Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

The future is up for grabs. Let’s not let the kingpins be the only ones reaching for it. (Photo: Screenshot)

The future is up for grabs. Let’s not let the kingpins be the only ones reaching for it. (Photo: Screenshot)

The Future Is Up for Grabs

History is made, not decreed, which is why on May 11th, activists from dozens of different countries launched Progressive International, a global initiative with a mission to unite, organize and mobilize progressive forces.

Laura Flanders

When it comes to cashing in on Covid-19, the race has just begun. Whether you’re talking about education or contact tracing or medicine or mind control, an anti-democratic, dystopian future is being charted while we the people are locked down, locked up and locked out.

Google is grabbing our data, Microsoft is coming for our classrooms and Amazon wants to be our one-stop, only shop.

Naomi Klein’s latest piece, “Screen New Deal” in the Intercept, describes in chilling detail the way that a no-touch, no accountability pandemic economy has been being divvied up among corporate kingpins since Covid Shock hit in March.

Google is grabbing our data, Microsoft is coming for our classrooms and Amazon wants to be our one-stop, only shop.

Pandemic panic is making possible fast what the hurdle of popular consent made slow. As Klein reminds us, until recently, public pushback against companies like Amazon, Google and Microsoft was surging.

“Presidential candidates were openly discussing breaking up big tech. Amazon was forced to pull its plans for a New York headquarters because of fierce local opposition. Google’s Sidewalk Labs project was in perennial crisis, and Google’s own workers were refusing to build surveillance tech with military applications,” writes Klein.

Now, the very same companies that the public chased out the front door are walking in the back, repackaged no longer as a threat, but as the solution to our personal and national woes.

The future could certainly be bleak, but as Naomi acknowledges, we’re not there yet. It’s also important to remember that the present as we know it was not always thus.

In 1994, for example, India had a different set of patent laws, which positioned it to become the global supplier of affordable AIDS drugs. It was only the birth of the World Trade Organization and Trade-Related Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) that held them back. In the years that followed, an Indian drug maker and international activists used Indian law to force Big Pharma to cave. A cheap generic drug was able to save millions of lives.

It’s not inevitable that our future is dystopic. History is made, not decreed, which is why on May 11th, activists from dozens of different countries launched Progressive International, a global initiative with a mission to unite, organize and mobilize progressive forces. The Laura Flanders Show has joined as a media member.

The future is up for grabs. Let’s not let the kingpins be the only ones reaching for it.


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.
Laura Flanders

Laura Flanders

Laura Flanders interviews forward-thinking people about the key questions of our time on The Laura Flanders Show, a nationally syndicated radio and television program also available as a podcast. A contributing writer to The Nation, Flanders is also the author of six books, including "Bushwomen: How They Won the White House for Their Man" (2005).  She is the recipient of a 2019 Izzy Award for excellence in independent journalism, the Pat Mitchell Lifetime Achievement Award for advancing women’s and girls’ visibility in media, and a 2020 Lannan Cultural Freedom Fellowship for her reporting and advocacy for public media. lauraflanders.org

This is the world we live in. This is the world we cover.

Because of people like you, another world is possible. There are many battles to be won, but we will battle them together—all of us. Common Dreams is not your normal news site. We don't survive on clicks. We don't want advertising dollars. We want the world to be a better place. But we can't do it alone. It doesn't work that way. We need you. If you can help today—because every gift of every size matters—please do. Without Your Support We Simply Don't Exist.

'Resign or Be Removed': Outrage After Top NY Dem Compares Buffalo's India Walton to David Duke

"This is the malignant narcissism of far too many white men," said Congressman Jamaal Bowman.

Jon Queally ·


'Policy of Death': Amazon Guardians Sue Ecuador's President Over Oil, Mining Decrees

"We are fighting to defend our territory, our rivers, our forest, our fish, and our animals," one Indigenous leader explained. "Without our forest and without water, we cannot live."

Brett Wilkins ·


'Just Cancel the Debt,' Advocates Say as Biden Admin Develops Strategy for Restarting Student Loan Payments

Student debt cancellation "is good economic policy that will change the lives of millions of families," said Rep. Ayanna Pressley.

Julia Conley ·


Green Public Spending a 'Win-Win Opportunity' for Climate and Workers, Global Study Shows

"It's really a no-brainer for the federal government to prioritize green investments to put our economy back on track," said one advocate. "It's good politics and good policy."

Kenny Stancil ·


After CIA Plot Revealed, Press Freedom Coalition Says DOJ Must Drop Assange Case

"A precedent created by prosecuting Assange could be used against publishers and journalists alike, chilling their work and undermining freedom of the press," said the groups.

Julia Conley ·

Support our work.

We are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values.
Direct to your inbox.

Subscribe to our Newsletter.


Common Dreams, Inc. Founded 1997. Registered 501(c3) Non-Profit | Privacy Policy
Common Dreams Logo