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Pandemic Shock: Digital Dictatorship or Green Recovery?

“Historically, pandemics have forced humans to break with the past and imagine their world anew. This one is no different. It is a portal, a gateway between one world and the next. We can choose . . . to walk through it, dragging the carcasses of our prejudice and hatred, our avarice, our . . . dead ideas, our dead rivers and smoky skies behind us. Or we can walk through . . . ready to imagine another world. And ready to fight for it.”—Arundhati Roy, “.”

In the COVID-19-driven time warp of the past 90 days, politics, economics and public opinion have changed drastically.  Important aspects of social behavior seem to have improved—less non-essential travel, less consumption, more family focus, reduced greenhouse gas pollution (17 percent less worldwide in early April), increase in demand for healthy, 十大玩彩信誉平台-cooked foods, appreciation for nature, mutual aid, social solidarity and more attention paid to the plight of farmworkers, small farmers, healthcare workers and food chain workers.

Unfortunately, other impacts of the pandemic are quite negative, in fact catastrophic: massive infections and deaths, widespread anxiety and fear, extreme political polarization and economic meltdown, including a massive number of bankruptcies of small businesses, with 40 million workers unemployed in the U.S. alone.

In addition, the federal government, led by the White House and Senate Republicans, abetted by corporate Democrats, has relaxed pollution, environmental and food safety standards, and handed out multi-trillion-dollar bailouts, with little or no government oversight, to the fossil fuel industry, corporate agribusiness and Fortune 500 corporations—instead of providing sufficient resources for those businesses, farmers, workers, families and individuals who most need help.

A Digital Dictatorship?

Driven by fear, confusion and manufactured consent, the U.S. is degenerating into what Vandana Shiva and others have described as a “Digital Dictatorship.” Or, to use Naomi Klein’s , a “Screen New Deal.”

This Digital Dictatorship is held up as an exemplary model by the Chinese Communist Party. But it is also championed by hyper-capitalist billionaires, such as Bill Gates and Eric Schmidt, along with their cohorts—Silicon Valley (Google, Facebook, Amazon, et al), Big Pharma, Wall Street and a rising cabal of technocrats and scientists. This global elite, aided and abetted by indentured politicians and government officials, is maneuvering to use the current pandemic and economic meltdown to grab unprecedented power and wealth (the “Shock Doctrine” as Naomi Klein has termed it), and impose, in the name of public health and “biodefense,” draconian surveillance, censorship and control, aimed at eliminating the last vestiges of participatory democracy, free speech, cultural diversity, ecological biodiversity and individual freedom.

As Naomi Klein , the “Screen New Deal” neo-authoritarians envision:

“. . . a future in which our 十大玩彩信誉平台s are never again exclusively personal spaces but are also, via high-speed digital connectivity, our schools, our doctor’s offices, our gyms, and, if determined by the state, our jails . . . in the future under hasty construction, all of these trends are poised for a warp-speed acceleration. This is a future in which, for the privileged, almost everything is 十大玩彩信誉平台 delivered, either virtually via streaming and cloud technology, or physically via driverless vehicle or drone, then screen “shared” on a mediated platform. It’s a future that employs far fewer teachers, doctors and drivers. It accepts no cash or credit cards (under guise of virus control) and has skeletal mass transit and far less live art. It’s a future that claims to be run on “artificial intelligence” but is actually held together by tens of millions of anonymous workers tucked away in warehouses, data centers, content moderation mills, electronic sweatshops, lithium mines, industrial farms, meat-processing plants and prisons, where they are left unprotected from disease and hyperexploitation. It’s a future in which our every move, our every word, our every relationship is trackable, traceable and data-mineable by unprecedented collaborations between government and tech giants.”

And how do these digital overlords expect to convince us to give up our basic rights and become loyal serfs of Corporate America or Corporate Earth?

By fomenting and taking advantage of the fear, helplessness, divisions and confusion in the body politic, not only in the U.S., but across the world.

Fear, helplessness and confusion

Not since the Spanish Flu of 1918 (which killed 17-50 million people worldwide and infected 500 million), have so many people been terrified of falling ill and dying from an infectious disease.

And COVID-19 is scary, especially for those of us, and those of our loved ones, suffering from “prior medical conditions.” These now fearsome “prior medical conditions” include older people suffering from chronic diseases, often taking a wide variety of prescription drugs, as well as millions of Americans suffering from  in the industrialized world. We need a U.S. food and farming and ecological restoration system that is regenerative—that cleans up our air and water, that strengthens peoples’ immune systems, that engenders healthy levels of vitamin D and other essential nutrients and trace minerals and that promotes healthy lifestyles.

This transformation will require nothing less than a political revolution, a multi-trillion-dollar Green Recovery program and a just economic transition to a .

Developing safe and effective vaccines for constantly mutating coronaviruses, such as the common cold and seasonal flu, is notoriously difficult. On the other hand, side effects, including unfortunately dangerous side effects, are routine.

As I never tire of repeating, our only real defense against COVID-19 and other dangerous diseases, such as cancer and heart disease, is to build up our health and our immune systems with healthy (organic and pasture-raised) food, exercise, vitamins and herbal supplements, fresh air and sunshine.

To maximize public health and provide healthy food will require nothing less than transformation of our food, farming, land-use and health care systems from degenerative to regenerative (and climate-friendly) practices. We can have cheap, health-destroying, industrial foods and factory farms. Or we can have a healthy population capable of fighting off COVID-19 and the chronic diseases that are destroying the quality of life and killing millions every year.

The real origins of COVID-19

For the past , have pointed out that COVID-19 was most likely caused by a weaponized, genetically engineered virus that accidentally (hopefully not deliberately) leaked out of the Wuhan Virology Lab, where so-called “biodefense” (actually biowar) experiments have been carried out by a secretive network of U.S., Chinese and international gene engineers and virologists for years.

These “gain of function” germ warfare experiments (funding for which was banned at least partially during the Obama Administration) have been funded, in large part, by Anthony Fauci and the Trump Administration’s National Institutes of Health and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), supposedly monitored by the Chinese government and the World Health Organization.

In order to conceal their scientific malpractice and criminal negligence, to protect their “right” to carry out , unregulated research (there are over 200 biomedical or “biodefense” labs in the U.S. alone, employing 15,000 scientists and researchers), and to safeguard billions of dollars in annual Biopharm and GMO industry profits (Monsanto/Bayer, among others, is now conducting its own biowarfare research), Chinese and U.S. officials, Big Pharma, Facebook, Google and an arrogant and unscrupulous network of global scientists are frantically trying to cover up the lab origins and diabolical machinations of the COVID-19 pandemic.

We will need to identify and bring to justice the criminal perpetrators of COVID-19, and ban biological warfare experiments, such as those weaponizing viruses, forever.

At the same time, we must educate the public that “pre-existing” business-as-usual practices and policies (bad food, air and environmental pollution, pesticides and contaminated vaccines) are the real deadly drivers of this pandemic and, along with it, the lockdown and meltdown of the global economy. We need to point out, over and over again, even as Facebook and the mass media try to , that eating healthy food, strengthening our natural immune systems, getting plenty of fresh air and sunshine and exercise, are our best defenses against COVID-19 and the epidemic of chronic diseases that have undermined public health.

The body politic, though still divided between those who live in fear of COVID-19, those who worry about how they are going to survive economically and those who have reached the psychological breaking point after being locked down in their 十大玩彩信誉平台s, can still be united—if can get across the truth about how this pandemic started and clearly explain how specific government and public policies around the world have helped, or, in some cases, made even worse the death and damage we have suffered.

Once we’re united around these basic truths, we can then organize around a Green Recovery and a Green New Deal that is both regenerative and equitable.

Grassroots Regeneration?

Despite the machinations of the Digital Dictators and Gene Engineers, we have an unprecedented opportunity, based upon widespread public rejection of the status quo and disgust at political “business as usual,” to organize and resist.

As polls and everyday experience indicate, the majority (approximately 60 percent) of the body politic continue to support the concept of a Green New Deal, of solving the , the agricultural crisis and the environmental crisis through a “just transition.”

By way of a “just transition,” Green New Deal advocates are calling for meaningful jobs for all, universal health care, free public education, debt forgiveness and, most recently, a of several thousand dollars a month for every worker during the nation’s recovery period and even beyond.

People are ready to tax the rich, bring the giant corporations to heel, cut military spending and develop a new green economy which is healthier, more just, climate-friendly and more decentralized and local.

We have the incredible opportunity, for the first time, to overthrow the dictators and indentured politicians and to build a new Green Commonwealth on the ruins of the old, where love and solidarity, and care for the natural world and future generations trumps hate and avarice. Where regenerative food, farming, ecosystem restoration, renewable energy and a just full-employment economy replaces dog-eat-dog capitalism and authoritarianism.  

As the pandemic starts to level off and decrease in intensity over the next 12 months, as fear and panic decrease, we must refuse to go back “to normal,” to accept the degenerative status quo that existed before the pandemic.

With U.S. and global conditions for radical change ripening for the first time in almost a century, it’s time to roll out our own Shock Doctrine. In the coming weeks and months we will share our ideas, and the ideas of others for how we can move ahead.

In the meantime, please stay in touch. , and the author of “Grassroots Rising: A Call to Action on Food, Farming, Climate and a Green New Deal.” To keep up with OCA’s news and alerts, sign up here.

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