A half thought out rant
Yeah, this is a right old shit show isn’t it? Cities on lock down, all “non-essential” activity restricted, borders closed, hell even the brothels and bars are closed. In Germany! Oh yeah, and thousands are sick and dead. But we have to remember that any attempt to stem the spread of this pesky and pernicious glob of RNA should be balanced against their impact on the economy. That’s why we see the UK government balancing out just how many of the sick and elderly it’s ok to allow to die and the iceberg like progress in the rest of Europe.
When we see dramatic measures being taken here in Germany it’s always coupled with the desire to keep people working. Producing profit for the economy.
We’re told on the news that this is an extremely serious event, that many people -possibly millions worldwide- are going to die. This is SERIOUS. You can tell by the use of phrases like “lock down” and “emergency restrictions”. You can’t tell when you’re getting on the Strassenbahn in the morning and seeing all the people going to work every day. I’m one of those people. Going to my “essential” work doing the Archaeology. Do I think Archaeology is non-essential? Of course not. Our history is an important part of understanding who we are as a species. Do I think that it can’t possibly wait a couple of months until the situation has hopefully calmed down? Of course bloody not!
However, despite the fact that the actual social value of my labour is non-time dependent and in no way helps towards stemming this pandemic, I still have to go to work as if I don’t then the construction work that follows will be delayed, which means we won’t get paid. So our team have to go to work, potentially picking up and passing on this virus -potentially to people who will really suffer from it.
We read the dramatic headlines about borders closing (aside from people travelling for work and the flow of goods) and about staying home (unless you’re working), about schools being closed (so that the kids can be looked after by grandparents who are in the at risk group) whilst parents still have to work. Then there are the measures taken by some governments to suspend mortgage payments (no mention of rents) and to make sure people who can’t work get at least some money. Then there are stories that come direct from a mid-90s contagion thriller about the US government trying to buy access to potential vaccines for exclusive use in the USA.
It seems to me that our current economic system has a really hard time balancing the value of people’s lives against the value of profit.
Just remember, keep calm, go to work, and don’t touch your face.
So, how could we do things differently? Try to imagine, no, not John Lennon, a world where the production of profit wasn’t the driving force behind society. A world where, when the outbreak began to spread, the notion that not working would mean not being able to pay the rent didn’t exist. A world where if we need to close bars and clubs then there would be no economic knock on effect on the workers who keep those places running.
In such a world no one would have accidentally passed the virus on or fallen sick themselves because of the worry about paying their bills. We could easily change manufacturing to supply masks, medicines, and ventilators because the idea of ‘expense’ wouldn’t be an issue. We would just be concerned with how fast we could do it.
In such a world health care workers would have all the resources they needed (because cost would no longer be an issue) and would be free to organise the response without the interference of economists and politicians.
That world would be ‘communism’. Not ‘Communism’ with a capital ‘C’ and loads of twonks with angry t-shirts telling you you’re wrong, but a communism where we, the workers, control our lives and what we produce. Where your labour goes where you want it and the fluctuations of the stock market are irrelevant. Would you rather your labour helped someone gain a couple of percent on their stocks or gave someone a greater percentage chance of surviving? You’re not enough of a moron to opt for the former choice.
For more info, see here: http://libcom.org/notes/about
ok, I’m stretching the ‘Corona’ headers here.
What can you do? It’s fucking scary all this shit. Invisible killers lurking everywhere! AAAAARGH! But the chances are that, if you’re reading this, you’re probably not in any of the at risk groups. You’re probably young, or youngish at least, and generally reasonably healthy. So, chill the fuck out and stop buying all the bloody bog roll!
Then, once you’ve relaxed a bit and realised that the cockroaches who succeed the human species will still be wiping their arses with all the Charmin Ultra you’ve just bought, try and figure out how you can help the people in your community who actually need it. Your help that is, but also probably a few of the loo rolls you’re hoarding you knob.
There will, in all likelihood, be people who can’t go out and get their shopping in or pick up their medicine because of the risk to their health. You should help those people.
Get together with friends and neighbours and make a bunch of leaflets with a contact number for those who need things picked up whilst they are housebound. Put them through all the letterboxes in your neighbourhood and then help those who ask.
Make sure that the flyer says that those wishing to help should get in touch. People will.
Of course you need to be careful, washing your hands a lot whilst singing Killing in the Name Of, but you just have to make sure you don’t pass it on. But your efforts will make it less likely that people will risk themselves getting infected and so putting greater stress on health care workers. It will help your community and that, at the end of the day, helps you.