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We need a ‘Green Jobs Revolution’ – Now is the time to deepen Labour’s commitment to a Green New Deal

“Labour for a Green New Deal is not just interested in re-litigating the debates of two years ago. We are pushing to further develop the Green New Deal as our crises intensify.”

Chris Saltmarsh, Labour for a Green New Deal

By Chris Saltmarsh, co-founder of Labour for a Green New Deal. 

This last year, the pandemic has stopped a previously insurgent climate movement in its tracks. Youth strikes cancelled, Extinction Rebellion subdued and NGOs impotent. Labour for a Green New Deal, however, continues our work to build long-lasting power for a political solution to our interlinked climate, health, and economic crises.

The context within the Labour Party has of course changed in this time. After Jeremy Corbyn’s radical and ambitious leadership, Keir Starmer’s is politically cautious and bold only in its anti-democratic attacks on the Labour Left. This adversity doesn’t change the need to build broad support for a socialist Green New Deal across the Labour party and labour movement, from members, to trade union affiliates, to the leadership. 

LGND is organising to defend the key elements of Labour’s Green New Deal won in 2019: rapid decarbonisation, expanding public ownership, and meeting basic needs including warm homes and high-speed broadband. LGND is not just interested in re-litigating the debates of two years ago. We are pushing to further develop the Green New Deal as our crises intensify. Ahead of Labour Conference 2021, we’re campaigning for a ‘green jobs revolution’ in response to the pandemic and unemployment crises which share the same root causes as climate disaster. Momentum members have already endorsed LGND’s ‘Green Jobs Revolution’ motion. We’re now working to build a consensus within Labour around the need for mass investment in well-paid, secure, unionised green jobs guaranteed for workers in polluting industries and available to anybody else who wants one.

While we focus on a bold industrial strategy to revitalise the UK’s economy, we know that any Green New Deal worth its salt cannot be confined to one nation’s borders. LGND understands that the crises of climate, health and economic injustice are all global in scope. That’s why we need not just an abstractly international Green New Deal, but one that is internationalist. This means baking in meaningful solidarity, global justice, and reparations to every element of the economic mobilisation. We are developing the internationalist elements of our Green New Deal to make demands for debt cancellation, global supply chain justice, and reparations even more central than before.

LGND’s political ambitions are lofty. The climate, health, and economic crises command nothing less. We know that to deliver a socialist Green New Deal in the UK, we need the Labour Party to enter government and implement it using the levers of state power. But we also know there are no shortcuts to socialism. The last five years and Labour’s defeat in 2019 make that clear. This is why, as well as working through the Labour Party, LGND is prioritising building a radical and militant movement in local communities and trade unions to buttress the electoral strategy. 

By building solidarity and supporting rank-and-file workers to organise, we can prepare the trade union movement to take a leadership role in the struggle for a just transition and a Green New Deal. With LGND’s network of local groups spread across the country, we can build power locally in communities to win transitional demands of local authorities and prepare to mobilise in support and defence of a socialist Green New Deal when the time comes. With a program of political education, we can skill-up our own activists and the wider movement so that together we’re empowered to prioritise the Green New Deal as a headline demand for the Left over the next decade. 

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