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The art and magic of the non-reformist reform

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Photo: niekverlaan/Pixabay

There are a number of ecosocialist responses to the Green New Deal, converging for the most part around the recognition that though it is not the Green New Deal most of us would prefer, it is the opportunity to move the paralysis of the climate change movement very far in the right -- left -- direction that our times so desperately need.

This is a series of essays in six voices, from longtime activists who participate in the North American ecosocialist network System Change Not Climate Change. Each was challenged to make their point in 500 words or less. It was intended as a constructive contribution to the wonderful storm of discussion that the Green New Deal has opened up. Read the full series here.

People say that something happens when the time is right. But the truth is more that the right people show up and make it happen. And that people have shown up and are making the Green New Deal happen right now is the biggest news and event in the climate justice movement in the United States since Standing Rock.

And it wouldn't have happened without Standing Rock, without the Keystone fight, without the Green Party's Jill Stein running on its namesake in 2012 and 2016, without Naomi Klein's book "This Changes Everything: Capitalism versus the Climate", without the Climate Mobilization's call for a climate emergency and World War II-style mobilization that made its way into the 2016 Democratic platform thanks to Bill McKibben and key others, and that now the Sunrise Movement, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and Bernie Sanders are carrying into the highest seats of government in the neoliberal capitalist dystopia known as the Trump administration.

The actual Green New Deal resolution is pretty good at connecting the dots of the triple crisis: rampant inequality caused by too many decades of capitalist globalization, the disintegration of the political system and people's faith that it could be used for good, and the culture of militarism that plagues our society from the most intimate personal relationships to the criminal militarism of our foreign policy, Republican and Democratic. Oh, and there's a climate catastrophe with its terrifying inevitability besetting us as well.

And even better, we have a golden opportunity for a chance to transform everything in a radical direction of real equality between rich and poor, people of color and white people, folks of every gender, coming together for deep political participation in a non-violent climate justice transition to whatever lies beyond capitalism, and towards -- dare we utter the words? -- an intersectional democratic ecosocialism.

The idea of a Green New Deal and the reality of the movement that is building around it gives us hope on which to bend the hearts and consciousness of United States residents around the biggest existential problem that humanity, and especially the younger generation which is carrying its banner will ever face.

It is the dream of building the multigenerational, intersectional social movement that global climate justice movement has harbored for over 15 years.

It is the moment and campaign to radicalize youth in the United States and the climate justice movement in general to consider ecosocialism, radical climate justice… and system change, not climate change.

Maybe it's even time for a new kind of party to push for a universal basic income and more than a living wage, community empowerment and resilience, the speedy demise of the fossil fuel industry (but not its workers), universal health care (a basic human right), free education for all -- in a word, a movement toward socialism and climate democracy. Let us make of this precious opportunity the catalyst for a convergence of social movements, community initiatives, and new political vehicles in a mighty blow for the world we want, the world we deserve, and the world we will make!

Photo: niekverlaan/Pixabay

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