The Spark

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

Facemasks:
From Unacceptable Shortage to Ridiculous Overproduction

Jun 15, 2020

Translated from Lutte Ouvrière (Workers’ Struggle), the newspaper of the revolutionary workers’ group active in France.

Today there are 40 million French-made washable facemasks that cannot find a buyer, and the bosses who threw themselves into the business claim to be on the verge of bankruptcy. But when the epidemic began, everyone had to hunt for facemasks. The government ran out of its stockpile, and there was a flagrant delay before new ones were ordered. Against all medical advice, the government declared that wearing facemasks was of little use.

Facemasks became a commodity for contraband and speculation. Governments robbed them from each other. Scammers forged certifications for bad masks. Caregivers had to make do with whatever they had on hand. Then textile companies began to manufacture them, encouraged by the government. They were counting on a growing market and guaranteed payments. But within a few weeks, both the epidemic declined and disposable masks were massively imported and distributed. The market collapsed.

The government tried talking with business experts. They consulted the bosses of trendy Le Slip Français for a solution. However, resorting to spandex professionals might not be enough to overcome the errors of the capitalist economy!