Ocasio-Cortez on Green New Deal: We’ve Confronted Prior Threats Like Depression, World War II with ‘Mobilization’ of the Economy

IAN HANCHETT

During a town hall on MSNBC on Friday, Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) stated that the Green New Deal isn’t just about climate, but is also about the economy and social and racial justice. She added that the U.S. has “confronted this type of stagnation and this type of systemic threat” before during the Great Depression, World War II, and the Cold War by mobilizing the economy.

Host Chris Hayes asked, “[T]he first big issue you’re doing is the Green New Deal. So, why this issue, front and center, first thing? What connects you to this?”

Ocasio-Cortez began by answering, “So, this issue is not just about our climate. First and foremost, we need to save ourselves, period.”

She continued, “But, how I access this issue is that I started looking at all of our problems. We have runaway income inequality. We are at one of our most unequal points, economically speaking, in American history. We are dealing with a crisis of how our economy is even made up. Our economy is increasingly financialized, which means we are making profits off of interest, off of leasing your phone, off of doing all of these things, but we aren’t producing and we aren’t innovating in the way that we need to as an economy. And I also was looking at our issues of social justice, social and racial justice, of which we are — which have a nexus here in the Bronx, and what I started thinking about, to myself, was, listen, we’re looking at all of these issues, Medicare for all, a living wage, tuition-free public colleges and universities, and there’s this false idea that we need to put them all in a line and say, do this or do that. … And then I started to realize that these are not different problems. These are all part of the same problem.”

Ocasio-Cortez added, “In the past, we’ve confronted this type of stagnation and this type of systemic threat as a country. First of all, we’ve been here before. We’ve been here before with the Great Depression. We’ve been here before with World War II, even the Cold War. And the answer has been an ambitious and directed mobilization of the American economy to direct — and solve our problem, our biggest problem. And historically speaking, we have mobilized our entire economy around war, but I thought to myself, it doesn’t have to be that way, especially when our greatest existential threat is climate change.”

Follow Ian Hanchett on Twitter @IanHanchett

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