NGD

Here is a good explanation of why the NGD includes a plan to provide economic security to those who are “unwilling to work.” I mean, it’s clearly not going to do anything for the environment. And neither will high-quality education and healthcare, important as they might be in their own right.

Why would the left include a provision about subsidizing the lifestyle of lazy people in its climate change manifesto? Because that’s what intersectionality requires. An intersectional progressive recognizes that racism, and sexism, and homophobia, and transphobia, and age-ism, and classism, and so on, are separate-but-related phenomena. To ignore just one of these sources of oppression is to fail intersectionality; the seriously social-justice minded must treat all of these issues as equally important and confront them en masse.

This makes a lot of sense. I know from personal experience that an attempt to achieve absolutely anything in progressive circles is always smashed to pieces because you forgot to include the pet grievance of every minuscule identity group in your proposal. Saying, “but what we are discussing right now is our proposal to the administration on the approximate schedule of union bargaining. It’s not really about the gender-queer” produces so much angst and rage that the initial purpose of the meeting is soon forgotten.

Another reason these pie-in-the-sky promises are included while stuff that would actually do a lot of good for the environment is excluded is that the GND is not supposed to result in any action. The last thing its authors want is to see anything done to address climate change.

To give an example, if I say, “I’m going to write a book that would entirely transform the field of Hispanic Studies, sell 10 million copies, and bring about world peace,” it’s very clear that I’m not actually writing anything and have no real plan to do so. However, if I say, “I wrote 562 words for my first chapter yesterday. I need to write 400 words today to fulfill my weekly quota. I also need to read and annotate two more sources for the next chapter, so I’m on my way to the library to pick them up,” it’s clear that I’m working on a book that will be finished and will get published. It won’t change the world or bring about world peace but it will be more than the person who operates according to the first scenario will ever do.

The New Green Deal makes me so angry because we have an extremely serious issue that needs to be addressed urgently. Yet people who should be doing something about it because it’s their fucking job treat us like dumb little kids and promise us all a balloon and a big lollipop if we just shut the ef up and vote for them.

And Bernie signed it, too. It’s such a letdown. I always want to believe in Bernie and that he can stand up to the loony-tunes wing but he always fails.

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16 thoughts on “NGD”

  1. Here’s some discussion on it. https://www.sierraclub.org/sierra/what-green-new-deal-anyway-alexandria-ocasio-cortez

    Note: 1/ it’s an effort to revive some new deal programs without taking recourse in industrialization/more pollution: the Republican excuse for more pollution and environmental destruction is always that jobs must be created and environmental destruction is the only way to get them.
    2/ Versions of this have been being discussed for quite a while, it’s not an eccentricity of an individual.
    3/ It’s a draft policy proposal, up for discussion. No, you cannot do everything, but as I say it is key to point out that one can have jobs AND environmental protections, not to accept the idea that it is one or the other.

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    1. Honestly, this is like saying that a breathy “and world peace!” enunciated by beauty pageant contestants is a proposal meant to be discussed. When you purposefully set the terms of discussion in a way that prevents people from taking you seriously, it’s clear that the goal is actually to preclude a discussion. Pageant contestants clearly don’t want to discuss international relations. They turn the issue into something ridiculous and not serious.

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      1. I really don’t think this is at that level. I see the point about precluding discussion but 1/ the new deal itself was multifaceted, and 2/ the need to stop using jobs/economy as an excuse for unfettered environmental destruction is real.

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        1. At least, the economy is real. The putative victory over racism and sexism as a result of rebuilding every building in the country in 10 years is not.

          I believe one can address climate change without defeating racism, providing UBI, defeating ageism and rebuilding every house ASAP. But this resolution says that’s not possible.

          If global warming is an urgent issue, as I believe it is, why aren’t we concentrating on it and instead getting distracted by all this inane blabber about ageism and migrant communities and every other problem in the world?

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          1. Agree, focus is needed. And climate / environment is issue #1 so far as I am concerned. But I think this GND is intended not as conversation shutter-downer but as a blue sky “what would we like the place to look like” exercise. I see why you’re concerned that even if it’s this, it could backfire. My thought is that work on environment is always-already intersectional: the worst chemical dumping is in the poorest communities, etc., and a comprehensive environmental fix would necessarily engage with a lot of other issues.

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            1. “work on environment is always-already intersectional”

              The word “intersectionality,” coined back in the 1980’s by a nutty sociologist (of course), is one of the most destructive words in the English language.

              It means that “woke” people aren’t allowed to do ANYTHING for ANYBODY until they acknowledge with hand-wringing guilt that they’re obligated do EVERYTHING for EVERYBODY — so after all the Sturm und Drang is over, they end up achieving NOTHING for ANYONE!

              Yep, tossing in that word works every time.

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              1. Kimberlé Crenshaw is in law. How much of her work have you read? There is a great difference between Internet caricatures and actual work

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              2. “Kimberlé Crenshaw…How much of her work have you read?”

                In response to your question, I looked up and viewed/read several of her videos and articles. To be fair, her own definition of the word she created seems to be misunderstood by almost everybody else who uses it.

                Crenshaw clearly coined “intersectionality” to refer to multiple disadvantages and persecutions experienced by single individuals, such as a black woman being disadvantaged from one angle because she’s black , and another because she’s a woman. This is a valid complaint.

                But today the word is almost universally misinterpreted to mean that you can’t address the needs of ANY group of people without somehow trying to address the needs of EVERY group of disadvantaged people, including those whose problems may be totally unrelated to the core issue. And then by feeling compelled to fix everything at once, you ultimately accomplish almost nothing.

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  2. Sherrod Brown says that while he support a Green New Deal, he’ll have to look over any specific proposal before making a decision. He’s made no decision on this one yet. My favorite thing about Sherrod Brown is he doesn’t hop onto whatever the latest fad is for the sake of being hip. Other people are very transparently trying to raise their profile for a presidential run and it’s repulsive; for me, the worst was when “abolish ICE” was in vogue. GND isn’t so bad to me because there’s potential for it to change and there’s at least something I like mixed in with the bad, but fact of the matter is that people who want to be president are letting themselves be jerked around by a dumb first term congresswoman. I’d like to see more strength and leadership from someone who wants to be leader of the entire United States.

    Side note: I discovered the very stupid Green New Deal proposals that conservative outlets were mocking before this week were actually from the Green party’s GND. Anyone saying “GND includes UBI” was looking at that.

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    1. The actual proposal in the Congress is actually even worse:

      “providing all people of the United States with—
      (i) high-quality health care;
      (ii) affordable, safe, and adequate housing;
      (iii) economic security; and
      (iv) access to clean water, clean air, healthy and affordable food, and nature.”

      Notice that it says “people”, not citizens. They want to provide all people, irrespective of whether they arrived illegally two minutes ago with free healthcare, housing and an income.

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      1. “people of the United States ”

        In the past I would have assumed that “(the) people of the United States” refers to citizens and legal non-citizen residents. But of course in the current crazy time when supposed progressives have been completely coopted by neoliberal nonsense it means ‘any rando who happens to find themselves in the geographic location known as ‘the united states” so the idea of citizenship is under attack from right and left (and will result in a massive loss of rights for all but the richest).

        As I always say, parts of intersectionality sound nice in theory but in practice it just means not being able to prioritize (and prioritizing is the key to getting things done in the real world).

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        1. It’s a tool to see where power actually comes down. For example, in a salary study at my university recently, if you looked at women as a group they were not discriminated against, or people of color as a group. But women of color? Oh yes. Men of color turned out to be the highest paid but then when you looked at that you noticed that they were all in science/business/tech, the high paid departments, and within those departments, had typical salaries. That’s a simple example of how “intersectionality” as tool can help to see what is going on.

          Green new deal, well really when it comes down to it this is all just about reviving the great society and new deal programs that made the country great, but without discriminating the way the new deal did (it excluded a lot of people of color) and paying attention to environment, not killing the planet for the sake of jobs. I know it sounds all foreign and strange and overly ambitious and impossible because so much has been destroyed and also maligned (public schools, the post office, etc., are now considered to be inherently bad because public), BUT it’s a lot less weird than it sounds, really

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          1. “I know it sounds all foreign and strange and overly ambitious and impossible because so much has been destroyed and also maligned ”

            • No, it sounds offensive because nobody can or will rebuild every building in the US in 10 years (and provide everybody with free cash to exist and get rid of farting cows and fossil fuels etc). It’s not going to happen. Nobody is going to make it happen or even try. It’s just a trick to dupe us. Here we are, wasting our lives on thinking and talking about this ridiculousness while nobody is going to do anything whatsoever about the actual climate change.

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  3. “And Bernie signed it, too. It’s such a letdown.”

    So far, the ONLY potential Democratic presidential candidate who’s dared to criticize the plan is Michael Bloomberg — and of course, he’s one of those evil billionaires who want to buy the election.

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