Type
Reflection
Category
Coronavirus
Solidarity

Agents of care

If there is a better word than war for what we are experiencing, it is care. What matters now is how a society cares for all its members, especially the most vulnerable. How a culture values the workers who are most essential, who do the bulk of that labour of care. As the cracks widen in the world’s economy, we are offered a chance to recalculate these values. There is a possibility that our mutual care, our shared vulnerability, will remain visible in future.

Type
Polemic
Category
Coronavirus
Politics

Stay at home! The politics of COVID-19

The left cannot let this crisis go to waste. People need to be prioritised over markets and economies, which are terms that homogenise and disguise massively unequal distributions of power and wealth. Let the markets crash; look after each other instead. Mutual-aid societies might open up greater networks for later political activity. And the demands of employers need to be resisted before we walk into the trap of a future they have been planning for us long before COVID-19 ever made their task easier. Stay at home, but reach out, start thinking, strategising, and planning.

Type
Article
Category
Coronavirus
Memory

Forbidden mourning: how COVID-19 threatens our collective memory

It’s hard to calculate what knowledge would we lose in Aotearoa, in Australia, in the UK, if we busy ourselves with predictions instead of focusing on the fact that each victim has a name, a face, a story. After the World Wars, it took historians decades to realise that we needed to recover and tell the anonymous stories of those who lived and died in wartime, too long reduced to numbers of casualties or little arrows on a map. We have no such excuse now. The world’s collective memory is at stake: protect it, record it, cherish it while we still have a chance.

Type
Article
Category
Coronavirus
Labour rights
Unions

Capitalism’s coronavirus crisis and its impact on workers’ bargaining power

In Australia, as elsewhere, the challenge to workers now could scarcely be greater after three decades of neoliberalism bearing down on them in the form of (in)human resource management and anti-union governments. Even the global financial crisis of 2008–2009 gave workers little respite – indeed, neoliberalism was, paradoxically, strengthened and emboldened as there appeared to be no mainstream alternative to it. Now the country is facing a crisis in which the worst is yet to come, for Australia is several weeks behind the European epicentres of the likes of Italy and Spain.

On the wrong side of the ditch

This feels like a formative moment of consciousness – the realisation that we are all now more vulnerable, and that this is the time to form broad and deep networks of our own while also demanding the full protection of the state we have contributed to. Ehara taku toa i te toa takitahi, engari he toa takitini – your strength does not come from you alone, but from the strength of many.

Type
Cartoon

On panic buying

The images of working people fighting each other over toilet paper shouldn’t fill you with feelings of contempt or superiority because you’re not ‘stooping’ to that.