An article in the June 6, 2019 edition of Politico (“Labor anger over Green New Deal greets 2020 contenders in California”) alleges that Blue Collar workers in California reject the Green New Deal (GND). I am a blue-collar worker - a retired member of Sheet Metal Workers Local 104, which represents workers throughout Northern and Central California.
Union contract negotiations include mandatory and permissive subjects of bargaining. Employers are required by law to negotiate over mandatory subjects—wages, benefits and working conditions. Permissive subjects, such as decisions about which public services will be provided and how, have historically been the purview of management. We only negotiate over how managerial decisions affect members’ jobs. Employers may voluntarily agree to negotiate permissive subjects, but unions can’t legally strike over them.
The simple yellow protest signs were stenciled “Green Jobs for All.” Speaker after speaker stepped into the middle of the office floor, marked with a U.S. House of Representatives seal. Representative-Elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, fresh off her election win, gave the protesters high fives.
That was the scene in November when the youth climate justice organization Sunrise Movement held a sit-in at the office of Rep. Nancy Pelosi, who was soon to be the Speaker of the House.
Most Americans had never heard of the “Green New Deal” at the time.
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.
How can ecosocialism respond to the operation of power in capitalist accumulation and reproduction? Does ecosocialism help provide answers to struggles taking place in the local state and in sites of contest?
World climate negotiations concluded in Bonn, Germany recently after two painstaking weeks. Whilst many parties to the UN convention and other commentators choose to highlight any small steps forward in the talks, no matter how inadequate, Friends of the Earth opts to speak truth to power.
Asia Pacific is the region where the most people are already feeling the impacts of changes in the climate and Meena Raman of Friends of the Earth Malaysia spoke out in Bonn, saying “Every COP feels like a broken record. We are sick and tired of talkshops. Act!”
The global economy is facing numerous structural challenges. With the looming fourth economic revolution characterised by even more technological development and mechanisation, the future of productive labour is bleak. Most unskilled and semi-skilled workers are likely to lose their jobs. Even some skilled workers are not spared from this emerging catastrophe, as numerous job categories – such as brick-layers – are increasingly becoming redundant.
One summer in college, I got a job canvassing for Greenpeace. We spent the morning getting pumped up by our supervisor about how we were really going to make a difference, then spent the afternoon on the sidewalk downtown asking passers-by for donations. As new hires, we had three probationary days to “make staff”: anyone who didn’t meet the quota would not be kept on, and those who did would be fired if they didn’t continue to deliver.