I’ve mentioned Democratic Socialist Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s Green New Deal as one proper response to the real harms of climate change. It’s also an opportunity for socialists to organize and save the planet… if they can restrain their impulse to didacticism:
SOCIALISTS CAN and should disagree with Ocasio-Cortez’s ahistorical and uncritical praise of the original New Deal — including how it was a reluctant response to mass social upheaval and made disastrous concessions to racism.
But we should also recognize the Green New Deal (GND) proposal as a tremendous opportunity to organize around the most comprehensive and radical climate reform proposal put forward to date on a national level — not just in the U.S., but possibly anywhere [Zachary Alexis, “Winning the Green New Deal We Need,” Socialist Worker, 2018.12.12].
The critique of the FDR’s sacrosanct New Deal here is like green peppers on pizza: tasty and good for you, but not to be overdone. When people come over for supper, you don’t just hand them a plate of green peppers; you give ’em pizza with a few green peppers gleaming amidst the cheese, and maybe a robust salad on the side, chock full of your garden veggies, if your guests are interested.
We Democrats, socialists, and other members of the Resistance have lots of historical lessons to teach. But we also have volunteers to recruit, votes to win, bills to pass, and a planet to save. Congresswoman-Elect Ocasio-Cortez is to be excused for implicitly endorsing an imperfect Depression-era reform program with her adoption of a phrase coined by reasonable capitalist Thomas Friedman; she has a planet to save, and we should help her.
Related Political Critique: Congresswoman-Elect Ocasio-Cortez wishes “Merry Christmas” to everyone, “including refugee babies in mangers + their parents,” then responds to anti-immigrant grouches and nitpickers with a Catholic priest’s explanation that, yes, Joseph and Mary really were refugees. Ocasio-Cortez can make the main policy point, but if you really want to go down the trail of historical detail, she can take you there and tear you apart.