Draft Manifesto of Revolutionary Marxism in the Age of Capitalist Ecological and Social Destruction

The leadership of the Fourth International has approved, as a first draft, an Ecosocialist Manifesto,  which will be discussed at our next World Congress in February 2025 (see below).  

This document is based in our belief that an ecosocialist society,  liberated from class,  gender,  race or colonial domination is needed, and can be achieved only through a revolution. The Manifesto tries to assess the best ways and means towards this aim. 

We would be interested to get comments, criticisms and arguments of relevant Scientists, Marxist thinkers and  significant social and political movements.  We do not pretend to have the monopoly of truth, and believe that dialogue with other radical and revolutionary forces is necessary, in fact indispensable, if we want to move forward in the struggle.

Break with capitalist growth, for an ecosocialist alternative

Draft adopted by International Committee February 2024

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INTR.1.1. This Manifesto is a document of the Fourth International, founded in 1938 by Leon Trotsky and his comrades to save the legacy of the October Revolution from Stalinist disaster. Rejecting sterile dogmatism, The Fourth International has integrated the challenges of social movements and the ecological crisis into its thinking and practice. Its forces are limited, but they are present on every continent and have actively contributed to the resistance to Nazism, May 68 in France, solidarity with anti-colonial struggles (Algeria, Vietnam), the growth of the anti-globalization movement and the development of ecosocialism.

The Fourth International does not see itself as the sole vanguard; it participates, to the extent of its strength, in broad anti-capitalist formations. Its objective is to contribute to the formation of a new International, of a mass character, of which it would be one of the components.

INTR.1.2. Our era is one of a double historic crisis: the crisis of the socialist alternative in the face of the multifaceted crisis of capitalist “civilization”.

INTR.1.3 If the Fourth International is publishing this Manifesto in 2025, it is because we are convinced that the process of ecosocialist revolution at different territorial levels, but with a planetary dimension, is more necessary than ever: it is now a question not only of putting an end to the social and democratic regressions that accompany global capitalist expansion, but also of saving humanity from an ecological catastrophe without precedent in human history. These two objectives are inextricably linked.

INTR.1.4. However, the socialist project which forms the basis of our proposals requires a broad re-foundation nourished by the pluralistic assessment of experiences and by the major movements fighting against all forms of domination and oppression (class, gender, dominated national communities, etc.). The socialism we propose is radically different from the models that dominated the last century or of any statist or dictatorial regime: it is a revolutionary project, radically democratic, nourished by the contribution of feminist, ecological, anti-racist, anti-colonialist, antimilitarist and LGBTQ+ struggles.

INTR. 1.5. We have been using the term ecosocialism for some decades now because we are convinced that the global threats and challenges posed by the ecological crisis must permeate all struggles within/against the existing globalized order and require a reformulation of the socialist project. The relationship with our planet, overcoming the “metabolic rift” (Marx) between human societies and their living environment, and the respect for the planet’s ecological equilibrium are not just chapters in our programme and strategy, but their common thread.

INTR.1.6. The need to update the analyses of revolutionary Marxism, has always inspired the action and thought of the Fourth International. We are continuing this approach in our work on writing this Ecosocialist Manifesto: we want to help to formulate a revolutionary perspective capable of confronting the challenges of the 21st century. A perspective that draws inspiration from social and ecological struggles, and from the genuinely anti-capitalist critical reflections that are developing around the world.

1. The objective necessity of an ecosocialist, antiracist, antimilitarist, anticolonialist and feminist revolution

1.1. Capital triumphs, but its triumph plunges it into the insurmountable contradictions highlighted by Marx. Faced with these, Rosa Luxembourg issued her warning in 1915: “Socialism or barbarism”. The timeliness of this warning is burning than ever, as the catastrophe growing around us is unprecedented. To the plagues of war, colonialism, exploitation, racism, authoritarianism, oppressions of all kinds, there is in fact added a new scourge, which exacerbates all the others: the accelerated destruction by capital of the natural environment on which the survival of humankind depends.

1.2. Scientists identify eight global indicators of ecological sustainability. Danger limits are estimated for seven of them. Due to the capitalist logic of accumulation, seven at least have already been crossed: (climate, functional integrity of ecosystems, the nitrogen cycle, the phosphorus cycle, groundwater freshwater, surface freshwater and natural ecosystem area, six of which even exceed the “ceiling” (only the climate does not exceed this). The poor are the main victims, especially in poor countries.

1.3. Under the whiplash of competition, big industry and finance enhance their despotic hold on people and the Earth. The destruction continues, despite the warning cries of science. The craving for profit, like an automaton, demands always more markets and always more goods, hence more exploitation of labour force and plundering of natural resources.

1.4. Legal capital, so-called criminal capital and bourgeois politics are closely intertwined. The Earth is bought on credit by the banks, the multinationals and the rich. Governments increasingly strangle human and democratic rights through brutal repression and technological control. A new fascism offers its services to save the system through lies, racism, sexism, xenophobia and social demagogy.

1.5. It is an understatement to say that the limits of sustainability are also crossed on the social level.

1.6. With their yachts, their jets, their swimming pools, their exclusive massive golf courses, their many SUVs, their space tourism, their jewellery, their haute couture and their luxurious homes in the four corners of the world, the richest 1% owns as much as 50% of the world’s population. The “trickle down theory” is a myth. It is towards the rich that wealth “trickles”, not the opposite. Poverty is increasing even in “developed” countries. labour incomes are squeezed ruthlessly, social protections – where they exist – are dismantled. The world capitalist economy floats on an ocean of debt, exploitation and inequalities.

1.7. The unfair distribution of resources generates environmental disasters among different ethnic-racial groups. For example, in developed and often in developing capitalist societies, poor and racialized people are the ones who usually inhabit the territories most affected by pollution, with higher concentration of rubbish, as well as risk areas lacking urban planning such as slopes and hills. Environmental racism is another face of the exclusion that capitalism imposes on racialized and poor people.

1.8. Inequalities and discrimination affect women in particular, who continue to provide most domestic and care work, whether it is free or paid. They receive only 35% of labour income. In some regions of the world (China, Russia, Central Asia), their share is declining, sometimes significantly. Beyond work, women are under attack on all fronts as women - from sexist and sexual violence to the right to food, the right to education, the right to be respected and the right to control their own bodies.

1.9. While old people of the working classes (and also some of the “middle class”) are discarded, the lives of future generations are generally mutilated in advance. Most parents of the working classes no longer believe that their children will live better than they do. A growing number of young people observe with dread, rage, sadness and grief, the organized destruction of their world, raped, gutted, drowned in concrete, engulfed in the cold waters of selfish calculation: the programmed destruction of their future.

1.10. The scourges of famine, food insecurity and malnutrition had receded at the end of the 20th century; they are now burgeoning again as a result of a catastrophic convergence of neoliberalism, militarism and climate change: almost one in ten people are hungry, almost one in three suffer from food insecurity, more than three billion cannot afford a healthy diet. One hundred and fifty million children under the age of five are stunted by hunger.

1.11. The hope of a peaceful world in the short term evaporates. More than 30 countries in the world are or have recently been in wars of considerable dimensions, including Sudan, Iraq, Yemen, Palestine, Syria, Ukraine, Libya, Congo (RD) and Myanmar. The climate crisis itself, weather phenomena, and the resulting intense migratory flows are fuelling many conflicts around the globe. The suffering, displacement and death of populations is tremendous.

1.12. While imperialisms squabble, urgent measures for climate transition and a sustainable future are called into question. Wars, besides being calamitous in terms of human lives, attacking women’s bodies, using rape as an instrument of terror and dehumanizing collective life, are harmful to the planet we live on. They destroy habitats, cause deforestation, poison the soils, the waters and the air, and are major sources of carbon emissions.

1.13. The brutal Russian war against Ukraine in 2022 and the new level of ethnic cleansing perpetrated in the Gaza-war 2023/24 against the Palestinian people are major crimes against humanity. Both cases confirm the barbarian nature of capitalism today. The Russian imperialist aggression against Ukraine in 2022 has fostered geopolitical tensions on a global scale. It confirms the entry in a new era of inter-imperialist competition for global hegemony, with the US and its allies on the one side, China and its allies on the other side. Land, energy and mineral resources are an important stake of this inter-imperialist competition.

1.14. Everyone could have a good life on Earth, but capitalism is an exploitative, macho, racist, warlike, authoritarian and deadly mode of predation. Productivism is destructivism. In two centuries, it has led humanity into a deep ecosocial impasse.

1.15. Climate change is the most dangerous aspect of ecological destruction, it is a threat to human life without precedent in history. The Earth is in danger of becoming a biological wasteland uninhabitable for billions of poor people who are not responsible for this disaster. To stop this catastrophe, we must halve global carbon dioxide and methane emissions before 2030, and cancel them before 2050. So, as a priority banish fossil fuels, agribusiness, the meat industry and hyper-mobility… that is to say produce less globally.

1.16. On the one hand, the madness of capitalist accumulation confronts humanity with the urgent need of a global degrowth in final energy consumption and, therefore, in material production and transportation. On the other hand, three billion people, mostly in the Global South1 , live in appalling conditions, due to capitalism and imperialism. Social justice demands that certain types of production grow to fulfil their huge unsatisfied needs: good health systems, decent houses, good food, good education, public transport, clean water, social security for all…

1.17. Is there a way out of this contradiction? Yes, there is. It is possible for humans to live well while consuming far less than before, thanks to technological advances in medicine, building, energy efficiency, among others. The climate impact of production aimed at satisfying human needs -especially when democratically planned and assumed by the public sector in a context of social equality - is much lower than that of production aimed at satisfying the needs of the rich through GDP growth and blind market competition for profit. The richest 1% emits nearly twice as much CO2 as the poorest 50%. The richest 10% is responsible for more than 50% of the CO2 emissions. The poor emit much less than 2-2,3t CO2 per person and per year (the average volume to reach in 2030 if we want to reach net zero emissions in 2050 with a 50% probability). Providing them with what they need would have a limited ecological impact. In fact, stopping the catastrophe needs a society that provides well-being and guarantees equality like never before. A desirable perspective, but the 1% rich should divide their emissions by thirty in a few years. Yet they refuse to make even the slightest effort! On the contrary: they want ever more privileges!

1.18. Governments have pledged to stay below +1.5°C, to maintain biodiversity, to achieve so-called “sustainable development” and to respect the principle of “common but differentiated responsibilities and capacities” in the ecological crisis,... while producing ever more goods, using ever more energy. It is excluded that these combined promises will be respected by capital. The facts show this:

1.18.1. - Thirty-three years after the Earth Summit in Rio (1992), the global energy mix is still completely dominated by fossil fuels (84% in 2020). The total production of fossil fuel has increased by 62% passing from 83 Terawatt-hour (TWh) in 1992 to 136 TWh in 2021 renewables add to the mainly fossil energy system, offering more capacities and new markets to capitalists.2

1.18.2. - With the energy crisis unleashed after the pandemic and deepened by the Russian imperialist war on Ukraine, all capitalist powers revived coal, oil, natural gas (including shale gas), and nuclear power.

1.18.3. - The main force historically responsible for climatic shift, US imperialism has enormous means to fight against the catastrophe, but its political representatives criminally subordinate this fight to the protection of their world hegemony, when they do not simply deny it.

1.18.4. - The measures big polluters implement under the label “decarbonization” not only fail to address the magnitude of the climate crisis but also accelerate extractivism, mostly in the dominated countries, but also in the North and in the oceans, at the expense of the populations and the ecosystems.

1.18.5. - This so-called “decarbonization” exacerbates imperialist land grabbing and exploitation of labour in the South, with the complicity of the local bourgeoisies (as exemplified by different investment projects based on the use of solar and wind energy, especially in “free economic zones” of poor countries, in order to produce “green hydrogen” aimed at supplying industries in developed countries).

1.18.6. - “Carbon markets”, “carbon compensation”, “biodiversity compensations” and “market mechanisms”, based on the understanding of nature as capital, weigh on the least responsible, the poor, in particular the indigenous people, the racialized people and the peoples of the South in general.

1.19. Valid in theory, abstract concepts such as “Circular economy”, “resilience”, “energy transition”, “biomimicry” become hollow formulas in practice as soon as they are used in the service of capitalist productivism. If there is no plan implemented by society as a whole for the conversion of production, then technical improvements (e.g. to make energy production cheaper) often have a rebound effect3 : a reduction in the price of energy generally leads to higher energy and material consumption.

1.20. In the face of the climate crisis, the capitalist fetishism of accumulation will ultimately leave only two options: deploy sorcerer’s apprentice technologies (nuclear, carbon capture-sequestration, geoengineering…)… or let “nature” eliminate a few billion poor people in poor countries.

1.21. Politically, the impotence and injustice of green capitalism play into the hands of a fossil, conspiratorial, colonialist, racist, violently macho and LGBTphobic neo-fascism, which is not put off by this second possibility. A secteur of the wealthy is marching towards a huge crime against humanity, cynically betting that their wealth will protect them, letting the poor die.

1.22. Neoliberal “green” capitalism and the climate-negationist far-right are not the same thing, the latter being much worse, but none of these regimes could prevent global warming from continuing, with dire consequences, and the first feeds the second. Although the victims are more numerous in poor countries, the rich ones will also suffer dramatic losses. World capitalism is not progressing gradually towards peace and sustainable development, it is advancing backwards and with great strides towards war, ecological disaster, genocide and neo-fascist barbarism.

1.23. Facing this challenge, it is not enough to question the neoliberal regime and to revalue the role of the State. It would not even be enough to stop the dynamic of accumulation (an impossible goal under capitalism!) Global final energy consumption must diminish radically, which means produce less and transport less globally.

1.24. To respect this ecological-climatic constraint, the very orientation of the economy must change from top to bottom: science and the technological advances must be used to satisfy the social needs of the humankind and regenerate the global ecosystem, instead of satisfying the race for profit by capitalists. It is the only solution that makes it possible to reconcile the legitimate need of well-being for all, and the regeneration of the global ecosystem. Just sufficiency and just degrowth - ecosocialist degrowth - is a sine qua non condition of rescue.

1.25. Getting out of the productivist impasse is only possible under the following conditions:

1.25.1. • abandon the “technosolutionism”, that is the idea that the solution will come from new technologies (their impact on energy and resources is often underestimated, or not taken into account) In an ecologically wise way, decide to use the means we have, they suffice to meet the needs of all;

1.25.2. • drastically reduce the ecological footprint of the rich to permit a good life for all.

1.25.3. • put an end to the free market in capital (stock markets, private banks, pension funds);

1.25.4 • regulate markets for goods and services;

1.25.5 • maximize direct relationships between producers and consumers at all levels of society, and the processes of evaluating needs and resources from the perspective of use values and ecological and social priorities;

1.25.6. • determine democratically what needs these use values ​​must satisfy, and how;

1.25.7. • include at the centre of this democratic deliberation taking care of humans and ecosystems, careful respect for living things and for ecological boundaries,;

1.25.8. • consequently, suppress useless production and useless transport, rethink and reorganize all productive activity, its circulation and consumption.

1.26. These conditions are necessary but not sufficient. Social and ecological crises are one. We must rebuild an emancipatory project for the exploited and the oppressed. A class-based project which, beyond basic needs, favours being over having. A project that profoundly changes behaviour, consumption, the relationship with the rest of nature, the conception of happiness and the vision that humans have of the world. An anti-productivist project to live better by taking care of living things on the only habitable planet in the solar system.

1.27. Capitalism has plunged humanity into such a bleak situation before, especially on the eve of the first world conflict. Nationalist hysteria gripped the masses and social democracy, betraying its pledge to respond to war with revolution, gave the green light to the worst killings in human history. Nevertheless, Lenin defined the situation as “objectively revolutionary”: only revolution could stop the slaughter, he said. History proved him right: the revolution in Russia and its tendency to spread forced the bourgeoisies to put an end to the massacre. The comparison obviously has its limits. The mediations towards revolutionary action are infinitely more complex today. But the same awakening of consciousness is necessary. Yet in the face of the ecological crisis, an anti-capitalist revolution is even more objectively necessary. It is this fundamental judgement that must serve as a sub-base for the elaboration of a programme, a strategy and a tactic, because there is no other way to avoid catastrophe.

1.28. Everything depends on the outcomes of the struggles. No matter how deep the disaster, at every stage, the struggles will make the difference. Within the struggles, everything depends on the ability of ecosocialist activists to organize in order to orient themselves in practice on the compass of a historically necessary option.

2. The world we fight for

2.1. Our project for a future society articulates social and political emancipation with the imperative to stop the destruction of life and to repair as much as possible of the damage already done.

2.2. We want to (try to) imagine what a good life would be for everyone everywhere while reducing the consumption of matter and energy, and therefore reducing material production. It is not a question of giving a ready-made model, but of daring to think of another world, a world that makes us want to fight to build it by breaking with capitalism and productivism.

“Yes, it is bread we fight for, but we fight for roses too.”

2.3. A good life for all requires that basic human needs - healthy food, health, shelter, clean air and water - are met.

2.4. A good life is also a chosen life, fulfilling and creative, engaged in rich and equal human relationships, surrounded by the beauty of the world and human achievements.

2.5. Our planet (still) has enough arable land, drinking water, sun and wind, biodiversity and resources of all kinds to meet legitimate human needs while renouncing climate-damaging fossil fuels and nuclear power. However, some of these resources are limited and therefore exhaustible, while others, although they are inexhaustible, require for their human consumption of materials that are exhaustible or even rare and whose extraction is ecologically damaging. In any case, as their use cannot be unlimited, we use them carefully and sparingly, in an ecologically wise way.

2.6. Essential to our lives they are excluded from private appropriation, considered as common goods because they must benefit humanity as a whole today and in the long term. In order to guarantee these common goods over time, collective rules defining the uses but also the limits of these uses, the obligations to take care of or repair, are drawn up.

2.7. Because a mangrove is not cared for in the same way as an icecap, a wetland in the same way as a sandy beach, a tropical forest in the same way as a river, because solar energy does not obey the same rules, does not impose the same material constraints as wind or water power, the elaboration of rules can only be the fruit of a democratic process involving those immediately concerned, workers and inhabitants.

2.8. Our common good is also all the services that allow us to respond in an egalitarian way, and therefore free of charge, to the needs of education, health, culture, access to water, energy, communication, transport, etc. They, too, are managed and organized democratically by the whole of society.

2.9. Services that deal with people and the care they need at the different stages of life break down the separation of public and private, all while respecting the intimacy of all, and end the assignment of women to these tasks by socializing them, i.e. by making them the business of the whole of society. These services for social reproduction are essential tools, among others, to fight patriarchal oppression.

2.10. All these decentralized, participatory, community-based “public services” form the basis of a non-authoritarian social organization.

2.11. On the scale of society as a whole, democratic ecological planning allows people to reappropriate the major social choices relating to production, to decide, as citizens and users, on what to produce and how to produce it, on the services that must be provided, but also on the acceptable limits for the use of material resources such as water, energy, transport, land, etc. These choices are prepared and enlightened by collective deliberation processes that rely on the appropriation of knowledge, whether scientific or derived from the experience of populations, on the self-organization of the oppressed (women’s liberation movements, racialized peoples, people with disabilities, etc.) to push back the barriers to development and to continue the conscious fight against discrimination and oppression.

2.12. This global economic and political democracy is articulated with multiple decentralized collectives/committees: those that allow decisions to be taken at the local level, in the city or neighbourhood, on the organization of public life and those that allow workers and producers to control the management and organization of their workplace, to decide on the way to produce and therefore to work. It is the combination of these different levels of democracy that allows cooperation and not competition, a management that is fair from an ecological and social point of view, fulfilling from a human point of view, at the level of the workplace, the company, the branch... but also of the neighbourhood, the city, the region, the country and even the planet!

2.13. All decisions on production and distribution, on how we want to live are guided by the principle: decentralize as much as possible, coordinate as much as necessary.

2.14. Taking charge of one’s life, and participating in social collectives, requires time, energy, and collective intelligence. Fortunately, the work of production and social reproduction only takes up a few hours a day.

2.15. Production is exclusively devoted to the satisfaction of democratically determined needs. Production and distribution are organized in such a way as to minimize the consumption of resources and to eliminate waste, pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, it permanently aims at sobriety and “programmed sustainability” (as opposed to the programmed obsolescence of capitalism whether planned or simply due to the logic of the race for profit). Producing as close as possible to the needs to be met allows for a reduction in transport and a better understanding of the work, materials and energy required.

2.16. Thus, agriculture is ecological, small-scale and local in order to ensure food sovereignty and the protection of biodiversity. Processing workshops and distribution channels ensure that most of the food is produced in short circuits.

2.17. The energy sector based on renewable sources is as decentralized as possible to reduce losses and optimize sources. Activities related to social reproduction (health, education, care of the elderly or dependent persons, childcare, etc.) are developed and enhanced, taking care not to reproduce gender stereotypes.

2.18. Although work occupies less time, it occupies an essential place because, together with nature and by taking care of it, it produces what is necessary for life.

2.19. Self-management of production units combined with democratic planification allows workers to control their activity, to decide how to organize work and to question the division between manual and intellectual work. The deliberation extends to the choice of technologies according to whether or not they allow the work collective to control the production process. Giving pride of place to concrete, practical and real knowledge of the work process, to collective and individual know-how, and to creativity, makes it possible to design and produce robust objects that can be dismantled and repaired, that can be reused and, if necessary, recycled, and to reduce the consumption of materials and energy from manufacture to use.

2.20. In all areas, the conviction of doing something useful and the satisfaction of doing it well are combined. As for tedious tasks such as collecting rubbish, everyone pays attention to reducing the load and difficulty. However, there remains an essential part which is performed by everyone in turn.

2.21. A large part of material production, because the volume is greatly reduced, can be deindustrialized (all or part of clothing or food) and artisan skills, in which everyone could be trained, should be better valued.

2.22. Liberating labour from alienation allows us to abolish the boundary between art and life in a kind of “luxury communism”. We can keep or share tools, furniture, a bicycle, clothes... all our lives because they are ingeniously designed and beautiful.

Being rather than having

“Only that which is good for all is worthy of you. Only that is worthy of being produced which neither privileges nor demeans anyone.” (A. Gorz).

2.23. Freedom does not lie in unlimited consumption, but in chosen and understood self-limitation, defined against consumerist alienation. Collective deliberation makes it possible to deconstruct artificial needs, to define “universalizable” needs, i.e. not reserved for certain people or certain parts of the world, which must be satisfied.

2.24. True wealth does not lie in the infinite increase of goods – having – but in the increase of free time – being. Free time opens up the possibility of fulfilment in play, study, civic activity, artistic creation, interpersonal relationships and with the rest of nature.

2.25. So we are opening the way to a lot of activity because we have time to think about it and because we can do it with care for people and the rest of nature at the centre.

2.26. The places where we live, each space in which we socialize, belong to us for building other interpersonal social relationships. Freed from land speculation and the car, we can rethink the use of public spaces, bridge the separation between the centre and the periphery, multiply recreational, meeting and sharing spaces, de-artificializing cities with urban agriculture and community market gardening, restoring biotopes embedded in the urban fabric... And beyond that, implement a long-term policy aimed at rebalancing urban and rural populations and overcoming the opposition between town and country in order to reconstitute liveable, sustainable human communities on a scale that allows for real democracy.

2.27. Our desires and emotions are no longer things to be bought and sold, the range of choices is greatly enlarged for everyone, everyone can develop new ways of having sexual relationships, of living, working and raising children together, of building life projects in a free and diverse way, respecting each person’s personal decisions and humanity, with the idea that there is no one option possible, or one option better than the others. The family can stop being the space for the reproduction of domination, and stop being the only possible form of collective life. We can thus rethink the form of parenthood in a more collective way, politicize our personal decisions about motherhood and parenthood, reflect on how we consider childhood and the role of the elderly or disabled, the social relations we establish with them, and how we are able to break the logics of domination that we have internalized, inherited from previous societies.

2.28. We are building a new culture, the opposite of rape culture, a culture that recognizes the bodies of all cis and trans women, and their desires, that recognizes everyone as subjects capable of deciding about their bodies, their lives and their sexualities, that makes it visible that there are a thousand ways of being a person and of living and expressing our gender and sexuality.

2.29. Sexual activity that is freely consented to and enjoyable for all who take part in it is its own sufficient justification.

2.30. We must learn to think about the interdependence of living beings and develop a conception of the relationship between humanity and nature that will probably resemble in some respects that of indigenous peoples, but will nevertheless be different. A conception in which the ethical notions of precaution, respect and responsibility, as well as wonder at the beauty of the world, will constantly interact with a scientific understanding that is both ever more refined and ever more aware of its incompleteness.

3. Our transitional method

3.1. From our analysis of capitalism and specifically the policies of the ruling class in relation to ecological dangers and climate change, it follows:

3.2. First, that there is a need for an overall alternative and a social plan based on use-value production rather than exchange value. Turning this or that screw within the system and without changing the mode of production will not be able to avert or even significantly mitigate the current crises and the catastrophes we are facing and that will come due to the permanence of the capitalist system. One of the important tasks of revolutionary politics is to convey this insight.

3.3. The understanding of the need for global revolutionary change is a task that cannot be solved directly and without difficulty in practice. That is why, secondly, it is important to combine the presentation of the global perspective with putting forward immediate demands for which mobilizations can really be developed or promoted.

3.4. Thirdly, it must be emphasized: people cannot be convinced by argumentation alone. To win people over to turning away from the capitalist system and to encourage them to resist, successful struggles are needed that give courage and demonstrate that partial victories are possible.

3.5. And fourthly, successful struggles require better organization. This is always true in principle, but today – in times when the trade unions have (in many parts of the world) largely disappeared politically and the left is fragmented – it is important to promote practical cooperation in a non-sectarian way, especially among the anti-capitalist left, and at the same time to support workers in their self-organization.

3.6. On the one hand, time is pressing if we do not want to see crucial tipping points crossed and global warming accelerate beyond control. On the other hand, the vast majority of people are not ready to take up the fight for a different system, i.e. to overthrow capitalism. This is partly due to a lack of knowledge of the overall situation, but even more to a lack of perspective on what the alternative could or should look like. What is more, the social and political relationship of forces between the classes does not exactly encourage confrontation with the rulers and the profiteers of the capitalist social order.

3.7. On the other hand, a reform programme that wants to reform capitalism or overcome it piecemeal (moreover, directed from above) also has no chance of success. Reforms that accept the rules of the capitalist system are unable to confront the challenges of the ecological crisis. And gradual changes in the economy and state have never led to a change of system. The owners and profiteers of capitalism will not peacefully watch as their wealth is confiscated and their way for enrichment is deprived of its basis piece by piece.

3.8. Time is short, and there is the need for urgent measures. Some opponents of ecosocialism argue for mild reforms “because we cannot wait for world revolution”. Well, partisans of ecosocialism do not propose to wait! Our strategy is to begin NOW, with concrete transitional demands. It is the beginning of a process towards global change. These are not separate historical stages, but dialectical moments in the same process. Each partial or local victory is a step in this movement, which reinforces self-organization and encourages the fight for new victories.

3.9. In the upcoming class struggles – they are a base for the battle of hegemony involving in broader layers of the working class, the youth, the women, the indigenous etc. – it must become clear that ultimately there is no way around a real change of system and the question of power. The ruling class must be expropriated and its political power overthrown.

For an anticapitalist transitional programme

3.10. The transitional method was already suggested by Marx and Engels in the last section of the Communist Manifesto (1848). But it is the Fourth International that gave it its modern signification, in the Transitional Programme from 1938. Its basic assumption is the need for the revolutionaries to help the masses, in the process of the daily struggle, to find the bridge between present demands and the socialist programme of the revolution. This bridge should include a system of transitional demands, stemming from today’s conditions and from today’s consciousness of wide layers of the working class; the aim is to lead social struggles towards the conquest of power by the proletariat.

4.11. Of course, revolutionaries do not discard the programme of the traditional old “minimal” demands: they obviously defend the democratic rights and social conquests of the workers. However, they propose a system of transitional demands, which can be appropriately understood by the exploited and the oppressed, but at the same time is directed against the very bases of the bourgeois regime.

4.12. Most of the transitional demands mentioned in the Programme of 1938 are still relevant today: sliding scale of wages and sliding scale of hours; worker’s control of the factories, opening of the business “secret” accounts; expropriation of private banks; expropriations of certain groups of capitalists; among others. The interest of such proposals is to unite in struggle the broadest possible popular masses, around concrete demands that are in objective contradiction with the rules of the capitalist system.

4.13. But we need to update our programme of transitional demands, in order to take into account the new conditions of the 21th Century, and in particular the new situation created by the ecological crisis and the imminent danger of catastrophic climate change. Today these demands must have a socio-ecological and, potentially, an ecosocialist nature.

4.14. The aim of the ecosocialist transitional demands is strategic: to be able to mobilize large sections of the urban and rural workers, women, youth, victims of racism or national oppression, as well as unions, social movements, and left parties in a struggle that challenges the capitalist system and bourgeois rule. These demands, which combine social and ecological interests, must be considered as necessary, legitimate and relevant by the exploited and the oppressed, according to their given level of social and political consciousness. In the struggle, people become conscious of the need to organize, to unite and to fight; they also begin to understand who is the enemy: not only local forces, but the system itself. The aim of the transitional eco-social demands is to enhance, thanks to the struggle, the social and political consciousness of the exploited and the oppressed, their anti-capitalist understanding, and, hopefully, an ecosocialist revolutionary perspective.

4.15. Some of these demands have a universal character: for instance, free public transportation. It is both an ecological and a social demand, and it contains seeds of the ecosocialist future: public services vs market, and gratuity vs capitalist profit. However, their strategic significance is not the same according to the societies and the economies. Ecosocialist transitional demands must take into account the needs and aspirations of the masses, according to their local expression, in the different parts of the world capitalist system.

4. Main lines of an ecosocialist alternative to capitalist growth

INTR.4.1. Satisfying real social needs while respecting ecological constraints is only possible by breaking with the productivist and consumerist logic of capitalism, which widens inequalities, harms the living and “ruins the only two sources of all wealth – the Earth and the workers” (Marx). Breaking this logic implies fighting in priority for the following lines of force. They form a coherent whole, to be completed and broken down according to national and regional specificities. Of course, in each continent, and in each country, there are specific measures to be proposed in a transitional perspective.

4.1. Against disasters, public prevention plans adapted to social needs, under popular control

Some effects of the climate catastrophe are irreversible (rising sea levels) or will last for a long time (heatwaves, droughts, exceptional precipitation, more violent tornadoes, etc.). Capitalist insurance companies do not protect the popular classes, or (at best) protect them poorly. Faced with these scourges, the wealthy have only the word “adaptation” on their lips. “Adaptation” to warming, for them, serves 1°) to divert attention from the structural causes, for which their system is responsible; 2°) to continue their harmful practices focused on maximum profit, without worrying about the long term; 3°) to offer new markets to capitalists (infrastructure, air conditioning, transport, carbon compensation, etc.). This technocratic and authoritarian capitalist “adaptation” is in fact what the IPCC calls “maladaptation.” It increases inequalities, discrimination and dispossession. It also increases vulnerability to rising temperatures, with the risk of seriously jeopardizing the very possibility of adaptation in the future, especially in poor countries. To capitalist “maladaptation”, we oppose the immediate demand for public prevention plans adapted to the situation of the popular classes. They are the main victims of extreme meteorological phenomena, especially in dominated countries. Public prevention plans must be designed according to their needs and their situation, through dialogue with scientists. They must encompass all sectors, in particular agriculture, forestry, housing, water management, energy, industry, labour legislation, health and education. They must be the subject of broad democratic consultation, with the right of veto of the local communities and work forces concerned.

4.2. Share the wealth to take care of humans and our living environment, free of charge

4.2.1. Quality health care, good education, good care for young children, a dignified retirement and a care system that respects dependency, accessible, permanent and comfortable housing, efficient public transport, renewable energy, healthy food, a clean water, internet access and a natural environment in good condition: these are the real needs that a civilization worthy of its name should sufficiently satisfy for all humans, regardless of their skin colour, gender, ethnicity, convictions. This is possible while significantly decreasing the global strain in our environment. Why have we not got this? Because the economy is tuned to induce consumption created as an industrial byproduct by capitalists. They consume and invest ever more for profit, appropriate all resources, and transform everything into commodities. Their selfish logic sows misfortune and death.

4.2.2. A 180° turn is required. Natural resources and knowledge constitute a common good to be managed prudently and collectively. The satisfaction of real needs and the revitalization of ecosystems must be planned democratically and supported by the public sector, under the active control of the popular classes, and by extending free access as much as possible. This collective project must harness scientific expertise to its service. The necessary first step is to fight inequalities and oppression. Social justice and a good life for all are ecological demands!

4.3. Expand commons and public services against privatization and marketization

4.3.1. This is one of the key aspects of a social and ecological transition, in many areas of life. For instance:

4.3.2. • Water: the present privatization, wasteful consumption and pollution of water – rivers, lakes and subterranean – is a social and ecological disaster. Water scarcity and floodings due to climate change are major threats for billion people. Water is a common good, and should be managed and distributed by public services, under the control of the consumers. Landscapes and cities should be made permeable to water and able to store water to avoid massive flooding.

4.3.3. • Housing: The basic right of all people to decent, permanent and ecologically sustainable housing cannot be guaranteed under capitalism. The law of profit entails evictions, demolitions and criminalization of those who resist. It also entails high energy bills for the poor and subsidized renewables for the rich. Public control of the real estate market, lowering and freezing of the interest and profits of the banks, a radical increase of good, public, social and cooperative housing, a public process of climate insulation of houses and a massive programme of building energetically autonomous houses, are first steps of an alternative politics.

4.3.4. • Health: the results of the COVID-19 pandemic are crystal clear: privatization and cuts in the care sector fragilize the popular classes - in particular children, women and the elderly - and are strong threats to public health in general. This sector must be refinanced massively and put integrally in the hands of the collectivity. Investments must go in priority to the front-line medicine. The pharma industry must be socialized.

4.3.5. • Transports: Individual transport in capitalism privileges private cars, with dire health and ecological consequences. The alternative is a large and efficient system of free public transportation, as well as a great extension of pedestrian and cyclable areas. Commodities are transported in great distances by trucks or container ships, with enormous gas emissions; reductions in wasteful consumption and relocalization of production and transports of goods by the train are immediate necessary measures. Air transport should be significantly reduced, and suppressed for distances than can be covered by train.

4.4. Take the money where it is: the capitalists and the rich must pay

A global transition strategy worthy of the name must articulate the replacement of fossil fuels by renewable energy sources, protection against the already perceptible effects of climate change, compensation for losses and prejudices, assistance for reconversion (in particular guaranteed income for the workers concerned) and the repair of ecosystems. Between now and 2050 this needs several trillion dollars. Who should pay? those responsible for the disaster: multinationals, banks, pension funds, imperialist states and the rich of the North and South. The eco-socialist alternative requires a broad programme of tax reform and radical reduction of inequalities to take the money where it is: progressive taxation, lifting of banking secrecy, land register of assets, taxation of assets, exceptional single tax at high rate on ls heritage, elimination of tax havens, abolition of tax privileges for companies and the rich, opening of company account books, capping of high incomes, abolition of public debts recognized as “illegitimate” (without compensation, except for small investors), compensation by rich countries for the cost of renouncing the exploitation of their fossil resources by dominated countries (Yasuni park project).

4.5 No emancipation without anti-racist struggle

Racial oppression is a structural and structuring part of the capitalist mode of production and was an element that guaranteed the primitive accumulation of capital, made possible by colonization and the trafficking of enslaved black people.

Building a new world free of all oppression and exploitation requires us to oppose racism head-on, as a central task of the ecosocialist strategy. We must recognize that racism shapes social relations and fulfils the task of deepening and complexifying the mechanisms of bourgeois exploitation and wealth accumulation. Diversity that deviates from the standards of whiteness is transmuted into oppression.

The forced diaspora of millions of Africans, their commercialization in the Americas and the exploitation of their labour ensured European enrichment and even today guarantees their privileges. We need to break with the genocidal logic against non-white groups and seek to strengthen the anti-prison struggle against mass incarceration, especially through the neoliberal tactic of the farcical war on drugs, a justification for genocidal policies against socially racialized populations.

The fight against the militarization of the police must be at the heart of an anti-racist struggle, as must access to decent living conditions in general.

Racism manifests itself centrally as a mechanism of oppression of sectors of the working class right up to the present day, configuring a specific design of positions and accesses socially determined for whiteness, i.e. the supposed universal subject, and for people perceived as racialized.

It is necessary to confront all fiscal austerity policies, which deepen the precariousness of life for the working class as a whole and fall mostly and more heavily on non-white people. They structure environmental racism which, in this climate emergency, distributes the deadly consequences of capitalist production unevenly.

4.6. Freedom of movement and residence on Earth! Nobody is illegal!

The ecological catastrophe is a growing driving force for migration. An annual average of 21.5 million people were forcibly displaced by weather-related events between 2008 and 2016. Most of them are poor people coming from poor countries. Climate migration is expected to surge in coming decades: 1.2 billion people could be displaced globally by 2050. Unlike asylum-seekers, “climate refugees” do not even have any status. They bear no responsibility for the ecological catastrophe but that which is really responsible, the capitalist system, condemns them to swell the ranks of the 108.4 million people worldwide who were forcibly displaced in 2020 as a result of persecution, conflict, violence, human rights violations. The basic rights of these people are under constant attack: the right to be protected against violence; to have enough water and food; to live in a safe house; to keep their family united; to find a decent job. A growing number of them (10 million) are even considered stateless by the UNHDR. All this is contrary to the most basic justice. It feeds the fascists who scapegoat the migrants and dehumanize them. This is a huge threat for the democratic and social rights of all. As internationalists, we fight for restrictive policies against Capital, not against the migrants. We oppose the building of walls, the confinement in centres, the building of camps, expulsions, deportations, and the racist rhetoric. Nobody is illegal on Earth, everybody must have the right to move and to leave everywhere. The borders must be open to all those who flee their country, whether it is for social, political, economic or environmental reason.

4.7. Eliminate unnecessary or harmful economic activities

Stopping the climate catastrophe and the decline of biodiversity necessarily requires a very rapid and significant reduction in final energy consumption at the global level. This constraint is unavoidable. First steps include drastically reducing the purchasing power of the rich, abandoning fast fashion, advertisement and luxury production/consumption (cruises, yachts and private jets or helicopters, space tourism, etc.), scaling down mass-produced meat and dairy and ending the accelerated obsolescence of products, extending their lifespan and facilitating their repair. Air and maritime transportation of goods should be reduced drastically by relocation of production, and replaced by train transportation whenever it is possible. More structurally, the energy constraint can only be respected by reducing as quickly as possible the economic activities that are useless or harmful. The main productive sectors to consider are: arms production, fossil energy and petrochemicals, extractive industry, non-sustainable manufacturing, wood and pulp industry, personal car construction, planes and shipbuilding.

4.8. Food sovereignty! Get out of agribusiness, industrial fishing and the meat industry

These three sectors pose serious threats to the climate, human health and biodiversity. Dismantling them requires measures at the level of production but also significant changes at the level of consumption (in developed countries and among the rich in all countries) and of the relationship with living things. Proactive policies are needed to stop deforestation and replace agribusiness, industrial tree plantations and large-scale fishing with small farmer agroecology, ecoforestry and small-scale fishing respectively. These alternatives consume less energy, employ more labour and are much more respectful of biodiversity. Farmers and fisherfolk must be properly compensated by the community, not only for their contribution to human food but also for their ecological contribution. The rights of the first peoples over the forest and other ecosystems must be protected. Global meat consumption must be reduced drastically. The meat and dairy industry must be dismantled and a diet based mainly on local vegetable production must be promoted. By doing that, we put an end to the abject treatment of animals in the meat industry and industrial fishing. Food sovereignty, in line with the proposals of Via Campesina, is a key objective. It requires a radical agrarian reform: the land to those who work it, especially women. Expropriation of big landowners and capitalist agribusiness who produce goods for the world market. Distribution of land to peasants and landless peasants (families or cooperatives) for agro-biological production. Abolition of the old and the new GMO crops in open field and elimination of toxic pesticides (starting with those whose use the imperialist countries prohibit but whose export they authorize in the dominated countries!).

4.9. Popular urban reform

More than half the world’s population now lives in increasingly larger cities. At the same time, rural regions are becoming depopulated, ruined by agribusiness and mining, and increasingly deprived of essential services. Dominated countries have some of the largest megacities on the planet (Jakarta, Manila, Mexico DF, New Delhi, Bombay, Sao Paulo, and others), a growing number of homeless people and slums where millions of human beings (around Karachi, Nairobi, Baghdad…) survive and work informally in undignified conditions. It is one of the most hideous wounds left by capitalist development and imperialist domination. In addition to violence, heat waves make survival increasingly difficult in slums and poor neighbourhoods, especially in humid climates. The ecosocialist alternative demands the launch of a vast social housing construction programme accompanied by a popular urban reform that changes the organization of large cities, designed in cooperation with homeless associations. This has to be combined on the one hand with labour legislation that protects workers, and on the other an attractiveness of agrarian reform, in order to initiate a movement of rural counter-emigration.

4.10 Socialize energy and finance without compensation or buyback to get out of fossil fuels and nuclear power as quickly as possible

The energy multinationals and the banks that finance them want to exploit every last ton of coal, every last litre of oil, every last cubic meter of gas. They initially hid and denied the impact of CO2 on climate change. Now, in order to continue to exploit these resources despite everything, and while soaring prices ensure them gigantic surplus profits, they promise all kinds of phony techniques (greenwashing, exchange of “polluting rights”, “emissions offsetting”, “Carbon capture, sequestration and utilization”) and promote nuclear energy as “low carbon”. No doubt is possible: these profit-hungry groups are taking the planet from climate catastrophe to cataclysm. At the same time, they are at the forefront of capitalist attacks on the working classes. They must be socialized by expropriation, without compensation or buyback. To stop the social and ecological destruction, to determine our future collectively, nothing is more urgent than constituting public services of energy and credit, decentralized and interconnected, under the democratic control of the populations.

4.11. For liberation and the self-determination of peoples; against war, imperialism and colonialism

We defend an internationalist programme based on social justice, for an ecosocialist transition led by liberating and collective forces, and for peace among peoples, confronting oppressive policies. We oppose NATO and other military alliances, which drive the world towards new inter-imperialist conflicts, we fight against increases in military budgets, for the dismantling of manufacturing and stocks of all nuclear, chemical and bacteriological armament and cyber weapons, for dismantling of all private military companies. Weapons must not be commodities; their use must be under political control for the purposes of defence and protection against aggression.

The sole road to peace is through the victorious struggles for the right to self-determination, the end of occupation of lands and ethnical cleansing. As internationalists, we are in solidarity with the oppressed people fighting for their rights, notably in Palestine and in Ukraine.

4.12. Guarantee employment for all, ensure the necessary retraining in ecologically sustainable and socially useful activities

Workers engaged in wasteful and harmful fossil fuel activities, in agribusiness, big fishing and the meat industry should not pay the price of capitalist management. A green job guarantee must be instituted to ensure their collective retraining, without loss of income, in the activities of the public plan to meet real needs and restore ecosystems. This green jobs guarantee will overcome the legitimate fears of the workers concerned. Thus, there will be an end to the cynical instrumentalization of these fears by the capitalists, in the service of their productivist/consumerist interests. On the contrary, the green job guarantee will encourage and motivate workers in condemned sectors to train and mobilize to actively take charge of carrying out the plan, in dialogue with the public benefiting from it, by investing their knowledge, their skills and their experience in an activity rich in meaning, emancipatory, truly human because concerned with the lives of future generations.

4.13. Work less, live and work better, live a good life

Radically reducing final energy consumption by eliminating useless and harmful production/consumption logically has the effect of radically reducing the time of salaried social work. This reduction must be collective. Capitalist waste is of such magnitude that its suppression will undoubtedly open up the concrete possibility of a very significant reduction in weekly working time (towards a half-day’s work) and a significant lowering of the retirement age. This trend towards reduction will be partly offset by the necessary reduction in work rhythms as well as by the increase in the social and ecological reproduction work necessary to take care of people (including by socializing part of the domestic work carried out for free mainly by women) and ecosystems. Democratic planning will be essential for the articulation over time of these movements in various directions. The ecosocialist break with capitalist growth implies a double transformation of work. Quantitatively, we will work much less. Qualitatively, it will create the conditions for making work an activity of the good life - a conscious mediation between humans (therefore also between men and women), and between humans and the rest of nature. This deep transformation of work and life will more than compensate for the changes in consumption affecting the best paid layers of the working class, mainly in the developed countries.

4.14. Guarantee the right of women over their own bodies

Humanity will not be able to consciously manage its relationship to the rest of nature without consciously managing its relationship to itself, that is to say its own biological reproduction, which passes through the body of women. It is not by chance that patriarchal attacks on women’s rights are intensifying everywhere: these attacks are an integral part of political projects that seek to establish strong powers at the service of the rich and the capitalists. They are most often carried out in the name of a reactionary “pro-life” ideology, which incidentally denies anthropogenic climate change. But, alongside these reactionary forces, there are also technocratic currents that blame the ecological crisis on “overpopulation” and thereby attempt to impose authoritarian policies of birth control. Faced with these two types of threats, we maintain that no morality, no higher reason, even ecological, can be invoked to deny women their elementary right to control their own fertility. The denial of this right is consubstantial with all other mechanisms of domination, including “human domination” over the rest of nature, for the benefit of patriarchy and its current capitalist form. Human emancipation includes the emancipation of women. This implies in priority that women must have free access to contraception, abortion, education on how to use them, and reproductive care in general.

4.15. Knowledge is a common good. Reform of the education and research systems

Knowledge is a common good of humankind. The implementation of the ecosocialist emergency programme has a crying need for decolonized and decapitalized knowledge, embodied by numerous and competent teachers and researchers in all disciplines. Reform of the education system, expansion of public schools and universities, end to discrimination in education, of which girls are particularly victims in certain countries. Recognition and integration of indigenous knowledge and know-how. Deep reform of research in order to put an end to its submission to capital. Direct research primarily towards repairing ecosystems and meeting the needs of the working classes, determined in consultation with them.

4.16. Hands off democratic rights! Popular control and self-organization of struggles

Powerless to curb the ecological catastrophe it has created, the ruling class is toughening its regime, criminalizing resistance and designating scapegoats. Its policies pave the way for nihilistic, nationalist, racist and macho neo-fascism. Faced with the bourgeoisie removing its mask, ecosocialism raises the flag of the extension of rights and freedoms: right of association, of demonstration, right to strike; free election of parliamentary bodies in a multi-party system, ban on private financing of political parties, legalization of popular initiative referendums, abolition of non-democratic institutions (Autonomous Central Bank); prohibition of private ownership of major means of communication, abolition of censorship; fight against corruption, dissolution of militias serving leaders, respect for the rights and territories of indigenous communities and other oppressed peoples, etc. Ecosocialism is a societal alternative that requires the broadest democracy. It is being prepared now through the democratic self-organization of popular struggles and the demand, at all levels, for transparency and popular control, with the right of veto.

4.17. Foster a cultural revolution based on careful respect for the living and “love for Mother Earth”

A radical break with the ideology of human domination of nature is essential to the development of both an ecological and a feminist (ecofeminist) culture of “caring” for people and the environment. The defence of biodiversity, in particular, cannot be based solely on reason (the human interest properly understood): it requires just as much empathy, respect, prudence and the kind of global conception that the first peoples sum up by the phrase “love of Mother Earth”. Maintaining this global conception or reacquiring it – through struggles, artistic creation, education and production/consumption alternatives, in particular – is a major ideological challenge in the ecosocialist struggle. Western modernity has systematized the idea that human beings are divine creatures whose mission is to dominate nature and instrumentalize other animals, reduced to the rank of machines. This non-materialist conception, intimately linked to colonial and patriarchal dominations, is completely disqualified today by scientific knowledge. We are part of the living Earth, we are also animals and human life would be impossible in absence of plants, of other animals, of the network of life on this planet.

4.18. Self-managed ecosocialist planning

The ecosocialist transition needs planning. In particular, the transformation of the energy system (exit from nuclear and fossil fuels, energy savings and development of renewables) needs to be planned. Contrary to what is often claimed, planning is not contradictory with democracy and self-management. The disastrous example of the countries of so-called “really existing socialism” simply shows that self-management is incompatible with authoritarian, bureaucratic planning, imposed from above in contempt of all democracy. What does democratic ecosocialist planning mean? Concretely, that the whole of society will be free to democratically choose the priorities for production and the level of resources which must be invested in education, health or culture. Far from being “despotic” in itself, democratic ecosocialist planning is the exercise of the freedom of decision of the whole of society, at all levels, from local to national global. A necessary exercise to free oneself from “economic laws” and “iron cages” that are alienating and reified within capitalist and bureaucratic structures. Democratic planning associated with the reduction of working time would be a considerable progress of humanity towards what Marx called “the kingdom of freedom”: the increase in free time is in fact a condition for the participation of workers in the democratic discussion and self-management of the economy and society. Ecosocialist democratic planning is about key economic choices and not about local restaurants, grocery stores, bakeries, small stores, craft businesses. Likewise, it is important to emphasize that ecosocialist planning is not in contradiction with the self-management of workers in their production units. Self-management therefore means democratic control of the plan at all levels - local, regional, national, continental and planetary since ecological issues such as climate change are global and can only be addressed at that level. Ecosocialist democratic planning is opposed to what is often described as “central planning” because decisions are not taken by a “centre” but determined democratically by the populations concerned, according to the principle of subsidiarity: responsibility for public action, when necessary, must be allocated to the smallest entity capable of solving the problem itself.

5. Global degrowth in the context of uneven and combined development

5.1. There will be no national solution, a just ecosocialist alternative can begin in one country but its full implementation requires the abolition of capitalism at the global level. From now on, the exploited and the oppressed need therefore a consistent anticapitalist, anti-imperialist, anti-racist and internationalist strategy, aiming at a global outcome. This strategy must articulate the struggles that unfold in very different contexts. This means the main lines of an ecosocialist programme breaking with capitalist growth have general relevance but apply differently in different countries. Some demands are more important in some countries than others, according to their place in the uneven and combined development of capitalism under imperialist rule.

5.2. After centuries of slavery and colonial plunder, the populations of so-called “developing” countries are victims of a new monstrous injustice. While their responsibility for greenhouse gas emissions is small, almost nil in the poorest countries, the climatic shift caused by two hundred years of imperialist capitalist growth places them in the front line of catastrophes that are hitting them harder and harder.

5.3. Africa, Latin America, South and South-East Asia and the Pacific are home to the vast majority of the 3.5 billion women, men and children whose living conditions, even existence itself, are already cruelly affected by the consequences of global warming. The urgency is here and growing very quickly. The more temperatures rise, the less societies can protect themselves from the effects of global warming. Droughts, floods, typhoons, deadly heat waves and damage to ecosystems increasingly threaten the survival of millions of human beings, their ability to work and their basic rights in the short and medium term.

5.4. A majority on the planet, the populations of the dominated countries have the basic right to access to dignified living conditions. Imperialist governments, international institutions and the governments of the peripheral countries themselves claim that capitalist growth will enable people in the South to “catch up” with the standard of living of the developed capitalist countries. All it takes is “good governance” to “adjust” societies to the needs of the global market. This is a dead end, as shown by the fact that the inequalities continue to grow (between countries and, more and more, within countries), while the “carbon budget” compatible with 1.5°C is vanishing rapidly.

5.5. In reality, the imperialist model of development keeps the dominated countries in a neocolonial position of subordination, as suppliers of raw materials and low-cost labour power, producers of plant and animal goods for export, places for storing waste - among others carbon sinks appropriated by capitalists for their profit - and main victims of the ecological crisis. Added to this are now the scandalous policies of developed countries which pay dominated countries to play the role of border police. The local corrupt “elites” carry a major responsibility. Instead of promoting an alternative development, based on alternative social values, they have come to serve imperialism.

5.6. The discourse of the “catching up with the North by the South” is only a chimera, a smokescreen to conceal the continuation of capitalist and imperialist exploitation, which widens inequalities. With the rise of ecological disasters, this discourse is objectively losing all credibility.

5.7. The multipolar world of the BRICS is not an alternative to imperialism, as shown by the politics of Russia and China, the two main leaders of this geostrategic alliance. Their autocratic leaders do not oppose the imperialist and oppressive practices of “classic” Western imperialism – they want to have the same rights. Likewise, what they object to is not the gap between rights and the realities in the practices of Western societies, it is the rights themselves (of workers, women, LGBTQ+, etc.) Putin wants to rebuild a colonial empire by force and coercion. Taking advantage of the huge fossil fuels reserves he seeks alliances with oil monarchies, other dictatorships and powerful interests in the energy and crime industry to prolong the exploitation of fossil fuels as long as possible. The Chinese Communist party claims to show the countries of the South that they can escape domination and develop by entering the New Silk Roads, but its project of global capitalist hegemony is one of the main drivers of ecological destruction and accumulation by dispossession.

5.8. Now is not the time for “catching up” but for planetary sharing. The great mass of the working people, of women, of youth, of the ethnic minorities, in the “North” and in the dominated countries are victims of climate change. According to scientific analysis of the climate policies, the richest 1% will emit even more CO2 by 2030, the poor 50% will emit a little bit more but remain largely under the level of individual emissions compatible with 1.5°C, the intermediate 40% will support the greatest part of the emissions reduction (with the proportionally greatest effort imposed on low incomes in rich countries). This is the basis for an international struggle for justice and equality. The meagre carbon budget still available must and can be shared according to historical responsibilities and capacities, not only between countries but more and more between social classes. Mineral resources and the wealth of biodiversity must be harvested carefully, according to the real needs of all.

5.9. The capitalists of the imperialist countries are by far the main responsible for the ecological crisis and must pay the consequences. The bill must be paid, too, by countries like the “oil monarchies”, Russia, and China, although their historical responsibility is not the same. The industrialized countries of the “North” – Europe, North America, Australia, Japan – must make the greatest efforts in terms of a rapid degrowth in useless and/or harmful productions. They are also responsible for giving the dominated countries access to alternative technologies, as well as to provide funding for an ecological transition and real reparation for the loss and damage. The abolition of patents must allow the peoples of the South to freely access technologies that can meet real needs without using even more fossil energy.

5.10. A dollar spent serving the needs of the richest 1% generates thirty times more CO2 emissions than a dollar invested in meeting the social needs of the poorest 50% of the world’s population. Numerous scientific studies show that the satisfaction of the basic needs of the popular classes both in the dominated countries and in the so-called “developed” countries would only have a modest carbon footprint. The radical reduction of the carbon footprint of the richest 1% - in the North and in the South! - and sufficiency for all would broadly compensate for it.

5.11. To satisfy their needs, the people in dominated countries need a development model radically opposed to the imperialist and productivist model. A model that prioritizes public services (health, education, housing, transport, sewage, electricity, drinking water) for the mass of the population, and not the production of goods for the world market. An anti-capitalist and anti-imperialist model, which expropriates the monopolies in the sectors of finance, mining, energy, agribusiness, and socializes them under democratic control.

5.12. In the poorer countries, the necessity to meet the needs of the population will require increased material production and energy consumption over a period of time. Within the framework of the alternative development model and other international exchanges, the contribution of these countries to global ecosocialist degrowth and respect for ecological balances will consist of:

  • imposing just reparation on imperialist countries;
  • cancelling the conspicuous consumption of the parasitical elite;
  • fighting ecocidal megaprojects inspired by neoliberal capitalist policies, such as giant pipelines, pharaonic mining projects, new airports, offshore oil wells, large hydroelectric dams and immense tourist infrastructures appropriating natural and cultural heritage for the benefit of rich;
  • Ecological agrarian reform to substitute industrialized agro-business.
  • refusing the destruction of biomes by breeders, palm oil planters, agribusiness in general and the mining industry, “forest compensation” (REDD and REDD+ projects) as well as “fishing agreements” which offer fishery resources to industrial fishing multinationals, etc.

Through their struggles, the popular classes of the dominated countries can contribute in a decisive way to engage the exploited of the whole world in this path, the only one compatible both with human rights and with terrestrial limits.

6. Against the tide, make the struggles converge to break with capitalist productivism. Seize the government, initiate the ecosocialist rupture based on self-activity, self-organization, control from below, the broadest democracy

6.1. The economy, the state, the politics of the bourgeoisie and its international relations are deeply affected by the eco-social impasse in which capitalist accumulation and imperialist plunder have plunged humanity. Around the world, the exploited and the oppressed are gripped by deep anguish.

6.2. Movements of resistance are developing against the tide. Even in extremely difficult contexts, people stand up for their social, democratic, anti-imperialist, ecological, feminist, LGBTQI, anti-racist, indigenous, peasant rights. Some remarkable victories have been won: victory of the Indian peasants against the Modi government, victory of the “zadists” in France against the airport of Notre-Dame-des-Landes, victory of women in the fight for abortion in Argentina, victory of the Sioux in the US against the XXL pipeline… But the enemy is on the offensive and a lot of struggles are defeated. Our task, as activists of the Fourth International, is to help organize and extend the struggles, bringing our ecosocialist and internationalist perspective to bear.

6.3. The productivism of the hegemonic forces of the left, parties and trade unions, is a serious obstacle on the road to an ecosocialist response commensurate with the objective situation. Most of the leaderships have abandoned any anti-capitalist perspective. Social-democracy and all other variants of reformism have become social-liberal, their only ambition is to bring some social corrections to the market within the limits of the neoliberal framework. Most leaderships of the big trade union organizations limit themselves to accompanying neoliberal policies with the illusion that capitalist growth will improve employment, wages and social protection. Instead of organizing an awareness of the ecosocial impasse, these policies of class collaboration deepen it and conceal its gravity.

6.4. Fortunately, some political forces and trade union currents – notably in Europe, the US, and Latin America – are beginning to distance themselves from productivism and neoliberalism. In the trade unions, activists aware of the ecological challenge have advanced the concept of a “just transition”. Social democracy and ITUC trade union leaders have hijacked it in the direction of supporting productivism and business competitiveness. The dominant class is expert in manipulation. This is how “just transition” has joined “sustainable development” in the discourses of governments that trample on justice and organize unsustainability.

6.5. In the “developed” capitalist countries, the ranks of the traditional forces have been reinforced by the green parties. It took four decades for the vast majority of these parties to join the layer of the political managers of capitalism. Their pragmatism based on the individual responsibility of consumers is extended in civil society by numerous environmental associations. It has allowed social democracy and traditional labour leaderships to disguise their class collaboration in defence of the “lesser social evil” in the face of ecotaxes and other so-called “realistic” solutions of “neither left nor right” ecology.

6.6. In other parts of the world, although still a minority, ecosocialism is beginning to gain an influence on social movements and the radical left. Some important local experiences - in Mindanao, Rojava, and Chiapas, among others - have affinities with the ecosocialist perspective. However, capitalist growth still falsely appears to most as the only way to improve social conditions.

6.7. Given the depth of the crisis and disarray, there is a real risk of seeing a growing tendency in sectors of the working classes to sacrifice ecological objectives on the altar of development, job creation and increased income. This trend would only accelerate the catastrophe of which these same classes are already the first victims and would deepen the loss of legitimacy of the unions. It would also create fertile ground for neo-fascist attempts to greenwash racist, colonialist and genocidal projects. The migrants fleeing their devastated lands are the main targets of these hate campaigns.

6.8. The socialist project is deeply discredited by the records of Stalinism and social democracy. It is from struggles that we must reinvent an alternative, not from dogmas.

6.9. Who is today on the front lines of the real movement? Indigenous peoples, youth, peasants, racialized people who pay a heavy price for the social and ecological destruction. In these four groups, women play a decisive role, in connection with their specific, ecofeminist demands, for which they fight and organize themselves autonomously.

6.10. The international peasant alliance Via Campesina demonstrates that it is possible to combine the defence of the rights of poor peasants and indigenous peoples, the fight against extractivism and agro-industry, the fight for food sovereignty and the preservation of ecosystems with feminism.

6.11. The vast majority of wage-workers is absent or standing back from anti-productivist struggles. Some then infer that the class struggle is outdated, or must be waged by an “ecological class” that exists only in their imagination. But stopping the catastrophe is only possible by revolutionizing the mode of production of social existence. How would this revolution in the mode of production of social existence be possible without the active and conscious participation of producers? Furthermore, they are the majority….

6.12. Others, on the contrary, deduce that it is necessary to wait for the moment when the mass of workers in struggle for their immediate socio-economic demands will have reached the level of consciousness allowing them to participate in the ecological struggle on a “class line”. However, how would the level of consciousness of the mass of employees integrate ecological issues in time if no major social struggle comes to shake up the productivist framework within which the mass of employees, increasingly on the defensive, spontaneously raises its immediate socio-economic demands? Moving beyond the productivist framework requires a logic of public initiative and planning of the necessary reconversions, with guaranteed employment and income.

6.13. The class struggle is not a cold abstraction. “The real movement that abolishes the current state of things” (Marx) defines it and designates its actors. The struggles of women, LGBTQI people, oppressed peoples, racialized peoples, migrants, peasants and indigenous peoples for their rights are not placed adjacent to the struggles of workers against the exploitation of labour by the bosses. They are part of the living class struggle.

6.14. They are part of it because capitalism needs the patriarchal oppression of women to maximize surplus value and ensure social reproduction at a lower cost; needs the discrimination of LGBTQI people to validate patriarchy; needs structural racism to justify the looting of the periphery by the centre; needs inhuman “asylum policies” to regulate the industrial reserve army; needs to submit the peasantry to the dictates of junk food-producing agribusiness to compress the price of labour power; and needs to eliminate the respectful relationship that human communities still maintain within themselves and with nature, to replace it with its individualistic ideology of domination, which transforms the collective into an automaton and the living into dead things.

6.15. All these struggles and those of workers against capitalist exploitation are part of the same fight for human emancipation, and this emancipation is only really possible and worthy of humanity in the awareness of the fact that our species belongs to nature while having, because of its specific intelligence, the responsibility, now unavoidable and vital, of taking careful care of it. Such is for us, indeed, the strategic implication arising from the fact that the destructive force of capitalism has ushered the planet into a new geological era.

6.16. This analysis is the basis of our strategy of convergence of social and ecological struggles.

6.17. This convergence of struggles should not limit itself to the search, between social movements, or between apparatuses of social movements, for the greatest common denominator in terms of demands. This conception can imply the disregard of certain demands of certain groups - to the detriment of the weakest among them - that is to say... the opposite of convergence.

6.18. The convergence of social and ecological struggles includes all the struggles of all social actors, from the most seasoned to the most hesitant. It is a process of dynamic articulation, which raises the level of consciousness through action and debate, in mutual respect. Its goal is not the determination of a fixed platform but the constitution of the combat unity of the exploited and the oppressed around concrete demands opening a dynamic aiming at the conquest of political power and the overthrow of capitalism in the whole world.

6.19. In practice, the ecosocial convergence of struggles implies above all, today, that the sectors most aware of ecological threats address themselves to the sectors most aware of social threats, and vice versa, in order to overcome together the false capitalist opposition between the social and ecological.

6.20. In this approach, the defence of an eco-unionism that is both class struggle and anti-productivist plays an essential role, based on the concrete concerns of workers for the preservation of their health and safety at work and on the role of warning about the damage to ecosystems and the danger of production that they are best placed to play.

6.21. As ecosocialist activists, we encourage resistance in the workplace through strikes and all initiatives that promote the organization and control of workers. We work to strengthen mobilizations by combining the extension of strikes, the massification of demonstrations, by promoting all forms of self-organization and self-protection of the struggle against repression, as well as its popularization to counter the lies of the dominant media and the government apparatus.

6.22. We are also inspired by forms of civil disobedience, from blocking sites to boycotting rent payments, which have also proven their effectiveness.

6.23. Experiences from struggles help to feed the strategic debate.

6.24. Anti-productivist struggles are diverse, but generally their starting point is very concrete, often local, in opposition to a new transport infrastructure (motorway, airport, etc.), commercial or logistical infrastructure, extractivist infrastructure (mines, pipelines, mega-dams, etc.), the grabbing of land or water, the destruction of a forest or a river, etc. It is firstly the threat to daily life, to livelihoods and health that mobilizes people, not generalizing discourse. By confronting political decision-makers, capitalist groups and the institutions that protect them, by forging alliances between actors with different histories and commitments, the struggle becomes more and more global and political.

6.25. These combinations of struggles anchored in a specific territory with a precise objective and general combat exist throughout the world and form a new political reality called “Blockadia”.

6.26. In France, against the airport project at Notre-Dame-des-Landes, the convergence of farmers, young radical activists and local residents won the support of the people and trade unionists, including those of the concession holder, and led to victory.

Inspired by this winning strategy, of the Soulèvement de la Terre movement was able, through organizing the struggle against megabasins (huge water reservoirs for the irrigation of industrial crops), to raise the question of water as a common good to be preserved against its monopolization by agribusiness.

6.27. In the United States, against the Dakota Access Pipeline which threatens to pollute the Missouri and the Mississippi and crosses the sacred lands of the Sioux natives, the latter have established a camp at Standing Rock, joined by thousands of people, young people, environmentalists... The camp resisted fierce repression and forced an investigation into the dangers of the DAPL to the environment. The legal and political battle continues.

6.28. The formation of an ecosocialist class consciousness implies a convergence in the struggles in which (young) scientists can contribute by using and sharing their knowledge (agronomic, climatic, naturalist...).

6.29. Strike committees, community health centres, company takeovers, land occupations, self-managed living spaces, repair workshops, canteens, seed libraries, etc., allow the experimentation of a social organization free of capitalism. They allow those who are deprived of political and economic power to experience their collective power and intelligence. Contradicting the illusions about a possible bypass or adjustment of the system, they sooner or later come up against the state and the capitalist market, showing that it is impossible to do without political power and the necessary overthrow of the system. However, by establishing, even temporarily, another legitimacy that is popular, democratic and based on solidarity, the concrete alternatives allow the dominated to become aware of their own strengths and to work towards the construction of a new hegemony.

6.30. More globally, the construction of self-organized organs of popular power is at the heart of our strategy.

6.31. The systemic crisis of “late capitalism” dominated by transnational finance nurtures both a disgust in the face of the phenomena of the decay of the bourgeois regime and a feeling of helplessness in the face of the profound deterioration, both quantitative and qualitative, of the balance of power between classes. In this context, the question of government takes on increased importance. Seizing political power is a prerequisite for the implementation of a plan initiating a policy of rupture, but recent years have shown the deadly illusions of political projects which exploit popular aspirations, channel mobilizations, even stifle them in the name of realpolitik, and thus strengthen the far right.

6.32. There is no shortcut. An ecosocialist strategy of rupture involves the struggle for the formation of a government on the basis of a transitional plan and the systematic promotion of self-activity, control and direct intervention by the exploited and oppressed at all levels because no consistent measure against exploitation, oppression and the destruction of ecosystems will be imposed without a balance of power based on this self-organization. Consequently, self-emancipation is not only our goal, but also a strategy for overthrowing the established order. New institutions must be built to deliberate, to decide democratically, to organize production and the whole of society... These new powers will have to confront the capitalist state machine, which must be broken. The overthrow of the social order, the expropriation of the capitalists, will inevitably come up against the violent, armed response of the ruling classes. Faced with this violence, the exploited and the oppressed will have no choice but to defend themselves, it will be a question of democratically self-organizing legitimate violence while refusing virilism and substitutism.

6.33. Reflecting and acting, building struggles and tools of struggle, comparing experiences and learning from them: the international implementation of this immense task requires a political tool, a new International of the exploited and oppressed. Through this Manifesto, the Fourth International expresses its readiness to help meet this challenge.

February 2024

  • 1In this document we use the term “Global South” to describe dependent countries, dominated countries, peripheral countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America. We use all these expressions to refer to the same reality. We do not include in the Global South countries like China, Russia, the Oil Monarchies, etc which occupy a specific place in the world capitalist system of domination, and cannot be considered as “dominated”.
  • 2Terawatt-hour (1 TWh = 1 billion kWh). This energy unit is used to measure the electricity production of a power plant (a few TWh) or a national production. A kilowatt hour is equivalent to a steady power of one kilowatt running for one hour and is equivalent to 3.6 million joules or 3.6 megajoules.
  • 3This rebound effect is also known as “Jevons paradox”

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