The Pandemic: A Path to a Fortress World?
The massively disruptive pandemic has pushed the pause button on business-as-usual. Those looking for glimmers of hope in a dark time can point to a new opening of cultural and political space for shifting toward more equitable and ecological institutions, work patterns, and lifestyles. But this shift is no foregone conclusion. The reenergized push for a Great Transition must simultaneously fend off a militarized, polarized, and undemocratic Fortress World alternative, as authoritarian and xenophobic social forces have seized the climate of fear and dislocation as an opportunity to advance pernicious agendas. Indeed, right-wing leaders around the world are already capitalizing on the pandemic, citing it as a rationale for long-sought power grabs and authoritarian measures, from Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orban’s suspension of elections and new ability to rule by decree indefinitely to the Philippines’s Rodrigo Duterte’s imposition of a violent and militarized lockdown to Donald Trump’s harsh border controls. On the ground, restless right-wing forces nearly everywhere push xenophobic narratives and even outright violence. At this crossroads, our dual agenda is to foster the future we want and resist calamitous alternatives.