In Mexico, the intensity of the Covid-19 pandemic is increasing. With more than 568,600 cases and 61,450 deaths (third largest number of Covid-19 deaths), the country is staggering under the Coronavirus pandemic. While the entire country is experiencing the impact, indigenous communities represent the hardest hit demographic. Data from Coneval, the national government’s social development agency, has shown that the Covid-19 fatality rate in Mexico’s poorest 427 municipalities is 14.1. On the other hand, the fatality rate in the country’s 54 wealthiest municipalities is 8.1, “meaning that people who live in impoverished parts of the country are almost twice as likely to die if they become sick with Covid-19 than those who live in affluent areas.”
Latin America has surpassed more than 5 million Covid-19 cases to overtake North America, with 4.8 million Covid-19 cases, as the region worst-hit by the Coronavirus pandemic. This astronomic increase in Covid-19 cases has been accompanied by a corresponding economic catastrophe of great magnitude. According to a United Nations Policy Brief entitled “The Impact of COVID-19 on Latin America and the Caribbean”, “Parts of Latin America and the Caribbean have become hotspots of the coronavirus (COVID19) pandemic, exacerbated by weak social protection, fragmented health systems and profound inequalities. COVID-19 will result in the worst recession in the region in a century, causing a 9.1% contraction in regional GDP in 2020…This could push the number of poor up by 45 million (to a total of 230 million) and the number of extremely poor by 28 million (to 96 million in total), putting them at risk of undernutrition.” The Policy Brief further states that “The sharp drop in economic activity is expected to lift the unemployment rate from 8.1% in 2019 to 13.5% in 2020. The poverty rate is expected to rise by 7.0 percentage points in 2020, to 37.2%, while extreme poverty is expected to rise by 4.5 percentage points, from 11.0% to 15.5%, which represents an increase of 28 million people.”
“Poverty is the parent of revolution and crime.” — Aristotle
It has been an extraordinary week. On the heels of a pandemic and months-long lockdown, a nationwide uprising erupted in response to the brutal killing of George Floyd. In some 75 cities across at least 16 states, and around the world, militant, multiracial gatherings of thousands of rightfully-enraged people overwhelmed police forces, prevented arrests, forced the evacuation of, and burned, a police precinct, and damaged and burned dozens of buildings. Mainstream news reporters from around the world were arrested and fired upon with rubber bullets on live television. Police SUVs drove into crowds of people. It has been the most extensive, and the most threatening, explosion of popular rage against the machine since the uprisings of 1967-8.
Consumer society has tried to legitimize itself by making people believe that it represents a sustainable way of living. For those in the First World, all the evidence that a meltdown is coming—the deterioration of the climate, the decline of the biosphere, the diminishing of available resources—has usually existed outside of immediate view. Commercialism and the mass media, which have gained an unprecedented presence in our lives through the digital revolution, have distracted us from these realities while the machine of global capital has continued to run.
with Chris Hedges
RT America on Apr 18, 2020
On the show this week, Chris Hedges talks to Cornell University Professor, Noliwe Rooks about how America’s public education system, under successive administrations, continues to be segregated along racial lines, and what is taught often shaped by business goals and ideas.
with Abby Martin
Empire Files on Feb 9, 2020
Abby Martin meets with Nithya Raman, progressive candidate for LA City Council in District 4, about her campaign to end homelessness in the nation’s epicenter and how local politicians refuse to take easy actions to eradicate the phenomenon–but refuse to in the interests of big real estate developers.
Originally posted on Jan. 20, 2013
“One day we must ask the question, “Why are there forty million poor people in America?” And when you begin to ask that question, you’re raising a question about the economic system, about a broader distribution of wealth. When you ask that question, you begin to question the capitalistic economy.” — “Where Do We Go From Here?” Martin Luther King, Jr., Aug. 16, 1967
Caleb Maupin on Jun 2, 2010
Your history textbooks may have you convinced he was a blind patriot and arch conservative. They were wrong. Martin Luther King was a socialist, and the following clips show him talking extensively about the need to redistribute wealth and “economic power”, the right to a job, and the dignity of the working class.
Happy New Year!
“I imagine you already know that I am much more socialistic in my economic theory than capitalistic. And yet I am not so opposed to capitalism that I have failed to see its relative merits. It started out with a noble and high motive, viz, to block the trade monopolies of nobles, but like most human systems it fell victim to the very thing it was revolting against. So today capitalism has outlived its usefulness. It has brought about a system that takes necessities from the masses to give luxuries to the classes.” — Martin Luther King, Jr., Letter to Coretta Scott, 1952
The United States, like the other parts of the world that have been ravaged by rampant economic inequality and corporate despotism, is headed for a social breakdown. This gets more apparent every time wealth disparity is shown to be at a decades-high level, every time the military budget is expanded billions of dollars to fight endless wars, every time the country’s militarized police shoots an innocent person. Ten or twenty years from now, our society’s current form will have taken on an extreme version of itself: no real freedoms, basically no semblance of democracy, and conditions for the majority of people that are in or approaching squalor.
The holidays are at hand. Boycott Season is in effect. As the snow starts to fall, the commercial war of the season asserts its dominance. Our identities as citizens are quickly buried in a blizzard of advertising that defines us as consumers.
The forces of fascism are trying to convince us of a deadly lie: that it’s desirable, natural, or inevitable for great amounts of poor and nonwhite people to die off because of climate change. This lie enters the discourse in many forms, both obvious and not. But every time it appears, it has to be countered with the declaration that we must not write off any lives as disposable or doomed; we must work to save as many people as possible throughout the coming catastrophe.