Jul 3, 2019
"A growing, and likely irreparable, rift between elite progressive environmentalists," Forbes tells us. "Environmentalists need to reconnect with blue-collar America," The Hill explains. "Labor anger over Green New Deal greets 2020 contenders in California," Politico reports. "AOC's Green New Deal could have Dems facing blue-collar backlash at polls, some say," a Fox News headline reads.
One of the few times corporate media cares what "American labor" has to say is when they’re using them as wedge against other elements of the Left, namely environmentalists and activists calling for urgent solutions to climate change. The narrative they’re reinforcing: a broadly assumed––but largely baseless––premise that climate change is a boutique issue for wealthy liberals that real working people don’t care about.
For a media that still largely views the working class as a
white-man-with-a-hard-hat caricature, this fits into a nice binary
that undermines both efforts to take on fossil fuel companies and
improve the lives of workers. But who does the false dichotomy
serve? How does the media highlight and misconstrue real points of
tension to undermine both groups, and what can activists do to
resolve good faith differences without playing into power-serving
“hardhats vs. hippies” cliches?
And what do we mean when we say “labor”? How do workers drowning in the South Pacific or displaced in South Sudan factor into our notion of what’s at stake in the "labor vs. environmentalist" debate about climate change?
We are joined on this episode by writer and editor Michelle Chen.