An innocent question: ‘How are you feeling about the care magazine?’ my housemate asked me over coffee. ‘Angry’ was my answer. In fact, I’ve spent a large part of the Covid-19 pandemic feeling this way, with the issue of care a major focal point of my rage.
I’m vexed about the glaring inequality in who does care work and domestic labour – in the ‘wider world’ and in my personal life. I’m enraged about the lack of recognition and the disrespect often displayed for the (mostly) women and/or racialized people doing this work and how they, along with people who may need their care, are treated as expendable.
But there is hope; 2020 has demonstrated our interdependence and plenty of people have shown up to make sure people are cared for – friend or stranger. There has also been an outpouring of public appreciation. Over the peak of the pandemic here in Britain, Thursday evening’s ‘clap for carers’ was a highlight for my nurse housemate and her three year old, who would bang on everyone’s bedroom doors to remind us. Although many key workers loved it, for others the applause was hollow without concrete changes to their pay and working conditions.
This issue’s Big Story explores care in its widest sense and its, often conveniently ignored, relationship with the wider economy. In the magazine we hear from people who are navigating this in a system which too often treats them with contempt.
Elsewhere in this edition, Stephanie Boyd reports from the Peruvian Amazon on how indigenous people, especially hard hit by the pandemic, are fighting for survival, Rahila Gupta makes the case for ‘political blackness’ and our food justice series questions the rise of food banks as a solution to world hunger.
Amy Hall for the New Internationalist co-operative.
Ethical and political dilemmas abound these days. Seems like we’re all in need of a New Internationalist perspective. Enter stage: Agony Uncle.