The crisis caused by the coronavirus is an opportunity to think about the future. This article is about ‘the left’ or ‘progressive forces’ in a very broad sense with implications for political parties and social movements. Will they be able to take this opportunity to propose their alternatives? Will it be lost once again, as happened in 1989 and 2008? And most of all, what is left of the left? Think of the very difficult discussions caused by the coup in Bolivia, ignored by parts of the radical left, or the electoral success of an indigenous candidate in Ecuador. Are there good reasons, then, to think there is no left or right anymore? What about Eurocentrism? Post-colonialism? Post-development? De-Growth? What should and can one do?
What I want to show in this article is how the justified criticism of neo-liberal policies and development practice has led to numerous ‘alternatives’ that in fact strengthen these policies or at least leave them untouched. In other words, I want to denounce the current dominant thinking of many progressive movements. For however understandable many reactions may be, throwing away the child of development with the bathwater of modernity is not what is needed. Moreover, these developments also show the emptiness of much current left-wing thinking. I will therefore end with some thoughts on the new progressive élan that we all dream of.
Read the article by Francine Mestrum