ABCs of Socialism: “Wouldn’t a more democratic world just mean a bigger environmental crisis?” (p. 94-103)

Michael Löwy, “What is Ecosocialism?

Ecosocialist Working Group Committee, “Lessons from the History of Environmentalism”

Christian Parenti, “A Radical Approach to the Climate Crisis”

Kate Aronoff / Alyssa Battistoni / Daniel Aldana Cohen / Thea Riofrancos, A Planet to Win: Why We Need a Green New Deal 

Richard Lachmann, “How Climate Change Will Affect Socialist Strategy”

Gaya Sriskanthan, “Socialism, Internationalism, and the Climate Crisis”

Naomi Klein, On Fire: The Burning Case for the Green New Deal

Green New Deal



    • What do you feel watching this? What images does this evoke? 
    • Do you find this effective in promoting the idea that we need to radically change our economy in a way that is democratic and ecologically viable? Why/why not?
  • What were some of the wins in the New Deal? How did the New Deal reproduce certain inequalities in the United States? How does the GND propose to do things differently, and does it go far enough in doing so?
  • The IPCC report, Klein writes, says we need more than “singular technocratic approaches”. Rather, the “high-speed pollution phase-out” we need “requires deliberately and immediately changing how our societies produce energy, how we grow our food, how we move around, and how our buildings are constructed”
    • Why is it so important for socialists to propose an eco-socialist vision of this phase-out? (i.e. what is the alternative?)
      • We often hear people denounce measures that would shift us to a less ecologically destructive world as posing limits to democracy and freedom. List some cases in which this could be true and examples which go against these assertions.
      • Alternatively, how does ecological collapse curb our freedom and democracy?
    • As eco-socialists, why is it important to promote organizing our workplaces and schools as we push to make this vision reality? (i.e. is it enough to mobilize a big rally or promote eco-socialist messaging on social media?)
  • How would the Green New Deal radically change leisure time both in quality and quantity?
  • In what ways might the Green New Deal be anti-imperialist? What role does anti-militarism play in the Green New Deal?
  • How are the ways that we decide to finance the Green New Deal important?
  • Why is democratic control of the economy fundamental to eco-socialism?
  • What are some local examples of energy and environmental issues that you think could be different if working-class people had democratic control over the decisions that affect their communities and workplaces?

Climate Struggles Meet Class Struggles



  • How are environmental issues generally discussed around you? How were they introduced (or not) in your high school? If applicable, how are they talked about on your current campus? In mainstream media?
  • Are climate politics about knowledge? Are they about information or lack of information?
    • What if everyone “believed” in climate change, and thought it was something to be addressed? Would that be enough to stop it?
  • What are the consequences of framing climate struggles in terms of “believers” vs “denialists”?
  • Example from Mauna Kea, Hawaii: Mauna Kea was under attack this year when the sacred Native site was chosen for the construction of a $1.4 billion telescope. The approval for this project happened without the consent of indigenous communities, leading to a historical indigenous resistance supported by members of the local and global community. In much of the news coverage, however, indigenous resisters to the construction were often represented as belonging to the realm of belief, juxtaposed to “science” and “scientific progress”. Discuss this example – what does this framing hide?
  • Show this short clip about the Yellow Vest movement- “What is France’s ‘Gilets Jaunes’ or ‘Yellow Vests’ Protest Movement?”
    • What is the “Yellow Vest” Protest Movement?
    • The “Yellow Vest” protests began in rural communities in response to President Macron’s proposal to raise fuel taxes. Why were these communities more heavily impacted than urban areas? 
    • The protesters’ demands expanded to include calls for the reversal of Macron’s repeal of a large portion of the wealth tax in France, as well as Macron’s resignation. 
      • What does this example show us in terms of the potential of mass movements?
      • How does this example highlight the importance of a socialist organization in these mass movements? 
  • How can we understand and frame climate struggles in terms of class struggle? Why is this important if we want to save our planet? 
    • Why is important to differentiate class struggle as conflict between those who own the ability to invest, control, and direct production versus class as differences in income?
  • How do ExxonMobil and other oil companies’ activities in Chad and the US underline not only the role of these corporations in the world’s ecological devastation, but also the importance of anti-imperialism in climate struggles? In other words, how do corporations’ economic power put countries’ sovereignty (ability of a group of people to govern their own state) into question?
    • What is the role of the labor movement in these cases?
  • How do we not only frame, but build working class power in the fight to save our planet?
  • Bernie’s Green New Deal proposes to invest in a Green Climate fund – a $200 billion investment “for the equitable transfer of renewable technologies, climate adaptation, and assistance in adopting sustainable energies” to the “Global South”. 
    • Discuss this example.
    • What are other ways we can participate in internationalist climate struggles?