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COVID-19

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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.

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.

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.

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.

Socialist Alliance (Australia): Suppressing the spread of COVID-19

 

 

By Socialist Alliance

April 7, 2020 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Socialist Alliance — Socialist Alliance supports rapid action to suppress the spread of COVID-19 coronavirus in order to save as many lives as possible.

While mitigation, the declared strategy of the federal and state governments, will save lives compared to doing nothing, it will still result in many deaths because it assumes the majority of the population will still acquire the virus.

In contrast the strategy of "suppressing" the virus seeks to completely stop community transmission with extensive testing, tracking and quarantine.

A period of “lock down” or "shut down" can be used to support either the mitigation or suppression strategies. Socialist Alliance supports a period of shut down in Australia that includes schools and all non-essential industries where there is a risk of virus transmission (including construction and fossil fuel exports) in order to suppress the virus while seeking to accomplish the following:

The coronavirus is stirring the impulse to communism

 

 

 

By Aleksandr Buzgalin, translated by Renfrey Clarke 

 

“There would never be happiness, but for the help of misfortune”
Russian popular saying

 

The coronavirus pandemic has laid bare the most acute problems of our collective life, its main contradictions.

One aspect of this is constantly being exacerbated by the mass media: we have come to fear one another. We dream of cutting off international contacts. We want to refrain from personal communication. In everything, we see the hand of the Chinese (Americans, Italians, Russians – insert as required). One more step, and racism will start appearing. We have begun talking about the birth of a “new world”, in which people are not just scared to shake hands with one another, but are afraid of one another in general…

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