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Global Left Celebrates Sanders 2020 Bid as Chance to Build 'Worldwide Progressive Movement'

"Sanders has established his commitment to viewing progressive change through an international lens, and his interest in using the powers of the presidency to advance such change on the global level."

Presidential candidate and U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders speaks on March 3, 2019 at Navy Pier. (Photo: Chicago Tribune)

Bernie Sanders has called for an "international progressive front" to combat surging xenophobia and right-wing authoritarianism in the United States, Europe, and Latin America—a rallying cry that has left-wing politicians across the world enthusiastic for the Vermont senator's 2020 presidential bid.

"Given that he's gained so much appeal in the United States, I think people in the U.K. and around the world have found that particularly inspiring."
—Richard Burgon, U.K. Labour Party

"From South America to Europe to the Middle East, leftist leaders are celebrating his candidacy, viewing him as an iconic democratic socialist with the potential to lead a worldwide progressive movement at a time when right-wing populism is on the rise across the map," Politico's Holly Otterbein reported Thursday.

"In Canada, Israel, Germany and Spain, progressive politicians have also hailed the Vermont senator on social media and in interviews," Otterbein continued, "often speaking favorably of his 'Medicare for All' proposal, noninterventionist foreign policy and advocacy for the 'Green New Deal.'"

As Common Dreams reported last November, DiEM25 and the Sanders Institute—founded by Sanders' wife Jane O'Meara Sanders—launched the Progressive International with the goal of organizing the global left to both defeat the right and address the world's most urgent crises, from climate change to endless war to soaring wealth inequality.

"Let me convey a message from all of us in Europe, for all those comrades of yours who are now struggling to reclaim our cities, our world, our environment," DiEM25 co-founder and former Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis declared during the inaugural gathering of the Sanders Institute in Vermont last November. "We need Bernie Sanders to run for president."

"We must take the opportunity to reconceptualize a genuinely progressive global order based on human solidarity."
—Sen. Bernie Sanders

Since Sanders announced his presidential candidacy in February, progressive leaders across the world have echoed Varoufakis, arguing that the Vermont senator is the only U.S. presidential candidate offering a truly global vision for a progressive future.

Niki Ashton, a Canadian member of Parliament, said Sanders "has shifted the conversations both in the U.S. and around the world."

Richard Burgon, the U.K. Labour Party's shadow justice secretary, echoed Ashton, telling Politico that the Vermont senator is "very exciting as part of an international movement against neoliberal economic inequality."

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"Given that he's gained so much appeal in the United States," Burgon said, "I think people in the U.K. and around the world have found that particularly inspiring."

After Sanders announced his 2020 presidential bid, Bolivia's socialist president Evo Morales tweeted:

In an op-ed for the Guardian last September, Sanders argued that the global status quo has "failed to deliver on many of its promises," giving rise to environmental and economic crises as well as the authoritarian far-right.

"We must take the opportunity to reconceptualize a genuinely progressive global order based on human solidarity," Sanders wrote, "an order that recognizes that every person on this planet shares a common humanity, that we all want our children to grow up healthy, to have a good education, have decent jobs, drink clean water, breathe clean air and live in peace."

This global vision, argued Eric Levitz of New York Magazine in a column on Thursday, sets the Vermont senator apart from all other 2020 presidential contenders.

"Sanders has established his commitment to viewing progressive change through an international lens, and his interest in using the powers of the presidency to advance such change on the global level," Levitz wrote, pointing to the senator's climate positions and his efforts to end the U.S. role in the Saudi-led assault on Yemen.

Sanders' commitment to "international leftist solidarity," argued Levitz, is "a singular asset within the global left—and in an era when the survival of decent civilization likely depends on building a powerful, transnational left-wing movement, that is no small asset."

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