Ecosocialist Conference in New York City 20th of April 2013

The extreme weather of 2012 and recent news that climate change is worse than previously thought have made it a front-page issue again. The Obama campaign’s silence on the issue and worldwide government paralysis have added to activists’ frustration and fueled participation in’s historic February 17th demonstration and campus fossil fuel divestment campaigns. This has also opened the door to a more radical analysis of global warming and environmental destruction.For a radicalizing and substantial fringe of people touched by the ideas of Occupy, an ongoing economic crisis and growing ecological crisis, they recognize that it’s not enough to limit your analysis to only fossil fuel corporations (though that’s a good start) or absolve politicians based on the lobbying power of those particular companies.

And if that’s the case, then we need far bigger goals than just limiting their investment opportunities with college endowments (though again, it’s a good place to start). Ecosocialists must quickly offer a more holistic explanation that centers round the operation of capitalism and therefore helps to explain why Obama isn’t our ally and why we need an entirely different society.

Everything about the world is driving people toward a socialist critique of the ecological crisis and the need to form alliances with workers to take on the system, rather than Democrats and billionaires.

To that end, the Ecosocialist Contingent is proposing the Ecosocialist Conference on Saturday, April 20, 2013 in New York City. We are looking for groups who agree with the Ecosocialist Statement to endorse, build and participate.

The proposed conference, like the February 17th action, represents a move to a more collaborationist left. We hope this conference and this network of left groups and publications grow into something visible enough to attract thousands of new activists towards socialism and powerful enough to push the climate justice movement toward revolutionary conclusions.

Here is the Facebook page:!/events/174607756020503/To endorse and participate in conference planning, contact
or Michael,

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Since the earthquake in Japan and the following meltdown in the nuclear plant of Fukushima Daiichi the discussion about the use of nuclear power reemerged worldwide. But this is not only a discussion about the kind of energy, we use. The demand for the immediate shut-down of all nuclear plants requires a discussion about an alternative way of production and distribution …

Fukushima by Michael Löwy (in French as PDF)


The ecosocialist perspective

In November – December 2010, the UNITED NATIONS CONFERENCE ON THE CLIMATE (COP) takes place in Cancún, Mexico. All signs show that this conference will follow the same line as the one which took place in Copenhagen in December 2009: it will be a new step in the neo-liberal policy of the great powers, which try to evade the responsibility of capitalism in the climate change. They will take pretext of the situation in order to privatize the atmosphere, the forests as well as other natural resources, while presenting the bill for their mismanagement to the poor of the whole planet. Unable to break with productivism and the accumulation of profits, and consequently, with fossil fuels, great capital wants also to impose on us its technological follies: nuclear energy, agrofuels, GMOs and the so-called “clean carbon”.

In Copenhagen, the USA, China, India, Brazil, South Africa and the European Union negotiated secretly a parallel agreement which they tried, without success, to impose to the General Assembly of the UN CONFERENCE. This document is totally insufficient on the ecological level: it implies, in the short run, a rise in temperature of more than 4 °C, synonymous with very serious catastrophes. On the social level, it means the elimination of the principle of “common but differentiated responsibility” of the advanced capitalist countries and those “in development”. The representatives of several countries of the South denounced the illegality, the irresponsibility, the cynicism and the injustice of the agreement between the greatest polluters. Alas, inspite of their protests, it was de facto adopted as the frame for the climate policy of the UNITED NATIONS, in particular for the UN CONVENTION ON THE CLIMATE and its secretariat.

This is inacceptable! In april 2010, in answer to a call by the Bolivian President Evo Morales, more than 30.000 representatives of social movements, trade unions, indigenous peoples and some governments assembled in Cochabamba (Bolivia) and adopted a “Declaration of the peoples on the climate change and the rights of Mother-Earth”. This declaration states clearly that capitalism is responsible for the global warming and that the countries of the North must radically reduce their emissions of greenhouse gases, in order to effectively limit the rise in temperature. Without subscribing to every point of this text, the ECOSOCIALIST INTERNATIONAL NETWORK supports all those who demand that this declaration, and not the self-styled “Copenhagen agreement”, serve as basis for the negotiations of Cancun. Cochabamba made it possible to be heard the voice of the indigenous peoples, the peasants, the women, the workers and poor in general. In one word: the voice of the victims. It is this voice, and not the one of the multinationals, that should give the tone of the climate negotiations.

Summer 2010 has been signaled by a series of catastrophes which show what global warming has in store for us: murderous fires in Russia, deluge rains and floods in China, Mexico and Pakistan. The case of Pakistan is dramatic and revealing. Floods made 20 million victims and enormous material prejudices. If Pakistan continues to follow the recipes of the WORLD BANK and the IMF, it risks plunging into a spiral of misery. In order to avoid it, it would be necessary to abolish the foreign debt and demand reparations from the North. This requires a break with the capitalist “model” of development, and the implementing of measures such as a democratic agrarian reform, production for the social needs and an alternative management of the water and energetic resources, at the service of the population.

Climate change shows that capitalism has come to the end of the road. By its productivism, its race after the profit, this mode of production is destroying the two only sources of all wealth: the Earth and the Labourer. In order to confront this coming barbarism, an alternative society, a radical choice of civilization is required: ecosocialism. The optimization of private profits without taking into account the natural limits has to be replaced by the optimization of the collective well-being, the buen-vivir, in the respect of Mother-Earth. This is the message that the ECOSOCIALIST INTERNATIONAL NETWORK brings to you. Rejoin us!



Draft minutes

Summary: 33 people met for two days to discuss a more formal organization for the ECOSOCIALIST INTERNATIONAL NETWORK. They nominated a coordinating committee of six people charged with taking responsibility for action with respect to membership, finances, the website and related internet activities, linkages with other networks and organizations, conferences and other matters.

The coordinating committee was asked to report back to the network on who has what responsibility and what steps have been taken within two months or by end November 2010. This draft is based largely on memory for day one. Day two is based on notes and memory. I have asked others to revise this first draft. The meeting moved between formality and informality. Hence these notes narrate rather than follow the format of minutes for a formal business meeting.
Terisa Turner

An informal literature table included copies of Daniel Tanuro’s new book “L´impossible capitalisme vert”, Paris: Editions La Decourverts, 2010; and multiple copies of the magazine Canadian Dimension (September-October 2010) devoted to ecosocialism with articles by Cy Gonick, an interview with Joel Kovel and articles by network members Terisa Turner (on Cochabamba and climate change) and Leigh Brownhill on food. This special ecosocialist issue provided excerpts from a June 2010 panel on organizing for ecosocialism at the peoples’ forum associated with the G-20 meetings in Toronto with indigenous, union and ecofeminist views presented. Display copies of the journal Capitalism Nature Socialism were available and the importance of this journal as the network’s ecosocialist journal was underlined. Other documents were also made available.

Saturday 26 September 2010

At about 10 am some 33 people came to order and adopted a draft agenda prepared by M. Löwy and J. Kovel. A sign-up list was circulated (attached) and introductions provided by all. Wahu Kaara from Kenya sent regrets, along with others (ie. David Barkin from Mexico). The introductions provided brief insights into the activities of various people and groups from several countries.

M. Löwy and J. Kovel provided outlines of the ECOSOCIALIST INTERNATIONAL NETWORK activities and meetings to date (including the first Paris Conference (2007), the Belem Manifesto, the Belem Conference (January 2009), Copenhagen (December 2009), the US meeting in Detroit (June 2010). Emphasis was given to the importance of ecosocialism as the only international socialist initiative to address the ecological crisis within a framework of the crises of capitalism. While the network is small it is vital. This becomes more evident every day.

Hugo Blanco, on a speaking tour from Peru, joined us and spoke briefly on historical experiences of indigenous peoples with ecosocialism. He emphasized the importance of resolving questions of indigenous-non-indigenous solidarities by taking action. He urged the production of a publication such as a newsletter. Hugo Blanco observed that unity arises out of joint action initiatives, that the class issues arise clearly in the course of taking action. He referred to the Zapatistas and their democratic, grassroots governing relations. He noted that many of the people in the meeting could well possess an indigenous ecological sensibility, regardless of background.

The issues arising from de-growth debates were mentioned several times. The theme of “catastrophe framing” or otherwise arose. It was decided not to re-work the comic produced by the ECOSOCIALIST INTERNATIONAL NETWORK for the December 2009 Copenhagen (COP 15), Climate Change conference for Cancun (Conference of the Parties to the Kyoto Accord COP 16) in December 2010. Another document is needed for Cancun, and Daniel Tanuro and Michael Lowy volunteered to coordinate with Mexican ecosocialists and others in this regard. Richard Greeman reminded us that he had produced a short version of the Manifesto and it is available on the wiki site.

The group carried on discussions in a neighboring pub over lunch and resumed the meeting until about 6 pm.

Sunday 27 September 2010

We met again at about 10 am. The questions of membership, affiliation, finances, the establishment of a coordinating committee and related matters were addressed. J. Kovel read an email from a Zimbabwean ecosocialist at the beginning of the meeting, sparking discussion of how to incorporate interested parties into the network. Reservations were expressed about identifying individuals to represent whole regions or continents because to do so could restrict the inclusion of other people. It was decided that membership in the ECOSOCIALIST INTERNATIONAL NETWORK will be through individuals, while organizations can have linkages. Members are self-identified as people who agree with the first ecosocialist manifesto (2001).

It was resolved unanimously to create a six person coordinating committee charged with taking responsibility for action with respect to maintaining our finances, website and membership lists; setting meeting dates; coordinating work with other bodies, for example, the IPCC, which has asked that we have observer status, or the organizers of the Cancun events in late November, with whom we should connect and send some version of the Ecosocialist Manifesto; and creating another draft of the Manifesto more suitable for outreach and organizing work.

The following six people accepted nominations:
Joel Kovel (USA)
Michael Löwy (France)
Terisa Turner (Canada)
Klaus Engert (Germany)
Mike Davies (UK)
Pritram Singh (UK)

This will not be a permanent body. The coordinating committee’s term will expire at the time of the next annual meeting, which is provisionally slated for London, November 2011, with an administrative meeting next to a conference where the matter of ecosocialism can be explored further. We hope that over the next year that many as-yet unresolved issues before us will come closer to resolution.

These six are to decide amongst themselves how the various tasks are to be shared. Specific information on this and related progress should be shared with the network by end November 2010. The need for this coordinating committee to be assisted by others (for instance, Richard Greeman will assist Klaus Engert with the website) were mentioned. At least two new members would be sought for the existing coordinating committee with suggestions invited from the network.

Various affiliations were discussed including to the Peoples’ World Movement arising out of the Cochabamba, Bolivia April 2010 meeting on climate change and the rights of Mother Earth; and the IPCC (United Nations International Panel on Climate Change) amongst others. Individuals volunteered to begin work on making these affiliations happen. It was observed that only registered entities (for instance, incorporated not-for-profit organizations) could be affiliated with the IPCC.

Many ideas for activities including publishing (Richard Greeman’s projects; Richard can provide details), having another meeting at the end of the Historical Materialism Conference in November 2011 in London, UK (to be organized by the UK participants present), and numerous other initiatives were presented or mentioned.

With respect to finances, there was ongoing discussion of membership dues or contributions, the possibilities of depositing funds in particular bank accounts, the need to report on spending of previous contributions, and related key issues to do with paying for various activities.

Considerable discussion of the relationship between the coordinating committee and the so-called membership in the network brought to the fore key concerns: will the coordinators succeed in actually coordinating? Does the creation of a coordinating committee set the stage for expulsions and divisions that have characterized past initiatives?

The Internationale was sung and participants retired to the pub for lunch and further discussion.


By Michael Löwy

We – I mean the Marxists, the Ecosocialists, the radical climate justice activists – were quite pessimistic about the so-called UNITED NATIONS CONFERENCE ON CLIMATE CHANGE and had predicted that Copenhagen would end in a failure. We argued that the capitalist system doesn’t know any criteria other than more accumulation, greater expansion and higher profits, and therefore is unable to take the minimal measures necessary to prevent catastrophic climate change. And since we knew that the vast majority of the “world leaders” present in Copenhagen are nothing but faithful servants of the capitalist’s interests, we thought that the Conference would limit itself to vague promises about a 50 % reduction of CO2; emissions by 2050. In one word, we believed that the Copenhagen mountain would give birth to a mouse.

Well, I must admit that we were wrong. We were not pessimistic enough. The Copenhagen conference did not give birth to a mouse but to a cockroach. Kyoto was already a big failure, since its aims were ridiculously low – a reduction in 5 % until 2012 – and the methods used, such as the “market of pollutions rights”, absolutely unable to achieve any significant progress. But Copenhagen is much, much less than Kyoto, which at least acknowledged the need for internationally agreed commitments.

What happened? China accused the US of not committing itself to any meaningful measures to reduce emissions; the US accused China of not accepting any international commitment to reduce emissions. Both insisted that they couldn’t do anything if the other doesn’t move. Europe explained that they couldn’t take any initiatives without the US and China. The only thing they all agreed, and happily so, is on the urgent need to do nothing.

So we have got only an ugly cockroach, called “The Copenhagen Accord”, concocted by the “world leaders” before hurriedly leaving the Conference by the back door. It is a completely void document saying that, as everybody knows, one should prevent temperature of raising beyond 2° C. Not a word about limitations of gas emissions, no percentages of reduction mentioned, not even as a wishful thinking, not even in a very far future. Nothing. Nihil. Zero content.

So, where is hope? The only hope that exists is in the 100,000 people who demonstrated in the streets of Copenhagen, coming from Denmark, Scandinavia, Germany, Europe and the whole world, asking for radical measures, denouncing the irresponsibility of the “responsible leaders”, claiming for climate justice, and proposing to “Change the system, not the climate.” Or, in the thousands who peacefully marched till the doors of the Conference, trying to open a dialogue with the “official” representatives, but were received by tear gas and police clubs, and saw their spokesmen – like Tadzo Müller – arrested for “incitation to violence”. Or in the thousands who took part in the discussions of the alternative KlimaForum, which adopted a resolution denouncing the pseudo-solutions of the system (“carbon trade”, etc). There is also hope in political leaders like the Bolivian President Evo Morales – among the very few exceptions – that showed solidarity with the CLIMATE JUSTICE MOVEMENT, and denounced capitalism as the system responsible for disastrous global warming.

Conclusion: many years ago, the famous poet and singer Joe Hill, from the AMERICAN INTERNATIONAL WORKERS OF THE WORLD ( IWW) said, just before being shot by the authorities on fake accusations: “Don’t mourn, organize”. We must return to our countries, and organize people, in the fields, in the factories, in the schools, in the streets, to build a large international movement fighing against the system, to impose radical change, to save, not “the planet” – it is not in danger – but life on this planet from destruction.


By Michael Löwy

The ECOSOCIALIST INTERNATIONAL NETWORK was present at Copenhagen on the occasion of the UNITED NATIONS SUMMIT ON CLIMATE CHANGE. Our leaflet “Copenhagen, April 12, 2049″ was distributed in hundreds of copies. A young Danish artist illustrated it with drawings, as a sort of “comic strip”, and comrades from the Danish Socialist Workers Party (member of the Red-Green Alliance) and from the British Socialist Resistance group printed it. The document can be found at the EIN site (English, French, German, Spanish and the illustrated version in English only).

We had also, on Friday December 11 a workshop on ecosocialism at the alternative KlimaForum. The organizers gave us a room with 30 places, but more than 100 people attended, siting on the floor or by the window; dozens of others left, for lack of space. Obviously, the organizers under-estimated the interest in ecosocialism … We had four speakers; three of them belonged to the EIN: the Canadian ecofeminist author Teresa Turner, the German activist from attac, Klaus Engert and myself; we also invited the young Danish ecosocialist Peter Nielsen. Some 70 people left their names and E-Mails to keep in contact with our network.

Of course, all the members and sympathizers of the EIN, from France, Canada, Germany, Belgium, England, Greece etc, were present at the mass demonstration of protest by 100 thousand people on Saturday December 12.