Unemployment under Covid Capitalism: A Preventable Epidemic

Karyn Pomerantz, June 6, 2020

Introduction

There are millions of useful jobs that could improve our quality of life. The Covid pandemic requires the mobilization of millions to provide healthcare, food, outreach, and the production and distribution of protective gear. The US and other countries also need infrastructure overhauls to prevent collapsing bridges and further climate devastation. There are great deficits in education, transportation, housing, and health care that need to be addressed. Unemployment plagues workers, especially black, Latin, and young people. Why is there so much unemployment when our needs are so great?!

This post reports on unemployment, why it exists, how communism can prevent it, and the ways US activists fought it during the Depression in the 1930s.

Continue reading “Unemployment under Covid Capitalism: A Preventable Epidemic”

What Communism in the People’s Republic of China Achieved in Public Health

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A REVIEW OF AWAY WITH ALL PESTS: AN ENGLISH SURGEON IN PEOPLE’S CHINA DR. JOSHUA S. HORN 1954-1969. LONDON: Monthly Review, 1969.

 

by Peter Scheckner, May 28, 2020

As of this writing, May 18, 2020, the coronavirus pandemic has infected over 4 million people worldwide and killed over 300,00 people. The USA, supposedly the most advanced and wealthiest capitalist country, is leading the world in the wrong way as usual. It has the most deaths—91,000 plus, and the most cases, 1.5 million. It also has, ironically, the costliest health care system in the world.

In March of this year, CNN reported this about the connection between America’s awful health record regarding the Covid-19 pandemic: “The US is the only developed nation without universal health care. Nearly 28 million non-elderly Americans, or 10.4%, were uninsured in 2018, according to the most recent Census Bureau data available. This is an improvement from what it was before the Affordable Care Act was passed in 2010. That year, 46.5 million non-elderly people — or 17.8% — lacked coverage. But the uninsured rate has started ticking up again over the past two years. Continue reading “What Communism in the People’s Republic of China Achieved in Public Health”

Public Health in Times of Epidemics: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

By Karyn Pomerantz, May 7, 2020

The corona crisis, on top of so many others, shows how lethal capitalism is. Poverty and racism are the pre-existing conditions that inflate the rates of death and disability. For billions of people around the world, this disaster continues the misery at the hands of the 1%. It hopefully wakes up other people to the inequalities, negligence, and outright murder of global capitalism. 

How has public health responded to such inequities and pandemics? What can we learn from previous infectious disease outbreaks caused by smallpox, TB,  and cholera? When public health is good, it is very good, but when it is bad, many people die. When public health gets ugly, it destroys our lives and future security and aspirations. 

Public health today operationalizes the prevailing political ideology: personal responsibility, the philosophy that individuals make decisions about what to eat, where to live, how to work, or  whether to graduate, and then pay the consequences. Public health has blamed the individual for poor health habits and focused on educating people rather than dealing with systemic issues. Even now, when many talk about social determinants of disease, such as housing, racist police violence, immigration policy, and employment, actual interventions still focus on individual behavior.

This article identifies some of the qualities of successful and failed attempts to control epidemics with examples from selected countries since the late 19th Century.

Continue reading “Public Health in Times of Epidemics: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly”

A Different Kind of COVID-19 Protest

by Nick Pemberton, 5-4-2020; originally published on CounterPunch on 4-29-2020

This article addresses the return to work advocates and the left’s response to them and the pandemic. Capitalism has always sacrificed workers’ lives. Instead of providing the food and income necessary to stay safe, the bosses and their government are pushing people to work in dangerous conditions (and dumping crops and animals that are also extraneous to them). It’s a system that requires people to make choices that lead to death: work and risk dying or shelter and risk starving. Nick rightly calls for a communist solution based on love for fellow workers. His other writings can be found on Counterpunch.org

Amidst a deadly pandemic set to kill millions of people it is hard not to become reactionary and short-sighted. The coronavirus for all intents and purposes is the new Trump for the libs. On the one hand a force that remains criminally underrated in its capacity for destruction despite its overwhelming popularity and attention from the bourgeoisie. On the other hand a noise that is so loud that it erases all rationality and perspective.

Continue reading “A Different Kind of COVID-19 Protest”

My Family and Flu: The Victims of Pandemics, The Context of Pandemics

by Ruth Kiefson, 4-27-2020

A hundred years ago, my grandfather was one of more than fifty million people around the world whose lives were cut short by the Spanish flu. The disease mainly killed young adults, men and women who were just stepping onto the stage of life. Now the coronavirus, a new flu, is invading the bodies of hundreds of thousands of people from East Asia to North America, turning our lives upside down. However, unlike the Spanish Flu, its main victims are the elderly, the grandparents, like me.

Continue reading “My Family and Flu: The Victims of Pandemics, The Context of Pandemics”

May Day Is Coming – Spread the Word! The History Of May Day

by Sarah Harper, April 25, 2020

There will come a time when our silence will be more powerful than the voices you strangle today.”

Those were the last words of August Spies on November 11, 1887 as the hangman’s noose was tied around his head, murdered along with three of his class brothers by the U.S. ruling class for having helped organize the working class of Chicago and the country in the fight for the 8-hour day.

It was out of that struggle that May Day was born, an event proclaiming the solidarity and common goals of the international working class. It represents the revolutionary communist aspirations to create a world run by workers without the atrocious inequalities so transparent today. Many groups organize May Day strikes and marches to demand fairer conditions, and an end to wars and occupations.

Continue reading “May Day Is Coming – Spread the Word! The History Of May Day”

The New Normal: Cascading and Multi – Layered Crises

by Vincent Emanuele, 4-15-2020

Excerpt from The New Normal, the failures of capitalism. Click the link below to see the complete article at CounterPunch

“Without question, capitalism will survive COVID-19. The unfolding COVID-19 pandemic and economic crises will alter the future of capitalism. The real question is: how can workers and ordinary people nudge things in a preferred direction, a path that leads to more collectivism and cooperation? How can we exploit the contradictions within the system? How can we ruthlessly expose the inherent limitations and internal contradictions of capital accumulation.

Every single aspect of our society is under extreme stress. Even the most passive populations can only take so much. Human beings can only take so much. The living world can only take so much. Eventually, things will explode.

The question is: how? Will poor and working class Americans turn that despair and cynicism into a righteous anger and rage? And if so, who will that anger and rage be directed toward? Each other? Or the powerful elites?

The current social context in the U.S. and across the globe is ripe for radical political change, but that change doesn’t necessarily have to be progressive in nature. It could also be reactionary and fueled by religious extremism, xenophobia, racism, and tribalism. That’s up to us. “

Racism and Epidemics from the Plague to Covid-19

by Karyn Pomerantz and KT Conner

Social Murder: “Infection Meets Inequality” 

A NYC physician described the Covid-19 pandemic as “infection meets inequality.” As the pandemic spreads here in the US, evidence shows that it reflects the same racist health and social inequities that capitalism created in the 15th Century. 

This post offers examples of racism during times of plagues and other epidemics, and reports early April 2020 data on Covid-19 morbidity and mortality rates among different racial and ethnic categories. These revelations of disproportionate deaths and illness have elicited vows to change the underlying causes of such inequity. This blog argues that the root cause is capitalism and that no reform, including elections, will eradicate racism, change the ways capitalism operates, or weaken the powerful owners of corporations and financial institutions. Capitalism cannot exist without racism, and we cannot live with capitalism. 

Continue reading “Racism and Epidemics from the Plague to Covid-19”

How the Covid-19 Exceptions Prove the Rule

by Nayvin Gordon, 4-6-2020

Covid-19 is contained in Taiwan and Singapore.  There is no “lock down,” no mass unemployment, no rising death rate.  Factories, schools and businesses are open.  Contrast this with Europe and the US where the plague of Covid-19 is devastating the lives of millions with “lock downs,” unemployment, isolation, and death.  What explains the differences?  Why were the doors to death wide open in Europe and the US but quickly closed in Taiwan and Singapore?

How did Singapore become the “gold standard of near perfect detection?”  Simply put, they learned from the SARS 2003 epidemic that had killed people and damaged the economy.  Their answer was to invest heavily in building health care infrastructure: building 1,000 public health clinics, free aggressive testing and hospitalization, contact tracing, and quarantine with financial support, consistent public education and social distancing.  The virus was contained. https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/69/wr/mm6914e1.htm 

Continue reading “How the Covid-19 Exceptions Prove the Rule”

A Better World is Possible: Pandemic Management Under Capitalism and Communism

by Karyn Pomerantz, 4-3-2020

This contrasts the ways capitalist countries (primarily the US) mismanage epidemics and the changes communism would make. Part 1 discussed the prevention of epidemics.

Part 2 – Pandemic Management Under Capitalism = Social Murder

As described in Part 1, capitalists operate to make profit off the backs of workers. Whether they pay low or high wages, they ultimately exploit their employees by paying them less than the value they produce. Corporate boards cut benefits, increase productivity, establish factories in low wage, non-union countries, and avoid taxes to increase their wealth. This leaves low wage and unemployed workers destitute and vulnerable to disease.

Furthermore, in the interests of short term gains, they don’t plan for future needs or stockpile emergency equipment. While no country would ever have sufficient beds lying around in case of a pandemic, capitalists don’t invest sufficiently in prevention, health care, or medical research that would decrease the death rate of contagious diseases. Over the last decade, the US Congress has stripped funds from the CDC that cut over 700 employees and from public health budgets, leaving state and local health departments unable to conduct contact tracing, deploy enough outreach workers to educate the public, or pay for protective body wear.

In the richest country, we have regular people sewing gowns and printing 3D masks for healthcare workers. We have nurses, Instacart shoppers, and Amazon warehouse workers striking for protective gear and hazard pay. In Taiwan, factories produced millions of masks per day; the US has already depleted its stockpile and recommends that people make their own. The US had actually contracted with a company that could make inexpensive ventilators, but when the medical device industry objected, the government cancelled the contract.  Currently, major hospitals will run out of ventilators this month (April 2020). This neglect amounts to social  murder.

Here are some of the ways US capitalism sets up people for the kill.

Continue reading “A Better World is Possible: Pandemic Management Under Capitalism and Communism”