The Importance of the Green New Deal Is the Coalition Building

While most of the discussion of the Green New Deal (GND) focuses on the environmental aspects, one thing that has gone unmentioned is how it serves as a way to build a left-ish coalition. That’s why a lot of the tutting about the ‘extraneous’ stuff including in the GND misses the point. Too often, the U.S. left (construed broadly) treats issues as individual, atomized causes. This is both evident in organizational structure–organizations typically focus on a single issue–and overall strategy (the latter stems in part from ceding too much authority to the Democratic Party professionals who think only and exclusively in terms of legislation they can pass; the former, in part, from competing for funders).

What this means in practice is that their isn’t a left-ish coalition at all. One group might get part of their agenda passed, often with support from other groups, or at least their rank-and-file supporters, but never pay it back to the other groups. Of course, depending on each group’s cause and demographic, some causes are higher in the firmament than others.

What makes the GND important is that it serves as a mechanism to organize a political coalition. Perhaps it’s not the best mechanism to do so, but at least someone is trying to organize this coalition. It’s clear the professional Democratic class, including their allied organizations, have no interest in doing this (it is better to rule a divided, atomized party than to lose power in an effective one).

It’s the coalition, stupid.

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