The myriad ways of dealing with the approaching climate crisis gives those of us on the left many opportunities for a non-centralized, diverse, self-managed movement that we can build on to create alternative institutions opposed to capitalism. The coming energy revolution will be by necessity diverse and non-centralized. This movement should be encouraged and helped along by us on the left.
The overwhelming scale of the crisis of climate change gives us so many entry points into a society seemingly closed to the left for so long. It is quite obvious to many observers that the market will never be able to produce the necessary changes to steer us away from climate disaster. That market failure along with the necessity for changing the way society produces and consumes energy is a vast opportunity. At every level of society, from workplaces to homes, and everywhere in between, we need to radically alter our vision of energy consumption. Why not use that re-visioning process to also re-imagine our social structures: from capitalism’s defining institutions to the way we create laws to our educational system.
By playing an active role in the movement that’s working to move away from unfettered greenhouse gas production to a move sustainable energy infrastructure the left can begin to introduce other important changes as well. Take for example the recent no-coal initiatives by grassroots groups like Step It Up. Those groups committed to a vision of a carbon-free economy understand that there needs to be alternatives and that those alternatives by necessity will be largely local and decentralized in nature. Organizing to make those alternatives viable can take place in tandem with organizing alternatives to capitalism and authoritarianism. Folks can understand why their energy production should be decentralized as much as possible. It is not that far of a stretch to get them to realize that all aspects of social organization can benefit from collaborative, decentralized, participatory structures such as those in a participatory economy and participatory polity.
The progressive, peace and justice, revolutionary movement has every incentive to lead the way toward a green society. Our alternative institutions that will be the building blocks of a new society should be powered by sustainable energy. In turn, we will reduce the need for wars of conquest and end capitalism’s antisocial death grip on society.