Interview – A Green New Deal debate, 19 May

Andrew Glassford, of DIEM25 Manchester, answers some questions about the event this coming Sunday.

greennewdeal 2019 05 191. The “Green New Deal” – isn’t that an American thing with that Alexandria Ocasio Cortez? What’s it got to do with Manchester?
Yes you’re right, but we think it’s a great idea too. The Green New Deal (GND) is being pushed by the likes of AOC and Bernie Sanders in the States, it aims to drastically decarbonise our economies while providing newly invigorated social programs and create new green jobs. As Climate Change is a Global problem, we need a plan to combat it, and at all levels across the world. The GND as an idea that’s been knocking around for at least a decade, it actually started life in the UK and Diem25 has been advocating for it since 2016.

2. You’re putting on this event at the King’s Arms in Salford on Sunday 19 May. Who is ‘you’ – what is Diem25 and when did the DIEM25 Manchester group get established? What else has it done?
Diem25 MCR is a local group for the pan-European movement Diem25. It was setup in the fall out of the Greek Debt crisis and the crushing of that nation under the wilful ignorance of austerity under the guise of “ preserving the union”. Instead it enabled the far right to gain a foothold in Greece and is the precursor to the chaos we see in Europe right now. We want to democratise and reform Europe into a union that is for the benefit of all. To build a continental democracy that enfranchises it’s citizens and provides agency to the downtrodden.Our world’s problems cannot be solved by individual nations acting alone, we must band together in solidarity to save the planet from ourselves.

Diem25MCR started in the summer of 2018, with our first event taking place the following September looking at political ideas outside of the fog of Brexit. In Feb of this year we ran a debate on Universal Basic Income (UBI) along with the World Basic Income group.This year we’ve been running weekly coffee meetups for people to come and discuss European politics, taking the anger of the facebook comment section away by making people have real conversation and debate each other. We’ve a floroushing group of 15 members from all across the Uk and the EU. Our group is all about democracy and engaging people with politics, anyone who comes to the meeting can decide what we talk about what we should be doing for events. Diem25 is about making politics real for people again.

3. If people come to the meeting, what should they expect? If people can’t come, is it being livestreamed/recorded/is there going to be a blog post about it?
Our debate on the GND is conducted by the audience, the first half of the evening the audience will work in small groups to decide what they think is important and what should be debated in the second half by our panel. Our panel includes members of Diem25, Extinction Rebellion and Free Market environmentalist providing a wide perspective on how we can implement a GND that has been designed by the citizens

4. What next for DIEM25 in Manchester? And for the Green New Deal? (I am assuming you know about the meeting at the Methodist Hall on Tues May 28th?)
Our next plans are in the works for holding a conference in 2020 on European democracy and continuing with our smaller themed events hopefully working with even more local think tanks and groups.

5. Any tips on how the “climate movement” in Manchester can sustain momentum and morale over the summer?
I think the spontaneous and devolved actions by Extinction Rebellion has really lead the way in bringing the climate debate back to the people. The more we can get the general public in the street protesting the better. But I give this praise with a small caveat . We are indeed in dire times and the language of extinction and climate breakdown are needed to demonstrate the calamity we’re in as a species, but we must show people a beacon of hope and give them something to believe in if we are to truly combat this crisis. It’s going to be tough and ground shaking what we have to do to repair our world, but we can save it if we act quickly and to do that we need to inspire people that there is hope.


About manchesterclimatemonthly

Was print format from 2012 to 13. Now web only. All things climate and resilience in (Greater) Manchester.
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