Growing awareness of our ever-worsening climate crisis has boosted the popularity of movements calling for a Green New Deal. At present, the Green New Deal is a big tent idea, grounded to some extent by its identification with the original New Deal and emphasis on the need for strong state action to initiate system change on a massive scale. Given contemporary conditions, it is not surprising that people are looking back to the New Deal period for inspiration. However, inspiration is not the same as seeking and drawing useful organizing and strategic lessons from a study of the dynamics of that period.

While there are great differences between the crises and political movements and possibilities of the 1930s and now, there are also important lessons that can be learned from the efforts of activists to build mass movements for social transformation during the Great Depression. My aim in this paper is to illuminate the challenges faced and choices made by these activists and draw out some of the relevant lessons for contemporary activists seeking to advance a Green New Deal.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.