7.7 Human solidarity: The foundation for building a green social democracy

All constructive activity – including human development – requires a foundation. The foundation for social construction is human solidarity. Human solidarity is life affirming and a principal source of the joy we experience as human beings. We are, after all, social beings despite the hundreds of years in which capitalism has prevailed. In relation to the struggle for a green social democracy, human solidarity is both an end and a means. It is only through human solidarity that a green social democracy is achievable. Otherwise, the tactic of divide and rule used by an increasingly small minority of ruling capitalists and their representatives to maintain their current economic, political and military dominance would lead all of humanity, literally, into a dead end. Human solidarity, however, undermines that capacity and keeps the door open to social advance.

Human solidarity, of course, is present and active at several different scales, from the local community to the state or province to the country or nation and finally across the scale of the globe. At the latter scale, we share in common the air, oceans and universal human history, knowledge and ideas – all of which are threatened by the capitalist drive to own everything.

At smaller, more familiar scales, human solidarity is also present and active in protecting the resources we share within communities and nation states. At these smaller scales, our commons include the land, water, mineral resources, ecosystems, common history, culture, knowledge and ideas that most directly sustain us.

Human solidarity also operates across the differences that exist within a community, including, among other things, nationality, ethnicity, race, sex, sexual orientation, belief systems, educational attainments, and level of income and wealth. Most of these differences and the common interests which unite people across these differences have been addressed elsewhere. Here, though, we address these in their unity with a few policy proposals that represent our common interests in replacing capitalism with a green social democracy.

Let's begin at the international level. Just as the movement of capital across international borders has increasingly unified economic activity around the globe, including shared economic crises and the formation of alliances between our ruling classes to maintain a system of debt fueled dependence, wealth and income inequality, continuing violations of basic human rights and the passing on of the costs of environmental degradation to future generations, so must our global political response to these depredations be unified, including a shared commitment to the inclusion of all in democratic decision-making, the protection and improved health of the natural and social environment we share, the achievement everywhere of practices that accord with our fundamental human rights and the reversal of the current trend to greater inequality.

Solidarity begins here and now with international cooperation and mutual support between the various organizations acting to advance the people's interests in a just, sustainable future. It extends to cooperation between green social democratic governments, as these are achieved. The crowning achievement will be the replacement of the rule of multinational corporations by popular sovereignty throughout the world, this time including the home countries of these corporations. At that time, the people united can:

  • give the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and the International Labour Organization conventions the status of law in each country, including, as needed, amendments that institutionalize the higher level of democracy that green social democracy represents;
  • transform the United Nations into a global institution of democratic governance, based on bottom-up forms of democracy within each member nation or country;
  • make international law and United Nations affiliated international governmental organizations the final authorities over the global commons and the maintenance of international peace and security;
  • transform other international organizations, such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, into organizations that serve the common interests of the people of the world in a just, sustainable future;
  • work to give international non-governmental organizations the status and all the civil rights in relation to international governance that are accorded social movements within countries; and
  • limit the authority of the international level of government to those matters that can only be adequately addressed at that level in accord with the principle that decisions which can be made locally should be made locally.

At the level of the country or nation, the state or province and the local community, solidarity is today expressed through the growing unity of the movements acting across the spectrum of issues which in their totality represent the emergence of a common struggle for a green social democracy. The program and positive outcome of those struggles has been identified throughout this work. Here we simply restate in summary form one of the likely institutional changes that a victorious green social democratic movement would introduce.

At the level of the country and nation, the military-industrial and prison-industrial systems would be transformed into agencies for the rescue of the victims of environmental destruction and the rehabilitation and re-integration into the community of persons who have transgressed community standards, respectively. Corresponding changes would also be made at the state or provincial and at the local community levels.

Finally, we should expect a common commitment of green social democracies everywhere to overcoming the divide between town and country in which the resources from nature, found mainly in our rural regions, are transformed by capitalist economies into waste in our urban ones. Through solidarity between urban and rural dwellers, we need to restore nature's own metabolism, its ability to recycle wastes while providing a health sustaining experience for all within nature. This change requires a new political and practical relationship between town and country, urban and rural areas, one that facilitates the movement of people on a daily or weekly basis between the two and institutionalizes their cooperative stewardship of both nature and human accomplishments.


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.