The coronavirus pandemic has created numerous crises for global capitalism, both nationally and internationally. The pandemic has exposed the inability of societies dominated by the capitalist mode of production to respond in an effective way to emergencies, and it has laid bare the particular weaknesses of the British economy. The pandemic, both in its root causes and in exposing the flawed government’ response, also sheds light on the scale and nature of the challenges of responding to the climate emergency.
Within this context, the left has not always been able to develop a coherent narrative or analysis for confronting the crisis. This collection of essays is an attempt to provide activists and organisers with a touching point on the various different aspects of the social and political crisis. Ranging from an analysis of social reproduction, through to the way in which the British government has sought to deflect blame on the general public to provide ideological cover for their disastrous failings, these essays offer a viewpoint which we can use to reject the strategy of repressive enforcement which has accompanied the pandemic.
Adam Blanden and Hsaoi-Hung Pai’s articles, about the British and Chinese states explore the way in which capitalist states’ particular approaches to capitalist accumulation have shaped the dynamics of the crisis and offer a perspective on understanding the longer term changes in state management which set the backdrop for the pandemic. Several essays explore the particular way in which the pandemic has exacerbated racial inequalities, and offer an analysis which can help us to integrate anti-racist organising into organising against Covid-19. Allan Struthers’ article explores the tactical and strategic considerations of rent strikes in the context of a social crisis which is driving more and more people into debt and unemployment. Later on in the collection the dynamics of conspiracy theories and anti-vaccination politics are unpacked in a way which emphasises that these politics are often a response to real social problems, but which lack precisely the coherent narrative of the systemic failings of capitalism which left activists can provide. Finally the collection finishes with considerations of what we need to win a ‘Zero Covid’ strategy for the eradication of the pandemic.
We hope that this collection, by bringing together all of these arguments and strategic considerations, can offer a valuable resource to anyone searching for strategic direction amidst the chaos of the pandemic. As the article ‘Class struggle against Covid’ on the rs21 website concluded:
“In the UK and across the world, capitalism has no way forward except at our expense: our lives, our health, our jobs and homes, our wellbeing. We can and must fight back – demanding zero Covid, zero evictions, and zero lay-offs. Class struggle against Covid is the only way forward.”
- Covid Capitalism – Tithi Bhattacharya and Gareth Dale
- Other people are not the problem – Charlie Jarsve
- Safer sex – lessons from the AIDS crisis – Colin Wilson
- Social reproduction in crisis – Kate Bradley
- Rent strike in the Covid conjuncture – Allan Struthers
- Covid-19: The ‘China’ narratives and Chinese workers – Hsiao-Hung Pai
- Rising up against ‘the science’ – Mike Downham
- Covid-19 and the racism of the state – Rose Whitehorn
- We must act now – Katherine Hearst
- Johnson’s bonanza for private capital – Adam Blanden
- Vaccines, pharma and anti-vaxx – Luigi Hay
- What conspiracy theories won’t tell you – David Meienreis
- Zero Covid is possible – James Bowen
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