Quote of the Day
It is my solemn and important duty to bring happiness, light, and joy into your world when you’re being a dour idiot. Which is most of the time. So there.Brandon Sanderson, Oathbringer
I Could Use Some Help With This
One of the books Kate reviewed was Ursula K LeGuin’s Steering the Craft, which has been on my Amazon list for a while. Kate really loved it, which confirms my thought that it is probably great and I really should read it one day.
One of the books I had never heard of, but I will likely need at some point, which Kate also recommends: Diana Gabaldon’s “I Give You My Body..”: How I Write Sex Scenes. No throbbing, glistening members or opening love canals for me, thank you! Hopefully this is the sort of book that can help me Do Better than That.
Yesterday’s Research Today
Getting back to ecosocialism:
Ecosocialism is a vision of a transformed society in harmony with nature, and the development of practices that can attain it. It is directed toward alternatives to all socially and ecologically destructive systems, such as patriarchy, racism, homophobia and the fossil-fuel based economy. It is based on a perspective that regards other species and natural ecosystems as valuable in themselves and as partners in a common destiny.
Ecosocialism shares with traditional socialism a passion for justice. It shares the conviction that capitalism has been a deadly detour for humanity. We understand capitalism to be a class society based on infinite expansion, through the exploitation of labor and the ransacking of nature. Ecosocialists are also guided by the life-ways of indigenous peoples whose economies are embedded in a classless society in fundamental unity with nature. We draw upon the wisdom of the ages as well as the latest science, and will do what can be done to bring a new society, beyond capitalism, into existence.Ecosocialist Horizons, “What is Ecosocialism?”
Urm. Well, there’s a lot there about what ecosocialism is against, but not a whole lot about the how to transform society to be “in harmony with nature.” Perhaps by first realizing that society is a part of nature? Also: “guided by the life-ways of indigenous people whose economies are embedded in a classless society” feels pretty sus to me. I’m interested to know which indigenous people exactly they are talking about; I know my ancestors had slaves pre-contact. They also had and still have a leader (sachem). Perhaps they don’t mean pre-contact, and are referring to tribes today, who are made up of people, people who are just as likely to do shitty things as any other person. I worry that they mean something more like the idealized image of the Crying Indian, and ooof, that’s a bad look if they do.
In synthesizing the basic tenets of ecology and the Marxist critique of political economy, ecosocialism offers a radical alternative to an unsustainable status quo. Rejecting a capitalist definition of “progress” based on market growth and quantitative expansion (which, as Marx shows, is a destructive progress), it advocates policies founded on non-monetary criteria, such as social needs, individual well-being, and ecological equilibrium. Ecosocialism puts forth a critique of both mainstream “market ecology,” which does not challenge the capitalist system, and “productivist socialism,” which ignores natural limits.
As people increasingly realize how the economic and ecological crises intertwine, ecosocialism has been gaining adherents. Ecosocialism, as a movement, is relatively new, but some of its basic arguments date back to the writings of Marx and Engels…
The core of ecosocialism is the concept of democratic ecological planning, wherein the population itself, not “the market” or a Politburo, make the main decisions about the economy. Early in the Great Transition to this new way of life, with its new mode of production and consumption, some sectors of the economy must be suppressed (e.g., the extraction of fossil fuels implicated in the climate crisis) or restructured, while new sectors are developed. Economic transformation must be accompanied by active pursuit of full employment with equal conditions of work and wages. This egalitarian vision is essential both for building a just society and for engaging the support of the working class for the structural transformation of the productive forces.
Ultimately, such a vision is irreconcilable with private control of the means of production and of the planning process. In particular, for investments and technological innovation to serve the common good, decision-making must be taken away from the banks and capitalist enterprises that currently dominate, and put in the public domain.Michael Löwy, “Why Ecosocialism: For a Red-Green Future“, Great Transition Initiative
Now we’re getting to it. Ok. So this is really Marxism + green initiatives. It feels like less of a plan and more like laying out some ideals. Some ideals which really should be self-evident at this point. Capitalism is exploitative and unsustainable, tiny number of people in power wanting to stay in power is bad. Yes, yes, but solutions?? Putting decision-making in the public domain reminds me of both worker-owned businesses and participatory democracy.
Again, not enough time to read all the links I found about ecosocialism, so here are the extras:
- “Ecosocialists Believe the Only Way to Stop Climate Change Is to Abandon Capitalism”, Kaleigh Rogers, Vice.com
- “Ecosocialism: Dystopian and Scientific”, Matt Huber, Socialist Forum
- “Why the U.S. Needs More Worker-Owned Companies”, Peter Walsh, Michael Peck, and Ibon Zugasti, Harvard Business Review
- “What Does An Ecological Civilization Look Like?”, Jeremy Lent, YES! Magazine