2.1 Emergent policy directions are green + social + democratic

The policy directions emerging from the people's progressive movements are green + social + democratic, hence our use of the term green social democracy to embrace them. Our focus in this section on political directions, however, should not be taken to imply the centrality of political parties. These are artifacts of a class-divided society, a means for multiple classes to function in an uneasy unity within the currently dominant capitalist mode of production. Political parties have no long term future. They will all evaporate with the evaporation of class-based societies. Their continuing existence will be evidence that communal relationships have yet to become established as the dominant self-replicating mode of production and exchange of the human services and artifacts necessary to human existence.

For revolutionaries, the central institutions for creating a society beyond capitalism are the social movements of those oppressed and exploited within capitalism. It is from within these social movements that the ideology and institutions of the emergent new mode of production are being created. But these movements necessarily utilize all the tools accessible to them from within the dominant but moribund capitalist mode of production, including its political parties, parliaments and other institutions, until the new radically democratic institutions they are creating become the dominant ones. Abundant empirical evidence for these conclusions can be found in the 19th and 20th century attempts to move beyond capitalism, including the more credible explanations for their failure, the subject of our Chapter 6.

Our story of the present era begins with the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, which signaled the collapse of the 20th Century experiments in so-called "socialism" conducted by the Communist Party ruled states of Central and Eastern Europe, and the retreat of similar experiments throughout much of the rest of the world. These defeats opened the door to a virtually unimpeded economic and political assault from the proponents of deregulated market capitalism. The results on a global scale have included the largest upwards redistribution of wealth and the most extensive dismantling of the public sector of the economy since the end of the 2nd World War. It also brought with it a further twenty year extension of economic growth, sufficient for a while to maintain most ships, even with upwards distribution of the spoils.

The future, however, was the victim of this unfettered growth. Within twenty years, the world's economy was brought to the brink of collapse and the environment which sustains all human and other forms of life on earth one huge step closer to irremediable catastrophe. Tens of millions of people have since entered the struggle for a more just, sustainable future. With increasing displacement of people and nature by a global capitalist system that appears beyond reason, resistance is growing.

The first legislated changes aimed at pulling back from the brink were modest and heavily offset by reckless extractive projects, representing a colossal failure of ostensibly democratic societies. Increasingly out of step with the majority, the ruling political-economic elites in the citadels of capitalism have continued to press -; too often with success - for a deepening of the very policies and practices that have led our current global socio-economic system to the precipice. This is currently fueling a transition from defensive to offensive political struggle.

Where is this developing political struggle with conservative reaction leading? The decisive political fact of this century is the growing recognition that the resources which sustain human life on earth are finite. No policy makes ultimate sense that is not based on this reality. A corollary is that maintaining, let alone enhancing, the recent upwards redistribution of wealth dooms a large part of the human population and threatens all of it. Increasing numbers across the globe are responding -; often for the first time -; in the struggles for counter measures.

The specter now haunting the political-economic elite who would maintain and even extend the untenable status quo is the emergence, at first in the form of public manifestations and increasingly in the form of political movements and electoral battles of an inherently if not always deliberately green social democratic direction, one that opposes the recent gains of the political right and proposes counter measures. Among the prominent demands of this movement are those that would reduce the unearned wealth and privilege at the top of the skewed distribution system, diverting a large part of it to investment in a sustainable future and the rest to support for the more vulnerable majority, so that all could survive and many future generations could prosper in a more just, equitable and sustainable human civilization.

If more than tentative, modest, easily reversed legislative victories are to be won by the green social democratic movements, the leaders of these movements inside and especially outside of parliaments will have to at least match the tenacity of their opponents,. For that, an alternative playbook is needed, a world view consistent with the aims of the green social democrats. We cannot expect a replay of the ideological and political battles of the twentieth century to lead to new and different results.


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

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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.