It was every bureaucrat’s nightmare: you are responsible for the well-being of tens of millions of workers in one of the most densely populated major metropolitan areas in the world: Wuhan, China. It’s just weeks before the entire nation goes on its annual New Years Festival holiday: the Chinese equivalent of Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year rolled up into one of the world’s great cultural festivals. And now, on 29 December 2019, a small group of scientists is telling you that there is a new virus circulating in the city and unless you shut down the New Years celebrations immediately, and the entire city transportation system – planes, trains and automobiles – perhaps millions of people will die.
Like all bureaucrats everywhere, your immediate first concern is… for your career. Are you being set up by one of your political rivals? Why do YOU have to be the one to make this decision? What if you screw it up? Your career will be ruined and you and your family will be instantly turned into social pariahs. How do you get out from under this monumental responsibility with your career intact? Wait a minute: the scientists are probably wrong! How do they know how many people will die from this new virus?
“How many people have this virus right now?” you ask.
“Forty, maybe fifty people. But we’re still tracing their closest contacts and testing them, too, to see if they have it.”
You want me to shut down this whole city over 50 people sick with the flu? The New Year’s festival is only two weeks from now! You’re crazy! Go back and double check your research and make sure you know what you’re talking about.”
This was the most likely origin of the “cover-up” of the Chinese Communist Party’s early response to the COVID-19 outbreak. As soon as the existence of the “novel coronavirus” was announced to the world, the capitalist world’s anti-communist propaganda operations swung into action, denouncing the Chinese Communist Party for “covering up” knowledge of the virus for weeks and of “silencing critics who tried to warn” the world. Immediately the emergence of the new virus became part of the New Cold War between the USA and China and their respective propaganda operations. The leaders of the Chinese Communist Party had been down this road before with the SARS virus, in which they had been caught trying to cover up the seriousness of that outbreak. This time they were not going to hand the Americans and the rest of the capitalist world another propaganda coup against them.
Within days, the existence of the virus and of the fact that it was a new coronavirus was confirmed. By December 31 Chinese health authorities began to transfer patients to a special hospital in Wuhan used to treat people with highly contagious diseases. They tracked down all the close social contacts of the 50 or so people who had tested positive for the new virus and had begun to focus on a popular live animal market in Wuhan city where most of the first patients had either worked or shopped frequently.
The Chinese Communist Party decided early on that they were going to be as open as possible in making timely announcements to the world as their knowledge of the seriousness of the outbreak grew. They immediately informed the World Health Organization of the existence of the virus and within two weeks had isolated it and published the first scientific report describing the virus and the early knowledge of its origin and its virulence and dangerousness in detail.
All over the world, from every anti-communist media outlet to propaganda agents working Twitter and Facebook for the US government, brutal criticism of the Chinese response to the virus outbreak was launched in a 24/7 barrage combining some truth with lies, including faked photographs and videos. “China Is the Sick Man in Asia” screamed a headline in the Wall St. Journal; Chinese diplomats and government officials denounced what they called a vicious, racist attack on their country and its people.
Under tremendous pressure from a profoundly negative “world public opinion” which had been orchestrated by US and other western capitalist nations’ propaganda operations, the leaders of the Chinese Communist Party decided to throw all caution to the wind and take the most drastic steps possible in a desperate attempt to stop the spread of the virus. They shut down the live animal market and its surroundings in Wuhan; and then as the number of people infected continued to climb, and the first deaths began to occur, they steadily expanded the shutdown of Wuhan’s economy to the entire surrounding province of Hubei, comprising some 58 million people. Soon it was announced that all large public gatherings in Hubei province were canceled and the New Years festivities were shut down. Schools and universities were closed and then workplaces. The huge regional airport – a transportation hub comparable in national importance to Atlanta’s or Chicago’s in the USA – was closed, and then the railways and the roads. The entire province was placed under lockdown; no one could enter or leave the area. Workers were told that the nation was “at war” with the COVID-19 virus and that it was a matter of national pride that everyone accede to the strict quarantine rules without fail. People who were caught trying to drive out of town were arrested and their vehicles were impounded. It was one of the most rapid and comprehensive efforts in world history of any government to stop the spread of a contagious disease. And for the people of China it had become a national crusade and a patriotic duty to do all possible to stop the spread of the virus and to help their sisters and brothers in Wuhan. It showed how quickly a socialist planned economy in a one-party state can respond to a national health crisis.
What had started off as a golden opportunity for the US and the rest of the world’s capitalist governments to “prove” the superiority of the capitalist system over socialism was turning into quite the opposite. The stunning, rapid response and the drastic measures immediately taken and imposed with a minimum of opposition from the Chinese workers of the Communist Party’s health initiative was proving the superiority of the socialist system! As the World Health Organization and scientists and politicians around the world praised the Chinese Government’s response to the COVID-19 epidemic, the anti-communist propaganda operations reeled in stunned shock as their initially successful efforts to control the “spin” on the story lost traction and were hurled back by the power of the Chinese response.
Beyond the exchange of heated words between the US Government of Donald Trump and his Chinese counterpart President Xi Jinping, little was being done outside of China to stop the inevitable spread of COVID-19 to the rest of the world. Modern transportation networks accelerate the spread of contagious diseases: what took months to occur during the bubonic plague in the 14th century – a world where the fastest mode of transportation was a sailing ship powered by prevailing winds – now takes only days. It’s quite likely that by the time Chinese doctors had even started to realize what was going on, the virus had already been carried from Wuhan to other countries by infected airline passengers. By the time that western airlines finally stopped all flights to and from China – weeks after the outbreak had been announced – the viral cat was well out of the bag. There was no stopping the global spread of COVID-19 now; and it was just a matter of time before new outbreaks began in major cities all over the world.
In the western capitalist world, anti-communist political leaders chortled at the way the Chinese Communist Party had been forced to shut down the world’s second largest economy because of the falsely-alleged Chinese affinity for exotic foods like “bat wing soup”. They wasted weeks of time in which they could have been preparing their own national response to the inevitable arrival of COVID-19 by spending their days spreading false and malicious rumors as to how the virus originated in wild animal markets in China and from restaurants serving exotic animals for food. Meanwhile, the virus was reaching their own nations – and their national health systems – “socialized” or not – were about to face one of their severest tests in their history.
Instead of using the nearly two months of advance notice of the impending spread of the COVID-19 epidemic from China to the the rest of Asia, then to the USA, Europe and the rest of the world to stockpile the medical equipment that would be necessary in order to slow the spread of the illness in their own nations, the capitalist world’s politicians did… nothing. They ridiculed China for “bungling” the initial response to the COVID-19 outbreak and allowed their national propaganda networks to redouble their efforts to portray the COVID-19 outbreak as a signal “failure” of the “inferior” socialist economic system, and portrayed the very same Chinese police-state actions that the western nations themselves would soon be forced to impose on their workers as “communist totalitarianism”.
This shopworn, lying anti-communist propaganda, disinterred from its “Cold War” “end of history” grave for the purposes of a “New Cold War” had been made necessary by socialist China’s amazing economic performance of the past 40 years, in which it has steadily risen above every capitalist nation on the planet except for the USA (which it is due to surpass within the next 5 years). Increasingly struggling to maintain its “capitalism is better than socialism” narrative in the face of China’s historically unsurpassed economic growth and massive destruction of domestic poverty rates, the US and the rest of the stagnant and even retrograde capitalist world is forced to grasp at ever thinner and thinner straws.
What’s a capitalist politician to do in the face of this challenge from “Communist” China? Well, in the case of the COVID-19 epidemic it appears that their “solution” is to run around like headless chickens for a while, then copy everything China did to bring its COVID-19 epidemic under control. Thanks to events having proven that the initial slant of western propaganda vilifying China’s draconian (perhaps unnecessarily so) but successful efforts to contain the spread of the virus, it has now become politically impossible in the West for politicians to adopt measures any less draconian.
This is particularly ironic since the death toll from China’s and the rest of Asia’s COVID-19 epidemics proved to be comparable to the “mere” common flu, which killed as many or more people in every nation on Earth during the 2019-2020 flu season – as it usually does. “You can’t compare COVID-19 to the ‘common flu’!” screamed the “scientific experts” of the capitalist world, who have spent decades pretending that the annual death toll from the common flu (tens of thousands a year in the USA) was ignorable because it was, apparently, an act of god or something. “COVID-19 is different!” they howled in unison at anyone who dared to point out the obvious contradiction between their perpetually laissez-faire attitude to the massive death toll from the “common flu” compared to their raving lunatic response to this new one. The massive over-reaction was the predictable political response of the rabid anti-communists of the western capitalist bourgeois “democracies” who found themselves compelled, in the wake of “Communist” China’s overwhelming public success at fighting COVID-19, to attempt to “show those commies” up by adopting even more stringent measures that would quickly shut down the world economy – in spite of the daily receipt of data from the global COVID-19 outbreak that clearly showed that it was nothing more than a very nasty flu.
Marxists have always pointed out that one of the greatest areas of superiority of revolutionary Marxist philosophy is our adherence to the “dialectical method” of reasoning, a comprehensive way of looking at every phenomenon in its ever-changing totality rather than using the antique preferred bourgeois methodology of Aristotelian logic, which sees everything as a series of static episodes which can be extracted from an ongoing event and looked at as something finite rather than as a mere snapshot of a dynamic and evolving process of evolution. This narrow-minded approach was evident in almost every “scientific expert”’s wild and crazy public pronouncements on the subject of COVID-19. People who spend their entire professional lives examining life processes through a microscope should not be expected to take the lead on issues involving public policy, where macroeconomic effects of public policy have the potential to kill not just tens of thousands but tens or even hundreds of millions. But they irresponsibly rushed to the forefront of the COVID-19 crisis, brandishing their unpublished theses on the virus, terrifying the world with Cassandra-like predictions of millions of deaths if the global economy was not shut down immediately.
In the USA, scientific cretins like Dr. Anthony Fauci, “a consummate politician” as the New York Times described him, who, as arch-anti-communist US President Ronald Reagan’s point man on AIDS stayed infamously asleep while the “gay plague” raged through the gay communities of the USA in the early ‘80s, was placed in charge of the US Government response to COVID-19. He and his colleagues, apparently utterly blind and ignorant of any subject outside of their chosen specialties of virology and epidemiology, but rising to the occasion of the propaganda imperatives of the “New Cold War” went before the news cameras and breathlessly informed the scientifically illiterate US public that, unless the US economy was shut down immediately, perhaps millions of US workers would die from the “deadly” COVID-19 virus. “Only if these measures – far more outrageous than anything done by those commies in China are taken and taken right away without any hesitation or even a pause for thoughtful consideration” their message seemed to say, “will we avoid a death toll comparable to that of the 1918 flu pandemic”.
That flu pandemic, which occurred in the wake of what was at that time the bloodiest world war in human history, killed “anywhere from 17 million to 50 million, and possibly as high as 100 million” people. In other words we have no idea how many people it actually killed. If it killed “17 million” out of an “estimated 500 millions” who were infected with it globally, then the case-fatality rate would only be around 3.4% If it killed 100 millions, then the CFR would be 20%. That’s quite an error bar, indicative of the fact that no one knows how many people actually died from it. But it doesn’t take a genius of the level of an Einstein to notice that medical science has come quite a long way in the past 102 years. Virology was in its infancy back then; and the terrible trauma of WWI to millions of people all over Europe – trauma that simply DOES NOT EXIST in the USA or Europe or in China in 2020 – must have increased that death toll tremendously.
It is indeed depressing to see the “scientific experts” of the capitalist world brandishing their vapid non-dialectical Aristotelian reasoning, vituperatively screaming at us in one breath that “you can’t compare the ‘common flu’ to COVID-19!” and then in their very next breath to hear them blithely compare the COVID-19 virus to the virus that caused the 1918 pandemic! And yet they did this and continue to do it to this day, despite the fact that the epidemic in China has apparently ended with a death toll of merely 3200 people and that it has signs of having reached its peak in Italy, where 95% of the approximately 8000 deaths so far were of people over 65 and in extremely poor health! That 8,000 figure is also important to remember, by the way: it’s the number of deaths that occur on average every flu season in Italy from… you guessed it! The “common flu”!
In the UK another scientific cretin named Dr. Neil Ferguson and a team of thick-headed microscope-gazers were able to bum’s rush the British Government into abandoning their very reasonable limited quarantine proposals in favor of shutting down the entire UK economy by pushing their non-peer-reviewed study of the possible death toll from COVID-19 rising to 510,000 in the UK and over 2,000,000 in the USA if their complete shutdown of the UK economy was not immediately adopted without any public discussion at all – AFTER it had become apparent that the death tolls in the densely-populated area around the megametropolis of Wuhan, China were not even going to reach 5,000! Yet somehow these scientific cretins – who, if they could only pry their eyes away from their calculators and microscopes long enough, might see that the real-world COVID-19 pandemic was shaping up to be far less apocalyptic than their “calculations” had predicted! So we had yet another example of why “scientific experts” should remain in an “advisory” capacity as part of a governmental panel studying the effectiveness of various options to be taken in response to an epidemic rather than the ONLY VOICE THAT IS HEARD when these situations arise!
This is because shutting down the world economy has the potential to lead to the deaths of many millions of workers all over the world. It is inexcusable to allow the virologists and epidemiologists to take the lead in the response to an epidemic for the sole reason that their proposals will be narrowly tailored to the end result of the stopping of the spread of the virus – and that’s all! The knock-on human impact of the “side effects” of a global economic shutdown are entirely invisible to these people as it is completely outside of their narrow focus of their studies! They literally can’t see the human race for all the virus particles! They are utterly blind to the macroeconomic impact of their proposals. To them, “stopping the virus” is the be-all and end-all of their work. If the virus is stopped before it infects “x” number of people then it will save “x” number of lives, period! They will declare victory and return to their microscopes! But outside their labs in the ivory towers in which they reside, there will be massive human suffering caused not by COVID-19 but by the draconian and absolutely UN-NECESSARY response to what has turned out to be “just a nasty flu virus” with a case-fatality rate comparable to that of the “common flu”!
But it’s almost too late to turn back now. All the anti-communist politicians, most of whom are themselves nothing but Wall St. crooks and swindlers or the partners of such are THEMSELVES scientifically illiterate and completely happy to pass on the responsibility for the response to the COVID-19 epidemic to the scientists! If they turn out to be wrong, these bureaucrats – capitalist “kleptocrats” is a better description of them – can wash their hands of the whole disaster and say “we were grievously misinformed by the scientific community as to how we should have responded”. In the meantime, they have “shown the commies” how tough they are by… launching torpedo after torpedo into the world economy. Thus the propaganda war between the capitalist world and the “Communist” Chinese has completely made it impossible for the politicians of the capitalist west to do anything other than to destroy the world economy in order to “win” what has become a “New Cold War” political pissing contest – from which “Communist China” will almost certainly emerge victorious because socialism works!
The Real Disaster in the Capitalist World Begins Now
As the Chinese economy quickly returns to normal – something that can be done quickly in a socialist “command economy” run by the Communist Party of China, which has finally, after decades of bumbling, stumbled onto a successful method of organizing and running a mixed socialist planned economy – the economies of the capitalist world are in complete crisis mode. The idiotic wholesale shutting down of the capitalist world economy (merely to prolong for a few months the end-of-lives of a few thousand very ill octogenarians) has already led to unemployment levels far higher than were seen in the Great Depression. The longer the global capitalist economy is shut down, the more massive and lasting damage will be done to the working class and the small businesspeople. A one-month shutdown of the US economy will lead to the wiping out of hundreds of thousands of marginal small business operations, in turn leading to the permanent elimination of a couple of million jobs. Larger retail operations like Sears and so many others which had been hanging on by a thread will likely also receive their death-blow, wiping out hundreds of thousands of more jobs. Long-term unemployment and the suffering caused by it in terms of lives and marriages ruined, people made homeless, suicides and domestic violence will take a massive toll not just in the US but throughout the capitalist world. Tens of millions of workers are suffering already due to unemployment and the sudden elimination of their incomes. This economic crisis is going to kill far more people than COVID-19 did.
The economists seem to have lost their minds as well. They seem to believe that they can simply print trillions of dollars and distribute them to the businesses and workers without harming the value of the dollar. The extremely experimental “Modern Monetary Theory” (MMT) is leaping from the printed page to reality with no drug test and no background check involved! These crazy bastards are launching a macroeconomic experiment the likes of which has never been seen before. Where it will lead is anyone’s guess: but I’m guessing that, as with many “new paradigms” we’ve seen since the dot-com-bust where it was asserted that the alarms rung by “old school” economists could be safely ignored – this time around as well, the “old school” economic “dogma” of what happens when you print dollars by the trillions and dump them into the money supply all at once will reassert themselves with a quickness. And all this wild-eyed economic and social experimentation is being done over a virus which as we see with every new report of the mortality statistics right up to the moment I’m writing this – appears to be literally “nothing more than a nasty flu”!
The revolutionary socialists of the world have been warning workers since the 1840s that there is no future for the working class under the capitalist system, and that continuing to support capitalist politicians and the rotten capitalist economic system will cost the working classes their lives. Since that time we have seen two world wars in which tens of millions of workers were butchered, and still the working classes of most countries have resumed their places as exploited cogs in the capitalist machine. Instead of building revolutionary socialist workers parties to lead us out of the dead end of late capitalism and into a promising socialist future, the working class has, time and again, returned to the voting booths to pull the lever for the lying capitalist politicians. In the 2020 elections in the USA we see the workers doing it yet again. Stupid is as stupid does, as the saying goes. The longer you allow the capitalists to remain in power the closer you are bringing yourselves and all those you love to the brink of total destruction. Either the working class will rise up and fight for its rightful place as the organizers of a new socialist world or we will be annihilated in yet another World War. The decision rests in the hands of each and every worker on this planet. We hope you’ll join us in building an egalitarian socialist world where the endless crises and wars of the late capitalist period will be brought to a permanent end.
Dump the Republicrats! Build A Workers Party! Fight For A Workers Government! Fight For A Socialist Future!