2020 in review.
By Medea Benjamin
No putting lipstick on this pig. 2020 was a devastating year in the lives of millions of people around the world whose families and communities have been ravaged by coronavirus and the loss of incomes. For those of us in the U.S., the stress was compounded by visions of a Civil War and the narcissist in the White House refusing to leave.
Normally this is where I’d continue my annual tradition recalling the 10 best things that happened this year but, honestly, I couldn’t come close to coming up with 10 good things that happened in 2020 😖
But we do have some reasons to cheer. For all Trump’s whining about a stolen election and whipping up his base, Trump will be leaving the White House on January 20, 2021. Hoorah!
It’s not just about Trump leaving, either. The incoming Biden administration holds promise in a few critical foreign policy areas, such as: ending US support for the Saudi-led war in Yemen, rejoining important international organizations and agreements including the Iran nuclear deal, the Paris Climate accord, and refunding the World Health Organization so we can kickstart equitable global vaccine distribution as soon as possible.
In Congress, we are also delighted that the squad has survived, thrived and grown. In addition to the fabulous four, we now have incoming representatives with deep grassroots ties who are already critiquing the military-industrial complex, such as Cori Bush and Jamal Bowman. Added to other progressive members of Congress, including Representatives Pramila, Jayapal, Occasio-Cortez, Ro Khanna and Barbara Lee and Senator Bernie Sanders, we can look forward to some great inside-outside efforts to stop wars and cut the Pentagon budget in 2021.
The movement to defund oppressive systems of policing and incarceration and replace them with just alternatives gained monumental ground this year in the wake of the Minneapolis killing of George Flloyd. Many of the groups involved in these efforts, such as Black Lives Matter and the Poor People’s Campaign, have internalized the connections between oppressive policing at home and abusive military interventions abroad—giving us new allies in the anti-war movement. Defund the police; defund the Pentagon!
There is also new momentum to move Pentagon money into human needs. The pandemic has exposed the horrific state of our national healthcare system, and the support for a medical-for-all type system has skyrocketed. Calls for Speaker Nancy Pelosi to bring the Medical For All bill to a floor vote are growing, as are calls to redirect excessive Pentagon spending to healthcare. Healthcare not warfare!
The slowdown in our global economy has had its silver lining. Mother earth has gotten a breather, with the sharp decline in air pollution offering lessons for the kind of world we want to build after the pandemic. To cope with the crisis, people around the world have strengthened their local economies, building new models of cooperation, caring, and resilience that are good for the earth, build community, and create alternatives to the war economy.
So, we are poised to make significant gains in the new year. But it will be up to all of us to push the Biden administration—and Congress—to finally put an end to the endless wars, stop the Cold War with China, end the cyber war and arms race with Russia and stop killer sanctions on Iran, North Korea, Cuba and Venezuela, cut the Pentagon budget, and become good neighbors in the global community. With your help, we look forward to achieving a more peaceful world in the coming year.
Will you help us push the Biden administration in 2021
With hope and determination,
Medea and the entire CODEPINK team: Angela, Ann, Ariel, Carley, Cody, Danaka, Emily, Farida, Jodie, Kelsey, Leila, Leonardo, Maxine, Mary, Michelle, Nancy, Paki, and Teri
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