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AOC must reset a conversation stolen by the GOP: The Green New Deal is an economic stimulus program

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10.03.2019

Sadly, in our twitter age all it takes is a lonely sentence fragment to reduce a visionary document like the Green New Deal bill introduced in the House by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez into a late night comic’s punchline.

In the case of the Green New Deal it wasn’t even any of the words in the legislation that went viral and put Green New Deal boosters on the defensive and in damage control mode.

The sentence fragment that inspired the around the clock right wing derision and mockery was actually found in the Frequently Asked Question document created by the ambitious bill’s boosters. It said the GND would provide “economic security for all who are unable or unwilling to work.”

The red meat for the defenders of late stage vulture capitalism was in that “unwilling to work” phrase that fit so nicely into their caricature of idealistic millennials whose world view has been shaped by equally clueless left-wing professors.

For tens of millions of households, who continue to struggle week to week, and work multiple jobs to provide for their family, the notion of society paying people who are “unwilling to work” strikes at the organizing principle of their life. They need a kind of practical relief right now and they are conditioned at this point to want to work for it, maybe just not as hard as they have had to since the 1970’s when worker productivity went up, but wages declined and stagnated.

And for those struggling to pay this month’s rent or mortgage, worrying about global warming and climate change may feel remote — even though it shouldn’t — when the cataclysm they fret over is eviction or foreclosure.

My hunch is that to build mass movements which drive meaningful political change you have to meet people where they are — in the struggles they are immediately caught up in. In fact, it was exactly that sort of appeal that helped Rep. Ocasio-Cortez upend longtime Democratic incumbent Joe Crowley.

For the GND detractors it did not matter that just above the paying people who are “unwilling to work” bullet point was the pledge to “build on FDR’s Second Bill of Rights” by guaranteeing “a job with a........

© Salon