The Labor Left’s dogged pursuit of appeasement has failed. Although he has now been relegated to the backbench, Joel Fitzgibbon’s public guerilla war has inflicted enormous damage, undermining Labor’s already weak climate policy.
So, if the Left wants to make sure that Fitzgibbon does not return from the political wilderness to fight once more for coal, they should borrow his strategy, and wage war on behalf of workers and the environment.
This means seeking allies outside the party to challenge the fossil fuel lobby. In fact, the basis for this is already being built as social movements coalesce around proposals like this such as a Green New Deal or a Climate Jobs Guarantee, while coalitions such as the Real Deal and the Hunter Jobs Allianceare bringing together climate and union movements around similar demands. Imagine, for a moment, if the Labor Left abandoned their defensive posture and amplified these voices instead.
In the face of overwhelming public opposition, the cynical campaign from Labor’s fossil fuel lobbyists would disintegrate. And Labor may take advantage of one of its last chances to lead the necessary — and popular — response to the climate crisis.