Adopted by Solidarity Winnipeg Members on December 23, 2020
Solidarity Winnipeg’s Basis of Unity says “We envision transforming society to achieve social and ecological justice on an anti-colonial basis. This can ultimately only be achieved by replacing capitalism with a more democratic society not driven by profit: ecosocialism.” This policy explains our common understanding of that goal.
We celebrate growing support for “socialism” internationally – more people are saying that a different, better society is possible. Growing talk about “ecosocialism” (in the Green Party of Canada’s 2020 leadership race, for example) reflects a clear understanding that the socialism we need must make it a top priority to address the ecological crisis caused by capitalism.
But today – just as throughout history – there are rival understandings of what socialism would be and how it could be achieved.
For us, ecosocialism would be a society in which production would be democratically planned and all forms of oppression uprooted. The relationship between people and the rest of nature would be completely transformed. Efforts would be underway to repair ecological damage. Class division and state power would have withered away, along with commodity production and wage labour.
If this is fully achievable (we cannot be certain that it is), it could only be the result of a long process of social-ecological transformation. Progress towards ecosocialism would be measured by how much democratic ecological planning had replaced markets and by how much the relationship between humanity and the rest of nature had become non-destructive.
This vision of ecosocialism differs from some other views. For some, ecosocialism merely means governments regulating capitalism in the interests of social and ecological justice. This would not uproot the system that causes ecological and social crises.
For others, ecosocialism means a social order in which a state directs production for ecological aims and human benefit, not profit. This wrongly assumes that socialism is defined by state control of the economy, not the democratic control of society by ordinary people. This idea often reflects the mistaken belief that societies with state-owned economies and one-party states run by “Communist” rulers were or are socialist. This statist vision lowers our horizons for freedom.
Today the tiny minority of capitalists rule even where capitalist democracy exists. A transition from capitalism towards ecosocialism could only begin after capitalist rule is replaced with the radically-democratic rule of the working-class majority (and, in countries where they exist, peasants and other independent producers). Working-class rule requires new institutions of democratic popular power in all spheres of society.
The rule of a party or any other minority is no substitute for the democratic self-government of the majority, no matter what its politics are. Only self-governing people themselves could advance the transition towards ecosocialism. No ruling minority could do so on their behalf.
Because a transition towards ecosocialism is only possible when the working class itself democratically runs society, in the here and now ecosocialists should always try to promote the most bottom-up, participatory and democratic ways of organizing. These increase people’s capacity to organize in ways that point towards one day taking control of society and democratically running it ourselves.