Labor's Loves Lost? Lessons From Around The World

Labor's Loves Lost? Lessons From Around The World

These are challenging times to be a center-left labor party. Economic and technological shifts have eroded their traditional blue collar voter bases, and political appeals based on national identity are more vigorous these days than those based on class affiliation.


But the news for labor parties isn’t all bad. Here are Gabe’s snapshots of four labor parties and the lessons they tell us about the outlook for the center-left:

Identity Crisis, UK Labour Party: Rescued from the political doldrums after Prime Minister May’s ill-advised 2017 snap election, the Labour Party has been polling neck-and-neck with the Tories over the past year. But party leader Jeremy Corbyn is a divisive figure: his past communist sympathies and pledges to nationalize industries have put off many within the party’s old guard. Moreover, Labour suffers from the same internal splits over Brexit as their Tory rivals, leaving little room for them to attack the current government on that issue. Caught between past and present, and with no clear position on the biggest issue of the day, the UK Labour Party has a new lease on life, but is still grasping for a new identity with no easy resolution in sight.

The Only Alternative, Australian Labor Party: When your opponents go through three prime ministers in five years, you don’t have to do much more than sit back and watch if you’re the Australian Labor Party. Dysfunction within the ruling Liberal Party has benefited Labor, which is now polling 12 points ahead of their center-right opponents in government. All they have to do is hold on until the new prime minister, Scott Morrison, decides to call for new elections, most likely mid-next year. The bad news is that the forces that are pulling apart the Liberals – increasing right-wing populism – may tug at Labor’s supporters before long as well.

Steadily Losing Ground, Swedish Social Democratic Workers’ Party: In Sweden, the Social Democrats, who’ve rung up first place in every single election since 1917, face their biggest challenge in decades. The far-right Sweden Democrats, who have origins in the country's neo-Nazi movement, are poised to become the largest opposition party in a national election on Sunday, capitalizing on increasing backlash against Sweden’s generous asylum and immigration policies. At the same time, support for the center-left Social Democrats has nearly halved over the past 25 years.

Making Room For A New Face, Brazilian Workers’ Party (PT): In Brazil, the major center-left party, the PT, is still hugely popular, but it faces a crisis of leadership. After their favored candidate, former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (whom Obama once called “the most popular politician on earth”), was jailed on corruption charges and disqualified from running in next month’s presidential election, they’ve turned to Fernando Haddad, a former mayor of Sao Paulo. Polls show that support for Lula is twice that of the next closest candidate, right-wing firebrand Jair Bolsonaro. But Mr. Haddad has been polling in single digits. The challenge for the PT is one many parties face: how to establish loyalty beyond a single transformational figure.

A sector that's rapidly expanding, domotics - domus (home) plus robotics - are smart houses that manage temperature and lighting to minimize wasted electricity. For example, smart thermostats sense your presence and set the temperature according to your needs, saving 20% a year on heating bills. Watch this episode of Eni's Energy Shot series to learn how domotics save money and increase a home's value.

Even if the US, Europe, China, and India reduce carbon emissions at the rate they've promised, much climate damage has already been done. That shouldn't stop these and other countries from doing all they can to meet their net-zero emissions targets, but they also better start preparing for a world of people on the move.

Climate change will displace an unprecedented number of people in coming years, creating not just a series of humanitarian crises in many parts of the world, but lasting political, economic, and social upheaval as those of us who live on higher ground try to find a sustainable place for these climate refugees to live.

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When will it be safe for the world's children to be vaccinated against COVID-19? The World Health Organization's chief scientist, Dr. Soumya Swaminathan, says that vaccines are being tested in children down to the age of six or even lower, and promises that data on children will be shared as soon as it's available. She also notes that there are not enough studies on transmission in schools, and the WHO has advised governments to prioritize schools "over other things like shopping malls or cinema halls or pubs." Dr. Swaminathan spoke with Ian Bremmer in an interview on GZERO World, airing on US public television stations starting April 9. Check local listings.

Watch the episode: Vaccine nationalism could prolong the pandemic

Over the past half century, climate change has had an immense impact on the farmers who produce the food we eat. A new study by Cornell University shows that global warming has knocked 21 percent off of global agriculture productivity growth since 1965, equivalent to seven years of normal growth if humans had not polluted the planet. But not all countries have been affected in the same say. Farmers in warmer parts of the world have been hit hard as conditions grow more arid, but sub-polar regions in Canada or Siberia are now actually better for agriculture because they are not as cold as they used to be. Here we take a look at how climate has affected farming productivity growth around the world.

On Tuesday, a major US intelligence report said the top threat to America right now is China. A day later, John Kerry, the Biden administration's "climate czar," got on a plane to... China.

Such is the drama of ties between the world's two largest economies these days.

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A Castro-less Cuba: Raúl Castro, younger brother of the late Fidel, is expected to retire on Friday as secretary-general of Cuba's ruling communist party. When he does, it'll mark the first time since the 1959 revolution that none of Cuba's leaders is named Castro. The development is largely symbolic since Castro, 89, handed over day-to-day affairs to President Miguel Díaz-Canel in 2018. It's worth noting that US sanctions laws do specify that one of the conditions for normalizing ties with Cuba is that any transitional government there cannot include either of the Castro brothers. So that's one less box to tick in case there is a future rapprochement across the Straits of Florida. But more immediately, we're watching to see whether a new generation of leaders headed by Díaz-Canel will bring any serious reforms to Cuba. COVID has killed the tourism industry, plunging the island into an economic crisis that's brought back food shortages and dollar stores reminiscent of the early 1990s.

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16: Brazil's new plan to save the Amazon promises to curb deforestation, but not too much. Although it would reduce annual forest loss to the average recorded over the past five years, next year's target is still 16 percent higher than the Amazon's total deforestation in 2018, the year before President Jair Bolsonaro — who favors economic development of the rainforest — took office.

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Should the Biden administration "reverse course on China" in the hope of establishing a friendlier relationship, as diplomat Kishore Mahbubani argues in a recent Financial Times op-ed? Ian Bremmer and Eurasia Group analyst Michael Hirson take out the Red Pen to explain why it's not that simple.

And today, we are talking about the United States and China. The relationship between the two most powerful nations in the world is the worst it's been since the Tiananmen Square massacre in 1989. Pundits and policymakers alike all around the world are trying to figure out how Washington and Beijing can at least stop the bleeding because a reset is nowhere in the cards.

That's the topic of the op-ed that we are looking at today. It's from the Financial Times, written by Singaporean diplomat Kishore Mahbubani, and the title summarizes the key argument: "Biden should summon the courage to reverse course on China." Meaning, he should throw out the Trump era approach and open the door to more cooperation and kinder, gentler relations.

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