We can build a new economic order

Marina Gusmao, Forms.


Speech delivered at the Progressive International's "End of the World Conference"

Speeches like this often begin with the speaker emphasizing that we are in an urgent time. Today, however, when you observe the world around you, you realize that this is true. So much is happening in the world – and so quickly – that it is sometimes difficult and dizzying to keep up.

The Progressive International (IP) is a young project, but one that has already done so much to bring us together, through action in defense of radical transformations and to make our fast-paced world understandable. I'm proud that the Peace and Justice Project join and I am honored to sit on your board alongside so many inspiring leaders and activists.

The first conference of the Progressive International, which took place in September 2020, was organized around the title “Extinction or Internationalism”. A year and a half later, we must be realistic: the pointer has moved closer to extinction.

Last month, climatologists warned that limiting global warming is now or never. You can almost hear them screaming at their keyboards, desperate for governments to actually do something, when they stress the importance of “quick, deep and immediate” cuts in COXNUMX emissions.2.

Red alerts began to sound after the failure of COP26 in Glasgow, where we depended on alternative voices on the margins of the event to tell us the truth and plan for a better future. But his words – like those of the scientists – are not just a warning about the future; they describe the present reality of billions of people.

South Asia is already in the third month of an extreme heat wave, with temperatures exceeding 40°C day after day. Picture this: no respite, no relief, working in this heat.

We humans are incredibly capable of adapting, but death comes first when it's this hot. Scientists have found that even relatively small increases in average temperature lead to much greater risks of mass heat-related deaths. We've already seen how extreme heat causes wildfires, destroying habitats and killing animals and people.

Thirty million people had to migrate due to climate shocks in 2020. And these shocks pile on more future conflicts by ruining crops. Punjab, the breadbasket of India, has already seen a worrying drop in wheat harvests this year due to the heat.

And it's not just South Asia that is scorching. In March, both the Arctic and Antarctic were at the same time 30ºC above their average temperatures. Let me say it one more time. The North Pole and South Pole were both 30°C warmer than normal for March. The ice is melting and sea levels are rising. Small island nations are at risk, as are billions of people who live in coastal regions or rely on supply chains that utilize coastal infrastructure.

We know that the dominant economic model, with its pollution, extraction and internal obsolescence, cares little about our environment. But its arteries, the global supply chains that connect mines, factories, waterways, ports, warehouses, supply chains and consumers across the planet are already deeply shaken, even before they can be feel the full effects of climate breakdown.

In the intensely integrated global capitalist economy, especially after the IMF has spent decades forcing countries to abandon production for their home markets, disruption spells disaster. More than 800 million people – one in ten of the entire world's population – are already going to bed hungry.

The price of wheat has already doubled this year. And it may continue to rise as the effects of Russia's criminal invasion of Ukraine and the resulting partial isolation of the Russian economy are felt. The two countries were among the top five wheat exporters in the world before the war. Many countries in the Global South depend on them for their food supply.

Russia's war in Ukraine must be condemned. And she should focus our attention on all the other casualties of war in belligerent countries around the world. Of course, we stand with the Ukrainian people, just as we stand with any population that has fallen victim to invasion, displacement and occupation. And we must, as progressive movements around the world, remain extremely resolute in our support for refugees, whose rights and whose lives must be protected. Those fleeing violence and famine in Afghanistan and Yemen, currently the poorest places on the planet due to their destruction by war, must be received with humanity and hospitality, not racism and resentment.

Wars lead to starvation, psychological distress and death for years after fighting ceases. We have no time to lose. There must be an immediate ceasefire, the withdrawal of Russian forces and the negotiation of an agreement.

If not, not only will the Ukrainian people continue to face the horror of bombs, tanks and anti-aircraft sirens; not only will Ukrainian refugees suffer uncertain futures and have to be displaced from their families and communities; not just young Russian recruits will be sent to be brutalized in the army and to die in a foreign land for a war they don't understand; not only the Russian people will suffer under sanctions; not only will people in Egypt, Somalia, Laos, Sudan, and many others who depend on wheat from warring nations face increased hunger; not only will prices for consumers around the world rise, intensifying the struggle to just keep going.

But everyone on Earth will face the threat of the Armageddon nuclear. The threat of direct confrontation between Russian forces and NATO is a clear and current threat to all of us. Both sides are being spurred on by wild and dangerous forces in their respective media. These actions are extremely dangerous. They establish an atmosphere of extreme menace and fear that makes the destruction of life as we know it that much more likely.

We've been here before. Most people don't know how close we've come to nuclear war. In 1983, Soviet leadership was convinced that the West was going to launch a nuclear attack. On September 26, the Soviet nuclear early warning system went off, suggesting that the United States had launched an attack. According to protocol, the USSR would launch an immediate retaliatory nuclear strike.

The officer in charge, Stanislav Petrov, flouted protocol, avoiding a retaliatory strike because he believed – or perhaps hoped – that it was a false alarm. He waited, during those nervous minutes, to see if the bombs would come. He was right, and he saved mankind. That's how far we've come from annihilation: one man revoking established military protocols and relying on his instincts over technology.

That's why it's so important to uphold the ban on nuclear weapons, the global ban treaty, which is now part of international law due to inspiring campaigns from the Global South. And now we must come together and build a global movement for peace. As stated in the political declaration of the Progressive International: dismantle the war machine and build a peoples' diplomacy.

It will not be easy. Arms companies do very well outside of war. They fund politicians and think tanks. They have many media spokespersons. Those who fight for true peace are demonized, since the interests of the war machine are behind the conflict.

This is why defenders of justice are also so persistently attacked. They threaten the illicit wealth and power of the few. We see this happen over and over again. Your interests are not general interests. They are not your interests.

We can see this with painful clarity in the pandemic, as the Big Pharma refuses to share the technology of vaccines that were developed, mainly, with public funding. Who benefits from this? Pharmaceutical industry executives and their shareholders. Who loses? All other people. More mothers and more fathers die. More lives are ruined. And the threat of viral mutation looms over everyone, vaccinated and unvaccinated.

How do they get away with it? They convinced the governments of some of the richest and most powerful countries that business interests are their interests. It's not a conspiracy. Just look at the facts. The state is used to sustain the wealth of the richest. Central banks injected $9 trillion in 2020 in response to the pandemic. The result? The wealth of billionaires has increased by 50% in one year while, at the same time, the global economy has contracted. She got smaller.

Billionaires and corporations say they hate government action. In fact, they love her. The only thing they hate is governments acting in your interests.

And so they fight to keep governments in their pockets and try to overthrow those who aren't. They need the state to support them. Since economic growth is likely to be slow for decades to come as elites shun and mismanage the energy transition, the wealth and debt of the powerful will need to be constantly bolstered by central banks and government policies.

So when we step back and assess all the dynamics and dangers that come with this, a truth dawns on us. We used to think that there are a series of distinct crises: the climate, the refugees, the housing, the debt, the inequality crises, the crisis of the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer. We tried to isolate each one to solve them.

Then we began to realize that the main crises – of capital, climate and imperialism – were intertwined. Therefore, we had to face all of them at the same time, but in different ways.

Now, we can see that we don't face multiple distinct crises. The system itself is in crisis. The global system is not in an crisis that can be resolved. The system é the crisis and must be overcome, replaced, transformed. As the slogan says, we need systemic change, not climate change.

That is why, this week, the Progressive International finds itself under the not-so-exciting title of “Conference at the End of the World” [“Summit at the End of the World🇧🇷

Because the end of the world is already here – it's just unevenly distributed. The image of the apocalypse – bombs and airstrikes, oil spills and forest fires, disease and epidemics – is already reality for people across the planet.

The periphery is the future, not the past. We were told that developed countries offer developing countries a picture of their future. But the periphery is at the forefront of history – where the crisis of capital strikes hardest, the consequences of climate breakdown strike most quickly, and the cry of resistance is loudest.

And that resistance is powerful and inspiring. There is, after all, much to give us hope.

Since the last conference of the Progressive International, the world has witnessed the biggest strike in history. Allied farmers and workers in India resisted two neoliberal projects that Narenda Modi's government wanted to pass through its parliament. Farmers defended their interests, their livelihoods and the needs of the poorest. And they won.

Or consider Amazon, the fifth highest earning company during the pandemic. Its greed and exploitation have been courageously faced by workers, communities and activists on every continent of the world. They teamed up to “make amazon pay” [Make Amazon Pay].

In Latin America, in country after country, people are mobilizing in defense of progressive political leaders who say it is enough for domination by capital, the destruction of their communities and the abuse of the environment.

But resisting is not enough. We need to build.

And that's what I see in communities all over the world: people coming together in the face of adversity and realizing that if they work together, their achievements are greater. Socialism is already present in our communities. Cultivating it into a powerful alternative is our task, our cause.

And that's what we're doing this week. This conference is a building site. Why are we taking stock of this dying world? To build the new, the one that will replace it – overflowing with life, united by love, and driven by popular sovereignty.

How do we do it? It's such an urgent thing. There is no more time to waste.

First, we unite. Progressive forces need to unite beyond borders and difficulties to mobilize and organize themselves to face the crises of capital, climate and imperialism.

This means that the task facing each of us is twofold. We strengthen urban and rural workers in their struggles against exploitation, people and communities in their struggles for dignity, and progressive forces working to mobilize state power. And we've brought them all together into powerful people's alliances with the ability to rebuild the world.

As systems collapse, we will face the backlash as well as the elite who want to keep things the way they are. We have already tasted its poison with Trump, Bolsonaro, Modi, Erdogan, Putin and Duterte.

To defeat these monsters of our time and the new ones to come, we build the people's power to unite the struggles against the end of the world with the battle at the end of the month. Our movements must lead to a better life for ordinary people, ensuring their survival, housing, health, their right to have more time to spend with friends and those they love, power over their own lives, and a clean environment. , safe and sustainable.

If we do this, we will cultivate hope and not despair. And we will breathe life into a new world from the ashes of this one.

So I want you to make a commitment today: double your efforts in the struggles you are involved in. Join that campaign you've been considering joining. Show that real solidarity. face the bullies. Build unions. Be part of movements. And help unite them, as we are doing today in the Progressive International.

It is up to us to build a new world. Do it for yourself, for your family, for your community. Do it for humanity. If we don't, life will get much worse for most people within a generation. But if we do, life will be much better.

I want you to be able to look back a generation from now and say, yes, I built the unions, the community organizations, the social movements, the campaigns, the parties, the International that turned the tide.

I want you to be able to say, yes, we are the greatest generation, who, together, produced and distributed the food, housing and health care so that no one would face poverty, who preserved and shared the wisdom of the peoples of this planet, it spread love among people and communities, it built energy systems to decarbonize our planet, it destroyed war machines and defended refugees, it controlled the power of billionaires and ensured a new international economic order.

Will be easy? Of course not. We will face enormous resistance. Of course we will. There will be ups and there will be downs. But every day we can get up and know we'll do our little part. It's all we can do. Day after day. Week after week. Month after month. Year after year. Building our campaigns, building our movements, building our power, and taking the future in our hands.

This is how great victories were won in the past – all the struggles that came together – for the vote, for independence, for civil rights, for land, for health, for jobs – that made our world more civilized. We can find great strength and pride in this story. And we can and will stand on the shoulders of the world's youth and claim their futures and opportunities.

Even in the face of enormous resistance and oppression and a collapsing system, we will rebuild a world fit for the next generation. As the great and wonderful Chilean poet Pablo Neruda once wrote, “you can cut all the flowers, but you cannot stop spring from appearing”. And spring, my friends, is coming.

*Jeremy Corbyn is a member of the English parliament. He was Leader of the Labor Party and Leader of the Opposition in the UK House of Commons from 2015 to 2020.

Translation: Daniel Pavan.

Originally published on the magazine's website Jacobin.

See this link for all articles


  • About artificial ignoranceEugenio Bucci 15/06/2024 By EUGÊNIO BUCCI: Today, ignorance is not an uninhabited house, devoid of ideas, but a building full of disjointed nonsense, a goo of heavy density that occupies every space
  • Franz Kafka, libertarian spiritFranz Kafka, libertarian spirit 13/06/2024 By MICHAEL LÖWY: Notes on the occasion of the centenary of the death of the Czech writer
  • The society of dead historyclassroom similar to the one in usp history 16/06/2024 By ANTONIO SIMPLICIO DE ALMEIDA NETO: The subject of history was inserted into a generic area called Applied Human and Social Sciences and, finally, disappeared into the curricular drain
  • Strengthen PROIFESclassroom 54mf 15/06/2024 By GIL VICENTE REIS DE FIGUEIREDO: The attempt to cancel PROIFES and, at the same time, turn a blind eye to the errors of ANDES management is a disservice to the construction of a new representation scenario
  • Letter to the presidentSquid 59mk,g 18/06/2024 By FRANCISCO ALVES, JOÃO DOS REIS SILVA JÚNIOR & VALDEMAR SGUISSARDI: “We completely agree with Your Excellency. when he states and reaffirms that 'Education is an investment, not an expense'”
  • Volodymyr Zelensky's trapstar wars 15/06/2024 By HUGO DIONÍSIO: Whether Zelensky gets his glass full – the US entry into the war – or his glass half full – Europe’s entry into the war – either solution is devastating for our lives
  • PEC-65: independence or patrimonialism in the Central Bank?Campos Neto Trojan Horse 17/06/2024 By PEDRO PAULO ZAHLUTH BASTOS: What Roberto Campos Neto proposes is the constitutional amendment of free lunch for the future elite of the Central Bank
  • A look at the 2024 federal strikelula haddad 20/06/2024 By IAEL DE SOUZA: A few months into government, Lula's electoral fraud was proven, accompanied by his “faithful henchman”, the Minister of Finance, Fernando Haddad
  • Introduction to “Capital” by Karl Marxred triangular culture 02/06/2024 By ELEUTÉRIO FS PRADO: Commentary on the book by Michael Heinrich
  • Hélio Pellegrino, 100 years oldHelio Pellegrino 14/06/2024 By FERNANDA CANAVÊZ & FERNANDA PACHECO-FERREIRA: In the vast elaboration of the psychoanalyst and writer, there is still an aspect little explored: the class struggle in psychoanalysis