The Spark

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

Editorial:
“Mandate” the Sweeping Away of the Capitalist System that Created a Covid Catastrophe

Aug 16, 2021

The call for vaccine mandates spreads. From Biden’s federal government, to state and local governments, to private industry, the rush to mandate is on.

Hanging over the unvaccinated workers’ heads is the threat of suspension or even discharge from work. Or the threat, at least, of serious inconvenience, requiring unvaccinated workers, for example, to get a test every week, and perhaps pay for the tests themselves.

A very real apparatus for mandates has been established, joined by a phalanx of well-known musicians, actors, sports figures, and social media personalities, and many journalists with the big media. They all march to the same drumbeat: “Get vaccinated, it is YOUR responsibility, YOUR obligation to other people.”

It’s a bludgeon hung over people’s head, a moral bludgeon, accusing them of social irresponsibility, but also a mortal bludgeon, a threat to take their livelihood away.

Yes, it’s true that vaccination rates are perilously low. After eight months and all the money it poured into the pharmaceutical companies, the federal government has been unable to direct the full vaccination of even 60% of the American population, 12 years of age and older.

It also seems to be true that in the midst of a dangerous pandemic, these vaccines appear to be the least problematic of the ways to respond to the spreading virus, once the virus has gotten this far out of control.

But that begs the real question: why is the population being put on trial? Due to their refusal or even just inability to get vaccinated, part of the population is being charged with responsibility for this whole enormous medical catastrophe. In reality, the responsibility belongs to the American capitalist class and its state apparatus.

This capitalist class, firmly resting on the “financial industry,” bought and sold off hospitals and hospital systems, making a tidy profit with each turnover—and leaving larger parts of the country without any nearby medical care. This capitalist class ensconced itself in the medical industry, turning it into a profit-making toy. In order to prop up the big banks, the state apparatus of this capitalist class drained public health entities of the funds they needed to regularly survey the population and organize to deal with contagious diseases.

This is why, when a new virus appeared, the public health system was totally inadequate, without equipment and supplies, without personnel, unable to meet the threat as it emerged. This is why, 20 months after the virus appeared, this country’s public health system is still completely inadequate.

Don’t let them blame the population for this. Don’t let them throw mandates at the population. And, as for those Republican governors, who get vaccinated themselves, but sit on both sides of the vaccine fence, pretending to speak for the “right of individuals to make their own decisions about their own bodies,”—hopefully their rear ends will get skewered by one of those fence posts on which they sit.

Yes, a mandate is needed. A mandate to get rid of all these politicians, no matter what political fence they ride on. A mandate to get rid of the capitalist class, which looks on medicine and public health as simply one more way to accumulate profit.

This is a mandate that only the working class can give, a mandate it can give only to itself.

The only force that has the means to sweep away this system is the working class. The only force that has the capacity to sweep it all down into the sewer where it belongs is the working class. The only force which can have the capacity to construct a new society, organized around the needs of the population, is the working class.

No, it is not doing that today, it hasn’t even begun to pull its forces together to make a fight that might address its immediate problems today. But tomorrow, all that can change—if there are people today who argue for what must be done. If there are people today who cleanly and precisely stand for a dictatorship of working people, imposed over all the old corrupt, filthy parts of capitalist society. If there are people today who stand for a communist society tomorrow.