The Green New Deal. Most recently formally proposed by rising star Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a lot of you have heard about it, and are already seeing opposition to it, especially among the GOP. Some of you may not be paying attention, thinking that this resolution is just an environmental initiative.
The Green New Deal is a sweeping reform of our democratic processes, financial institutions, and methods of promoting the values of equality, freedom, and the American Dream. It aims to effectively dismantle America’s forced slide into inequality, fascism, and corporate oligarchy. It is the culmination of progressive thought in the new millennium, wrapped up in a plan to promote sustainable practices and combat climate change by cutting pollution and emissions.
So why is there so much backlash? Because the GND also takes aim at the largest financial institutions in the country, and the world. Some of these institutions have helped put a lot of politicians in office, again not only here, but all over the globe- Corporate entities that have the power to start coups and overthrow governments, often using our own media and military through their ownership of our representatives and media conglomerates. The GND aims to break apart the clumps of power that have been allowed, in direct opposition to the wellbeing of the public, to consolidate behind the scenes over the last few decades.
And those powers are worried. Because all of this is wrapped up in a resolution that doesn’t directly call out any of these institutions.
What it does call for:
“Providing all people of the United States with-
- High quality healthcare;
- Affordable, safe, and adequate housing;
- Economic security
- Clean water, clean air, healthy and affordable food, and access to nature.”
And also, to “achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions through a fair and just transition for all communities and workers… [and] to invest in the infrastructure and industry of the United States to sustainably meet the challenges of the 21st century.’
What it targets, directly:
- The stagnation of hourly wages since the seventies
- Worsening socioeconomic mobility
- The top 1%, relating to the accruing of 91% of gains after the Great Recession in 2008
- Racial/gender wealth dividesInjustice against indigenous peoples and deindustrialized communities, the poor, and disabled
- Fossil fuel research/expansion
- Emissions and pollution sources
- Anti-union groups –
- Domestic and international monopolies
Who that worries/concerns:
- Any large corporation that operates via a business plan that depends on low-paid labor
- (Predatory) financial, medical, and insurance institutions
- The elitist and prejudiced communities
- Fossil fuel and other industries that try to use eminent domain and police power to push pipelines though disadvantaged communities or indigenous lands
- Big banks, Big Pharma, Big Energy, Big Agriculture, and the MSM
- Any other industry that hurts public health and wellbeing through pollution and emissions
So, this Green New Deal is bound to get backlash from these entities, and the representatives that they have in office. Goes along with the territory.
There are also, however, others that think the language is not enough. That it is too vague and lacks a specific roadmap. That it doesn’t propose a means of payment for its sweeping infrastructure overhaul. That it has no clear outline for a managed decline of fossil fuel production. But Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is playing a sly game of political poker.
You see, the Green New Deal already existed with far more prominent teeth, as part of the official platform for the Green Party during the November 2018 elections, and originally introduced by Jill Stein in the 2016 presidential elections. In other forms, it goes even farther back than that. So all those on the right that say it’s a leftist pipedream are immediately discredited by the simple fact that Ocasio-Cortez’s GND is actually fairly centrist.
To contrast, the Green Party’s version of the GND calls specifically for:
- Free quality healthcare and education, as well as complete student loan forgiveness.
- Creation of a federal bank that manages distressed properties and expands rental and home ownership assistance
- The right to affordable utilities
- Nationalizing the Federal Reserve and breaking up the big banks
- Establishing a 90% on bonuses for bailed-out bankers
- Supporting the formation of public banking systems that operate as non-profits
- Revoking corporate personhood
- Replacing big money control of election campaigns with public funding and equal access to airwaves
- Abolishing the Electoral College
- Repealing the Patriot Act
- Reducing military spending by 50%
The problem that Ocasio-Cortez’s GND is vague is protected by the fact that it was not introduced as a piece of legislation, but as a proposed resolution. It was designed to give the public and representatives something tangible to grapple with. And the fact that it addresses very real problems like climate change and socioeconomic injustice means that this version will age well, as these problems will only become more pressing. And as they do, this GND will pull public perception on environmental issues to a more progressive place. It will give the Green Party’s platform more exposure, whilst simultaneously highlighting the complete lack of any other kind of plan to address these issues.
The Green New Deal won’t be built in a day. But now it’s in the public eye, and it isn’t just a catchphrase anymore. It is a plan with steps toward environmental and economic sustainability that isn’t something that some other country is doing or that is impossible to do here. This proposal gives the public a real, tangible, and validated conceptual design for the future of the United States and all Americans.