Turning danger into an avenue for change -- a People's Action video

supply_chain_hurtin.jpgThe health emergency we are in, and the economic collapse it has brought, have left many of us in disarray. That makes this time doubly dangerous, because those well off enough to be in less disarray may be ready to take advantage. This video, in plain language, shows how to fight back.

/By Woody Woodruff<>PM BlogSpace Report/ The health emergency we are in, and the economic collapse it has brought, have left many of us in disarray. That makes this time doubly dangerous, because those well off enough to be in less disarray may be ready to take advantage.

A new video from People’s Action – Progressive Maryland’s national organizing affiliate – sums up the dangers and opportunities of the time we are living through.

We are all aware of the huge difference the novel coronavirus epidemic is making to our lives – the isolation at home, the dangers of essential jobs in food supply and health care, the collapse of our own ability to provide for ourselves and our families as our small-business employers are shut down, plus the collapse of public services we have been used to because local and state governments are being shorted by our corrupt and incompetent national government in favor of bailouts for bigger corporations.coronavirus_image2.jpg

Those everyday alarm bells, distractions and deficits of this Covid-19 emergency help to muffle our understanding of just how much the wealthy and powerful – and the Trump administration that embodies and enables them – are ready to take advantage of this emergency to gain even more power – at our expense, of course. Disaster capitalism has always fed on times of our misery to increase and consolidate its power in many ways – police power, surveillance power, market power, the easy diversions of scapegoating foreign peoples and governments to justify and boost military power.

The requirement for us to fight back against this opportunism is never greater than when times are most perilous and difficult – as they are now. We are all disoriented, and no surprise about that. There has been no worldwide event like this, nearly ever. Even the 1918 flu epidemic, which killed millions more because remedies were lacking, did not spread so widely or so quickly, because of air travel.

The wealthy and powerful are not smarter or more levelheaded than the rest of us – just luckier. But it has not been lost on them that when we are disoriented, they can increase their grip on the wider society. That’s disaster capitalism. Milton Friedman, the right-wing economist who pushed the original neoliberal economic agenda back in the 1970s and 1980s, is newly famous these days for pointing out that in times of crisis, it’s “the ideas that are just lying around” that get scooped up and put to use as the post-recovery agenda. Reagan’s right-wing agenda, the surveillance state that Bush and Cheney imposed post-9/11, and the bank bailouts of 2008-9 were all inflicted on us because we didn’t manage to put our ideas on everyone’s lips and we didn’t take action to broadcast them and put them to work.

The People’s Action video – which everyone should share – explains this sorry history in plain talk and has a road map to turning crisis and its dangers into “big openings for change.” It runs just eight minutes, but it really matters for Maryland, for progressives and working families across the nation and around the globe.