Because it isn’t only our dry and overheated forests and grasslands that are tinderboxes, just waiting for a tiniest spark to go up in flames. All around the world, our human societies, scorched under the stresses of late capitalism, are political tinderboxes as well.
Something as transformative as the Green New Deal — a democratically achieved Climate Leviathan — will not come about because the Democratic Party or Xi Jinping or the U.N. secretary general suddenly realizes that radical change is necessary, nor simply through ordinary parliamentary and congressional procedure. Major change of this sort could only come from a far more basic form of democracy: people in the streets engaged in actions like school strikes and coal mine blockades. This is the kind of pressure that progressive legislators could then use to push through a mutually agreed-upon Green New Deal capable of building a powerful administrative force that might convince or coerce everyone into preserving the global commons.
Who is Atlas did he Shrug?
Bernie Sanders says that he’s a socialist and that he loves the New Deal. He doesn’t see any discordance there, and neither do a lot of people who support him.
There’s a famous story that was told when I was growing up about a politician who is asked about his position on whiskey. And he says, “If by whiskey we mean the drink we enjoy to celebrate happy events and toast our friends, I’m for whiskey. But if by whiskey we mean the demon liquor that drives families apart, I’m against whiskey.”
That’s where I am. If by socialism, you mean the New Deal, then by golly I’m in favor of it. Obviously, the New Deal shaded into socialism or social democracy, if you will. But in many ways, it’s a foolish argument, because we have socialism for the rich everywhere. Nobody is actually trying to keep the government out of the market. At least, nobody in Herbert Hoover or Donald Trump’s Republican Party.