The Troy Declaration of Ecosocialist Vision and Theory

November 3, 2013

The Troy Declaration of Ecosocialist Vision and Theory

Troy, New York, March 2013

For three days in Troy, over a hundred people gathered for the third North
American ecosocialist convergence, facilitated by Ecosocialist Horizons and
hosted by The Sanctuary for Independent Media. A group of about twenty
people, representing over a dozen organizations and from a handful of
different countries, gathered for five hours in the loft of Troy Bike Rescue to
share ideas and proposals with the goal of creating a declaration of the
collective vision and theory necessary to build a revolutionary ecosocialist
movement in the belly of the beast.

From the hallowed revolutionary ground of Troy New York, in memory of John Brown and the
Underground Railroad, we declare:

The world may become unlivable in 50 years. The cause of this is capitalism. The planetary effects
of climate change, from droughts to superstorms, are proving this to the world. Therefore it is a
global imperative to shut down the destructive forces of capitalism in North America. This requires
a revolutionary movement which moves us forward economically, ecologically and spiritually.
We are only just coming to know who we are and what our purpose is on this planet. This
declaration seeks to reach people whose needs are different, in particular those who are on the
front lines confronting capitalism in their daily life. This movement is strong and we’re just starting
to realize this and recognize each other.

We must build unity through understanding. Therefore we will take action while putting forward
theory, and this theory will drive our action further. Theory is the way in which we understand this
world, vision is the way by which we see beyond it. While others are afraid to understand that
capitalism is the enemy of nature, we want to change the system and not the symptoms.
Organizing a broad spectrum of people around this is the key to building power. This is a
declaration for people on the street, accessible to everyone.

We declare that an ecosocialist revolution is necessary and possible. Gathered together for three
days at the third North American ecosocialist convergence in Troy, New York, and looking back
over thousands of years of revolutionary history, we understand that the high point of all the past
upsurges of history can converge for the starting point of the next one.

In order to begin this great work, we must review our values, which are the covenant for our unity.
It is these values through which we understand the current world order as unacceptable. We know
a new world is necessary and we are ready to give it a name.

Revolutionary Values

Capitalism has created “the economy” and made it the central organizing factor of society and
now nature as well. We declare a qualitatively different idea of the economy, based around the
vision and the practice of the commons.

We believe in the intrinsic value of nature, and believe that the highest expression of this is in
global the reclamation of the commons, which we call ecosocialism. It is based on democratic
control of institutions and fundamentally transformed relations of production. Standing in the way
of intrinsic value is money – exchange value – and its elevation to the supreme law of society
under capitalism.

Ecosocialism begins with freely associated labor in harmony with nature, without exploitation of
humanity or nature. It is activated by life and not profit, and the production of ecosystems, not
commodities. As such it is a new mode of production which returns us to our most ancient roots as
a species even as it carries us forward to the future. Entailed in these transformed relations of
production is the evolution of consciousness and our species-being.

We declare absolute opposition to patriarchy, and understand patriarchy to be indispensable to
capitalism. We recognize capitalism’s enmity to nature as intimately related to gender oppression.
We embrace ecofeminism as a powerful philosophy grounded by joining the two great struggles for
women’s liberation and for ecological justice.

We are looking beyond dark mirrors, now we are face to face. All that is now invisible must shine
forth. Only then are real unity and inclusion possible. We are not just talking about North America!
We seek a narrative that is relevant to the security and harmony of others, which reaches outside
and beyond borders. All sectors, all people, all workers, all living beings, and all ecosystems have
intrinsic value.

Ego is alienation. Capitalism elevates it to the center of all relations. We want to reach people who
are lost in the culture of ego. There is a better world with more meaning and more freedom in the
commons. We want to struggle for souls. An injury to one is an injury to all, and this goes for all
our relations, not just humans. I am because we are. We are because I am.

We seek clarity about our own ideas, and to know ourselves; to discover our purpose on this
planet. We recognize our own need to sacrifice. We declare our desire to give up our comforts and
addictions to the fruits of Babylon. We face our demons – especially our prejudices and privileges.
We are ready as individuals to risk more for the collective. Only our collective work gives meaning
to our individual work.

The land does not belong to us, we belong to it. As North Americans we are not entitled to colonize
other people or their resources.

We declare opposition to the ways in which education is understood and practiced. Wisdom and
not specialization should be the goals of the collective and common education of all society.

We seek self sufficiency as the basis for self determination. There are circles of hands joining with
peoples who are already self-sufficient, already living and building beyond capitalism. We
celebrate that and we must learn from you. If you say no, we respect that too. You talk, we listen.
We seek unity not to appropriate or fetishize your identity but because our collective liberation is
on the same horizon. We are ready to hold hands because we are ready to let go. We understand
that even now while we celebrate this, that the subsistence of many peoples is being undermined.
We want to join in the fight to keep their cultures alive, and to amplify and learn from them.

Our challenges may be different but our struggles are the same. We are asking how we can help
you, and how you can help us. We celebrate and stand in support of: Indigenous peoples, the
working class, rural communities, everyone effected by the prison industry, oppressed
nationalities, individuals identifying on all points of the many sided, many dimensioned spectrum
of gender and sexuality, the warriors of the African American revolution, the psychologically
oppressed, and all those struggling for land. We stand for the freedom of all political prisoners and
pledge our commitment to stand by our freedom fighters until the end.

There is already an existing planetary consensus that there is something fundamentally wrong
with this system which is leaving people behind and causing a mass extinction. We declare the
culprits and the connections between them, and propose an ecosocialist alternative.

Revolutionary Strategy

The culture of modernity is sick and must be healed. We must envision this healing as a
revolutionary process. Revolutionary strategy must adapt to different and ever-changing
conditions, but these points of unity are the basis around which we organize.

We understand all elements of an ecosocialist revolutionary strategy to have two components:
production, and resistance. Both of these must be prefigurative; they must build and imagine new
worlds even within the limitations of their moment. We recognize as effective strategies those
which both meet immediate needs and prefigure an alternative.

The powers that be are already making their move to grab what resources remain. Preventing
them from doing so should be a focus of our resistance. Revolution comes like a thief in the night.
We embrace nonviolence, but we may wake up tomorrow in the midst of an armed struggle. The
question is, whose?

The single biggest factor in our resiliency, within the shadows of superstorms, is our organizing.
We must be more organized, more adaptable and more resilient than all the forces of capitalism.
Our job as North Americans is to shut down the wrecking machine. We must overturn power as fast
as possible, prefigure a better world in the process, and be ready to defend it.

We must do this by preparing immediately for the inevitability of large scale economic and
ecological crises. We recognize the inevitability of spontaneous eruptions of popular dissent, and
the emerging transformative network that is forming between the cracks of the old order.

We must be ready for the future when it happens. We must prepare by building well organized
groups of people in our communities, and preparing collectively for something even more chaotic.
Every community needs to prepare either for exodus or for the arrival of climate refugees or both.

We understand that the coming chaos will be uneven. Some people will have security. We are not
trying to only save our own asses. To do this we must learn how to kick ass. The job of the
revolutionary is to be prepared for when power is rolling around in the streets; to go out and seize
the moment, and to smash the counter-revolution with mass democratic action.

We will go to the people and ask what we can do for them. They are our rock. We will see where
the people are moving and be of service to them; both providing concrete skills but also
connecting the dots, and story-telling. We will start in oppressed communities, grow food, occupy
buildings, and work toward meeting our own needs for health, shelter, sustenance and culture. In
particular, we see potential for building planetary unity around food, energy, and youth.

We declare our need to become experts and educators in key areas of activity. We identify these
key areas through an evolving analysis of our current experiences, and the different examples that
we can learn from, past and present. These include all the skills necessary to return to overall self sufficiency and self-reliance.

We are divided by racism, by sexism, by mental illness, by class, by stigma, and by socially
constructed violence. We recognize this social malaise which extends from the entire society to the
family and to the individual. As individuals we recognize the need to uproot our personal
oppression. We recognize our own consciousness as a site of power and struggle.

We must work to keep knowledge available and accessible. We will do this by replacing poisonous
ideas with healing practices. Through collective, communal education, we will defend ourselves,
our people and humanity, by building community self-sufficiency.

We must reassert our rights which have been rolled back, including those in healthcare, housing,
education. We call for a new Bill of Rights based on real equality and which goes beyond the
limitations of the original document.

We honor the young and cherish the old. We reject the capitalist adulation of the child which also exiles our elders. We reject the capitalist reification of adulthood which deadens the potential and
imagination of the child.

We will start locally, but understanding ourselves as part of nature, and knowing that nature is in a
global crisis, we also begin globally. Local and global merge immediately in all genuine revolutionary work today. We recognize that even while we must close ranks in our local communities, that our crisis calls for more international coordination than ever before.

We begin by building community, by building trust, by making neighbors. We will take actions that
show this genuine people power and reject the ritualized and ineffective methods of the past. We
understand that civil disobedience is only effective when your adversary is concerned about public
opinion, and recognize that the conditions for this effectiveness are eroding quickly. We also must
move beyond the visionless non-profit/NGO world of reformism. Neighborhoods and towns can do
something against Big Oil and the other powers that be.

In addition to teach-ins, building self-sufficiency, disaster relief, and other prefigurative strategies
of production and resistance, we recognize that culture and the arts must be front and center, at
the same level as politics. Culture and arts must guide our work just as much as disaster relief. We
can’t have a revolution without dancing and we can’t truly dance without revolution.

We declare our collective need for a new quality of economic planning to take us beyond
economics. This will involve a combination of collectivization and decentralized cooperative
networks. Until we build a real ecosocialist economic stream we will be reliant on the capitalist
market. This will require a coordinated vision and theory which spans seven generations.

We recognize Ecosocialist Horizons as a group capable of helping to facilitate the reproduction and
propagation of these values and these strategies, and that the theory and practice of the
ecosocialist convergence can be a model and vehicle to carry this work forward across
communities and continents. We pledge our support, our skills and our time to the further work of
this organization and to building future convergences, to clarify our theory and our vision, to
develop and train ourselves in the skills necessary for the horizon ahead, and to bring the people
together who will lead the way forward.