Statement in Support of the Green New Deal

U.S. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and Senator Ed Markey (D-MA) hold a news conference for their proposed U.S. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and Senator Ed Markey (D-MA) hold a news conference for their proposed "Green New Deal" to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions in 10 years, at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, U.S. February 7, 2019. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

Statement by Massachusetts Peace Action on the Green New Deal

The Green New Deal (GND), a concept that has been discussed for some years, is now the subject of a non-binding Congressional Resolution (H.Res.109) introduced by Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.  Senator Ed Markey introduced it in the Senate (S.Res.59).

The GND has three basic dimensions: 1) radical action on climate change, 2) a leading role for government, 3) explicitly addressing social injustices, especially those affecting “frontline communities” that are most harmed by climate change and environmental degradation.

Massachusetts Peace Action (MAPA) endorses the GND resolution, and urges that its members—and all activists and concerned people—give serious consideration to the GND for several reasons:

  1. The GND addresses real human security, which includes climate and the environment, together with social justice and peace-building—all of which must be addressed at the local, national and international levels. 
  2. In the 21stcentury, we badly need new approaches—such as those in the GND– for addressing contemporary challenges.  
  3. MAPA focuses not only on ending wars and building peace, but also on conditions that lead to conflicts and wars such as climate change and social injustice.

To implement the GND we need to rethink the meaning of security and create new visions.  These should include addressing crucial issues that are mentioned in the Congressional resolution, such as economic inequality and meeting basic human needs like housing, education and health care.  In addition, MAPA appreciates that the resolution calls for resources to be allocated to these issues in a comprehensive and integrated way.

To address climate change and other 21st-century challenges, we need respectful dialogue, citizen empowerment, grassroots engagement, and holistic thinking.   In implementing the GND we need to be ready to experiment and if necessary to modify specific proposals as we learn from experience.  This can lead to actions that transform our society, merging peace, justice, prosperity, and respect for all life.

MAPA notes that  there are important peace-related issues that are not mentioned in the resolution  that will need to be part of carrying out the work.  These include:

  1. The US and the whole world needs to move from war and cutthroat competition to peace, sustainable development and a co-operative economy.
  2. The US should commit to transferring large amounts of development aid that fosters sustainability and social justice. In the process we need to explicitly address deep-seated issues of neocolonialism, poverty, racism, and other forms of oppression.
  3. The US’s engagement with other countries must be based on dealing with climate change.  The enormity of the climate crisis requires that it be addressed by all countries collaboratively.
  4. The gigantic US military budget involves spending billions of dollars on activities that are unsuited to the challenges of the 21stcentury and that run counter to the vision of a GND.  There must be major shifts of federal spending from the military to GND projects. Federal dollars spent on meeting domestic needs generate far more jobs than equivalent dollars spent on the military. 
  5. Military operations cause huge amounts of climate, environmental and human harm.  These need to be addressed by the GND.

This statement was drafted by John MacDougall and Rosalie Anders, co-chairs of MAPA’s Peace and Climate Working Group, unanimously approved by MAPA’s Board of Directors on April 6, and posted with updates and corrections on April 15.