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Anyone Who's Ever Taught Knows Fear Is a Lousy Motivator: why I will support this GND process, though it’s just the start of what is needed

Sandra Lindberg

Moderator
Here is the short article on GND I've submitted to John Foran:

Anyone Who’s Ever Taught Knows Fear Is a Lousy Motivator:
why I will support this GND process, though it’s just the start of what is needed


Trump likes to use threats. He told Texans the Green New Deal means, “They’re coming for your money, and they’re coming for your freedom.” Fox News, too, warns the Green New Deal will “move the United States closer than ever to socialism,” a system Trump equates with “corruption, exploitation and decay.” Trump wants people afraid, just like poor teachers who use threats to motivate student compliance.


GND critics threaten because they are worried. Americans, especially those under 30, aren’t afraid of the word socialism any longer. Too many in the US have suffered thanks to 21st Century capitalism. GND critics fear the GND because it can bring down CO2 emissions, convert fossil fuel use to renewable energy strategies, and focus on people of color and low-income folks hit hardest by the economic disasters of 2008. The GND links improved socio-economic conditions for Americans with reduction of CO2 levels currently threatening us with an extra crispy future.


Trump hopes fear will keep people clinging to capitalist myths. The GND offers strategies that trade fear for actions that unite us and return to us a sense that what we do matters. But there’s a hitch: the GND must remain robust and pass quickly,.


Jacobin Magazine writes “Actual legislation taking the kinds of action outlined in this resolution [GND] isn’t going to pass anytime soon. But that’s okay — it’s not meant to, … it set’s the bar high.” But if the GND takes decades to implement, AOC’s vision will not get the job done for this or any other generation. Climate scientists give us ten to a dozen years to drastically reduce CO2 emissions. Without profound change to societies around the planet, temperatures will soar, and extremities we cannot foresee will rip human systems apart.


What Jacobin does get right, as do many on the left, is the GND’s ability to inspire people to demand radical change. The indefatigable girl from Sweden Greta Thunberg realized this a year ago, “Some people, some companies, some decision-makers in particular, have known exactly what priceless values they have been sacrificing to continue making unimaginable amounts of money.” This year Greta will be joined by striking students in 150 cities who understand that business as usual must stop. Workers are starting to demand the same.


No upticks on a computer ledger are worth more than a viable planet. Business leaders who deny climate change are out of step with a growing number of analysts in the US who understand the threat of climate change and hope to protect their profits with capitalist solutions.


Ecosocialists have an important role to play with regard to the Green New Deal. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is forcing the national conversation to look hard at climate change, current socio-economic problems, and the way that capitalism has created this mess. Her GND is waking people up. Ecosocialists can provide specifics about current problems and how an ecosocialist approach to solutions will play out. AOC needs our support. We must help her go further than even she has imagined.


Sandra Lindberg is a writer/activist in Decatur IL. More of her work can be found at System Change Not Climate Change and Against the Current - Solidarity.

sdlindber@gmail.com
 
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David J

Member
And yet I will argue, as Greta Thunberg does, that when your house is on fire, panic is the appropriate response. Is that the same as fear? I hope the panic translates into rage at the incrementalists and "realists" and defenders of the status quo. Many will say tone down the rhetoric. I say building a mock guillotine or two would be a great idea. The ruling class could stand a little fear IMO.
 

Sandra Lindberg

Moderator
And yet I will argue, as Greta Thunberg does, that when your house is on fire, panic is the appropriate response. Is that the same as fear? I hope the panic translates into rage at the incrementalists and "realists" and defenders of the status quo. Many will say tone down the rhetoric. I say building a mock guillotine or two would be a great idea. The ruling class could stand a little fear IMO.
Inspiring fear might feel satisfying for a little bit, though I don't think it would for me, but their fear will not help to effect change. I hope for fast but considered actions.
 
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