TNI Reading List on Coronavirus


There is no shortage of information on the Coronavirus but not many pieces in the media dig deep into the causes, context and faultlines exposed by COVID-19. These are some of the pieces that TNI staff have found most helpful in understanding this unprecedented moment, and the ways we might respond as movements and actors committed to social and environmental justice.

‘Social contagion’ Chuangcn online journal

A fascinating long-read by a left-wing Chinese journal examining the historical and contemporary nexus between pandemics and economics, and what this crisis reveals about health systems and state responses.

Mike Davis on Coronavirus politics, Dig Radio
The brilliant polymath Mike Davis in a long interview that draws on the insights from his prescient book The Monster at the Door: the Coming Avian Flu Pandemic (2005) which warned of the complete failure of a profit-driven drugs industry to address the dangers of globalised viral pandemics.

Out of control: crisis, COVID-19 and capitalism in Africa, ROAPE
Activists and researchers from across Africa look at how the crisis is taking shape on the continent – how governments are using the virus as a cover for wider repression, and the broader context of capitalism, climate change and popular struggles for radical change.

Anti-capitalist politics in the time of COVID-19, Jacobin Magazine
Marxist geographer examines the economic dimensions of the pandemic, arguing that consumerism-based economies can not survive the halt in production and consumption and that therefore only large-scale state-led socialist policies are likely to work.

Coronavairus capitalism and how to beat it, The Intercept
Naomi Klein returns to the theme of her renowned book, Shock Doctrine, to argue that in a time of a crisis, leaders will turn to ‘ideas that are lying around’ and that the left must learn from the 2008 crisis and make sure that this time the ideas benefit ordinary people rather than rich elites.

Capitalist agriculture and COVID-19: a deadly combination, Climate and Capitalism
Evolutionary biologist Rob Wallace of the prescient book, Big Farms Make Big Flu, explores the role of agroindustry in the spread of dangerous pathogens, within mega-farms and from the expansion of farming into wildlife habitats. In more depth: Notes on a novel coronavirus, Monthly Review.

When viruses become pandemics, Le Monde Diplomatique Podcast

Sonia Shah, author of Pandemic – Tracking contagions from cholera to ebola and beyond, says pathogens thrive in a context of social and environmental injustice, amplified in our current global economy.

No return to normal for a post-pandemic liberation, ROAR
Max Haiven in a poetic call to arms argues that the left will need to fight against the return to normal – the context for this crisis – and a new normal which could be worse. We need to draw on the ethics of cooperation and collaboration to create a new world.

Coronavirus Will Change the World Permanently. Here’s How. Politico

An interesting series of perspectives from different thinkers about the likely long-term impact of this unprecedented pandemic from a rise in support for experts to a possible decline in individualism.

Coronavirus is speeding up the Amazonification of the world, One Zero
Brian Merchant warns of the dangers of platform capitalist giants like Amazon becoming the main winners of a pandemic as small businesses are forced to close.

The emerging market slump, Michael Roberts Blog
A look at the global recession that will result from COVID-19, and how its impact will be particularly harsh on already impoverished countries.

A Green Stimulus to Rebuild the Economy, Next System project
Proposals for how measures in the US to tackle COVID-19 can also help respond to the resulting economic recession, the climate emergency, and extreme inequality.

The Economic Impact of COVID-19 on developing countries, Inter Press Service

Social movements in and beyond the COVID-19 crisis: sharing stories of struggles, Interface Journal
Rolling stories of movements organising in a time of a pandemic.

Beyond the Breakdown: Three Meditations on a Possible Aftermath, E-flux
Franco Bifo Berardi argues that COVID-19's will have profound impacts, as it displaces humans as the chief actors of evolution (in favour of critters), reemphasises use above exchange value, and asserts the importance of pleasure in the face of mortality.

The world after coronavirus, Financial Times
Yuval Noah Harari argues the choices of now will shape the future. The two key choices are  between totalitarian surveillance and citizen empowerment; snf between nationalist isolation and global solidarity.

The tech ‘solutions’ for coronavirus take the surveillance state to the next level, The Guardian


TNI reflections

Coronavirus: the need for a progressive internationalist response

This analysis is a result of a collective discussion by TNI staff on the many dimensions of the COVID-19 pandemic. The State and Public Responses to the Pandemic: Seven relevant lessons from Europe for Latin America [Add hyperlink] Daniel Chavez of TNI explores some of the key lessons from Europe’s response to the pandemic which will be relevant as the virus starts to spread dramatically throughout Latin America.

To Fight This Pandemic, We Need to Take Over the Military's Resources—Not the Other Way Around, Newsweek

TNI fellow Phyllis Bennis and Revd William Barber of the Poor People’s Campaign argue that rather than mobilising the military, the US government should repurpose the military, using their budgets, resources and equipment for combating the Coronavirus under strict civilian control.

Radio silence during the crisis: how our imperial gaze threatens to sharpen global divides
Josephine Valeske of TNI and Lize Swartz argue we need to break the silence over disproportionate impacts to ensure inclusive responses.

Interviews by TNI friends

Organising in time of COVID-19
Firoze Manji of Daraja Press is interviewing a great series of thinkers and activists with a focus on leaders in the Global South.

COVID-19 Chronicles
Frank Barat is interviewing a great diverse mix of thinkers, activists, and frontline workers analysing the pandemic and its impacts.


Longer reading lists

Coronavirus Readings by the Syllabus
Coronavirus Readings – US activist list

We will keep updating this list. Please send any ideas for inclusion to futurelabs AT

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