Socialist Voice relaunches

Check their Ecosocialism and the Fight Against Global Warming interview with editor Ian Angus.

Ecosocialism has grown out of two parallel political trends — the spread of Marxist ideas in the green movement and the spread of ecological ideas in the Marxist left. The result is a set of social and political goals, a growing body of ideas, and a global movement.

As a body of ideas, ecosocialism argues that ecological destruction is not an accidental feature of capitalism, it is built into the system’s DNA. The system’s insatiable need to increase profits — what’s been called “the ecological tyranny of the bottom line” — cannot be reformed away.

Incidentally, Ian emailed me and asked if he could use the theme for Polizeros as a template for the relaunch. I said sure, and sent it along, he tweaked it considerably, and the result looks great. I got the theme for free from here, modified it, now Ian has done the same. No money changed hands nor did it need to. Which is kind of a socialist process when you think about it!

  • DJ

    “As a body of ideas, ecosocialism argues that ecological destruction is not an accidental feature of capitalism, it is built into the system’s DNA.”

    Given Marxist socialism’s past poor environmental record, this statement is perhaps disingenuous. IMO, environmental destruction is part of human nature– to be more specific, an inevitable result of what might be called “unenlightened” or “non-spiritual” human nature, that lower part of us that seeks to exploit the world around us for selfish ends without regard for others, or even our own future.

    Human nature can only be changed on an individual basis, one person at a time, though mass movements can do it more quickly and also carry that change into a societal impact. Perhaps Marxism has something to offer in this area, but only insofar as it recognizes the lower aspects of human nature and inspires us to change ourselves.

    We watched “Enemy At the Gates” last night, in which the political officer Danilov has an awakening: “There is no new man. We tried so hard to create a society that was equal, where there’d be nothing to envy your neighbour. But there’s always something to envy. A smile, a friendship, something you don’t have and want to appropriate. In this world, even a Soviet one, there will always be rich and poor. Rich in gifts, poor in gifts. Rich in love, poor in love.”

    To be sure, this is a monolog written and committed to screen by capitalists– nevertheless, it says something about human nature and attempts (Republican and Democrat as well as Marxist) to forcibly change it.

    Few people can look beyond themselves without some awareness of a larger consciousness– and a sense of larger consciousness is one of the best ways to get people to look beyond themselves. Often that looks like religious reform– yet there are plenty of non-religious spiritual paths that people have followed with the same result.

    The broadest definition of spirituality is to “look beyond” ourselves. To accomplish what it seeks, socialism will need to provide more than economic teachings– it will need to venture into the realm of man’s relationship to the Ultimate as well as to each other. Such socialism exists already on a small scale– but it originates with a teacher much earlier than Marx.

  • True, the socialist response to the environment in the past century was hardly inspiring either.

    Would a managed economy where the state owned the means of production be better able to implement needed environmental reforms. Yes – but only if that’s what the managers wanted to do. There’s no guarantee this would happen.

    For real change in any economy, the environmental goals need to be agreed upon and implemented by all. That means consensus at the nationwide level.

    So, how do we get there?

  • DJ

    Socialism has some incredible organizers. I wish they’d focus their talent on attainable goals, like environmental consensus. It makes no sense to go to the midwest and tell a Vietnam vet (or the child of a Vietnam or Korean War KIA) that the answer to his/her problems comes from Karl Marx. True or not, it just won’t sell– there’s too much ingrained opposition. (Not to mention Baegent’s cultural divide.)

    For now, forget about state-owned means of production– though it has advantages, it also has disadvantages, such as discouraging individual innovation and encouraging inefficiency. And if we can’t elect competent legislators and executives, how would we ever get competent industrial managers? Besides, it won’t sell in Muskogee– at least not in the necessary time frame.

    But come up with a comprehensive and coherent environmental vision, ground it in accessible Christian doctrine and American ideals, and a good organizer could make that fly. Make it a movement accessible to the Great Middle– everyone right of the far left and left of the far right. That’s what we need: A vision that can be implemented in business even while it’s being thundered from the pulpit. And such a vision is not out of reach.

    We’d also need the talent of both Left and Right– if they’d stop their bickering about stuff most Americans don’t care about anyway. Marx? Rand? The Book of Revelation? These are the fringes for most Americans. Come to the Middle, and let’s get’er done.

  • Well, we already have some state-owned enterprises, and many of them should be – police, roads, libraries, public utilities, as well as quasi-state ones like the post office.

    But yes, I agree. The organizing needs to be aimed at those being organized. And the organizers need to listen.

  • DJ

    Incidently, capitalism not only allows by demands that certain enterprises (like those you mentioned and arguably a few more such as basic health care) be state-owned. Adam Smith recognized that there were some essential services that the market could not provide. Those who demand privatization of education, for examplde, are not capitalists at all.

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