Wednesday, April 21, 2021

The Year Unwrapped: Safety, Kenya and Marx reborn

The Year Unwrapped: Safety, Kenya and Marx reborn

Olly Mann and The Week delve behind the headlines and debate what really matters from the past seven days.

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In this week’s episode, we discuss:

Marxism today

Members of Generation Z – people younger than millennials –  seem to be more open to Marx than their predecessors. Penguin has seen a 30% increase in physical sales of The Communist Manifesto – as well as a 1,366% increase in audiobook streams. This, alongside the big TikTok trends and Marxist meme accounts suggest that the pandemic may have encouraged young people – especially those less aware of the violent consequences of Marxism – are rethinking ideas of work and collective action.

Kenya on the rise

As Covid-19 began spreading around the world, apocalyptic predictions about how the pandemic could devastate Africa were not hard to find. But it was Europe and the US who bore the brunt of the pandemic. Kenya has seen more than 94,000 cases, but just 1,600 deaths. The third largest economy in Africa looks set to make an impressive economic recovery in 2021, but has been criticised by human rights groups for its harsh restrictions. So can it be considered a surprise Covid success story?

Safety vs. freedom

In 2020, “safety” seems to have emerged as a priority at the expense of freedom, on multiple fronts. In seeking protection from Covid, we have readily given up the right to protest, dance and even just see friends and family. But there has also been a trend towards safety from ideas and opinions on issues as diverse as trans rights and radical anti-racism.

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