Eco‑socialist strategies in the Anthropocene

Governments refuse to put climate protection before capital interests. The climate movement now has to build up countervailing power from below. This series of articles written by Christian Zeller makes strategic suggestions for this. Part 1 will be posted soon.


Ruptures in the earth system, global warming and the ongoing climate catastrophe will soon tear away the foundations of previous politics and social debates. With Anthropocene capitalism we are entering a phase full of uncertainties and instabilities, whereby the Anthropocene means that in the present earth epoch man has become a decisive designer. The dynamics of the earth system with its tipping points will force abrupt changes on societies.

Even activists in social movements and left-wing organizations underestimate the scope of these changes. Inside trade unions and left parties, “environmental policy” is framed against social concerns. This attitude denies the societal challenges of ecological destruction. The fight against global warming is not a “special issue”, but runs through all social conflicts.

Many people who stand for a socio-ecological transformation of society or a Green New Deal underestimate the urgency of abrupt social changes to mitigate the climate crisis. There is no longer any scope for gradual socio-ecological transformation perspectives. In the imperialist countries, and even more so on a global level, gradualism lacks a material, economic and political basis.

The tipping points and fractures in the earth system as well as the associated social challenges reshape what is appropriate and realistic, but viable strategies for a revolutionary fracture are only recognizable in fuzzy outlines. It is therefore important to have a debate about strategies for a comprehensive social upheaval towards a society that decides together, shares more and produces less. This is an eco-socialist society. Revolutionary eco-socialist strategies must provide concrete answers at local, regional, national, transnational, continental and global levels. But first it is necessary to build-up a countervailing social power, which ultimately opens up the question of dual power and interrogating existing structures of domination.

In the contributions to this series of articles, I combine essential findings from earth system research with examinations of strategic debates in the socialist movement. After presenting the essential processes and consequences of global warming in parts 1 and 2, in part 3 I characterize the main features of Anthropocene capitalism. Based on this analysis, I argue in Part 4 that only a revolutionary strategy is appropriate to the fractures in the earth system and the contradictions of capitalism. I put this orientation in concrete terms in Part 5 with the sketch of a transition strategy. The challenge of dual power arises from building counter-power, which I will discuss in Part 6. In Part 7 I put considerations up for discussion, how the globally unequal and combined ecological and economic development in Anthropocene capitalism is to be countered from an eco-socialist perspective. Finally, in Part 8, I argue for the development of a revolutionary eco-socialist current that can initially be articulated in different contexts, but should come together in the medium-term to form an organization.


  1. The earth burns, the earth system breaks
  2. Time is running out
  3. Anthropocene Capitalism: “green” to barbarism
  4. We need an eco-socialist revolution!
  5. Rebuilding and dismantling industries through social appropriation
  6. From countervailing power to dual power
  7. Unequal and Combined Development in Anthropocene Capitalism
  8. To eco-socialist organisation

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