Recently the Green Parties of New York State and North Carolina put forth an amendment to the national Green Party platform calling more explicitly for a new democratized economy that rejects both capitalism and state socialism. The Youth Caucus of the Green Party of the United States (known as the 'Young Greens') is a co-sponsor of the amendment along with eleven other state Green Parties and caucuses and has been working to build support among state and local Green Party chapters. I support this amendment wholeheartedly.
As Kevin Zeese and I wrote in "Capitalism in Crisis: Our Opportunity For A New System," the capitalist economic system - which is based on extraction, exploitation and growth for the sake of profit - is not compatible with building the sustainable and livable future we need. The old models have failed. They have created record wealth inequality and economic stagnation for the majority of the world. Currently twenty people in the U.S. own the same wealth as the bottom half of the population. Globally, 62 people own the same wealth as the bottom half, down from 388 people in 2010. This wealth consolidation and the suffering it creates cannot continue.
We must design a new economic system that allows people to have greater control over and benefit from the economy. The new economy needs to be rooted in communities and lift all people up. It needs to recognize that certain human rights - like the right to education, heath care, housing, a healthy environment and more - are public goods, not profit centers for transnational corporations.
This new economy is growing around the world and in the United States. Cities are working to create public banks that stop the hemorrhaging of municipal public dollars to Wall Street and instead leverages them for local infrastructure projects and the creation of worker-owned jobs. Cities are also using a participatory budgeting community-driven process to determine how to spend public dollars. Decentralized renewable energy cooperatives and local food production hubs are being created. And affordable housing is being achieved through land trusts and cooperatives. You can learn more about the new economy at my project, ItsOurEconomy.US, and from Gar Alperovitz's "Democracy Collaborative" at Community-Wealth.org.
I commend the Young Greens for clarifying the kind of economy they want in the future. I hope that they will continue to take a strong role in building the Green Party as a vehicle for the change they want to create. I will do what I can do to support their vision and organizing.
See the Young Green's amendement:
Greens seek to build an alternative economic system based on ecology and decentralization of power, an alternative system that rejects both the capitalist system that maintains private ownership over almost all production as well as the old narrative of state socialism that assumes control over industries without democratic, local decision making. We believe the old models of capitalism (private ownership of production) and state socialism (state ownership of production) are not ecologically sound, socially just, or democratic and that both contain built-in structures that advance injustices.
Instead Greens will build an economy based on large-scale public works, municipalization, and workplace and community democracy. Some call this small-scale, decentralized system “ecological socialism,” “communalism,” or the “cooperative commonwealth,” but whatever the terminology, Greens believe it will help end labor exploitation, environmental exploitation, and racial, gender, and wealth inequality and bring about economic and social justice.
Production should be democratically owned and operated by those who do the work and those most affected by production decisions. This model of worker and community control will ensure that decisions that greatly affect our lives are made in the interests of our communities, not at the whim of centralized power structures of state administrators or of capitalist CEOs and distant boards of directors. Worker-owned production, embedded in and accountable to our communities, provides an incentive for enterprises to make ecologically sound decisions in materials sourcing, waste disposal, recycling, reuse, and more. Democratic ownership of the means of production would decentralize power in the workplace, which would in turn decentralize economic power more broadly.