We’re all reeling, trying to make sense of the significant changes that have occurred, and continue to occur in our everyday lives. In a matter of weeks the coronavirus pandemic has exploded across the world. Is pushing, has pushed, economies and governments to the brink of disaster. This is in addition to the environmental chaos that continues to deepen and accelerate. Even in the few days since I began to write this, 10,000 more have died, and millions more have lost their jobs.
I recently itemized many of the ways our economy has been upended by the COVID-19 pandemic in Choice: Mass Strikes or Chaos? Clearly our government and economy, governments and economies worldwide, have increasingly failed us. Have been subverted by the wealthy.
- The unbelievable maldistribution of wealth is proof.
- The refusal to even consider legislation that doesn’t further enrich and empower the elite is proof.
- Control of the mainstream media
- The subversion of the independence of the Department of Justice and the Courts
- The endless wars to guard oil fields
- The relentless encroachment on our civil liberties
- The rampant corruption of the administration with no restraint from Congress.
Further proof is even as those in Washington realize they must send a little money to us to avert uprisings, they know so little about the millions living in poverty or homeless, they don’t even try to get money to these most vulnerable people. And don’t care. Instead they give billions to corporations. That wasted money could have funded a guaranteed income and Medicare for all.
This means we don’t need to try to figure out how to get masses of people motivated to join a movement. People are looking for a movement to join.
My friends at Seeding Sovereignty put our current situation in context that helps me better understand. They (credits below) executed the amazing action of flying a sky banner over New York City stating #CAPITALISMISTHEPANDEMIC.
Capitalism is the Pandemic
On May 3, 2020, Seeding Sovereignty and Citizens in the Present sent a 50’ sky banner over NYC, visible to millions, stating #CAPITALISMISTHEPANDEMIC to deliver a powerful message of protest against colonization and worker injustice in solidarity with essential workers who aren’t properly protected or supported during shelter-in-place orders.
“The crisis began before the virus, and the crisis will continue beyond the vaccine.” –Jason Livingston, Citizens in the Present.
Thanks to Sean Hanley, Anthony Svatek and Ruth Somalo for capturing this action, and to everyone involved in getting the plane in the air.#CapitalismIsThePandemic Seeding Sovereignty and Citizens in the Present
According to Christine Nobiss, Decolonizer with Seeding Sovereignty, “Capitalism is the pandemic because, though we face COVID-19 together, the heightened economic imbalance is further exposing the deep racial divide in this country. Black, Latino/Latina, Indigenous, and immigrant communities are experiencing higher morbidity rates of COVID-19 due to pre-existing conditions created by the long-term global pandemic of colonial-capitalism.” These communities face strained and genocidal relationships with the American government and live with elevated rates of poverty, violence, unemployment, chronic illness, incarceration, deportation, water crises, inadequate housing, and food deserts—creating a perfect storm for mass infection.
Janet MacGillivray, Seeding Sovereignty Executive Director, states, “President Trump’s invocation on April 28, 2020 of the War Powers Act to force meat plants to stay open after twenty-two have closed and twenty workers have died due to COVID-19, when testing is unavailable and workers can’t adequately social-distance, puts their lives, co-workers’ lives, their families’ lives, our food supply, and the general public’s health and safety at unconscionable risk. On May Day we’ll also be watching to see if Trump dares to push through the planned financial bailout for big oil and gas companies using taxpayer dollars when first responders work without PPE, workers have lost their jobs due to the coronavirus epidemic and tribes on the frontlines have yet to receive promised and inadequate federal support.”
We demand an end the colonial-capitalist economy supported by institutionalized white supremacist and heteropatriarchal systems that have devastated our lands, climate, and peoples through ceaseless resource extraction, land occupation, border imperialism, misogyny, homophobia, enslavement, and genocide. This viral pandemic is part of a much larger problem as explained by Buffalo-based media artist, Jason Livingston, who conceived this action, “The crisis began before the virus, and the crisis will continue beyond the vaccine.”https://seedingsovereignty.org/capitalism-is-the-pandemic
The pandemic has shown who essential workers are. Medical personnel and first responders, and those in supportive services such as the food industry, sanitation, and teachers. These are the people, and those who support them, who have to power to create change.
Incredibly, governmental malpractice can’t even provide the personal protective equipment to protect these essential workers. This is causing such a backlash that it has pushed medical personnel past the limit. A significant problem with the next waves of coronavirus infections will be a shortage of medical personnel. And there will be continued increases in infection and death because of the ineptitude of governments opening businesses up far too early.
Strikes aren’t something I know much about. But it is easy to envision global mass strikes now. In my youth the Moratorium to End the War in Vietnam was essentially a strike. Draft resistance was a strike. The Montgomery Bus Boycott was like a strike. The Children’s March in Montgomery in 1963 was similar to a strike.
With a campaign of strategic and general strikes very likely going on until 2022, people can take control of the country and put the necessities of the people at the top of the agenda. Jane McAlevey points to three areas where workers have decisive power. These include logistics, healthcare, and education.
- Logistics includes providing food, delivery, transit, and other services that keep the economy functioning. Workers disrupting these areas makes the country ungovernable by creating economic dysfunction.
- Despite being essential, healthcare workers lack protective equipment and basics such as tests. Healthcare workers have stood against the dangerous so-called “Liberate” protests Donald Trump is encouraging to prematurely re-open the economy. Nurses have protested the lack of protective equipment and been fired for doing so. These acts of defiance must be supported as we also demand national improved Medicare for All so everyone has access to high-quality healthcare. We must build our public health system so never again will the country be unprepared for a pandemic.
- Teacher’s unions have developed the model for all unions to follow, strikes for the common good. Teacher strikes have been successful because they have represented the interests of students and the communities where they live. Poverty, inadequate housing, brutal policing, and ICE raids undermine the ability of teachers to do their jobs. Making demands for the common good unites us to work for what we need.
#CapitalismIsThePandemic #CitizensInThePresent #SeedingSovereignty #CITP #COVID19 #Coronavirus #NationalWorkersDay #MayDay #ReturnStolenLand #GND #ImmigrantRights