The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted every aspect of life, including politics. The New Politics Conference, held on June 16 and 17, brought together politicians, academics, and activists to discuss how to rebuild a better, more just world in the wake of the pandemic. Here are some of the key takeaways from the conference.
1. We must prioritize workers, not corporations.
The pandemic has exposed deep inequalities in society, particularly in terms of who has been deemed “essential” during the crisis. Frontline workers, including healthcare workers, grocery store clerks, and delivery drivers, have been hailed as heroes while corporations have taken billions in government bailout funds. Speakers at the conference emphasized the need to shift priorities from corporations to workers and to support policies such as a living wage, universal healthcare, and worker protections.
2. Climate change must remain a top priority.
The pandemic has been a wake-up call for the urgent need to address climate change. While the economic shutdowns led to a temporary reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, the long-term effects of the pandemic could worsen the climate crisis if we do not take action now. Speakers at the conference emphasized the need for a Green New Deal and other policies that prioritize a just transition to a sustainable economy.
3. Racial justice is essential.
The pandemic has disproportionately affected people of color around the world, highlighting the deep racial inequalities that exist in society. The speakers at the conference stressed the importance of prioritizing racial justice in the post-pandemic world, including policies such as reparations for slavery, defunding the police, and ending mass incarceration.
4. We must prioritize international solidarity.
The pandemic has shown us how interconnected we are as a global community. Speakers at the conference emphasized the need for international solidarity and cooperation, particularly in facing global challenges such as climate change, economic inequality, and migration.
5. We need new models of governance.
The pandemic has highlighted the failures of the current political and economic systems, from healthcare to labor to education. Speakers at the conference called for new models of governance that prioritize people and the planet over profits and power, including participatory democracy, community control, and cooperatives.
Overall, the New Politics Conference highlighted the urgent need to build a new world in the wake of the pandemic, one that prioritizes workers, climate justice, racial justice, international solidarity, and new models of governance. While the challenges ahead may be daunting, the speakers at the conference provided hope and inspiration for a better future.