Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Re-Imagining Society

In 2009, Dr. Margaret Chan, Director-General of the World Health Organization stated in, “All countries should immediately activate their pandemic preparedness plans and must remain on high alert for unusual outbreaks of influenza-like illness and severe pneumonia.”

In the richest country on the face of the earth, doctors and nurses have no guarantees about having enough two dollar masks or other personal protective equipment (PPE) when they care for patients. The inadequate supply of PPE has already killed patients and providers. It is shameful. Covid19 provide ample reasons for anger—towards the  healthcare corporations and the media purposefully oblivious to exploitation. As usual in times of crisis, those most affected are generally those with the least economic resources. Millions of employees worldwide have been left without work given the widespread cessation of all kinds of activities, except the essential ones. As a result, those workers who depend exclusively on their wages and savings are unable to meet their needs and those of their families. Some governments have promised financial aid to those most in need but that aid is insufficient or it will take time to arrive, making it less effective. What workers need right now is not good-will, but will-power.

We’re living in a different world now. Schools, workplaces, and restaurants are shut down, adding to that already desperate situation of workers living pay-check to pay-check. The COVID-19 pandemic exposes the huge cracks in capitalist society. The longer the coronavirus emergency goes on, however, the clearer it is that people require to start rethinking our whole society. Is a “return to normalcy” possible when we may never see normal again. It is time for a revolution in our politics, pushing the idea of a more sane, more humane type of system.  Squeezing a few concessions from the government is hardly revolutionary and no amount hyping it up as a revolution will make it one. We need to back radical change in the fundamentals of this economic system. The COVID-19 pandemic is leading to major changes in people’s behaviour. It will also bring a new way of thinking. The majority of people are acting with a great sense of responsibility and expressing a great amount of generosity, offer their assistance at the risk of their lives. The pandemic, economic collapse will define the future. What we need to do is to develop solidarity and reciprocity between people around the world, to cooperate and collaborate and to provide mutual aid. To create change, people must demand it. Technology allows us to educate and organise online. People are showing they can be innovative to get our message across to our brothers and sisters. COVID-19 has shown that essential workers are among the lowest-paid workers and that it is they who make our society function.  Understanding this gives a new understanding of the power of the people. We are all connected and share a common humanity. If we act in solidarity during this time of crisis we can create the future we want to see for ourselves. We are all in this together.

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