Capitalism, Ecology and the Coronavirus outbreak

Submitted by Spikymike on February 9, 2020

Whilst I have been reading Kohei Saito's new book on 'Marx's Ecology' with reference to the 'Metabolic rift' my attention was caught by this short comment on possible connections between modern global capitalism, the commodification of nature and the current economic crisis with the spread of the corinavirus in China:
https://thenextrecession.wordpress.com/2020/01/31/corinavirus-nature-fights-back/

spacious

2 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I read the article that is linked to from that blog post, by Rob Wallace, which sparked my interest to learn more, e.g. about how viruses emerge and circulate alongside the chains of commodity supply and processing. Obviously viruses that affect humans don't only move through human movements but also via the production processes in which human movement, human social health conditions, animal life/death, bacterial life etc. are all mutually implied.

https://climateandcapitalism.com/2020/01/29/coronavirus-a-deadly-result/

This is from near the end:
"Let’s realize a creaturely communism far from the Soviet model. Let’s braid together a new world-system, indigenous liberation, farmer autonomy, strategic rewilding, and place-specific agroecologies that, redefining biosecurity, reintroduce immune firebreaks of widely diverse varieties in livestock, poultry, and crops.

Let’s reintroduce natural selection as an ecosystem service and let our livestock and crops reproduce on-site, whereby they can pass along their outbreak-tested immunogenetics to the next generation."

Nymphalis Antiopa

2 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Coronavirus – an exercise in intensified social control:
http://dialectical-delinquents.com/coronavirus-an-exercise-in-intensified-social-control/

spacious

2 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Here's a couple of articles from left perspectives on the Corona outbreak and emergency responses to it:

Angela Mitropoulos - Against Quarantine
https://thenewinquiry.com/against-quarantine/

Giorgio Agamben in Il Manifesto
http://positionswebsite.org/giorgio-agamben-the-state-of-exception-provoked-by-an-unmotivated-emergency/

And two on Jacobin:
https://www.jacobinmag.com/2020/02/coronavirus-prevention-public-investment-philanthrocapitalism and https://jacobinmag.com/2020/02/coronavirus-outbreak-free-market-pharmaceutical-industry

And Chuang - Social contagion: microbiological class war in China
http://chuangcn.org/2020/02/social-contagion/

ZJW

2 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I was just about to post the following:

'Anyone who followed my suggestion made on Jun 25 at https://libcom.org/forums/asia/interview-10102018#comment-614188 to subscribe to the Chuang blog will have already seen 'Microbiological Class War in China' http://chuangcn.org/2020/02/social-contagion. '

Spikymike

2 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

This article from the ICT/CWO translated from tthe Italian:
www.leftcom.org/en/articles/2020-03-09/initial-thoughts-on-coronavirus-and-its-fallout

R Totale

2 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Italy: Coronavirus and Prisons – Statement from Anarchist Group ‘Bakunin’ (Rome & Lazio), translated from Umanità Nova

“We have been silent for so many years”: Interview with a Hong Kong nurse on strike

Hong Kong hospital workers strike

I don't really know what I think about it myself, but I would be really interested to hear more about what people think about what it means to have an anarchist (or whatever) position against border controls in a pandemic/potential pandemic situation, one where, as mentioned in the HK interview above, you have things like a strike movement developing among health workers with its main demand being to close the border. Where does maintaining a principled stance against borders cross over into Trump-style denial of inconvenient facts, how can we find a way through that and so on?

spacious

2 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

R Totale

I don't really know what I think about it myself, but I would be really interested to hear more about what people think about what it means to have an anarchist (or whatever) position against border controls in a pandemic/potential pandemic situation, one where, as mentioned in the HK interview above, you have things like a strike movement developing among health workers with its main demand being to close the border. Where does maintaining a principled stance against borders cross over into Trump-style denial of inconvenient facts, how can we find a way through that and so on?

As for borders somehow preventing the spread of pathogens: even closed borders are zones of human activity, which don't prevent contagion. The materiality of the border contrasts with the idea of neat separation. This might be one solid element for an anarchistic critique of "borders as panacea", apart from all the classist and racist assumptions that underlie border discourse in past and present.

Most "closed borders" are only closed for those considered to be undesirable by economic and political criteria, but the 'desirable' ones (people bringing money, business, exploitable skills) can also bring in contagion, so the border is not effective against microbiological risks. Instead, the people treated as undesirable, who are refused at the border, are amassed there in unhygienic, harmful and brutal conditions, which produces the very thing that the border pretends to keep at bay. I think the hygienic idea, the "selective border" idea and the ideas justifying granular social control are really strongly interlinked.

Adapting to the current outbreak would likely require relinquishing various aspects of moneyed social discipline, offering universal healthcare, universal sick leave, health access irrespective of citizenship status, etc. but this goes against the grain of a society which has commodified all the most important conditions of life, and which most of all wants to insulate economic power from the impact of the current looming healthcare crisis.
Minimizing the peak of contagion requires access to healthcare, and time and space for recovery for those affected, and there is a lot that militates against those solutions if the priority is "business as usual" to continue, for work and consumption to continue, instead of people being allowed to adapt and prioritize their health and providing them with what they need.

Scheveningen

2 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

There have been wildcat strikes in Italy over the decision not to shut down factories - one of the few businesses that are still running - for the duration of the quarantine.

The plants that have been specifically mentioned in the news are multiple ones of the Arcelor Mittal group (steelmaking), Electrolux (home appliances), IRCA (heating and air conditioning systems) in Vittorio Veneto, Bitron (electronics for the automotive industry) near Milan, Corneliani (clothing) in Mantua, Iveco (automotive) and Relevi (detergents and deodorants) near Mantua, plus others in Bergamo, Genoa and Terni.
Nearly all of these are in North, in the areas that have been hit the hardest by the outbreak. Some don't even make essential goods, but are still continuing work even in absence of safety measures (lacking gloves or hand sanitizers, failure to keep a minimum distance from one person to another), aside from possible exposure during commuting.

In some cases (various plants of the Brescia area) unions had reached agreements for temporary closure, while Fiat had taken the decision to close on its own for a few days before this happened, but there was plenty of pressure from bosses to have factories excluded from recent decrees imposing containment measures. Especially ridiculous situation given the contrast with a major public campaign to stay home and the imposition of draconian measures (people getting fined for being outside with "no valid reason", etc.).

The major unions (CGIL-CISL-UIL) have since demanded a shutdown of all plants until March 22, and the government should meet with union and employers' representatives today.

Source: https://ilmanifesto.it/scioperi-spontanei-degli-operai-in-fabbrica/ (in Italian)

Delivery workers may also protest.

Dyjbas

2 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

On the spontaneous strikes and prison riots in Italy: leftcom.org

R Totale

2 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Just coming back on this a bit:
spacious

As for borders somehow preventing the spread of pathogens: even closed borders are zones of human activity, which don't prevent contagion. The materiality of the border contrasts with the idea of neat separation.

This might be my living-on-an-island bias, but isn't it the case that a huge amount, perhaps the majority, of cross-border journeys are by things like air travel? Like, talking about the US-Europe travel ban, there's no material US/Europe border, so if you shut down air travel between the two then you genuinely do shut down human activity and contagion? Or am I missing something there? I appreciate that there's a lot of borders where the situation is different, though.

Most "closed borders" are only closed for those considered to be undesirable by economic and political criteria, but the 'desirable' ones (people bringing money, business, exploitable skills) can also bring in contagion, so the border is not effective against microbiological risks. Instead, the people treated as undesirable, who are refused at the border, are amassed there in unhygienic, harmful and brutal conditions, which produces the very thing that the border pretends to keep at bay.

I mean, that certainly works as a critique of points-based systems and the like, but it was my understanding that that's not the case for things like the US-Europe travel ban, it's more of a complete shutdown. Also, since so much of this seems to be based on numbers, isn't it still the case that, while any given individual Tier 1 migrant might be as likely to spread contagion as any given "undesirable" migrant, reducing the total number of people in circulation would reduce the overall chance of contagion? Sorry if that's playing devil's advocate, but I think it's important for our arguments to be accurate.
In some ways, the current situation reminds of me of way back in the 2000s, when there was a climate camp at Heathrow Airport opposing the air travel industry, and another No Borders camp at Gatwick opposing restrictions on migration - just like that, I don't think there are unsolvable contradictions here, but there are certainly potential contradictions that need to be navigated.

Adapting to the current outbreak would likely require relinquishing various aspects of moneyed social discipline, offering universal healthcare, universal sick leave, health access irrespective of citizenship status, etc. but this goes against the grain of a society which has commodified all the most important conditions of life, and which most of all wants to insulate economic power from the impact of the current looming healthcare crisis.
Minimizing the peak of contagion requires access to healthcare, and time and space for recovery for those affected, and there is a lot that militates against those solutions if the priority is "business as usual" to continue, for work and consumption to continue, instead of people being allowed to adapt and prioritize their health and providing them with what they need.

Oh, sure, I agree with all that, but then I'd be in favour of universal healthcare, universal sick leave, etc, anyway, I suppose I'm more interested in what, if anything, the present crisis requires us to do differently (in terms of our politics, rather than in terms of staying home and things). I suppose there's also a contradiction that we'll have to navigate in terms of "everyone should stop working right now" and "everyone should have continuing access to healthcare and other resources" - perhaps some of the questions addressed in "Insurrection and Production" might become relevant sooner rather than later.

Spikymike

2 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

And there are strikes and at least threats of strikes in both the USA (eg autos) and the UK (eg post) and probably elsewhere as well?

R Totale

2 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Another thing I've been thinking about: certainly, there are some social distancing/quarantine measures that are against the interests of capital and the state and will be resisted as much as possible, but they'll also be looking at this crisis as an opportunity, and we should be careful of those things too. The possibility of increased state powers and restrictions over movement is one pretty obvious starting place, beyond that I've been thinking about the shift to online teaching stuff after talking to some UCU strikers this week, and in general I think that anywhere where there's potential for cost-saving through automation and redundancies, this crisis gives an opportunity to push that stuff through with less resistance than usual, under the cover of "it's just responsible social distancing, why do you want workers to commute in on public transport and then go home to their relatives when we could just have machines do the same thing instead with less risk of contagion?"
And that's not to say "actually, schools and universities should stay open", but I think it's worth having more discussion about what we do actually think about these issues, and what measures are necessary and how far that necessity goes.

spacious

2 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Thanks. Good criticisms and thoughts all.

You're probably right about air travel and borders, temporary air travel closures do mean that a country has less interactions with other countries. Is it enough to prevent the spread of viruses, or is it largely a fetish of control, a reflex and a placebo? It seems few, if any, of those attempts have been successful in preventing the emergence of domestic footholds for the current viral outbreak. In essence, our bureaucratic-political-economic borders need to be permeable to all the stuff that capitalism needs to circulate, and they don't ultimately negate the fact that humanity is a material community, whatever the separations and control mechanisms imposed on it.
Indeed we should be on the watch for new paradigms of control being imposed throughout this crisis, because now they can be easily legitimated and then normalized in the aftermath.

On the social level, it's striking to think how many directions the situation might go. It's like a slowdown in the global social factory, imposed seemingly "from the outside" by microbiology, but revealing stark social conflicts. Perhaps I'm too optimistic, but I think the initiatives coming from self-serving, worried and defensive capital in this situation - its unwillingness to grant an exception or a break in "life as usual" are going to run into a lot of objections, conflicts and spark many-sided struggles. Capital is right to be worried, because any concession shows a possibility, and will lead to attempts to make it the new rule. The fact that it is about life and death and that it is a global event really raises the stakes and makes these conflicts a lot more explosive and impactful in a subjective sense.

In a way the crisis this creates a sort of precedent for the worsening of climate and ecological collapse, and the sort of antagonisms and responses that might become generalized when that happens. It already seems to be a sort of prefigurative event in that sense, a general rehearsal for what's to come.

Especially when the outbreak gets worse, the demands of self-isolation, childcare during school closures, and care for others is going to impose a big burden on those normally doing the bulk of unpaid reproductive work. As it spreads, transforms and shifts that burden, or as it exceeds the capacity of unpaid care work and professional healthcare, it becomes quite ludicrous to assume we'll all keep doing the sort of stuff that barely makes sense in "normally functioning capitalism". Why keep doing inessential stuff (all the types of work that only make sense within capitalism as a limited social form) while there are many places where help is needed, care is called for. Why aren't the rules of the commodity suspended in what for many is a life-threatening situation?

You already see demands, mutual aid and autonomous kinds of "subtraction" emerging in many places where the outbreak is only just gaining speed. It's really the simultaneous assumption that everything needs to continue as if nothing is going on, and that workers need to make all the sacrifices (because we're all in this together etc.), which is going to lead to clashes.

Workers are assumed to keep going, make profits, suffering health consequences, take up the burden of caring, enforced isolation and non-isolation, and whatever else down the line. It may change a lot when full lockdowns are imposed, but as noted in comments above, capital tries to get its own exceptions to the rule and will elicit a response from workers, making up their own minds in the shifting situation. The notion of stubbornly keeping business as usual going appears quite ludicrous.

Scallywag

2 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Any thoughts on coronavirus accelerating the collapse of capitalism?

Does the crisis provide an opportunity to organise and build alternatives to capitalism or should we be more worried about it providing an opportunity for states to flex their totalitarian capabilities?

What about climate change? Is it not interesting that governments are prepared to harm their own economies to tackle the virus yet don't do the same for climate change?

ajjohnstone

2 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Any thoughts on coronavirus accelerating the collapse of capitalism?

SPGBer, the late Pieter Lawrence, wrote a novel called "The Last Conflict" which had as its theme the impending destruction of the world's population by an asteroid hit.

The world had to come together with urgency and mobilise all its resources without regard to the pounds and pence costs to build shelters for everybody. It ended capitalism.

Similarly we can perhaps speculate if the coronavirus becomes such a huge liability, society will also ignore the laws of capitalism and put people before profit.

https://libcom.org/library/last-conflict

Maclane Horton

2 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

ANARCHIST LITANY

(to be intoned as a chant)

Wash your hands
Pandemic

Quarantine
Pandemic

Self-isolate
Pandemic

Empty shelves
Pandemic

Empty streets
Pandemic

No more lawcourts
Pandemic

No more judges
Pandemic

No more bosses
Pandemic

Bring out your dead
Pandemic

Good lord deliver us
Pandemic

Red Marriott

2 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Scallywag

Any thoughts on coronavirus accelerating the collapse of capitalism?

That seems a very deterministic & mechanistic outlook.The relation between conscious agency & inherited circumstance is complex but deliberate agency is surely crucial; there must eventually be some deliberate intention to abolish class society. I'm not convinced this kind of crisis encourages that, especially given the weakness of class struggle in recent years and the dependence on the State that the crisis forces on people.

But, as noted in earlier comments, this crisis does have a side-effect of a convenient opportunity for the ruling class to restructure labour relations and justify new measures of 'temporary' social control to become normalised. It's also a convenient time for States to try out crisis management tactics & logistics to draw some conclusions that could also be applied against later more subversive threats from class & social movements.

Is it not interesting that governments are prepared to harm their own economies to tackle the virus yet don't do the same for climate change?

The threat of an impending overwhelming of health services and consequences for social breakdown appear very immediate and real - and measures to combat it don't require the permanent restructuring of industry & production with all its possible social implications that effective response to climate change requires.

Scallywag

2 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Red Marriott

That seems a very deterministic & mechanistic outlook.The relation between conscious agency & inherited circumstance is complex but deliberate agency is surely crucial; there must eventually be some deliberate intention to abolish class society.

I was thinking that maybe capitalism is so weak and unsustainable that if you throw something like coronavirus at it then everything shuts down and we have an economic crash. Then it could not cope against the many issues it faces and in the midst of economic collapse and climate change people would utterly loose all faith in the system and organise against it. I would have to agree with you though that human agency is ultimately always the deciding factor, but I don't really know what to think about the weakness of capitalism or its supposedly inevitable collapse at some point under its own contradictions.

R Totale

2 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Scallywag

Does the crisis provide an opportunity to organise and build alternatives to capitalism or should we be more worried about it providing an opportunity for states to flex their totalitarian capabilities?

Yes ;)

What about climate change? Is it not interesting that governments are prepared to harm their own economies to tackle the virus yet don't do the same for climate change?

As RM says, very different timescale - the climate change we're seeing now is the result of decisions made years and decades ago, and today's politicians can tell themselves it'll be someone else's problem by the time the full effects of today's carbon emissions kick in. That's very different to the day-by-day crisis of coronavirus, which moves at the kind of speed that's much more suited to 24-hour news coverage.

I do think that stuff like the proposed covid19 walkout is interesting, as has been the sheer explosion of local neighbourhood mutual aid groups - nearly 900 in the big spreadsheet now, I had a look at my local fb group and they'd already moved on to setting up whatsapp groups to co-ordinate on a street-by-street basis. There is some potential there, I think, although too early to say what, if anything, it'll become. Would be an interesting irony if it takes self-isolation and social distancing for us to actually get to know our neighbours.

wojtek

2 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

A Chinese citizen living in Massachusetts became ill this month, with symptoms consistent with the coronavirus. She went to a local hospital and asked to be tested three times, but was denied. Frustrated, she flew to China — and tested positive upon arrival.

https://www.latimes.com/world-nation/story/2020-03-15/coronavirus-test-us-china
Shortly prior to all this, my warm Dr in Korea whom i could see whenever showed me an article in the local paper. It noted an elderly gentleman had visited the hospital hundreds of times as it was so cheap. Comparatively, American healthcare was too expensive, according to his North American English teacher, whilst his Korean acquaintances had to wait so long for an appointment in the UK, they simply flew back to Korea for treatment.

The idea that we can't isolate as in Korea because Brits are not as obedient is bizarre - the former has a stronger tradition of protest (whether liberal or conservative), stronger voter turnout, they ousted PGH impressively enough. At least they have a social ethos and no/far less anti-social behavior there; social distancing seems like common sense. What is 14 years of consecutive Conservative rule if not servility?

jef costello

2 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Closing borders doesn't mean much, but I don't think anarchists can have a problem with restricting movement to limit the spread of infection. That said, as we are about to have troops on the streets enforcing a curfew it does fell like it is going very badly. I was actually surprised, Macron has suspended the pension reforms during the crisis.

ajjohnstone

2 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

https://www.theguardian.com/business/2020/mar/16/vauxhall-owner-psa-car-shuts-european-plants-amid-coronavirus-fears

This story sort of reminded me of the Lucas Plan from the 1970s. Defence work could be re-tooled for socially necessary production

Cooked

2 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Are there any epidemiologists suggesting closing borders will do any good? I'm not following this stuff very closely but it seems that most are against this? If my barely researched info is correct then it's pretty clear that states gonna state and have a fair bit of head start in setting the agenda. Naturally preferring authoritarian measures along with helping business.

I'm aware of the potentially terrible consequences of the virus and is currently at home caring for a kid who just started coughing a lot (likely just a cold), work at a business that was already quite close to the edge and live in a city whose healthcare was already mayhem (Stockholm). Despite this I have to admit that I welcome the disruption to my own life and feel a bit energised by the cracks appearing in the 'economy is everything' thinking. The thing that really worries me is the though of the various refugee camps/cities and the contagion getting a foothold there.

adri

2 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Plan C

In summary, we must not underestimate the moment we are in and what is fundamentally required to face this pandemic is a communisation of society to provide for our needs. For the owners of capital and the politicians in government, this potential scares them as much as COVID-19. For the rest of us, it is about our survival in the face of accelerating hardships and disease.

Fail to see what is communist or "communizing" in a quarantine income, or the "funds for precarious workers" demand. Ubi is something both left and right reformists are advocating for now and under otherwise normal circumstances. Besides if providing for needs is the objective then expropriation of capitalists and the steering of production in the direction of producing for need, not exchange on the market, woud be the way to go.

Alf

2 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Two articles from the ICC

https://en.internationalism.org/content/16823/covid-19-pandemic-symptom-terminal-phase-capitalist-decadence

https://en.internationalism.org/content/16810/more-evidence-capitalism-has-become-danger-humanity

spacious

2 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

A text from Sandro Mezzadra: "Only the intensification of social struggles, now and in the following months, can give way to spaces of democracy and 'care' of the common."

https://www.versobooks.com/blogs/4598-politics-of-struggles-in-the-time-of-pandemic

And Bifo: "The recent convulsions of the planetary body have provoked a collapse that obliges the organism to stop, slow down, desert the crowded places and the frantic dally negotiations?"

https://www.versobooks.com/blogs/4600-bifo-diary-of-the-psycho-deflation

And this two-part interview with Rob Wallace (mentioned in earlier posts) is good:

Part I - Where did coronavirus come from, and where will it take us?
http://unevenearth.org/2020/03/where-did-coronavirus-come-from-and-where-will-it-take-us-an-interview-with-rob-wallace-author-of-big-farms-make-big-flu/

Part II - Pandemic Strike
http://unevenearth.org/2020/03/pandemic-strike/

wojtek

2 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Since there is not testing or tracing, how do those volunteering know it is ok for them to do so?

R Totale

2 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

zugzwang

Besides if providing for needs is the objective then expropriation of capitalists and the steering of production in the direction of producing for need, not exchange on the market, woud be the way to go.

If anyone has any ideas about how to do that while maintaining social distancing/social isolation, I would be very interested to hear them.
wojtek

Since there is not testing or tracing, how do those volunteering know it is ok for them to do so?

There's minimal physical contact, my only face-to-face interaction with anyone so far has been when picking up the leaflets from a neighbour's house, and I applied hand sanitiser immediately before going out to post them. It's possible to do and deliver shopping without having any direct contact with the people as well, which doesn't completely eliminate any possibility that contagion could be passed via the handle of a shopping bag or whatever but does certainly sharply reduce it. If anyone else has any best practice to share on this, that would be very useful.

I am keen to hear more what people think about the groups - how does the UK's situation compare to elsewhere? I don't usually think of us as particularly well-organised compared to other countries, but the sheer explosion of groups has been amazing, my local neighbourhood group now has 15-20 smaller street-level groups. What functions can/should these groups perform? Is there any particular role that we, "as anarchists/communists/revolutionaries/whatever" should be looking to play? And does anyone have any examples of really good work by local groups, or just good stuff in general, to share?

R Totale

2 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

wojtek

Since there is not testing or tracing, how do those volunteering know it is ok for them to do so?

Oh, also to mention that Queercare Network have a good resources page giving advice about this stuff: https://queercare.network/our-work/resources/covid-19/

wojtek

2 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

For it’s not necessarily the oft-mentioned African-China extraction connections that will facilitate its spread, but the relatively easy access that Europeans often have to African countries. Today, many of the “African” cases of COVID-19 are visitors from Italy and France. UK, US and EU citizens often purchase automatic access at the border, while these same countries have extensive application processes for African citizens and frequently reject African visa applicants and asylees. Border promiscuity, the widespread idea that viruses move indiscriminately across borders, is therefore, a naïve expression of the outbreak narrative; viruses move in bodies, and the freedom of certain bodies, certain people, to move across borders needs to be acknowledged.

http://somatosphere.net/forumpost/border-promiscuity-racialized-blame/

COVID-19: Korean consulate issues warning after violent attack in Montreal

fingers malone

2 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

deleted

adri

2 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

.

wojtek

2 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

https://twitter.com/allyjung/status/1241364037839052800

Obey the CCP, don't criticise the Conservatives, follow Donald Trump, support the Partito Democratico
https://www.instagram.com/p/B7lDRbTgGEP/

wojtek

2 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=43&v=sGvNiIqQWZk&feature=emb_title
https://www.helpthemhelpus.co.uk/

We are currently looking at donating to research, setting up a 24/7 national psychological support service, and ways to boost personal protective equipment for NHS workers during the pandemic.

R Totale

2 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

By the way, I think it's worth keeping a record of the official gov.uk advice to employers - I have screencaps but unfortunately not a full archive of the old version, which explicitly talked about if employees were confirmed with coronavirus. As of today, March 23rd, they seem to have removed all references to testing and confirmed cases, but it still says:
official government advice

What to do if someone develops symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) on site

...It is not necessary to close the business or workplace or send any staff home

For reference, here's what they were saying last week (please don't judge my 49 tabs):

wojtek

2 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

The NHS are hiring seemingly especially. Are they testing healthy successful applicants to see whether they are carriers since being asymptomatic is a possibility? Or does one have to demonstrate their footballing/acting proficiency?

spacious

2 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

wojtek

The NHS are hiring seemingly especially. Are they testing healthy successful applicants to see whether they are carriers since being asymptomatic is a possibility? Or does one have to demonstrate their footballing/acting proficiency?

I saw the NHS is trying to recruit basically an army of volunteers for delivery of food/basics to self-isolating people.
My response was that it ought to be met with demands for decommodification of necessities and rent cancellation, or basically any demands that benefit everybody irrespective of employment or legal status. As opposed to proposals for UBI for the duration of the break in society's "regular programming", which have quickly become quite mainstream.

Here's a good piece by Max Haiven:

No return to normal: for a post-pandemic liberation
https://roarmag.org/essays/no-return-to-normal-for-a-post-pandemic-liberation/

ajjohnstone

2 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

https://itsgoingdown.org/autonomous-groups-are-mobilizing-mutual-aid-initiatives-to-combat-the-coronavirus/

spacious

2 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Great piece by Bue Rübner about the viral pandemic and the economic downturn:

Pandemic Insolvency: Why This Economic Crisis Will Be Different
https://novaramedia.com/2020/03/26/pandemic-insolvency-why-this-economic-crisis-will-be-different/

R Totale

2 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Dunno if it's worth setting up a separate thread for neighbourhood-mutual-aid-group posts or keeping them all here, but today I got a leaflet through the door from the council recommending I look up my local group on fb, and also suggesting that I have a look at Acorn(!) Interesting times.

wojtek

2 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

https://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/masks4nhsheroes

jef costello

2 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Bill Ackman made 2.7bn betting against the markets. Business leaders and senators (just fter a briefing) have been selling off stock before the collapse. I am assuming it is pension funds (for those who have them, that have been buying at the top of the market)

Nothing like that is happening where I live, as far as I know.

cactus9

2 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Air pollution is right down here now. It took a few days but the roadside monitoring graph is pretty clear.

cactus9

2 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Although the temperature is also dropping so that could be the cause, personally I doubt it though.

wojtek

2 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

"We have to be there, to help out," Tevez told America TV. "Of course I would gladly go and help in a soup kitchen, to do whatever.

"A great example would be for all of us, footballers, actors, to go out there and help in the poor neighbourhoods which is where help is needed. I'm available to do that.

"Any footballer can live six months or a year without getting paid. We are not a good example, we might be for other things but not for this.

"We don't have the despair that others live with day after day, those that have to leave their homes at 6 a.m. and return at 7 in the afternoon in order to feed their families the next day.

"For us, it's easy to talk from home, knowing that I have food for my children. But for those desperate people, that can't move, that if they leave their homes they will get arrested and can't feed their children, it's very worrying."

Boca's Tevez: Footballers can survive a year without pay amid coronavirus

Given the sacrifices that many people are making, including some of my colleagues in the NHS who have made the ultimate sacrifice getting into work and have caught the diseases and sadly died, I think the first thing Premier League footballers can do is make a contribution, take a pay cut,’ said Hancock.

'Matt Hancock calling them out is a f***ing cheek': Gary Neville slams health minister on Twitter after he called on Premier League footballers to take pay cuts to ease financial burden during coronavirus crisis

meanwhile, 2 weeks ago...

[Korean] President, ministers to return 30% of salary for COVID-19 control efforts

adri

2 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

The "essential business" thing irritates me. People still have to buy whatever is deemed essential, so it's not like they're producing or delivering essential goods and services society needs free of charge. Satisfying needs is not the aim of capitalist production; making profit is. Businesses obviously try painting themselves as essential just so they don't have to close down their operations and so that they have some sort of advantage over their competitors who have.

adri

2 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Any thoughts on this

https://twitter.com/MW_Unrest/status/1246195775731875840?s=19

Food producers are disposing of un-saleable food-products because of lack of demand (i.e. people who are able to back up their willingness to buy something with money; excluding people who need food but can't afford it), particularly with the usual consumers/businesses that absorb food-products being closed down (restaurants, schools, etc.). The surge in unemployment probably won't help either. I believe this also has something to do, correct me if I'm wrong, with the falling rate of profit: commodities are cheapned through competition and increased productivity (a producer can't choose to sell above the market or going price because people will buy elsewhere; the seller will be undercut by other sellers) where more then has to be sold, leading to glutted markets and excess supply. So even if a business is as essential as food production that doesn't mean essentials are getting into the hands of people who need it, since that's not sustainable or profitable for any business.

Red Marriott

2 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

zugwang

The "essential business" thing irritates me. People still have to buy whatever is deemed essential, so it's not like they're producing or delivering essential goods and services society needs free of charge. Satisfying needs is not the aim of capitalist production; making profit is. Businesses obviously try painting themselves as essential just so they don't have to close down their operations and so that they have some sort of advantage over their competitors who have.

In the UK off-licences (liquor stores) are classified as an "essential business". :) Even though all the supermarkets sell booze. But it's a steady income stream of high tax revenue for the state.

R Totale

2 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

I've not actually been into my local offie since the lockdown started, but wandering past it the other day I saw they'd branched out into selling toilet roll.

wojtek

2 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

#COVID19 homeless. Some unemployed workers have no money for rent have taken refuge in Lumpini Park. One woman interviewed said at least she can take showers there; her saving is spent on food; maybe it’s better she gets Covid, at least she’ll get room and board.

https://mobile.twitter.com/Thai_Talk/status/1246424691109056513
How many hotels are there in Bangkok?

Andrew Marshall's latest.

Spikymike

2 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

This posted elsewhere on the site is a good (if longer) summary and worth listing here as well:
https://libcom.org/news/virus-money-tree-04042020.

wojtek

2 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

https://mobile.twitter.com/BBCPolitics/status/915295999140204544

https://www.middleeasteye.net/opinion/what-does-boris-johnson-really-know-about-libya

R Totale

2 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Thought this from Freedom was pretty good: https://freedomnews.org.uk/five-quick-thoughts-on-the-limits-of-covid-19-mutual-aid-groups-how-they-might-be-overcome/

Spikymike

2 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

A less than comforting if realistic assessment of recent claimed emergency measures by the UK government and NHS to respond to the expected big increase in virus infections around the big cities;
https://critical-mass.net/2020/04/08/corona-virus-pandemic-8/

shug

2 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Useful piece from 'Citizens TV' https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=2615&v=05-jbrHRmrs&feature=emb_logo

R Totale

2 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Obv epetitions aren't really the most useful of tools in ordinary times, but this petition to get testing/PPE/sick pay for careworkers might be a good thing to share in local mutual aid groups and the like, if you want something that's a bit more political than just clapping for the NHS but aren't sure if all your neighbours will want to read the latest from Cristicuffs or whoever: https://action.unison.org.uk/page/58242/petition/1

wojtek

2 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

First they blame the public for spreading it, now Matt Hancock saying there is enough PPE, NHS staff are just wasting it
https://mobile.twitter.com/JungleDaily/status/1248655176652722176
Pritti Patel gaslighting:
"I'm sorry if people feel like there have been failings."
https://mobile.twitter.com/SkyNews/status/1249007277102845952

Has any other state acted similarly?

wojtek

2 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Kang Kyung-Wha cites the Sewol Ferry disaster and PGH's response as a 'collective trauma' (much like this will be) from which principles of openess and transparency were adopted.
https://www.france24.com/en/asia-pacific/20200413-in-south-korea-patients-cured-of-covid-19-have-tested-positive-later-fm-says

The South Korea foreign minister said her government’s philosophy had always been to "respect the people's right to freedom of movement", but added that travel restrictions had been put in place in order to avoid a second wave of the virus.

wojtek

2 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Homogeneous obedient Asian masses never questioning their leaders:

68% of Britons say that the Government are handling the coronavirus outbreak well.

https://mobile.twitter.com/YouGov/status/1250098896308776963

shug

2 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Citizens' TV again:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XY3sEIB7pJY&feature=emb_logo

spacious

2 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Kim Moody on logistics in capitalism and on the potential of the current situation for independent working class demands:

https://labornotes.org/blogs/2020/04/workers-just-time-moment

He also talks about how a recession and reorganization of global supply chains was already looming before there was any sight of a pandemic, and how the outbreak has created a simultaneity and edge to the situation that it would otherwise have lacked.

"In any case, now is the time when workers can intervene to demand all the things they have been denied for decades, including health protection on and off the job. They might not just make demands on employers but confront politicians for universal free health care. The pandemic has made Medicare for All common sense for millions.

This means union support for the actions workers are already taking and encouraging others. It also means building on the awareness millions of workers now have of how essential they are to the system and how little their bosses or the government care about them."

wojtek

2 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Boris Johnson skipped five Cobra meetings on the virus, calls to order protective gear were ignored and scientists’ warnings fell on deaf ears. Failings in February may have cost thousands of lives

The Times:
Coronavirus: 38 days when Britain sleepwalked into disaster

And in that context, we are starting to hear some bizarre autarkic rhetoric, when barriers are going up, and when there is a risk that new diseases such as coronavirus will trigger a panic and a desire for market segregation that go beyond what is medically rational to the point of doing real and unnecessary economic damage, then at that moment humanity needs some government somewhere that is willing at least to make the case powerfully for freedom of exchange, some country ready to take off its Clark Kent spectacles and leap into the phone booth and emerge with its cloak flowing as the supercharged champion, of the right of the populations of the earth to buy and sell freely among each other.

PM speech in Greenwich: 3 February 2020
https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/pm-speech-in-greenwich-3-february-2020

wojtek

2 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

British and Thai hi-so swanning it in Hua Hin:
https://www.thaienquirer.com/10041/thailands-rich-and-famous-sent-their-kids-to-quarantine-in-hua-hin-where-they-held-parties-and-caught-the-virus/

wojtek

2 years 3 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Billionaire Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit, Progressive Movement leader, calls for a UBI and a Siamese New Deal:
https://mailchi.mp/fccthai.com/the-bulletin-volume-877#mctoc6

Communities in Phuket and Chiang Mai engaging in mutual-aid:
https://www.thaienquirer.com/11963/in-the-absence-of-state-support-the-poor-help-the-poor/

R Totale

2 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Perhaps a bit obvious, but I would say that now is a very good time for everyone to be sharing these resources in their neighbourhood groups: https://www.uvwunion.org.uk/work-refusal https://www.uvwunion.org.uk/know-your-rights

adri

2 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Havent read it yet but here's a piece in English from Trenkle of wertkritik

https://www.krisis.org/2020/climate-crisis-and-social-transformation-in-the-age-of-corona/

Also releasing a book it seems

https://www.lehmanns.de/shop/wirtschaft/52907493-9783897712928-shutdown

R Totale

2 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Might as well cross-post these here:
This Script Sends Junk Data to Ohio’s Website for Snitching on Workers
Ohio Has Stopped Kicking Workers Off Unemployment After A Hacker Targeted Its Website

Would also be kind of interested to see theoretical/analytical stuff about the car demo phenomenon - I appreciate that things can't just carry on as normal in the middle of a pandemic and that non-ideal tactics are better than no tactics at all, but also the whole thing feels weirdly like an inversion of Reclaim the Streets-type stuff to me. I kind of think there's something interesting to be said about it but can't articulate exactly what.

spartakus25

2 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Things here in Brazil are pretty bad, the death rates are climbing while the confirmed cases still increasing in a frenetic pace, despite of the massive sub-notification. The real picture is much worse than we can see through the official data. One of the reasons of the tragedy is the total compliance of the federal government with the pandemic; since the beginning Bolsonaro is downplaying the problem only to protect the murderous interests of the business that wanted to reopen the economy. The federal government has been totally negligent to build a safe social net to rescue the poor that is being badly hit by the crisis. The underlying strategy is to push the most vulnerable to an economic situation of despair to increase the popular pressure against the social distancing and demoralize the opposition.The market fundamentalism ideology is 'helping' in legitimize the government's inaction as its fatalism preclude any public and collective response to making the necessary lockdown the less painful possible to the workers.

Spikymike

2 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

zugzwang, krisis text finishes mid-sentence just as we were hoping to get the punchline??

adri

2 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Spikymike

zugzwang, krisis text finishes mid-sentence just as we were hoping to get the punchline??

I'm guessing that was not intentional. I'll message them about it. It's still one of the better analyses I've read, even if the social movement ideas leave some questions unanswered.

Spikymike

2 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Well zugzwang, It's pretty good but leaving just after the sentence ''It can only be constituted in a struggle over the socially universal'' leaves much open to the imagination! And I recall finding some of Robert Kurz's (formerly with Krisis) ideas about how an effective social movement of opposition might arise despite an otherwise clear analysis of the fault lines in modern capitalism to be less than convincing.

adri

2 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Spikymike

Well zugzwang, It's pretty good but leaving just after the sentence ''It can only be constituted in a struggle over the socially universal'' leaves much open to the imagination! And I recall finding some of Robert Kurz's (formerly with Krisis) ideas about how an effective social movement of opposition might arise despite an otherwise clear analysis of the fault lines in modern capitalism to be less than convincing.

It's fixed now, was just the other half of a sentence. I've never heard the expression before but fwiw the preceding sentence says "a social alternative will not grow out of any niche" which I guess means any particular political/communist group against others. I'm actually not sure if that part is invoking Hegel (?) or if just got translated awkwardly, Krisis being a German group after all. Besides that I thought the rest of the text was perfectly readable and a good overall analysis/contribution.

adri

2 years 2 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Another marxist economic analysis (part 1) by Léon de Mattis hosted on the fever struggle site that's worth a read

https://feverstruggle.net/2020/05/04/corona-capital-1-epidemic-crisis-and-crisis-of-capital/

adri

2 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Text from anarcho-syndicalist organization basf on effects of covid in Bangladesh's garment sector

https://bangladeshasf.org/coronavirus-crushes-asias-garment-industry/

edit: actually a report from Reuters that's hosted on the site, still insightful though

adri

2 years 1 month ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Red Marriott

In the UK off-licences (liquor stores) are classified as an "essential business". Even though all the supermarkets sell booze. But it's a steady income stream of high tax revenue for the state.

I'm guessing that's why things like cigarettes or tobacco products aren't "outlawed" (something I've wondered about, and which I'm guessing would also be tricky) even though smoking has no health benefits. There can be regulatory taxes on them to dissuade smoking which can also be a source of high tax revenue.

adri

2 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Roberts on the BooHoo supplier thing:

https://thenextrecession.wordpress.com/2020/07/05/sweatshops-and-monopsony-power-a-review/

The new Ashok Kumar book Monopsony Capitalism he mentions also sounds interesting:

Roberts

Monopsony Capitalism argues that the garment value chain globally relies on the unequal power dynamic of many suppliers and few buyers – monopsony. The result is a low level of surplus value capture at the production phase of the supply chain, which ensures chronically low capital investment in the peripheral countries’ industry. Cheap labour and many suppliers are preserved, as opposed to the use of machinery and fewer, larger companies. Fragmentation and low capital investment in garment and footwear value chains creates low barriers to entry, resulting in bidding wars between thousands of smaller firms from around the world. Indeed, a ‘sweatshop’ can be defined as a workplace where labour has essentially no bargaining power.

R Totale

2 years ago

In reply to by libcom.org

New Phil Neel text up at the Brooklyn Rail, again pretty long but looks good from what I've read of it: https://brooklynrail.org/2020/07/field-notes/Crowned-Plague

Spikymike

1 year 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

And a couple of basic articles about the ongoing Covid-19 Vaccine Wars here:
https://worldsocialism.org/spgb/socialist-standard/2020/2020s/no-1393-september-2020/material-world-vaccine-development-another-market-failure/ and here:
https://en.internationalism.org/content/16894/war-vaccines-capitalism-obstacle-discovery-treatment
Not recommending all the other current articles from those sources.

R Totale

1 year 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Does anyone understand much about how the latest lockdown news will affect outdoor protests? Freedom, as of Sept 5th, were saying that:
"Protests involving more than 30 people are still legal provided that the organisers —
(a) Are a person or group undertaking activities which promote changes in law or government policy.
(b) Perform a ‘suitable and sufficient’ assessment of the health risks, not only to participants but also to those affected by the demonstration.
(c) Take all reasonable measures to limit the risk of transmission of the coronavirus (such as promoting social distancing, the wearing of masks etc).
There is no legal obligation for organisers to share with their risk assessment with the police before, during or after a demonstration."
Is this still the case with the latest law changes, just replacing "30 people" with "6 people", or is the government likely to remove that exception? Also, does this mean it's technically legal to protest against government policy, but not against private-sector employers?

In other news, big new-ish article from Kim Kelly here: No New Normal: Who Will We Be After This Nightmare Is Over?

R Totale

1 year 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

A piece on the challenges of workplace organising when working from home: https://newsyndicalist.org/2020/09/16/does-working-from-home-weaken-the-working-class-by-bluebirdbeta/

R Totale

1 year 10 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

On the legality of outdoor protests, just checked on gov.uk and the "Meeting with others safely (social distancing)" page does say "There are exceptions where groups can be larger than 6 people. These include: ... protests – if organised in compliance with COVID-19 Secure guidance. All individuals must be socially distanced".

R Totale

1 year 9 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Anyone got much in the way of analysis on the Johnson/Burnham showdown over Manchester and the new lockdown?

Spikymike

1 year 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

So there are increasing instances of the police getting heavy handed (with the excuse of breaking covid regs) with small street protests and strike pickets in the UK recently including the imposition of fines as with protests over the UK governments 1% offer of a pay rise to Nurses and various 'fire and rehire' disputes on the buses, gas workers, etc if minor by comparison to elsewhere in the world.
A longer articles posted elsewhere on libcom about the capitalist background to the virus and social control here: https://libcom.org/news/contra-la-contra-4-pandemic-domestication-08032021