Labour Can’t Back Away from the Green New Deal

As the climate crisis worsens, Labour must be at the forefront of the fight for a radical Green New Deal – one that meets the challenge of our time by transitioning from carbon while empowering workers.

Labour for a Green New Deal rose to prominence campaigning at the 2019 Labour Party Conference. We won on the Conference floor, and this led to Labour adopting the most ambitious climate justice platform in the Global North ahead of the 2019 general election — but we’re no one-hit wonder. We’ve been working hard since then to defend the gains of that campaign, adapt them to our ever-changing context, and develop a new strategy to win a socialist Green New Deal over this crucial decade.

We founded the campaign to tackle a set of interconnected crises, and they’re only intensifying. The devastating impacts of climate breakdown are growing more frequent, severe, and geographically broad. Our economy—based on inequality and exploitation—continues to profit a tiny few at the expense of the many.

Now the Covid-19 pandemic has left millions without work and taken hundreds of thousands of lives. More than ever, we need a socialist Green New Deal: a massive state-led programme of economic transformation through the expansion of public ownership and investment in green jobs, technology, infrastructure, services, and people.

Labour for a Green New Deal has a plan to win this programme in our new political landscape. At the heart of our strategy is the recognition that the core measures of climate and economic justice need to be delivered through the state. We need a government prepared to implement a Green New Deal, and the Labour Party is still the only practical route to that. We need to organise for Labour to have the boldest climate justice platform possible, then fight for a Labour government. However, we’re under no illusions that this alone can never be enough. The 2019 general election made clear there are no shortcuts to socialism.

Labour for a Green New Deal plans to build a strong left coalition around the socialist GND as a headline demand for our movement. An electoral strategy to win power must be buttressed by radical trade union and social movements, powerful local community organising, internationalist solidarity, and a programme of political education. Winning a socialist Green New Deal means building majority public support for this programme of transformations, and it means directly confronting the capitalist interests which profit from climate crisis and economic injustice. We can only achieve our goal with this holistic approach to building and exercising our collective power.

Our Plan

Our organising in the Labour Party has already reaped rewards. As well as setting the agenda in 2019, during the pandemic, we’ve kept socialist demands for a green recovery on the agenda, and successfully pressured the Labour front bench into supporting public stakes in struggling aviation companies and recommitting to rapid decarbonisation by 2030. In the coming months and years, Labour for a Green New Deal will mobilise members to oppose every policy retreat and campaign for the programme to go even further.

Recognising the flaws in Labour’s internal democracy, we’ll also build power in the party for a socialist Green New Deal. We’ll support the selection and election of candidates who back our programme at every level. We’ll build support and organising capacity in CLPs, and push for democratic policymaking. We’ll work with other campaigning organisations and networks of MPs and local councillors to make our shared agenda common sense.

Labour for a Green New Deal has already built strong relationships throughout the labour movement. We built unanimous support for a Green New Deal among unions in 2019 and have continued to collaborate as allies. In 2020, GMB for a Green New Deal launched to coordinate members around a joint climate and jobs agenda. We’ll support rank-and-file members to autonomously organise for a socialist Green New Deal through their trade union. We’ll support LGND activists to work in solidarity with unions by showing up at picket lines during industrial disputes, and collaborating on local and national campaigns.

Labour for a Green New Deal already has over 30 local groups spread evenly across the UK, and they’re doing incredible work laying the groundwork for a Green New Deal. Our Greater Manchester group’s project helps laid-off theatre workers use their skills to retrofit homes. Our Glasgow group has campaigned around Scottish Parliament and Labour leadership elections.

Now our plan is to take our local organising to the next level. We’ll coordinate targeted campaigns for transformative local demands which can begin to prefigure a socialist Green New Deal from below. We’ll organise for a fighting movement of local authorities prepared to implement the measures of a Green New Deal while demanding it nationally.

We have already made the case for an internationalist Green New Deal through our demands, calling for debt cancellation, climate reparations, and transfers of resources to the Global South. Labour for a Green New Deal will prioritise threading principles and practical measures of internationalism through everything we do. We’ll take action in solidarity with aligned global struggles and movements.

I’m proud of Labour for a Green New Deal’s track record on political education. We’ve regularly hosted popular events before and during the pandemic to build an understanding of the crises we’re facing, the solutions we need, and strategies to win. We’re going to take this programme further with innovative methods and more ambition. We’ll educate our own activists to the highest standards by offering resources, training sessions, and discussion events – so we’re ready to make the case for a socialist Green New Deal to the wider movement and public. We’ll collaborate with allies and reach beyond our usual audience to build a collective education around the scale and nature of our crises, and how we resolve them.

What You Can Do

Labour for a Green New Deal has a plan, but we can’t do it alone. We’ve built a strong and entirely volunteer-run organisation to put this strategy into action, but we can only realise it if we continue to grow. Whether you’re a seasoned activist, or you want help finding how you can get involved, we’ll support you to build support for a Green New Deal in your community or workplace.

We’re calling on activists to join one of our local groups, get involved in a national organising team, build support through your union, or organise in your Labour branch or CLP. Reach out, and we’ll make sure you have a role in this fight.