If you had any remaining doubts that AOC’s Green New Deal was a utopian fairytale, this short film co-written and narrated by AOC should put them to rest. Created in partnership with the Intercept and illustrator Molly Crabapple, this belongs to a genre called future history, sort of like World War Z but with socialism instead of zombies. Author Naomi Klein wrote a kind of foreword for the film in which she admits this is about helping people dream big:
What if we actually pulled off a Green New Deal? What would the future look like then?
This is a project unlike any we have done before, crossing boundaries between fact, fiction, and visual art, co-directed by Kim Boekbinder and Jim Batt and co-written by Ocasio-Cortez and Avi Lewis. To reclaim a phrase from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, it’s our “green dream,” inspired by the explosion of utopian art produced during the original New Deal…
We realized that the biggest obstacle to the kind of transformative change the Green New Deal envisions is overcoming the skepticism that humanity could ever pull off something at this scale and speed. That’s the message we’ve been hearing from the “serious” center for four months straight: that it’s too big, too ambitious, that our Twitter-addled brains are incapable of it, and that we are destined to just watch walruses fall to their deaths on Netflix until it’s too late.
The walruses falling to their deaths comes from a new Netflix documentary. Questions have been raised about the validity of the claims made about the walrus deaths. In any case, the point of this film crosses “boundaries between fact and fiction” so I guess it doesn’t matter.
There are of course some awkward elements to this effort, starting with the fact that it’s AOC narrating her own hero narrative, one in which she is the key figure in the salvation of America and maybe the world. It’s the kind of thing a smarter person wouldn’t admit to thinking about in public, much less narrate.
It begins on a bullet-train from New York to DC with an aging AOC reminiscing about a time before she was the most important person in the world. The villain in this fairytale is the dark energy (aka oil) and Exxon as a kind of dark knight wielding its power. Absent from this story is any recognition of the positive results of all the cheap energy fossil fuels have provided. The high standard of living into which AOC was born and the personal freedom that comes with it doesn’t merit a second’s thought. AOC is basically calling the most productive, creative, free time in world history complete rubbish and she’s doing it without even a nod to the role oil has played in that. In her story, fossil fuels are a purely negative force.
And at this point in the narrative, she gets to wealth inequality and, without using the word, capitalism as the real problem. As I’ve said from the beginning, the GND is about saving the planet by ending capitalism. You see that here her vision of a socialist distribution of wealth in which all the money is shared equally. She calls it “a true turning point” but you and I call it Democratic Socialism:
The next minute or so of the film describes how Democrats won the 2020 presidential election and passed Medicare for All and a federal jobs guarantee. And then AOC says, “Funnily enough, the biggest problem in those early years was a labor shortage.” And just like that, any concern that the embrace of Modern Monetary Theory might create problems is wiped away. As soon as the people in AOC’s America embrace socialism, all is well and high-speed trains spread across the entire country.
As we all know, there’s no potential downside with socialism. The government never spends too much. Inflation never happens and people never wind up destitute and eating zoo animals (except in Venezuela but let’s not talk about that during happy-vision time).
There are still problems in AOC’s future. “Hurricane Sheldon” is apparently destined to wipe out Miami for good, so watch for that. But in general, it’s a utopia where everyone has a high-paying job and no one lacks for anything as they zip around on bullet-trains. To say this is optimistic is underselling it. This is a cotton candy future spun of pure sugar. It’s the kind of problem-free vision that could only be put forward by someone very young and very inexperienced with real people.
As propaganda films go, it’s certainly visually appealing. Imagine what Chairman Mao could have done with YouTube if he’d had it during the Great Leap Forward. Of course, millions of people wound up dead during the Great Leap, but don’t let that put a damper on AOC’s vision of a new economy overnight. Ten-year plans to totally revamp the economy are very different from five-year plans that someone else had in the past. Don’t let your mind wander, comrade! Instead, remember your place in the great struggle and trust that the Party is creating a glorious future for everyone. It’s already done.