The capitalist classes of the world – and especially of the USA – are proving once again that they and their crappy capitalist system can’t handle natural disasters. From Katrina to the Coronavirus there is one bright green thread running through the US Government’s responses to natural disasters: they don’t want to spend the money necessary to protect the lives of the working class!
Every winter half of the planet experiences what we call “flu season”; in the USA it runs roughly from October to May. This year the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has estimated that there have been “at least 36 million flu illnesses, 370,000 hospitalizations and 22,000 deaths from flu.” The annual US death toll from common flu has an *estimated* range of from 20,000 to 80,000 – no one knows exactly how many die – because our capitalist government doesn’t give a damn! And every year these statistics are COMPLETELY IGNORED by the US capitalist press and our bought-and-paid-for Republicrat politicians! No one knows or cares why tens of thousands of US citizens are dying every year from the common flu – a disease whose mortality rate is allegedly 10 times lower than that for the COVID-19 epidemic. Does this have something to do with the fact that the USA is the ONLY nation in the modern industrialized world in which the citizens do not enjoy a socialized medical care system? No one knows and no one cares except the socialist left apparently. Neither of the twin capitalist-owned-and-operated political parties of the USA has said a word about it. We believe this is because it’s mainly poor workers who have no health insurance who die from it; and the capitalist classes of the world can’t make money off poor people so as far as they are concerned poor workers might as well just die anyway.
So what makes the COVID-19 flu epidemic (now “pandemic” according to the World Health Organization) any different from the common flu virus epidemic? So far there have been a mere 5,000 deaths WORLDWIDE from COVID-19. The total number of confirmed cases WORLDWIDE are estimated to be under 150,000 (which is a flat out LIE, by the way; the number of cases is at the very least ten times higher than that)! [NOTE: all stats as of 13 March 2020 – IWPCHI] If we were to average out the death toll for COVID-19 by subtracting the number of cases and deaths from Wuhan, China, (which experienced the highest number of deaths of any region in the world) and the death toll from the country with the lowest number of cases and deaths (we could pick from dozens of countries with no deaths or just a handful) the death toll would instantly drop from 5,000 to around 2,000 worldwide, and the mortality rate would drop down to a level not all that different from the common flu. Also, no one seems to be attempting to estimate how many people have acquired the COVID-19 virus but have not become so ill that they required hospitalization. If we did such an estimate, the total number of cases would be in the millions, and the case-fatality and mortality rates would also decline to a flu-like number. THIS IS NOTHING MORE THAN A VERY NASTY FLU VIRUS, FOLKS! So WHY is it that THIS flu virus is producing the level of panic that hasn’t been seen since the 1918 flu pandemic? And in countries where the number of confirmed cases are still very manageable, why is the working class facing increasing pressure to stay home from work until this epidemic is over? HOW THE HELL ARE WORKERS IN CAPITALIST NATIONS SUPPOSED TO FEED THEIR FAMILIES AND PAY THEIR RENTS, MORTGAGES, CAR PAYMENTS AND UTILITY BILLS IF WE CAN’T WORK FOR A MONTH OR TWO?
The capitalist world isn’t Socialist China! There, thanks to the Chinese Revolution that overthrew the capitalist system in 1949 the workers are essentially guaranteed jobs, food, clothing, housing and health care. No Chinese worker will be made homeless or made to starve if he or she must take a month or two off of work! CAPITALISM DOESN’T WORK THAT WAY! If the workers in capitalist countries are forced to take a month or two off work, we will lose our cars, we’ll have our utilities disconnected, we’ll be thrown out of our apartments and houses by landlords and bankers, and many of us will also lose the health insurance we’re being forced to pay way too much for which we will need if we or our kids get sick! What makes these stupid-ass so-called “leaders” of the capitalist nations of the world think it’s no big deal if they decide to shut down the entire global economy because 5,000 people died? The workers in the capitalist world will be facing the loss of everything we own if we miss even just a few paychecks! If you needed proof that the rich capitalists like Donald Trump and his cabal have no idea how the workers live, this idiotic coronavirus panic is providing all the proof you’ll EVER need!
These greedhead capitalists like alleged billionaire Donald Trump have never given a moment’s thought to how to develop any kind of rational public policy initiative ever in their lives. Capitalists spend their lives trying to do one thing and one thing only… no scratch that! The capitalists spend their lives trying to do two things only: get laid and steal as much money from “their” workers as they possibly can! You can rest assured that born-with-a-gold-spoon-in-his-mouth real-estate and casino swindler Donald Trump and his kind have never lost a nights sleep worrying about how his tenants are going to afford to pay him the rent they owe him. Workers are given two options: you can either pay or be evicted. That’s it! Trump has never spent a moment of his life until now trying to develop any kind of rational public policy of any kind. He and those in his capitalist class are as perfectly incapable of understanding the struggles of the working class as your dog is. And he and his “team” of capitalist criminals are proving it to you in their pathetically inadequate response to this stupid coronavirus scare.
The bourgeois press’ weeks-long newspaper and advertising sales fest spreading fear and loathing about COVID-19 have scared the greedhead world so badly that they have triggered one of the worst economic crises since 1987 – all over practically NOTHING! The fundamental irrationality of the unplanned capitalist system has been on full display this past week as what SHOULD have been a rationally-managed response to a relative handful of cases of COVID-19 outside of China was handled so badly by the capitalists that panic was spread throughout the capitalist world to such a degree that it even got the attention of the Wall St. money-grubbers. Suddenly made aware of the possibility that the shutdown of Chinese cities would have a very bad effect on their stock portfolios, they reacted as they always do when someone threatens to take their money away: they freaked out! They started dumping stocks like crazy, driving the US markets to one of their worst performances on record, erasing a couple trillion dollars in fictional “value” in a week’s time and precipitating a global economic meltdown. If you needed proof that the capitalist system is not even close to being an ideal system to depend upon when you try to plan your family’s future, you just got another couple of cruise ship loads of it dropped right in front of you! Are you going to remember it this time and do what’s necessary to prevent capitalism from destroying your family’s lives for the second or third time in the past 20 years? Fellow workers: the capitalist system has got to go! We need a revolutionary socialist planned economy, not this chaotic capitalist horror movie on perpetual rerun!
New viruses have always emerged from time to time; some like Ebola are truly deadly, killing 80% or more of the people who become infected with them; but most, like the flu, are far less lethal, killing the old and those with serious life-threatening illnesses already. As Socialist China proved, under a socialist system a calm and rational science-based response to novel emerging diseases can be achieved with a minimum of disruption of the lives of the working class. Under a system where the basic human needs of the working class are guaranteed, taking an unscheduled month or two off work does not threaten to destroy the lives of millions of workers in order to save the lives of a few thousand workers. Under socialism even if this happened each and every year it would be a manageable problem. This is not the case with capitalism!
The capitalist system is based on an anarchic economic model where the kind of centralized planning that is absolutely essential in the event of a major natural disaster simply does not exist! The motto of the socialists is of universal cooperation among all the workers of the world, uniting for the common good as sisters & brothers, harnessing all of our individual strengths for the benefit of all. “From each according to their ability, to each according to their need” is the credo of the socialist workers movement.
Under capitalism the motto is: EVERY MAN FOR HIMSELF! Whether or not the rich help the poor or the strong help the weak is up to each individual to decide under capitalism. Capitalist society upholds the primacy of the individual over collective humanity. Capitalism is based upon a philosophy the exact opposite of socialist philosophy. “Look out for #1” is the capitalist credo! This is why the response to natural disasters you see in the capitalist world – as with Hurricanes Katrina and Maria and to the current COVID-19 epidemic – demonstrates none of the calm cohesiveness we saw with the Socialist Chinese societal response. Socialism defends the interests of the working-class majority; capitalism works only for the wealthy minority. This is why the capitalist world’s response to COVID-19 has been a wide range of responses, from almost adequate to completely inept. There is no rationality in the capitalist system, it’s just “every man for himself”, “save yourselves” and “pray for a cure”.
Getting back to public policy: in our opinion it is neither necessary nor rational to shut down the world’s economy over a novel flu virus that has a average 98% survival rate for those who get it. A rational socialist response would make certain that every flu season we would have enough testing kits and equipment to quickly convert empty arenas and buildings into quarantine centers to handle the overwhelming numbers of cases we have seen with this COVID-19 epidemic. We KNOW that these kinds of emerging illness events will occur on average once a decade. Under socialism we would be prepared to handle an outbreak like this each and every year; we would simply allocate the funds necessary because it must be done to prevent the kind of social upheaval we’re seeing in the capitalist world. In a socialist society that prioritizes the guaranteeing of every fundamental human need of the working class over all else it would be easy to become prepared for and to remain prepared for this kind of challenge.
The excellent response to COVID-19 we saw in China had its flaws no doubt. We think one of them was a massive over-reaction when it came to shutting down Wuhan and Hubei. Was it really necessary to quarantine non-symptomatic but COVID-19-positive people in order to control the spreading of the virus? How much did that really stop the spread of it? Is it necessary to shut down schools and workplaces if the workers there aren’t in close contact with each other? Obviously Wuhan’s epidemic was out of control for a while; but the rest of China was hardly affected at all by it. This question needs to be closely studied in the next year. There is no “one size fits all” response to these kinds of things, but shutting down a metropolitan area of 58 million people to postpone the deaths of a few thousand very frail elderly citizens by a few months might not be the best way to do it. If it was an Ebola- or bubonic-plague-like illness, that would be a different story, obviously; but COVID-19 is not even close to that level of lethality.
In the capitalist world, where most countries are only seeing a relative handful of cases: why can’t we simply institute mandatory quarantines of everyone who tests positive for the virus as well as their close contacts? If we did this, we would not have to shut down huge sections of the economy just out of fear for what might happen. Unless the capitalist countries are going to pass laws guaranteeing that workers will be able to be paid their usual wages while they are under quarantine, how can governments – or individual capitalists like $130-billion-dollar swindler Jeff Bezos of Amazon – propose that workers be laid off for anywhere from a couple weeks to a couple months? It’s easy for THEM to do! But unlike Jeff Bezos or Donald Trump workers don’t have a billion-dollar-cushion to protect us from the loss of a couple of months’ pay! It’s going to destroy the lives of millions of workers for no rational reason! The capitalist politicians – who in the USA were quick to approve $1.5 trillion in aid to provide “liquidity” for the US bond markets – will not provide that kind of aid for the workers who will lose weeks or months of paychecks! We saw that during the US housing market crash, where trillions were used to shore up capitalist enterprises but not a dollar was spent in comparison to prevent workers from losing their homes! Workers can not permit the bought-and-paid-for political puppets of the US capitalist class to declare state and national emergencies that will keep us from going to work while doing NOTHING to guarantee our pay in the meantime! And if they would simply impose quarantines on those who get sick and their contacts, we wouldn’t have to miss work at all! It’s only because of the fundamentally selfish and greed-based nature of the capitalist system that our nations are completely incapable of handling a few hundred or a few thousand cases of COVID-19. They can’t just shut down the economy to cover THEIR asses and let we, the workers suffer the consequences! If we, the workers, are going to be forced to take two months off to stop the spread of COVID-19 we are going to have to get PAID FULL WAGES for that “time off”!
The vast majority of the deaths from COVID-19 have been elderly people (60s and up) who also had pre-existing serious health issues, including things like lung cancer, organ failure, etc. These folks have one foot in the grave already; it’s highly likely that many of them would have died COVID-19 or NO COVID-19. The common flu would be enough to kill them, unfortunately. So does it make sense to make hundreds of millions of workers suffer by shutting down the economy to save the lives of literally , what? 5,000? 10,000? people who are frail and not long for this world anyway? It’s not an either/or kind of decision; obviously as many lives should be saved as possible. But laying off workers by the millions is going to cause a lot of suffering as well – including deaths by suicide & homicide and domestic abuse – and no one of our wonderful capitalists or their politicians seem to be making any plans to deal positively with that side of the question. Epidemiologists and virologists like Dr. Anthony Fauci – who literally looks at the world through a microscope and thus literally does not see the “big picture” – can propose “solutions” to the spread of COVID-19 that make perfect sense to an epidemiologist who looks at the world through a microscope but which will raise holy hell when examined from a “big picture” panoramic societal perspective!
If workers are forced to stay home from work and receive no pay or any compensation from the government, there are going to be literally tens or even HUNDREDS of MILLIONS of workers who will lose their cars, homes, their families will break up… there will be divorces and there will be suicides. Shutting down the world’s economy – or large sections of it – is going to have severe repercussions on the lives of MILLIONS of people in ways that will have little to do with mere money. The half-witted policy-makers of the capitalist world, fearing that their own careers will be jeopardized if they don’t “DO SOMETHING!!!” can be counted upon to do the WRONG thing, ruining millions of workers lives workers lives without giving it the least thought in a futile attempt to cover up their vast incompetence! Many of these impromptu “cures” for the COVID-19 epidemic being promoted by capitalists and the politicians they own could very well cause more far-reaching damage in workers lives than the loss of a beloved grandparent. This is not a simple calculation of “save as many lives as possible” in a capitalist world where human lives have never been held in very high value to begin with. If the US capitalist class and their bought-and-paid-for Republicrat politicians actually gave a damn about workers’ lives we’d have a socialized medicare system already!
In conclusion: we are pretty certain that once this COVID-19 epidemic is over it is going to look a lot more like a slightly-more-nasty-than-usual flu outbreak, and a lot of clueless capitalist politicians and government officials are going to be exposed for their incompetence and lunatic over-reactions to this really trivial health care and economic crisis largely manufactured by the capitalist class and their antiquated third-rate system itself. We can’t shut down the world every time a new flu virus emerges unless we overthrow capitalism and build a socialist system in its place where going without a paycheck for a couple of months won’t wipe out our life savings and make us and our families join the ranks of the homeless. Capitalism sucks! #Build A Workers Party; fight for a workers government! We need to overthrow capitalism and build a working-class-run planned socialist economic system “with American characteristics”!