This past two months we have seen an epic battle being played out between socialist planning and capitalist anarchy as the COVID-19 virus swept first through socialist China and then was quickly spread around the globe thanks to our modern mass transportation systems.
The virus was unknown to science until it was identified about a month after the first known cases occurred in the major urban center of Wuhan, China. As will always be the case with new diseases, it takes more than just one case to trigger the warning systems in our modern governmental health care apparatus. By the time doctors realized it was happening, this new coronavirus had already infected hundreds or even thousands of people in Wuhan; and as these folks went about their daily lives, thinking they had the flu again, they were unknowingly spreading the new virus far and wide. Since Wuhan is a major transportation center in China similar to the cities of Chicago or Atlanta in the USA, it was quickly carried via land, sea and air to places all over the world.
Once China’s medical authorities and scientific community realized what was going on – about 3 weeks after the first cases occurred, their centrally-planned socialist economic system began to swing into action. Within a week they had begun to launch one of the most comprehensive governmental responses to an epidemic ever seen in world history. Scientists isolated the virus and immediately published scientific papers on it and on the first 44 patients who had been identified as having the virus. The Communist Party of China’s leadership began discussions about how they should respond, as the nation was just about to begin its New Year festivals with mass gatherings all over the country and families traveling to visit their relatives – a mass movement of people similar to that which takes place during our Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays. After some hesitation they decided that they had to shut down all major public gatherings and begin mass quarantines of those who had been in contact with the first victims of the new virus. How could they do it? Because their nation is united by a collectivist socialist consciousness of the workers who understood that this was not some bullshit concocted by the government but a very real and potentially deadly health crisis. Police-state measures were not necessary, as the well-educated and scientific-minded working class of China understood that this was a national crisis and that personal sacrifices were going to have to be made in order to stop the spread of the disease.
The quarantines and travel restrictions imposed by the Communist Party of China were among the most far-reaching and comprehensive in world history. Travel to and from Wuhan – a supercity whose metropolitan area is home to 58 million people – was completely shut down by order of the government. Workplaces, schools, mass transit systems, every public gathering place was shut down and workers were told to stay in their homes. Food distribution was continued, with one member of each household allowed to shop for necessities once a day. Medicines were delivered to peoples’ homes. Take out food was brought to people by delivery workers. Medical personnel from all over the nation were recruited to go to Wuhan and help stop the spread of the epidemic. Military forces were mobilized to enforce the quarantine and to prevent people from traveling from city to city. Tens of thousands of workers were mobilized and trained to carry out spot checks for flu symptoms and to construct – not ONE but TWO temporary hospitals with a combined capacity of over 2500 beds to quarantine the thousands of workers who had come into contact with those who had tested positive for the new virus. Thousands of workers, working 3 shifts around the clock for two weeks turned two empty lots into temporary hospitals wit a capacity of The entire enterprise was absolute proof that socialist planning not only works, but that it works far better than anything that any capitalist nation-stat has ever attempted, never mind achieved.
One of the world’s largest metropolitan areas was shut down with a minimum of panic and a maximum of collective amity between members of the community. Under socialism, of course, no one will be thrown out of their homes because they can’t pay rent; no one will lose their jobs at state enterprises due to the national emergency (although there have been some rumored job losses apparently in China’s capitalist private sector). But by and large this enormous logistical effort was successfully implemented with almost no social upheaval! Now, about 3 months after the very first case was found, the epidemic appears to be subsiding in China; about 3,000 people – mostly over 50 and many with serious pre-existing conditions including cancer – have died, almost all of them in the Wuhan metropolitan area itself.
In stark contrast to the orderly and rational, scientific response of the Chinese Communist Party to the epidemic, as the virus began to spread out to the capitalist world we saw the wanton spreading of panic and disinformation by the global capitalist press. Crises like this sell newspapers and TV advertising, and the more scary the headlines the more papers are sold. All kinds of unfounded rumors were spread about the “deadly flu virus” from China. Passengers on cruise ships that had visited China or that had taken on sick passengers from China became the setting for outrageous scenes as once the news that a ship had passengers who had become infected with the virus, countries began to refuse to allow the ships to dock in their ports. Thousands of people became trapped on cruise ships for days and even weeks as their idyllic cruises became horrific. The cruise lines, worried about their profit margins uber alles, attempted to continue to operate as if nothing had happened, refusing to refund people’s deposits and continuing to make stops and pick up passengers from China.
Capitalists all over the world began to take an inordinate amount of concern for the lives of Chinese people for the first time ever, spreading slander against the Chinese Government’s response to the epidemic and shedding crocodile tears over every new death being reported in Wuhan. These same capitalists were strangely silent about the fact that in the USA, for example, some 20,000 US citizens had already died from the flu in the 2019-2020 flu season. No tears were shed for tens of thousands of their countrymen, but copious crocodile tears flowed for the poor workers of Wuhan! In fact all these people really cared about was trying to spread anticommunist lies about China, pretending that the Chinese gov. had somehow allowed the epidemic to occur. What the capitalists were REALLY concerned about was, of course their profits, which have become heavily dependent on Socialist China’s booming economy. When the Communist Party of China, desperately trying to limit the spread of COVID-19 around the world, shut down all the factories in China’s virus-affected cities, the US and world capitalists really started howling about not the human death toll in Wuhan but the decline in the value of their stock market portfolios! All the capitalists care about in the final analysis is of course their own money.
As if to prove this is a fact, now that the COVID-19 epidemic has spread into the USA and Europe the US and European capitalist governments are running around like chickens with their heads cut off, scrambling to cover their asses and the declining value of their assets as the shutdown of the Chinese socialist economy starts to affect the entire world’s capitalist economies. Instead of copying China’s very effective methodology for dealing with the COVID-19 epidemic, every capitalist nation, even every separate state in every nation, is frantically improvising its own half-assed response to the crisis. Of course in the capitalist world, where profits are everything and human life is cheap, the capitalist states can’t figure out whether to protect their populations or their pocketbooks first. The workers of course can’t possibly lose as much as a whole month’s pay! How will they pay their rents and mortgages? Many will be evicted of foreclosed upon! The capitalists will never intervene to protect the workers from the greedy banksters and landlords who will take the opportunity to improve their bottom lines by evicting those who are already behind on their rent!
And what if workers get sick? In the USA, there is no law that requires that companies give workers even ONE DAY of paid sick time! If these workers call in sick for too many days, they will simply be let go by their capitalist bosses and replaced by “someone who wants to work”! In this way, sick people will be forced to continue to go to work, spreading the disease all the more effectively. Capitalism digs its own and the workers graves in this way year in and year out!
Already we are hearing about shortages of medicines, face masks, and virus testing kits. Workers, panicking thanks to an utter lack of leadership by the capitalist governments are hoarding items like… toilet paper, of all things! How can toilet paper help stop the spread of a virus? This panic is a direct result of the frightening headlines & nonsense being spread far and wide by the for-profit bourgeois press & broadcast media just to sell more newspapers and advertising! The capitalist world in a time of crisis is truly a pathetic spectacle compared to the calm and scientifically rational response of Socialist China!
In the USA, the Trump Administration – like the Obama and all other administrations before it, Republican and Democrats – is made up primarily of former Wall St. swindlers. They are more concerned about the effect any quarantines in the USA will have on their stock portfolios than about how many US workers will die. Today, as if to underscore that fact, President Donald Trump posted on Twitter a photograph of himself playing a violin as if he was a modern-day Emperor Nero, fiddling while the USA loses its mind over the coronavirus! His “health care Czar” went on Twitter not to reassure the citizens that their LIVES would be protected but to reassure stock market speculators that “the economy is strong”! THIS is the kind of “leadership” the US capitalist class provides the workers in the midst of an epidemic!
Who do we workers have to blame for this sorry spectacle except ourselves? You can’t have an incompetent and immature government without incompetent and immature citizens. We vote these assholes into office and now we must pay the price for the fact that, instead of building a workers party of competent worker-leaders who can responsibly represent the interests of our class – the working class – we have abdicated our responsibility to ourselves and our families and have decided to “let the rich folks run things”. Well now we will see just how the capitalists – who do not care at all about the lives of workers in the USA or anywhere else – will protect us from this COVID-19 epidemic. If history is any indication – from the US Govt’s inept response to Hurricane Katrina’s devastation of New Orleans and the Gulf Coast to their absolutely inadequate response to Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico – we can be certain that many workers lives will be needlessly sacrificed once again on the altar of Mammon! Let’s face it: this US Government of Nero-mimicking greedheads SUCKS!
If we as workers want to have a government that places the protection of human lives above all else we need to stop “letting the rich capitalists run things”! We don’t need to create a carbon copy of the Communist Party of China or the USSR; we can build “socialism with American characteristics”! We can build a better socialist country than has ever been built before! But in order to do that we need to build ourselves a revolutionary socialist workers party to represent us in our State Houses and Congress that will fight for a workers’ socialist government that PUTS human lives above all else! Capitalism has never and WILL never do that. Dump the Republicrats and Build A Workers Party before the NEXT major crisis kills even MORE of our family members and friends!