The shut-down of non-essential work in response to COVID-19 has decimated labour markets. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that 20.5 million more workers lost their jobs in April, as official unemployment skyrocketed to 14.7%. It is the largest single-month increase in unemployment since the data series started in 1948. In Canada, the news was not any better as Statistics Canada reported that another 2 million jobs were lost in April following 1 million jobs lost in March as the unemployment rate increased to 13%. This percentage is a wild underestimation of the full impact of reduced hours and underemployment.
During the on-going pandemic, humanity’s suffering has increased enormously. By May 11, 2020, 4.2 million people in the world had contracted the coronavirus, and 285,000 had died. In the richest and most powerful country of the world, more than 1.4 million cases have been reported, with 81,000 deaths. The pandemic is producing massive adverse impacts, including on income and employment opportunities (Davis, 2020; Toussaint, 2020). The pandemic is forcing us to think about what kind of society we wish to live in. This article discusses the ‘consequences’ of the pandemic for people and what they say about the nature of the society we live in. The article then talks about what a different kind of society would look like, one that is worth fighting for now.
In the middle of March, I started to post short photo essays on my social media feed. These snapshots were inspired by daily walks and bicycle excursions in Toronto as well as news from around the world about the spread of COVID-19.
Surprenant renversement de situation au Maroc où la crise générée par le Sars-CoV-2 a donné lieu à des scènes inattendues. Des hôtels de luxe transformés en foyers médicaux, des agents pénitentiaires raccompagnant des prisonniers à leur domicile, des médecins et des policiers en uniforme applaudissant des patients convalescents à leur sortie de l’hôpital, des aides financières distribuées en quelques semaines aux travailleurs informels, des grandes fortunes locales dépensant sans compter au nom de la solidarité, comment expliquer ces mesures dans un pays, acquit il y a quelques semaines encore à une des formes les plus socialement violentes de néolibéralisme en Afrique du Nord ?
By Stefan Kipfer Even before the current pandemic, the idea of free transit had arrived on the mainstream political scene in Toronto as well as in other parts of Canada. https://socialistproject.ca/2020/04/free-transit-is-in-town-for-now/
By Sean Hertel, RPP, and Dr. Roger Keil A pandemic doesn’t care about social inequalities, but it does follow them,” Jesse Wente said recently on CBC Radio One. This message, we think, could have been the call we planners needed to refocus our thinking and actions in this ‘Planning in (and beyond) the Time of […]
By Sam Gindin On April 24, GM And the Federal government announced that “To help Canada meet the urgent need for face masks for healthcare professionals and for other Canadians, GM Canada is preparing portions of the Oshawa plant to… manufacture approximately one million masks per month at cost.” This was an unambiguously welcome step, enthusiastically embraced […]
By Robert Latham A great many established voices on the left have pointed to how the crisis associated with the coronavirus reveals, illuminates, or even intensifies the underlying conditions of exploitation and oppression of workers and the marginalized under capitalism. Pockets of resistance and worker insight into the crisis have emerged. Perhaps the most emblematic […]
By Claudia Chaufan Both at its birth, and later in the paradigmatic Alma Ata declaration, the WHO established a human right to health which required not only access to health care but the satisfaction of a broad range of human needs, such as appropriate nutrition, adequate housing, and personal safety. Decades later the notion that […]
By Joel Lexchin Canada’s COVID-19 Emergency Response Act, which provides emergency assistance to cope with the expected dramatic economic downturn due to the COVID-19 pandemic, contains an important clause that may get overlooked. The act effectively brings back compulsory licensing for drugs if supply is interrupted because of the effects of COVID-19. There have already […]