One of the best-known bits of apocrypha in the Marxist canon, attributed to Lenin (and likely paraphrased from The Chief Task of Our Day), came alive this week: “There are decades where nothing happens, and there are weeks where decades happen.” A flurry of rapid developments in the COVID-19 pandemic has turned the political conditions facing the American working class upside-down. Faced with an impending recession that deepens with every passing day of bleak Coronavirus news, a troubled nation has quickly thrown decades of neoliberal consensus right out the window. The Trump administration has offered up over a trillion dollars—with a ‘t’—in short-term loans to financial institutions, and any positive impact on the stock market was instantly wiped away. A profound economic crisis, long thought to be looming on the horizon, has arrived in full force, and brought an exceedingly deadly pandemic with it.
The arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States has shown just how much damage has been done to America’s public institutions, not just over the past three years of the Trump administration but the last forty-plus of neoliberal capitalism. The haphazard kleptocrats in charge right now may be robbing us blind