Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Italy - PCmItaly newspaper Proletari Comunisti - Coronavirus editorial

COVID-19: masters, government, state, worse remedies than evil

The corona virus epidemic that developed in China infecting and affecting an entire area, Wuhan, of 11 million people, and spread to several other countries in the world with an important outbreak in Europe, Italy, has become a global health emergency that has gradually brought all States and governments into play.
The corona viruses are a group of circular viruses with a series of protrusions on the surface that make them resemble a crown, penetrate the cells of the mucous membranes and affect the upper respiratory tracts and progressively reach the lungs. Hence its dangerousness, particularly for people who have a lower resistance because of previous diseases, mainly due to age and/or to reduced immune defense.
It is the latest case of historical epidemics and pandemics: avian flu, Ebola virus, SARS, nevertheless there is still no effective vaccine to eradicate it.
Huge financial resources, the enormous potential of science and research, in a system dominated by the laws of profit, did not allow us not only to prevent but also to promptly intervene in front of the spreading of these serious diseases. Most part of science and research are in the hands of capital and are used to a significant extent to produce more and more sophisticated weapons; indeed a part of them is used to create chemical and bacteriological weapons, capable of spreading deadly diseases in a theater of war. On the other hand, US imperialism has already used chemical and bacteriological weapons in the Vietnam war, and the affair of chemical weapons has emerged repeatedly in the recent wars in the Persian Gulf, the Middle East, etc.
The development of these deadly epidemics should make clear to the eyes of proletarians and people’s masses that this system is not able to protect people's lives, indeed it puts their health more and more at risk, just as it puts at risk the environment and the life of the whole planet.
If we do not talk about this during emergencies that affect everyone, if we do not go to the root of what happens, we do not identify the real culprits of the thousands of deaths, the tens and tens of thousands, so far, of infected people and the serious danger represented by increasing extension of the epidemic.
Therefore, we cannot ask the system that creates and feeds these diseases, to those who make profits in this system – including the scandalous pharmaceutical farms - the states and governments that manage this system, to be those who can protect and save us in these dramatic circumstances. We cannot ask who destroy public health system day by day, in favor of private sector and transforming it into a sensational business, to be the organizers of the response to the health emergency today.
This is why the measures that governments are taking are generally unacceptable, as spirit and practice. They are all based on the centralization of the power of intervention and on a state of emergency which imposes, as in a dictatorship, not only some necessary health, prevention and intervention measures to contain the epidemic, but a general militarization, with the closure of jobs, schools and every gathering and socialization place, saying to everyone: “stay at home... we'll take care of it...”
During these weeks it has already been seen that this line, this practice has not prevented the corona virus from spreading, nor the number of dead and sick people from increasing, and indeed created an atmosphere of induced fear among people, making them increasingly prey to news and measures that impede their normal life, without a real connection with an effective result in protecting against the spread of the epidemic.
In our country, a Council of Ministers in permanent session mainly produces bans, shared by all parties, local institutions, etc.; while they are “tight-fisted” in financing and empowering hospitals and health facilities, enrolling doctors, nurses, calling voluntary associations and any association that organizes the masses to participate and support the emergency.
The people’s masses are kept under a terrifying information and those who want to know more must do by themselves, looking the internet, instead of being really informed, conscious and mobilized. Factors that are decisive for dealing with emergencies and even epidemics.
The masses of elderly people, who risk more, left to themselves, a policy of "swabs" either too extensive or defective, give the sense not of a response but of a use of the corona virus emergency to achieve the protection of the interests as ever.
Clearly, in a situation in which the world economy is undergoing an economic and financial crisis, with the spread of the trade war, of which that to China war is the main one, it is obvious that the impact of the corona virus epidemic opens the way to an extreme exacerbation of this crisis, to a world recession that extends from the eternal areas of poverty and misery to the very heart of the capitalist and imperialist countries.
Be it as it may, the corona virus originates in the country with the highest development rate in the world, China, and finds its "contagion" in the other rich countries.
So, are we “all in the same boat” to deal with the emergency? Not at all. Every crisis, even the health crisis, accentuates the contrast between a handful of rich countries and the peoples of the world and, within these countries, between the industrial and financial bourgeoisie, the parasitic classes on the one hand, and the proletarians and the people’s masses on the other one.
Governments and ruling classes want to rule more than before, despite the fact that their rule appears more and more clearly the cause social and human disasters. They want to use the emergency to direct resources to guarantee their economies and profits; while proletarians are given at the most the misery of unemployment insurance, if their factory is located in an area where the closure is imposed. And they take shelter from any protest by prohibiting it from source, with measures that forbid strikes, demonstrations, meetings and any similar activity. Proletarians and people’s masses are good for working, even where health is at risk, but it is forbidden to go on strike to claim, to ask for what they really need -even the so-called "masks"- this cannot be done, is prohibited. But there are no prohibitions on being exploited, dying for the job – so many deaths these days in the perennial situation of working conditions with lack of security - on this, there are no impositions from governments and states. Indeed, if you report all this you get fines, repression.

No! Communists, the class unions and organizations, the struggle movements cannot and must not accept this state of things. A part of them say to represent the workers and the masses, but when they are needed, where are they?
Their wavering around the ban on women's national strike on the March 9 and other strikes is shameful. Mainstream unions share the government measures and are committed to convince workers not to question them at all; but most of the base unions and mass movements are not consistent with the things they write and say in their communiqués.
It is the first time in the history of the Italian Republic that a general national strike is banned. Should we accept it?
We must – and we did- call for the full mobilization of the proletarians and people’s masses, both in the dramatic conditions of the so-called "red zones", and in all other parts of the country where this general emergency is still unjustified and illegitimate.
We have to organize, hold meetings, demonstrations, to transform the right requests raised by workers, above all in the health sector, into claims that urge an immediate acceptance.
In no factory, no job, we can accept to be sent home without guarantee of full wages and continuity of work and if the are not allowed workers being able to have their say on whether the measures adopted are really suitable for the situation in their workplace and territory. No precarious worker should be sent home. Being understood that there is still no data about workers who have fallen ill for corona virus in their factory or has been infected operating in their workplace, apart from the healthcare.

Finally, if there is really a serious danger, it is certainly not by transforming the hospitals into besieged fortresses that deal with it, but by creating ten, one hundred, one thousand health units, hiring doctors and operators everywhere: in the workplace, in industrial areas and in the territories. Every citizen should easily find who informs him, who checks her health and assists her.
The health emergency is an opportunity to reverse what has been done with the privatization of health care.
If not now, when? If there is not a movement of struggle and mobilization, how can we hope that this government will serve our interests.
As well as the closure of schools is unnecessary and harmful. In occasion of other emergencies, youth mobilized and had proven themselves. On the contrary, with closed schools they brought back to tinkering with smartphones.
We do not know, and nobody, including the so-called "scientists and experts" who appear on TV, can tell whether we are in a severe but temporary and under control phase, or it is just the beginning of something much more extensive and heavy. What is certain is that we should let pass not a single day accepting this state of thing or without caring out all the necessary activity so that the proletarians and people’s masses take into their own hands, not the precautionary measures which are suggested –most of which are common and trivial- but the real fate of their own health, their daily life and even more the future that belongs to us, and must not become a nightmare and an endless horror.

10 March 2020

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