Lest We Get Left Behind: Engaging Politics of the Left in Times of COVID-19 and Unfettered Neoliberalism
Muzomuhle Ntuli (Independent)

What is left of the Left, so asks the famous retort. With the collapse of the Soviet Union and China’s massive economic reforms, leftwing politics took a major blow which it has struggled to recover from. In the early 2000s, the Left seemed to be recovering from this when various left leaning politicians and parties won election after election in South America. This phenomenon, characterized as the Pink Tide, revitalized and once again galvanized support for the Left in times of a unipolar word and the fascism that culminated in the invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan. Alas, these countries were doing the unthinkable right in the belly of Uncle Sam’s imperialist agenda and, as history has shown, that is akin to a slave revolt that ought to be thwarted by the master. Are there prospects for economic justice in this COVID-ridden world? Is there a relevance for the Left and can the Left provide any solutions in this current epoch? We argue that, yes, the Left is very much relevant and has solutions that can not only guide us through this pandemic but also forge alliances that can create a new world free from exploitation, hunger and diseases. Recently, a Marxist teacher and unionist Pedro Castillo, won the 2021 presidential election, defeating the reactionary far-right Keiki Fujimori. The Left is very much alive. Having said that, the Left must heed the call from Fanon (2017, 300) that “if we want to take humanity one step forward….we must innovate, we must be pioneers”. This would, amongst other things, mean that the Left moves away from ambitious ideas of building a big state, but should rather focus on using the state for the will and greater good of the people. The massive avoidable deaths that we see as a result of privatized health sectors, defunding of social programmes and lack of housing, hunger and destitution of the working class as a result of not working: these are all symptoms of a much larger disease, capitalism. As such, the Left should adopt an internationalist view of world events and problems as they are all connected. As Fisher (2009, 77) alerts us, we “need to begin, as if for the first time, to develop strategies against a Capital which presents itself as ontologically, as well as geographically, ubiquitous”. That is the task of the Left, to wage a constant struggle against an all engulfing capitalism.