Principles to assess/guide projects to build an eco-just economy

The FRSO/OSCL Ecology Work Team has developed these principles to help us
assess the wide range of on-the-ground projects that are being done to
advance eco-justice work and/or to build “sustainable” or “regenerative”
economies. These principles were first identified at a December 2011 retreat
and were revised to reflect issues raised at the summer 2012 regional
meetings. We hope that this outline will help clarify the kinds of projects
our organization wants to help build and in that way reflects our emerging
line on ecology, economy and the national question.

  1. Principles About Whose Needs are Centered/Addressed

The project/experiment should:

  • Be based in working class, oppressed nationality communities and spread out from there. Put women of color and children first.
  • Create work with pay/compensation that allows people to live with dignity, to sustainably meet all of their needs (housing, food, health care, education, childcare, etc. –a real living wage).
  • Think beyond ‘job creation’ to the broader question of work: what work needs done? What work can people do/do people want to do?
  • Give workers control over the conditions of employment via self-organization in unions and cooperative management structures.
  • Create access to work for people usually excluded from it (undocumented, climate refugees, formerly incarcerated).
    • E.g Co-ops can provide jobs to undocumented whereas other formations cannot.
    • E.g. National Domestic Workers Alliance: includes call for a new visa category and  path to citizenship for care workers.
  1. Principles About Rebuilding Communities/Resilience

The project/experiment should:

  • Ground projects in working class, indigenous and other oppressed nationality communities’ fight for control of land, space, resources, and jobs.
  • Revalue work that’s been made invisible (social reproductive work, care giving, organizing).
  • Reweave the social web and social networks: helping people unlearn & relearn what we need to form this new system.
    • Re-educate away from individualism and consumerism.
    • Value organizing and democratic processes.
    • Lift up and restore traditional ways and knowledge, local culture.
    • Promote work processes that build relationships and reciprocity between all community members.
  • Promote local energy, food, and water sovereignty.
  1. Principles About Restoring the Earth

The project/experiment should:

  • Do no harm to the Earth.
  • Green existing industry.
    • Include a ‘’Just Transition” for workers and communities negatively impacted.
  • Rapidly transition off fossil fuels.
    • Not validate false solutions like so-called “clean-coal.”
    • Include reparations and restoration for workers and communities negatively impacted.
  • Get renewable energy into working class communities of color.
  • Actively work to restore ecological balance/integrity: i.e. restore wet lands, make buildings green, green existing industry, replace vacant lots with community gardens.
  • NOT create environmental health problems for workers or communities, even if it is remediating an environmental problem (i.e. not like Katrina, BP Oil Spill clean-up, which had negative health impact on workers).
  • Be built on major reductions in consumption , not ‘greener’ mass consumption to feed the capitalist growth imperative.
  1. Principles About Being Scalable, Sustainable and Bridging Local/National/Global Economies:

The project/economy should

  • Have the potential to scale up and/or link up to meet the needs of millions, even as we maintain local economies and community control.
  • Be able to harness state power (via national-scale organization and demands) required to put 25 million un/underemployed people to work and meet vast ‘social wage’ gaps?
    • E.g. Federal jobs programs like New Deal Civilian Conservation Corps.
    • Mobilize government offices, schools and public resources at every level.
    • Support public sector workers especially in the South and Southwest.
  • Discussion of green economy has to include question of military budget.
    • The Bolsheviks’ Bread, Peace and Land demand: the left needs to re-assert it as part of our discussion on state power/role of the state.
    • “No War, No Warming, Build Peoples’ Economies” (from Grassroots Global Justice campaign).
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