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The Political Education Newsletter

December 4, 2018

Editors' Note


California is burning while Lawrence, MA is freezing. This contrast gives us a glimpse of what is to come as we stand at the precipice of irreversible climate change. Even with our myopia, we cannot escape the reality of climate crisis that is upon us - migration, flooding of low level lands, extinction of entire ecosystems, disappearance of entire islands, xenophobia, homophobia, the rise of fascism and much more evil that had once been unleashed from Pandora’s box. But the ruling class, enamored with either a perverse nihilism or an indifferent selfishness that stems from privilege, wields the power of capital and drives us towards extinction through the promise of endless growth, much like the myth of lemmings.

What can socialists do in the face of such calamity? We can and will do what we have been aiming for all this time - organize and overthrow the capitalist status quo and return power to the hands of the people so that we may save the planet. In other words, we are here to achieve the total socioeconomic and political transformation that the most recent Intergovernmental Panel of Climate Change (IPCC) report has suggested if we are to turn the tides on the climate crisis. As a first step to that goal, we present to you a special issue of the Boston DSA Political Education Working Group newsletter. Comrades from the BDSA Ecosocialism Working Group write about the fundamental concepts of ecosocialism, the Degrowth movement and the importance of energy democracy and just transition. We have also included select articles and podcast from the web that discuss the perils of neoliberal promises of renewable energy and progress through endless economic growth. The Belem Ecosocialist Declaration has been included to round up this issue, as it serves as a call to action for all socialists as we face the stark choice of ecosocialism or barbarism.

In Solidarity,
PEWG Editorial Team

Published on our Blog

Fundamentals of Ecosocialism
Boston DSA Ecosocialism working group comrades Becca M, Chris H, Michelle Y and Nafis H discuss the central concepts of ecosocialism, the various ideologies of socialist environmental movements and current ecosocialist struggles within and outside DSA. (This is a recap of the Fundamentals of Socialism: Ecosocialism event held in August 2018.)

Degrowth: Building People Power to Oppose Capitalism and the Climate Crisis
Karry M writes about the Degrowth movement, an alternative proposal to the widely acclaimed Fully Automated Luxury Communism ecomodernist trope, which seeks to build local communities that ensure the well-being of its constituents rather than building local economies that are entrenched in the discourse of economic growth as a standard for progress.

On the Need for Energy Democracy
As calls for nationalizing energy utility companies are gaining traction in the left, an Anonymous comrade details how the control of energy production and distribution is key to achieving an ecosocialist future with a just transition for workers.

Articles from the Web


Beyond the Green New Deal
In this timely piece, Max Ajl performs a historical analysis of the proposed Green New Deal(s) by comparing it to the material conditions that gave rise to the original New Deal and its consequences. He goes on to extend his analysis to what a global sociopolitical change, as called for in the most recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report, would look like in the current capitalist context and how socialists can change that.

The Limits of Renewable Energy and the Case for Degrowth
Philippe Gauthier breaks down the illusion of rapid shift to renewable energy sources that is touted in the media to restore faith in the State and the system, and describes how degrowth is an inevitable consequence of the herculean task of changing our energy production.     

The Dangers of Reactionary Ecology
The international collective Communists In Situ dissects biologist Garrett Hardin’s concepts of “the tragedy of the commons”, his neo-Malthusian proposal of population control and “lifeboat ethics” in the context of climate change, arguing that these theories do not hold up against current findings on population growth and food production, thus nullifying an ecofascist ideology.

A Podcast to Listen to


Citations Needed: Episode 58: The Neoliberal Optimism Industry
The anthropologist Jason Hickel is a guest for this episode of the Citations Needed podcast, hosted by Adam Johnson and Nima Shirazi, where he breaks down the myth of human progress touted by prominent thinkers such as Steven Pinker and describes how such proclamations are in fact, designed to stymie any overtures in the status quo.

Some Subversive Literature


The Belem Ecosocialist Declaration
Originally drafted at the Paris Ecosocialist Conference in 2007 and later distributed at the World Social Forum in Belem, Brazil in 2009, this document is a crucial manifesto for a nascent ecosocialist movement. The authors Ian Angus, (late) Joel Kovel, Michael Löwy, and Danielle Follett, wrote with an urgency appropriate for today’s climate crisis on the need for a global ecosocialist movement to counter the environmental destruction wrought by capitalism. This manifesto is a call to action for all socialists to overthrow the ruling class to save the planet as we know it.
     

About the PEWG Newsletter

The Newsletter is produced by the Political Education Editorial Committee. We welcome submissions of interesting articles using this form. If you'd like to join the committee please email boston-pewg@googlegroups.com.

     

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