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Canada's National Observer

After Weekend With Bernie, Niki Ashton Talks Progressive International: 'Our Movement Is a Global Movement. It Must Be.'

No longer can progressives afford to work only in silos

Niki Ashton

Niki Ashton debates with other NDP leadership contenders in Ottawa on March 13, 2017. (Photo: Alex Tétreault/Canada's National Observer)

The time to act is now. No longer can progressives afford to work only in silos.

We must be unafraid of big, bold ideas for change. To work with, and learn from, communities already on the front lines organizing against neoliberal austerity measures. And to act now in the face of catastrophic climate change, and hold corporate greed to account.

That's why I joined Jane Sanders, David Driscoll, Renata Avila, Yanis Varoufakis, and many others in launching Progressive International, a call for a grassroots movement for global social, environmental and economic justice.

This call came at The Sanders Institute Gathering in Vermont last week, which brought together progressive leaders, activists, and movement builders from communities across the globe. I was on the panel with Sen. Bernie Sanders that preceded the call to create Progressive International.

I spoke of the crisis our generation, the millennial generation, is facing in Canada. I shared how young people are facing economic precarity in a way that hasn't been seen in generations. How our federal government continues to fail Indigenous peoples. How white supremacy and the rise of violence and hate has demanded we be ever more uncompromising when it comes to upholding the values of dignity, respect and justice.

When GM is threatening to shut down plants in Oshawa and Detroit, when hate and fascism is on the rise in the United States, Hungary, Brazil, and here in Canada, when climate change is wreaking havoc on our coasts and our forests—it is clear that our challenges do not stop at borders.

Those that consolidate wealth and power, those that exploit fear and desperation to justify fascism, those that ignore climate change, are already working together. We must as well.

We must be unafraid of big, bold ideas for change. To work with, and learn from, communities already on the front lines organizing against neoliberal austerity measures. And to act now in the face of catastrophic climate change, and hold corporate greed to account for the damage it continues to cause.

Progressive International calls on us all to put people before profits. My generation and those coming up have little choice but to act now.

We need to join together to build a movement for global justice.

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Niki Ashton

Niki Ashton

Niki Ashton is Canada's federal NDP's deputy critic for reconciliation and the party's critic for jobs, employment, precarious work and workforce development.

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