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Green New Deal and Ecosocialists: How To Proceed?

The GND resolution now proposed By Ocassio-Cortez and Markey has very quickly pushed open the "Overton window", that fraught and tension filled discursive space where new information is presented and opinions changed. Many sense a breeze coming through, freshing a stale and stuffy status quo. The Representative from New York has become an overnight celebrity, doing interviews with all the major media and generating pages and pages of ink, due in part to her radical political affiliation with the DSA and to her being quite young, openly idealistic and not-a-little photogenic. This celebrity poses both great risks and opens up amazing possibilities. Successfully navigating that Spectacular space is critical and to her great credit, she seems fully cognizant of the phenomena. She even compared it to the making of Trumpism, a brilliant turn.

I attended a meeting last night hosted by the local 350 chapter where the GND, both the resolution and the various historical iterations, was explained in more detail. There were folks from DSA, Sierra Club, Sunrise and Citizens Climate Lobby attending. As my comrade told the crowd, GND is a perfect "empty signifier" and it is the struggle to fill it with meaning that concerns everybody from Nancy Pelosi to The Wall Street Journal. Trump made a predictable red-baiting attack in his State of the Union, attempting to link renewables to Venezuela. Other defenders of Capital from every political persuasion, but especially neoliberals, are sharpening their spears as well. We know that Establishment Democrats worried about their 2020 campaign fundraising will find ways to put the GND in legislative-process Purgatory and those who have declared their Presidential ambition will be looking for ways to finesse the issue while keeping youth enthusiasm at a high pitch.

All this means ecosocialists will face some tough decisions in the coming months. Attempts to push the Data For Progress GND farther to the Left are coming from the DSA Ecosocialist Working Group and from Richard Smith's "Ecosocialist Path" (which was referenced twice last night!). The Libertarian left will be worried (rightly) about Leviathan and the heavy hand of the State. Deep Greeners will be worried (rightly) about the emphasis on growth and all the resource/ energy use implied by the GND. There will be questions about how hard to push and when, who to ally with and how, where the social movements and direct action fit in with all the lobbying.

For my part, I am going to participate as the Left-left, pushing hard on questions of property, profit, and global reparations. Use the science and the moral imperative to undermine Capital and save what insects remain. I want to stretch that Overton window like taffy, like Silly Putty ( dating myself there!) and do it quickly. I think AOC needs to employ Greta Thunberg and her frank, dignified messaging: Our house is on fire, it is time to panic.
Hey, I'll jump in! So how right I was about ecosocialists facing decisions. At the top of the list, should DSA ecosocialist Working Group (EWG) support Sunrise action/campaign? A vague resolution that doesn't mention fossil fuels, much less leaving them in the ground. Apparently Mc Connell calling for a vote has accelerated the process and started wheels turning, but are we ready? I see Richard and Ted weighing in on the Slack channel and DSA list, trying to put the brakes on an endorsement. You also have the EWG working on its own "Principles" document with all the big decisions that implies. Clunky process, especially for tech challenged old guys like me.

Then there is strategy; how to get what we want in the short time-frame, something just now coming to the fore. I notice most discussion happens on the list serve, despite Ted's pleas to come here. Meanwhile organized labor and Dem candidates are weighing options and hedging around language. The want a "green growth New Deal" with all that implies- nukes, big hydro, fracked gas? The devil, as always ,is in the details. It won't be on the front page of the NYTimes forever- time for decisions.