How we might have cared for each other

A pandemical plea

How we might have cared for each other

Dear friends,

Happy new year! I’ve got water boiling on the stove so I can pour it down the clogged drain of my kitchen sink. The building is ringing, as it has for a significant chunk of the past two years, with the sound of hammers and drills and winches (#endlessconstruction #gentrification #megacitylife #wfhlol). From the little sofa I bought for guests which has apparently been expropriated for the cat state, my cat, Gareth Evans, is blinking at me lovingly (I just fed her some boiled salmon and she lovesit. so.much).

I’m not very well at the moment, but I’m back at my desk today while trying to take as much space as possible for healing. It’s rough, but I’d be seriously taking the piss if I thought I had it worse than many others.

And well(!) doesn’t this logic bear a kinship to the kind that a pandemic under 2020s capitalism has relied on, too! —see how much worse it could be …. of course its bad in Those Places …. Things can’t be free …. Some people are going to die. The way we talk and feel about inequality has everything to do with how it actually is, and it does its work in everyday life no matter where you are in the world. We’re conditioned to accept it, and internalise its morality.

In Mexico this morning, President AMLO announced that he ‘woke up hoarse’. He’ll get a test, he said, but he thinks it’s just a flu. Meanwhile he went about his day, as he has for almost the whole time of covid19 so far, often without wearing a mask. His message to the country has been consistent and could perhaps be summarised as something like: we can’t let this virus get us down/in Mexico we care for each other. AMLO’s messaging often relies on national ideas of solidarity based in the family, of humility and hard-workingness, which has been handy for maintaining what he calls ‘republican austerity’ through a pandemic which some 600,000 subjects of the republic have died from.

Many political leaders have tried this on - rallying people under notions of sovereign resilience to get out of planning and resourcing a response to a new disease that has risked and taken lives in a manner completely proportional to global inequalities marked by gender, race, and ability.  The challenge is greater for leaders like AMLO, who arguably face the ongoing colonial demands of geopolitics before resources might be directed to ones’ own people, but it’s no less unedifying to witness the gaslighting and disregard of people who placed their hopes in this administration. All in order to get out of paying for the things that would save their lives - time out of work, PPE, medical care. In a country with an unflagging homicide rate of 29 per 100,000; over 90,000 forcibly disappeared or missing; 357,000 internally displaced; with a femicide rate that is only rising …. it might have been a start.

And I guess we can say that about so many places, with all their extant ways to die. Money and death can be red herrings in Discourse, but they matter greatly to the demands of justice and dignity.

In other news:

That’s it for now - if you’d like to see what I’ve been reporting on, links are on Linktree and I also post each piece to Instagram; if you’re interested in hiring me for writing, reporting and/or research, here I am on Linkedin.

Thankyou so much for reading, friend of the newsletter!

Till next time, Ann.


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Jamie Larson