The Green New Deal’s time has come – but what’s happened to Labour’s radicalism?

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The party risks a dead end with its ‘Little Britain’ thinking, in marked contrast to the bolder path taken by Joe Biden

What a difference power makes.

The past 18 months saw political defeats for the left on both sides of the Atlantic. Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership of the Labour party came to an end after a resounding Conservative victory. The Bernie Sanders campaign went down at the hands of the Democrat establishment. And yet the bitter irony of 2020 was that just as the political hopes of the left were dashed, the strategic analysis of the Green New Deal – the centrepiece of its policy vision – was spectacularly vindicated.

The Green New Deal demanded that social and economic policy should be oriented towards the immediate planetary challenge of the environment. Its proponents, groups such as the Sunrise Movement, put a “just transition” front and centre; this means fairly managing the social harms such as unemployment that would arise from an accelerated shift away from fossil fuels. Then, as if on cue, the coronavirus arrived, and delivered a devastating “inequality shock” forcing even the likes of the Financial Times to talk about a new social contract.

The Green New Deal’s politics emerged from a recognition of the fact that there was unfinished business from the financial crisis of 2008; climate activists warned that we were harnessed to a dangerous financial flywheel and demanded that finance be turned in a constructive direction. The thinking was based on the notion that the status quo was the one thing that we could not have: the events of 2020 confirmed precisely how dangerous and precarious our reality is.

Read the full article at The Guardian.

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