SCII 10 Point Program

The Socialist Climate Initiative of Indiana (SCII) was formed out of the necessity to organize around a revolutionary perspective on environmental justice in the state of Indiana. We are in a global ecological crisis brought on by capitalism, colonialism, and imperialism. While we must all conserve resources and be environmentally conscious, this is not enough on its own, and we must not misplace the blame for environmental problems on individuals rather than corporations and the state–particularly its military–which are the real sources of this climate catastrophe. While we fight to compel them to fix the problems they created, we have no illusions that we can achieve environmental justice while they are still in power. 

Liberal approaches to environmental organizing, both in this state and everywhere else, have undoubtedly served as important entry points for many people and have helped win important reforms. We have and will continue to work with liberal organizations. However, liberal ideology and organizing alone cannot achieve the fundamental changes needed to address the climate crisis because they do not challenge the systems that produce it. The same systems that created the crisis cannot solve the crisis. SCII believes that we have to build a massive and coordinated movement of working-class, marginalized, and oppressed peoples to wrest every possible concession from the ruling class while simultaneously organizing to make the revolutionary change that can actually solve the crisis.

The history in the U.S. has made it clear that we can only advance by organizing the broadest sectors of the population through struggle. As Assata Shakur said, “Nobody in the world, nobody in history, has ever gotten their freedom by appealing to the moral sense of the people who were oppressing them.” This is the reason why we fight instead of plead.

The following are the most important examples of what the rulers of Indiana and the United States as a whole need to do to prevent climate catastrophe.

  1. 100% Renewable Energy for Indiana!
    • Immediately transition away from nuclear power and fossil fuels towards safe and renewable energy sources, including solar, wind, geothermal, and hydro power.
    • Convert environmentally harmful industries (gasoline-powered automobiles, fossil fuel production) to sustainable industries (wind turbines, solar panels, electric vehicle production).
    • Eliminate fossil fuel subsidies. Restrict nuclear and fossil fuel lobbies.
    • Repeal the HB 1414 coal bailout, a legislative hurdle to the transition to renewable energy that may raise Hoosier electricity bills. Eliminate similar legislation that bails out the fossil fuel industry and prevents energy sustainability. 
  2. Just transition led by the workers!
    • The transition towards sustainable environmental practices must be led by workers.
    • Overturn and abolish Indiana’s so-called “Right to Work” laws! They remove labor protections by discouraging organized labor and making labor contracts more difficult to negotiate. Workers affected by climate change and the transition away from fossil fuels need to be empowered to protect themselves.
    • Put in place a carbon cap and tax, the revenues of which would go towards funding a just transition program for workers in affected industries.
    • Transfer management of industrial production and factories to the workers. 
    • Provide accessible and free job-retraining under the guidance of organized labor.
  3. Make public transit free and accessible for all!
    • According to the US Department of Transportation, buses produce 33% less greenhouse gas emissions than cars. Heavy rail transit is even more efficient, producing 76% less emissions than a standard passenger vehicle.
    • Use public funds to construct infrastructure for carbon-neutral transportation, including electric bus lines, light rail, safe bike lanes, and pedestrian-only streets. Including the conversion of the IndyGo fleet to all-electric buses.
    • Public transportation should be planned on and based on the community needs. Hold a comprehensive and accessible community review process prior to the implementation of new transit systems. 
    • Public transit should be equitable, accessible, and inclusive for people of all races, abilities, ages, sexualities, genders, and nationalities.
  4. Hold corporations culpable for damages to the environment!
    • Multiple companies, especially those involved in agriculture, skirt regulations with not even a tap on the wrist from law enforcement. This includes wage theft, union-busting, and flagrantly ignored environmental regulations.
    • Between 2011 and 2019, the EPA reported 5500 to 7600 new hazardous waste violations annually with over 500 of these each year being cases of “significant noncompliance” (SNCs). In the same dataset, the EPA reports a negative trend of financial penalties, going from $40M in 2011 to $21M in 2019–despite no such decreasing trend of hazardous waste violations or cases of SNCs.
    • While insufficient, we already have existing Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) guidelines and regulations. Increase funding and staffing for these vital agencies and strictly enforced regulations; violations must be reported and prosecuted.
    • Corporations that violate environmental regulations should be taken into a public trust.
    • Profits from environmental violations and public-trust corporations must be used to pay reparations to the communities most impacted by pollution and contamination.
    • Packaging, shipping, and other logistical processes, which are especially important in Indiana’s economy, must be regulated to minimize the waste that companies produce in the name of profit.
  5. Make curbside recycling and composting a public service!
    • The monopoly on waste management in the Indianapolis metro area should be dissolved. Waste management is necessary for quality of life and must be a public utility that is managed by the state.
    • Curbside recycles should be available to every Hoosier household free of cost. 
    • Composting should be available on a community level. A space in every neighborhood could be provided specifically for the use of constructing a community compost. 
    • All waste management, including composts and recycling, should be designed and implemented by and based on the needs of the communities.
    • In addition to curbside recycling, there should be accessible drop off locations for recyclables (including electronics) throughout the state.
  6. Stop food waste and feed the hungry!
    • Around 1 million Hoosiers–15.4 percent of the state’s population–go hungry every year. Hunger is not the result of an insufficient food supply nor of individuals throwing away excess food. Instead, hunger is the result of the private ownership of food production and distribution. While the poor go hungry, private corporations throw away food because it can not be sold at a profit.
    • Food production and distribution should be organized in the public’s interest and access to healthy food should be a right.
    • The rights of small-scale and independent farmers should be protected against predatory agricultural corporations.
    • Food deserts and food insecurity, which affect poor people and people of color in dramatic ways, must be redressed immediately. The governing bodies must ensure grocery stores, with sufficient food choices, are placed according to need instead of profit.
  7. Protect Indiana’s natural environment!
    • According to Purdue University’s Forestry and Natural Resources Guide, Indiana had 88% forest coverage in 1800. In 2000, it had approximately 20%–a reduction of over 15 million acres of forest. Less than one percent of tree loss per year is attributable to natural causes.
    • The environment is not a commodity but a living being. As such, environmental policy in the state must be oriented toward responsible and just stewardship. Such stewardship must proceed from the recognition of indigenous sovereignty and Native treaties.
    • Defend existing protected areas from capitalist resource extraction and contamination. End logging and mining in our national and state forests!
    • Expand existing legal protections for biodiversity in Indiana. Establish proactive programs to restore native ecosystems, including afforestation and removal of invasive species.
    • Initiate programs to alleviate poverty to reduce the economic pressure on people to exploit the natural resources for money.
    • Take more aggressive action to undo the damage done by corporations (including those areas identified by the IDEM as the most impacted: Lake, Porter, Morgan, Daviess, and Pike Counties).
    • Repeal SEA 229, a provision providing exemptions for construction that may damage wetlands, and similar legislation that facilitates corporate environmental exploitation.
  8. Bring all overseas troops home and dissolve the bases!
    • The U.S. military is the single largest polluter and greenhouse gas emitter in the world. Further, imperialist expansion for natural resources–including oil and minerals–destroys our earth and people.
    • After pulling out of the Paris Climate Accord, the military is no longer required to track greenhouse gas emissions. Since the beginning of the War on Terror in 2001, the US military has released an estimated 1.2 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide. Mechanisms for tracking emissions must be mandated, and these data must be made accessible to the public.
    • Bring all overseas troops home immediately.
    • Military research and development takes at least $55 billion every year – this money could meet people’s needs and fight climate change. Also, weapons testing has made countless acres of indigenous land uninhabitable and polluted.
    • The military should work for the people. For example, in China, troops are tasked with planting trees on the outskirts of the Gobi Desert to combat desertification caused by climate change. Our military should be used for similar projects.
  9. Climate education for every student!
    • Due to our poor standard on climate education, only 54% of young adults believe that climate change is happening and only 57% of those young adults believe that it is caused by human activity. School is the primary place where students learn about the climate so we must invest further in climate education in schools.
    • The worldwide climate crisis is past the point of debate. We must start educating youth on the crisis, to facilitate informed public discourse based on scientific research.
    • Integrate and prioritize climate education in existing courses, subjects, and academic standards. The environment and climate crisis are not isolated issues and must be taught and discussed from broad and diverse perspectives. Thus, school and popular education must address climate justice as related to colonialism, capitalism, extractivism, and imperialism.
    • Climate change is not the result of individual actions and will not be solved by individuals making different lifestyle choices. Education must emphasize the systematic roots of and solutions to climate change.
  10. Declare a climate state of emergency and invoke the Defense Production Act!
    • Pass and implement a Green New Deal (a concrete and binding climate action plan) at the city, state, and federal levels.
    • Despite its reactionary origins in the U.S. war against Korea, the Defense Production Act is currently an available avenue for mobilizing production and distribution in the interests of the earth and its inhabitants. Rather than using it for war, we should use it for peace and sustainability.
    • Since at least 1960, the DPA has been “accessible” to several different sectors of the US government and has been invoked widely outside of purely military matters. For example, throughout the 1970s, the act was used to expand oil production, and to research synthetic fuel, microelectronics, and composite materials. In the 1990s, the DPA was expanded to cover “emergency preparedness”, including responses to natural disasters.

This platform serves as a starting point for organizing in defense of the planet and all of its inhabitants. It is not comprehensive and stagnant, but a living and evolving platform. It structures the demands we place on local, state, and federal leaders while recognizing that the system and its representatives that caused the crisis will not and cannot solve it. Socialist environmentalism is based on the recognition that capitalism is the crisis and that socialism is the answer. While revolution is absolutely realistic, it cannot happen without struggling for and winning demands. We must struggle to defend and advance every possible reform that will improve all life.