Seemingly overnight, the world as we know it has been fundamentally transformed into an unrecognizable, dystopian nightmare. The coronavirus has brought to the surface an underlying, insoluble and system-wide economic crisis, not in the form we expected, and even more terrifying than we could have imagined.
Internationally, we can see what the toxic combination of a decades of austerity and an unprecedented global pandemic have in store. While the powers that be in the United States have been slow to acknowledge that there is an issue, workers in the public sector and beyond have demonstrated an incredible ability to lead in the wake of crisis, linking demands for health care and social services and relief with the undeniable need for all those who can to stay home from work to stop the spread of this virus.
Our hospital system is already on the brink of what it can handle, and things have not yet hit the US in full force yet. Millions have already lost their jobs and are relying on a frayed social safety net for survival. What’s more, this virus is being used to hype up a nationalist and bigoted world-views, both with regards to international rivalries and an anti-immigrant posture at home. You have to look no further than the jails and the immigrant detention centers to see this horrible reality.
The entire neo-liberal world order is coming to a brutal crash. What are the lasting effects of this crisis going to be? How is the pandemic going to shape the economy for the years to come? And how is the combination of all the converging issues going to shape the class struggle that will emerge in response to the cruelty of the system?
Sherry Baron – Professor and faculty member of the Barry Commoner Center for Health and the Environment at Queens College. She is also an affiliate professor at the CUNY Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy. She is a physician and public health researcher who spent 25 years as a researcher at the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Her current research and community activities focuses on developing health and safety protection programs for low wage and immigrant workers in NYC.
Jessica Hansen-Weaver – Clinical social worker at UCSF. She has been a socialist-activist for over a decade in the Bay Area and recently joined DSA San Francisco chapter.
Dennis Kosuth – Socialist and rank and file union activist for over 2 decades, has been a registered nurse for 13 years, and is currently an active member of the Chicago Teachers Union and National Nurses United. They have had articles about China published in Jacobin, Socialist Worker, and the International Socialist Review.
David McNally – Founding member of the Canadian International Socialists in the 1970s and the New Socialist Group in the 1990s. He is active today in anti-racist organizing in Houston, Texas, where he teachers history. David’s new book, “Blood and Money: War, Slavery, Finance and Empire” will be published by Haymarket Books this year.
Sean Petty – Registered nurse in a pediatric emergency room at a public hospital in the Bronx, NY. He currently serves on the Board of Directors of the New York State Nurses Association. He spoke this week on Democracy Now! on the increase in Coronavirus cases in NYC.
Sponsors: Revolutionary Discussion Bulletin, New Politics, Madison Area DSA (list in formation)
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