Austin Democratic Socialists of America

Ecosocialism

Introductory Texts

Alyssa Battistoni – Alive in the Sunshine (estimated reading time: 20 minutes) – This, from Jacobin magazine, argues that a socialist approach to fixing climate change starts with working less and new approaches to structuring society.

Kate Aronoff – Your Personal Consumption Choices Can’t Save the Planet (estimated reading time: 10 minutes) – This article from In These Times argues that collective political action, not individual consumption choices, is the only path forward to saving the planet.

Naomi Klein – The Game Changing Promise of a Green New Deal – (estimated reading time: 15 minutes) – This recent article from the Intercept makes the case that freshman congressperson and democratic socialist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s plan for a Green New Deal is an ambitious and realistic plan to save the planet by restructuring the economy

Intermediate Texts

Benjamin Kunkel – The Captitalocene – (estimated reading time: 45 minutes) – This article, from the London Review of Books, looks at three recent books from the world of Ecological Marxism. The authors of these books (as well as the author the piece) argue that the current climate crisis is a result of capitalism, rather than “human activity” in general and argues that we now face a choice between ecosocialism or ethnobarbarism.

Further Reading

Zhihe Wang – Ecological Marxism in China – (estimated reading time: 20 minutes) – Eco-Marxism is more well received in China than it is in the United States or Europe, though environmentalism in general faces a steep climb towards adoption by a government focused on growth and development.

John Bellamy Foster – Marx and the Rift in the Universal Metabolism of Nature – (estimated reading time: 45 minutes) – Although Marx was writing well before the current climate crisis, elements of his writing provide a powerful lens with which to view ecological crisis.

Relevant Listening

Alan Thornett, Gordon Peters, Judith Watson, and R.S. Man – Eco-Socialist Transitions as Alternatives to Capitalism

Sasha Scott and Lindsay Casar – Can Technology Solve the Climate Crisis?

Discussion Questions

  1. How does the socialist approach to climate change differ from the approach favored by the mainstream media and the two major political parties?
  2. In a socialist approach to climate change, who or what is standing in the way of a solution to climate change? How might we be able to get past those obstacles?
  3. How might an ecosocialist future differ from our capitalist present? In what ways might our lives be better? What might we need to sacrifice?
  4. Why is the “Green New Deal” such an exciting prospect? In what ways might it come up short
  5. A solution to global climate change can’t come from just one country. What kind of international cooperation might be necessary to solve climate change? How could that work in a world where living standards vary so sharply from nation to nation?
  6. How has the current climate crisis developed throughout history? How is that related to the way that capitalism has developed over a similar time period?