3.2 The people's revolutionary economic aims

In Chapter 2 we advanced an alternative theoretical perspective to neoliberalism, drawn in part from our personal observations and experience of the people's struggles for alternative directions and in part from sampling the rapidly accumulating critical literature. We identified GREEN + SOCIAL + DEMOCRATIC as the common essential descriptors, along with a commitment to education in science and imagination, to define the emergent anti-capitalist political direction of the people's movements.

The practice of representing this movement and its aims by the term green social democracy, however, remains maximally useful for the further development of a revolutionary movement only so long as no governing electoral party – or one aspiring to that role - has adopted this name. The achievement of a society beyond capitalism equates to the end of class divisions within society and therefore also of the need for political parties. Any society governed by a political party remains, by definition, a capitalist society, one in which those who manage the means of production, including allocate the results, constitute a different economic class from those who do the producing. The alternative to capitalism, by definition, is a society managed by the people themselves, without owning classes and governing political parties. Characteristic aims of revolutionary green social democrats, in our view, include the following:

1. Believing that a thoroughgoing, participatory democracy, based on informed participation in decision-making, is the best route to a just, stable and sustainable society, green social democrats defend democracy to the extent that it currently exists and work to strengthen it, including its pillars of science, imagination and education.

2. Recognizing that human health and well-being depend on a healthy natural environment, green social democrats give priority attention to restoring and maintaining a healthy biosphere and healthy ecosystems, including the diversity of species within them.

3. Knowing that future generations have the same inherent right as present generations to make conservative use of the material and energy resources provided by Earth, green social democrats commit unreservedly to sustainable use of these resources.

4. Understanding that great inequality in wealth and income is unfair and unsustainable on a planet with finite resources and that such inequality readily translates into inequality in decision-making power, undermining democracy, green social democrats work to reduce and ultimately eliminate such inequality.

5. As part of the commitment to greater equality of wealth, green social democrats support greater investment in maintaining and adding to the commonwealth, the wealth that all share.

6. Also consistent with the commitment to greater equality of wealth, and with the intention of unleashing a greater part of human creative potential, green social democrats commit to achieving an increasingly equal distribution and geographical dispersion of stewardship responsibilities for productive resources (with stewardship of natural resources substituting for the practices now associated with private-for-profit ownership and management of "capital").

7. Believing that good government means achieving a balance between the need for maximizing opportunities for individual action on the one side and the need for sharing risks and coordinating individual actions on the other, green social democrats commit to
7.1 avoid micromanagement by government officials of publicly owned or funded endeavors, in that respect reducing the role of government;
7.2 guide and support through laws and regulations the development of a healthy community of economic enterprises competing with each other to achieve the public's purposes, as determined by democratically elected governments, and meet the public's needs, as determined in declining part through a continuing market system and in increasing degree by a growing non-market economy (growth in "the commons" plus increasing voluntary production and sharing of goods and services for free); and
7.3 develop and support, including fund, an expanded system of non-profit institutions and organizations, independent of government, each other, and any remaining private-for-profit businesses, to obtain and disseminate knowledge, develop technology, evaluate government performance and inform and educate the public. These and other non-profits would compete to provide the best service to the public while cooperating in doing so.

These economic aims are elaborated in the sections and chapters that follow, but some qualifications might be useful here to avoid misunderstanding. One qualification concerns the continued existence of a market economy in a green social democracy. We are assuming that the transition from capitalism to a green social democracy will take place over a period of time, during which a capitalist market economy will continue to function, but with an increasing proportion of the remaining private wealth being transferred into the politically and economically dominant Commons.

The tendency towards income and wealth inequality in the competitive market section of the economy and the correspondingly greater political power of the economically more powerful would need to be countered for progress to be made in achieving and maintaining a more just, sustainable society. As proposed in further arguments below, a green social democratic government can and should use taxation policy and direct financial support for the expansion of the non-market sector as means to achieve its aims, where the non-market economy is understood as that part of the economy where goods and services are exchanged without an exchange of money, as for example, already happens in the form of assistance family members render each other and in the contributions we make to each other through voluntary activity.

Over time, the non-market economy should become increasingly important, with the aim that it ultimately completely replace the market one. The greater the proportion of total goods and services that we can provide to each other outside of market relations (that is, without the involvement of an exchange of money), the greater security we will thereby achieve against the inequities and environmental damage that tend to arise from a market system.

Who knows, our descendants may someday successfully transform themselves and their relationships with each other into fully cooperative ones in accord with the moral principle "from each according to their abilities to each according to their needs." For that, the cultural habit of determining one's needs by a quest for comparative advantage over one's neighbors would have to disappear and in its place a cultural habit develop that identified needs with no more than is consistent with equal distribution constrained by sustainable use of resources. In this case, and only in this case, could we honestly claim to have achieved a society where the "free development of each" assures "the free development of all."

Later we will expand our attention to the non-market economy, contrasting it with the private and public sectors of the market economy.


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.