The Green New Deal (GND) is now part of the national conversation. But for decades, social movements have been doing the on-the-ground work to resist fossil capitalism and envision a different future. Such grassroots social mobilization — but at a massive scale — is vital to ensuring the GND catalyzes transformative social change.
The following is a slightly edited version of remarks delivered by 16-year-old Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg to attendees at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland on Friday, January 25, 2018.
No Ph.D. talking here. Just a woman who reads and studies, as Marxists recommend. I’m disturbed by a video just accessed on YouTube: “Climate change and the migrant caravan.” The news piece suggests that sympathetic and enlightened attitudes lie behind the video’s creation. Applying Marxist and socialist concepts, I hope to expose some of the assumptions, misconceptions and perhaps hidden goals contained in the video.
The agrarianist Wendell Berry wrote once that modernity had bred a dangerous and close-to-fatal ignorance about ecology. In contrast to earlier ways of life, our social relations, which are our productive relations, do not force us to reckon with the consequences of what we consume in the course of making our lives, including making the people who come after we do. But modernity allows for exceptions.
“The problem of the twentieth century is the problem of the color-line.”
—W.E.B. Du Bois
Shortly before protesters gathered around the world on the eve of the Global Climate Action Summit, an ecosocialist friend commented on the pointlessness of engaging in more “feel good” marches. Something struck me as horribly wrong about this casual dismissal of mass actions in which we take to the streets to bear witness to the mounting opposition to global ecocide.
It is a pleasure to close today’s conference which has shown once again that it is our Party that is coming up with big ideas.
And we’re not talking about ideas and policies dreamed up by corporate lobbyists and think tanks or the wonks of Westminster, but plans and policies rooted in the experience and understanding of our members and our movement; drawing on the ingenuity of each individual working together as part of a collective endeavour with a common goal.