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'Internationalism or Extinction'? Global Coalition Invites Progressives Worldwide to Attend Inaugural Summit

"The Progressive International is convening this emergency summit... to map our current crisis, to reclaim our shared future, and to strengthen our planetary front to do so."

From September 18-20, the Progressive International will be hosting its inaugural summit "to confront the central dilemma of our time: Internationalism or Extinction." (Image: The Progressive International)

From September 18-20, the Progressive International will be hosting its inaugural summit "to confront the central dilemma of our time: Internationalism or Extinction." (Image: The Progressive International)

From Friday through Sunday, the Progressive International—a global coalition fighting for a more egalitarian, democratic, just, peaceful, and sustainable society—will host its inaugural summit, virtually assembling members throughout the world to "confront the central dilemma of our time," which the group says is humanity's choice between "internationalism" on one hand or "extinction" on the other. 

The roots of Progressive International go back to Burlington, Vermont in late 2018, when Jane Sanders—the wife of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.)—and former Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis, the respective leaders of the Sanders Institute and the Democracy in Europe Movement, issued an open call for progressives around the world to unite and build a common front capable of defeating dangerous reactionary forces and reclaiming humanity's shared future through the pursuit of an International New Deal.

As Common Dreams reported at the time, the call to action referred to "a global war being waged against workers, against our environment, against democracy, against decency" by "a network of right-wing factions... collaborating across borders to erode human rights, silence dissent, and promote intolerance."

Rather than bringing peace and prosperity as it had promised, capitalist globalization "delivered financial crisis, needles war, and disastrous climate change, instead," the founders of the Progressive International argued. 

Warning against a return to the "failed status quo of the last few decades," the call urged progressives to "form a grassroots movement for global justice" that will "mobilize workers, women, and the disenfranchised all around the world behind a shared vision of democracy, prosperity, sustainability, and solidarity." 

The call was heeded, and in May 2020, a coalition of left intellectuals, activists, and organizations officially launched the Progressive International with the goal of creating an alternative to the worsening inequality, authoritarianism, and environmental degradation generated by neoliberalism and financialization.

As Common Dreams reported at the time, the group noted that "nothing less than the future of the planet is at stake."

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Now the coalition is preparing for its inaugural summit, which will take place online from September 18 to September 20.

Registration for the event can be found here

Organizers of the event noted that while the coronavirus crisis altered the original "plans for a gathering of the Council in Reykjavik, Iceland," the Covid-19 pandemic "has also accelerated the crises of democracy, climate, and economic inequality."

The group argued that the intensification of preexisting crises witnessed so far in 2020 makes it even more important for "progressive forces everywhere to act quickly and decisively."

"That is why the Progressive International is convening this emergency summit: to map our current crisis, to reclaim our shared future, and to strengthen our planetary front to do so," organizers said. 

The program features several left luminaries—including Varoufakis, Vijay Prashad, Naomi Klein, and Noam Chomsky—who will be discussing the contours of a post-capitalist economy, climate justice, and more. 

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