Come Together – Covid19 Social Distancing and Social Solidarity?

John Lennon began the song for Timothy Leary a US liberal radical in an election against Ronald Reagan. The Reagan/Thatcher axis and neo-liberalism sought to minimise the state as a tool used to change society to help people, like building the NHS and education system etc to an instrument to maximise the conditions for profit.

It’s hard to think of anything at the moment other than the spread of the virus. Everything is seen through the lens of how society reacts to this crisis.

I don’t want to repeat arguments made elsewhere, the advice and articles of Richard Murphy on UK government policy for handling the virus are worth following. Check it out here;

https://www.taxresearch.org.uk/Blog/?s=corona+virus

The US and UK appear to be organising around the idea of ‘herd immunity’ without of course a vaccination to provide the immunity. So it actually becomes herd infection a rapid rise in cases including the predicted number of deaths in order to pass the peak infection point as soon as possible. This would allow the economy and society to return to a more normal situation without of course the deceased. Once the virus has taken the weakest, there would be less effect in the future, and by then it may be Summer and at some point a vaccination should be developed.

All this sounds crazy, but it is absolutely logical for those who see our society as functioning in the interest of business. Everything they do is through the lens of protecting this structure in society. Our families and lives are not the starting point in the US or UK government’s calculations.

It’s funny when in times of crises and stock market crashes money can be found to stimulate the economy, to bail out the airlines, give subsidies and support to business, but when there is a housing crisis, or widespread food poverty there is no ‘magic money tree’.

Everything in society goes through the lens of class- social distancing should be combined with social solidarity. Rent or mortgage freezes, free food deliveries for the elderly and those on benefits, price fixing to stop profiteering on basic goods. Community organising to support the elderly and ill, using modern technology to cut down on personal interaction while keeping social contact. This is what Labour should be banging away at every day. Remember Thatcher saying there is no such thing as society- this is the result- the state withered and disappearing in a crisis and sending people home to die.

Things are going to get worse, anger and confusion will be widespread – make sure the anger is focused where it belongs. On our government and this system that puts profit before people.

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Published by jackbyrnewriter

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