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“The Plow That Broke The Plains”

“Blown out, Baked Out, and Broke”

Paths From The New Deal To The Green New Deal

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At this time of despair, when even Bernie Sanders’ “Our Revolution” folks have thrown in the towel and abandoned the Green New Deal, I urge folks to watch this classic about the dustbowl and the New Deal:

This classic 1938 movie documents just a small portion of the damage we have done – we exterminated indigenous people, wiped out the buffalo, and destroyed millions of acres of prairie. We waged war on Mexico and stole their lands. We grossly exploited Chinese, Irish, Polish, German and other immigrant labor.

While skirting those issues, the movie does a very good job of showing how capitalism, technology and war combine to destroy the land and the people.

But the scale and success of the New Deal restoration – of the landscape and the people – is what we did to begin to make it right.

Similarly, the current record flooding in the northeast from the remnants of Hurricane Ida does not come close to the floods we’ve suffered on the Mississippi.

Watch another classic New Deal documentary to understand that history (yes, it skates over slavery and Jim Crow, but keep in mind when it was created and the flaws in the New Deal on racism):

After you watch these short films, tell me if what we are experiencing now comes even close to the human suffering and environmental devastation we saw in these two movies.

I provided a little more historical context about all that in this post, which I wrote in the despair that followed Superstorm Sandy:

We have far more wealth, institutional capacity, and scientific and technological know how than our New Deal predecessors who managed to respond at scale to these disasters and do so in a way that benefitted people, not corporations.

We’ve done it before and we can do it again – if we have the political will to do so.

Political will does not come down from on high – Biden’s “Build Back Better” surely won’t suffice.

History shows that political will is built by activists.

So, get off the couch – no selfies, hashtags  memes, Facebook, TikTok, YouTube, Instagram, Substack, and Twitter – and get out in the streets! Make it happen.

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