by Gary Porter
On May 10, climate activists, social democrats, anti-imperialists, left wing commentators and critics launched a new international project. In September, the sponsors will meet for the inaugural Summit of the Progressive International (PI) in Reykjavik, Iceland. It will be hosted by the Prime Minister of Iceland and the Left Green Movement. This new project occurs in the context of a raging viral pandemic, economic depression, an escalating nuclear arms race, and rapid global warming that puts humanity on the verge of catastrophe.
Billionaires force workers back to work without protection from the COVID-19 by cutting financial support. “Essential” workers who, it turns out, are often low paid racialized workers, sicken and die, as unemployment skyrockets. Hospitals, stripped by 40 years of neoliberal cuts, cannot handle the sick. Imperialist drones, bombs, brutal economic sanctions and assassinations by special forces never stop.
The contradictions and crises of capitalism multiply and magnify like gaping wounds, leaving open sores across the landscape. Witnessing all of this, billions of people are desperate to find a way out, including those who are forming the Progressive International.
But the list of 64 members of the PI Council on its website does not include radicalizing youth, the poor or very many workers. Most are intellectuals and professional politicians. The rise of authoritarian governments, violence, anti intellectualism, hostility to science and experts, and the decline of civilized discourse, strand these intellectuals and parliamentary figures in darkness and fear. None of them look to the power of mobilized workers and farmers, or even consider that a serious possibility. PI appears as an effort to bolster resistance to the tide of crude ignorance, chaos and destruction represented by Trump, Johnson, Bolsonaro, Erdogan, Duterte, et al.
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