The Double Objective of Democratic Ecosocialism


Jason Hickel

We face a double crisis as the twenty-first century unfolds. On the one hand, it is an ecological crisis: climate change and several other Earth System pressures are exceeding planetary boundaries to a dangerous extent. On the other hand, it is also a social crisis: several billion people are deprived of access to basic goods and services. More than 40 percent of the human population cannot afford nutritious food; 50 percent do not have safely managed sanitation facilities; 70 percent do not have necessary health care.

Deprivation is most extreme in the periphery, where imperialist dynamics of structural adjustment and unequal exchange continue to perpetuate poverty andunderdevelopment. But it is evident also in the core: in the United States, nearly half the population cannot afford health care; in the United Kingdom, 4.3 million children live in poverty; in the European Union, 90 million people face economic insecurity. These patterns of deprivation are shot through with brutal inequalities of race and gender.

No political program that promises to analyse and resolve the ecological crisis can hope to succeed if it does not also simultaneously—that is, in the same stroke—analyse and resolve the social crisis. Attempting to address one without the other leaves fundamental contradictions entrenched and will ultimately give rise to monsters. Indeed, monsters are already emerging.

It is critically important to understand that the dual social-ecological crisis is being driven, ultimately, by the capitalist system of production.


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