Permanent crises

Not good. This is what the sky looked like at 10 am Wednesday the 9th.

Chernobyl, volcanos, etc.

Sunday it was up over 100 degrees. I could not think. Brains are protein and cook. It was too hot to wear a metal necklace. Many things that needed doing did not get done. Then this morning it was cold. I had to turn the furnace on and put on warm socks.

Went outside to pick up newspaper and looked back in

Meanwhile in Rochester, New York, a mentally ill Black man ran down the street naked. He was grabbed by cops who hooded him with a “spit hood” like in the Abu Graib photos, and killed him. After that, protestors kneeled naked in the street (the photos show Black and white people) and the Chief of police resigned, as did the next in command. The Mayor supported the protests.

Both the climate crisis and the mounting protests are apparently permanent things that we live with now. And then there’s COVID-19. The fires will burn as long as there’s fuel, the protests will continue until we either win or lose, and COVID will eventually reach everyone unless everyone quarantines so that it has no place to jump. Our granddaughter who is living in a sorority house at San Diego State has tested positive, by the way — so has her whole house, and so has her boyfriend’s fraternity.

This came up because our book has now been in the hands of Pluto Press for 6 months and there’s been various kinds of COVID-related postponements and promises. Joe said, “Things are pretty unstable and so it’s hard to plan.” He was referring, it turns out, to his bike ride around the Bay. I thought he was referring to the book. But “unstable” also meant, at least at the start of our conversation, the weather and the political moment. On the contrary. They are neither of them unstable. Permanent continuous variation is stable. The climate crisis is permanent. We are in it. The political moment, related to our human use of each other and our planet, is permanent, too. Our vulnerability to pandemics is permanent.

Permanent, but also rising: the climate crisis and the political conflict are getting more intense. They will not be settled by the election. Best case scenario, we will win and then the climate change will continue and the protests will pause briefly and then swing back up. Worst case, etc etc. the same, but with no pause.

If I did a 360 degree circle around my friends, I’d say staying in touch is the main thing that is going on. And hoping. And reading the news, which comes in increasingly incomprehensible (or too comprehensible) chunks. A very weird ad in the SF Chronicle, apparently purchased by an elderly couple who live around here, urges people to refrain from using the post office during the run up to the election, so that ballots can go through, and also that we should raise an army of volunteer mail sorters.

We’re preparing a reading group plan for DSA about organizing in the 1930s; a friend of mine asked, “Why not Germany in the 1930s?”

But there is still food:

The above, first steamed together then served with rice, and then spun up as soup the next day with salt and cream, makes a great meal.

Thinking about who is on which side, as these protests spread. How about the sufferers? The detained immigrant families, the men and women in prison? Are they part of the protests? Certainly — suffering is protest that is below one’s ability to express it or act upon it.

It was Wednesday so we showed up at 6 pm for The Wave. It was so dark that people arrived with flashlights and iphones burning. It must have lightened up a bit for this picture. Note down jackets, two days after we were boiling hot.

Published by helenaworthen

Labor educator, retired from University of Illinois, taught at TDT University in Ho Chi Minh City in the Faculty of Trade Unions and Labor Relations. Co-author with Joe Berry of Power Despite Precarity: Strategies for the contingent faculty movement in higher education, forthcoming (August 2021) from Pluto Press.

One thought on “Permanent crises

  1. Wow! Nana, this article gave me goose bumps. It made me think about the kind of world and the times we are living in. No country is completely free for its citizens though some are far safe than others. From the environmental issues caused by wrong state policies towards capital, to racial discrimination causing the death of people like humans have become chicken to incompetent and selfish politicians and their political agenda causing humanity harm. I remember speaking to a white American lady who moved to Vietnam on Facebook a couple of weeks ago and she was cursing America. She promised never to return to America for whatever reason. She said America is a disgrace to humanity and that she has put up her house in Chicago for sale because she can never return to America in her life. I pursed and that got me thinking. We are running to America for safety and Americans are running away from America. Strange world!

    Your article mirrored what the American society has become for 9months now and how it is begging to seems like nothing has changed from the time of slavery and slave trade in the America to the period when new institutions and policies were tested to make America the great nation it became. Someone somewhere seem to be loosing it! God save America and the world.

    An interesting analogy of how the rent scenario fits into global supply chains (money changing hands from Israel to America and then to Cameroon and back to America for rents). Once again, thank you so much for everything Nana. I’m so grateful.

    Best, On Wed, Sep 9, 2020 at 10:57 PM How’s that Working Out For You? wrote:

    > > > > > > > helenaworthen posted: ” > Not good. This is what the sky looked like at 10 am Wednesday the 9th. > > > > > > > > Chernobyl, volcanos, etc. > > > > Sunday it was up over 100 degrees. I could not think. Brains are protein > and cook. Many things that needed doing did not get done. And this mor” > > > >

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