Agenda for the Global South After COVID-19

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A Socialist Project e-bulletin ... No. 2130 ... June 23, 2020
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Agenda for the Global South After COVID-19

Vijay Prashad

In 1974, the United Nations General Assembly passed a New International Economic Order (NIEO), which was driven by the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM). The resolution laid out a clear plan for the structural transformation of the world system, which was in the throes of a crisis at the time. However, the NIEO was set aside and the world order was shaped in a neoliberal direction; this neoliberal orientation furthered the crisis and brought us to this current cul-de-sac of human possibilities.

Our team at Tricontinental: Institute for Social Research has developed a ten-point agenda for a post-COVID-19 world. Last week, I presented this agenda at the High-Level Conference on the Post-Pandemic Economy, organized by the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America (ALBA). We are certainly in need of a New International Economic Order.

1. Tackle the global pandemic

Our priority is to tackle the global pandemic. To this end, enhancing and pivoting public-sector production toward masks, protective equipment, ventilators, field hospitals, and... tests for the entire population must be central -- as it is already in places such as Vietnam and Venezuela. It is essential to establish worker control over working conditions so that workers -- who are best placed to make these decisions -- can be guaranteed a hygienic work environment. In the absence of adequate public action, governments need to create work plans to hire people for projects to break the chain of infection and to ensure that people are fed, clothed, and in good health; such public action can learn from the cooperatives in Kerala (India) and the Committees for the Defence of the Revolution in Cuba. The workforce in shuttered sectors -- such as tourism -- should be immediately hired into jobs that are geared toward countering the pandemic.

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