CounterPunch supports the Floyd Rebellion and Black Lives Matter.
Please consider supporting an organization working on police accountability, additional resources on the movement and how you can get involved can be found here.

FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

In the New Dystopia

It is difficult to neatly encapsulate the shift that has occurred in our collective perception and experience over the last several weeks. That all semblance of ‘certainty’ and ‘normalcy’ has disappeared seems no longer the main feature—what stands out is the psychological shift underway, proceeding on the collective and individual levels. What will this mean, how will it continue to evolve? Every conversation I have now touches on the coronavirus or those things that surround it. Everything I read online is related to it. ‘Social distancing’, ‘flattening the curve’—these phrases have become ubiquitous, standardized.

The situation is increasingly and rapidly revealing a number of uncomfortable but long obvious truths about our reality, perhaps none more so than the extent to which so much we take for granted is based on inertia, faith, and on a most rickety apparatus. A humming economy, the wide availability of consumer goods, school, transport, work—all melt away in the face of the virus.

There exists, in this hyperconnected strangeness, the sense that we are living through something predictable, foreseeable. This goes beyond the specific realities of a gutted pandemic response plan (not to mention public health capabilities) and general poor management of the crisis to something more metaphysical: the ubiquitous sense in the present of doom, of an apocalypse, the feeling that we are at the end of time, that there is no future. One has the sense of the present as deja vu, as almost a projected future of the past, of the 20th century, which saw the breakdown coming in the 21st. This sentiment is by no means new, but it has certainly grown more acute—it feels as if we have moved into another level of dystopia.

Of course, then there is the pure economic reality of the situation: over three million jobless claims last week, by far the most ever recorded in such a brief time span. We are seeing the artifice of the ‘service’ economy disappear—again, hardly shocking for those of us who have watched this patchwork mess limp along for years or longer, especially for those of us who have worked in it. The mainstream may (or may not) be realizing what has been clear to many of us for a long time: there is no real economy.

As the situation worsens, as the wave breaks, there is something extraordinarily chilling as elected officials and ordinary people call for Trump to assert never-before-activated executive powers—as the Justice Department attempts to enact its own draconian measures—in a desperate embrace of authoritarianism, made even more chilling by the fact that many of us understand this and are willing to concede (some of it) may be necessary. All, particularly in light of the realization settling in that things, will never go ‘back to normal.’ What was normal?

The plain fact is that we are living as unsustainably as ever—we were before this, and we’ve hit a massive speed bump that may have ricocheted us off the edge of the cliff toward which we were already careening. If it wasn’t the virus, it would be something else. And while the United States is uniquely poorly positioned to address this, the massive jolt this has provoked the world over makes it clear enough that the systems of capitalism, of industrial civilization itself, have been teetering on the edge. What this will create is unclear, and even for those of us not totally surprised by these events, the speed has often been difficult to grasp. But something is happening, something new is coming; be prepared

More articles by:
Weekend Edition
June 05, 2020
Friday - Sunday
Jacob F. Lee – Matthew E. Stanley
Direct Action and the Rejection of Monumental History
Louis Proyect
Reflections on My COVID-19 Immunity
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Mad Bull, Lost Its Way
Stanley L. Cohen
Everywhere is War
Louis Yako
America Has Always Been Burning with Racism: Who is the Enemy?
Jefferson Morley
Showdown on 16th Street
Eve Ottenberg
Killing Workers (and Customers) – With No Liability
Peter Linebaugh
Say Their Names!
Melvin Goodman
Trump’s War on Democracy
Paul Street
Dear History Students
Lola Allen
How Has Bolivia’s de Facto Regime Taken Advantage of COVID-19 to Consolidate Its Power and Repress Political Rivals?
Jonathan Cook
As US protests Show, the Challenge is How to Rise Above the Violence Inherent in State Power
Alvaro Huerta
Police Abuse in America’s Barrios
Ron Jacobs
Generals Are Not the People’s Ally
Daniel Warner
Resilience
Ramzy Baroud
‘Wolf Warrior Diplomacy’: Israel’s China Strategy in Peril
David Yearsley
Dam Nation and Woody Guthrie
Sam Husseini
The Barr Coup 
Richard C. Gross
Bunker Mentality
Pam Martens - Russ Martens
BlackRock is Bailing Out Its ETFs with Fed Money and Taxpayers Eating Losses; It’s Also the Sole Manager for $335 Billion of Federal Employees’ Retirement Funds
Marshall Auerback
The Battle Over Free Speech Online is a Volcano That’s Ready to Blow
David Rosen
Trump’s Election to Lose
Jack Rasmus
Confronting Institutional Racism
Joseph Natoli
Ubu Orange
Gary Olson
Jakarta: Force and Fraud at Home and Abroad. What’s Next?
Sister Karen M. Donahue
I’m Outraged by Trump’s Church Photo-Op
Jaelani Turner-Williams
Racism is a Public Health Crisis
Chuck Collins
As 42.6 Million Americans File for Unemployment, Billionaires Add Half a Trillion Dollars to Their Cumulative Wealth
Jill Richardson
It Doesn’t Matter Who Protested and Who “Rioted”
Richard Ward
A Matter of Focus
Colin Todhunter
Food and Agroecology: Coping with Future Shocks
Ariel Dorfman
Literature in Times of Turmoil
Russell Mokhiber
ICE Wants to Deport Marc Petitpierre to Switzerland
Liz Theoharis
Organizing the Rich or the Poor? Which America Will Be Ours After the Pandemic?
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
Social Media Sucks for Reporting News
Denita Jones
Going Back to Work in a Pandemic
Tracey L. Rogers
A Tale of Two Americas
Paul Cantor
Thank You, Peaceful Protesters!
Susan Block
Sadistic Policing
Nicky Reid
Because Imperialists Rape: Anarcha-Feminism In the Ashes of the MeToo Era
Marilyn Bruya
Trump is the Looter to Worry About
Norman Solomon
Solidarity Includes Wearing a Mask at Protests
Kim C. Domenico
Misfit Redemption: Escape from the Cruelty of White Liberal Innocence
John Kendall Hawkins
The Coming Purge of Doppelgängers and the Palast Revolution
Stephen Cooper
America is Burning
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail