rabble blogs are the personal pages of some of Canada's most insightful progressive activists and commentators. All opinions belong to the writer; however, writers are expected to adhere to our guidelines. We welcome new bloggers -- contact us for details.

'It’s Britney, bitch!': Love and evil in the days of COVID-19

Please chip in to support more articles like this. Support rabble.ca in its summer fundraiser today for as little as $5 per month!

Pop superstar Britney Spears receives RDMA "Icon" Award in 2017. Image: Walt Disney Television/Flickr

My usual scroll through Instagram on a recent beautiful quarantined morning came with a chuckle as I paused on an unusual headline: "Britney Spears calls for a general strike, implores fans to 'redistribute wealth.'"  Come again? Yes, you read that correctly: pop superstar Britney Spears, the one who sang songs such as, "Oops! … I Did It Again" and "Baby One More Time" is now a comrade of the revolution for equitable responses to COVID-19, sort of! She shared an Instagram post that includes advice such as "Call your loved ones," "Re-distribute wealth, strike" and "Communion moves beyond walls."

Britney's post came in the wake of alarming calls from U.S. President Donald Trump and other Republicans for Americans to return to work, going against recommendations from public health officials and putting the lives of millions at risk. Texas Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick has suggested that grandparents are willing to die to save the U.S. economy, and Trump is frantically tweeting that solutions to deal with the repercussions of COVID-19 (such as wealth redistribution) should not be worse than the virus itself.

To be sure, forcing Americans to return to work will not actually save the U.S. economy; it will facilitate the spread of COVID-19, cause millions of deaths and thereby deprive the economy of its necessary workforce. But this argument is also precisely the problem with the capitalist economic model: life is not valued in itself; it is only valued to the extent that it supplies labour for the accumulation of profit by a small class of people.

With these underlying postulates laid so crudely bare, Americans are turning to Twitter to air their frustrations online. #GeneralStrike and #NotDying4WallStreet trended, and it appears that most Americans are not willing to condemn their grandparents to death, and may instead be ready for the types of solutions Trump most fears.

"Employers will let you work until you're dead and then replace you. Take your safety into your own hands. #GeneralStrike $2000/month with rent freezes. That's our offer, @realDonaldTrump" reads one tweet.

"I'd die for my family. I’d die for my friends. However, if these sons of bitches think that I'm gonna die to keep rich assholes rich, they're dead wrong. #GeneralStrike #NotDyingForWallStreet" reads another. Through the digital commons of the Twitterverse, working-class Americans are tuning in to the evils of American capitalism.

In their 2011 book Commonwealth, Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri assert that to combat evil, one needs to understand its genesis. According to them, evil is the distortion of love and the common; a corruption of both creating an obstacle to their production. In other words, evil is secondary to love. To willfully condemn millions to death is, by such an account, an act of evil, but the primacy of love means that it can serve as a force to combat evil.

Evil is the economic system and political logic of neoliberal capitalism that places property over people and capital over the common good. Love is the courage to imagine something better. Love is the process of banding together to form a social body more powerful than any one of us alone. Love is the marking of a rupture with our existing way of being and the creation of new ways of being. Gleaning from Hardt and Negri, Britney and I choose love, where we support and encourage others to protect the life and dignity of everyone.

As the revolutionary author and physician Ernesto "Che" Guevara once said, "The life of a single human being is worth a million times more than all the property of the richest man on earth." Americans are not willing to die to save the profits of the 1%, but they are eager to fight for those they love. If Trump does attempt to reopen the U.S. economy, working-class Americans should follow the lead of online calls to withhold their labour. To turn the famous Britney Spears single "Work Bitch" on its head, you better strike, bitch!

Amanda Harvey-Sánchez is a Toronto-based organizer, researcher and educator. She is an incoming PhD student in political anthropology at the University of Toronto. This article originally appeared on Medium.

Image: Walt Disney Television/Flickr

Thank you for reading this story…

More people are reading rabble.ca than ever and unlike many news organizations, we have never put up a paywall – at rabble we’ve always believed in making our reporting and analysis free to all, while striving to make it sustainable as well. Media isn’t free to produce. rabble’s total budget is likely less than what big corporate media spend on photocopying (we kid you not!) and we do not have any major foundation, sponsor or angel investor. Our main supporters are people and organizations -- like you. This is why we need your help. You are what keep us sustainable.

rabble.ca has staked its existence on you. We live or die on community support -- your support! We get hundreds of thousands of visitors and we believe in them. We believe in you. We believe people will put in what they can for the greater good. We call that sustainable.

So what is the easy answer for us? Depend on a community of visitors who care passionately about media that amplifies the voices of people struggling for change and justice. It really is that simple. When the people who visit rabble care enough to contribute a bit then it works for everyone.

And so we’re asking you if you could make a donation, right now, to help us carry forward on our mission. Make a donation today.


We welcome your comments! rabble.ca embraces a pro-human rights, pro-feminist, anti-racist, queer-positive, anti-imperialist and pro-labour stance, and encourages discussions which develop progressive thought. Our full comment policy can be found here. Learn more about Disqus on rabble.ca and your privacy here. Please keep in mind:


  • Tell the truth and avoid rumours.
  • Add context and background.
  • Report typos and logical fallacies.
  • Be respectful.
  • Respect copyright - link to articles.
  • Stay focused. Bring in-depth commentary to our discussion forum, babble.


  • Use oppressive/offensive language.
  • Libel or defame.
  • Bully or troll.
  • Post spam.
  • Engage trolls. Flag suspect activity instead.