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stories of peoples' struggles

Saturday, June 12, 2021

Offering Itself as a Weapon

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In August 2020, social justice activists and progressive writers and journalists belonging to grassroots and non-governmental organizations from countries in the Global South launched Groundswell News.

Long before that date, they have been planning to come and work together to create an online platform that will contain, and focus on, stories of struggles of the peoples of the world.

The Covid-19 pandemic hastened the realization of that plan. People, including the initiators, were staying at home, with a little more free time. More and more people were being drawn to the Internet as source of information, entertainment and connectivity.

Beyond these reasons, however, the pandemic highlighted and worsened the global problems that the initiators have been keeping track of and fighting against in their entire lives.

– Unhampered urbanization and destruction of the environment lie at the cause of the pandemic, enabling forest-dwelling, death-dealing viruses like the Coronavirus to jump to humans.

– Healthcare systems that have for decades been privatized and denied state subsidy proved to be inadequate in meeting the challenges posed by the pandemic. State-run healthcare systems, in contrast, proved to be crucial in battling the virus in many countries.

– Working people were disproportionately affected by the lockdowns and restrictions on economic activities that were made necessary by the pandemic. Many were laid off, wages were cut, work was reduced with nary a care for working people’s rights and their need for social protection.

– Governments accused of carrying out authoritarian measures made their rule even more draconian, trampling on the most basic human rights, while some governments followed suit. In most countries, civic spaces were drastically reduced at a time when these are most needed.

– Unequal relations between the Global North and the Global South are on full display as political elites manning most governments especially in the Global South seek solutions — such as aid and vaccine — primarily to fortify their rule.

In addition, the Covid-19 pandemic is unfolding in the midst of the multiple crises besetting the peoples of the world.

– The crisis of global monopoly capitalism worsened by decades of neoliberal economic policies. The world has not fully recovered from the financial and economic crisis of 2008, the effects of which persist to this day.

– The climate crisis. Global warming continues and climate change is felt everywhere. Still, global superpowers protect their biggest corporations and refuse drastic measures to stem this tide that may mean human extinction.

– The crisis of elite democracy. From Brazil to India, from Turkey to the Philippines, authoritarians have risen to power, silencing dissent and endangering the democracies the contradictions of which they exploit.

– The crisis of US monopoly-capitalist democracy. While Donald Trump’s electoral defeat is a relief, the white supremacist and violent movement that he represented and empowered will most likely continue to wreak havoc.

– The new Cold War. The American empire is on the wane and is being challenged by new superpowers China and Russia. While this may mean opposition to US schemes, it also means more conflicts in various fronts.

All these have deleterious effects on the people of the world, especially in the Global South. Working people are denied of decent jobs, living wages, land to till, livable housing, social services provided by governments, and rights in the workplace and in society at large.

These crises also result in the worsening of the oppression, exploitation and repression experienced by minoritized populations in the world — from immigrants to indigenous peoples, from women to queers and trans, from the racial minorities to the differently abled.

It is no accident that people’s protests and resistance are mounting. The decade that opened with the Arab Spring uprisings and ended with the Black Lives Matter protests saw huge protests in various parts of the globe — from Hong Kong to Venezuela, from Sudan to India.

In the political sections of the general public, as seen in social media and various surveys, there is a groundswell of opinion that the status quo is not working for the people, that there is a need for genuine social change, and that people need to come and act together.

More important for the long term, working people’s and people’s organizations, movements and parties are regrouping after being destroyed by various offensives — from ideological to military — that were carried out by global and national powers-that-be.

The peoples of the world not only suffer under the status quo; they are actively resisting it. Groundswell News seeks to present stories of both the suffering being endured and the fighting being waged by the working people and all peoples of the world.

It is the fervent hope of the activists, writers and journalists behind Groundswell News that people around the world supportive of its vision will find its stories worth reading and sharing regularly, and will find it a platform worth contributing to and collaborating with.

There is, after all, a dearth of information about “stories of people’s struggle” in the mass media, and even social media, both monopolized by big capitalists. While progressives continue to maximize the space allowed by these media, there is also a need to expand progressive space devoted to these stories.

The ultimate objective, of course, is not only to share stories of people’s struggles, but to help strengthen those struggles, by building solidarity — either in the form of direct support or in the strengthening of protests and resistance movements around the world.

Information not for its own sake, but for social transformation. For this goal, Groundswell News humbly offers itself as a weapon.###

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