European Left congress calls for ecosocialism

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

“Ecosocialism, meaning socioecological transformation, is a new synthesis to face the challenge of both social and environmental crisis, which have the same roots”

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

“Ecosocialism, meaning socioecological transformation, is a new synthesis to face the challenge of both social and environmental crisis, which have the same roots”

The European Left, an association of 27 left-wing parties, was formed in 2004 to run in elections for the European Parliament. Members sit in the Parliament as the European United Left-Nordic Green Left group.

The following resolution was proposed by the Parti De Gauche (Left Party, France), De Rød-Grønne (Red-Green Alliance, Denmark), Syriza (Coalition of the Radical Left, Greece), Bloco de Esquerda (Left Bloc, Portugal), and Die Linke (The Left, Germany). It was adopted by a 48% to 43% vote at the European Left’s conference in Madrid, December 13-15.

The conference selected Alexis Tsipras, president of Syriza, to be the parties’ common candidate for president of the European Commission in the Spring 2014 European elections.

EuropeanLEFT logo

Europe has been thrown into a deadly crisis, particularly for Southern European countries, which have seen their unemployment and poverty rates go through the roof, in proportions that remind us of the worst moments of the 20th century. The European Commission, the neoliberal and the social-democrat governments in power throughout the EU considers that the only way to get out of this crisis is for us to return to a pattern of economic growth based on supply policies. We do not agree with this productivist vision: producing only for production’s sake, without any concern neither for social needs, nor for environmental consequences.

European leaders and Brussels’ technocrats serving the financial interests are obsessed with only one thing: to put the capitalist growth-seeking system back on track at all cost. However, this policy is precisely what is weakening the whole planet and threatening our biosphere: ever more natural ressources spoiled to produce ever more consumption goods that do not fit real human needs anymore. Alternative industrial and agricultural models which would not be based on environmental predation are not even studied.

This lack of consideration for both the biosphere and human living conditions is epitomised in the capitalist solutions to the crisis, that favours “green growth” and the return to extractivism of conventional andunconventional forms of fossil fuels (coal, oil, natural gas, deep-sea oil, shale gas…) as well as harmful large-scale, multinational renewable energy projects, wind, solar and biomass, which degrade landscapes, agricultural land and forests. Just as worrying is the nuclearisation of the continent, like in Turkey where new plants are built in a very sensitive seismic zone. Will we soon get a European Fukushima?

The European Left knows that human emancipation cannot be achieved through never-ending economic growth. GDP is far from being a well-being indicator. Anyway the limits of our ecosystems will not allow it to grow forever. The rise of sea-levels in Northern Europe, drought and fires around the Mediterranean Sea, climate change and floodings in Central and Eastern Europe are evidence that our continent is under the threat of environmental risks due to contradictions in our system. This forces us to reconsider our production and trading system, and generally speaking our entire social and political organisation.

Our thoughts and political actions must be radical: they must go to the roots of the problem. We therefore think that we should fight the system’s driving forces: consumerism aimed at the accumulation of material goods which widens social inequalities, the whole growth-oriented system which exhausts our biosphere’s resources, the globalisation of the economy based on social and environmental dumping. We want to point to the real culprits: the financial oligarchy, and the ideologists who advocate for “free and fair” competition and trade.

Ecosocialism, meaning socioecological transformation, is at the junction of anti-capitalist ecology and productivism-free left movements; it is a project that raises the possibility of an alternative society of hope. This is no utopia with which reality should comply, but a rational human response to the double dead-end of social-liberalism and capitalism.

Our environmentalism is a social one, related to the Left’s historical battles. It is incompatible with economic liberalism which, under the guise of sustainable development, perpetuates the search for maximum profit, imperialist dynamics and short-term logics. It refutes the social democrat dead end that requires economic growth as the first condition to redistribution. There IS wealth out there, no need to wait before we can redistribute it! And this infinite expansion model leads to the suicide of human civilisation. Therefore, we are neither expecting growth at all costs, nor any “benefits” from austerity, we believe in neither.

Rather, our project involves an economy in the service of social needs: one that breaks away from economically-liberal orthodoxy. It implies disobeying the directives from this free-market Europe and involves the overhauling of the production system aiming at the “4 Rs”: relocation, re-industrialization, industrial restructuring and redistribution of work. To overcome the limitations of the GDP index as an instrument to measure “well-being”, it introduces a “green rule” as a systematic factor of the environmental imprint: Ecosocialism is an international and universal struggle which recognises the ecological and social debt caused by quick industrialisation and its effects on the climate, the plundering of natural resources, land grabbing, and the accountability rules imposed by the Troika.

We defend commoning, ie. peoples’ activity in connection to the commons, material resources or immaterial ideas, to produce cooperation and redefine “wealth” and “productive” tasks more autonomously from capital and its control.

We must reach a “new and original compromise between working classes and concerns for the planet.” Employees fighting for their rights carry alternative projects with a great potential, hinting at the principles of environmental planning: consideration for the long-term logic, control by workers and users and public ownership.

Ecosocialism, meaning socioecological transformation, is a new synthesis to face the challenge of both social and environmental crisis – which have the same roots. It is the way to allow a shift in the economic model and to come out of the present system dead-end on top. It implies the use of practical radicalism and measures that we call environmental planning, based on the redistribution of existing wealth and a radically different productive system that will take into account environmental limits, on the rejection of all kinds of domination and oppression, and on popular sovereignty within democratic, republican and secular states.