Profit Motive = Eco Destructive
Humans have massively reshaped the planet, causing the extinction of thousands of species, the ruination of so many natural habitats, and such massive changes in the climate that many scientists believe a new geological epoch is called for, known as the anthropocene.
There’s a problem with that word, though – most humans throughout history have had very little to do with this destruction. This accelerating change is a relatively new phenomenon in world history. One that goes hand in hand with the expansion of capitalism.
For this reason, some writers on the left have coined a competing term, the capitalocene. Despite being largely unpronounceable, it points to a much more likely culprit: it’s not humans per se who are doing this reshaping, it’s our societal system of capitalism that burns through our planet.
This is where “Eco” meets “socialist.” Environmental destruction and climate change isn’t caused by humans merely existing, it’s caused by the economic system we’re all trapped in. We are indeed living through a negative ecological paradigm shift right now, and this process is fueled by capitalism.
So on September 8th, as part of the ongoing People’s Climate Movement, your resident TCDSA Ecosocialists tabled at the Rise For Climate, Jobs, and Justice Summit. Since 2014, the PCM has held events around the world that draw attention to the ravages of capitalism on the climate. We wanted to underline that message: that capitalism and a sustainable society are simply not compatible.
For many years, “environmentalism” has been somewhat siloed off from other kinds of activism. The People’s Climate Movement, however, strives to bring together disparate groups that are all affected by climate change. From climate-specific organizations like MN350 to activist groups like Students for Justice in Palestine, the PCM is a broad movement that recognizes that the environmental effects of climate change are only the beginning.
As socialists, we are happy to see this broadening. Climate change is not merely a matter of parts-per-million of carbon dioxide; its mark is rudely stamped on every issue. From immigration, to health care, to labor rights, to imperialism. Capitalism’s rapacious attack on the climate is a multi-front battle, and those of us who become casualties of this process are those who have also become casualties of capitalism itself. TCDSA’s Ecosocialists wanted to be part of the summit because we see capitalism at the root of all of this, and wanted to bring that message to the attendees.
While our message resonates with so many, it is often met with skepticism as humanity has been losing its imagination of a different society. Frederic Jameson, the Marxist theorist, was prescient when he said that “it’s easier to imagine the end of the world than the end of capitalism.” But for those that we engaged with during the summit, it was easy to see the link between our society and the problem. And the rising profile of socialism shows promise to alleviate the planet that is being scared.
As the clock ticks, the situation worsens. Our chances, frankly, aren’t good, but the only hope we have is to fight for climate justice. Capitalism will do its best to save itself, but this problem that capitalism created is one it cannot solve. We’re Ecosocialists because we can see the writing on the wall, a system that centers all human activity around producing commodities to sell for profit will only create more waste and leave the planet stripped of its resource. We need to reorient the economy to serve human needs, not shareholder value, we need to be stewards of the environment, not its despoilers.
Rosa Luxemburg gave us the choice between socialism and barbarism. If we don’t work for an ecosocialist future, we’ll get something much, much worse.
‘If women’s liberation is unthinkable without communism, then communism is unthinkable without women’s liberation.’
— Inessa Armand
Socialist Feminist Rising
A wide-ranging Refinery29 article published this week about the rise of Midwest socialist feminism has TCDSA’s Socialist Feminist Branch at the center. As the article explains, the SocFem branch has drafted a manifesto. It’s a blueprint for future action and a public statement of the feminist values we see as an integral part of the socialist project. Below is an excerpt from the document. Read the full manifesto here.
Twin Cities DSA Socialist Feminist Branch Manifesto
The Socialist Feminist Branch of the Twin Cities DSA was formed to identify systems of oppression that primarily affect womxn and to work collectively toward the liberation of womxn from oppression. In this context, “womxn” refers to people who have been historically oppressed because of their gender assignment and/or identity. This may include those who identify as women, femme, or non-binary, or those who were assigned female at birth. This manifesto outlines the purpose and values of the branch.
The purpose of the branch is to build power among womxn under the oppressive conditions of capitalism, with the ultimate goal of a more equitable, socialist society. This purpose will inform the actions we take to address issues impacting womxn within and outside of TCDSA. Our actions will be grounded in Black feminist theory, socialist feminist theory, and the feminist process. The branch also provides a space for womxn in TCDSA to gather in solidarity. We strive to be inclusive and act in ways that recognize how our identities intersect. We will prioritize the voices of working class womxn, womxn of color, womxn with disabilities, trans womxn, and members of the LGBTQ community.
Stating our values clearly allows us to acknowledge the broad landscape of oppression while identifying the values that we feel are most relevant and urgent to our mission. This is a living document, and we expect our values to change and grow over time as we learn more and grow together.
Twin Cities DSA 2018 Convention
September 30, 2018
JBD Lecture Hall, Macalester College
Saint Paul, MN
Check in starts at 1:00 p.m.
Meeting starts at 1:30 p.m.
Visit the member convention page for the latest information on the convention, including the convention packet.
TCDSA needs your help in building an electoral guide in preparation for the elections in November! What issues matter to you? Can you help us research candidates and design the guide? Contact [email protected]
For Further Review
With so many great podcasts, articles, books and videos coming out, it’s easy to miss something great. Here’s a few things we’ve found and loved recently:
Matt Bruenig Spreads the Wealth Around
What socialism should offer is freedom by way of power and democratic control over our polity and economy—and thus over our future as a society. Matt Bruenig has one proposal out at his People’s Policy Project on how to begin to do just that, and it’s called a social wealth fund.
The Reds Are Coming—& They’re Young, Female, & Determined To Win America’s Heartland
An intimate, an inspiring look into out Twin Cities DSA chapter and some of the experiences that drive us to Socialism.
Rising Dispatches From The New American Shore
Elizabeth Rush guides readers through some of the places where this change has been most dramatic, from the Gulf Coast to Miami, and from New York City to the Bay Area.
This critique of identity is absolutely and emphatically not a proposal that race should be put second or waved away. It is an insistence on recognizing the material reality of race as a social relation, and forming a more adequate theoretical understanding of it that can be useful for struggles against racism.
Walking Away from Omelas
The strikers have assembled an extensive list of demands, the first of which asks for policy to simply “recognize the humanity of imprisoned men and women.”
Help get out the vote for TCDSA endorsed Bradly McGarr! We’re going to be getting out the vote for our own Shakopee City Council candidate.If you need assistance getting to the events or have questions, please contact the electoral branch at [email protected]
News from the National
The National has launched discussion forums!
To join, visit https://discussion.dsausa.org/login and sign up with the email address you used to join DSA.