Roar: With the shutdown of businesses, schools and countless other institutions, millions of people are facing loss of income, housing and access to basic survival resources, including food. Confronted by popular pressure and the specter of civil unrest, states have begun to undertake a “disaster socialism” of uneven and often contradictory aid measures. Still, conditions of emergency are intensifying by the hour and the current biopolitical regime faces an existential crisis.
WIEGO: In Italy, we are approaching one full month of lockdown. Grim reports of overwhelmed health systems from here and other parts of Europe, as well as North America, have dominated COVID-19 coverage in much of the world’s influential news media. But the focus has begun to shift to an equally devastating story from the Global South. That story is one of longstanding structural deficits in a global economy that limits the ability of people to cope under crisis conditions.
CADTM: We are going through a complete crisis that threatens life in all its forms. The COVID-19 has become a pandemic at a time when the capitalist crisis is intensifying and economic forces repeatedly try to make the working class bear the onus of restoring the corporate profit rate. This coincides with the weakening of health systems, the deterioration of living conditions and the destruction of the public sector as a result of the neoliberal shift. Asphyxiated by foreign debt, international organisations and the permanent oppression of imperialism against our sovereignty, we are heading for a scenario with very serious consequences.
CounterPunch: It’s hard to imagine a more worrying place to watch Covid-19 hit a society than Johannesburg, South Africa. This is, after all, the world’s most unequal major city, serving as economic headquarters for the most unequal country. In spite of a poverty rate (at $2.80/day) of more than 60 percent and a national unemployment rate of 40 percent before the current crisis, the labor movement is now considered (by corporate elites) to be the world’s third most militant (although its political divisions are profound). And the capitalist class is rated (by PwC) as the world’s third most crime-prone and corruption-riddled.
Mother Jones: The predominantly black and low-income communities living near the back-to-back petrochemical refineries of Louisiana’s “cancer alley” have long suffered compromised immune systems and high rates of disease. Now, the state’s fast-growing COVID-19 outbreak is poised to hit them especially hard.
The Globe and Mail: The COVID-19 pandemic is having a profound effect on everyone in the world, and First Nations are no exception. Like most Canadians, our people are coming together by staying apart. Many First Nations have modified or postponed the ceremonies and gatherings that are vital to keeping our cultures alive. And some have returned home to be closer to our families and to look after our elders, whose memories and wisdom we rely upon to keep us grounded and in touch with our Creator.