How to Fund a People’s Climate Revolution

To deal with climate change, we must build socialist financial and market institutions that transcend social democracy and ensure a just transition.

Ever since socialist and leftist movements became formally organized in the West in the mid-to-late 19th centuries, they have fought for control over central banks and finance. In order to protect democratic decisions against the control of financiers, theorists like Rudolf Hilferding argued that it would be necessary to subject the central banks that first developed as private monopolies guaranteed by the public purse to public control. Both theorists and left-wing movements in the Populist and Socialist parties advocated for public banks that would be able to make allocation decisions and protect workers, cooperatives, and farmers against the control of finance and the businesses connected with them.

These battles were successful, and incarnations of their vision continue to exist and thrive in places as distinct as Germany, China, India, and North Dakota. These include development banks, postal banks, and systems of public banks (though they generally exclude central banking policy). Today, however, these institutions are often linked to more minimal social-democratic missions such as the maintenance of mortgage lending. They are also connected to questionable developmental policies that are synonymous with environmental devastation and exclusion such as the creation of mega-dams, fracking and gas extraction, and mining projects.

As we confront the existential crisis of climate change, new but parallel demands for divestment from fossil fuel assets have emerged from an ideologically heterogenous environmental movement. These demands are in line with other campaigns to divest assets from the war economy, from private prisons, and the BDS movement. Environmental and student groups have employed the language of morality and outrage in the course of demands on colleges, on private business, and on banks.

The most compelling demands, however, are the ones on governments to divest both their pension assets and their tax receipts from private banking institutions. The Cleveland or Preston model suggests a way to create decommodified community or state-level ecosystems around public banks, public institutions such as universities, and worker cooperatives. An expansion of postal banking would enable workers to avoid the web of debt which consumers in the global north and farmers in the global south increasingly confront. There are similar demands to ensure that there are democratic limits on the U.S. Federal Reserve and to employ bond and asset purchasing capabilities, or even national-level institutions such as development banks and the Tennessee Valley Authority, to accommodate fiscal expansion and to buy out the assets of dirty energy companies.

If ecosocialists are going to build new and transformed financial institutions as part of a Green New Deal or Just Transition program, the specific projects need to be as robust and creative as the economic and environmental situation demands. The history shows that it is critical that we avoid the environmental racism and unsustainable projects associated with prior banking programs through systems that include community control and more democratic governance. We also need to design a range of institutions that can confront larger economic problems of governmental austerity and increasing financialization and speculation that prevent necessary investment and development of green technology even as they intensify the painful processes of expropriation and speculation associated with late capitalism. We must fight for a transformed global economy and build institutions that appeal to constituencies within the American and international Left. With the U.S. at the center of the global financial system, even a mild reordering of priorities will make other forms of sustainable and democratic global development possible.

The Bank of North Dakota: Socialist Victory and a Funding Model for Extractivism  

It was in response to a moment of extraordinary rural pain and financial exploitation that the first fully public bank came to fruition in the United States. Though it has garnered increasing attention, North Dakota rarely features as a model of a successful socialist movement even among American leftists. But alongside progressives and Socialist Party allies in the Minnesota Farmer-Labor Party and Wisconsin Progressive Party, activists in the North Dakota Nonpartisan League (NPL) created a model for disrupting a repressive, two-party system, while organizing both farmers and workers in an alliance similar to those that marked the heyday of social democracy in Scandinavia.

A.C. Townley, a former organizer for the Socialist Party, led the league to a “dirty break” with a bipartisan system by running in primaries for both state-favored, major parties. They brought together farmers concerned with loans that they owed to powerful, out-of-state rentiers with workers facing violent repression under conditions in which there were minimal or completely absent guarantees of basic labor rights including a minimum wage or the right to organize and strike.

Starting in 1916, the NPL was successful in taking over the North Dakota legislature and enacted an early version of the Bank of North Dakota in 1919 alongside state ownership of grain elevators and other agricultural institutions. The bank initially was intended to prevent farmers from losing their farms to usurious loan terms and to help finance cooperative institutions and provide a savings institution for individuals along the lines of a credit union. But the bank faced opposition from the same business and financial interests. A collapse in agricultural prices and the recall of Governor Lynn Frazier in 1921 did not end what continued to be a successful movement for state-owned business but resulted in an institution that is shorn of essential features that socialists had sought. The current banking institution is guaranteed by general revenues and deposits include those of the state government and agencies. It features a single branch and limited retail functions, all designed not to compete against private and savings institutions. There is a bank president and advisory commission but the institution is managed by the North Dakota Industrial Commission, an administrative board with a broader role that includes the Governor, Attorney General, and Agriculture Commissioner. It does, however, continue to provide mortgages, student loans, and loans to farmers and small businesses.

The Bank of North Dakota helped the state emerge from the great financial crisis almost a century later without an iteration of the housing crisis that investment and mortgage banks throughout the Global North experienced. It helped develop industries that were still capable of growth even during a moment of economic catastrophe when entire cities built in Florida, Northern China, and Central Spain were abandoned.

But the very modes of economic expansion were rooted in resource-intensive and environmentally sustainable practices such as the construction of private pipelines to funnel fracked gas from the Bakken Shale formation. Alongside other private-sector investment and commercial banks, the bank’s role in financing the extractive Dakota Access Pipeline was central to devastation of sacred sites and zones and endangering the drinking water of millions of people. Those pipelines led to massive public opposition from the Lakota and Dakota Sioux Nations at the Standing Rock Reservation in late 2016. They also drew massive opposition from other indigenous and environmental activists at the Standing Rock camps. During a heroic mid-winter standoff, the activists garnered world-wide attention as they faced down armed police and national guardsmen who did not hesitate in beating them, using freezing water on them, and arresting and prosecuting them for engaging in basic free speech. Following intense state and private violence and unconstitutional surveillance designed to demoralize and rout a people’s movement to defend indigenous sovereignty and clean water, organizers disbanded the camp in early 2017. The fight against the pipeline and the adequacy of the environmental impact statement continues in the regulatory agencies and the courts.

The formation of the Bank of North Dakota thus serves as a model for left-wing political activism that responds to people’s material needs. But the longer trajectory of the bank is emblematic of how even the ideal financial institutions can be subject to both external economic pressure and political subversion. They can, in effect, be transformed into vehicles for funding extractivism and devastating excluded communities—as well as the majority who are also vulnerable to climate change—without adequate checks on their decisions.

In developing a system of climate finance, it is critical that we design that system to meet immediate material needs for employment or welfare and housing. It is just as important to design a system that addresses the connected crisis of financialization and racial dispossession.

The Long Financial Crisis

Though global financial institutions and powerful countries like the E.U. and U.S. appear to have averted a moment of systemic collapse that began in 2007, there are continuing banking and social risks and growing individual exploitation that even orthodox theory cannot justify.

At a moment of growing financialization involving both speculation and austerity, wealthy interests have sought to complete their project of destroying and profiting from the sale of previously public institutions essential for human rights and survival such as clean water and public schools. They have had some success on the state and territorial level in accomplishing this mission. These moves occur in the context of deepening economic dislocation and pain. As work becomes casualized and the relationship between employers and employees turned into contractual or fragmented relationships, workplace guarantees and insurance become ineffective. The cost of housing in key cities has escalated as money pours into luxury commodities such as high-end housing and fine art. Similarly, the cost of higher education has escalated in the U.S. as the entire education system is privatized and dismantled.

Even as activists have fought back, this has led to an escalation in private debt and the growth of payday lending and lending to individuals who have no other recourse or options. The funding of social investment in universities, public housing, and community land trusts is therefore just as important as advancing affordable consumer and mortgage loans. The Great Financial Crisis showed that sovereign nations like Greece but also the U.S. are just as vulnerable to political pressure for banking bailouts that convert private risk into public debt in order to sustain the short-term model of late capitalism. Although this political project of austerity and asset speculation appears unsustainable on economic and social grounds, only challenges from below are likely to defeat it.

Simultaneously, publicly traded companies are turned into resources for financial extraction so that they no longer perform research and development but are engaged in the same types of speculation and scam activity as financial institutions. It is a model of uneven development that is marked by both near-economic collapse in areas on the periphery such as Puerto Rico and unaffordability and the growth of both speculative finance and monopolies from magazine printing to technology enterprises. A new generation of social democrats and market reformers that includes Sen. Elizabeth Warren and the Open Markets Institute increasingly view these as “unproductive” economic activities instead of the “real economy” and call for a return to a regulated capitalism that is buttressed by antitrust policy and public ownership of utilities and limited aspects of the economy. What is almost as concerning is that those public and private sector employees who do have pensions are increasingly searching for yield from companies that are boosting stock prices by laying off employees, dismembering their operations, and engaging in a race-to-the-bottom on labor and environmental standards. The role of finance and central banks in funding extractive industry and dirty energy is only part of a phenomenon that includes fraud and systemic instability.

Though the problems are more complex, the role of finance and extraction are not new. Countries throughout the Americas were founded on the dispossession and murder of native peoples and mass slavery and the triangle trade; industrialization and the development of finance would not have been possible without the lucrative cotton markets and the fortunes built in that period are still with us today. Theorists including Rudolf Hilferding, Hyman Minsky, and Costas Lapavitsas have remarked on the possibility that financial and economic interests cooperate in increasingly monopolized forms. Minsky postulates that cycles of greater debt and speculation recur in market financial systems while Hilferding and Lapavitsas argue that “productive” and “fictitious” capital function together in the interests of integrated monopolies and financial and monetary games involving everything from consumer credit to stock manipulation. The present moment represents for many people are paradox in which the market is neither efficient nor able to engage in “innovation” or sustainable expansion. It therefore may signal a rupture in economic orthodoxy and open the door to new, if occasionally conflictual, left discourses that emerge from social democratic, socialist, and communitarian traditions.

Demands from Below and the Scope of a Green New Deal

An existing movement for environmental justice and a just transition from fossil fuels also prioritizes community control over the economic transition that must occur. Though not the only current on the larger left that needs to be addressed, it is notable that the Green New Deal (GND) program that the Justice Democrats and New Consensus have developed alongside Congressperson Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez prioritizes not only a jobs guarantee and expansion of worker rights and infrastructure jobs but also references indigenous sovereignty, builds power in excluded and front-line communities, and secures workers’ rights. This program builds in significant part on the work of the Green Party for a transformed financial and central banking sector.

These demands emerge from a long theoretical and practical campaign against racial and social exclusion and the devastation and redlining of frontline communities. Those fights were in part against the legacy of the first New Deal that protected relatively well-off farmers and property owners while red-lining African-Americans, concentrating mining and polluting facilities, and placing people in areas vulnerable to rising tides and floods. The movements culminated in the New Left and Civil Rights’ movement for a federal job guarantee in the late 1960s and 1970s that has been reborn through the work of Economists Darrick Hamilton and Sandy Darity. Economists Pavlina Tcherneva, Stephanie Kelton, and Robert Hockett, who are associated with Modern Monetary Theory, are also among those who have provided a theoretical foundation for a reappraisal of monetary policy and expanded spending on programs such as a jobs guarantee and GND. A comparable movement for economic justice that includes advocates such as Kali Akuno from Cooperation Jackson has pledged meanwhile to ensure that community control of resources and economic democracy as well as an economic transition led by those who will be most affected by climate change and industrial transformation.

They call on the left to redress the role of public institutions like the Bank of North Dakota in the displacement of people of color—ironically most vulnerable to climate change—to serve the purposes of extraction and dispossession by expropriation and speculation. For that reason, we have to build institutions that are democratic and as creative as the capitalist institutions that we have to challenge.

Visions for Socialist Climate Finance and Development

The fight over the Dakota Access Pipeline fed new life into an ongoing modern movement for divestment and new forms of public and private finance. From Seattle to New York City to Ireland, cities and other institutions have slowly responded to movements for pension divestment and new banking institutions by beginning to divest—in the face of opposition from conservatives and some unions—from equities invested in those companies and considering forms of public banking.

But a move away from private investment only marks the beginning of a long inquiry into how a new economy should function. In an environment of growing austerity, monopoly capital, and continuing social exclusion, it is worth considering a range of public and social ownership vehicles. We should also consider how to avoid the disaster—the utter inadequacy and political unsustainability—of elite visions of carbon taxes that offer no benefits for working people in places as different as Australia and France. A network of institutions each solve distinct problems and appeal to different constituencies on the left but together articulate an ecosystem of institutions that could resolve problems of government finance and social investment necessary to combat twin crises of climate change and financialization.

Pension Divestment and Reinvestment

A simple strategy for ending reliance on fossil fuel energy has been divestment of pension assets and banking assets of cities, states, and universities and their reinvestment in green energy and infrastructure. This campaign, which is part moral and part designed to signal that future dirty energy investments will not be viable, has been adopted by environmental non-profits such as the non-profit associated with founder Bill McKibben. Today, some $8 trillion in equity investments have been divested from pension funds, banks, and entire nations’ investments. There has been significant debate about the efficacy of the campaign on equity prices given the incredible value of the assets at issue and the possibility that other investors will simply purchase the investments. Some advocates argue that there is a “carbon bubble” driven by declining prices for renewable energy and public opposition that will result in “stranded assets.” Others argue that the attention brought to the systemic entanglements is worth evaluating. The arguments about declining prices have not convinced, for instance, the New York State Comptroller or unions in New York or in California whose members’ retirement would be affected—likely with higher returns—by divestment. But falling asset prices and demand shifts are so dramatic that the prudent course of action is to begin now.

New York City, for one, has moved to reinvest $4 billion of its pension fund divestment in funding clean energy investments that include windmills in the Rockaways, off the coast. A more radical solution along the lines of the Swedish Meidner Plan and contemporary state ownership from France to Brazil would involve state ownership of equities through pension funds or other ownership vehicles. Communitarian groups and formations have called for reinvestment of assets in not just dirty energy companies but the prison and military industries that will be directed by workers and communities in excluded and front-line communities such as those vulnerable to climate change.

Public Banking Institutions

There are growing campaigns for what has gained growing support: public banking on the municipal and state level. A resolution in favor of municipal public banking was referred to National Political Committee the at the 2017 DSA Convention and Chapters including Seattle, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and New York have joined campaigns. Though these have not yet been successful and the Los Angeles Campaign was defeated in a 2018 municipal referendum, interest continues growing. In California, Michigan, New Hampshire, Washington and New Jersey. Chicago, and San Francisco the public bank model has become popular for what it might foster in infrastructure and technological development, social spending, an alternative to diminishing tax returns, and even the growth of the marijuana industry. The evidence and studies suggest just how effective these public banks have been on the municipal and state level in achieving goals that are not possible through market funding or structures.

The Bank of North Dakota presents one model of how a municipal or state public bank could be funded and governed but there are several visions for providing investment and commercial banking. But a system of local development banks in Germany and China have helped fund green energy and infrastructure. If supported through pension investments, tax receipts, and other existing resources, they may be able to fund social welfare expansion through worker and community cooperatives. The need to maintain solvency through loans with limited credit risk and adequate returns as well as bonds may require their core function to be the extension of consumer and commercial loans alongside the development of large-scale state enterprises and funding research and development. Just as important is that the governance of the system not mimic existing state institutions with a high degree of autonomy or corporatization, such as the Federal Reserve and Regional Banks.

If public banks are governed by local community boards or elected boards, perhaps with subsidiary organization on the city, county, or even neighborhood level, it would be more likely to avoid problems with pollution, extraction, and environmental racism. In partnership with local institutions such as schools, government agencies, and worker and community cooperatives, public banks can even help sustain a decommodified local economy that features local and worker control of key institutions alongside government institutions. This model is often referred to as the Cleveland or Preston Model for governance of public institutions.  

In advocating for a state or local public bank, it is important to recognize failed or ineffective models of public finance. There are already limited state-level Green Banks in New York and Connecticut that are mostly involved in fostering public-private or private development. Perhaps because of the limited prospects for generating short-to-medium-term returns in a renewable energy sector dominated by publicly funded Chinese businesses, the NY State Green Bank and state investment have largely been a failure and even have led to corruption scandals. State-level banking institutions would benefit from programs for public ownership of energy assets and transmission to avoid the need to generate market-level returns.

It’s worth considering whether either a loan fund or public municipal or state bonds would be immediately viable and effectively meet financing needs for non-public investment. These have been effective instruments in the U.S. context and are likely to attract mainstream political support. Former Goldman Sachs Executive and current left-liberal New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy championed public banks during his run for office but a coalition has taken the lead in advocating for a left or social democratic program for new institutions. As a result of the opposition he has faced from the Democratic-controlled State Senate, perhaps, he is now advocating for loan facilities to replace tax credits that had neither generated employment nor adequate returns.

Federal Level Public Banking and Finance

On the Federal Level, there is a model for an enormous development bank or funding program in the New Deal-era Reconstruction Finance Corp. (RFC), Rural Electrification Administration, and Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA). The Reconstruction Finance Corp. served as the largest contemporary investment “bank” that funded the expansion in a moribund economy largely through loans and the sale of low-return bonds to the U.S. Treasury. This enabled the Federal government to direct the economy and steer other public enterprises and infrastructure projects on a scale unprecedented in modern U.S. history. The sale of bonds parallels how the U.S. Federal Reserve purchased bonds from the U.S. Treasury and printed or generated money on ledgers in order to finance fiscal spending at a moment of economic collapse and austerity.

The Tennessee Valley Authority, on the other hand, is a paradox: a transformative New Deal institution that continues to be popular with the left and the right. Its role in a historically underdeveloped part of the country may play a part in its acclaim but it is likely that its singular status as a local development bank explains its situation. It is a popular public finance institution designed for the development of public investment and development. It has been instrumental in expanding everything from extractive energy and dams to electrification as well as responsible for environmental racism, in the siting of extractive enterprises. Founder Matt Bruenig of the People’s Policy Project has recently advocated for a transformed agency, eliminating geographic restrictions on the agency, requiring that it decarbonize its existing infrastructure by 2027 with priority at new jobs for displaced workers, allowing it to issue green bonds backed by the full faith and credit of the U.S. government, and refocusing it on green energy development.

The more limited Rural Electrification Administration funded the development of local energy businesses and energy cooperatives. It serves as a model for energy democracy and community microgrids as functioning entities and models for a green energy transition that may disrupt the performance and viability of existing grid formations and energy monopolies, whether controlled by the state or regulated private monopolies. Hurricane Sandy devastated the infrastructure of Puerto Rico but has also provided an example of how community-operated microgrids might be developed after a climate catastrophe.

Postal Banking and Credit Unions

In the context of finance, there are few institutions that could make more of a difference in the lives of working people than having access to secure credit and savings institutions. As the Inspector General for the United States Postal Service notes in calling for its reintroduction in the public interest, the U.S. once had extensive postal banking in line with those in most industrialized countries. It abandoned the system during the 1960s at a time where rates of return on postal savings were low and could not compete with alternatives. The abandonment of the larger saving bank and financial regulatory system at the federal and state level during the next three decades, however, has prevented many people from either obtaining reliable consumer credit or even having access to savings. The expansion of check-cashing and storefront payday lenders and fancier analogues exposes the difficulties that workers have experienced during an era of declining incomes, decreased job security, austerity, and economic dislocation. The expansion of private debt also points to the weakness of consumption, structural problems with the macroeconomy, and the political and social disenfranchisement of victims.

There have been other, typically small-scale, modes of pooling workers’ and community resources. They include methods of cooperative financing, union financing of social housing, or government funding and facilitation of local lending mechanisms. The solutions can range from the project for a credit union that the NYC-DSA Debt and Finance Working Group is exploring to campaigns for postal banking demonstration areas in a district of the Bronx for which both the NYC-DSA Debt and Finance and Racial Justice Working Groups have advocated. These banks may not have the funding and regulatory structure to permit them to extend significant loans but could help fund community energy micro-grids, social investments, worker cooperatives, climate resilience and infrastructure measures, and new housing construction.

Federal Level Monetary Policy

Two programs that have recently become popular on the left include the Modern Monetary Theory vision of expansive government backed by monetary policy and Quantitative Easing in the service of popular anti-debt and energy/industrial transition programs. This “post-Keynesian” theory analyzes the contested nature of money and money creation as well as historical evidence to argue that government can make funding decisions without resort to taxation. Although the Iran sanctions regime appears to be leading European leaders to develop an alternative payments scheme, the U.S. continues to dominate the global capitalist structure and possess the leading international currency. This makes it simple for the U.S. to pay back loans and meet its trading obligations in the U.S. dollar. It also means that there are fewer constraints on the scope of federal spending than are the case, for instance, where Jamaica or Brazil are deciding on their tax regime and fiscal program.

The U.S. even pioneered a form of central bank accommodation of fiscal spending during the New Deal era. The Federal Reserve Bank, which was the product of a secretive meeting of bankers following one of the repeated banking crises in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, briefly operated as a democratic institution that responded to the need for economic expansion by performing a similar operation to that of the Reconstruction Finance Corp. It purchased low-yield bonds from the Treasury Department that helped finance fiscal spending and engaged in direct lending to individuals. This provided a degree of stability and credibility that might not have been possible had the Treasury Department simply printed the money.

As Andreas Malm argues in his groundbreaking recent work Fossil Capital, there is no evidence that private parties currently are either capable or interested in funding technology and infrastructure on the scale necessary to combat the problem or redress the enormous fossil fuel capacity added in just the last few years. It is unavoidable to consider purely public solutions to the ecological crisis at a moment where critics like Timothy Mitchell argue that changes in the resource economy make it difficult if not impossible to engage in mass, disruptive action of the type that miners and industrial workers employed to improve not only their own working conditions but make mass democracy possible.

Environmental advocates including the Green Party and commentator Richard Smith have argued, in this context, that it is necessary to purchase the assets of both energy companies and heavy manufacturers. They are not only instrumental in an economy that predicted on infinite and unsustainable growth but is also vulnerable to the very speculative economic pressures they foment: a bubble. There is disagreement on whether to use taxes, eminent domain, or quantitative easing (essentially non-traditional asset purchases by the U.S. Federal Reserve Banking System) to pay for it. It would be possible for the government to advocate for the purchase of fossil fuel assets and allow for sales or depreciation of their stock purchase before the government purchases them for fair market value in line with the Takings Clause of the U.S. Constitution. This is a program attuned to the arguments of the degrowth movement that advocates for a model based in decommodification and substitution of leisure time and carework for industrial production. It is different from green capitalism or even the just expansion of industry that is envisioned by some socialists.

A World to Win

We are at a juncture in which the climate crisis is not just a horizon but the emerging reality that we confront each day and which affects everything from the food we eat, to the futures we dream of, and the battles we must wage. We confront simultaneous dilemmas of building ecosocialism while confronting an economic system based from the start on land expropriation and the authoritarianism that allows the devastation and criminalization of the Sioux people—and other excluded and frontline communities. Can we transform an economy based on extraction and unsustainable speculation, one that creates sacrifice zones in order to pump barrels of dirty tar sands oil and make a few more profits, into an economy that works for all? Can we transform a government that fosters austerity and social oppression and inequality into one that acts in the interest of not just the comfortable many but of frontline communities and the future survival of life on earth?

If we are going to be successful organizers in this multi-stage battle, we need to confront the unavoidable question of how we control public and private finance in the interests of the many and in the interests of the earth. We can only fund the programs we need and confront the problems of tax evasion and austerity with tools that include public bond issuance, development banks, and even equity ownership. Some programs—like the one for divestment/reinvestment—may lend themselves more readily to campaigns than others.  Others, such as the community-based finance of a just transition are in theoretical tension with state ownership of public banks. Other models are in not specifically financial or socialist in nature but allow for control over investment and allocation decisions by the public through pooling resources. Community Choice Aggregation, for instance, allows for consumers to pool their resources into purchasing green technology. A full range of strategies and financing options are described by the NextSystem Project of Democracy Collaborative.

As we make our demands, we have to consider both structure and international solidarity. As we socialize the existing financial system, it is crucial that we incorporate the safeguards that CUNY Economist J.W. Mason describes as necessary to avoid the next financial and social crisis. Just as important, we have to create a new global economic system that is not dependent on unsustainable forms of extraction, speculation, and expropriation in the most vulnerable countries and places. This will demand new global development banks that can develop and share technologies and a new international monetary system. It will also require changes to a treaty system that both protects resource nationalization and allows countries and subsidiary organizations to restructure their extractive energy systems while meeting the needs of their people. Those fights parallel DSA chapters’ municipal-level campaigns for a transformed energy sector.

As we initiate campaigns for legislation and new financial infrastructure, we must articulate a vision for economic nationalization just as much as one for economic democracy and a just transition. At what often feels like the end of history, we are confronted by models of an ecosocialist future that range from visions of expansion rooted in social democratic experiments to full nationalization to degrowth. While we consider different philosophical and scientific traditions, we need to ensure that we do not simply repeat the exclusionary mistakes—and unavoidable limitations—of North Dakota Socialists a century ago in setting up their public bank. We need to build socialist financial and market institutions that transcend social democracy and ensure a just transition to accomplish the unprecedented industrial transformation that climate change will necessitate. We have a world to win, after all.