Despite what you might think, progressive gains have been made—and should inspire us to keep going.

By Medea Benjamin, The Progressive Magazine

With wars raging in Ukraine, Yemen, Somalia, and elsewhere; Roe v. Wade overturned; and our resources being wasted on militarism instead of addressing the climate crisis, it can be hard to remember the hard-won progress that is being made. As we end a difficult year, let’s pause to remind ourselves of some of the positive changes that happened in 2022—successes that should inspire us to do more in the year to come. While some are only partial gains, they are all steps toward a more just, peaceful, and sustainable world.

Union at Amazon

1. Latin America’s “Pink Tide” grew. Continuing the wave of progressive wins in 2021, Latin America saw two new critical electoral victories: Gustavo Petro in Colombia and Luiz Inácio “Lula” da Silva in Brazil. Plus, when President Biden’s June Summit of the Americas excluded Cuba, Nicaragua, and Venezuela, several Latin American leaders declined to attend, while others used the opportunity to push the United States to respect the sovereignty of the countries in the region.

2. The U.S. labor movement caught fire. In 2022, we witnessed the brilliant organizing of Chris Smalls and the Amazon workers, Starbucks Workers United reached nearly 7,000  members and unionized close to 300 stores. Requests to the National Labor Relations Board to hold union elections were up 58 percent in the first eight months of 2022. Labor is back and fighting the good fight.

3. Despite assaults on our elections, people fought back and gained some notable wins.

Voters delivered victories for progressives in districts across the country, including in Texas, Illinois, Michigan, Florida, Hawaii, California, Pennsylvania, and Vermont, and Democrats kept control of the U.S. Senate. Young people showed up at the polls in record numbers—one out of eight voters in the midterms was under the age of thirty. Abortion rights won in states where it was on the ballot (California, Michigan, and Vermont) and in the “red” state of Kentucky, voters rejected a proposed amendment to the state constitution that would have declared no right to an abortion. Another plus: Every election denier running to oversee state elections lost.

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