The Intercept, together with U.S. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Intercept senior correspondent Naomi Klein (“The Shock Doctrine”) are proud to present “A Message from the Future with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez,” a 7-minute animated film featuring art by award-winning illustrator Molly Crabapple (“Brothers of the Gun”), co-written by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Avi Lewis (“This Changes Everything”) and co-directed by Kim Boekbinder and Jim Batt. The film is narrated by Ocasio-Cortez.
Following their collaboration with Jay-Z and Dream Hampton on a viral short film about the epic fail of the War on Drugs, Crabapple, Boekbinder and Batt have turned their talents towards the Green New Deal, partnering with Ocasio-Cortez and creating a unique response to the most common critiques of the Green New Deal.
“It is such a pleasure to collaborate with this team of artists and filmmakers, who are helping us imagine the beautiful, safe and inclusive future that so many tell us is impossible,” said Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. “Before we can win a Green New Deal,” she added, “we need to be able to close our eyes and imagine it. We can be whatever we have the courage to see.”
This hybrid of fact, fiction, and art is set at a time when the Green New Deal is a reality and human beings have come together to tackle the global climate crisis in a fair and equitable manner. In this alternative (but entirely possible) timeline, the 2020 presidential election jumpstarted the “Decade of the Green New Deal” and a flurry of legislation kicked off a series of social and ecological transformations to save the planet.
“We wanted to work on art about the Green New Deal because fundamentally the Green New Deal is about hope,” said Molly Crabapple. “Despite all the horrors of climate change that we have seen and continue to see, we can save ourselves, accomplish brave, beautiful and world-changing things.”
For months now, the Green New Deal has been under attack from all sides of the political spectrum – and many have tried to paint this proposed stimulus program as “unrealistic” or “too ambitious.”
But while transforming our economy and entertaining solutions on the scale of the climate crisis, without leaving anyone behind, takes both courage and imagination, this hopeful future isn’t at all utopian. In fact, as Naomi Klein notes in today’s Intercept story about the project, the New Deal was also the target of similar attacks. In the case of the New Deal, art making – and art funding – was an intrinsic part of the recipe that helped Americans overcome their fears and embrace bold collective measures aimed at helping the entire country.
“The biggest obstacle to the kind of transformative change the Green New Deal envisions is overcoming the idea that we are all too selfish, shortsighted and Twitter-addled to pull off something on this scale,” said Intercept senior correspondent Naomi Klein. “This beautiful film helps us imagine a different version of ourselves, and a future in which we decided to come together in the face of crisis, rather than surrender and fall apart.”
Justice Democrats, a small-dollar funded progressive organization that recruited and helped elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, is a partner on the film’s release. The organization launched the campaign for a Green New Deal alongside her and Sunrise Movement at a sit-in at Nancy Pelosi’s office in November 2018.
“Many people remember the famous posters and murals from the New Deal era sponsored by the Works Progress Administration that helped Americans imagine a vision for the country beyond depression and inequality,” said Alexandra Rojas, Executive Director, Justice Democrats. “Art will play a major role in the fight for the Green New Deal because we have to be able to imagine and see the new social contract and future we’re building together.”
“A Message from the Future with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez” will also screen during Sunrise Movement’s “Road to the Green New Deal” tour, with eight major national stops and over 100 town halls across America. The tour begins Thursday, April 18, with a gathering at The Strand Theater in Boston, Massachusetts. For additional info on the Sunrise tour, visit their official site.