Why Labour Conference Delegates Need to Back A Socialist Green New Deal


“We need a socialist Green New Deal with firm commitments to expanding public ownership across the economy including crucial sectors like energy, transport, utilities and technology.”

By Chris Saltmarsh, Chair of Labour for a Green New Deal.

Thousands of lives continue to be  lost every year in the global south due to climate disaster, away from the western media’s gaze. Politicians still refuse to take the necessary action. They have already delayed for too long.  We now need a total transformation of the economy to achieve climate and economic injustice. It is up to us to join together, organise and provide the bold alternative that our planet and its population desperately needs.  

That’s why this year’s Labour for a Green New Deal motion to Labour Party Conference calls for a green jobs revolution as part of socialist Green New Deal. It is a challenge to the Labour leadership to leave the backsliding behind and embrace the radical policy shifts needed for a Labour Party prepared to be a part of the fight for our future rather than safeguard the status quo.

The Labour leader has reiterated his support for a Green New Deal chiefly built around green jobs and investment in green industries. In a similar vein, Labour has recently proposed a firm end date for oil and gas exploration, the welcome beginning of a crucial confrontation with the fossil fuel industry.

But simply using the Green New Deal as a slogan is not enough. We need a socialist Green New Deal with firm commitments to expanding public ownership across the economy including crucial sectors like energy, transport, utilities and technology. We need a plan to accelerate the transition away from polluting industries fairly by investing to create good, well-paid, unionised jobs for all who want one. 

This focus on public ownership and public investment matters because we cannot rely either on individual action or the profit-obsessed private sector. The executives and shareholders of  Shell and BP board won’t wind down their own businesses of their own accord and they won’t guarantee the jobs of the workers they exploit during a transition. 

While the ‘free market’ and decades of privatisation act as blockages to decarbonisation, expanding the public sector is a precondition for a state with a mission. Public ownership of key sectors combined with the capacity for mass investment act as a platform for a planned economic mobilisation to achieve our lofty goals on a rapid timescale. Public ownership alone does not guarantee justice, though. That’s why our proposal for a Green New Deal includes democratising the economy from the workplace, to communities, municipalities and on a national level.

It is the global working class on the sharp end of the harms of climate breakdown, and it’s workers who have the skills, expertise and solidarity to direct a real Green New Deal. 

So my message to comrades is this – let us be proud of what makes Labour’s Green New Deal socialist and recognise the danger of those very elements being pushed to the side in favour of a superficial repackaging of the same old market-based solutions.

Labour for a Green New Deal is bringing this vision to Labour Conference this year to demonstrate the weight of its support among party members and affiliated trade unions, as well as the public. We need CLPs to propose the Green Jobs Revolution motion to conference and delegates to speak up and vote for it there. 

  • Chris Saltmarsh is the Chair of Labour for a Green New Deal – follow them on twitter and Facebook.
  • You can access Labour for a Green New Deal’s conference motion here and find out more about it here
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