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Our Future in Common: 2030 and beyond

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President AOC announcing the Green New Deal back in 2025

There are going to be plenty of these ‘New Year Resolution’ pieces in the next few days, particularly as we enter a brand new decade. But for the first time in as long as I can remember, I am not looking into the future with an existential dread.

There are plenty of examples of great things that have happened in 2029 that we can use as springboards to carry on through into 2030 and beyond; the implementation of universal basic income, rent control in our global cities, the four-day working week and free augmented reality implants for the over 55s. But there is only really one worth celebrating for sure: the IPCC reported climate change had been reversed. I’m going to write that again, climate change has been reversed. Well okay, that’s a bit optimistic, but what they did say is that CO2 levels had plateaued in the previous 24 months and are forecast to be go down in 2030. This year it is widely predicted to be the first year since the last the 1970s that the Arctic Sea Ice will actually recover this winter. Oceanic acidification is slowing, and the report from the Berlin Institute of Protein Farming of the first sighting of an insect from the Bombus family may well turn out to be true. Our climate may well be back on track.

It would be easy to celebrate that (and heaven knows I will!), but such celebrations would not be happening without the monumental shifts in global socio-politics over the last decade. Yes our environment looks like it may be stabilising, but it would not have been possible without a major destabilisation of what we considered to be unmoveable, unshakable and universal political truths. As 2029 comes to an end, we can look back at this year and say that it was the time in which we were victorious in fighting back against the powers that seek to separate, and in 2030, we can look forward to sharing in a common wealth for all. But where to start in telling that story? Of the seismic shifts that have happened in the world in the past 10 years or so, which is the one that we can point to as the one that brought us back from the brink of climate catastrophe?

The Green New Deal, spearheaded by President AOC will be seen by the majority as the catalyst for sure – and to some extent – rightly so. There is no denying that after she took office in 2024, America was perhaps at its lowest ebb since the Great Depression almost exactly a century prior. And we all know why. Former President Pence’s (who’s trial for treason is still ongoing at the time of writing) policies of mass privatisation and further deregulation for oil and financial companies were at first seen as a necessary step in revitalising the ailing economy after the humiliating defeat in the Trade War with China the previous year. With automotive factories and farms closing at a rate of over a thousand a week due to Emperor Xi’s trade embargo (not to mention the complete US arms industry collapsing due to King Salman’s assassination by a Houthi separatist), unemployment levels particularly across the Southern states were at crisis point.

Some point to Pence’s controversial decision to make conversion therapy mandatory in schools for all non-heterosexuals as the tipping point. However, it was his mass privatisation of the Federal Bureau of Prisons that Professor Greta Thunberg has said was the moment that “capitalism finally encountered a limit it couldn’t overcome”. She explains in her new 2028 book entitled, ‘What David Harvey got Wrong and How We Can Put it Right’ that the complete immiseration of the working classes that had been brought about by a decade of neoliberalised fascist rule in the US, could no longer be pinned on an ‘Other’. Essentially, Pence had run out of groups he could blame. Power, Thunberg argued, runs out when there is no one left to exploit.

It is easy to look back now a decade later and see that employing former blue collar nationalist Republicans as prison guards for a largely African-American prison population was always going to result in mass riots, civil unrest and the National Guard on the streets. But by the time of the Great Fire of California in the summer of 2022 which killed over 100,000 people, it was clear that Pence – and his dwindling and aging base of hard line Republicans, ultra-conservative Christians and Klansman – had lost any support politically, socially and from the fading populist governments around the world. Even the then-despotic Prime Minister of England and Wales Nigel Farage, had distanced himself from Pence’s introduction of the death penalty for those women who undertook an abortion. Capitalism, as supported by a rabid and fascist nationalism, had finally run out of steam. The only surprise in the 2024 election is that the Democrats didn’t win 100 per cent of the seats in both the House and the Senate (although having the largest since Roosevelt was no mean feat).

AOC’s swift enactment of the Green New Deal in her first day in office was celebrated across the country and across the world. Decommissioning oil refineries and reemploying their workers in Carbon Engineering will clearly be viewed as an important shift in the way the economy functioned. Not least because it meant that costly transportation infrastructure (such as the Electric Car super-highway that extends from the Northern European State of Norway down to the Socialist Republic of Athens) did not really need to be built. Americans still loved their big cars, carbon engineering allowed them to keep them and remain carbon neutral. This won President AOC major brownie points from her critics in the Republican heartlands. What was also a vitally important move was to adopt Finland’s strategy of moving unsustainable agricultural production and workers into the realm of electric farming. Sure we only get to eat meat once a week now, but I for one am willing to make that sacrifice so my children can reach adulthood without burning to death.

For all of AOC’s rapid enacting of green policies, it would all have been for nothing had she not reached out to the wider international community to help regulate the global corporate behemoths of the Independent Republic of Silicon Valley (IRSV). Since it became a City State after the Great Fire in 2022, GoogleBook and Applezon were free from regulatory and taxation laws. Clearly helped by the fact that former President Pence signing off the Secession Treaty was exposed as a deepfake video helped to grease the wheels of international corporation. However, without the help of Caroline Lucas in her new role as the Co-Leader of European Coalition of Socialist Republics (ECSR), President AOC would not have been able to get the international court order to unfreeze Mark Zuckerberg from cryostasis to stand trial at the Hague. Once he confessed to his crime and GoogleBook was dissolved, it was only a matter of time before all the dominoes fell. With a properly regulated tech sector (especially the Molly Russell law enacted unanimously across the world which reversed the decades old legal technicality that social media and personal technology firms are not responsible for the content on their platforms) and a fair taxation system, the IRSV is now the leading country in the world for green AI. Their proposed platform – CarbX – for the iPhone LXII that allows people to share the carbohydrates of their left over food with each other will be important step in fulfilling AOC’s ambitious goal of a zero waste food system by 2035. And the fact that CarbX will be the first co-operative that came from the National Community Shares Program (set up by Secretary for the Treasury Yanis Varoufakis) is another reason to be hopeful for the coming year.

So yes, all the amazing green technology that is being properly funded, the dismantling of damaging corporations being handed over to democratic control, and progressive regulatory reform; these are critical to the optimism I have for 2030 and beyond. But there was another move that was perhaps not as loud, but just as important and that is when President AOC implemented the Magid Magid Act of 2026 (named after the first non-US mayor of New York) that had been in place in the ECSR since 2023. This meant that local management structures had to implement participatory budgeting schemes or risk loosing their funding. This was perhaps not surprising given President AOC’s support for Magid in his campaign to oust the incumbent mayor Richard Florida from New York in 2025, but it’s importance cannot be overstated. This is because it was able to massively increase the pace at which the greening of the economy and society could happen. Giving power and funds to local communities to spend as they saw necessary meant that decisions were taken far quicker and funds able to get where they were needed much more efficiently. The results were astonishing. The number of schools quadrupled in just over 12 months, community electric gardens sprung up all over the city, waiting lists at mental health institutions disappeared overnight, automated vehicle deaths fell to nearly zero, and social interaction matrices went through the roof.

You see, AOC understood that the State needed to act as a vessel for community action to prosper. I’m not sure if our President is a fan of Professor Ash Sarkar’s bestseller ‘The World is Now Communist, Yet Piers Morgan is Still An Idiot’ but there is a spirit of a new ethical communism that reverberates through the policies. For example, it was a surprise to many that AOC refused to reinstate the Federal Bureau of Prisons. Reaching out to the Prison Abolitionist groups and making Angela Davies her Secretary of State raised eyebrows to say the least, but by installing rehabilitation centres run by community leaders (and funded by the redirection of funds away from bloated PR departments of major metropolitan regions) meant that the cycle of incarceration for many of the most vulnerable soon stopped. The fact that their re-education programs primed them for work in the rapidly growing green tech sector helped to short-cut periods of precariousness. 

And only last month, she began to liaise with the the leader of the resistance Guilherme Boulos to help topple General Bolsonaro in the Kingdom of Brazil with the promise of financial resources, economic sanctions, aid to the most vulnerable in the favelas and a vociferous international social media campaign smearing Bolsonaro with whatever dirt they can find. But AOC’s specific caveat to all this help – that the Amazon Rainforest be designated common indigenous land – is to be applauded. The recent success in Australia by Prime Minister Waters (that has seen indigenous communities at the forefront of the rebuilding campaign after the 5 year drought that killed almost all livestock and arable land in the country) is no doubt catching AOC’s eye.

The 20s of the twenty first century were as perhaps as bad as the 20s of the twentieth. But with the foresight of President AOC and other key people in the international community, for the first time I am bringing in a new year with hope. Out of the ashes of a burning world fuelled by the hatred of Trump, Farage, Orban and all the other fascist leaders of the 2020s, we have all helped to build a world in common. Maintaining it won’t be easy for sure; there will always be people looking to horde the common wealth as their own. But with the political will and importantly an ethical commitment to that political will from within our own communities, we can begin to look forward to the future instead of dreading it. And that, is my new year’s resolution. Happy New Year!

 

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Author: Oli

Human Geographer at Royal Holloway, University of London

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