Toward Democratic Eco-socialism
as the Next World System

7. New Left Parties Designed
to Capture the State

Book cover: Environmentalism: A Global History by Ramachandra Guha

The shift to a democratic eco-socialist world will require a revolution of some sort that will have to be played out in various ways depending upon the national context. Obviously the capitalist class and its political allies around the world will be resistant to such a revolution. The larger question is whether a democratic eco-socialist-oriented revolution can be achieved largely through peaceful measures or whether it will entail violence, or perhaps a mixture of both, depending upon the country. Needless to say, there is no easy answer to this question. Nevertheless, while Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels indeed envisaged an armed overthrow of capitalism in some situations, they also gave attention to achieving reforms within the bowels of capitalist societies and viewed such efforts as vehicles for making a peaceful transition from capitalism to socialism.

Ultimately, achieving most of the thirteen transitional reforms that I delineated above may require that new left or socialist-oriented parties come to power and in a sense 'capture the state' and ensure that there is a political resolve that will guarantee their implementation. For example, nationalization of the means of production would be difficult to achieve without a leftist political party in power. Until the election of Syriza in Greece in early 2015, the possibility of new left parties coming to power appeared remote. However, as events have already revealed, the Syriza government faces formidable struggle in seeking to achieve its various demands as a member of the European Union.

Book cover: Red-Green Revolution: The Politics and Technology of Ecosocialism by Victor Wallis

But given the gravity of both the global economic and ecological crisis, including climate change, one should not rule out the possibility of political tipping points, just as climate scientists speak of tipping points that have set off a number of irreversible climatic events. In addition to Syriza, perhaps the most prominent examples of new left parties are the German Left Party (Die Linke), Left Front in France, Left Unity in the UK, and Podemos in Spain. In the case of my adopted country of Australia, I envision a new left party as consisting of disaffected Australian Labor Party-types, many Greens, members of various socialist groups, as well as independent socialists and anarchists. At some critical point, new left parties could theoretically merge into a global left party, a notion that exists mostly in science fiction such as in W. Warren Wagar's [1989] A Short History of the Future.

Copyright © 2016

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