In the sombre days at the start of the pandemic, graffiti bearing the slogan “Another end of the world is possible” appeared on different walls in the cities of Buenos Aires and Santiago de Chile. It paraphrased, with a measure of humour, the old slogan “Another world is possible”, reclaiming the right to decide our future, no matter how dark and turbulent it may seem.
As with all crises, the one caused by COVID-19 has laid bare the strengths and weakness of our societies, bringing to light, once again, the need for global and radical change to guarantee the sustainability of life.
Another End of the World Is Possible. Examining the “New Normal” puts forward an open conversation to address how we imagine other possible futures to the backdrop of a new post-COVID society. What have we learned or are learning from this crisis? What changes are occurring? What world do we want to build? Is the normal we aspire to return to, post-lockdown, part of the problem? What alternatives are considered with regard to the old and new normal in relation to healthcare, care, ecology, the economy, work, education, culture and life itself?
These premises will be debated in a virtual encounter, with each participant offering their perspective on the proposed subject, before leading on to an interactive debate. The activity will be moderated by translator, researcher and activist Marta Malo, and will feature the participation of Santiago Alba Rico, a philosopher, writer and essayist; Rosa Bajo, a primary healthcare doctor and advocate of rights in the universal access to health services; and Francia Márquez, an Afro-Colombian feminist activist and environmentalist.
Santiago Alba Rico is a writer and essayist with a philosophy degree from Madrid’s Complutense University. In the 1980s, he was a screenwriter on Spain’s legendary television programme La bola de cristal (The Crystal Ball) and has published in excess of twenty books on politics, philosophy and literature, in addition to three children’s stories and a stage play. Since 1988, he has lived in the Arab world, translating Egyptian poet Naguib Surur and Iraqi novelist Mohammed Jydair into Spanish. He is also a regular contributor with different media outlets.
Rosa Bajo is a primary healthcare doctor and an activist who advocates a non-discriminatory national health system that provides universal care. She supports the right to access healthcare and is an instructor in basic notions of care for communities excluded from the healthcare system. Her most recent work has been carried out in the Lavapiés Health Centre in Madrid.
Marta Malo is a translator, researcher and activist, and coordinator of the book Nociones Comunes. Ensayos y experiencias entre investigación y militancia (Traficantes de Sueños, 2004). She has been involved in different collective and militant research initiatives with the aim of activating communities, combatting inequality and defending the commons. The transformation of care in a neoliberal context is one of her main concerns. She has been involved in different practical essays, most notably Precarias a la deriva (Madrid, 2002–2006).
Francia Márquez is an Afro-Colombian human rights activist and environmentalist who was part of the delegation to negotiate Peace Agreements in Colombia. She is currently chairperson of the National Council of Peace, Reconciliation and Co-existence (CNPRC). From 2013 to 2016 she was a legal representative for the Community Council of the afro-descendent communities of La Toma. In 2014, she participated in the so-called “March of the Turbans” to demand the end of illegal mining and land occupation, and the Black Women’s Mobilization for the Care of Life and Ancestral Land, for which she was awarded the Goldman Environmental Prize in 2018.
Marta Pérez is a professor at Madrid’s Complutense University and Duke University. She participates in the movement Yo Sí Sanidad Universal (Yes to Universal Healthcare), which has been creating ways to build universal healthcare since 2012. Her research centres around health and territory, the healthcare system and access, and around possible struggles and institutional forms to ensure the right to health. This work is carried out with the precarious balance between the university and the outside, primarily with the militant research collective Entrar Afuera (Enter Outside). Moreover, she is part of the Training School for Women Promoters of Community Health with Red Interlavapiés (the Interlavapiés Network), Senda de Cuidados (Path to Care), Territorio Doméstico (Domestic Territory), Red Solidaria de Acogida (Refuge Solidarity Network), Yo Sí Sanidad Universal (Yes to Universal Healthcare) and Museo Situado (Situated Museum).