2020 WAS, by and large, a bitter year for the left around the world.
There were some victories, of course – the expansion of The Squad (TM) in Congress after the likes of Cori Bush were elected, a monumental vote on abortion in Argentina, the return of Morales’ MAS party to Bolivia – but despite a global pandemic, a disunited left could not push their case.
Bernie Sanders losing out to Joe Biden and Keir Starmer erasing Jeremy Corbyn’s legacy are the lost battles at the top – but the wider discourse has not been changed enough either.
11 months into a pandemic, universal healthcare provision should not be an argument for any country. Neither should increased social security, benefits, or rent relief.
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The very philosophy behind the concept of ‘work’ should have been a wider talking point. As millions are let go – or are in the process of being made unemployed – others have realised they don’t need to commute for hours into an office to support the Pret economy.
The idea of valuing the economy over human life has been proved moot. Those countries who took action swiftly – New Zealand and China – saw jubilant scenes on New Year’s Eve.
Those who favoured keeping the economy open are suffering record cases, packed hospitals and hundreds of daily deaths from coronavirus.
Yet by and large, no action is being taken – at the very top, at least. Democrats, with the exception of Bernie Sanders and a handful of others, refused to hold out for $2000 stimulus cheques – something even Donald Trump advocated for.
In Britain, Keir Starmer has provided nine months of ineffective opposition to a blundering government still leading in the polls – somehow.
For the grassroots, the fight continues, with Indian farmers continuing to rally against Modi’s Farmers’ Bill.
We could also see Cuba come back into the fold, after four difficult years of Trump sabre-rattling.
There’s not much hope for the Israeli left though, despite Netanyahu being forced to call his fourth election in two years.
2021 will be pivotal in the battle against the pandemic, but also climate change and the potential restructuring of the economy.
2015 to 2019 were exciting years for the left – and after a sobering 12 months, it’s time to strike back (politically)!
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