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The poverty of power in the Green Keynesian turn

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This August marked the arrival of a modest step away from climate neoliberalism toward a “green Keynesianism” in the United States. Legislation advanced by the Biden administration shifted away from austerity and carbon market creation, toward patching up public infrastructure and direct industrial subsidies. However, the new program included next to zero labor terms for the private work it would generously subsidize, let alone more active steps to advance public ownership or worker power. The apparent defeat of the novel measures of this Keynesian strategy, by a united corporate front, demonstrates the political peril of a climate transition strategy based on avoiding confrontation with capital. This is especially due to the present confluence of renewable and fossil energy capital, which will have an enduring drive to make use of the enormous remaining fossil reserves worldwide. Political breakthroughs stemming from California's climate transition provide an instructive alternative to Biden's Keynesian indifference to worker power. Through the joint work of scholars, rank-and-file workers, and broader social movements, the racialized and gendered repression of green construction labor must be overcome, if we are to build the power needed for a climate transition that lasts.

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