The 21st Century Left

In the modern world, the future can often seem bleak, especially for progressives and those on the left. The pandemic has exposed both how broken many systems of power are, and the failure of right-wing governments to effectively deal with the crisis. From Jair Bolsonaro in Brazil to Boris Johnson in the UK, and the infamously farcical response we saw from Donald Trump. Put simply: thousands have died unnecessarily from the negligence of the populist right, who were never suited to power.

Despite this, there is hope. After the 2020 election, President Biden signed an executive order mandating masks and restructuring the US’ public health organisation to help combat the pandemic, which is in stark comparison to his predecessors’ lacklustre response. As well as this, there have been calls for our society to be moulded into to a fairer vision after the destruction of this crisis. With the ‘Build Back Better’ slogan becoming a transatlantic rallying cry for reform that seeks to reduce inequality heightened by the pandemic.

In order for this to be realised however, the left must set out a vision for transforming the world after their decade of failure; to refuse to do this is to automatically surrender. The key to these changes is understanding people’s concerns and problems, in order to propose solutions to them without resorting to fear mongering and the tactics of the alt-right.

For example, the narrative in much of Europe in the last decade has focused on the refugee crisis; that has led to around 2.4 million refugees residing in the EU by the end of 2018, along with 860,000 pending cases of asylum. While the populist right stirred outrage and harnessed xenophobia and hatred against thousands of these vulnerable people, the political left did little to reassure that refugees were not a threat.