5. The Green Movement Is Red
It’s perhaps no surprise that an openly socialist member of Congress is pushing for the Green New Deal—which would essentially turn the U.S. into a command-and-control economy reminiscent of the Soviet Union.
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s chief of staff Saikat Chakrabarti recently said, according to The Washington Post: “The interesting thing about the Green New Deal is it wasn’t originally a climate thing at all.”
“Do you guys think of it as a climate thing?” Chakrabarti asked Sam Ricketts, climate director for Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, who is running for president in the Democratic primary. “Because we really think of it as a how-do-you-change-the-entire-economy thing.”
Economic transformation barely disguised as a way to address environmental concerns appears to be the main point.
One of the speakers on the Teen Vogue climate panel, Sally Taylor, is a member of the Sunrise Movement, a youth-oriented environmental activist group that made headlines in February when several elementary school-age members of the group confronted Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., about her lack of support for the Green New Deal.
The other speaker on the Teen Vogue climate panel was Haven Coleman, a 13-year-old environmental activist who has received favorable coverage for leading the U.S. Youth Climate Strike in March. She was open about the system change she was aiming for to address climate change.
She noted during her remarks that she was receiving cues from her mother, who she said was in attendance.
Haven said the answer to the climate change problem was moving on from our “capitalistic society” to something “other than capitalism.”
6. Socialism Can’t Be Ignored as a Rising Ethos on the Left
According to a recent Gallup survey, 4 in 10 Americans have a positive view of socialism. Support among Democrats is even higher than among the general population, with a majority of Democrats saying they prefer socialism to capitalism.
But many who say they want socialism rather than capitalism struggle to define what those terms mean and change their views once asked about specific policies.
As another Gallup poll from 2018 indicated, many associate socialism with vague notions of “equality,” rather than as government control over the means of production in the economy.
What’s clear from my observations at Socialism 2019 is that traditional Marxists have successfully melded their ideology with the identity politics and culture war issues that animate modern liberalism—despite still being quite far from the beliefs of the average citizen.
Socialists at the conference focused more on social change, rather than electoral politics, but there were still many core public policy issues that animated them; notably, “Medicare for All” and government run-health care, some kind of Green New Deal to stop global warming (and more importantly, abolish capitalism), open borders to increase class consciousness and promote transnational solidarity, removing all restrictions on—and publicly funding—abortion, and breaking down social and legal distinctions between the sexes.
They were particularly able to weave their issues together through the thread of “oppressor versus oppressed” class conflict—for instance, supporting government-run health care meant also unquestioningly supporting unfettered abortion and transgender rights.
Though their analyses typically leaned more heavily on economic class struggle and determinism than what one would expect from more mainstream progressives, there wasn’t a wide gap between what was being discussed at Socialism 2019 and the ideas emerging from a growing segment of the American left.
This first appeared in The Daily Signal here.