Today new forms of solidarity, mutual aid, and common struggle are emerging in the pandemic. How will they shape tomorrow’s struggles for a post-capitalist world?
Strikes across the frontier and strikes for higher wage
Planet lurches to the right as ideologies engage
Suddenly it’s repression, moratorium on rights
What did they think the politics of panic would invite?
Person in the street shrugs “Security comes first”
But the trouble with normal is it always gets worse
— Bruce Cockburn, “The Trouble with Normal”
The following is a postscript to Max Haiven’s Revenge Capitalism: The Ghosts of Empire, the Demons of Capital, and the Settling of Unpayable Debts, due out in May from Pluto Press.
The arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020, unfolding around the world as I write these words, will likely be remembered as an epochal shift. In this extended winter, as borders close, as lockdowns and quarantines multiply, as people succumb and recover, there is a strong sense that, when the spring finally arrives we will awaken in a drastically changed landscape.
Those of us now in isolation, in spite of our fear and frustrations, in spite of our grief — for those who have died or may die, for the life we once lived, for the future we once hoped for — there is also a sense we are cocooned, transforming, waiting, dreaming. True: Terrors stalk the global landscape, notably the way the virus — or our countermeasures — will endanger those among us whom we, as a society, have already abandoned or devalued. So many of us are already disposable. So many of us are only learning it now, too late. Then there is the dangerous blurring of the line between humanitarian and authoritarian measures. There is the geopolitical weaponization of the pandemic.
But when the Spring comes, as it must, when we emerge from hibernation, it might be a time of profound global struggle against both the drive to “return to normal” — the same normal that set the stage for this tragedy — and the “new normal” which might be even worse. Let us prepare as best we can, for we have a world to win […]