Radical Thinking in Time of Pandemic [Reading List #2]

Radical Thinking in Time of Pandemic [Reading List #2]

Radical Thinking in Time of Pandemic [Reading List #2]

1022 641 Into the Black Box

In tempi di pandemia anche il pensiero critico deve interrogarsi su come sta cambiando il mondo. Quali categorie politiche, economiche e sociali possono essere utili per analizzare l’impatto del Covid-19 sugli spazi urbani, l’organizzazione del lavoro, le catene globali del valore, il progetto neo-liberale, gli equilibri geopolitici su scala mondiale, le forme di lotta e i soggetti resistenti?
Into the Black Box curerà in questo periodo una lista settimanale di letture utili per interrogarsi attorno a tutti questi nodi.
Qua tutte le reading list.

In times of pandemic, even critical thinking has to question how the world is changing. Which political, economic and social categories can be useful to analyze the impact of Covid-19 on urban spaces, work organization, global value chains, the neo-liberal project, geopolitical balances on a global scale, forms of struggle and resistant subjects?
Into the Black Box will be producing a weekly list of readings during this period, which will be useful to ask questions about all these issues.
Here are all the reading lists.


Impact of the Coronavirus on Global Short-Term Rental Markets
Without a doubt, standing at the epicenter of the coronavirus is the travel industry. Airlines, hotels, and a fleet of offshoot industries are now coping with the virus’s severe downstream effects. One particularly curious case study, however, is the evolving interaction between the Coronavirus and short-term rentals. At first thought, a business model that champions the democratization of lodging seems like a virus’s best friend — and one notably at risk.

Why Silicon Valley Loves Coronavirus
Coronavirus is the shock that Silicon Valley needed to complete its workplace revolution – with new technologies mediating our daily lives in ways that will be difficult to reverse.

Perché la Silicon Valley ama il Coronavirus


What happens to freedom of movement during a pandemic?
Restrictions are particularly problematic for those who need to move in order to find safety, but whose elementary freedom to move had been curtailed long before the Covid-19 outbreak.

Class and the Challenge of COVID-19
In the weeks ahead, the class lines that divide today’s America might become most visible around who must still venture out to work and who can work from the safety of home.

La classe e la sfida del COVID-19

Social movements in times of pandemic: another world is needed
Faced with the glaring need for radical and complex transformation, social movements in times of crisis act differently from protests.

Le virus nous communise, car nous devons faire front ensemble, même si cela passe par l’isolement de chacun. L’occasion d’éprouver vraiment notre communauté.

The pandemic as political trial: the case for a global commons
The pandemic has demonstrated the bankruptcy of national sovereignty — the major threats to humanity are global in character, so mutual aid, cooperation and solidarity must be too.

Política del cuerpo en tiempos de la pandemia COVID-19
Gediminas discute la relevancia del pensamiento feminista y queer en la época de la pandemia global de COVID-19. Al hacer esto, desafía las nociones neoliberales de subjetividad y buena vida dominantes en nuestras sociedades, y nos invita a repensar, explorar y potencialmente promulgar modos de política feminista y queer.

Marx au temps du capitalisme pandémique
Comment Marx pourrait-il nous aider à penser la crise actuelle? Sa théorie de l’histoire offre des ressources critiques pour penser la crise sanitaire inédite qui bouleverse le monde aujourd’hui, tout en indiquant en pointillé que le “monde d’après” tant évoqué ne pourrait être qu’anticapitaliste.

Marx ai tempi del capitalismo pandemico

Social distancing
During the explosion of the coronavirus pandemic the first instruction enacted was « social distancing » that implies to recalculate the distances from each one to each one. Of course, this precautionary measure is supposed to stop the spread of the virus, but what does it tell us about the modern political art ? This article argues that the most basic political gesture is still the calculation of the “right distance” between humans, and between humans and nonhumans. If, from Hobbes to the neoliberals, this calculation should allow the functioning of the triad of growth-circulation-patriarchy (i.e., nothing but the law of Capital), it is perhaps time to take up the question of distance to think about our world after virus and leave the world of Capital without any nostalgia.

A Gender Lens for COVID-19
Gender is often an ignored factor during health emergencies, even though women comprise 70% of the global healthcare workforce. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the most effective policy responses will be those that account for how the crisis is experienced by women and girls.


Empty supermarkets: the food supply-chain from a workers’ perspective
We have to look at the political issues around the individualisation of working class communities over the last few decades, as well as rational responses to a government recommending self-isolation for 14 days if a family member has symptoms. More importantly though, we have to look at the structural constraints of the food supply-chain. Below you can find a few thoughts about this in particular.

Mobility: the lifeblood of modernity and the virus that threatens to undo it
Turbulence is inevitably and largely unpredictable. We know it will happen but not where, when and to what extent. Once you produce mobility then you will produce turbulence – a form of mobility that lies beyond calculation and prediction. A good deal of work (particularly by transport planners) has gone into making mobility smooth and predictable. Much of the way the world works in advanced neo-liberal capitalism is based on the logic of logistics – the logic of things always moving in predictable ways (and, incidentally, not stopping for too long).


The Human Cost of Calling an Uber Right Now
Uber and Lyft drivers risk Covid-19 infections to shuttle doctors and vulnerable people around. Can they get the same job protections as other frontline workers?

Antonio Casilli: «Le confinement se décline différemment selon sa place dans la société»
Pour le sociologue Antonio Casilli, la crise du coronavirus est révélatrice des inégalités entre ceux qui peuvent télétravailler et les employés en fin de chaîne, caissiers, livreurs ou transporteurs, dont les métiers sur le terrain s’avèrent indispensables. Malgré les promesses du tout-numérique.

Informal workers in the time of Coronavirus
The economic impacts of such lockdown are also just beginning to be felt, and will escalate in the coming months. The discussion on the economics of this pandemic has tended to focus on supply disruptions and the likely financial losses of companies, especially those in travel, transport and other services and manufacturing activities. Precisely because companies have more lobbying power and more political voice in general, they have already started clamouring for (and being offered) incentives, bailouts and other relief measures to allow them to cope with this crisis. But in fact, the worst material impacts are already being felt by informal workers, who face a dismal spectrum of probabilities of loss of livelihood, from declining earnings among the self-employed to job losses among paid workers.

I lavoratori informali al tempo del Coronavirus

The politics of Covid-19: Gig work in the coronavirus crisis
In her short story The ones who walk away from Omelas, Ursula le Guin describes a utopian city with a caveat: its orderliness, serenity, joyfulness and beauty requires that a single unfortunate child is kept in misery, darkness and despair. Le Guin’s story draws attention to a known philosophical dilemma: how far are we willing to go in sacrificing the rights, happiness, and wellbeing of the minority, for the happiness of the majority? And how far is too far? Amid the coronavirus crisis, this question is turning from hypothetical to real.

Disrupting ‘Business as Usual’: How COVID-19 is impacting platform-mediated labor and social reproduction
Things are bad right now, for most people, and they will probably get worse in the future. Even once the global pandemic caused by COVID-19 is finally under control, the afterlife of this public health crisis is likely to have a devastating impact on our national and local economies for years to come. But not everyone will be affected in the same way and to the same extent, as we’ve already witnessed how this Corona virus brings into sharp relief long-standing inequalities with respect to income and wealth distribution. Some social groups will have access to the resources (e.g. time, space, capital, influence) necessary to weather this crisis, or even make a profit from it, while many others who lack these resources will scramble to protect their lives and livelihoods. In many ways, COVID-19 intensifies and accelerates these inequalities and will ultimately push them to a breaking point – a point governments – even conservative ones – have been trying to steer clear from by introducing economic rescue plans.

Stravolgere il “Business as Usual”: come il COVID-19 sta impattando sul lavoro di piattaforma e sulla riproduzione sociale

Instacart’s Gig Workers Are Planning a Massive, Nationwide Strike
Amid the coronavirus pandemic, the grocery delivery company has refused to offer its 175,000 gig workers basic protections like hazard pay, hand sanitizer, and paid leave for those with pre-existing health conditions.


Covid-19 as symptom: Notes on the production of a virus
Understandably, these days we hear a lot about the symptoms of Covid-19 (dry cough, high fever, etc.). Conversely, there is much less discussion of the virus as a symptom. Let’s say then that to intervene on the symptoms of the virus it is necessary not only to have specific scientific knowledge, but also to put in place a serious reflection on the structural causes of its global spread and, with them, the possibilities of change that the emergency opens up for us, at least theoretically. If mainstream information focuses on the management of the epidemic, reflecting on its causes could lead to a series of far from irrelevant considerations.

COVID-19 and Circuits of Capital
We must establish a massive pandemic corps to provide the work force—from research to care—that approaches the order of demand the virus (and any other pathogen to come) is placing on us. Match the caseload with the number of critical care beds, staffing, and equipment necessary so that suppression can bridge the present numbers gap. In other words, we cannot accept the idea of merely surviving COVID-19’s ongoing air attack only to return later to contact tracing and case isolation to drive the outbreak below its threshold. We must hire enough people to identify COVID-19 home-by-home right now and equip them with the needed protective gear, such as adequate masks. Along the way, we need to suspend a society organized around expropriation, from landlords up through sanctions on other countries, so that people can survive both the disease and its cure.


The Bio-Economic Pandemic and the Western Working Classes
Most people’s thinking is determined by the development of the Covid-19 crisis, the return of “the hour of executive power” (Gerhard A. Ritter), i.e. state of exception legislation, and the fears which it evokes as well as the economic measures which appear to be in response to the health crisis. By disrupting international supply chains and severely harming a highly vulnerable just-in-time production global economy, Covid-19 clearly accelerated the transition into recession; and yet, this recession was already upon us by the end of last year.

El coronavirus es una amenaza muy fuerte para los barrios más pobres
¿Qué causas sistémicas se esconden detrás de crisis como la del coronavirus? ¿Afecta el virus a todos de la misma manera? ¿Qué papel juega el capitalismo en nuestra salud? Para responder a estas preguntas, entrevistamos al investigador Joan Benach, director del Grupo de Investigación en Desigualdades en Salud – Employment Conditions Network, codirector del Johns Hopkins University – UPF Public Policy center, y catedrático del Departamento de Ciencias políticas y Sociales de la Universitat Pompeu Fabra de Barcelona. Analizamos con él una realidad compleja en una entrevista hecha a distancia, desde nuestros respectivos lugares de confinamiento.

This Crisis Has Exposed the Absurdities of Neoliberalism. That Doesn’t Mean It’ll Destroy It
The coronavirus shock has shaken the world’s stock markets, imposing the need for massive state bailouts. But the measures to deal with the crisis risk spurring an authoritarian controlled capitalism — one that protects corporate interests while offloading the costs onto the rest of us.

The Coronavirus Housing Crisis
The latest recession may not have been caused by housing but it will play a big role in how it unfolds – from tenants facing eviction to bursting debt bubbles and falling house prices.