Eco-Socialism — An Introduction to Saving Our Future

A new three-part series from Contributing Writer, Silas Lee. “With environmental justice being such an important topic amongst youth, it’s time to promote an entire systemic change to help fight the climate crisis.”

Politicians within the Republican Party and personalities in right wing media have perverted the meaning of Socialism. They have no genuine definition of the ideology. Instead, they attack anything that they disagree with and claim it’s Socialism.

Marco Rubio, one of Florida’s Republican Senators, tried to claim that the term “Latinx” was Socialist, rather than admitting to holding transphobic ideas. Other Republicans- such as Senator Ted Cruz of Texas- slap the term “Socialist” on any challenger in an attempt to discredit them, even if that label is wholly incorrect.

It’s a mask for their hatred, or an attack when they’re backed against a wall. They don’t want people to understand what Socialism is, because they’re aware that Socialism and Marxism work for the people.

The teachings of Marx have been the most diverse of nearly any political theorist in history. Karl Marx created the foundation for schools of thought such as Socialism, Communism, Anarchism, and their near infinite sub-schools of thought. Das Kapital remains one of the most influential books ever written. Currently, in the United States, Eco-Socialism is the most necessary form of Marxist teachings.


Socialism is, according to the Encyclopedia Britannica, “a social and economic doctrine that calls for public ownership or control of property and natural resources rather than privatization”. Marx himself defined the practice as “the abolition of private property”. 

Protesters advocating for a change against capitalism to solve the climate crisis.

What this means is that rather than the full control of work and labor being dictated by a few select businessmen, it is the workers that are in control of work. Socialism is founded on the basis of mutual benefit, recognizing that human beings do not work alienated from one another but rather as a collective. The workers control their work. It recognizes that humanity is intertwined and that the people are reliant upon one another to make each other better and happier. Eco-Socialism takes this ideology and applies it in an environmentalist way by seeking to promote a better future and planet alongside worker control.

For workers, there would be green energy initiatives for laborers, transitioning away from fossil fuel in production, reducing waste from industrial companies, and building up public transport to create union jobs while reducing the carbon footprint of individuals.

In terms of the corporations, there would be carbon taxes that would be paid based on the amount of CO2 produced by companies, an increase to taxes on the rich to fund green transitions, and a raise to the wages of the working class.

The Green New Deal & Economic Bill of Rights

Showing Eco-Socialist and Green Party candidate Howie Hawkins
Howie Hawkins, 2020 Green Party Presidential candidate

In 2010, Green Party member and frequent candidate Howie Hawkins first sought to introduce an Eco-Socialist Green New Deal. The Howie Hawkins Green New Deal encompasses an ecological renovation to America, as well as an Economic Bill of Rights. Therefore, it encompasses two of the biggest building blocks of Green and Socialist politics: a sustainable ecological transition, and collective mutual benefit.

Within the Eco-Socialist Green New Deal, $2.75 trillion is spent on an interstate renewable electricity system, renovating homes to be “green”, reconstructing transportation, altering the food and mineral systems, and improving manufacturing across the country. The plan would create over 30 million different jobs, with more than 8.5 million jobs being manufacturing jobs. 

The Economic Bill of Rights was originally an idea proposed by Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1944, but heavily shut down by Democrats and Republicans. Now, Eco-Socialists are reintroducing the idea of an Economic Bill of Rights. The proposal spends $1.42 trillion on jobs and income guarantees, advances in social security, universal healthcare, housing for all, high speed internet for all, building and rebuilding schools, free child care and pre-K, and fully free public college. The plan is slated to create 7.586 million jobs.

FDR proposing the EBR, which was regarded as a "Socialist" idea by other politicians.
Former United States President Franklin Roosevelt, the first politician to bargain for an Economic Bill of Rights

These pieces of legislation encompass the ideals of Eco-Socialism. The fight against climate change as well as the investments into a unified, worker led, and safe future are the foundations of Eco-Socialism; an embodiment of when Karl Marx wrote in Volume 3 of Das Kapital that society must “hand [the planet] down to succeeding generations in an improved condition”.

Capitalism: The Murderer of Our Future

Socialism and Environmentalism cannot be separated in terms of ideology. On the other hand, Environmentalism and Capitalism are entirely contradictory concepts. Capitalism is about depleting resources and forcing an infinite growth, despite there being a finite set of resources.

Deforestation is driven by capitalism’s selfishness. The oil and fuel industry consistently poison the planet in favor of maximizing their profits. Politicians bought by the fuel industry spread lies about global warming and climate change.

From Senator Ron Johnson claiming climate change is “bullshit”, to Marjorie Taylor Greene claiming that wildfires are caused by “Jewish space lasers”, to Ted Cruz warning that the Green New Deal would “destroy the American energy industry”, Capitalist politicians downplay the effects of climate change in favor of their corporate investors. Republicans receive the most donations from the oil and fuel industry, demonstrating that their lies about climate change come from greed and corrupted politics.

Eco-Socialism requires a non-corrupt foundation for policy. Socialism is meant to work for the people, not for mega-rich corporations and companies. So long as Democrats and Republicans invest into stocks and take money from corporate investors, there will be corruption in American politics— and so too will they be the enemy of the earth. Eco-Socialist groups advocate for a people-led democracy without the investment of businesses and corporations; a democracy ran by the people that works to prolong their lives and make the world better than they found it.

“The Youth on climate strike are right: their lives should not be sacrificed to satisfy our greed”

– George Monbiot, The Guardian

Capitalism is a stain to our lives. It requires subordination. It values the rich few and works for them rather than valuing the many and working for the many. It is an elitist form of economic practice. Capitalism seeks maximized profits, often through the marginalization of groups of people. It is the rich few that benefit from a gender wage gap, not the many. It is the rich few that benefit from the racial wage gap, not the many. Capitalism is about treating people not as people but as resources. You are a gear to the machine, not an individual and not a being.

Capitalism has seen the privatization of basic human necessities. Health, education, housing, food, water, and socialization have been privatized. Healthcare is determined by insurance companies, with an up-front payment and continuous monthly payments. Education costs tens of thousands of dollars, regardless of whether or not you take up a loan that has the ability to quadruple. The prices of food and water rise, leaving many going hungry. Communication with other people is a monthly payment towards T-Mobile, AT&T, Verizon, or any number of cell companies. Nothing is owned by the people; it is owned by corporations and companies that determine how to charge you for the work of other people.

Image displaying Eco-Socialist message "Planet over Profit"
Markus Spiske’s picture of a woman holding a sign reading “Planet over Profit” during a protest

The Socialist system recognizes that the workers are the gears that ensure society runs. The Capitalist system states that the gears aren’t important. Capitalism is the idea that the profit is valued above the labor. Under Capitalism, the few control the majority. Under Socialism, the many decide for each other working in a collective. Capitalism seeks profit; Socialism seeks advancement. Capitalism works through exploitation; Socialism works through collectivization.


The Eco-Socialist system seeks an end to corruption, poverty, and the destruction of the environment. Policy such as the Green New Deal, Economic Bill of Rights, CO2 taxes, and others would help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and fight against climate change while making a worker friendly world. However, so long as the corrupt Capitalist system exists, there is no future for humanity. A systemic change is necessary to ensure our survival.

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