A panel in the conference “THE RISE OF ASIA IN GLOBAL HISTORY AND PERSPECTIVE: Covid-19 from Asia to the world: what assessment and what perspective for a common future?” organised by the University Le Havre Normandy, France, February 9-11, 2022
The panel is open to individual and group paper presentations. Those willing to present their papers are invited to submit online their 200-300 word abstracts until December 31, 2021. The introduction and the guidelines to submit proposal are available online at https://bandungspirit.org/
This panel deals with the political impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, worldwide. Starting with the uncertainty about the real origin of the virus, the role of the mainstream media has been ambivalent, offering either standardised explanations or one-sided perspectives. In some cases, the media emphasised exclusively the news regarding the virus, overshadowing other important information about governments’ controversial choices. In other cases, especially in emerging countries, the media minimised the real numbers of the contagion and deaths in order to conceal the unpreparedness of the institutions to tackle the emergency. Pressure from governments on the information was tremendous everywhere. In some cases, protesters for labour or other economic, social and political issues and rights have been stigmatised for hindering the capacity of the institutions to promptly come to people’s aid. The Indian government for instance, blamed the farmers protesting against the liberalisation of the agrarian market for slowing the oxygen delivery, when in fact the supplies were insufficient. The first democratic pillar to be undermined was the freedom of information. Most governments enforced emergency measures with the excuse to maintain law and order in such tremendous circumstance: tracking systems and social media black outs have been commonly adopted worldwide.
It is extremely important to describe and analyse how, on one hand, the alleged democratic forces and governments repressed anti-establishment ideas while, on the other hand, the new far right has hijacked those ideas and, in particular, the feelings to create a front against logic, science and the possibility of progressive mobilization of peoples.
It is impellent to discuss about how to organize struggle for democracy worldwide, that is on ways to overthrow the overwhelming dictatorial power of international financial power, whose role in the COVID-19 pandemic requires to be seriously inquired.
Proposals may tackle the following issues
• The possible origins of the virus (natural, accidental leak from biolab, planned leak from biolab).
• The fundamental difference in confronting the virus between planned economies like China and capitalist economies.
• A huge defeat of any kind of solidarity. What the pandemic has proven.
• The patents issues: EU hypocrisy vs Biden’s proposal.
• The successful use of the pandemic from the global Far Right (Trump, Netanyahu, Modi etc.) to disseminate crazy conspiracy theories and construct a mad world Party.
• The retreat of social and leftist movements in the West as a result of the pandemic (for example the Yellow Vests).
• How the pandemic provided us with one more proof of the complete interrelationship of the world. There is no more possibility of tackling any of the big problems in the national or regional level.
A comparative and multidisciplinary approach to analyse these subjects is recommended.
Marzia Casolari, University of Turin, Italy
Dimitris Konstantakopoulos, Journalist and Writer, Delphi Initiative coordinator, former Advisor of the Greek PM, former member of the Secretariat of the CC of SYRIZA