The Covid-19 pandemic and the ‘great lockdown’ have brought major disruption at the economic, social and political levels and we are probably still poorly equipped to assess the medium- and long-term consequences. They have also given rise to a debate — admittedly, grossly distorted — between the advocates of a recovery plan that would enable the pre- Covid world to be restored and those who, barring a complete collapse, see an opportunity to lay the foundations for a post-Covid world of greater sustainability, inclusiveness and solidarity. What might that ‘world after’ — that alternative — be? Who are the actors who could design and promote it?
As Geoffrey Pleyers sees it, the task falls principally to the ‘progressive social movements’, which have broken with the way of thinking of the ‘reactionary’ ones. Their visions of the future are different, imperfect and controversial. In this article, he shows what these social movements are and what are their objectives, while at the same time deploring their fragmentation, which is an obstacle to establishing a ‘deliberative public space’ essential for the initiation of system change.