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Coronavirus: a return to normal is not good enough

 

 

By Marty Hart-Landsberg

April 27, 2020 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Reports from the Economic Front — We shouldn’t be satisfied with a return to normalcy. We need a “new normal.”

We are now in a recession, one triggered by government ordered closures of businesses producing nonessential goods and services, an action taken to limit the spread of the coronavirus. In response, Congress has approved three stimulus measures which legislators hope will keep the economy afloat until the virus is contained and companies can resume business as usual.

Many people, rightly criticizing the size, speed, and aims of these measures, have called for a new, improved stimulus package.  But what is getting far less attention, and may be the most important thing to criticize, is the notion that we should view a return to normalcy as our desired goal.  The fact is we also need a new economy.

Capitalism & the pandemic

 

 

By Dave Holmes

April 25, 2020 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — The scale and scope of government measures to deal with the COVID-19 crisis have surprised many people. Long-held neoliberal dogmas have been pushed aside. Government action is clearly decisive: The bourgeois fetish of the budget surplus has been junked and huge deficits run up; after being frozen for 20 years, the dole rate has been doubled; economic sectors and firms are everywhere putting their hands out for government support; firms are being encouraged and even directed to produce vital medical supplies.

The political will and funds were never available for climate action, health or welfare. But suddenly huge amounts of money — hundred of billions of dollars — have been committed to the pandemic problem.

COVID-19: Charting the way forward for Malaysia

 

 

By Jeyakumar Devaraj 

April 19, 2020 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — Human society is going through an extraordinary period. The Covid-19 pandemic has brought the global economy to its knees.

It has upended our normal consumerist way of life. Economists expect a severe recession this year and the next. Some economists say it could be as bad as the Great Depression of the late 1920s–1930s. Meanwhile, the Covid-19 death rates are mounting rapidly in many parts of the world, and the richest country in the world continues to underestimate and mishandle this health crisis.

Cuba: From AIDS, dengue, and ebola to COVID-19

 

 

 

By Don Fitz

April 18, 2020 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — Preparing for a pandemic requires understanding that a change in the relationship between people is primary and the production of things is secondary and flows from social factors.  Investors in profit-based medicine cannot comprehend this concept. Nothing could exemplify it more clearly than Cuba’s response to the corona virus (COVID-19).

The US dawdled for months before reacting.  Cuba’s preparation for COVID-19 began on January 1, 1959.  On that day, over sixty years before the pandemic, Cuba laid the foundations for what would become the discovery of novel drugs, bringing patients to the island, and sending medical aid abroad.

The role of planning in the ecosocialist transition – a contribution to the debate

 

 

By Michael Löwy. Introduction by Richard Fidler

April 18, 2020 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Life on the Left — The semiannual French review Les Possibles, a publication of Attac France, in its most recent issue (23) features a number of articles on planning for the ecological and social transition. Most are addressed to the issue of socialist planning vs. capitalist markets that was prominent in the debates of 20th century socialism. The contribution by Michael Löwy puts this debate in the ecosocialist framework that has emerged in this century. My translation of it is published below.

Another impeachment and the collapse of the conservative opposition: South Korea holds general elections amid COVID-19 crisis

 

 

By Youngsu Won

April 17, 2020 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — South Korea held its 21st general election to elect MPs on April 15. The final result was pretty decisive: the ruling Together Democratic Party (TDP) won an absolute majority of 163 seats on the constituency ballot, plus another 17 seats on the party list ballot, for a total of 180 seats in the 300-member parliament. 

In contrast, the main opposition United Future Party (UFP), a new party formed out of a merger of various parties including that of former president Park Geun-hye who was impeached in 2017, won 84 constituency seats and 19 party list seats for a total of 103 seats. This represented a huge defeat for the UFP, and led to party leader Hwang Gyo-ahn resigning even before the final vote was published.

Governance and social conflict in a time of pandemic

 

 

By Cinzia Arruzza & Felice Mometti

April 17, 2020 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Viewpoint Magazine — On Monday March 29th, General Electric factory workers staged a protest against the thousands of layoffs announced by the company’s management, demanding the reconversion of production and asking a simple question: “If GE trusts us to build, maintain, and test engines which go on a variety of aircraft where millions of lives are at stake, why wouldn’t they trust us to build ventilators?”

COVID-19 and circuits of capital

 

 

By Rob WallaceAlex LiebmanLuis Fernando Chaves & Rodrick Wallace

April 17, 2020 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from monthly Review — COVID-19, the illness caused by coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, the second severe acute respiratory syndrome virus since 2002, is now officially a pandemic. As of late March, whole cities are sheltered in place and, one by one, hospitals are lighting up in medical gridlock brought about by surges in patients.

Brazil: Emergency platform to confront the coronavirus pandemic and crisis

 

 

By Brasil Popular Front & Povo Sem Medo

April 16, 2020 — The Brasil Popular Front and Povo Sem Medo (People Without Fear) along with the social, people’s and student movements, central unions, political parties, traditional religions and entities of civil society, signatories to this document, concerned with the life of the Brazilian people, present and defend an emergency platform, in order to save our people from the tragedy of the new coronavirus pandemic, the economic crisis, the lack of income and the irresponsible policy of the government of President Jair Bolsonaro, which can kill thousands of Brazilians.

The moment we are going through is unprecedented in recent history. Humanity has come to know the enemy and its own weaknesses during the battle. We don't have, nor does anyone else have, the magic recipe for overcoming this situation. All exits involve the submission of private interests to those of the whole of society, collective action, unity and popular solidarity.

Four socialist movies to watch during quarantine

 

 

By Shalon van Tine

April 16, 2020 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Left Voice — Since millions of workers around the world are currently under quarantine, now is the perfect time for socialists to catch up on the classics of leftwing cinema. Here are four movies for the lockdown that focus on themes of antifascism, labor, capitalism, and imperialism. 

Ten revolutionary books to read under quarantine

 

 

By Doug Enaa Greene

April 16, 2020 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Left Voice — Many people can’t leave the house to COVID-19. But we can prepare for coming struggles. Here are 10 books to learn about Marxism. 

This pandemic is ecological breakdown: different tempo, same song

 

 

By Vijay Kolinjivadi

April 13, 2020 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Uneven Earth — In late 2019, a novel coronavirus (SARS CoV-2) emerged from a wet market in Wuhan in the province of Hubei in China. At the time of writing, it has resulted in cases approaching 1 million and the deaths of over 42,000 people worldwide. Only a couple months ago, the world was taken aback by unprecedented bushfires in Australia, massive youth movements striking for stronger action to tackle climate change, and a groundswell of protests across the world demanding greater democracy, an end to state oppression, and against debilitating economic austerity in places ranging from Hong Kong, to India, to Chile, respectively.

Covid-19: the ecological dimension

 

 

By Alan Thornett

April 13, 2020 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Socialist Resistance — The Covid-19 pandemic continues to spread rapidly around the world and remains out of control – other than in those countries, led by China, that had (crucially) moved early and decisively to control it, and had prepared for such a situation in advance. The biggest governmental failures, on the other hand, are by administrations led by right-wing populists like Johnson and Trump who started, in effect, as virus deniers, but were forced belatedly to recognise Covid-19 as a serious threat after their actions had ensured that hundreds of thousands of people would lose their lives unnecessarily.

Such pandemics, we have to be clear, are an integral part of the global ecological crisis we are facing, and must be seen and treated as such. They are not just happening at the same time.

When oil markets go viral

 

 

By Adam Hanieh

April 11, 2020 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Verso — The ecological dimensions of COVID-19 have become increasingly prominent in much recent discussion, with several important contributions exploring the pandemic in relation to capitalist agribusiness, widespread loss of biodiversity, and the destruction of natural ecosystems. There is, however, a further element to COVID-19’s ‘ecology’ that deserves much greater attention: the ways the escalating pandemic intersects with, and is simultaneously acting to accelerate, a profound shock to the fossil fuel industry. Global oil markets are undergoing an unprecedented transformation as a result of this shock, and while longer-term trajectories remain open, this moment will undoubtedly shape the politics of oil – and the prospects of mitigating climate change – for decades to come.

Keith Bolender’s ‘Manufacturing the Enemy: The Media War Against Cuba’: A case study of corporate media disinformation

 

 

By Stansfield Smith

April 11, 2020 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — Some alternative media have exposed the US government and its corporate media fake news reporting on Russian “election interference,” on Venezuela, the war on Syria, China’s Xinjiang and Hong Kong, Nicaragua and Palestine, among others. But one of the longest running media disinformation campaigns has been directed at Cuba. It is well covered in Keith Bolender’s Manufacturing the Enemy: The Media War Against Cuba. This thoroughly documented work is a good antidote to the constant anti-Cuba disinformation we are subjected to, which inevitably influences all of us. According to a well-known quote, itself falsely attributed to Nazi leader Goebbels, "If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it”.

The Eurozone’s coronavirus debt crisis

 

 

By Emma Clancy

April 11, 2020 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Tribune Magazine — After the Eurogroup meeting concluded last night, Eurogroup President and Portuguese Finance Minister Mário Centeno tweeted: “The Eurogroup answered the call from our citizens for a Europe that protects. We agreed to 3 safety nets (for workers, businesses & public finances) adding up to half trillion euro, and a plan for the recovery to ensure we grow together & not apart once the virus is behind us.” 

South Africa: A programme of action in the time of Covid-19 – a call for social solidarity

 

 

April 10, 2020 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Alternative Information and Development Centre — We, as civic organisations, trade unions, organisations of informal workers, faith-based organisations and community structures in South Africa, call on all people, every stakeholder and sector, to contain the infection, reduce transmission and mitigate the social and political impacts of the Covid-19 virus. We put forward the following Programme of Action for all of us to work towards in the coming days.

The government retains a critical role in coordinating actions and distributing resources, yet its efforts will not be enough if we do not hold it to account and commit to a broad, bottom-up, public effort at this time. In a society as unequal as ours, we must work together to ensure that all safety measures are shared equitably.

Coronavirus: the need for a progressive internationalist response

 

 

By Transnational Institute

April 10, 2020 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from TNI — This pandemic health crisis impacts a world already in crisis. It will have a disproportionate impact on the most vulnerable in our society and particularly in the Global South unless we mobilise and demand a just response to the pandemic. It is a wake-up call that the current capitalist economic system is not fit to protect the health of us as individuals or as societies.  We must learn the lessons to defeat COVID-19, address the multiple crises we face―from accelerating inequality to the climate crisis―and build the just sustainable society we all desire.   

Socialist Alliance (Australia): How we must confront the COVID-19 crisis

 

 

By Socialist Alliance 

April 7, 2020 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Socialist Alliance — The COVID-19 pandemic has already infected more than 1.2 million people and taken almost 70,000 lives around the world. Unless urgent measures are taken here, it could overwhelm Australia’s health system, as it has in other countries, at the cost of hundreds, if not thousands of lives.

How can lives be saved? How can people’s livelihoods be protected? Here is what has to be done so that we can protect our health and livelihoods in the face of this immense challenge.

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