[p2p-research] Fwd: 20 Theses against green capitalism

Michel Bauwens michelsub2004 at gmail.com
Thu Aug 6 06:29:53 CEST 2009

These are important and interesting theses to reflect on. Some initial
comments in-line

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Dante-Gabryell Monson <dante.monson at gmail.com>
Date: Sun, Aug 2, 2009 at 10:27 PM
Subject: 20 Theses against green capitalism
To: sustainable_solidarity at yahoogroups.com, hc_ecology at yahoogroups.com

*20 Theses against green capitalism
Tadzio Mueller and Alexis Passadakis



*20 Theses against green capitalism
Tadzio Mueller and Alexis Passadakis*

1. The current world economic crisis marks the end of the neoliberal phase
of capitalism. ‘Business as usual’ (financialisation, deregulation,
privatisation…) is thus no longer an option: new spaces of accumulation and
types of political regulation will need to be found by governments and
corporations to keep capitalism going


2. Alongside the economic and political as well as energy crises, there is
another crisis rocking the world: the biocrisis, the result of a suicidal
mismatch between the ecological life support system that guarantees our
collective human survival and capital’s need for constant growth


3. This biocrisis is an immense danger to our collective survival, but like
all crises it also presents us, social movements, with a historic
opportunity: to really go for capitalism's exposed jugular, its need for
unceasing, destructive, insane growth

Agreed, but the question is, how mature is the conjuncture for radical
change, in the sense of directly 'anti-capitalist' change

4. Of the proposals that have emerged from global elites, the only one that
promises to address all these crises is the ‘Green New Deal’. This is not
the cuddly green capitalism 1.0 of organic agriculture and D.I.Y. windmills,
but a proposal for a new ’green’ phase of capitalism that seeks to generate
profits from the piecemeal ecological modernisation of certain key areas of
production (cars, energy, etc.)

Agreed, but an important question is: does the corporate green deal offer
opportunities for the 'social green movement' ?

5. Green capitalism 2.0 cannot solve the biocrisis (climate change and other
ecological problems such as the dangerous reduction of biodiversity), but
rather tries to profit from it. It therefore does not fundamentally alter
the collision course on which any market-driven economy sets humanity with
the biosphere.

It cannot ultimately solve it, but it could conceivably advance lots of
aspects of the social green agenda, at least for a definite historical
period ?

6. This isn’t the 1930s. Then, under the pressure of powerful social
movements, the old ‘New Deal’ redistributed power and wealth downwards. The
‘New New’ and ‘Green New Deal’ discussed by Obama, green parties all around
the world, and even some multinationals is more about welfare for
corporations than for people

yes, the social movements are weak ... but they could start growing stronger
again in the next few years, there's quite a bit of evidence for that?  is
it true that green parties only care for the corporate agenda??

7. Green Capitalism won't challenge the power of those who actually produce
most greenhouse gases: the energy companies, airlines and carmakers,
industrial agriculture, but will simply shower them with more money to help
maintain their profit rates by making small ecological changes that will be
too little, too late
That could conceivably be the case, but social pressure could change that
and radicalize the nature of the changes

8. Because globally, working people have lost their power to bargain and
demand rights and decent wages, in a green capitalist setup, wages will
probably stagnate or even decline to offset the rising costs of ‘ecological

That seems a quite static understanding of the balance of power; it is not
inconceivable that social movements become stronger in the next historical
period. Social movements have been weakened in the neoliberal period, but
not destroyed.

9. The 'green capitalist state' will be an authoritarian one. Justified by
the threat of ecological crisis it will ‘manage’ the social unrest that will
necessarily grow from the impoverishment that lies in the wake of rising
cost of living (food, energy, etc.) and falling wages

This could be the case, but not necessarily. In fact, it is very doubtful
that a green capitalist phase could be successfull without substantially
increased participation. Every long wave social compact so far resulted from
a increased socialisation and more popular participation that the previous

10. In green capitalism, the poor will have to be excluded from consumption,
pushed to the margins, while the wealthy will get to ‘offset’ their
continued environmentally destructive behaviour, shopping and saving the
planet at the same time

Again this depends very much on the social balance of power.

11. An authoritarian state, massive class inequalities, welfare given to
corporations: from the point of view of social and ecological emancipation,
green capitalism will be a disaster that we can never recover from. Today,
we have a chance to get beyond the suicidal madness of constant growth.
Tomorrow, by the time we’ve all gotten used to the new green regime, that
chance may be gone

Well, since they have unequivocally defined it in this way, of course, but
nothing says this is the form it will take. So basically, we have an all or
nothing proposition here, revolution now or else ...

12. In green capitalism, there is a danger that established, mainstream
environmental groups will come to play the role that trade unions played in
the Fordist era: acting as safety valves to make sure that demands for
social change, that our collective rage remain within the boundaries set by
the needs of capital and governments

yes of course ...

13. Albert Einstein defined ‘insanity’ as “doing the same thing over and
over again and expecting different results.” In the past decade, in spite of
Kyoto, not only has the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere
increased – so, too, has the rate of increase. Do we simply want more of the
same? Wouldn’t that be insane?

14. International climate agreements promote false solutions that are often
more about energy security than climate change. Far from solving the crisis,
emissions trading, CMD, joint implementation, offsets and so on, all provide
a political shield for the continued production of greenhouse gases with

this is the serious and present danger of what is going on right now,
absolutely true

15. For many communities in the global South, these false solutions
(agrofuels, ‘green deserts’, CDM-projects) are by now often a greater threat
than climate change itself


16. Real solutions to the climate crisis won't be dreamt up by governments
or corporations. They can only emerge from below, from globally networked
social movements for climate justice

yes, but public authorities respond to social pressure, it's not an all or
nothing proposition; there is no civil society strong enough right now to
organize the world on its own terms

17. Such solutions include: no to free trade, no to privatisation, no to
flexible mechanisms. Yes to food sovereignty, yes to degrowth, yes to
radical democracy and to leaving the resources in the ground

at present, a difficult to achieve program ... and probably not
uncontroversial even within social movements ...

18. As an emerging global climate justice movement, we must fight two
enemies: on one hand climate change and the fossilistic capitalism that
causes it, and on the other, an emergent green capitalism that won’t stop
it, but will limit our ability to do so

I'm not at all sure their central theses here is correct .. I actually
believed that green capitalism represents a historic opportunity for
substantial social change, giving us a transition period that prepares for
more radical change

19. Of course, climate change and free trade aren’t the same thing, but: the
Copenhagen-protocol will be a central regulatory instance of green
capitalism just as the WTO was central to neoliberal capitalism. So how to
relate to it? The Danish group KlimaX argues: A good deal is better than no
deal - but no deal is way better than a bad one

yes, so the devil is in the details here, but even a good agreement would
not dispense us from building prefigurative bottom-up infrastructures ...

20. The chance that governments will come up with a 'good deal' in
Copenhagen is slim to none. Our aim must therefore be to demand agreement on
real solutions. Failing that: to forget Kyoto, and shut down Copenhagen!
(whatever the tactic)

shutting down copenhagen would certainly be legitimate, given the paucity of
results that are to be expected ...

Alexis is a member of attac Germany’s coordinating council, Tadzio a part of
the Turbulence editorial collective (www.turbulence.org.uk). They are both
active in the emerging climate justice movement, and can be reached at
againstgreencapitalism (at) googlemail.com

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