How are corporations and capitalism responding to the corona crisis? How have they contributed to it? How are they affected by it? And how are people supporting each other and fighting for a different future as it continues?
Capitalism helped create this crisis: see our article here on a few of the ways this economic system makes and spreads the healthcare crisis and its wider impacts. And as with every crisis, capitalism looks for ways to cash in. Companies like Amazon put workers at risk to pump out deliveries, hedge funds make millions short-selling the stock markets, everyone from banks to landlords push for government handouts even as they lay off staff. Governments take advantage of the panic to ramp up authoritarian powers.
People are organising against this, in their communities and workplaces. Responding to increased isolation, mutual aid groups have sprung up across the UK and the world (see https://covidmutualaid.org/). Fear can turn into anger, not against each other, but against the system that has brought us here. And radical change can happen.
To help us stay informed and think through these important issues, we are using this page to compile some of the most useful and interesting articles, news and resources on coronavirus and capitalism that we come across. If you see some yourselves, tweet @corpwatchuk with the #CoronaCapitalism hashtag or email us at contact[AT]corporatewatch.org. Sign up to our news update emails to receive info straight into your inbox.
Obviously the situation with Covid-19 is developing pretty rapidly, but we’ve tried to make sure that the content we’ve chosen will still be worth reading well beyond it’s publication date and some of the older pieces have some great analysis.
6 May – Uneven Earth produce a regular series of recommended readings focusing on ” environmental justice, radical municipalism, new politics, political theory, and resources for action and education”. March and April’s readings are a compilation of pieces relating to Corona Virus: http://unevenearth.org/2020/05/march-april-readings/
4 April – An examination of the relative capacities of nation-states and decentralised societies in responding to crises such as covid-19 “The State is said by some to be a ‘necessary evil’; it must be made unnecessary.” https://c4ss.org/content/52761
15 April – DIY Culture #6, a COVID19 special: “a 34 page online special that has contributions from anarchist transport workers, nurses, care workers, writers, creatives, thinkers and activists. The general thrust, is that we cannot return to ‘normal’ following this pandemic, but that we should have some insurrectionary fun along the way as we eradicate the virus that is capitalism”: https://enoughisenough14.org/2020/04/15/diy-culture-6-covid19-special/
10 April – From Crimethink on the longer term implications of the pandemic and government responses to it for radical social change. Briefly considers how this plays out in the terrains of: economy, health, housing, social isolation, ecology and totalitarianism. It then presents three alternative programmes to pursue: the adherents of death, the apostles of survival, and the partisans of life: https://theanarchistlibrary.org/library/crimethinc-and-after-the-virus-the-perils-ahead
1 April – On the origins of the virus in the circuits of capitals and the appropriation of nature driven by rich countries, the inability of capitalist societies to effectively combat and prevent contagions and the socialisation of resources and ecological harmonisation required to do so. “Big picture, we stop treating nature and community, so full of all we need to survive, as just another competitor to be run off by the market”: https://monthlyreview.org/2020/04/01/covid-19-and-circuits-of-capital/
17 April – Some reflections on the social responses to contagion, the similarities to past plagues, and the possibilities opened up by the ruptures to ‘everyday’ life the corona crisis has created: https://communemag.com/letter-on-a-plague-year/
February – Some in depth analysis looking not just at how capitalism caused the crisis but how the social-economic spheres interface with the biological, and what kind of deeper lessons might be drawn from the entire experience: “..lessons for an era when the destruction wrought by unending accumulation has extended both upward into the global climatic system and downward into the microbiological substrata of life on Earth” (note this was written in February and that while the analysis is certainly interesting, we at Corporate Watch are certainly not epidemiologists!) : http://chuangcn.org/2020/02/social-contagion/