Organizing Notes

Bruce Gagnon is coordinator of the Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space. He offers his own reflections on organizing and the state of America's declining empire....

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Location: Bath, Maine, United States

With a new administration in Washington it will be a challenge to get the 'liberals' to hold Biden-Harris to the few 'progressive promises' they made during their campaign. Biden is bringing back many of Bush & Obama's neo-cons to head his foreign policy. I'll be on this case without hesitation.

Saturday, April 04, 2020

Life in Darmstadt


By Regina Hagen (Darmstadt, Germany)

I guess the situation is similar everywhere. In Germany, the political leadership has never denied that Corona is dangerous, but the responses came too late. Privatization of the health system has increased in the past. The German government was warned in a study a few year ago what a pandemic would look like. The forecast of the study is now occurring, but there is shortage of the most basic medical supplies for health staff and protective supplies for the population.

As elsewhere, it is unclear whether the worst is yet to come. The death rate (is that the correct word?), however, is increasing observably - it seems a number of people are very ill a long time before they die, and many of those who die are not old. Also worrying is the fact that not only can Corona be transferred by people without symptoms, but in a senior citizens home in Germany quite a number of old people who were infected died without ever showing symptoms.

Many aspects of this crisis are worrying. One of them is the prominent role the Germany military, the Bundeswehr plays. They are well equipped with hospitals, supplies, means of transportation, and (medical) staff, and do indeed provide a lot of support and supplies outside the Bundeswehr arena (it seems that 800 Bundeswehr members are reported as suspected cases, 200 as confirmed infected cases). However - why don't the civil protection and emergency services play a larger role? As often before (floods, forest fires, etc.) those services and their supplies are not sufficiently equipped and staffed to cope with large crises. In addition, Bundeswehr does good public relations and tells the story of the help they give.

We should demand that our country spend more on civil services rather than the military - who needs 2% spending for Bundeswehr when the real challenges lie elsewhere: in this pandemic, the climate change, the global militarization, the danger posed by nuclear weapons, the increase in surveillance connected to this crises etc. etc.

Additionally, there is now wider discussion on the work conditions and salaries of those people who are suddenly praised as "system relevant" - not only doctors, nurses, and other clinic staff, but also those working in supermarkets, garbage collection, delivery services, transportation etc. etc. I wonder whether this appreciations will continue once the crises subsides and whether working conditions and payment for these people will increase.

The situation is bad, here and elsewhere. They say 70-80% of the population must have had the virus before the pandemic will eventually come to a stop - that is still a long way and means many more will be ill or die. And we haven't seen the real brunt of the pandemic in countries in the Global South!

I am fine, and my mother - now 96! - does well - although she really misses us, since we can't currently travel and visit her.

~ Regina Hagen is a board member in the Global Network.

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