Six Questions for Ecosocialists: Introduction

Solidarity staff

In early 2014, Solidarity’s Ecosocialist Working Group developed six questions that we felt deserved some substantial discussion among those who identify as “ecosocialists.” We invited members of our working group, of Solidarity as a whole, and others to draft some initial responses as a way to generate further discussion. Since then we have been collecting, considering, and editing those responses. We are now sharing some of them in this working paper, and we plan to share more in the future as they become ready. We welcome your comments and thoughts as well, either about these contributions or about one or all of the questions that we have posed (see below for the questions and links to the responses).

We note that after we began this project the basic problems we were attempting to engage began to be widely addressed by others, most notably by Naomi Klein in her book This Changes Everything, Capitalism vs. the Climate. There are a number of key debates, including (most importantly in our view) whether a future based on renewable energy can possibly support the kind of lifestyle that modern industrial society has become accustomed to. We have not attempted to resolve that debate in our process, but it has been sharply posed. To get a feel for this conversation we suggest that readers take a look at “Our Renewable Future” by Richard Heinberg of the Post Carbon Institute. Heinberg takes a specific point of view on the question of our modern industrial society and its lifestyle, but his article also includes links to others, with alternative points of view—as well as to expressions of divergent viewpoints on other important questions.

For the most part, these contributions and discussions—including Klein’s, even though she identifies capitalism directly as the problem in her title—do not approach the solutions to the ecological crisis from an explicitly socialist point of view, and especially not from a revolutionarysocialist point of view. Thus we think there is something that the essays below can add to the broader conversation which is taking place. We also welcome readers to provide links to other articles and sources on line which relate to these issues in the comments box.

All of the authors presented in this working paper, except for Salvatore Engel-DiMauro, are members of Solidarity’s Ecosocialist Working Group. We include Salvatore’s bio at the end of his contribution.