Pandemic Research for the People

PReP Logo FBThe Agroecology and Rural Economics Research Corps (ARERC or “RRC”) is announcing a new project.

We’re introducing Pandemic Research for the People or PReP. The project is a crowd-funded effort aimed at immediately getting research efforts underway to answer questions that will help communities around the world during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

There’s a lot of great research being conducted right now on COVID-19, from its biomolecular characteristics to potential antivirals to epidemiologies at the broadest geographic scales.

But much research remains handcuffed by a political economy going as far back as the origins of capitalism. Funding sources and political appointees gear a lot of otherwise terrific research toward saving the very systems of exploitation that help produce the problems to begin with. Meanwhile, the needs of everyday people most immediately affected, in this case by a pandemic, are left unaddressed.

Pandemic Research for the People will focus on answering questions around the people’s pandemic needs first.

How to donate

You can help out PReP’s research efforts right now.

We are asking people to make a contribution that matches their resources. If you don’t have much, don’t sweat it. Following our Facebook page will be enough. If you have a little more on hand, feel free to donate what you feel you can. We will, of course, also accept larger amounts from individuals.

You can donate through Venmo (@RobWallace_PReP) or Cash App ($RobWallacePReP).

ARERC is meanwhile finalizing a fiscal sponsorship with the Pesticide Action Network. PAN will be administering ARERC finances (but offering us no funding). PAN is presently on temporary hiatus during the outbreak. Once PAN reconvenes, PReP will finalize a more permanent account to which you will also be able to donate directly. And we will be working out accepting other forms of payment in the weeks to come.

In the meantime, your donations will go immediately to funding projects led by natural and social scientists we have ready to work on questions that are of direct importance to the welfare of everyday people during the pandemic.

In the interest of transparency, we pledge to report back both total donations and line-item outlays on a regular basis.

Research questions

For this first round, we have five questions lined up, some with immediate applications, others with the bigger picture in mind:

  1. What is the best way to form and safely operate neighborhood brigades checking up on people house-to-house while we all quarantine?
  2. How might we mass-produce and supply people with enough antivirals, medical equipment, and personal protective equipment to survive the outbreak?
  3. How do pathogens such as COVID-19, Ebola, and Zika emerge out of neoliberal land grabs in the first place?
  4. Could we plan agricultural landscapes that self-regulate in such a way that the deadliest pathogens are far less likely to emerge in the first place?
  5. What strategies might we best pursue to break agribusiness and pharmaceutical control of governments and our political economy?

So we have our eye both on immediate needs and the future. Help people now and stop such a pandemic from happening again.

Your material (and moral) support is greatly appreciated and will be directed immediately to people-centered research.

26 March 2020