Thursday, April 09, 2020

No Return to Normal

People are running out of food, they are without jobs and have no income, and many are growing scared, millions living in poverty, millions more on the verge of poverty, and stagnating wages. Deindustrialisation, privatisation, and deregulation, has created millions of working-poor who live on credit are who are deep in inescapable debt. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, capitalism was already in dire straits, and entering another recession.

People were barely surviving before this crisis and now they will be lucky to survive the unfolding crisis. The COVID-19 pandemic is shining a spotlight on this capitalist system. The COVID-19 pandemic has laid bare the brutality of capitalism. We are seeing the things as they really are and the smoke and mirrors of the capitalist apologists are being removed. The multitude of injustices and  inequalities that existed before the pandemic are now being exacerbated. If theworld struggles to handle this pandemic, how is it going to cope with the climate emergency when it fully impacts. How can we expect the capitalist elite to behave in the context of rapid ecological collapse? If the State is only capable of providing the minimal assistance to working people, how can we expect the State to respond in the context of multi-layered crises unfolding at a rapid pace over a short period of time, crises that will undoubtedly require massive state intervention in the economy?

Without question, capitalism will survive the pandemic. The real question is will working people permit it to return to business as usual , will we allow normal service to resume. There is another direction, a different path to choose that leads to collectivism and cooperation. For socialiats we must ask ourselves how can we can take political advantage of the contradictions within the system, how we can expose the inherent limitations of the profit system and capital accumulation? Time is running out. Now is the time for alternatives. The stakes couldn’t be higher. If we hope to survive the pandemic, society must redirect the resources it’s currently spending on weapons and the waste of consumerism, and instead provide what people need - for free. Every single aspect of our society is under extreme stress. Even the most passive populations can only take so much. Human beings can only take so much. The living world can only take so much. Eventually, things will explode. 

Another question is will the poor respond with despair and apathy or react with righteous anger and rage? And if so, who will be the target of anger and rage be directed toward? Each other? Or the powerful elites?

The peoples of the planet are ripe for radical political change, but that change doesn’t necessarily have to be progressive in nature. It could also be reactionary and fueled by religious extremism, xenophobia, racism, and tribalism. That’s up to us socialists to present a positive vision of a possible future.

Abridged and adapted from here

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