Apr 012020

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  2 Responses to “COVID-19 Mask Making and Craftivism”

  1. I commend you for choosing to process your thoughts about COVID-19 using this platform. I think it’s challenging to attempt to take a step away from your emotions and gut reactions, otherwise, during a time as tumultuous as this.

    One of the things that’s most interesting to me about your writing here is the opening statement regarding experiencing the crises associated with COVID-19 in a capitalist system. I’ve seen quite a bit of discourse online that underlines how the knee-jerk responses of many (Americans) to the failures of social systems – long lines for food and other supplies, empty shelves at stores, etc. – are things we are experiencing now. As you note, consumer fear has emptied shelves of things we shouldn’t have shortages of in a country that is touted for its economic strength, and the extreme demand for medical supplies has caused shortages in a country that is fundamentally flawed in its approach to healthcare.

    Meanwhile, Cuba – a socialist country consistently the subject of US interference – provides more medical personnel to developing countries than practically any other (especially large or capitalist) country. And now, in the midst of a pandemic that is changing the world, and hopefully the American attitude towards our institutions, Cuban doctors are providing much needed care all over the world.

    That aside, I really hope the answer to your question of whether or not mask making is an exercise in community building is an affirmative one. The American people, especially the marginalized, need community now more than ever.

  2. Hi Alana and Safwan,
    It is great to read your thoughtful comments in regards to COVID-19 and the masks. Alana, you have done a great job in connecting this situation to the larger economic system, and Safwan, you have expanded the conversation to include other countries and contexts.

    Alana, I would like to expand your comment about the masks as a protest to the capitalist system. Given the current industrial shortage of masks, and the latent need for them, I wonder what the difference is between these masks as a response/protest, or rather a needed alternative to the current shortage of industrialized production. On the other hand, we can also understand the masks as being part of a system of promotion and distribution. The analysis can be done about those systems too, and then the connections to capitalism may be more evident.

    Safwan, I enjoyed your analysis of the role of Cuba in providing medical professionals in comparison the U.S. healthcare system.

    In regards to the question of community, it´s important to acknowledge that communities are present, “even in vulnerable communities”. Once again, it is interesting to explore how changes at the levels of systems of promotion and distribution are allowing other forms for communities to emerge or change.

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