Joel Kovel and Michael Lowy presented the Ecosocialist Manifesto in 2001 as a socialist response to the environmental degradation of the planet.
We believe that the present capitalist system cannot regulate, much less overcome, the crises it has set going. It cannot solve the ecological crisis because to do so requires setting limits upon accumulationâ€”an unacceptable option for a system predicated upon the rule: Grow or Die!
Among their key points is that environmental problems such as global warming are inextricably linked to imperialism, with its constant invasions of other countries (and inevitable blowback via terrorism.) It’s the same amoral grow-or-die ethos, a continual need for more resources, markets, and cheap labor to exploit. A capitalist does it with businesses, an imperialist with armies. They are simply different facets of the same omnivorous system that is not capable of managed growth, yet such limits are precisely what is needed to stop global warming.
[Ecosocialism respects’ “limits on growth” essential for the sustainability of society. These are embraced, not however, in the sense of imposing scarcity, hardship and repression. The goal, rather, is a transformation of needs, and a profound shift toward the qualitative dimension and away from the quantitative.
Instead of Ford making trucks and SUVs that get terrible mileage because doing so temporarily benefits their profit margin, in a socialist world that respected limits, they’d be making EVs and hybrids exclusively. And power companies would be producing power primarily from renewable resources. That Ford (and GM) have effectively bankrupted themselves by short-sighted capitalist greed simply demonstrates yet another ‘contradiction of capitalism.’
In a socialist world, with a more managed economy, such changes would be encouraged and quite possibly mandated by the government. No, you can’t build Hummers or produce power from coal. Period.
The Ecosocialism Manifesto is aware of failures of socialism in the twentieth century but says the ideas still stand, and should be used.
However beaten down and unrealized, the notion of socialism still stands for the supersession of capital. If capital is to be overcome, a task now given the urgency of the survival of civilization itself, the outcome will perforce be “socialist, for that is the term which signifies the breakthrough into a post-capitalist society.