The capitalist world order has fallen. It has proven itself inadequate in the face of a global viral pandemic. In my country, the capitalist DA is begging for a return to work. They want to shore up the economy. They want to maintain the status quo. There was a historic compact that lead to the dawn of democracy. The black under privileged class was given the levers of political power. But the whites kept the money. Former state president, Thabo Mbeki recalls the time.
In the time of coronavirus, it’s the political levers that prove the most powerful, with the gloating businessmen left with nothing but paper. At no time before in our varied social discourse have humans been confronted with their own mortality. This is on an unprecedented scale. And despite all our advances in medicine and science, a simple virus is gutting the population. As at 12:15 pm SA time, the world recorded two million infections and over 127 000 deaths.
But regardless of one’s political worldview, the virus doesn’t stop once the lockdown restrictions are lifted. In order to survive, we need to change the way we relate with the world and each other.
We will all have to learn to live with the virus. Wearing masks, practising social distancing, frequent hand washing. We cannot simply return to our churches and mosques. Our global sporting events. Our movie theatres and malls. The virus lives. The virus lies in wait.
I’ll give you an example. Redi Thlabi reported that her cousin in law succumbed to covid-19. He had never even travelled outside the country. Instead, the capitalist system forced him to attract tourists, who were carrying the virus. He ran a coffee shop in Soweto. All he wanted to do in life was to attend funerals, possibly in the hopes that people would celebrate him in the same way when he died. He didn’t have to die. The system killed him
Everyone talks about life after lockdown as though it’s a return to the status quo. But it cannot be. We cannot simply return to a system that threatened our very survival. Capitalism means we all pile into public transport, or cars on heavily congested roads. We then congregate in office parks with air conditioning. We send our children to schools. Perfect environment for the virus to spread. No, it cannot be business as usual. Not this time. Not ever. It’s time to shift priorities.
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Some food for thought. We can fathom that life will be business as usual after this pandemic. We need to look at how we are living now.
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