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Summer 2020

The Politics of Care

Neoliberalism has underwritten the greatest social crisis in a generation. This issue insists there is another way forward: a politics of care that centers people’s basic needs and connections to fellow citizens, the global community, and the natural world.

The Politics of Care

From the COVID-19 pandemic to uprisings over police brutality, we are living in the greatest social crisis of a generation. But the roots of these latest emergencies stretch back decades. At their core is a brutal neoliberal ideology that combines deep structural racism with a relentless assault on social welfare. Its results are the failing economic and public health systems we confront today—those that benefit the few and put the most vulnerable in harm’s way.

Contributors to this volume not only protest these neoliberal roots of our present catastrophe, but they insist there is another way forward: a new kind of politics—a politics of care—that centers people’s basic needs and connections to fellow citizens, the global community, and the natural world. Imagining a world that promotes the health and well-being of all, they draw on different backgrounds—from public health to philosophy, history to economics, literature to activism—as well as the example of other countries and the past, from the AIDS activist group ACT-UP to the Black radical tradition. Together they point to a future, as Simon Waxman writes, where “no one is disposable.”

Essays

The right response to COVID-19 is to rebuild our economy from the ground up, putting people to work in a massive jobs program to secure the public health of all.

Amy Kapczynski, Gregg Gonsalves
We may feel individually powerless to contribute to social transformation. But each of us bears responsibility for helping to create a more just world.
Vafa Ghazavi

During the AIDS crisis, different contingents of the LGBTQ movement set aside their differences to prioritize mutual care.

Amy Hoffman

Struggles for Medicare for All and a Green New Deal are two sides of the same coin.

Sunaura Taylor

With few restrictions and no tracing of the disease’s spread, the government is relying upon Swedish character and traditions to see it through the pandemic.

Adele Lebano
Germany's low death rate and quick payout of relief to workers makes a case for social democracy as preparedness.
Paul Hockenos

Despite President Bolsonaro's COVID-19 denialism, a small Brazilian city has one of the most ambitious responses in the world.

Leandro Ferreira, Paul R. Katz
Society relies on the unpaid, invisible work of parents—mostly mothers—to care for children and to buffer kids from trauma and stress. Supporting that work during COVID-19 requires direct cash support to families.
Anne L. Alstott
Neoliberalism rests on the myth that “good” families can provide for their own without public support.
Julie Kohler
A new geoeconomic order is creating opportunities for organizing along supply chains.
Manoj Dias-Abey

Mourning the elderly lost to COVID-19.

Simon Waxman

COVID-19 is having a disproportionate effect among vulnerable populations.

Shaun Ossei-Owusu

St. Louis is a microcosm of American structural racism.

Colin Gordon, Walter Johnson, Jason Q. Purnell, Jamala Rogers

Jalil Muntaqim, a Black Panther imprisoned since 1971, is one of thousands of elderly prisoners the United States has refused to free during the pandemic.

Dan Berger
The rage on display in Minneapolis is not only about police violence. It is also about the country’s utter disregard for the pain of black Americans.
Melvin Rogers
Sociologist Alex Vitale explains how the U.S. policing crisis begins with politics—the decision to embrace neoliberal austerity and to turn the social problems it creates over to police.
Alex Vitale, Scott Casleton

A culture of protest takes hold in 1960s LA.

Robin D. G. Kelley

“In a season of unimaginable death, my students emerged as visionaries. I hope to live to see the world they create." 

Farah Jasmine Griffin

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