context of Britain’s current institutions and economic framework. They begin the process of delivering radical change at local, regional and national level.


Our GSND requires immediate government action to reduce the use of coal, oil and gas, consistent with Carbon Net Zero, by 2030. This objective will require a range of measures including:

Carbon accounting by companies: a requirement to measure and report the carbon emissions for which they are responsible

Carbon tax on industry and commerce, starting at £100 per ton and rising annually.

Carbon budgeting and rationing at national, community and household levels and the introduction of Personal Carbon Allowances starting at around ½ ton per month and reducing each year.

Reductions in energy demand through home insulation, energy conservation and modal shifts to electric mass transport.

Major investments in renewable energy sources -solar, wind, wave, geothermal, hydro and tidal.

Massive growth in material re-use and recycling of manufactured goods, clothing, commodities, metals, building materials and more, creating a near Zero Waste system and eliminating toxic landfill.


Studies indicate that moving to a carbon-free future can generate many good jobs, providing a Just Transition for those whose jobs are currently in carbon intensive industries. Under GSND we will:

Rapidly deploy workers to the fast-expanding renewable energy sectors (see above).

Create thousands of new jobs in construction and engineering as we shift from gas and oil to electricity with the attendant requirement to upgrade the national grid.

Employ builders, electricians and fitters in large numbers in insulating millions of homes to new energy standards and installing carbon-free heating.

Expand jobs in the care sector and in organic agriculture/agro-forestry as we transition from a profitdriven to a needs-based, sustainable economy.

Launch a National Climate Service to co-ordinate regional and local action on climate.


The process of decarbonisation will be disruptive, resulting in major and rapid shifts in economic activity, rendering millions of jobs obsolete and creating a correlative requirement to create new, well-paid and socially useful ones. We would create national and regional plans to guarantee the creation of well-paid replacement jobs, with training and skills development in new low carbon sectors.

It is vital that trade unions, workers and communities can design, lead and cooperate in these plans, as well as at all levels of government. We would ensure that new jobs provided safe and healthy working conditions in environmentally sustainable workplaces, as well as rights of workers to information on the environmental impacts of their work and whistleblower protection.

We would implement distributive measures to ensure that other social groups besides workers, including unpaidcarers,  the disabled, pensioners and students, share fairly in the ecological and social benefits of the transition. The working week would allow more flexibility for workers and their families, in terms of timing and number of hours/days at the workplace and at home.


Transport creates over 20% of carbon emissions. This must be reduced by over 90% by 2030. To achieve this we shall reduce the need for transport by localising work, commerce and services to each community. We shall ensure that essential services, like health, are available within 20 minutes of most people. We shall accelerate a comprehensive rollout of digital broadband technology, supporting the trend to hybrid working and achieving a major reduction in long-distance commuting.

We shall effect a major localising of public and private services in urban areas and villages. This will help repopulate rural areas and further reduce wasteful commuting. Further measures to make communities sustainable and food resilient will include:

Ensuring a rapid shift from fossil fuel vehicles to electric, battery, flywheel and hydrogen power over the next ten years, withdrawing all fossil fuel motors by 2032.

Developing an electric bus and coach network across Britain, connecting most towns and villages on an hourly timetable.

Integrating different public transport modes (bus/train) and ensuring that all are fully accessible.

Phasing in free bus travel, starting in inner-city areas.

Re-opening and electrifying many closed rail-lines to connect districts across regions and introducing a regional Travel Card.

We would complete electrification of railways alongside new urban tram networks by 2035 and phase out heavy lorries over 10 tonnes whilst transferring freight to rail.

We would permit only electric vans and lorries after 2030.

We would build new walkways (pavements) and continuous cycle lanes linking most towns and villages across the countryside (up to 10 miles).

We would incentivise electric car pooling and local car clubs and penalise private vehicle ownership through a series of measures including road pricing for private motor transport in cities (£1/mile). We would implement a carbon tax on all air travel and shipping (£100 per tonne).

The target for our GSND in the area of transport is to establish a clean, integrated, accessible public transport system covering the whole of Britain by 2035… for the first time.


Land ownership is currently highly unequal and many large estates are unavailable for growing organic food, for public recreation or for re-wilding that benefits the environment, climate and biodiversity. We would break up estates over 10,000 and introduce a Land Value Tax.

Britain is a fertile, temperate country which can feed itself easily. We would achieve a phased reduction of the 50% of food that is currently imported by restoring food self-sufficiency and replacing intensive or industrialised farming with smaller mixed farms.

We would ensure a policy mix of education, incentives and rationing of high carbon products to accelerate the shift in consumption habits towards a healthier, more affordable and predominantly vegetarian/vegan diet culture. Our target is 80% plant-based consumption by 2032. In addition, we shall ensure further improvements in animal rights and welfare.

Less developed countries that currently export food to Britain will be able to use their land and water resources to meet the needs of their own populations and we shall drive global initiatives to ensure that compensation is paid by rich countries to help in the transition to local farming by indigenous people. We shall legislate to ensure that commercial fishing uses only sustainable practices which benefit local small-scale fishing.


There are millions of poorly-housed and homeless people in Britain. To deal with this, our GSND will:

Protect public housing from sell-off or privatisation, by abolishing 'Right to buy’ and setting a target to build 1 million new homes for social rent.

Enable Local Authorities to identify, acquire and refurbish suitable empty buildings for local housing and to implement a new Vacancy Tax on private properties empty for over 6 months. This new tax to be related to the new Land Value Tax.

Make funds available to local authorities for building new social, affordable, ‘passivhaus’ homes (mainly on brownfield sites) and to refurbish existing ones.

We shall build 100,000 compact Eco-flats in the first 6 months to meet urgent housing need and create non-profit district co-operatives for Housing and for Energy.


We shall ensure major public investment in free or affordable social care, generating many new low carbon jobs in which care workers are well-trained and well-paid.

The shift from a profit-driven to a needs-driven approach will improve the welfare of care workers, family carers and those needing care.


The necessary changes will require investment of funds, partly from taxation and partly by other means. Our Green Socialist New Deal will involve:

Nationalisation of some banks and the creation of a new People’s Bank.

Widespread implementation of non-profit community credit schemes.

Capital controls to protect against harmful, speculative capital movements.

Introduction of a Robin Hood tax on financial transactions.

Closure of tax loopholes, such as transferring profits to low tax zones, hiding profits etc.

Increased corporation tax inheritance tax and capital gains tax

New taxes on high incomes, wealth, land value and pollution, including carbon.

Cancellation of the expensive Public Finance Initiative (PFI) debts held mainly by hospitals.


There is a widespread perception in the west that public services are somehow predatory, financed as they are by taxes levied on “legitimate” private economic activity. This perception is expensively manufactured and sustained, and there is an implicit suggestion that the public sector is somehow less morally deserving than the private sector. Successive governments have promoted this misrepresentation in order to starve public services, especially the NHS and welfare services, of the funding they require to meet community needs.

In truth the community ultimately owns public sector assets - the commons that we inherit from our forbears - and should make the decisions about the level of economic resources invested in universal public services.

We shall ensure that universal services including housing, employment, health and social care, public transport, education and training, energy and water, receiving an adequate share of investment from the Treasury.

We shall provide a Universal Basic Income (UBI) for adults over 16, (with a child income managed by a parent), together with an enhanced National Minimum Wage. Taken together, these initiatives will greatly reduce absolute poverty especially among families with young children.

We shall ensure much stronger measures to limit air and water pollution, conserve biodiversity, and prevent soil degradation. We shall equip the Environment Agency with much greater powers of enforcement.


We shall take rapid steps towards a republican model of government, with increased devolution to the regions and local authorities and proportional representation at national, regional and local levels in order to revive democratic participation.

Local and regional Citizens Assemblies will be used in developing public policy. We shall transform the House of Lords into a set of elected Scrutiny Committees or a Senate of Regions.


The medium term policies set out in this Green Socialist New Deal would be a major shift towards a truly democratic, equal and fair society based on human and environmental needs.

Implementing an ambitious agenda for change such as this will require co-operative action involving all Labour, Socialist and Green movements. 


Green House Think Tank 

Centre for Alternative Technology (CAT) 

Zero Carbon B

Campaign against Climate Change (CACC) Trade Union Group: 'Climate Jobs’ (2021)

Greener Jobs Alliance Green Party Manifesto 2021(US)

'Fight the Fire’ by Jonathan Neale

'What we need to do now' by Chris Goodall.

'Why we need a Green New Deal’ by Ann Pettifor. Monthly Review, US Eco-Socialist Journal.

Green Left London 

New Economics Foundation Think Tank. 

'Climate Strike-Practical Politics of the Climate Crisis’ by Derek Wall

'How to save our Planet’ by Professor Mark Maslin

With thanks to Contributors: Danny McNamara, Jay Ginn, Peter Murry, Anne Gray, Les Levidow, Mike Shaughnessy and several others;

Design: Lois Davis

Published by Green Left, c/o 151 Queens Drive, London N4 2AR. Editor: Mark Douglas.

Please send comments to the editor and to request hard copies, email:

JOIN GREEN LEFT AND THE GREEN PARTY Green Left MEMBERSHIP is open to Green Party Members only and is £7 annually and free for Young Greens, Students and low/ unwaged.  


Green Left is part of the ECO-SOCIALIST ALLIANCE along with Anti-Capitalist Resistance and Left Unity.

Wednesday 21 September 2022

Britain’s model of monarchy can never be green


Written by Dee Searle 

People speculating about whether Charles III will continue his apparent soft spot for the environment into his reign as king are missing the point. The UK’s secretive, massively wealthy, constitutional monarchy, with its huge influence and leadership of an established church, is the opposite of the equality, equity, sharing and openness on which green politics is based. 

While it’s true that the monarchy was modernised during the 70-year reign of the late Queen Elizabeth II, most of its power is still beyond public scrutiny. The UK Parliament cannot hold the royal family to account and the Commons Speaker, Lindsay Hoyle, has blocked discussions about them on more than one occasion. 

This means that we will never know why Queen Elizabeth II, our constitutional monarch, failed to uphold the constitution when she agreed to Boris Johnson unlawfully proroguing parliament in autumn 2019, when surely her advisers would have spotted the illegality. Similarly, on another major recent constitutional issue, there appears to have been no attempt by the Crown to point out that the Brexit referendum in 2016 was supposed to be advisory rather than a firm commitment. 

Meanwhile there is the routine monarch’s job of rubber-stamping even the most damaging of government policies during the state opening of parliament. Stand by for Charles III announcing that ‘his government’ under new Prime Minister Liz Truss will soon be opening up more North Sea oil and gas fields and encouraging fracking across the UK. 

Even if Charles’s environmental sentiments might lead him to question the wisdom of such policies, his position as head of the British Establishment means he will publicly support our top-down, hierarchical system however suicidal their actions might be. There is no scope in such a system for exploring the radical changes to our economy, politics and society that are needed if we are to effectively tackle the escalating climate and ecological emergency. 

Several media commentators are suggesting that Charles III aims to slim down the monarchy and make it more informal. He might well try, but that doesn’t necessarily mean an increase in openness or democracy, going by the way the Duchy of Cornwall is run. 

The Duchy, which is worth more than £1 billion and owns huge large chunks of Cornwall, Dartmoor, Herefordshire, Somerset and almost all of the Isles of Scilly, plus a portfolio of financial investments, has generated millions of pounds a year for Charles and will do so for William, the incoming Prince of Wales. It benefits from a wide range of rights, powers and privileges, including the right to veto legislation that affects it, public immunity (including from Freedom of Information requests), exemption from leasehold rights, exemption from prosecution under several laws and  “Bona Vacantia” (which means where property within Cornwall becomes ownerless, it belongs to the Duke of Cornwall instead of the government). 

Some of these rights, powers and privileges are historic but many have been introduced or updated in recent times. Several locals have tried to challenge the Duchy, such as the owner of a mine made famous in the Poldark television series. But they are almost always unsuccessful and hushed up. 

The Green Party has for many years called for the UK to introduce proportional representation to provide a fairer number of green MPs in parliament. However, this won’t lead to more open, accountable governance unless we also tackle the unelected, embedded power of Britain’s constitutional monarchy. 

The widespread public mourning of the death of Queen Elizabeth II and (mostly) warm welcome for the new King Charles III and William as Prince of Wales demonstrate that the UK is not about to become a republic any time soon. However, there could be an opportunity to build a case for adopting a more ceremonial, apolitical status for the royals along the lines of most other European monarchies. 

This could be a practical way to help Charles and William implement their public declarations of support for tackling climate change and protecting the environment. 

Dee Searle is an ecosocialist activist based in London

Thursday 15 September 2022

Life Expectancy: The US and Cuba in the Time of Covid


Written by Don Fitz

Recent data shows that between 2019 and 2021, life expectancy (LE) in the US plunged almost three years while for Cuba it edged up 0.2 years.  Yet, in 1960, the year after its revolution, Cuba had a LE of  64.2 years, lower by 5.6 years than that in the US (69.8 years).  As I document in Cuban Health Care, the island quickly caught up to the US and, from 1970 through 2016, the two countries were nip and tuck, with some years Cuba and other years the US, having a longer LE. But neither country was ever as much as one year of LE ahead of the other. 

Life Expectancy (LE) in US and Cuba, 2017-2021

Year    LE US LE Cuba US - Cuba

2021    76.1     79.0     - 2.9

2020    78.8     78.9     -0.1

2019    79.0     78.8     +0.2

2018    78.7     78.7       0.0

2017    78.6     78.6       0.0

This continued through the beginning of Covid, which sharply changed the pattern.  LE in the US suddenly dropped behind that in Cuba.  Bernd Debusmann Jr.of BBC News wrote, LE in the US fell “to the lowest level seen since 1996.  Government data showed LE at birth now stands at 76.1 compared to 79 in 2019. That is the steepest two-year decline in a century.”  From 2019 to 2020, “LE declined in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

How could a country with all the problems of Cuba, actually have LE almost three years greater than the US?  There were enormous differences between the way the countries responded to Covid.  

The Covid Contrast 

US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data confirmed that “Covid-19 was the main contributing factor [to changes in LE].  The statistics show that Covid-19 accounted for 50% of the decline between 2020 and 2021. Between 2019 and 2020, the pandemic contributed to 74% of the decline.” 

A critical divergence between the two countries is that Cuba guarantees health care to all as a human right while the US system is based on profit and political grandstanding.  When Covid hit, the US dawdled for months as Cuba mobilized for medical action.

The Ministry of Health developed a national strategy before the island’s first victim had succumbed to the disease.  Cuban TV carried daily press conferences with detailed info on the status of new patients, results of cabinet meetings on Covid, and announcing the best way for citizens to protect themselves and others.  Social distancing, masks and contact tracing were universally accepted. 

Each day Cuban medical students knocked on doors to ask citizens how they were.  Students’ tasks included obtaining survey data from residents and making extra visits to the elderly, infants and those with respiratory problems.  Clinic staff dealt with issues that doctors were unable to cope with and sent patients they could not care for to hospitals.  Medical data was used by those in the highest decision-making positions of the country.  In this way, every Cuban citizen and every health care worker, from those at neighborhood doctor offices through those at the most esteemed research institutes, had a part in determining health policy.

This inclusive approach resulted in Cuba’s having 87 Covid deaths by July 21, 2020, when the US had experienced 140,300.  While the US population is 30 times that of Cuba, it had 1613 times as many deaths.

Two aspects of Cuba’s response to Covid stand out.  First, Cuba does NOT have more money to spend on health care.  It actually spends less than a tenth as much per person per year than does the US, but it spends that wisely on a holistic system.  Second, Cuba’s health care is global – it continued its practice of sending thousands of medical staff to other countries during Covid.

Over the past six decades more than 400,000 Cuban medical professionals have worked in 164 countries and improved the lives of hundreds of millions of people.  In addition to providing Cuban doctors with experience coping with diseases and medical issues they do not see at home, this action is positive global diplomacy.  US diplomacy, on the other hand, seems to focus on threatening to harm people and/or actually harming them. 

In Addition to Covid 

News stories also mentioned other factors associated with the shorter LE in the US: drug overdoses, heart disease, chronic liver disease and cirrhosis and suicides.  The corporate press also acknowledged racial disparities.

There had been progress in reducing LE differences between Black and white Americans.  This was reversed during 2018 – 2020 when LE went down 1.36 years for whites, 3.25 years for Hispanics, and 3.88 years for Blacks. 

The fall in US life expectancy was even more pronounced among Native Americans and Alaska Natives.  Since 2019, it “dropped by 6.6 years, more than twice that of the wider US population.”

The US has multiple groups who reject government attempts to vaccinate or wear masks.  Most loud-mouthed, of course, are the right wingers who lividly despise the very idea of public health campaigns.  While their thought processes are hallucination-based, people of color have reality-based fears of being ignored, lied to, and used for government experimentation, such as the Tuskegee Syphilis Study.  There is a strong connection between vaccination hesitation and racism. 

What They Did Not Look At 

Among factors with increasing US Covid rates ignored by corporate media in the US are poverty, an acute rise in misinformation, abortion, the embargo against Cuba and preparation for climate change. 

Poverty.  The first task of the Cuban revolution was to simultaneously address poverty, food, sanitation, literacy, education, racism and housing, which the rebels saw as parts of unitary whole.  During the Covid crisis, many US corporations were determined to force low wage workers to stay at their jobs, spreading the disease.  Cuba told those with Covid to stay home.

Misinformation.  Discussions of Covid deaths must not ignore the deadly role of science denial.  At the same time Trump was foolishly downplaying mounting dangers of Covid, Cuba was far along developing its “Novel Coronavirus Plan for Prevention and Control.”  Trump was not and is not an isolated individual – he manifests a life-threatening movement toward lunacy.  Cuba has no significant group which confronts Covid with a bottle of Clorox or expects a cure brought by Q Anon on a flying saucer.

Abortion.  Cuba also does not have a “Women’s Lives Don’t Matter!” movement seeking to eliminate abortion rights.  Those who do not want an abortion do not get one and people do not seek to impose their religious and spiritual beliefs on others.  The Supreme Court’s allowing states to criminalize abortion will cause many women to die, due both from self-attempts at abortion and lack of its availability.  LE averages are impacted more by deaths of young than elderly; so, we can expect many abortion-induced deaths in US will be among teenagers and young women, which will affect LE. 

Embargo.  The “trade sanctions” or “blockade” or “embargo” have a special relationship with LE in Cuba: one might expect it to decrease LE; but it has not done so.  When Cuba was reeling from the 1991 fall of the Soviet Union, the US passed laws intending to punish those who continued to trade with it.  This raised prices in the already impoverished country and has prevented or slowed the arrival of much life-saving medical equipment.  Yet, due to its prioritizing health care during the 1990s, Cuba’s infant mortality decreased while its LE showed a slight increase.

International solidarity movements have stepped in to help Cuba overcome many embargo effects. Lack of essential material prevented Cuba from performing liver transplants in children.  But, during May 2022, Puentes de Amor (Bridges of Love) delivered the vital chemical compound to the William Soler Pediatric Hospital. 

Resilience.  Avoiding the use of fossil fuels and enormous hydro-, solar- and wind-projects, as Cuba does, will cut down on global destructiveness but have very little effect on reducing climate change on the island.  However, preparing for resilience in the face of climate change can hugely affect its quality of life.

In March 2022 (p. 8) Scientific American editors wrote that most important in preparing for the next pandemic is “building new systems.” Unfortunately, this is what the US is avoiding as it becomes absorbed in making minor tweaks to outmoded, inadequate systems of environmental protection. 

Cuba has been holding Bastión (bulwark) events involving as many as four million citizens who carry out food production, disease control, sanitation and safeguarding medical supplies.  When a policy change is introduced, government representatives go to each community, including the most remote rural ones, to make sure that everyone knows the threats that climate change poses to their lives and how they can alter behaviors to minimize them.  They include such diverse actions as conservation with energy use, saving water, preventing fires and using medical products sparingly.

Another energy positive being expanded in Cuba is farms being run entirely on agroecology principles.  Such farms can produce 12 times the energy they consume.  Biodigesters break down manure and other biomass to create biogas (very different in Cuba than the US) which is used for tractors or transportation.  Vegetable and herb production in Cuba exploded from 4000 tons in 1994 to over four million tons by 2006.  This is why Jason Hickel’s “Sustainable Development Index” rated Cuba’s ecological efficiency as the best in the world in 2019. 

Where Are We Headed? 

The connection between LE and climate change is becoming increasingly evident.  US media stories typically focus on a given disaster such as a flood and mention how aging infrastructure is being neglected.  The implication is that if infrastructure were updated to its status of 50 or 100 years ago, that would be adequate.  It would not be adequate because climate change means that storms will be more frequent, more intense and more deadly in the future.

By 2017, Cuba had become the only country with a government-led plan (Project Life, or Tarea Vida) to combat climate change which includes a 100 year projection.  While Cuba is looking ahead and planning how to protect people from increasingly devastating storms, US politicians feverishly bury their heads in the sand in subservience to corporate interests, subjecting future generations to ever greater catastrophes. 

This causes LE in the US to plunge down while LE in Cuba climbs slowly upward.  Covid did not create the LE divide between the US and Cuba.  Covid exacerbated trends which have become increasingly intertwined for decades.  The best guess is that these trends will continue well into the future. 

Don Fitz ( is on the Editorial Board of Green Social Thought, where a version of this article originally appeared.  He was the 2016 candidate of the Missouri Green Party for Governor.  His book, Cuban Health Care: The Ongoing Revolution, has been available since June 2020.