The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.”
— Karl Marx

Vaccine Mandates:
A Whip That Will Be Used Against Us All

Sep 19, 2021

President Joe Biden has issued a vaccine mandate for federal workers. Get vaccinated or face consequences on your job. And he is pushing to include private industries with over 100 workers in similar orders.

He said, “We’ve been patient. But our patience is wearing thin. And your refusal [to get a vaccine] has cost all of us.”

What a crock! The cost of this pandemic hasn’t been paid by Biden, the government or the capitalist class that drains its wealth out of our labor. The cost has been paid to a large extent by working people, our elderly and the poor.

It’s not our unvaccinated neighbors who caused us to sicken and die. It is the failure of the class that holds power to muster the tremendous financial resources and technology available in this country, to stop the virus dead in its tracks.

This government which serves the capitalist class has created the deadly situation we are in. Trump, Biden it makes no difference. Under both of them, the government let the pandemic rage. It hoarded stocks of vaccines that could have been used to stop the global spread. It let pharmaceutical companies limit production and set high prices. Its priority was to guarantee massive profits to the drug companies. Leaving most of the world unprotected, those companies allowed the virus to morph into the deadly Delta variant.

Whatever is unknown about these vaccines, they are the best weapon society has found so far to protect itself, as well as individuals, from Covid.

The trouble is, the vaccines are not equally available. They may be easy to get in one area, but not so much in another. People had to take off work to get them, many losing a day or more of pay they couldn’t afford. Many don’t trust the government, the drug companies, and the medical system, which provided the vaccines. Why should they?

Instead of working to overcome the fears of the population and requiring the bosses to provide safe workplaces, this government is pointing its fingers at the workers who are still unvaccinated, saying they are to blame.

What is this but a way to turn one section of the working class against another? By making an example of workers who have not been vaccinated, the Biden administration is trying to shift blame for the continuing nightmare of the pandemic onto the victims themselves. And it hopes to convince workers who have received shots to do the same.

Forcing vaccines on the workers reduces the bosses’ responsibility for medical costs and for creating safe work environments. It lets them hire only workers who are vaccinated and compliant. Much cheaper than making the workplaces safe.

Already, at some workplaces, workers are being suspended without pay even if they have extenuating health problems that prevent shots.

So will we accept permanent unemployment for those without vaccines? Will we accept that health care companies no longer waive hospital co-pays for Covid 19 treatment? Today it may be only the unvaccinated. Tomorrow it will be everyone. Is it okay to let people die while they stay at home sick because they know the high medical bills will bankrupt them?

Giving the bosses a whip to use on any worker will give them that same whip to use on us all. This time it may be vaccines, the next time, something else.

Setting us against each other is a way to divide the working class. Either we stand together as one class or, divided, we will be pulled down to the bottom, all of us. The bosses have no final goal but to increase their profits by increasing the exploitation of all of us.

Working people need to start setting our own goals. We can mobilize as a class to impose our needs. Why not? The working class is the vast majority of the population. We make everything run, we can shut everything down. But we can do much more than this. Our key position in the economy means we can reorganize the whole society, bringing it to serve the needs of the whole population, not just a greedy few.