10 resources: organizing and analysis on COVID-19

By Lucy Duncan

"The coronavirus has pulled back the veil on the apocalyptic moment we live in and the incredible failure of our system, the inability of our capitalist system to take care of people." Nadine Bloch of Beautiful Trouble

I have been moved by the stirring and sobering writing so many have offered since COVID-19 has changed all of our lives. In a time when caring for each other means keeping at a distance, writing and reading is one way we can share an experience and open up to one another.  

Here are a few resources I recommend, including some nuts-and-bolts on organizing in these times, some moving analysis about what it all means, and one beautiful prayer written by a Quaker anarchist. – Lucy

Organizing in these times

1.Leading Groups Online: Jeanne Rewa and Daniel Hunter are experienced facilitators and organizers who quickly pulled together a guide for so many of us who are now organizing online.

2. Beautiful Trouble guide to Activism during Coronavirus: Beautiful Trouble is a group that guides and facilitates nonviolent direct action campaigns and they pulled together this inspiring guide.

3. What protests look like in this time of social distancing: This Vice article is a round up of organizing since COVID-19 shut down most public spaces. It documents creative actions that are furthering longer term campaigns and activists working to directly support others at this critical, and dangerous, time.

4. Mutual Aid networks erupt across the country: “We recognized that we couldn’t rely on our current systems in place and needed to take care of each other directly,” said Janelle Walter of Tacoma Mutual Aid Collective, an all-volunteer organization of community members sharing resources. Mutual aid means creating “a network that can be mobilized immediately, without needing permission.”

5. Movement Generation, permanently organized communities: “We must navigate a just transition from a ‘Banks and Tanks’ economy to economies of sacredness and care in this emerging COVID-19 moment.” – Michelle Mascarenhas-Swan

6. General Strikes explained: “To this day, the idea of a mass or general strike remains both an ideal and a tactic that can be picked up by everyday people if and when they discover the power to do so,” Andrew O'Conner


7. The pandemic is a portal: “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 data banks and dead ideas, our dead rivers and smoky skies behind us. Or we can walk through lightly, with little luggage, ready to imagine another world. And ready to fight for it.” – Arundhati Roy

8. This is not the apocalypse you were looking for: “My job will be the same as yours and everyone else’s: to be kind, to stay calm, and to take care of whoever happens to need taking care of in my immediate vicinity. We have been living for many, many years in what Gramsci called a time of monsters, where “the old is dying and the new cannot be born.” The new is now being induced in a hurry, because after this, nothing is going back to normal. It’s the end of the world as we know it, and everything does feel fine—not fine like chill, but fine like china, like glass, like thread. Everything feels so fine, and so fragile, and so shockingly worth saving.” – Laurie Penny

9. An unadulterated sense of wonder: I was standing in line (social distancing) to get groceries at the Reading Terminal Market when I pulled up this piece to read. It moved me to tears, the kind that feel deeply cleansing and as though across all the distance I could sense a kinship with Steven Salaita, the author. "I suspect that for many people, those fortunate enough to survive, anyway, this will be a time of intense memory.  It sometimes feels like the pandemic is an existential affliction—not a mere outbreak that has disrupted the global economy, but a mutation of the world into something eerie and unknowable." - Steven Salaita

A spiritual resource

10. An Anarchist Quaker’s Prayer to Soothe Anxiety: “We are each one person, breathing this one  breath, with common Divinity. We can do this. Together.”