The Green New Deal is a visionary program to protect the earth’s climate while creating good jobs, reducing injustice, and eliminating poverty. Its core principle is to use the necessity for climate protection as a basis for realizing full employment and social justice.
To protect against catastrophic global warming, the United States is preparing to rapidly reduce the burning of fossil fuels–coal, oil, and natural gas. As we transition to a climate safe economy, many people ask, “What about the workers who will lose their jobs in fossil fuels and other polluting industries?”
During CNN’s Democratic presidential town hall on the climate crisis in September, a one-time oysterman from Connecticut told candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren:
My farm was destroyed by two hurricanes. Now warming waters and acidification is killing seed, coast to coast and reducing yields. Those of us that work on the water need climate solutions, and we need them now. The trouble is, the Green New Deal only mentions our oceans one time. This is despite the fact that our seas soak up more than 25% of the world’s carbon. So what’s your plan for a Blue New Deal for those of us working on the ocean? How do we make sure we can make a living on a living planet?
What can we learn from the role of people power in the Great Depression and in the first year of the Coronavirus Depression? Based on the seven preceding commentaries on the New Deal and the popular movements of 2020, this commentary maintains that popular direct action can play a significant role in shaping the Biden era. It examines the emerging political context and suggests guidelines for navigating the complex landscape that lies ahead.
In the first year of the Coronavirus Pandemic and the ensuing Coronavirus Depression, “people power” played a little-acknowledged but critical role–recounted in the previous commentaries in this series–in protecting health and economic wellbeing. Despite change in the national political context, they are continuing into the Biden era. Movements utilizing people power direct action may be just as important in this era.
The climate plan released by Joe Biden in August presents a wide-ranging program for reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The previous commentary, “The Biden Climate Plan: Part 1: What It Proposes” summarizes that plan. This commentary identifies the points of conflict on climate policy and related social policies that are likely to emerge within a Biden administration. It concludes by assessing how advocates of a Green New Deal can take advantage of the Biden program to fight for a climate-safe, worker-friendly, socially-just outcome.
This commentary analyzes Joe Biden’s “Plan for Climate Change and Environmental Justice” released in August. The following commentary, “The Biden Climate Plan: Part 2: An Arena of Struggle,” will consider the struggles that are likely to emerge over what parts of the plan can and should be implemented.
The Coronavirus pandemic and the economic depression accompanying it are already engendering new movements of both employed and unemployed workers. In some ways these resemble the worker and unemployed movements that emerged in the first years of the Great Depression; in other ways they are very different.
In a fiery October 10 speech, Steve Bannon, Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign CEO, said that at 10 or 11 o’clock November 3 Trump is going to walk into the Oval Office “having won Ohio, and being up in Pennsylvania and Florida,” and he’s going to say, “Hey, game’s over.”