Political Openings: Class Struggle During and After the Pandemic – The Bullet

A long but important overview from Sam Ginden. How can degrowth fit in this new conjuncture?

As the responses from parties and states to the rising discontent proved wanting, the crisis of legitimacy grew into a political crisis. Alongside popular anger with policies like free trade and austerity has come a loss of confidence and faith in state institutions ranging from social agencies to the judiciary and the police, along with disenchantment and alienation with mainstream political parties. It is on the terrain of social delegitimation and such political instability that capitalism’s vulnerability lies.

Strategic Dilemmas, Political Openings

The pandemic, it is now commonly noted, further highlighted capitalism’s social irrationalities. This was especially so in the US with its stunted (though very expensive) health system and in Trump’s crass response to the relative weight of commercial versus health concerns.

To this opening for building a radical opposition was added the environmental connection. Though largely pushed to the side during the pandemic, Covid-19 served as the canary-in-the-mine for capitalism’s general unpreparedness for not only future health pandemics but also the infinitely greater environmental crisis already enveloping us. Unlike health pandemics, the environmental crisis can’t be resolved through lockdowns, social distancing, and vaccines. It demands a radical restructuring of how society is organized, what we value, and how we relate to each other – issues that dwarf the already traumatic experiences with Covid-19.


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