It’s been a bad year for the world: But yes, there are 10 good things in 2021

This year, 2021, begins with a sense of relief when Donald Trump leaves office. We hope to escape the ravages of COVID, pass the massive Build Back Better (BBB) ​​bill, and dramatically cut the Pentagon’s budget. But alas, we were faced with a white nationalist uprising on January 6th, two new COVID mutations, a sliced ​​and shredded BBB bill that didn’t pass. and the real Pentagon budget increase.

It’s been a rough year indeed, but we have several reasons to cheer:

  1. The United States survived its first major coup attempt in January 6 and key right-wing groups are waning. With uprising participants charged and some facing substantial prison sentences, new efforts to lobby – including “Justice for J6” rally in September – awkward. As for Trump, remember that in early 2021 he is impeached again, he loses his main mouthpiece, Twitter and trying to build a rival social media service seems to have stalled. QAnon is on the decline – its main hashtags have vaporize and Twitter shuts down about 70,000 accounts Q. We could still see a resurgence (including another attempt by Trump to take the White House), but so far, the uprising seems to have peaked and is making a comeback.
  2. Latin America is undergoing a major shift towards progressive governments. Gabriel Boric, a young progressive Chilean who campaigned for broad reforms, including universal health care and a higher minimum wage, won a landslide victory in December. after the victories of Xiomara Castro in Honduras in November, Pedro Castillo in Peru in June, and Luis Arce in Bolivia in October 2020. In Brazil, former president Lula da Silva could soon return to the presidency. approved the election next year. All of this bodes well for policies that benefit the people of Latin America and for further solidarity with Cuba, Venezuela, Nicaragua and the rest of the United States bloc.
  3. The fight for racial justice and accountability has seen some major wins in 2021. Former police officer Derek Chauvin was found guilty of all three charges related to the killing of George Floyd and has plead guilty in the federal civil rights version of the case. The three Georgia men who killed Ahmaud Arbery for jogging were also sentenced. Progressive district attorney in cities and counties across this country are fighting to end cash bail and bans, mass detention, and mandatory minimum sentences. We’ve seen backlash for these DAs, such as in Los Angeles and San Francisco, but they have strong community support.
  4. US troops leave Afghanistan, ending a deadly 20-year intervention. Some of us resisted this US invasion from the start, and pushed our troops to leave for 20 years. The exit is made in the same shame, chaotic way 20 years of war, and America is once again targeting the people of Afghanistan by freeze billions of Afghan dollars in money kept in banks abroad. That’s why we’ve worked together to #UnfreezeAfghanistan. But we recognize that the US withdrawal is necessary to give the Afghans a chance to shape their own future, to stop spending $300 million a day on a failed war and to roll back American militarism. .
  5. COVID has returned with a vengeance, but we have won the battles against other deadly diseases. Malaria, which kills half a million people a year, mainly in Africa, can be defeated with a breakthrough move Vaccine, the first for a parasitic disease. On the HIV front, a Vaccine has shown a 97% response rate in Phase I clinical trials. Nearly 40 million people were living with HIV in 2020, and hundreds of thousands of people die from AIDS-related illnesses each year. Although the vaccine is still in Phase I trials, it is an extremely hopeful sign for 2022.
  6. UN Pact on Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, passed in 2017, came into effect this year after meeting a requirement that it be ratified by at least 50 countries. The United States and other nuclear powers in the world have not signed the treaty and do not have an enforcement mechanism. But for the first time in history, nuclear weapons are illegal under international law. With 86 signers To date, the treaty helps authorize nuclear weapons and strengthens global rules against their use. At a time when the outcome of nuclear negotiations with Iran is uncertain, and as conflicts with Russia and China over Ukraine and Taiwan are growing, such a reminder is crucial. .
  7. In the US, workers are really gaining power amid the devastation of COVID. Wages are rising and unions are started reappearing. With millions of workers quit smoking their work from burnout or a reevaluation of life goals (known as “Great resignation“), labor shortages resulted in workers having more space to promote better wages, benefits and working conditions. Already more than 300 strike from hospitals to coal plants to universities – many of them have been successful. Starbucks workers in Buffalo have succeeded in forming the first union at a Starbucks store in the United States National Labor Relations has been command a new election due to improper conduct by management. So 2022 could be a banner year for workers’ rights and unions.
  8. While not nearly enough, there have been some important environmental benefits, as Biden began his term with retype suitable Paris climate. The COP26 meeting highlighted the urgent need for a recalibration of environmental action, with environmentalists around the world pressuring their governments to step up. About 44 countries have now committed end the use of coal, and G7 countries commit not to fund more coal plants. In the United States, thanks to sustainable environmental activism, Keystone XL and PennEast The pipeline was officially canceled and the Biden administration began drilling for oil and gas on federal land. Renewable energy installations are at an all-time high and wind farms are planned along the entire US coastline. Another big polluter, China, is building energy installation historically a whopping 100 gigawatts of wind and solar power (full capacity, as of 2021, equal to US solar) and there are plans to plant one Forest area the size of Belgium every year move forward.
  9. Well, there’s actually been some progress for women’s choice this year. When we look beyond the outrageous anti-abortion law In Texas, which empowers private citizens to sue abortion providers, we see that many countries in the rest of the world are moving in the opposite direction. In 2021, abortion was legalized in South Korea, Thailand and Argentina, while safe access increased in New Zealand, Ecuador and Uruguay. A big victory in a very Catholic country came in September, when The Supreme Court of Mexico declared it. Isn’t it ironic that, before Roe v. Wade, thousands of women from US states along the Mexican border would go to Mexico for (illegal) abortions? Now, they might be going again, and this time for legal abortion.
  10. Another reason to celebrate: 2021 is over. And 2022 could indeed be the year we conquer COVID and move forward on a full agenda on pressing issues, including pushing Congress to pass a version of the Rebuild Good bill. than; push through voting rights legislation that would prevent voter suppression statewide; campaigning against the far right – and the return of Trump or Trump-lite; stop the Cold War with China; prevent military conflict with Russia in Ukraine; and cut the Pentagon’s excessive budget to invest in the health of people and our planet.

If we can make a profit in a bad year like 2021, think what we can achieve in 2022.

Read more from Medea Benjamin about the global struggle for justice: It’s been a bad year for the world: But yes, there are 10 good things in 2021

Huynh Nguyen

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