1.5 The present as a transitional stage of the struggle for a just, sustainable future

So, what name might capture this moment in the struggle, but still give some guidance concerning the aims of the movement? In the prior draft versions of this work, the provisional title: Towards a Green Social Democracy was adopted as the descriptor of the emergent green and social democratic movements. The separate designations, green and social democratic, are honourably associated with movements that separately address at least one side, and increasingly, both sides of the socio-environmental crisis we face. Eco-socialist might be an alternative descriptor, but only to the extent that those adopting it demonstrate in practice that their version of socialism excludes the hierarchical practice of placing some sub-set of the people in charge of society, presumably the planners. In order to emphasize this qualification we would prefer to see democracy included with the designation ecosocialist, making the aim an ecosocialist democracy. For an elaboration of the ecosocialist perspective from one of its early leaders, see Derek Wall (2010, Pluto Press) The Rise of the Green Left: Inside the worldwide ecosocialist movement.

We will argue in this work that naïve concepts of centralized planning – in which the planning is the business of some sub-set of the people carrying out the plans - lend themselves to the continuation or re-creation of precisely the kind of hierarchical system we have now, that a genuine social democracy is not only desirable, but only bottom-up decision-making, where the people can lead in both the planning and the development of the new system has a chance of being successful in addressing the socio-environmental problems which an increasingly hierarchical form of society has created. This 21st century marks a new era of experimentation. Already in only its first quarter, this new century has born witness to the development of more democratic forms of decision-making linked to action in the cause of a more just, sustainable future.

Defining the movement for the achievement of a just, sustainable society as the common grounds for all in the present stage of the struggle serves to unite both opponents of capitalism, such as the proponents of an ecosocialist democracy, and those who like the Fabian Society in the UK aim to bring to capitalism a more human face, one that aggressively aims to wrestle the most serious environmental problems and social inequalities to the ground. For the Fabian perspective, see Michael Jacobs, "Green social democracy" 21 January 2013 http://fabians.org.uk/category/fabian-essays/

This same designation of the aim of the broader movement (a just, sustainable society) will still work when this aim appears to the majority of people as only achievable through the establishment of new economic, social and governmental institutions, that is by constitutional, legislative and regulatory action and supporting cultural change linking education and democratic participation of all in economic, cultural and social development. Broadly speaking, this achievement equates to the genuine, comprehensive social democracy long envisioned by the critics of capitalism and represented by those committed to an ecosocialist democracy.

The aggregate of the institutional and cultural changes needed to address the planetary emergency in which we find ourselves will, in our view, define a new socio-economic system. The achievement of such a green social democracy will in that sense equate to a revolutionary change. As a constructive alternative to the downward, violent death spiral of contemporary capitalism, such a green social democracy is the antithesis of capitalist violence. It is at the same time a revolutionary movement when understood as a fundamental change in the socio-economic system and the associated cultural characteristics. It cannot be an event, but rather heralds the emergence of a new system as the dominant one, a process that will necessarily define an historic era.


This website was launched September 1, 2010 in support of a green social democratic alternative to neoliberal capitalist policy and practice. The primary result is a work by Charles and Karen McFadden of seven chapters, grouped under the title, Towards a Green Social Democratic Alternative to Capitalism available here in pdf and html formats.

Below under the heading What’s New can be found the most recent materials posted on this website, including opinion pieces, book reviews, articles and selections from the 2017 edition of the main work.  For the interest of new and returning visitors, new materials will be included quarterly.

What's New


Authors' Preface

1.6 The epochal nature of the period we are entering

6.0 The socialism we need against the "socialism" of the 20th century

6.8 Additional concerns about 20th century variants of "socialism"

6.9 The people united!

7.1 Policy alternatives and political movements to advance them


Charles and Karen McFadden, Is revolutionary transformation on the agenda

Charles and Karen McFaddenHumanity on the Brink

Charles and Karen McFaddenMovements of Resistance to Movements for System Change

Charles McFaddenTranslating Green Principles into Education Policy and Practice

Charles and Karen McFadden, The Role of Revolutionaries in the Labor Movement


Charles and Karen McFadden, “The Shape of Water” as an Antidote to the Age of Trump 

Charles McFadden, Decolonizing the U.S. & Canada: The People United for a More Just Sustainable Future

Karen and Charles McFaddenCan emergent early 21st century neo-fascism be defeated without coming to grips with late 20th century restructuring of capitalism into a global system

Karen and Charles McFaddenA Dominant Capitalism or a Sustainable Environment? Why we can't have both.


William I. RobinsonThe Crisis of Global Capitalism and Trump's March to War

William I. RobinsonTrumpism, 21st Century Fascism, and the Dictatorship of the Transnational Capitalist Class


George HewisonWINNIPEG 1919 & THE COLD WAR

George HewisonArt Manuel - "Unsettling Canada

George HewisonThe NDP and LEAP


Albert Einstein, David Swanson, Jill Stein, Chris Hedges, William I. Robinson, and others Selected articles for Winter 2018



1.7 The dynamics of capitalism as a system and the limits of single issue reforms

2.11 The economy in transition towards a new deal for labor and the community

3.1 The challenge of a moribund economic system

3.7 Public banking: A cornerstone of a green social democracy

4.7 Economics and culture

6.5 Using the non-market economy as an opportunity to begin moving beyond capitalism


1.6 The epochal nature of the period we are entering

2.0 Theoretical Perspective: Defining Green Social Democracy

2.5. Socialism and green social democracy in historical materialist theory

4.3 Culture in historical perspective

5.1 Contrasting a green social democratic world with the currently prevailing, but challenged neo-liberal one

6.2 Socialism and capitalism as coexisting social systems


2.11 The economy in transition towards a new deal for labor and the community

5.7 Defeating neo-liberal capitalism: The role of social movements

7.3 Justice: Creating a just society, based on the right of all to a dignified, secure existence

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License: Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) applies to all work posted on this website except that which appears with authors whose last name is other than McFadden, in which case standard copyright should be assumed to apply.