Themes of Reflection

Towards Socialism

The immediate past is not the best guidebook to the future. Why learn from wasteful, profit-driven practices, when we can learn from the patterns of nature, from water, trees, and honey bees? Why let agribusiness destroy virgin forests, soils, and our future, when we are in great demand of diverse, neighborhood-integrated food systems? Why contribute to the pollution of lakes and rivers, when soil nutrients can be recycled locally? No, our future is not a commodity to be traded.

What is to be done can only be done together. Indeed, it is high time to create a new society, the right moment to realize what might be termed ecological socialism. Nothing should deter us from building new bonds of solidarity, from uniting our struggles for planetary sustainability. For as long as life on Earth is conditioned by a life-destroying system, we have nothing to lose but worsening conditions and a disastrous future. What unites us is the prospect of replacing an irrational and undemocratic system with something radically better. Instead of denying, ignoring, or trying to escape the planetary crisis, we must translate our anger and frustration into action, individually and collectively bring about radical social and ecological changes.

No matter what awaits us, it is time to act as if it was possible to solve the ecological crisis, possible to create social systems that allow us to live well within the planetary boundaries – needless to say, not without redefining what it means to live well, not without questioning what is given. The transformation to a democratically governed and ecologically literate society requires nothing less than a planetary revolution, and it is time to seize the moment.

From a survival perspective, it is obvious that we need new, decommodified social and ecological relations, manifested through new forms of democracy and creativity, but also through a scientifically based and democratically controlled system for the preservation of our only planet, created by the people and justified as a collective effort to put an end to the state-sanctioned, corporate-led crimes against the biosphere. At the local level, the root level of social and ecological reproduction, we need to adopt a variety of practices that contribute to the health of the planet and its species.

Another social order is not only possible, it is within reach. By rejecting the reified capitalist version of reality, by creating social and ecological relations that serve the common good, and by rebuilding our neighborhoods with equality and sustainability in mind, rethinking everything from water use to public health from a commons perspective, we are not trying to reverse history: we are using our creativity for the benefit of all. The choice is still ours. The choice has to be ours. Today, it is obvious that long-term sustainability is impossible without substantive equality and a radical reimagination of what it means to be a human being on this planet. This, in turn, points to the crying need to move towards ecological socialism.