Three informative videos on how to fix our broken political-economic systems, Dave Matthews live from his living room, comments on Naomi Klein’s Shock Doctrine & our chance for system changes in the wake of COVID-19.
We hope this email finds you healthy, coping, and perhaps even thriving at home, with more opportunities to be calm and listen to the voice within you. Many of us are able to shelter in place, order food delivered and remain safe, even enjoying the enforced “staycation” and the free time it affords to read, garden, and rest. But it is important to maintain a steady eye on those who are directly and immediately in fear as they confront immense economic uncertainty, housing insecurity, and the threat we all face: the virus.
Today, we offer some thoughts on Naomi Klein’s Shock Doctrine, her analysis of capitalism and its relationship with natural and economic disasters. We also offer thoughts on how those of you with some means might use at least a chunk of your $1,200 assistance check to help those who may be ineligible or simply need more support than is currently available. Finally, we conclude with four tremendous videos: 1) Coronavirus Capitalism, a nine-minute talk from Naomi Klein that serves as an excellent intro to the second video; 2) How to Beat Coronavirus Capitalism with Naomi Klein, among other progressive pundits; 3) Nationalization Roundtable with researchers from The Next System Project discussing how nationalizing key industries could democratize our economy ; and 4) the first Pay It Forward live broadcast, an hour with Dave Matthews performing solo from his home. We hope that this offers you all some enriching diversions during our time isolated. Before we begin, a few quick announcements.
Retake Our Democracy on KSFR, 101.1 FM, 8:30 am TODAY and every Saturday. Today we rebroadcast what I feel was the most important and best broadcast we’ve done: A conversation with Dahr Jamail. You can listen to it live at 8:30 am and then flip over to the full one-hour podcast, by clicking here.
Coronavirus Update In NM: As testing expands, NM has had a swift uptick in positive tests with 55 new cases identified yesterday, a 40% increase in just one day. The New Mexican did an excellent job describing some of the causes for the spike and also other information on how NM is handling the virus. Click here to read the full New Mexican article.
What You Might Do With Some of Your $1,200 Relief Check
Trump has signed the bill and it is projected that most New Mexicans will be receiving tax-exempt $1,200 checks from the government. For many this will be a desperately needed lifeline to help carry them through. Those qualifying for unemployment will receive the amount they qualify for (average across the US is $385/week) PLUS an additional $600/week through July 31. The plan is supposed to address individuals who worked in traditional settings, as well as “gig” workers. But many New Mexicans will not qualify for these benefits and so the Governor has announced a new fund operated by a coalition of New Mexico community foundations. I’d ask that each of you with the means to do so, to consider these options:
- Contribute to the Earth Care / YUCCA Mutual Aid Network which provides direct rental assistance and food supports to low-income New Mexicans in need of support. Click here to donate.
- Contribute to the fund described below, with link provided.
- Contribute to any of the organizations identified in Retake’s Tithe Page. These are organizations that fight the good fight on behalf of the earth and its peoples. Click here to get to Retake’s Tithe Today.
Governor Announces COVID-19 Community Foundation Effort to Support New Mexicans in Need
Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham on Thursday announced a new fund established by the New Mexico Coalition of Community Foundations to help New Mexico respond to and eventually recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. The All Together NM Fund will be used to address immediate needs and offer long-term support for the recovery work that lies ahead. Donations to the fund will be tax-deductible and can be made through the website, http://www.AllTogetherNM.org.
“I encourage everyone who can give to do so – individuals, businesses and all those who care deeply about our great state. We need your help in the face of this threat,” Gov. Lujan Grisham said. “The All Together NM Fund represents an unparalleled collaboration between the public and philanthropic sectors in New Mexico and at a time when working together is an absolute must. By aligning our efforts and coordinating resources in a way that listens and responds to the needs of communities, we are optimally equipped to meet the challenges before us,” she said.
The New Mexico Coalition of Community Foundations spearheaded the idea and will coordinate the fund. Its member organizations – the Albuquerque Community Foundation, the Community Foundation of Southern New Mexico, the Santa Fe Community Foundation and the Taos Community Foundation — will work with the larger philanthropic community across New Mexico; they will also consult with the State of New Mexico to determine the most urgent needs to be addressed through grantmaking.
The All Together NM Fund will provide a phased response to the pandemic. First, it will address immediate needs in New Mexico communities, including:
- Procurement of food and medical and cleaning supplies for at-risk communities
- Support for childcare workers who are supporting our front-line employees
- Grants to address income insecurity among smaller businesses and employees affected by COVID-19 disruptions
Later, the grantmaking process will shift to address income insecurity among affected workers and businesses and to fill gaps left by the government response. Finally, when the time comes, the fund will support recovery efforts.
Donors may contribute gifts of stock, property, and electronic fund transfers by calling the Santa Fe Community Foundation at 505-988-9715. Gifts by check can be mailed to the Santa Fe Community Foundation, 501 Halona St., Santa Fe, NM 87505. (Please note “All Together NM Fund” on the check itself.) Text “together” to (505) 333-4714 to give or visit http://www.AllTogtherNM.org?
What Could Come Next
So, today, we use the remainder of this post to offer ideas about what a just transition could look like. With the extra time we have in our lives, sequestered as we are, we can enrich our understanding of how we have been trapped by false choices in a corporate capitalist shell game and how we can reinvent a more just future.
Shock Doctrine by Naomi Klein
I’ve been reading Shock Doctrine by Naomi Klein — not exactly “escape” reading. Klein describes how when nations or regions experience political, economic, or environmental catastrophe, corporatists and governments (usually the US) systematically sweep in and use the crisis to install draconian economic and political “reforms” that gut a nation’s public wealth, privatize everything, saddle the country with debt, incarcerate activists, and pad the profits of the corporatists, i.e. exactly what is happening right now in the US, minus (for now) the arrest of most activists.
In a video featured in a prior post, Klein had laid out how corporatists use disasters to cement their grip on societies. But she also discussed how it is possible that out of this chaos a grassroots-driven movement could lead to a just transition, as more and more people realize that they are being swallowed by corporate greed. Below you will first find the nine-minute talk from Naomi Klein that lays out how the coronavirus is another manifestation of her Shock Doctrine message. Following that, you will find a mind-expanding discussion that includes Klein and other thinkers as to how we can beat “coronavirus capitalism.”
Nationalization Roundtable: A Conversation Among Some Very Smart Folks from The Next System Project
Since Reagan, we have been bludgeoned with the assertion that government can’t do anything but tax and spend, waste your dollars, and not respond to your most important needs. To “advance” our society we must rely upon neo-liberal policy that, as explained in both video above, is only serving to concentrate wealth in the 1% and power in the corporatists that serve the 1%. This excellent video outlines how these neo-liberal assumptions serve no one but the rich and how nationalizing key industries from our utilities, our airlines, and our energy sectors could democratize the American economy.
Sobering Thought from Dave Matthews
Dave Matthews has long been one of my favorite musicians. But today, the costs of decent seats at one of his concerts are well beyond our comfort level. Matthews was chosen to lead off a new free weekly concert series launched to help breakdown isolation while also raising funds for small businesses across America.
The music on this video is so appropriate to the times, so please listen carefully to the powerful lyrics that so capture our current crisis and how we need each other to make it through this. What was especially striking was how this mega star felt so awkward in talking about the virus and how to respond and how to behave alone in front of the camera. You’d expect a star like Matthews to be smooth and glib, but not in this video as Matthews evokes a charming awkwardness that conveys a bit of how we all feel these days, a kind of WTF is going on aura surrounding all we do, read, or see.
In one song that begins at 34M 30S into the show, the lyrics brought tears to my eyes (not hard these days). At another moment, Matthews was critiquing those who have been ignoring the mandate to isolate. He retold and analogy from a friend: “If you had 100 M&Ms in a jar and 80 of them were the best damned M&Ms ever, 16 of them would make you really sick, and 4 of them would kill you, how many of those M&Ms would you eat?” He then said: “Stay home. Stay away from me.” I highly recommend watching this video.
Paul & Roxanne