amongst books

amongst books

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Let’s not rush back to business as usual. A Call for Revolutionary Reform.

 Covid-19 has shone a light on the terrible repercussions of inequality.

 “Virus lays bare the frailty of the social contract…

Radical reforms are required to forge a society that will work for all”

https://www.ft.com/content/7eff769a-74dd-11ea-95fe-fcd274e920ca

 When large organizations and institutions try to open, hoping that people will follow rules, it results in increases. See this example from the University of Illinois: Students hacked the contact tracing app, they likely hooked up. Cases skyrocketed.

 

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-09-11/how-coronavirus-rampaged-through-university-of-illinois-college-campus?sref=9f0rXTjL

 I don’t want to see the end of activities that bring people together. I want to be able to enjoy art, music, poetry readings, films etc, but I think rushing back to recreate what we had before is unnecessarily risky at this time and why would we want to?

 The insistence by many to go back to “normal,” as they refer to it and to “open up the economy” is dangerous and foolhardy in many ways, not the least of which is the way in which such a return will not create the reform that is needed.

 A Call for Revolutionary Reform

I think that we have an opportunity for revolutionary reform that could address social injustices and inequalities, improve accessibility, decrease economic disparity, and amplify voices that have been erased in the arts, while maintaining the necessary practices that will keep Covid-19 levels down and perhaps even eradicate future pandemics.

 Some Examples Close to Home

In Ottawa I have already noticed increasing awareness and attempts to address these issues. For example, there are now porta potties on Bank Street and McNabb Community Centre has a respite centre:

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/ottawa/homeless-ottawa-covid-1.5544164

 

Community Gardens, which were initially closed have opened up, in consideration of food shortages.

https://www.ottawamatters.com/local-news/ottawas-community-gardens-opening-for-the-season-2334950.

 I’ve heard more people pressuring their governments: federal, provincial and municipal on issues like affordable housing, food security, the treatment of workers, public transportation, police brutality, anti Black racism, elder neglect, health care and education budget.

Need for Collective Based Approaches

“According to one analysis, as of April 23, a staggering 151 countries have planned, introduced, or adapted a total of 684 social protection measures in response to the pandemic.”

 

COVID-19: remaking the social contract

https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(20)30983-1/fulltext

 

The pandemic has driven home the point that our individual actions affect others. You can easily see the connection between rise and continued spikes in Covid-19 cases and laissez-faire economic and social policies. The crisis means we must all work together. The priorities are clear.

 

Ahead of May Day, 500+ Groups Worldwide Demand Just and Visionary Recovery From Covid-19

 

"This virus proves how interconnected we are. The solutions we come up with now must ensure that no one is left behind." Brett Fishman, 350.org

 

1. Put people's health first, no exceptions.

2. Provide economic relief directly to the people.

3. Help our workers and communities, not corporate executives.

4. Create resilience for future crises.

5. Build solidarity and community across borders—do not empower authoritarians.

 

https://www.commondreams.org/news/2020/04/30/ahead-may-day-500-groups-worldwide-demand-just-and-visionary-recovery-covid-19

 

 Some Examples of Reforms and Innovations Currently Underway

Here are a few of the ways in which a revolution has begun and some of the ways in which innovators, organizers and artists are using their creativity and care to make necessary changes. I believe that the only way we’re going to survive the pandemic and its ensuing economic downfall is to to lead with love, to lead by example, to care for each other and with an unwillingness to restore the same old white cis-het patriarchy that has gotten us to where we are now.

 

END WHITE SUPREMACY

 

Health experts have finally started to communicate that racism is a public health issue.

 

We’ve been facing a pandemic of racism. How can we stop it?

https://theconversation.com/weve-been-facing-a-pandemic-of-racism-how-can-we-stop-it-140284

 

We Must Defund the Police. It Is the Only Option.

https://www.flare.com/identity/defund-the-police-toronto-black-lives-matter-canada/

 

 

PRIORITIZE MEDICAL INNOVATION RESEARCH AND SPENDING

 

How Scientists Could Stop the Next Pandemic Before It Starts

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/21/magazine/pandemic-vaccine.html

 

These six Canadian initiatives just received $1 million in funding to help fight COVID-19. The one-time innovation grant was split between six Canadian physicians and health care teams who designed unique solutions to the challenges brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

https://covidkindness.ca/news/these-six-canadian-initiatives-just-received-1-million-in-funding-to-help-fight-covid-19/

 

TAKE CARE OF EACH OTHER

 

When the pandemic came to Ottawa, I was impressed by how immediately FB groups sprung up to offer food, supplies and aid to those who needed it.

 

What Is Caremongering? And Why Is It So Uniquely Canadian?

https://nuvomagazine.com/daily-edit/what-is-caremongering

 

Why George Monbiot is fighting to build a 'politics of belonging' to better our world

 

Monbiot argues creating communities of "mutual concern, of mutual aid, where we support each other, as indeed many people have been doing during the coronavirus pandemic" is key.

 

https://www.cbc.ca/radio/ideas/why-george-monbiot-is-fighting-to-build-a-politics-of-belonging-to-better-our-world-1.5720535

 

PRIORITIZE ACCESSIBILITY

 

Remote events, work and education have an accidental benefit of making it possible for disabled people to take part. I say accidental because accessibility has not been a priority at all, and this is just a side effect, but now that it’s happening, I don’t think it can be turned back that easily. Much more needs to be done, including making technology and the internet accessible for all. Ableism continues to create barriers to much needed change.

 

Why coronavirus may make the world more accessible

https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20200513-why-the-coronavirus-can-make-the-world-more-accessible

 

DEVELOP A STRONG AND INCLUSIVE WOMEN’S MOVEMENT

 

https://www.equalitynow.org/defining_a_new_inclusive_future

 

The future of feminism

Five feminists explain where the movement needs to go next.

By Jessica Machado and Karen Turner

 

https://www.vox.com/identities/2020/3/7/21163193/international-womens-day-2020

 

 

INNOVATE PERFORMANCE AND EXHIBITS

 

Over Headphones and in a Truck, the Philharmonic Stays Alive

With indoor performances still far-off, the orchestra has organized a “Soundwalk” in Central Park and outdoor pop-up concerts.

 

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/09/14/arts/music/new-york-philharmonic.html?smtyp=cur&smid=tw-nytimesarts

 

The Isolation Museum, a brand new virtual museum asks people to submit artifacts that represent their isolation experience during the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

Artist and Carleton University student Kit Chokly came up with the idea after they lost their job and their classes were moved online. via CBC Sparks

 

https://isolationmuseum.com/

 

 

https://www.cbc.ca/radio/spark/how-artists-are-turning-to-the-internet-in-creative-ways-amid-covid-19-isolation-1.5561738

 

 

In Berlin, the Art World Spreads Out to Stay Safe

The first major international art event since the lockdown started took place at smaller venues around the city, rather than under a single roof.

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/09/14/arts/design/berlin-art-weekend.html?smtyp=cur&smid=tw-nytimesarts

 

How to Birth a New American Theater – replacing the white canon

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/09/11/theater/how-to-change-theater.html?smid=tw-nytimesarts&smtyp=cur

 

The Frankfurt Book Fair will be digital

https://www.buchmesse.de/en

 

PRIORITIZE A SUSTAINABLE ENVIRONMENT

 

 Take into account the link between humans and the planet

 

Lockdown Let the Earth Breathe. What Do We Do Next?

COVID-19 could be a turning point in climate activism—but only if we play it right

BY SARAH RATCHFORD

https://thewalrus.ca/lockdown-let-the-earth-breathe-what-do-we-do-next/

 

“Human wellness and planetary wellness are inextricably linked, and that link must be taken into account in order to save us.”

 

FIND WAYS TO CONNECT TO ONE ANOTHER TO AVOID ISOLATION

 

Making Connections, Telling Stories: Dispatches from the Empty Met

https://www.metmuseum.org/blogs/now-at-the-met/2020/met-closure-dispatch-met-stories

 

Solutions from Around the World: Tackling Loneliness and Social Isolation During COVID-19

 

“A Norwegian company, No Isolation, developed a “one-button computer” designed to help people with no experience using smartphones or computers. With an internet connection and a power outlet, it can stream photos, send or receive messages, and conduct video calls. Currently the product is available in eight European countries.”

https://www.commonwealthfund.org/blog/2020/solutions-around-world-tackling-loneliness-and-social-isolation-during-covid-19

 

Beaded map of Canada creates 'a sense of community' among Indigenous artists amid pandemic

https://www.cbc.ca/news/indigenous/beaded-map-canada-completion-1.5712673

 

MAINTAIN AND INCREASE REMOTE SOLUTIONS FOR EDUCATION AND WORK

 

It’s not enough to just move classes online. We need better access to digital solutions for all. We need free and universal accessibility to technology.

 

Classes are moving online, but teaching methods still need to catch up, says education expert

 

“I don't see why, in the long run, we shouldn't be able to offer everything, so students can study in any way they wanted. The important thing is the learning outcome should be the same, the exam should be the same, but the students can get there through different routes, different ways of learning.”

 

https://www.cbc.ca/radio/spark/classes-are-moving-online-but-teaching-methods-still-need-to-catch-up-says-education-expert-1.5628502

 

After covid: 'Working from home' is long term ambition

https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-wales-54125620

 

ENSURE ECONOMIC STABILITY FOR ALL

 

120 Canadian CEOs And Business Owners Representing Over $2.3b In Combined Annual Revenues Are In Support Of A Universal Basic Income In Canada.

https://ceosforbasicincome.ca/

 

A Universal Basic Income would also help to eliminate food insecurity issues.

 

Groups like Food Not Bombs in the USA is a free meal collective that redistributes food to those who need it.

 

https://www.teenvogue.com/story/food-not-bombs-history

 

In Canada, federal funding has been allocated to help provide surplus food to the hungry from farms.

 

https://www.farms.com/ag-industry-news/surplus-food-distributed-to-canadians-in-need-288.aspx

 

The pandemic has illuminated the issues with gig working and the need for basic worker rights.

 

This Pandemic Is a ‘Fork in the Road’ for Gig Worker Benefits

As Covid-19 keeps people indoors, delivery and other contract workers are more visible than ever—making this a pivotal time for them to secure basic rights. Arielle Pardes

https://www.wired.com/story/gig-worker-benefits-covid-19-pandemic/

 

END HOUSING INSTABILITY

 

https://www.amo.on.ca/Advocacy/AddressingOntariosHousingCrisis

FIND NEW WAYS TO DELIVER HEALTH CARE

 How the pandemic sparked a new program that connects rural Ontarians to rapid-response health care

 

The virtual triage assessment centre connects residents to health-care providers over phone or video chat

 

https://www.cbc.ca/radio/whitecoat/how-the-pandemic-sparked-a-new-program-that-connects-rural-ontarians-to-rapid-response-health-care-1.5718908

 

OTHER IDEAS

 

Meet Will Rondo, the man behind the NBA's bubble barber shops

https://www.cbc.ca/radio/day6/meet-will-rondo-the-man-behind-the-nba-s-bubble-barber-shops-1.5719799

 

Hate Social Media but Love Nature? There’s an App for That

Facebook and Twitter can be sinkholes of rage and despair. But virtual communities like iNaturalist might usher in the digital utopia we were promised

BY EMILY URQUHART

https://thewalrus.ca/hate-social-media-but-love-nature-theres-an-app-for-that/

 

Conclusion

 

I don’t want to go back to business as usual. I want mindful change and I will support and amplify visionaries calling for change, and social justice movements in their attempts to ensure we have it. This isn’t a short-term issue. The pandemic isn’t going away anytime soon and after it is over, we are going to need to support one another more than ever.

 

4 Key Ways to Build Strong Social Justice Movements

https://www.teenvogue.com/story/how-activists-cope-emergency-pandemic

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