by Mike Meyer ~ Honolulu ~ May 5, 2020
For all of us caught in the slow-motion trainwreck of the USA, is there any reason to reiterate the rising body count? Do we need to review the parameters of the political and public health disaster?
The only important point is the failure of the federal system to do what that system was created to do. The causes of that failure are very well known; in fact, the entire planet is somewhere between horror and rueful laughter at the sudden collapse of the American Century.
Is there anything to be gained from the sick fascination of staring at this disaster? I thought not. After all, we have had three years of watching the once most powerful nation consumed by cancerous ignorance and corruption.
For the rest of the planet, there is the humor of watching Dunning-Kruger case studies in action. But that humor pales at the horror of the blithely ignored toll representing over one-quarter of the planet’s deaths from COVID-19. (A nation with 4.4% of the planet’s population has 27.6% of the confirmed COVID-19 deaths, that is a severe undercount, and the total is rising fast.)
How do we get out of this mess? That is the question, but there is no answer to that either. It is evident that Joe Biden is mentally just passing through, but he certainly couldn’t end up worse than the mess we have now. That, however, is a haunting thought we struggle to repress.
But when you are on fire and spiraling down out of control, not making things worse, is a tiny life preserver. This situation makes the stupidity, death, and destruction of Geroge W. Bush look mild. Whoever thought such as thing would ever be said?
If I were one of those peddlers of self-help, I would, at this point, launch into a description of the natural, no-cost ways to make yourself feel better while people around you sicken and die. Sorry, there are no easy solutions or shortcuts out of this mess. The costs are going to be steep with fear, anxiety, and suffering extending over the next two years. We can only hope it mostly ends then.
Here’s the only advice I can give. We need to face it, and you need to do what you can, but, in the end, you will do what you have to do to survive. Just don’t forget what caused this. The SARS CoV-2 variant is understood to have jumped from bats to an intermediate animal and then to people. This host hopping is becoming common (see the history of SARS) and maybe a product of climate change. While our technology has made planetwide counter action possible, greed, willful ignorance, and selfishness have disastrously blocked this in many nations. The US is, perhaps, the worst case.
Let’s focus on our narrow range of personal action. If you are lucky enough to be working from home, stay there. Do not allow yourself to be forced back into any kind of workplace until on-demand testing, effective treatment, and vaccines are available. All of these, already officially stated requirements for reopening society won’t happen this year and maybe not next, but death from SARS CoV-2 is avoidable.
Continue to learn to cook and buy just what you need. Don’t return to stores for anything but necessities. Do everything online. Delivery and take out from local businesses is essential, but that is already a terminal world. We’ll deal with Amazon and the drastically changing economy in a minute.
At this point, expect to live this way until sometime in 2021. The old life, even the enjoyable parts that gave us pleasure for years, is gone. We can’t change that, and it was going to happen anyway because of the steady escalation of the climate crisis, and that is not a surprise. We just didn’t think it would hit us this soon. So it goes.
Our goal is the destruction of the old economy. The billionaires and their cohort are scared shitless because the whole thing stopped, and to restart it, they need us to be stupid and willing to die for their money. They are paying, manipulating, and inciting violence among the folks who have bought into the Trump death cult. The mass of weak politicians is unable to do anything but cave into the demands of the death cult so they can keep their place at the trough.
Fortunately, most people are not that stupid. When it comes to an obvious pandemic threat and the rules that slow the advance until a vaccine is available, we need to demand the resources to protect ourselves, our families, and our communities until SARS CoV-2 is conquered. However long it takes. We have wasted trillions of dollars and pointless military actions and funded incredibly extravagant lifestyles for the billionaire few while receiving almost nothing for forty years. Why?
Our governments can certainly provide UBI and full medical coverage, and then we can all move on.
If you ave no choice but to work because of the job you have or you live in a place that is beginning the forced death march, demand all the protections you need. Organize. If you can slow work or begin job actions without threatening people’s lives, do so immediately. Even if it is small, do something and talk to everyone you work with as they are all in the same boat.
The movement to unionize from delivery gigs to professionals is happening and is the only protection within our reach. The political system is dying with the old economy. The sooner it dies, the sooner we build a new world.
Will this kill small businesses? Yes. Try to support them and bring them into the organizing process. Most people who run businesses want to do what is right for their employees. They usually go broke because of that, but the future can make genuine entrepreneurial opportunities possible for all and not life-threatening. No business should require the people who operate that business to risk their and their family’s health and well being.
The threat of losing your wellbeing and facing death for a job is not ‘skin in the game’; it is a form of slavery. Entrepreneurs are willing to take risks, but why should they accept the loss of everything for an idea? Security, not fear of losing, allows innovation to grow. People who say anything else have their’s locked in and want you to fail, or they simply don’t care. We need to care about everyone in this world, or we won’t survive.
But if we’ll lose small business and local sources, why should we make Bezos an even bigger billionaire? It is a hard reality to accept, but there is already a shrinking niche for small businesses in postmodern society. They are not efficient. At the same time, the vast number of small restaurants, coffee shops, and bars are unlikely to survive the new world. The pandemic has made it evident that a future of expanding climate, health threats, and anxiety require us to change the way we live. Let’s deal with it rather than letting the same incompetent and greedy people make our decisions for their benefit.
The old small business world is gone, and the digital world replaced it. The power of the new digital world is dominant, accessible, and efficient and is becoming sustainable. But its goal is only greed. Uncontrolled predatory capitalists are destroying our planet and people in misery. The large technology-based systems that we now rely on are not businesses but should be strictly regulated public or semi-public utilities. The data-com internet is a utility and not a capitalist enterprise. It is our new commons and public infrastructure.
We cannot afford to support endlessly repeated department stores and endlessly repeated chain stores that do nothing but squander resources, energy, and produce carbon to destroy our atmosphere. But what do we lose?
Nothing. People are moving very quickly, entirely online. Electrically powered drones doing deliveries remove fossil fuel trucks, and we are close to that. These are AI-controlled with no need for wage slavery and dangerous human contact as the climate crisis released more pandemics on our planet.
Millions of creative people produce and sell things online. That is a gig that works very well if people fully paid healthcare and income security not tied to an arbitrary and inadequate job. We can support everyone on this planet without slavery. The growth of wellbeing as a right has been happening for almost twenty-five years and just went to critical mass in the last two months.
It is time. Several nation-states have begun Universal Basic Income to meet the needs of their population. Those that haven’t are either criminally controlled or too weak and poorly managed. The simplicity of UBI can be automated, as it will be in any case. We can do that now. Why haven’t we?
So how do we get out of this mess? We have already started and simply need to refuse to go back to the old disaster.
Resist, refuse, and demand what we need for safety. By staying home and not buying, we have gained tremendous power. The Trump regime will force death on as many as they can to get their old system back. We may not have another chance.