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20 Thesis against Green Capitalism


With John Key's Financial summit happening in Manukau today and all this talk about a green new deals going around, I think its time we take a good look at where we're at and where we may be going if environmentalists get behind calls for further commodification of our atmosphere and the worlds rainforests in some sort of desperate attempt to save the planet. Is this just an attempt to save capitalism? Albeit temporarily… -gary

20 Theses against green capitalism
by Tadzio Mueller

1. The current world economic crisis marks the end of the neoliberal phase of capitalism. ‘Business as usual’ (financialisation, deregulation, privatisation…) is thus no longer an option: new spaces of accumulation and types of political regulation will need to be found by
governments and corporations to keep capitalism going

2. Alongside the economic and political as well as energy crises, there is another crisis rocking the world: the biocrisis, the result of a suicidal mismatch between the ecological life support system that guarantees our collective human survival and capital’s need for constant growth

3. This biocrisis is an immense danger to our collective survival, but like all crises it also presents us, social movements, with a historic opportunity: to really go for capitalism’s exposed jugular, its need for unceasing, destructive, insane growth

4. Of the proposals that have emerged from global elites, the only one
that promises to address all these crises is the ‘Green New Deal’. This
is not the cuddly green capitalism 1.0 of organic agriculture and D.I.Y.
windmills, but a proposal for a new ‘green’ phase of capitalism that
seeks to generate profits from the piecemeal ecological modernisation of
certain key areas of production (cars, energy, etc.)

5. Green capitalism 2.0 cannot solve the biocrisis (climate change and
other ecological problems such as the dangerous reduction of
biodiversity), but rather tries to profit from it. It therefore does not
fundamentally alter the collision course on which any market-driven
economy sets humanity with the biosphere.

6. This isn’t the 1930s. Then, under the pressure of powerful social
movements, the old ‘New Deal’ redistributed power and wealth downwards.
The ‘New New’ and ‘Green New Deal’ discussed by Obama, green parties all
around the world, and even some multinationals is more about welfare for
corporations than for people

7. Green Capitalism won’t challenge the power of those who actually
produce most greenhouse gases: the energy companies, airlines and
carmakers, industrial agriculture, but will simply shower them with more
money to help maintain their profit rates by making small ecological
changes that will be too little, too late

8. Because globally, working people have lost their power to bargain and
demand rights and decent wages, in a green capitalist setup, wages will
probably stagnate or even decline to offset the rising costs of
‘ecological modernisation’

9. The ‘green capitalist state’ will be an authoritarian one. Justified
by the threat of ecological crisis it will ‘manage’ the social unrest
that will necessarily grow from the impoverishment that lies in the wake
of rising cost of living (food, energy, etc.) and falling wages

10. In green capitalism, the poor will have to be excluded from
consumption, pushed to the margins, while the wealthy will get to
‘offset’ their continued environmentally destructive behaviour, shopping
and saving the planet at the same time

11. An authoritarian state, massive class inequalities, welfare given to
corporations: from the point of view of social and ecological
emancipation, green capitalism will be a disaster that we can never
recover from. Today, we have a chance to get beyond the suicidal madness
of constant growth. Tomorrow, by the time we’ve all gotten used to the
new green regime, that chance may be gone

12. In green capitalism, there is a danger that established, mainstream
environmental groups will come to play the role that trade unions played
in the Fordist era: acting as safety valves to make sure that demands
for social change, that our collective rage remain within the boundaries
set by the needs of capital and governments

13. Albert Einstein defined ‘insanity’ as “doing the same thing over and
over again and expecting different results.” In the past decade, in
spite of Kyoto, not only has the concentration of greenhouse gases in
the atmosphere increased - so, too, has the rate of increase. Do we
simply want more of the same? Wouldn’t that be insane?

14. International climate agreements promote false solutions that are
often more about energy security than climate change. Far from solving
the crisis, emissions trading, CMD, joint implementation, offsets and so
on, all provide a political shield for the continued production of
greenhouse gases with impunity

15. For many communities in the global South, these false solutions
(agrofuels, ‘green deserts’, CDM-projects) are by now often a greater
threat than climate change itself

16. Real solutions to the climate crisis won’t be dreamt up by
governments or corporations. They can only emerge from below, from
globally networked social movements for climate justice

17. Such solutions include: no to free trade, no to privatisation, no to
flexible mechanisms. Yes to food sovereignty, yes to degrowth, yes to
radical democracy and to leaving the resources in the ground

18. As an emerging global climate justice movement, we must fight two
enemies: on one hand climate change and the fossilistic capitalism that
causes it, and on the other, an emergent green capitalism that won’t
stop it, but will limit our ability to do so

19. Of course, climate change and free trade aren’t the same thing, but:
the Copenhagen-protocol will be a central regulatory instance of green
capitalism just as the WTO was central to neoliberal capitalism. So how
to relate to it? The Danish group KlimaX argues: A good deal is better
than no deal - but no deal is way better than a bad one

20. The chance that governments will come up with a ‘good deal’ in
Copenhagen is slim to none. Our aim must therefore be to demand
agreement on real solutions. Failing that: to forget Kyoto, and shut
down Copenhagen! (whatever the tactic)

By Tadzio Mueller and Alexis Passadakis (12/2008). Alexis is a member of
attac Germany’s coordinating council, Tadzio a part of the Turbulence
editorial collective ( They are both active in
the emerging climate justice movement, and can be reached at
againstgreencapitalism (at)

No to false solutions!

Climate Justice Now!



Re: 20 Thesis against Green Capitalism

The Summit is happening in Manukau, not Mangere!

Re: Re: 20 Thesis against Green Capitalism

only on Aotearoa IMC would such a comment require an explaination mark

Fixed now

Re: 20 Thesis against Green Capitalism

John Key said the greens should move from the left and be a centre party like the german green party, that dropped its ideals and policies like australian environment minister, peter garrett (useless autralian minister that is pro coal, logging and uranium).

National and labour have no enviromental vision, and are entrenched in the mind set of cut it down, damn it up, rip it up, pave over it, dig it up, ship it off.

Mr Mueller the Pseudo-Anarchist

so you know what is wrong with the world without actually suggesting any solutions... very constructive "tadzio mueller". to be frank, we don't need your kind of pseudo-critique here in nz. why don't you rejoin your faggot friend back in europe?

Re: Mr Mueller the Pseudo-Anarchist

can someone pull the homophobic comment above

Re: Mr Mueller the Pseudo-Anarchist

Heaps of good stuff written by Tadzio Mueller in here

Re: 20 Thesis against Green Capitalism

I totally agree with you here. But, sincerely, where are your suggestions for action? I mean, specifically. There's a need for people to become WAY more self-sufficient, for example, so do you think we should all fundraise like mad for solar panels? Or is that another example of hopeless eco-consumption/boycott?
Or are you angling at collective protest, the point of which to fire others into this self-sustainable action? Or a mixture?
We all know the system's fucked, the facts are there, but they're nothing without the discussion of real solutions.

Re: 20 Thesis against Green Capitalism

The Climate Justice movement is our only hope for progress on Climate Change now that all the big NGOs and Green parties have been sucked into ineffective capitalist solutions at Kyoto. We need to be building on this in Aotearoa, moving forward from where the antiglobalisation movement / summit protests shifted their focus into Climate Camp in the UK. Incredible things are happening in other places leading to an analysis of these so called solutions [like carbon trading] from a peoples perspective, and coming up with real peoples alternatives of which there are many, but you diont hear about them very often as they have been squeezed out of the debate by the more business friendly solutions. But in New Zealand we see zero analysis of the dangers of emissions trading from the Greens and Greenpeace. Both have avoided confronting the capitalist elements within their constituencies, trying desperately to convince us that the NZ ETS can work, if fixed. In reality, neither believe this is possible, because its not.

The sooner the UNFCCC / Kyoto process is seen for the G8 style dangerous distraction it is, the better. We need to delegitimise this process at the same time as building our alternatives, the scope for which is gigantic. Progress is being mad in Copenhagen for a massive mobilisation of the Climate Justice movement against the COP15 summit which happens on the 5th December this year.

On the 1st of May, Fossil Fools day the Climate Camp is moving into the city of London to protest the use of Markets to fix the Climate problem. G20 meet in London on the 2nd of May to discuss their global financial crisis.

Join a Climate Camp group, go join the occupation in Happy Valley, stand up against these non-solutions by taking action at the root causes of Climate Change because we cannot consume or market ourselves out of this one.

Re: 20 Thesis against Green Capitalism

I found this comment under the UK indymedia centre's article on their Climate Camp:

How the "root causes of climate change" will be tackled "through direct action."?

What are "the root causes of climate change?" Consumption? How will consumption be tackled through direct action?

It's an interesting point. Arguments in reply could include stuff like how the climate campers exemplify their sustainable world through their own no-carbon enrgy amking, composting toilets etc.

Plus it's the corporations that we are taking direct action against that have lied to the general public about their "greenness", encouraging consumption. But can we blame the corporations for the public's consumption?