Jacobin Radio

Jacobin Radio


Coronavirus in Scandinavia; Southern Politics

May 05, 2020

Michael Seltzer is a cultural anthropologist and professor emeritus at Oslo University in Norway. There is a sharp contrast in dealing with the coronavirus pandemic between Norway, Finland, and Denmark, where isolation and quarantine are in effect, as compared to Sweden, where the economy is open, and the death rate is much higher. Mike says learning from the experience of Scandinavia is instructive for the United States as some states open for business, while others stay locked down. Mike looks at the history and politics behind these different approaches.


Michael Goldfield discusses his new book, The Southern Key: Class Race & Radicalism in the 1930s and 1940s. He argues that the political economic evolution of the South has been the key to determining the peculiar nature of American politics. Today the South is the center of reaction, leading the fight against choice, women and LGBTQ rights, the right to unionize and even in the fight against the lockdown and quarantine necessary to halt the spread of coronavirus. It didn’t have to be this way and Goldfield holds that the experience (and failure) of organizing the working class in the South explains the origins of the current state of the United States and the world; and that the defeats from that time closed off the possibilities for meaningful class and anti-racist politics  as well as for a successful labor movement for decades to come.