The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has called for “unprecedented levels” of mobilization to address climate change. Thirty years of market-driven climate policy have failed to change “business as usual.” Capitalism’s effect on the climate can already be seen today, and its impacts will only to get worse. It is unlikely that utility companies will phase out fossil fuels on their own; the centralized grid model is failing the ratepayers, as Pacific Gas & Electric’s case shows. Socialist models of ownership and control over energy can give communities the power needed to halt climate change and restructure society according to ecological boundaries. We envision a publicly controlled energy grid powered by 100% renewable energy and maintained by workers’ unions.
We view the #TakeBackTheGrid campaign as vital in bringing together the different ways that fossil fuel companies impact people’s everyday lives. We want to bring together ratepayers, organized labor, and local frontline environmental organizations in a unified campaign to push back against fossil fuel companies. People interact with fossil fuel companies on a daily basis through our electricity and gas utility systems. Climate change can often seem like a big, abstract topic, but the struggle against utilities companies polluting our backyards and making us pay them to do it is relevant, local, and real.
We also see this project as complementary to broader environmental initiatives, such as the Green New Deal, and a key component as a bottom-up campaign that serves as a local and concrete example of what a socialist vision of our energy systems can look like. Additionally, we see this as a first step towards an ecosocialist future. Democratization of our energy systems is not an end goal, but rather a tool that we can use to continue to push for the types of changes that capitalism will never allow for. Capitalism got us into the mess we’re in today, and only socialism will get us back out.
Given this, we have structured our demands around the 4 D’s of Energy Democracy, which outline our vision of what a future state of and energy system needs to entail, and our demands to the current status quo. These principles help shape and focus our work as a campaign, and provide a radical alternative to our present energy systems.
The 4 D’s of Energy Democracy
- Democratize – We need to work to bring energy systems under public ownership and control, one that works for the public good rather than private profit.
- Decarbonize – We need a system one that restructures our energy systems along ecologically sustainable lines.
- Decommodify – The profit motive needs to be removed from energy provision: no one should go without heat or electricity for lack of means to pay. In today’s modern world, energy is a human right, not a commodity.
- Decolonize – We need to fight for repatriation of indigenous land, we need to fight for reparations for damage done to frontline communities, and we need to ensure that new energy infrastructure does not replicate existing systems of injustice.
If you’d like to help us turn this vision into a reality, click here to get involved.