First, the good news:
- Chelsea Manning is out of jail and, due to many supporters, her fines are paid off. The outpouring of support to help her get on her feet is wonderful.
- The judge in the Katy Perry song copyright infringement case threw out the jury decision because “the similarities between the song were simply basic and fundamental building blocks of music.”
- JSTOR just opened a mass of their articles and books to the public
Next, the bad news:
COVID-19, aka Coronavirus, has spread around the world, forcing people to minimize contact with others or locking down whole countries, laying off millions and shutting down large portions of the economy. I wish I could say this pandemic was overblown, but the images and numbers from Italy, other countries and the US, demonstrate that millons of people are at risk.
Henceforth, all of our events are either canceled or have moved on-line. You can join one of our Matrix discussion lists (like IRC, but you don’t have to be logged in to get notifications on your phone) or our activists email discussion list. We are looking at using https://meet.mayfirst.org/ for video chat or Mumble for audio only for meetings. We will notify you in the future with the details.
For the sake of everyone’s health, it is important to minimize interactions with others, maintain a distance of at least six feet from others and not gather in large groups. Whether the lockdown we see in Italy, California, New York or Illinois is our destiny is unclear, but we aren’t reducing the spread of COVID-19 fast enough.
Our own government’s failure to prepare for this pandemic since it first appeared in China over two months ago, is bad enough. Closing the White House pandemic planning office and Trump’s efforts to cut back on funding for the CDC while increasing spending on the military by nearly $100 billion makes their actions akin to malpractice. The hollowing out of our N95 mask stockpile, which has not been substantially replenished since 2009, was a bipartisan choice. We needed to spend $350 million a year to maintain our N95 mask stockpile at the level we need now. That cost is equivalent to two Boeing KC-46 aerial tankers, a single Littoral Combat Ship or about three F-35s, three botched military procurement projects. Our national priorities are fucked up.
We will fix those priorities, but right now we need to get this pandemic under control. Here are ways you can help (we now have a page with these and newer resources):
- know your enemy: Ars Technica has a comprehensive guide to COVID-19 that they are updating daily and there is this collaborative guide to COVID-19 care;
- if you or others were recently unemployed, Mass. Jobs with Justice has a page on How to Apply for Unemployment Benefits in Massachusetts;
- the Asian American Resource Workshop has a limited list of resources on a variety of topics including worker, housing and disability rights;
- join a mutual aid network. Mass. Jobs with Justice has a list though this Google spreadsheet will probably be more up to date;
- you can donate time on any computers you have to help with COVID-19 protein folding calculations;
- the Open Source COVID19 Medical Supplies group is up on Facebook and has files you can download to use to make different protective equipment or parts for medical devices. They have designs for masks (elsewhere are these Design 1 and Design 2) and if you can sew, hospitals NEED masks:
- IFixit needs help crowdsourcing repair information for hospital equipment;
- if you are a freelance journalist, add your name to this list of freelancers for on the ground reporting;
Finally, the opportunities.
COVID-19 is rapidly accelerating trainwreck. Like the 2008 financial crisis, Hurricane Katrina or the devestation of Puerto Rico, it will be used by the 1% to monopolize more wealth and power. Here are a two efforts that put their profits ahead of our lives: Patent trolls try to shut down covid testing and 3D printed ventilator hero got a patent threat.
We must use this crisis to build a better world rather than enriching billionaires and their lackeys. Let’s start sharing ideas.