The second year of the COVID-19 pandemic was tougher than the first year for most people in Australia. Lockdowns and other public health measures made work more difficult and precarious for many and governments sharply wound back temporary economic support measures.
As a people-powered, not-for-profit project, Green Left’s financial position reflected a challenging year and we ended 2021 with a $95,000 deficit.
Throughout last year our supporters continued to make a heroic effort to help keep us afloat, raising $145,000 for our Fighting Fund through donations (which were up) and through supporting what small fundraising events we managed to organise in between the lockdowns.
However, the pandemic increased some of our costs while disrupting opportunities for sales of individual copies (the main way we introduce Green Left to new readers and potential supporters).
While we have kept going online right through the pandemic, there were disruptions to our hardcopy production and for a period when we were forced to go fortnightly.
While we hope that we will continue our weekly production of Green Left, the upsurge in COVID-19 cases as a result of the more contagious Omicron variant and the irresponsible let-it-rip policies of federal and state governments could cause further disruptions in the year ahead.
In the coming year, we hope to reach a higher Fighting Fund target and convince more people to become regular readers and supporters.
If you are in a position to help us meet this target you can make a donation here.
In June 2021, the World Bank estimated that, globally, the pandemic has already forced an additional 150 million people into extreme poverty, but tentatively projected a better situation for this year. But that was before the Omicron wave struck.
Perversely, according to a January 3 Bloomberg report, the combined wealth of the top 500 billionaires soared more than US$1 trillion in 2021. The combined net worth on the Bloomberg Billionaires Index now exceeds US $8.4 trillion, more than the GDP of all countries except the US and China.
“For the wealthiest people on the planet, 2021 was a year of enormous gains, extreme losses and unprecedented scrutiny. Mostly, it was a good time to be a multi-billionaire. Soaring equity markets and rising valuations of everything from mansions to crypto to commodities boosted the collective fortune of the world’s 500 richest people by more than $1 trillion even as the COVID-19 pandemic roiled the globe for a second year.”
So not only did the super-rich get obscenely richer, one of the ways they increased their wealth — speculating in property — made housing unaffordable for many more people around the world, including in wealthy Australia.
This unconscionable process takes place with the active support of most governments. Here, we have seen the ongoing commitment by Coalition and Labor parties to give even more tax cuts to the rich while refusing to address poverty and the housing crisis.
This is why, despite the challenges ahead this year, we need to rally around projects like Green Left which fight for much needed system change.