tv Historian Mike Davis on the Coronavirus CSPAN May 5, 2020 7:39am-9:05am EDT
federal restriction on aids and hiv funding of foreign affiliates of us-based groups live at 10 am eastern on c-span. then afterwords the national constitution center reviews the case with legal scholars. the senate banking committee holds a confirmation hearing for pending nominations including the treasury department's special inspector general for pandemic recovery. there is also a confirmation hearing on c-span2 at 9:30 a.m. eastern for texas representative john radcliffe to serve as the next director of national intelligence. 11 am the senate is back to consider the nomination for head of the national counterintelligence and security center. >> next, historian mike davis discusses the coronavirus and offers his thoughts on what must be done to prevent future pandemics.
this is an hour and 20 minutes. >> okay, welcome welcome everyone to this talk with mike davis. it is exciting to see people joining from all over the country, all around the world really. it is exciting to have this chance to hear and engage with mike. and a longtime comrade, we are also both publishers of mike davis, very proud and we are teaming up to do a series of things during this pandemic crisis as part of our
political, intellectual, cultural mission but also because we are on lockdown, trying to find new ways to share information. it is very exciting for me to be collaborating with my close friend, you might have cut haymarket, with naomi klein, marvelous events, superinformative, inspiring, 15,000 of us participated aiming to be a theory they put together, haymarket in fact has already organized a follow-up to naomi klein, and they are
going to reconvene these three and discuss the politics of coronavirus and that next talk will be broadcast on thursday april 9th, not this thursday but next thursday at 5:00 eastern time, same as the talk with mike davis, the following thursday the series continues with great dialogue between scholars and activists milton gilmore and naomi narrow, two of the great experts on the prison industrial conflict on the incarceration boom and the reasons for that and the reasons for that. she will talk to them on thursday april 16th at 5:00 pm so these links will be available below. you can register on event bright.
the talk with mike will be recorded. you can access it on the haymarket books, youtube channel and the leading independent radical publishing houses in the united states, close comrades and 2 houses that are suffering during this incredible crisis like a lot of other organizations across our movements, this is a big challenge for us. if you are getting something from this event, the great talk with naomi and others. if you enjoyed profiting from
the knowledge from haymarket books, it is a good time, something we appreciate. by books from us to keep us going, get this going, we also have if you are in the position of -- superappreciate it right now. more housekeeping. mike's talk is a little different in that we are one on one with mike to engage with him and put questions to him. listen to him talk and thinking of things you want him to address, respond to the videos, if you are watching on twitter,
suite us. i will collate with my comrade john mcdonald and anthony arnold, a chance to have a more intimate one on one with mike. if you are having some trouble with broadcast quality, image quality reduce the image quality and get better sound, this is all new for us, we are stumbling a little bit, have a little forbearance for our technical difficulties which are probably inevitable. let me say a couple words about mike. a lot of folks who are tuning
in, some might be new, one of the great left historians and political and cultural analysts we are lucky to have. he has written and edited 20 books across a wide array of topics but it is fair to say there are a couple main threads in his work, he will join us from san diego, a focus on southern california. books like ecology of fear, he has analyzed the history of los angeles, san diego and i bring this up partly because mike has a new book coming out in just two weeks in the middle of this crisis, he has been working on it for years called set the night on fire, la in the 60s, a
magisterial history of la radical 1960s, black and brown movements that propelled the city, what he cowrote with longtime historian john weiner, fantastic book available for preorder, links to that so check that out. another main thread of mike's career as a thinker and activists is the global effects of globalization, our era, some of the contradictions and complexities that involved including disease and the relationship of the pandemics and so forth with the development of global capital. so there is nobody in better position to analyze our current
moment than mike davis. what we will do in the upcoming hour, mike is going to lead us through ways to see the policies of this pandemic, talk for 30 minutes or so, filling out a series of issues and i will try to collate a bunch of questions you send in and we have more time but i want to be mindful of mike's time after 15 minutes. without further a do, mike davis. >> i have to apologize at the beginning, i have the coronavirus, the one that causes the common cold. i may be coughing through this interview.
[cough] >> here we go. >> maybe we should just start very basically with you describing just a little bit this coronavirus, how does it differ from influenza? how do you see this new, what is most folks surprising emergent disease, how do you place this in longer history? >> in the late twentieth century coronavirus mainly entered veterinary medicine because a devastating epidemic particularly among young animals, coronavirus is responsible for a lot of economic damage in the pork
industry but also attacks cattle. it was known there were two coronavirus is including the one i had which caused mild colds. there is research to understand more than that and suddenly in china and hong kong a new disease emerged against the background of the flu outbreak, attributed to avian flu and it seemed to spread at the speed of light from one person, sometimes -- in a hotel with six scientists and within 24 hours was in five other countries and looked like it was about to become a pandemic
but it probably wasn't influenza so we began a search to find out exactly what this was that was causing this disease known as severe acute respiratory syndrome, sars. it was discovered to be a coronavirus which was unexpected. coronavirus is, i should back up a little bit. viruses are basically parasitic genes that figure out a way to hijack your genetic proteinmaking machinery, to figure out a way to get out of it, the cell. there are two kinds of viruses, the ones based on dna and that
have proofreading mechanism so replicate accurate copies of themselves but the great majority of viruses, translate instructions from the dna to make proteins but are in a viruses have no spellcheck as it were and they are constantly making errors and evolving, mutating 1 million times faster than anything else. a scientists wrote recently in a human cell it would take 7 million years of evolution to produce, to change it, the rna
virus occurs, this sped up 1 million times where viruses are basically xeroxes printing out error written copies. the advantage facing the human immune system because there will always be some slightly changed variety of the virus that can resist the antibodies that the immune system is producing. coronaviruses in particular have the largest genome among rna viruses, twice the size of the genetic package but to go back to the sars epidemic, sars was frightening, sars was initially coming 30% of the people, 2000 people got it and
it stimulated a crash program in the united states to find antivirals to develop a vaccine to understand how this thing worked because it was so much different than the common cold, but the thing that really saved us in 2003 is the fact that sars was only contagious when people were symptomatic so you only spread it when you were displaying symptoms. influenza could spread a symptomatically, people who have it, presymptomatic by people in the incubation stage. this gives influenza a supply
that coronavirus didn't and it was easier to suppress. a lot of luck was involved and within a year, more cases, research on a vaccine, sars, the chief enemy of humanity was just in avian blue that would have the killing capacity and universal dissemination of the spanish flu in 1918-1919. then in 2012 there was an outbreak in saudi arabia. middle east respiratory
syndrome and this is the curse of 2 common. don't know if you remember the mummy movies where you go into the tomb, diseases are carried by two deaths. and spread to camels to humans and it also turned out to be a coronavirus similar in many respects to sars. in the beginning it had an even higher mortality rate. once again it was contagious only in the stage where you were representing the symptoms.
in the reservoir of coronavirus and coronavirus is that were not only endemic to bats but stunning array of subtypes and strains. one city goes to 100 different bat species showing 400 circulating to humans. never said 100 species but 1250 of bat species so potential danger is greater than anyone can imagine. but finally about the current virus numbers, 2, covid-19, the disease, the virus.
>> okay. let's switch gears a bit and move from side to the political response. you wrote a recent piece contrasting the success of china's containment efforts, for example. talk a little bit about your sense of different responses nationally, globally to the crisis. what do you see as the high and low points politically in the response? >> china responded to the new virus in the same way as sars. in both cases local officials, wasn't depressed, tried to tried to cover up the case and spread misinformation and allowed to become an epidemic. then the government steps in and their mobilization was highly
effective. now, when moveon was quarantine quarantined, the window was maybe two weeks which allowed the chinese, allowed beijing to bring in doctors and nurses and experts from across china, concentrated on wuhan. china because it manufacture so many pharmaceutical and medical supplies -- the combination of being able to concentrate, in our view, medical personnel and the fact they had protective equipment and test kits with precise it. mortality and wuhan was 5%. in learning what needs to be done, other small outbreaks in
china was 1%. there's an article that people, particularly theater the authon leaders of western countries, have been learning the wrong lessons. they are learning that you need a semi-totalitarian surveillance society in order to suppress such a pandemic. i don't think putting 1 million uighurs in camps or surveying all those jaywalkers in china, reducing their social credit scores, -- [inaudible] some success in china was first of all grassroots organizations.
90 billion members in the communist party. so you had a grassroots organization. the medical care in china has always been a problem within a lot of cutbacks, china's practices -- but soon it has a large practice in committee. but it's medical research committee. now, almost everything we know about coronavirus is coming out of china's research. one of things that beijing said when it took charge of this, and it did the general thing back in 2003, is encourage china to share its research and findings.
even when republican senator -- the chinese lead out of control. the chinese literature. this is also the case in east asian countries. south korea had caskets and was able to test anybody it suspected if they had it. so they didn't have to shut down so much of the economy. taiwan stockpiled enormous number of n95. n95. of ventilators. it did have amazing pandemic stockpile, which has been absolutely life-saving. but the important thing is,
first, that they learn the wrong lesson, that authoritarian surveillance societies are what allow it to fight diseases like this. but we must begin to think about how to develop our own model, emergency. learn to mobilize its grassroots, one that is based on -- to reinforcing medical workers, one that has based on stockpile, one of which the development of new vaccines and antivirals is undertaken by the public sector. because actually right now there's been a revolution in immunology and the development
of pharmaceuticals that started with aids. we're in an entirely different position scientifically than we were in the 1980s or 1990s. for that matter, even five years ago. there's a scientific revolution going on. there's a real possibility of treating universal vaccines. the laissez-faire neoliberal system of public medicine, public health has been -- this revolution and enabling it to save millions and millions of lives. so there's no bottleneck, no problem with research. the problem is the politics.
the problem is private ownership of the key pharmaceutical industries. >> right. you point out the fact that big pharma which is basically our system of anticipating and responding to these pandemics is fundamentally uninterested actually in universal solutions, universal vaccines. constitutionally uninterested in the solutions that would put itself out of business. >> yeah. i mean, imagine you are an engineer and you develop a blueprint for a car that would never need to be repaired. it lasts a lifetime and it can be made very cheaply. and so you're excited and shoulu take it to the board of general motors. are they going to prove the development of a car that would
put all the -- of course not and that's been exactly the reaction of big pharma to universal vaccines. the universal flu vaccine, i think probably majority of people in the research community would agree, it's entirely possible. it just not has had the profit motive of big pharma and it hasn't had public spending behind it. but the thing about big pharma, the 18 companies, only five great ones, but 18 companies that control 90% of development in pharmaceuticals, is not simply that they hike up prices and exploit it, but that what
justifies the crisis and the profit-taking, justifies their monopoly status has been they are the research that develops new lifeline blood. it's not true. they are totally abdicated to develop research and development with tropical diseases of antivirals, and of antibiotics. most of you know it's extremely dangerous go in the hospital in the last few years because there's staph infections running wild in the hospitals. and 30, 50,000 americans year are dying because of these infections. so the great antibiotic revolution of the 1930s and the 1950s is being rolled back in big pharma, was not address
that with antibiotics. they don't do what they claim their social justification is. at the same time, they are spending more on advertising than they do on r&d, particularly things that are highly profitable drugs like sexual dysfunction in men my age. it seems a national bias for research. they don't want the competition of their products to get that new product or new technology, and many times they take it off the market so they are actually suppressing medicine. we could go on for a long time talking about this, but it's not
just drug prices that have to be addressed. really you have to talk about breaking up big pharma. we have to talk about public reduction of prescription medicines, particularly like-minded medicines. elizabeth warren propose a couple of years ago, had a bill that would do just that. she talked about public sector production of medicines. >> it's absolutely necessary. okay, now you're moving to this area of how we, the progressive movements can think about the response and organize for a response to this. when you get a little bit more into that, your sense of what a program can be, what your sense
of different countries fought at this point because there have been some, you know, encouraging response from governments in the woods across the world. so lay out a kind of program forest of how you think we should be moving, you know, to think and organize and imagine our response. >> i had an interview a week ago, and there was a distinction between two kinds of demands. developing commands, which were dramatic reforms, but they could coexist with our economic system. -- demands which may be didn't require socialism, but challenge the logic of capital and private
ownership. now, when i say redeveloping, i'm talking about we try this advance position of a new deal which was the second bill of rights, the social economic bill of rights that fdr made the platform and his final campaign in 1944. just go to our revolution of bernie.com or whatever it is, and you'll find not only excellent, immediate demands about the pandemic but the program that he's been fighting for for so long. and obviously single-payer universal healthcare is essential. but would it be against the approach if you put it that way. if you go back and look at the 19 socialist platform, we look
at the current crisis, and we say well, we have to socialize with production and development of medicines on a basis of universal healthcare. we also need to look at the relationship with private corporations, banks and corporations to the current crisis. take amazon, for instance. thousands of small businesses disappear forever. with amazon it sets up with the volume picks up and they are making extraordinary progress, but that being sanctioned, small competitors in bigger companies,
consolidate a market position that makes amazon the biggest monopoly probably in the world history. we could use antitrust on this, like elizabeth warren said. we could tighten the regulated, make it pay higher taxes. amazon has become an infrastructure for the production of information and distribution of goods. it should become a public utility. 1910 associates were fighting against the power company, the water companies to socialize them and make them democratically controlled and owned public utilities. i think amazon should be
considered a public utility. in the near term because the demands -- i'm arguing and it are glcm set in the nation that we should go to access profit. in world war i, world war ii and again in the korean war they were putting accents profit caps with caps, profits at 70%, anything above that had to be repaid to the government. it was fully implemented. fdr in 1942 put a cap on -- [inaudible] anything over $25,000 a year, 100% income tax. it only lasted about six months
because there was a huge reaction but it was popular. so we need to think about this is something we should urge the democrats and progressives need to take a stand on right now these two issues, public development of life saving drugs, big pharma. but in the meantime, the three democratic presidents -- access profits tax. >> okay. i want to get back to this question of demands strategy, resistance. but it's about 6:40, halfway
through this, and we wanted this to be a real back-and-forth with folks or tuning in, and we've gotten a lot of questions, really smart, important questions from folks some going to group a couple of these and some of it takes a back to the earlier points that you're hitting, but that's good because some people might be turning halfway through. a couple of people asked about the global rollout of this pandemic both in terms of its impact and thin the kind of responses we're seeing to it. example nick james asked why and how has it reached africa so late? is that bizarre? what do you think of that? another person asked an interesting question about the pandemics impact on mexico, you know, both the mexican government and trump government took this gnosticism at foot at
how is it rolling out or wiser bully up in way? what is your analysis of the progress of the pandemic, especially in the global cell? >> there's been a lot of nonsense spoken about africa in particular. now, italy a scheduled with 22% of the population over 65. west africa is the youngest, only 3% of the population at all. we've heard a lot of stuff about it. don't have much in africa because people are so young and its a hotter climate. this will is in some ways -- we need to keep in mind from the start that, as far as the weather goes, the 1918, 1919
influenza became the most -- in 1918. it's the height of the summer on the idea that -- from the disease in the same way the disease will follow the same pattern as it has in the united states or western europe is equally, for this reason. africa has 24 million people with aids. thousands of people with tuberculosis. 40% of africans simply have no access to clean water or sanitation. so urging people to wash her hands with soap, for example, is impossible. 70% of urban africans live in
slums with social distancing isn't possible. now, nutrition, civil wars, so let me make an analogy. in 1918, the spanish went through north america and western europe on the western front, thousands of soldiers got it. the greatest mortality, only 60% of the people who died from that spanish flu died in western india. why? because they were famished your the british force exports to green to britain. it had confiscated crops to feed its indian armies in the field. people were now malnourished and
their anime systems were suppressed. some of them couldn't survive cholera. the prices were unaffordable to many in the indian population, including many people died. so the risk of co-infection. what happens when you have hiv and you have aids? what happens if your immune system gets suppressed by hunger? what happens when you don't have sanitation? it's an entirely different situation from china or the west when you have a relatively healthy population that can access medicine. african doctors and international organizations have been warning that african is a time bomb. millions of people could die in
africa. it could also erase any advantage that is incurred by younger opinion systems. but there's something else that needs to be considered, and that is the studies that talk about the beginning of coronavirus is in animals and pigs and horses and cattle. what he discovered is that the same coronavirus has two modes of operation. they can spread through your respiratory system and become a -- but it could also spread by the fecal -- severe gastrointestinal disease. and the reason this research is significant is, especially in animals they found that the
gastrointestinal part is a far more deadly. so there's a severe chance that as coronavirus encounters populations of people who lack sanitation and lack access to water, that it could flip the switch. there are already minority cases, people with diarrhea and nausea, for example. it could become a very large number of people. i guess what i'm ultimately trying to say here is that there are two humanities already. the danger is that this pandemic
will deepen between those two humanities, those two kinds of human populations. one that allows its defenses against the pandemic and the other having bodies that are extraordinarily fragile. >> all right. a long time seeing of yours, whether writing about disease or other fundamental issues like climate change who's actually vulnerable, cruise on the frontlines of that. we catch with your questions about this. again this is really big, really fundamental, broad global questions. very straightforward, what can you say about the link between climate change and disease, pandemic and otherwise?
>> there's huge literature out there, because climate change is totally redrawing the ark of the of the planet. it's moving the vectors of topical diseases like dengue fever northward. you undoubtedly will see malaria in europe in the next decade or so. it's also addicting animals from -- and animals are trying to adjust to climate change. which increases the contact between humans and wild animals which we've never tried to domesticate or had contact, a
major force in breaking down the barriers between the wild and the olden has been blogging. this is part of the story, hiv is part of the story of ebola. it's like baths which a been the case with the myriad number of diseases. the animals infected are being in contact -- but climate change in short is hugely powerful force. we are mixing up environments, bodies, species, creating a whole new landscape pandemic the
viruses and we have no idea what we will be facing down the road and less he really use our -- [inaudible] >> you mentioned again climate change, politics around the world. there've been several questions that have drawn the connection between climate change and disease, but also between what has been a vibrant climate change progressive movement with direct action being pioneered by groups. there's serious pressure about how do we protest influence, was going on in this moment of lockdown? chris asked many of our usual methods for bring pressure or
demands, are unavailable or social distancing so what are some innovative expanded measures we could use? >> well, i've seen come , with t today or yesterday, on television demonstrators outside and amazon warehouse on strike observing social distancing. i don't see any case to totally abandoning the streets or protest in public spaces. obviously what's going on out is a challenge principal to the virtual skills. as i spoke to you earlier, great stuff that's going on on the web but we have to keep to the streets as well, but do it in a
demonstrably safeway so the accusation can't be made, well, you're endangering people. the amazon picketers were out there because people endangered by the fact that they have no protection, people who handle the goods. their conditions are unsafe. it's a major public health -- and i'm not sure they could've gotten the same attention -- [inaudible] as long as we keep social distancing and obey the rules we just cannot lose the streets. there's a huge difference between climate change and
pandemic disease in terms of the interest of the wealthier countries versus the poor countries. with the pandemic you can't entirely neglect -- the poorer r states or even the poor countries because it's incubated there in conditions that are substandard to medical care and bad sanitation, so come back and bite people. this is a classic case in england. climate change doesn't work like that. because of the separation of the
societies that produced the greenhouse gas and the societies -- and feel its effects. so much of our discussion of climate change is through mitigation, slow down and eventually stop. but the big question is adaptation. and the united states and other rich countries let's just say have long failed to reduce -- they fail to finance to meet -- to provide investment to
countries that are now sinking under oceans and states with great floods and so on. climate change is more challenging because there is no necessary cap on self-interest. pandemic disease, something has to be done. the world market is virtually collapsed. >> well, however, when we look at governmental response to the pandemic, here and the united states but all across the world, it provides a textbook case, disaster capitalism. there are all kinds of opportunistic infections on top of this pandemic. not only do we have a huge corporate slush fund was
created, for example, also the way that governments, or through return governments across the world are using the covid-19 crisis to further their political gains. have a question, for example, where someone asks, what about the way that this pandemic is impacting occupied territories like kashmir and palestine? someone else once you to address the way that the current authoritarian governments are using the pandemic to persecute minorities, , increasing environmental distraction. >> of course -- destruction. >> gaza is of course a public health disaster because of the blockade.
viewers should probably go to j street which has some very important articles about gaza and the suspicion that absolutely vital medical supplies like ventilators are not being allowed into gaza. in the same way that in war zones in other cases, kashmir as you mention probably the same kind of thing going on. but what we have here is a new struggle. so on the one hand, you have capital with authoritarian governments trying to increase the already enormous powers of surveillance and repression while simultaneously creating new accumulation strategies. and on the other hand, you have
our side which wants to see a universal medical coverage and the democratic approach to how we fight diseases. we are than 90,000-pound weakling and then government are the giants. but we haven't gained one thing, inadvertently -- rising because of the crisis, just like in the case of wars. capitals governments introduce measures, even parts of traditional left-wing -- so what happens when the pandemic passes, then the capital and the state can clawback that.
fundamental victories participation what it slogged world war i, immediately after the war, operations launched a national defense agency. that's when 1919 was a bigger strike here in american history. what we need to do now is look very carefully at what aspects of the response are beachheads -- to push the agenda of working class people in this country, while simultaneously opposing what's going on, for instance, the tapping into everybody's cell phone. [inaudible] most extreme cases that is, israel where netanyahu -- the israeli fbi into his principal
pandemic response agency, and actually tried to prevent votes in parliament. >> okay. in terms of establishing beachheads, there are a lot of folks on the call who want to turn our attention to extremely vulnerable groups and what can we do about them. for example, prisoners. this is a huge potential congregation across the country with the largest prison population in the world. there have been some halting attempts across the country to get folks released what you think about that whole area? and another being immigrants
come in detention, undocumented migrants. these are two big areas overlap somewhat but not really, , but your thoughts on both those, these areas, what's happening,, what could be done? >> well -- concentrated on specific complaint groups. 25% of people in this country have died so far in the pandemic, have died in nursing homes. it's probably the tip of the iceberg. i saw an article which said that -- i forget which prison they were talking about, whether it was a state penal authority or federal prison, but only like 7%
of the minority were being considered for early release are african-americans. so what we might expect in prisons and jails is that whites will be sent back home. i think even bernie madoff is right now getting ready for early release. so -- basic anna petri dish waiting to be infected and waiting to die. it's the same thing for people being held in detention camps, portugal did a wonderful thing. largest party, socialist party, far left of the coalition and
they gave citizens rights to all the migrants living there undocumented to all the refugees. in portugal right to you would be treated the same as any portuguese citizen. there should be a universal demand. my wife's nephew and his wife worked in the huge refugee camp and have been reporting over the net about their experiences. those people absolutely desperate. they feel they are just going to be sacrificed, particularly now that -- back in government. so everyone -- first of all, show solidarity with frontline health workers, and second, do
everything possible to draw attention to the people in those jails, prisons, detention camps, demanding that everyone received the same rights as any other american citizen regardless of their status. here is what i think we have to go back into the streets, outside the prisons and jails, outside the detention camps -- whatever you want to do. but this is at the highest urgency. everywhere in the country. >> that will be a really good conversation.
we have several more questions and then another area that you have long written about and analyze, and that's housing. it's an emergency right now across the country for many people. they are out of work and dealing with the disease. what do you think about this area, what's going on? there are calls across the country for rent strikes. what do you think of that? do you think the programs we can advocate for now in this moment around housing and a central element of a program? >> well, take the case of california. california, i'm not sure if this is on the state level or admissible level, but i know in los angeles partial release has been given to renters and some evictions have been stopped. this is happening all across the country where some concessions have been made, and each of
those concessions is a battlefield. the government in california has taken a step by starting to buy motels and stuff for homeless people and use of the facilities as emergency hospitals, if needed. mark mason was probably in brooklyn right now, or the bronx, suggested several years ago that we advocate for, first of all, on unused, abandoned or simply uninhabited buildings and residences, and municipal offices at least during the duration of the crisis. there's enormous amount of unused space, enormous amount of
condos that of been simply bought for speculation here down in san diego there's been a condo tilting frenzy for years, probably a quarter, 30% of them are not occupied, just added investments or they are occupied only a few months a year. you should demand that those be used to shelter, demand that they be available for health workers, increasing number of doctors and nurses have to separate themselves from their families. in seattle, they have been moved into a motel six so they don't transfer the disease to them. so unmarried of opportunities to push for social needs as the
priority and to stop evictions, three. >> all right. i think we are heading into the last 15 minutes, this talk with mike davis, so i'm going to try to group several more sets of questions. lots of really thoughtful comments and questions are coming in. a number of people also want to highlight the enormous challenges being faced by disabled folks right now and how they factor into the politics are often don't get factored into the politics come get ignored. can you talk about that. >> was yes. in the model here made ireland, a small country with great inequality, but there's a rich tradition of protests in strong community organizations. so what happened was at the very
beginning after the first cases in ireland, somebody went on the net and begin to call for creating a volunteer organization that would act to shop and check in on older people and disabled people. i have the impression that probably it's a horrible situation out there are tens of thousands of disabled people who can't get out to shop, who are afraid of calling for deliverie deliveries. because we now know it to disinfect the mail. we have to disinfect the packages that arrive, and that's what the amazon strikers were trying to highlight the other day. as far as i can see, on a
federal level, probably on the state level as well there are no task force or concentrations of resources to rescue people trapped in their homes for whatever reason because their disabled or sick, like there's no national idea what to do about -- places that we just talked about. and we should be extremely at the top -- screen at the top of our lungs that these things need to be done immediately. i'm sure that in the conversation, just one way now -- people can talk to each other with groups of people across the
country. we need to focus on agitation. >> just a couple more questions and then we will let you go. a couple of folks are wondering what you think about, i guy named lucas, for example, asks how could this coronavirus pandemic cause and effect on the next election? okay, so the ongoing election, the presidential race, the confession of whatever will replace the convention, and the fall election. several questions about what your analysis of what's going on with that and how do we respond to that? >> if there's going to be a presidential election? >> right. >> our current president -- a very good excuse and we should postpone it. that seems like an extreme
scenario but we have to keep that in mind. i think right now what we need to be focused on is the democratic convention. because, i do think the reason bernie sanders has not -- in fact, going higher than ever, it's because his platform committee, the democratic convention has to be overwhelmed by voices demanding that medicare for all is on the platform. this is the greatest lesson in history, a very dark lesson, but what could provide greater proof of urgency, medicare for all in this crisis? now, conventions often the platforms are just gestures.
they are really never that will honored. this has to be different. kristian white could force him to turn over the writing of the open platform entitled to them and -- the struggle now is not to oppose biden -- the platform to force these policies that you expect younger voters, voters of color to vote for you in november. then you have to advocate this. you have to bank your position and take over the crucial parts of the platform and parts of elizabeth warns platform as well. she was particularly ostend because she's the first to bring up the question of a wealth tax that is addressing not only income inequality but the
enormous wealth inequality that is the basis for it. so i think the political struggle in some ways has just begun. now, the fact that the convention may be -- i've no idea what that means in terms of how you act, but you have this huge block of sanders voters with some warren voters, and they should not -- without a fight to the end. i think there's a very good chance it's a fight that could be one. >> all right. i'm just going to throw one more question your way and then i think we can wrap up. it's a very basic question but it strikes me as something that we are all thinking about, and it's supposed by emily and it is
simply, can you talk a little bit about the fear that this pandemic has caused? and how do we deal with this story? >> i mean, here is directly proportional to your sense of -- in a disaster come in an emergency. if you're given significant social responsibility, most people rise to the occasion. here in california where from the beginning the big one, the great earthquake, most people -- toilet paper and wait to be dragged out of the rubble by the professionals. this is the way it is done in japan or in other countries here
people volunteer. anybody who is useful, construction workers will at least be a a sign to go and mae sure that the buildings gas is turned off, and the very essence of this response is being mounted in this country is that it's requiring everything, health workers and undoubtedly many of them will die because of this. but at the same time it's not giving those kind of volunteer roles that is necessary to be effective. what we have, our resource, the closest here is our activism. and i think the general response
of the american west has been extraordinary and should be very cheered by it and we need to take it to the next level and focus on the vulnerable groups, focus on universal coverage. can i have two more minutes? >> absolutely. >> let's talk about this pandemic in a world historical sense. i submitted an article in the journal, and he argues that the plague epidemics of the 17th century, the 1600s in europe, played a central role in the shift of power from the mediterranean to the atlantic countries. italy was the most affected,
total disaster for italy across the board. saw its preeminence in banking and trade ruined, to the advantage of ireland and great britain. is it possible that this pandemic is an excellent, the decline of the united states? and china's rise, not just its military and economic power but to a moral hegemony that it didn't possess before? because it's a major power right now, sending a to poor countries. cuba is always a hero in pandemics, but in a material way comes from china. i think we may be seeing such a transitional moment.
it would have been taken in a much different way but it's now been sped up by the pandemic. >> what about the role of europe? >> what is europe right now? i mean, the italians asked for help from the european sisters across the borders and they were transferred medical supplies to italy. each country for itself. i think we have to weigh the possibility that the idea the eu, it's dying right now, and brexit in a way is only a small part of that compared to the inability of europe to share
resources and to coordinate. it's pretty unbelievable. >> all right, mike, i think we've taken up a lot of your time tonight. really grateful, and it's so interesting and useful to have this teaching with mike davis. i think we will wrap up now. let me just mention a few pieces of final housekeeping. one is that i hope folks will check out mike's book, set the net on fire, l.a. in the '60s, the order that. we have special sale on this book, 40% off at our website, so please look for set the night on fire. and over at the haymarket books website, a couple of excellent
free books from haymarket. one more thing before folks go, just want to remind folks that this series of teaching will continue next week with a reprise of a discussion, three will get together and bring us up-to-date on what they're thinking. that's next thursday, the link is below and then the following week, a really interesting discussion with ruthie gilmore and experts on the incarceration state that we live in. historians will talk about that. and you can sign up those and please check out haymarket books and buy books if you can, right now. we could really use the help. thank you, mike, for joining us
tonight. >> and everybody-- >> all right. good night, everyone. >> goodbye. >> here is a look at our live coverage tuesday. for the second day in a row, the supreme court hears teleconference on free speech and aids and funding from foreign groups. and national constitution center reviews the case with legal scholars. in the afternoon, the senate banking committee holds a confirmation hearing for pending nominations, including the treasury dependent's special recovery. and a hearing for c-span2 for john ratcliffe picked to serve
as the next director of national intelligence and at 11:00 a.m. the senate is back to consider the nomination of william evanina to be head of the intel and national security center. >> television changed since c-span began 41 years ago, but our mission continues to provide an unfiltered view of government. already we've brought you primary election coverage, the impeachment process and now the response to the coronavirus. you can watch, listen on-line for part of the app. through our social media feeds. c-span created by private industry. america's cable television company, as a public service, and brought to you today by your television provider. >> the senate returned monday
after extending the spring recess because of the coronavirus pandemic. next, remarks by senate leaders on the impact the virus is having on their states and the rest of the country. >> let us pray, oh god of our salvation, deliver us from fear, your might and majesty continue to bring us peace in spite of the challenges we face. lord, we can meet these challenges with your power that transcends human understanding. when you whisper dangers