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 

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Pandemic Disaster Looms for the Despised and Displaced Migrants of the World

by Ellen Isaacs

April 5, 2020

Who has not sobbed at the pictures of the drowned young migrant child on the beach, of children shivering under thin foil blankets without their parents in ICE detention, of the refugees living in squalor in camps in northern Syria or the islands north of Australia?

And yet the stories keep multiplying and the protestations of immigrant advocates cannot prevent most of the tragedies.

Just too many desperate workers are roaming the world, and now, with no sorrow from capitalists, a pandemic may cull their number.

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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.

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A Better World Needs to be Born -Preventing and Controlling Pandemics, Part 1

by Karyn Pomerantz, 3-29-2020

Part 1 contrasts epidemic prevention under capitalism and communism

Part 2 will contrast management and control of epidemics (coming soon)

By Karyn Pomerantz, March 28, 2020

Like Hurricane Katrina, the coronavirus pandemic has stripped bare all the extreme inequities of capitalism. With millions at risk, it is the working class around the world, especially its poorest, black, and brown members, who suffer the most. As higher income people stay at home, low wage workers hold down jobs that endanger their health.  Added to this are lifetimes without quality health care, education, food, and housing, and often the stress of racism and marginalization. 

On March 27th, Black Agenda Report nailed it when it wrote: 

“The United States is a global vector of suffering and death, through the policies of its corporate party tag-team. When deadly diseases are set in motion, the crime becomes mass murder-suicide.”

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Covid19 in the Cauldron of Capitalism

by Ellen Isaacs

March 19, 2020

The current covid19 pandemic exposes the complete lack of concern of US capitalism for the welfare of working people. The just do enough mentality that governs public health and health care in ordinary times creates a system that cannot cope with surges in demand. Not only did the government fail to prepare for the emergency that was evident since January, but the fragile health, economic and social situation of so many workers could lead to a poor outcome for millions. The huge racial chasms that divide US workers at all times will turn into differential body counts. Only mass action by workers and students will guarantee that we come out of this alive and ahead.

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Just Mercy: Reforming or Overthrowing the Criminal Injustice System?

by Karyn Pomerantz, 3-15-2020

There is broad interest in the United States over policing and imprisonment as a racist attack directed primarily against black and Latin workers. The US leads the world in imprisonment with over two million people in prison and more under the control of the criminal “justice” system. Detention centers for immigrants add to the toll with approximately 50,000 people held in custody every day (AP, 2019) and thousands of children isolated in camps apart from their parents, a strategy to deter and terrorize immigrants fleeing even more terrifying situations in their home countries. 

Reformers call for adjusting sentencing and parole for crimes, reducing overcrowding, supporting rehabilitation and reentry, releasing older and sicker prisoners, decreasing the number of black and brown men being arrested and incarcerated, ending solitary confinement, and improving prison health and access to educational programs. Juvenile justice proponents argue for the presence of lawyers during questioning and alternatives to prison. 

This article argues that reforms do not achieve sustainable improvements because incarceration and legal processes (bail, plea deals, inadequate legal aid) serve to control rebellion and dissent. Replacing capitalism with an egalitarian social system can alter the environment that causes crime and transform offenders through restorative justice and other alternatives to policing and prison. 

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RED FLAG or BLACK? ANARCHISM or COMMUNISM

by Ellen Isaacs

March, 2020

“Fuck the police” or “let’s build cooperatives.” Does either anarchist slogan point to a pathway for changing the structure of society? This is the question we must ask in deciding whether to follow the anarchist road or aim for communist revolution. Is it essential to aim to replace the capitalist rulers of the world or is it enough to poke at the enforcers of their power or reorder the lives of small groups of individuals in an ideal way and hope for a gradual evolution of society? We hope to raise this broad question while not attempting an exhaustive investigation of the long history of multiple variations of anarchism.

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