Bernie Sanders and Yanis Varoufakis announce Progressives International, to counter rising ultra-nationalism

Originally published at:


Where do I sign up?


It’ll be interesting to see how their central mission works out, especially given that many members of the neoliberal consensus who always default to austerity as the solution are also very much opposed to ultra-nationalism for their own reasons.

The main difference when it comes to globalism seems to be that Varoufakis and Sanders are more inclined to restrict the free movement of capital across borders, where the neoliberal establishment wants to continue the practise of restricting the free movement of labour across borders as benefits corporations.


The article says the movement will be officially launched on November 30th. I expect DiEM25 (the EU reform movement founded by a group including Varoufakis) will tell you how to join then, although that won’t be useful to lexit types who might want to join.


What’s this? Italian exit from the EU?

At this rate, how long until the entire thing just comes apart at the seams and Europe descends once again into fractious tribalism?

Also, Assange is part of that DiEM25… so is Zizek, for whatever those two bits of fact are worth…


If the Right is IKEA, which chain will they be?

I think this could be really useful if it’s limited to some core issues like immigration and international finance. Sometimes these things fail when they try to be everything for everyone, and then just descend into either vagueness of purpose or massive infighting over issues outside the organization’s effective influence.

It sounds like the details still need hashing out, but my ears are open.


Left Brexit.

Basically it comes from the left wing opposition to the EU from the 1960s and 70s. I agreed with Tony Benn on a lot of things, but always disagreed with his anti EU position.

I disagree with DiEM25s association with Assange, but at least I get a vote on it. I don’t think splitting over it will help anyone at this point.


Corbyn has taken a similar position based on his nostalgia for those “glory days” (and has merged it was some very cynical political calculus). This highlights what I was discussing earlier in another way: some on the left take positions similar to the ultra-nationalists on the right. The question of national sovereignty in the face of trans-national trade agreements comes to mind.

It’s very important that groups like this sort out the details of what aspects of globalism they support or object to and why, so that their nuanced and reality-based positions don’t get confused or conflated with the more simple-minded and xenophobia-driven ones of right-wing populists.


I imagine that things depicted in that 5-year-old article are even worse now. I’m cheered by the thought of a joing Sanders-Varoukis effort, but I’m wondering how could such a thing as “Progressives International” could gain any real traction against the mountains of money showered on rightwing “think tanks” and other organizations.

As your NYer link points out regarding just the U.S.:

Although the think tanks have largely operated under the radar, the cumulative enterprise is impressively large, according to the report. In 2011, the network funnelled seventy-nine million dollars into promoting conservative policies at the state level.


Ah! Thanks, as I had not heard that term before…

I do think that the right wing opposition to things like the EU and the globalization has managed to get all of the oxygen lately, which has had the effect of delegitmizing the very real leftist criticisms of such things. I think they’ve (meaning the hard right) successfully colonized that set of criticisms.

I do tend to agree with you about the EU - it has it’s problems, but if it’s democratic enough (which this organization is certainly pushing for), it can work as an effective tool for Europeans. I think the major problem is the one that Polyani identified years ago, that of the markets effectively taking over all aspects of human life, where we’re in the service of the markets, not the other way round.

I’ve also come to believe that there is no silver bullet solution (no waiting for the proletariat to rise up and save us or what have you). It’s nothing but hard work and drudgery and too many of us (probably me included) have little interest in doing that unrewarded work.

I mean, it’s always seemed clear to me - they object to only capital and the elite having access to the benefits of globalization - lowering of borders only for the elites and for capital, access to markets all over the world with little or not restrictions, normalization of only labor renumerated by wages, of lax environmental laws, etc. They support a globalization where labor is empowered and a strong part of the methods of globalization, where environmental protections and labor protections are paramount, where people, no matter their class have the same full access to the cultural aspects of globalization and the same ability to move freely across borders. In the things I’ve read, these things have always been super clear.


Is Ikea selling chairs named “Nacksi” now?

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For me, too, but you’re very well educated and a critical thinker. This kind of movement has to be sold to less sophisticated people if it’s going to get the traction it needs, and there are a lot of bad actors out there looking to confuse them.


Something like this?


Yes, exactly. Really, a lot of it comes down to a principle of putting the requirements of human persons ahead of those of corporate persons.


Gosh, I sure am glad that the whacky Bernie Sanders never won in 2016.

[note sadly the sarcasm]


I’m not a fan of Varoufakis, ever since the Greek crisis he’s talked a good game but hasn’t actually done much. Starting yet another political group, sure, fine, whatever. But I doubt much will come of it, like all the other times. Do prove me wrong though.


No, I’m really not. I’m a hack and if I can understand some of this stuff, most people can too. [ETA] The real problem is access to good information, not some sort of an inability for most people to understand complexity and arguments about the world and how it can or should be…


You sell yourself short here. But that’s just, like, my opinion, man.


Just FTR, even if @the_borderer was talking about something else and you probably know all that anyway: if Italy also leaves, I think the EU is finished. It’s one of the core members, third largest economy (not counting the UK, for $reasons), and their debt is massive.

And yet it is still possible that the current gouvernment wants exactly that: push the EU as far as they can, and then declare that they are just oppressed and try to leave.