York Faculty

The City and the Pandemic

This week are sharing two pieces by Stefan Kipfer that speak to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The Naked City: Traversing Toronto in pandemic times Although the bodily experience of mass mobilization seemed to suggest otherwise at first, the pandemic is still here. People are dying. Sanitary states of emergency are used in some places to […]

Socialism or Barbarism in Times of COVID

If there were any doubts left that capitalism, even “good” social democratic capitalism, was incapable of meeting the most basic human need, i.e., protecting life, COVID-19 has crushed them. If before the pandemic already around 50% of the world population had substandard or no access to health care, access has now worsened, as chronically underfunded […]

COVID-19 and ‘Actually Existing’ Unions

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.

Human suffering during the pandemic and the need for a new society

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.

Au Maroc, la crise sanitaire au service de l’autoritarisme

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 ?

Conversion as Strategy: From GM to Workplace Plans

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 […]

COVID-19, Mass Consciousness, and Left Organizing

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 […]