Red-Green Revolution

The politics and technology of ecosocialism

By Victor Wallis

Red-Green Revolution

The Politics and Technology of Ecosocialism

By Victor Wallis’p-9i b v 456

Political Animal Press, 2018

We reprint here the preface to Red-Green Revolution The Politics and Technology of Ecosocialism as an introduction to this very important book. —Socialist Viewpoint

Over the quarter-century of this book’s gestation, the alarm signals that struck me as I began working on it have risen to an almost deafening volume. Climate scientists are constantly finding that their dire projections pale in comparison with the actual pace at which life-sustaining natural infrastructures are breaking down.

The disaster that ecological activists of the last half-century have sought to prevent is already vividly present. Its most dramatic expression, apart from the endlessly repeated scenes of fire, flood, parched earth, and emaciated polar bears, is the tens-of-millions of refugees, desperate for a place to live.1 Some are fleeing sea-level rise and flooded or storm-battered homes; others are fleeing wars precipitated by sustained, drought-induced collapses of the food supply (as in Syria, Central Africa, and Central America.) Still others are fleeing wars and repression that reflect long-standing imperialist projects, but whose initiators have become ever more intransigent as they seek to ward off the prospect of a diminished resource-base.

Increasing percentages of the refugees, if they survive their typically harrowing treks or dangerous sea voyages, come up against vast numbers of agents “trained, armed, and paid to stop them.”2 This drive to “stop them” is promoted by a ruling class, which at the same time relentlessly stokes the economic engines of capital that gave rise to the climate crisis in the first place. While the top U.S. mouthpiece of this ruling class, along with his acolytes at the Environmental “Protection” Agency, mocks the reality of climate change, the military leaders who command the system’s armed enforcers have had no hesitation (for at least the last fifteen years) in publicly situating what they acknowledge to be the consequences of global warming—the droughts, floods, and hurricanes that directly or indirectly have pushed mass migration to its current extreme levels—at the center of their concerns.

The alternatives are sharply etched. The currently dominant forces, rather than join the fight against climate change, erect walls to block out its victims. By militarizing the problem, they not only draw resources away from any possible remedial steps; they also accelerate the spread of devastation.

What other path can be chosen? That is the subject of this book. The short answer is that a radical power-shift is needed. But it’s one thing to recognize this and quite another to draw the indispensable majority into the struggle to achieve it. Part of that task consists in relating the overarching ecological goal to popular aspirations at every level. Another part consists in developing a political mechanism—a political force—that can embody and enforce the collective interest. Yet another involves discovering, explaining, advocating, and applying all the measures needed in order to slow down—and, where possible, reverse—the dangerous environmental trends.

Reversing at least some of these trends is indeed still possible. It will certainly require the mix of alternative energies, conservation practices, and social reorganization discussed in this book. The culmination of work along all these dimensions, insofar as it can be achieved, will be the restoration of biodiversity. Restoring biodiversity will entail, among other things, restoring moisture to parched earth and drawing carbon back out of the atmosphere and into the soil, where it can support life rather than endangering it.

The struggle to restore the soil and the struggle to create a just social order have up to now been carried on mostly as parallel political movements, without much mutual awareness, let alone collaboration, at the mass level. Such collaboration, however, or at least the striving to attain it, is the true centerpiece of Red–Green Revolution.

1 See Ai Wewei’s 2017 documentary, Human Flow, where the number of refugees is given as 65 million.

2 Todd Miller, Storming the Wall: Climate Change, Migration, and Homeland Security, San Francisco: City Lights Books, 2017, 30.