How do you feel about the fact that everyone now has their own ‘green new deal’, though obviously yours was the first one? How do you differentiate yourself from the others?
Obviously we are delighted that the idea has got some momentum behind it and people are talking about using this opportunity to put serious amounts of money into the economy in a way that would not only create jobs but would also have serious environmental benefits. The downside is that because everyone is now using this language it is very difficult to differentiate between what is a real green new deal and what is not.
Are there plans, then, to revisit the Green New Deal – in the light of everyone else having one now, to go back and review it and produce a real one, more radical than the original?
There are certainly discussions about that but then we are also trying to encourage more people to get involved. The original group of eight to ten of us are not experts in some areas. So, for example, we are working with other specialist organisations to develop groups around issues like transport and agriculture to produce a green new deal for these sectors. We have been talking to the Soil Association and Sustain about what a green new deal for agriculture would look like. We have been meeting with lots of other NGOs too because there is this sense that we want to mainstream this by getting people to look at the Green New Deal through the lens of their own sector or area.
My first impression on reading the Green New Deal was that it was written as a top-down governmental programme. I understand why that was, but it did seem to me that it could also have been written in a way to encourage people to do things locally in their own areas – similarly to how you describe these plans for sectors. I understand things are happening in some areas already on this front. Could we not use the Green New Deal as a way to build a grass-roots movement – hundreds of meetings round the country to generate local enthusiasm and innovation to pressure government?
Yes, you are absolutely right. I was in Norwich yesterday with the Green Party there launching their election manifesto, ‘A green new deal for Norwich’, about what the local authority could and should be doing. We have also been looking at the idea of local bonds, which local authorities could issue as a safe place to put money in these troubled times and whose funds could be used for local renovation programmes and economic activity. The returns might not be as high as in the heyday of the real casino capitalism but people would know that their money was benefiting everyone, local communities and sustainable projects.
How do you think this would link to the ‘transition towns’ movement?
The Green New Deal does have slightly more emphasis, I suppose, on how to get national and local government to help this process more by removing obstacles and roadblocks – EU trade rules, World Trade Organisation rules and so on – which will need governments and local government to be pressurising to remove them.
The transition movement, though, is one of the most inspiring movements around, with ordinary people just getting on and doing things without waiting for national or local government. And it helps create a space by showing that there are people out there willing to go further than politicians think they are. I passionately believe in that bottom-up process, like transition towns, but we do also need the top-down governmental approach, and of course the bottom-up pressure makes that top-down approach more possible anyway, so it is all related.
It is very rare that you have a moment in politics when ordinary people are more radical than the politicians – I think maybe the 1960s was the last time. You have people in the pub wanting to string up bankers while the politicians want to bail them out – it is extraordinary. Is there not a danger of us all self censoring and not being radical enough?
It is a wonderful opportunity in a sense and a huge responsibility on us all to use this moment well. If we had been told five years ago that this moment was going to happen, we would all have got very excited and started preparing for how best to use it. But because it happened so quickly and unexpectedly, I am worried that it won’t last forever. There will be a real movement to go back to business as usual and we might lose this extraordinary opportunity we have to change and reshape a whole range of things from the economic system to the whole way we organise society. We’ve got to seize that moment!
Hilary Wainwright argues against reclaiming populism for the left and for a leadership that supports people’s capacity for self-government
It may seem as though these apps are working for us, but we are also working for the apps, writes Kurt Iveson
It's over 100 years ago that domestic workers began to organise to demand the same rights as other workers. Yet with LSE cleaners on strike this week, historian Laura Schwartz asks: how much has really changed?
Omar Barghouti asks whether Donald Trump, in his recent break with America’s long-standing support for the two-state solution, has unwittingly revived the debate about the plausibility, indeed the necessity, of a single, democratic state in historic Palestine?
Glenn Greenwald was interviewed by Amandla Thomas-Johnson over the phone from Brazil. Here is what he had to say on the War on Terror, Trump, and the 'special relationship'
In 1972 David Widgery wrote about the bitter intensity of love in capitalism
Andrew Dolan on how the left must match the anti-establishment rhetoric of the right, but with a different politics
Emma Snaith speaks with directors Emer Mary Morris and Nina Scott about the power of theatre to encourage community resistance to estate demolitions.
In the first of a series of interviews with migrants' rights and racial justice activists from the US, Marienna Pope-Weidemann speaks to Peter Pedemonti, co-founder and director of the New Sanctuary Movement in Philadelphia
Photos from The World Transformed festival in Liverpool, by David Walters
Red Pepper’s race section: open editorial meeting 19 April
On April 19th, we’ll be holding the second of Red Pepper’s Race Section Open Editorial Meetings.
Changing our attitude to Climate Change
Paul Allen of the Centre for Alternative Technology spells out what we need to do to break through the inaction over climate change
Introducing Trump’s Inner Circle
Donald Trump’s key allies are as alarming as the man himself
Secrets and spies of Scotland Yard
A new Espionage Act threatens whistleblowers and journalists, writes Sarah Kavanagh
#AndABlackWomanAtThat – part II: a discussion of power and privilege
In the second article of a three-part series, Sheri Carr reflects on the silencing of black women and the flaws in safe spaces
How progressive is the ‘progressive alliance’?
We need an anti-austerity alliance, not a vaguely progressive alliance, argues Michael Calderbank
The YPJ: Fighting Isis on the frontline
Rahila Gupta talks to Kimmie Taylor about life on the frontline in Rojava
Joint statement on George Osborne’s appointment to the Evening Standard
'We have come together to denounce this brazen conflict of interest and to champion the growing need for independent, truthful and representative media'
Paul O’Connell and Michael Calderbank consider the conditions that led to the Brexit vote, and how the left in Britain should respond
On the right side of history: an interview with Mijente
Marienna Pope-Weidemann speaks to Reyna Wences, co-founder of Mijente, a radical Latinx and Chincanx organising network
Disrupting the City of London Corporation elections
The City of London Corporation is one of the most secretive and least understood institutions in the world, writes Luke Walter
#AndABlackWomanAtThat: a discussion of power and privilege
In the first article of a three-part series, Sheri Carr reflects on the oppression of her early life and how we must fight it, even in our own movement
Corbyn understands the needs of our communities
Ian Hodson reflects on the Copeland by-election and explains why Corbyn has the full support of The Bakers Food and Allied Workers Union
Red Pepper’s race section: open editorial meeting 15 March
On 15 March, we’ll be holding the first of Red Pepper’s Race Section open editorial meetings.
Social Workers Without Borders
Jenny Nelson speaks to Lauren Wroe about a group combining activism and social work with refugees
Growing up married
Laura Nicholson interviews Dr Eylem Atakav about her new film, Growing Up Married, which tells the stories of Turkey’s child brides
The Migrant Connections Festival: solidarity needs meaningful relationships
On March 4 & 5 Bethnal Green will host a migrant-led festival fostering community and solidarity for people of all backgrounds, writes Sohail Jannesari
Reclaiming Holloway Homes
The government is closing old, inner-city jails. Rebecca Roberts looks at what happens next
Intensification of state violence in the Kurdish provinces of Turkey
Oppression increases in the run up to Turkey’s constitutional referendum, writes Mehmet Ugur from Academics for Peace
Pass the domestic violence bill
Emma Snaith reports on the significance of the new anti-domestic violence bill
Report from the second Citizen’s Assembly of Podemos
Sol Trumbo Vila says the mandate from the Podemos Assembly is to go forwards in unity and with humility
Protect our public lands
Last summer Indigenous people travelled thousands of miles around the USA to tell their stories and build a movement. Julie Maldonado reports
From the frontlines
Red Pepper’s new race editor, Ashish Ghadiali, introduces a new space for black and minority progressive voices
How can we make the left sexy?
Jenny Nelson reports on a session at The World Transformed
In pictures: designing for change
Sana Iqbal, the designer behind the identity of The World Transformed festival and the accompanying cover of Red Pepper, talks about the importance of good design
Angry about the #MuslimBan? Here are 5 things to do
As well as protesting against Trump we have a lot of work to get on with here in the UK. Here's a list started by Platform
Who owns our land?
Guy Shrubsole gives some tips for finding out
Don’t delay – ditch coal
Take action this month with the Coal Action Network. By Anne Harris
Utopia: Work less play more
A shorter working week would benefit everyone, writes Madeleine Ellis-Petersen
Mum’s Colombian mine protest comes to London
Anne Harris reports on one woman’s fight against a multinational coal giant