The current coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is disrupting our lives, threatening our lives, and even, in a strange way, reconnecting us with our lives. We are learning new phrases like “social distancing,” relearning old habits like frequent handwashing, and reconnecting with seldom seen friends and family by way of social media and phone calls. But disruption of normal life is the main thing we feel, and it’s not comfortable.
It is also an opportunity – an opportunity to reconstruct society on better, more sustainable, more just grounds. As I write this, my city plans to open free daycare centers for the children of first responders and healthcare workers; housing the homeless is finally being considered in many places; the federal government is talking about plans to give citizens supplemental income; factories are being switched over to vitally needed healthcare equipment; and renter evictions are being halted. There is a growing feeling in society that we are all in this together. We need to put profits and personal interests aside and think of what is best for the whole community.
That’s the opportunity that could come from this coronavirus catastrophe. An opportunity to move American society away from greed and excess consumption to a society where, in the words of one old radical, “Everyone does better when everyone does better.” Each of us has a personal interest in seeing that everyone else has good health care, has a well-paying job, is treated fairly, has access to free education, has enough to eat and has a roof over their head.
These are just some of the features of the new American society we should build when this emergency passes. As one of our longtime activists keeps reminding us, “We want everyone to have a nice life.” Now is the time to push for that better society and create the socialist future that we need.
–John C. Reiger
State Chair, Peace and Freedom Party