Niki Ashton. Photo courtesy of Niki Ashton

The system is broken, but it doesn’t have to be this way.

Around the world, people are faced with crises in common: growing inequality, the rise of the far right and the threat of climate change. The COVID-19 crisis in particular has pointed to how the global neoliberal agenda of austerity, privatization, and job-killing trade deals have been deadly for too many.

Here in Canada, the COVID-19 crisis has shown us how our Elders and seniors, how Indigenous communities, and how working people have paid the price of neoliberal policies — all too many with their lives. 

Instead of a bold progressive vision put forward by leaders like Jeremy Corbyn and Bernie Sanders, we have more of the same political leadership that places profit ahead of people. 

We have right-wing parties that engage and promote racist policies that do harm to so many of our communities, or centre-right parties that do the same, but with a smile.

We see it in Canada where we have the pipeline-loving frowner Erin O’Toole taking on the pipeline-loving smiler Justin Trudeau. Both parties want to give billions to their friends in big oil; neither care about justice for Indigenous peoples, working people or climate.

And it repeats itself on so many issues. On pharmacare, the Conservatives say no and the Liberals say eventually while Canadians continue to go without. Both allowed pandemic profiteering by the ultrawealthy; neither is proposing a wealth tax, a Green New Deal or a vision involving public ownership so we can rebuild from this crisis in a way that ensures people will be better off. 

The system is broken, but it doesn’t have to be this way.

Progressive International was founded in 2018 in Vermont, a collaborative internationalist project among activists around the world to fight for a better one. Inspirations like Bernie Sanders, Cornel West and Naomi Klein joined together to demand more. We’ve seen how much damage the right wing and their centrist enablers have done and continue to do. From England to the United States, from Brazil to Hungary, they’re organizing so we must do the same. 

As progressives, we must find ways to build solidarity here at home and around the world, work with movements and activists who share our values and put forward an unapologetically bold vision for our collective future.

That’s why I’m looking forward to hosting a conversation with fellow Progressive International council member, Jeremy Corbyn, on March 20. We’ll talk about what the left can do to collectively organize and push forward on a bold vision.

Jeremy Corbyn knows what it’s like to offer a principled vision that makes a difference in people’s lives. He knows what it’s like to take on regressive voices that want to stand in the way of real change.

As Corbyn recently said:

“[T]he challenges we face don’t stop at our borders and neither do the solutions. To build a world for the many and not the few, where we halt climate breakdown, end corporate impunity, and secure peace — requires us to learn from each other and support one another. The Progressive International is a vital new organization that helps us do exactly that, uniting movements in their struggles for a more equal, democratic, and sustainable world.”

The system is broken, but it doesn’t have to be this way. Let’s work together to change it.

Niki Ashton and Jeremy Corbyn will be hosting a conversation through Progressive International on March 20 at 1-3 p.m. EST. You can purchase tickets here.

Niki Ashton is an NDP MP for Churchill—Keewatinook Aski and a council member of Progressive International.

Image: Niki Ashton