Mar 30, 2020
How many millions around a world already ravaged by imperialism will die from COVID-19?
How many will die in this country, the very center of the imperialist system? Today, no one knows for sure. But every credible estimate based on scientific analysis of real medical data indicates the number will be enormous.
It is not the virus that is killing so many people. Of course, viruses can carry the threat of serious illness and death. But there are well-known ways to confront these threats, so that the numbers of seriously ill and dead don’t mount so drastically.
This human tragedy is the direct result of decisions made by human beings, and specifically of the deadly decision made by the capitalist class to pursue profit, no matter the human cost; and of deadly government decisions to reinforce the pursuit of profit, no matter the human cost.
People are being put to work under conditions that guarantee not only that they will get sick, but that they will spread the contagion to many other people, including the most vulnerable people in their own homes. This comes from the attempt to drain every bit of profit possible out of every enterprise, under even the most dangerous conditions.
Medical personnel are deprived of the equipment they need even to begin limiting the spread of the virus because yesterday there was not enough profit to be made in producing such things.
Trump proposes to start up production in the country—against all medical advice—in order to help his own re-election hopes, and his own hotel chains. He may be only a petty, conniving, self-serving oaf. But he is the U.S. president, a symbol of all that is wrong.
In this world, where poverty is rampant, in this country where wealth is concentrated among a very few people, while the majority do without, we really didn’t need yet another reason to get rid of this capitalist system. But we got it anyway, with the way capitalism has made the spread of the virus many times worse.
The working class has the capacity, when it pulls its forces together, to get rid of capitalism. Not only to get rid of this system as it is, but to build a new, completely different one.
Workers know how the society runs. Those who work in the medical field know what the problem is today. Nurses and doctors and medical technicians could overcome this specific problem if they were linked with all the other workers—the ones who know how to design things, to produce them, to find the resources needed to do it, to ship them, to get them distributed. More than that. All of them together could begin to create a society that puts human needs first.
The knowledge and capacity to do this already exists among all those who do the work of capitalist society. Working people are the link between this worn-out, degenerating society and to a new, humane society, socialism, communism.
Already today, many people in the medical field are working to solve the problems that self-anointed despots like Trump only helped make worse. Some workers forced to work on assembly lines that would condemn many of them and their family members to severe illness are refusing such conditions, demanding to have their income anyway. They are, effectively, insisting that decisions be made based on human need.
These are only the first actions. But they are happening, and they are beginning all over the world. It is with such beginnings that the door to socialism might ultimately be opened for the whole world.