1.10 Facing the crisis in capitalism: Policies and actions

We have already entered a turning point in human history, where the choices are becoming clearer than they have been in decades. This period provides one last opportunity for the ruling political and economic elite to respond to the environmental and social crisis by reversing course, meeting the people's demands half-way. Key demands to address the crisis include:

  1. keeping most fossil fuels in the ground,
  2. reversing the trend to increasing environmental degradation,
  3. moving decisively towards greater democracy and accountability by business and government,
  4. extending human rights to include the right to a healthy environment, including full implementation everywhere of the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples,
  5. extending the rights to collective bargaining to all workers in both the private and public sectors, and including the duty of every employer to provide opportunities during working hours for their employees to meet and formulate their demands, with severe penalties for employers or government officials who place obstacles or otherwise obstruct the exercise of these rights,
  6. inclusion in collective bargaining rights of the right of workers to have an equal say in the decisions now reserved as the rights of owners and their managers,
  7. setting the minimum wage above the poverty level;
  8. ending poverty by establishing a basic living income guarantee to all, and
  9. adding public banks to the financial system where these do not already exist.

Although the case for the latter is made in greater detail in a later chapter, it might suffice for now to declare the importance of creating public banks to serve as:

  1. a repository of government income (which after all belongs by right to the people), responsible to the public for making government economically accountable and transparent,
  2. the manager of the government insurance accounts (such as unemployment insurance, social security, disability funds and any other social insurance fund the people decide to create for themselves),
  3. support for the building of the new, sustainable economy,
  4. the source of credit to government, so that payments on future public debts, including any interest payments, would go back to the people, rather than to enrich private investors,
  5. a source of credit for credit-worthy initiatives to build a more just, sustainable economy, with repayment to the people, with interest.

Readers who prefer not to wait until the topic of public banking is developed later in this work or who wish to consider it in greater detail than will be possible here, can satisfy these needs at: http://www.greensocialsemocracy.org/component/content/article/99-public-banking-a-cornerstone-of-a-green-social-democracy and by reading Ellen Brown (Fourth Edition, 2010, Third Millennium Press) Web of Debt: The shocking truth about our money system and how we can break free. For an introduction to the latter, see our review: www.greensocialdemocracy.org/reviews/83-reviews/134-the-only-navigable-roads-to-a-just-sustainable-future-are-those-paved-with-publicly-owned-banks.

The "to do" lists above are not exhaustive, but include some of the initiatives whose realization would indicate a preparedness and ability (or not) of existing capitalism to respond to the present environmental and social crisis.

The process of struggling within capitalism for the means to a just, sustainable future, if not fully successful, can nevertheless include the building of non-governmental organizations that are not limited to working for capitalist solutions. The more lasting accomplishments of this struggle might be successful experimentation in the creation of more democratic social, political and work organizations, featuring cooperation and solidarity within and between organizations and bottom-up decision making. This experience can ultimately provide models and experience for institutional changes in the structure of democratic decision-making both at work and in government. In effect, the people's non-governmental organizations and their public activity are educational means to a more democratic society.

Success in the building and strengthening of our organizations and achieving solidarity between them also serves as our best defense against the potential for violence against the people by an increasingly isolated ruling economic-political elite. If a political crisis were to arise in which an isolated ruling elite were tempted to cut-off democratic channels of response, the people's non-governmental organizations could provide an alternative means of civil response to the crisis.

If necessary, the populace could be mobilized to resist peacefully but forcefully any ruling class violence aimed at closing off peaceful, democratic channels. A politically engaged populace faced with a ruling elite unwilling to permit the people to exercise their democratic right to self-government would then have the means and the moral right to convene a fully democratic constitutional convention which could make the institutional changes needed. Hopefully, this would never become necessary; the existing institutions would be amenable to the changes that the majority of people insist upon. But if necessary, then action to create more fully democratic institutions of self-government is always the people's moral right, one they might elect to exercise when sufficiently engaged and determined to do so, particularly in the face of ruling class violence against them.


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.