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COVID-19

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South Africa: Hunger, anger and a new social movement in response to COVID-19

 

 

By Kate Alexander

October 8, 2020 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Review of African Political Economy — South Africa’s government moved quickly in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. The first confirmed case was on 5 March 2020; a State of National Disaster was promulgated on 15 March, with this accompanied by closure of schools; a full lockdown was implemented from 26 March and the first death was announced the following day. Lockdown was draconian. Travel was prohibited except for essential services; only food shops, pharmacies and medical facilities were permitted to open (even the sale of cigarettes was illegal); and a curfew was enforced. From 1 May there was a slight easing of restrictions, with more industries and shops allowed to open; and there were further relaxation in most areas from 1 June. The number of confirmed cases is higher than elsewhere in Africa with 570,000 cases and 11,500 deaths recorded in mid-August. In our survey, 84.3% of adults felt the president, Cyril Ramaphosa, was doing a good job or a very good job.

Keynesianism is no long-term solution to the economic crisis

 

 

By Lisbeth Latham

October 7, 2020 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Revitalising Labour — The current COVID pandemic has caused massive financial damage to the global economy, damage which has been felt viscerally by working people in the form of dramatically reduced incomes and the loss of millions of jobs. As we progress through the pandemic and look hopefully towards its ending and eventual recovery, minds have begun to look towards what the eventual rebuilding of the economy might look like. Whilst capital, and its representatives in governments, are already looking towards an, even more, deregulated labour market and a general deepening of the neoliberal model, on the other hand, alternative models for recovery are being forward, most particularly that proposed the by the Australian Council of Trade Unions which draws its inspiration from the post-war recovery globally and most particularly in Australia post the Second World War. While this example has understandable appeal, it is well known, it refers to a period of massive and sustained economic growth. It is a deeply problematic model for recovery to the current period of crisis as it fails to understand the roots of the recovery post Second World War which will not be easily replicated but more importantly fails to recognise the broader reality of the global climate crisis that also confronts us, and which should mean we are wary of productivist solutions to this crisis.

COVID-19, mass consciousness and left organizing

 

 

By Robert Latham

September 24, 2020 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — A great many established voices on the left have pointed to how the crisis associated with the coronavirus reveals, illuminates, or even intensifies the underlying conditions of exploitation and oppression of workers and the marginalized under capitalism. Pockets of resistance and worker insight into the crisis have emerged. Perhaps the most emblematic is fired Amazon worker Chris Smalls, a rising worker activist and organic intellectual.

Political openings: Class struggle during and after the pandemic

 

 

By Sam Gindin

September 7, 2020 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Socialist Project — For some on the left, the economic breakthrough brought on by the pandemic was the general consensus, not least among economists, for an astonishing increase in fiscal spending. Relative to the economy’s size, the stimulus introduced so far in the US is already double (in Canada triple) what it was during the 2008-09 crisis, with more to come. And the stimulus in that earlier crisis was the largest since WWII, leading the OECD to declare that the earlier intervention “now seems like a small-scale rehearsal for the [present] disruptions to our socioeconomic system.”

Planning the future

 

 

By Leigh Phillips & Michal Rozworski

July 25, 2020 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Tribune — British railways back under public control. Payrolls of private companies effectively nationalised across many countries. Outsourced carers brought back as public workers. Factories retooling under government orders. State intervention into the economy is suddenly more widespread than it has been in at least a half-century. Even if haltingly: economic planning is back.

Unfortunately, this isn’t the result of a long march through the institutions for the Left, but of the longest March in history. March 2020 saw a global pandemic take hold of nearly every corner of the globe and a necessary public health response which has shaken the global economy to its foundations. In response, laissez-faire platitudes that the private sector knows best, is most nimble, most innovative, most efficient, and that the role of government is to get out of the way of the allocative marvel of the free market, are being tossed out the window by governments of all shades.

The pandemic and beyond: Free quality healthcare is a fundamental right

 

 

By Arindam Sen

July 23, 2020 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Liberation — When the whole of India was put under lock and key in late March, we had only 564 known cases of Novel Coronavirus infection. By the middle of May, we earned the dubious distinction of defeating eternal competitor China (which had nearly 83000 cases) at least in this field. On May 19 the tally crossed the 100000 mark and is all set to rise rapidly for quite some time.

CoronaShock and Socialism

 

 

CoronaShock is a term that refers to how a virus struck the world with such gripping force; it refers to how the social order in the bourgeois state crumbled, while the social order in the socialist parts of the world appeared more resilient.

 

By Ana Maldonado, Manolo de los Santos, Subin Dennis and Vijay Prashad.

Grave diggers: the grim tale of states, capitalism and COVID-19

 

 

By Shawn Hattingh

July 7, 2020 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, it often seems as if we are stuck in a dystopian movie. In this movie death is stalking us, hospitals overflow with the sick and dying, and the grave diggers are at work. We know more victims will soon die as the folly of millions of workers being forced by circumstances to return into cramped mines, banks, factories and warehouses is so evident. Those that are no longer needed by the billionaires who own the companies are marshalled daily by the police and military dishing out violence and on occasion, humiliation, to underline their power and the power of their bosses. It all feels so unreal, a ghastly movie playing out before our eyes. 

In, out and round-about: the variegated terrain of labour responses to the COVID-19 pandemic in South Africa

 

 

By Dale McKinley

June 18, 2020 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Society, Work & Politics Institute — Long before the Covid 19 (C-19) pandemic arrived in South Africa, the country’s broad working class was already in serious trouble. Whether permanent, casual or unemployed or whether part of trade unions, worker collectives or wholly unorganised, the worker ship had long been navigating treacherous waters.

Much of this journey has been framed by the cumulative, devastating impacts of 25 years of neoliberal onslaught; created, managed and implemented by the post-1994 power triumvirate of the state, capital and party (ANC). Further, the more immediate (post-NASREC) period under Ramaphosa has seen intensified attacks on unions, rising levels of casualisation and thus worker precarity as well as a more generalised increases in poverty and inequality amongst the working class majority.  

How Che Guevara taught Cuba to confront COVID-19

 

 

By Don Fitz

June 11, 2020 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal, an earlier version appeared in Monthly Review — Beginning in December 1951, Ernesto “Che” Guevara took a nine-month break from medical school to travel by motorcycle through Argentina, Chile, Peru, Colombia, and Venezuela. One of his goals was gaining practical experience with leprosy. On the night of his twenty-fourth birthday, Che was at La Colonia de San Pablo in Peru swimming across the river to join the lepers. He walked among six hundred lepers in jungle huts looking after themselves in their own way.

Coronavirus will not destroy neoliberalism – Only we can do that

 

 

By Lisbeth Latham

June 11, 2020 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Irish Broad Left — Triumphalist comments about the end of capitalism or neoliberalism abounded in the aftermath of the global financial crisis in 2008, just as there are many people today who believe that the current crisis is the end of neoliberalism or capitalism.

Unfortunately, neoliberalism and – more importantly – the capitalist system will not just end of their own accord. Both, while prone to crisis, are extremely resilient, and are adept at turning their own crises into a rationale for deepening rather than reversing their dynamic.

It is not inevitable that the current crisis will see a strengthening of capitalism and its dominant ideological frame – they can both be defeated, but their defeat will not just happen. It will be the result of conscious resistance, not happenstance or luck.

Coronavirus Is the end of the End of History

 

 

By Lee Jones

May 26, 2020 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Tribune — In 1989, the American pundit Francis Fukuyama presciently declared the ‘end of history’: the collapse of all existing alternatives to liberalism. That apparently unassailable order has been crumbling for years. Coronavirus is the final nail in its coffin.

The capitalist pandemic and socialist solutions

 

 

Speech by Sonny Melencio, Partido Lakas ng Masa (PLM), Philippines, at PLM Webinar presentation, May 16, 2020

Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from AngMasa Para Sa Sosyalismo — My main idea for this presentation actually comes from a reading of an article written by Simon Hannah, titled “Coronavirus has given us two visions of the future” published in Mutiny, an online paper of a group of socialists in the UK. Mutiny is a fine online paper, just Google it.

These are the points I would like to present in this Webinar:

Transforming our infrastructure systems to face pandemics

 

 Correlation Between Quality of Infrastructure and Health Security, Source: AIIB, March 2020

 

By Reihana Mohideen

May 24, 2020 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from AngMasa Para Sa Sosyalismo — In our response strategies to the COVID-19 pandemic, we are effectively undertaking a massive experiment where we disrupt our entire economy and how we work and live within it. This has implications for our health and infrastructure linked systems and social inclusion linkages.

Human suffering during the pandemic and the need for a new society

 

 

By Raju J Das

May 14, 2020 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — During the on-going pandemic, humanity’s suffering has increased enormously. By May 11, 2020, 4.2 million people in the world had contracted the coronavirus, and 285,000 had died. In the richest and most powerful country of the world, more than 1.4 million cases have been reported, with 81,000 deaths.[1] The pandemic is producing massive adverse impacts, including on income and employment opportunities (Davis, 2020; Toussaint, 2020).[2] The pandemic is forcing us to think about what kind of society we wish to live in. This article discusses the ‘consequences’ of the pandemic for people and what they say about the nature of the society we live in. The article then talks about what a different kind of society would look like, one that is worth fighting for now.

How the Covid-19 pandemic exacerbates existing gender inequalities

 

 

By Nalini E

May 14, 2020 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Think Left — Everyone has been made to believe that the coronavirus pandemic is a public health issue. Now, a few months into life with coronavirus, and the threat of the associated coronavirus disease (Covid-19), it is now abundantly clear that this is not merely about health.

Reality strikes. The entire world’s economic, political and social structures are in a state of heightened anxiety and emergency. Now, while it is true that the coronavirus does not discriminate, the impact is most felt by society’s vulnerable, marginalised groups.

This article focuses on the strong and specific impact such a global pandemic has on gender inequalities, specifically women.

The COVID-19 crisis and the end of the 'low-skilled' worker

 

 

By Mark Bergfeld & Sarah Farris

“One day our society will come to respect the sanitation worker if it is to survive, for the person who picks up our garbage, in the final analysis, is as significant as the physician, for if he doesn’t do his job, diseases are rampant. All labor has dignity.” —Martin Luther King

COVID capitalism: General tendencies, possible 'leaps'

 

 

By Tithi Bhattacharya & Gareth Dale

May 2, 2020 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Spectre — Never has the global economy faced such a thorough challenge from a virus. Previous epidemics scythed through populations and ravaged livelihoods, but they remained contained on a regional scale or, where global, impacted the world economy less precipitously. Noteworthy too is the fact that never in recent memory have Euro-American countries, whose governments and media still dominate global public discourse, been so affected by a health crisis. Pandemics that kill people in Asia and Africa do not create quite the same reverberations in media conglomerates as they do when they hit the hearts of imperial hegemons.

Covid-19 has starkly revealed not only the brutal systemic priorities of capitalism—profit-making over life-making—but also the relationship between capital and the capitalist state form. We should be attentive to this relationship in order to face a darker truth about this crisis: that it is far from an anomaly and that lacking a body blow to the system, we should prepare for a world where such crises and its effects become part of our daily lives.

United States: Are deaths from COVID-19 just more unintended, but acceptable, collateral damage for the capitalist state?

 

 

By Vince Montes

April 27, 2020 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — The concept of collateral damage is the death and injury to civilians, or other damage inflicted, as the unintended result of military operations. In this conceptualization, collateral damage, similar to the military euphemism for the killing of civilians, is the idea that there is unintentional, but acceptable death, injury, and damage associated with the carrying out a stated goal. However, unlike the goal of winning a war or when this concept is used in an Orwellian way to describe the “unintended” deaths of non-combatants killed in counterinsurgency operations, designed to kill, injury, and ultimately terrorize a people into submission, the death, injury, and destruction of COVID-19 can be see as collateral damage because it is unintended, yet deemed acceptable for the continuation of U.S. capitalism. 

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.

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