As we move into the new year, I thought I would offer some hopeful predictions for 2022.
A SECULAR DEMOCRATIC ISRAEL — While this will almost certainly not come about in 2022, I am cautiously optimistic there will be irreversible progress in this direction this year. My optimism stems, ironically, from the actions of Israel – an apartheid state and the only nuclear-armed nation in the Middle East. Israel, by continuing to expand its settlements on the West Bank, has made any prospect of a two-state solution impossible. There simply is not enough of the West Bank left for a Palestinian state. Adopting a two-state solution would have allowed Israel to remain an apartheid state. By expanding into a single state, Israel’s increasing population mix should ultimately lead it to becoming secular and more inclusive.
THE END OF COVID – We have now been living with the COVID-19 pandemic for almost two years. Most viruses peter out by the two-year mark. While the omicron variant is much more contagious than previous versions of the virus, there appears to be some evidence that it results in fewer ICU admissions. It will almost certainly push aside the delta variant. Fingers crossed that if there are any more variants after omicron, each will be weaker than the previous ones and that by the end of 2022, COVID will have petered out.
THE COMEBACK OF ONE OF MY HEROES, LULA DA SILVA – A long-time Brazilian labour organizer and politician, Lula ran unsuccessfully for president of Brazil three times before finally being elected president in 2002. As president of Brazil over the next eight years, he transformed the Brazilian economy, massively reducing poverty and creating an economic growth rate that was the envy of all Latin America. He retired from elected office in 2010, turning the reins of power over to a remarkable and very progressive woman, Dilma Rousseff, who won the presidency in the 2010 and 2014 elections. Sadly, Brazil’s reactionary forces implemented a coup of sorts in 2015, removing Rousseff from office by using a questionable impeachment process. They then came to the conclusion that if Lula should once again run for office, he would defeat the then president Michel Temer. They therefore hatched a very diabolical plot, much too elaborate to outline here, to put Lula behind bars. Fortunately, a number of months ago the Brazilian Supreme Court ordered Lula’s release. Now free, Lula has pledged to once again run for president. Current polling puts him far ahead of incumbent president Jair Bolsonaro, with a federal election scheduled for October 2, 2022. Among his many questionable policies, Bolsonaro has opened up much of the Amazon area to development, in the process overseeing the destruction of about 10,000 square miles of the Brazilian rainforest. Should Lula win back the presidency, the world will heave a sigh of relief as Lula has vowed to bring back the protections that the lungs of the world – the Amazon – benefited from during his tenure.
CONTINUED SIGNIFICANT IMPROVEMENT FOR BOLIVIA’S INDIGENOUS POPULATION – Evo Morales, an Indigenous Bolivian politician and trade union organizer, has been notable as South America’s first Indigenous president, winning three terms and serving as president of Bolivia from 2006 to 2019. Evo was first elected in 2005, after controversy and protests following the 2002 general election led to the resignation of President Carlos Mesa and a new vote. Much of the controversy and opposition that led to Evo’s victory arose from the US ambassador at the time urging Bolivians not to vote for Evo, sparking national outrage at the US so blatantly interfering in Bolivia’s democracy. Evo and his Movement for Socialism (MAS) party brought about fundamental improvements for Bolivia’s very poor indigenous population. This outraged the conservative elite and in 2019 they orchestrated a military coup, causing Evo to flee the country for his life. Tesla’s owner, Elon Musk, celebrated the end of Bolivian democracy, accurately predicting that the conservative elite in power would lower lithium prices. Bolivia has large deposits of lithium, a critical and costly component of the batteries needed for Tesla vehicles. New elections finally held in October 2020 resulted in the MAS party winning by a landslide. Evo did not run again for president in that election as he was unable to run from outside the country, but the MAS candidate for president Luis Arce, who had Evo’s blessing, won by a landslide and Evo was able to return to Bolivia.
THE DEMOCRATS MANAGE TO HOLD ON TO THEIR MAJORITY IN CONGRESS – Noam Chomsky tells us that the Republican Party is the most dangerous party of the face of the planet. They are anti-science and adamantly opposed to any action being taken to tackle the climate crisis. Hopefully President Biden can defeat the forces of evil. This will require progressives of every flavour working in partnership with the labour movement to come together in a grand coalition. The survival of our planet depends upon it. Might we hope that Donald Trump is criminally indicted this year.
A RE-ELECTED PROGRESSIVE MAJORITY AT 12TH & CAMBIE – While the Mayor Kennedy Stewart/ Green Party/ COPE/ One City majority at City Hall has not been perfect, it has been far better than would have been the case if the NPA had achieved a majority in the 2018 civic election. COPE’s Jean Swanson has been a much-needed voice for not just the Downtown Eastside but equally importantly, for renters, workers, and the under-employed and unemployed right across the city. An increase in the number of COPE City Councillors elected in 2022 would be a very positive development.
Let’s hope that my crystal ball is accurate and all of the above comes to pass in 2022.
Daily atmospheric CO2 [Courtesy of CO2.Earth]
Latest daily total (Jan. 9, 2022): 417.81 ppm
One year ago (Jan. 9, 2021): 415 ppm
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