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AOC: Not So Green, Not So New: A Raw Deal?
Linewaiters' Gazette: Official Newsletter of the Park Slope Food Coop: January 31, 2019
The original “Green New Deal” was the centerpiece of Jill Stein’s 2012 and 2016 Green Party presidential campaigns, and of GP founding member Howie Hawkins’ 2010, 2014, and 2018 New York State gubernatorial campaigns—unpublicized by mainstream media and unacknowledged by Ocasio-Cortez.
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’ Green New Deal was highlighted in a hopeful 12/20/2018 Gazette article (“Green New Deal Makeover Championed by New York Rep”) but the bill is less visionary than it appears. It would redirect and corral independent activism into Democratic Party politics, where, it’s been said: “All progressive reforms go to die.”
AOC’s plan leaves the details to be worked out by a committee of Representatives selected by status-quo House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the intransigent human monkey-wrench, Senate Leader Mitch McConnell. First among those with input will be—predictably—“business,” followed by labor, government, academia, finance (yes, finance!), and various other groups.
The true constituency of Congress is, of course, “business.”
We can predict that the plan’s final version—if it survives at all—will serve business interests, with benefits to climate and environment secondary and contingent on not interfering with profits, with which nothing must interfere. Ocasio-Cortez has stated as much.
The original “Green New Deal” was the centerpiece of Jill Stein’s 2012 and 2016 Green Party presidential campaigns, and of GP founding member Howie Hawkins’ 2010, 2014, and 2018 New York State gubernatorial campaigns—unpublicized by mainstream media and unacknowledged by Ocasio-Cortez. It would cut in half the gigantic military budget, which eats up over half of US discretionary spending, and rivals the military budgets of the rest of the world combined, by ending our involvement in the Middle East Wars and closing down the roughly 800 American military bases deployed around the world.
Ocasio-Cortez’ version will be paid for by taxpayers. It does not touch—indeed does not mention—the military budget. Nor does it mention the wars and occupations, which are the single most destructive and polluting of human activities. No hope of a genuine Green New Deal can survive this reality.
Barack Obama was this sort of politician, awakening hopes of a fresh new politics, ending the wars, supporting organic agriculture, opposing GMOs, and ushering in a new era of transparency, but turned out to do just the opposite in all of those departments. Even his signature Affordable Care Act was a subversion of what was considered the gold standard: single payer health care.
Indeed any such proposal coming out of the two corporate-controlled political parties can be sure to be rendered fairly meaningless, no matter how progressive its origins may have been. Voter rationales capitulating to the corrupted two-party “system,” saying that alternatives “can’t win,” that one or the other of the two parties are at least “better,” only reinforces the system’s stranglehold on power. That stranglehold is further reinforced through its propaganda arm: the corporate owned and controlled media, which excludes alternative players and visions from a fair platform, and insures the current state of American affairs, characterized by war, pollution, climate disruption, elitism, poverty, and ennui born of deep malaise. The two levers of power remaining to citizens are: the streets, and the voting booth, unless the latter succumbs to the above mentioned fraud of two-party politics.