Socialism, as mentioned elsewhere, is a transition period between capitalism and communism.
Capitalism has many features and its hands in many pots. Thus socialism must entail a series of class struggles to remake society at all levels.
At their most fundamental level capitalism and communism are distinct production relations. Capitalism assigns value according to labor-content and arranges production for the exclusive interest of accumulation. Under communism, social utility is the chief factor determining value, and production is structured for common well-being. Capitalism compensates workers with less labor than they expend; thus, capital is the accumulated surplus labor of workers. Communism is the equitable and democratic allocation of labor resources, in which workers and productive communities themselves have control over their labor and its product; thus communism demands labor and allocates benefit in equal portions.
Capitalism and communism also have ecological features. Under capitalism, elements of the natural environmental are commodified for the benefit of ruling classes. Resources are monopolized and stripped from the hands of the people. This occurs not for any form of general well-being, but for the benefit of an elite and its social lackeys. Under communism, preservation and regeneration of natural environments are ends to themselves.
Along with a change in production relations, socialism entails a change in the relationship between human society and the natural environment. Along with the unequal exchange of labor that accompanies imperialism, there is an ‘unequal exchange’ of natural resources and ecological costs between First and Third World zones which must be addressed. While consumption patterns will most drastically change for First World and other net-exploiter populations, production patterns will likely change for the world’s masses as they are no longer bound by the expansive and wasteful tendencies of capital. General attitudes regarding the relationship between between people and the natural environment are also subject to change under socialism.
Beyond these abstract notions of eco-socialism, much of which might be readily adopted by some otherwise First Worldist and reformist sections of the First World ‘left,’ there are more practical aspects to consider.
These practical aspects will be dealt with in two subsequent parts. These parts will highlight: first, the appeal of ecological aspects of socialism among some sections of the First World embourgeoisfied masses, and the potential therein for proletarian organizing; and second, the most reliable means of implementing eco-socialism, i.e., people’s war.