19 May 2020

The latest issue of Jacobin presents glass-half-full and -half-empty visions of post-coronavirus policy. In Viral Socialism Now! [$], Mike Beggs and Beck Pearce argue, “Orthodoxies have quickly been junked to stabilize the existing system. Revealed as superstitions, they will be harder to impose again when this is over. … Everyone has been jolted awake to take a look around them. The fact that even conservative governments have found no alternative to jerry-rigging a welfare state is testament to the continued popular strength of egalitarianism. With confidence and organization, we can feed the public mood to reorder the world permanently.” But Meagan Day warns that the capitalist class is adept at presenting itself as the solution [$] to the problems it has caused: “The ruling class’s capacity to exploit the aftermath of disaster depends in part on the public’s continued willingness to tolerate their hold on power. Even if the public loses confidence or its patience wears thin, deposing the existing political and economic elite will remain a formidable task. But nothing of the sort can be attempted if people continue to believe that their leaders are trying in good faith to shepherd society through the aftermath of an unavoidable tragedy for which the ruling class itself bears no responsibility.” It will take hard work to ensure our recovery builds a better society instead of entrenching an unequal one.