Faced with escalating death tolls, some reactionary figures are pushing hard to pin the blame for COVID-19 on China instead of their own ineptitude. Davide Mastracci joins Team Advantage to examine how the “blame China” narrative serves to inoculate neoliberal politicians and spokespeople from critique, while contributing to a long history of anti-communism— with important consequences for those of us seeking social and political transformation.
The Alberta Investment Management Corporation (AIMCo) vaporized $4 billion last week, and has been bailing out failing oil and gas companies— as these same companies offload environmental liabilities to the public, and throw funding behind conservative political organizations. What’s going on? Duncan Kinney of Progress Alberta joins Team Advantage to discuss their recent report, Alberta’s Failed Oil and Gas Bailout.
Essential workers are experiencing a speed-up as demand for their services increases, while millions stay home— as their own sense of time, and the separation between “life” and “work,” blurs. How is it that we came to be ruled by clocks, and how did people experience time prior to industrial capitalism? Team Advantage explores the phenomenon of capitalist time-discipline, consulting E. P. Thompson, Moishe Postone, and Mark Fisher (among others) as resources.
Thanks to our central Canadian correspondent Brendan (@Neeedleseye) for joining us!
Sources for this episode: E. P. Thompson, “Time, Work-Discipline, and Industrial Capitalism” Moishe Postone, “Time, Labor, and Social Domination” Mark Fisher, “Cybertime Crisis Lecture” (YouTube) Ivor Southwood, “Non-Stop Inertia” Barbara Ehrenreich, “Bait and Switch” Daniel Greene and Daniel Joseph, “The Digital Spatial Fix” Jonathan Crary, “24/7: Late Capitalism and the Ends of Sleep”
Alberta is leaving workers without immigration status behind, excluding them from health care coverage in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Marco Luciano of Migrante Alberta joins Team Advantage to discuss the demands migrant and undocumented workers are making, as well as the role workers play in providing essential services during the pandemic.
Canada is fake, but it continues to dispossesses Indigenous peoples from the land— and communities are, in turn, organizing to to get it back. Shiri Pasternak, co-author of the Yellowhead Institute’s Land Back Red Paper, joins Team Advantage to discuss the project of reclaiming indigenous jurisdiction. What does “consent” look like if you can’t say no? What interests is Canada’s legal system designed to defend when questions of jurisdiction arise?
The last ‘modern’ pandemic occurred in 1918 as the First World War wound down— and revolution was in the air. What can be learned from what happened in 1918, and can the responses to that pandemic tell us anything about our own moment? Team Advantage assembles to discuss the relevance of 1918 in our own times.
Are front-line workers equipped with what they need to prevent the spread of COVID-19— and if not, how are they organizing to ensure the health and safety of their workplaces? Roland Schmidt, president of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers Local 730, joins Team Advantage to discuss the conditions at mail facilities, the difference between management’s communications and actions, and the importance of workfloor organizing in getting demands met.