A coalition of left-leaning thinkers, activists, organizations, and political leaders from around the world on Monday officially launched the Progressive International, a new global effort aimed to provide the world with an alternative to the ravages of neoliberal capitalism in a world gripped by the coronavirus pandemic, gross economic inequality, and corporate domination.
In 2018, Yanis Varoufakis of the Democracy in Europe Movement (DiEM25) and Jane O'Meara Sanders of the Sanders Institute issued an open call for a new global progressive grassroots efforts that would help unify international pro-democracy movement.
In an official statement announcing its formation on Monday, the Progressive International said it was now taking up that call and would act as an "institution for the world's progressive forces, with a mission to make solidarity more than a slogan."
"There is a global struggle taking place of enormous consequence," the group said. "Nothing less than the future of the planet is at stake."
Linguist Noam Chomsky, in an interview with the Guardian on the launch of the group Monday, said that the urgency created by the outbreak was due in part to the two approaches to the crisis being promoted by policy makers around the globe.
"One is let's take the savage, Reagan, Thatcher approach and make it worse. That's one way," said Chomsky. "The other way is to try to dismantle the structures, the institutional structures that have been created; that have led to very ugly consequences for much of the population of much of the world, [and] are the source of this pandemic."
"It's not easy," Chomsky continued. "There are forces fighting back. The International is going to be facing similar attacks. To overcome them, it depends on the peasants with the pitchforks."
The group's council includes big names in the left-wing sphere from around the world, including Naomi Klein, Arundhati Roy, and Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, among others.
Varoufakis told the Guardian Monday that a left coalition had "been urgent for quite a while now" and that he hoped the crises brought about by the coronavirus had not made the left "late to the party."
The bankers and the fascists have so far been the only ones to have organised internationally. It is now the turn of progressives. The Progressive International is now in full flight. Our new web site went on air a few minutes ago. Watch this space. https://t.co/TFClVsAIc4
— Yanis Varoufakis (@yanisvaroufakis) May 11, 2020
The Greek economist added that he was skeptical the E.U.'s economic zone would survive the outbreak and warned the one percent would take as much of the subcontinent's wealth as possible in the decline.
"I don't think the eurozone can survive it," said Varoufakis. "But it can survive long enough to deplete huge amounts of wealth and social capital. Europe is rich enough, it can pretend and extend."
Former Labour shadow chancellor John McDonnell, a member of the group's council, said to the Guardian that he had hope the coalition could do some good for the world.
"This initiative comes at just the right time," said McDonnell. "It's about the nature of society we want."