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Do not Fear, Defend Your Rights!

Bourgeois media claims that the novel coronavirus does not discriminate between the rich and the poor. They propagate the idea that the pandemic has a supra-class nature. For this purpose, they deliberately bring to the fore some celebrities as covid-19 sufferers. The illness rates of the poor and the rich are not the same. So are their rates of healing! Covid-19 is a class issue in every sense of the word. It hits first and foremost workers. It has become a pretext of the attacks against the working class.

Brothers and Sisters!

Bourgeois media claims that the novel coronavirus does not discriminate between the rich and the poor. They propagate the idea that the pandemic has a supra-class nature. For this purpose, they deliberately bring to the fore some celebrities as covid-19 sufferers. The illness rates of the poor and the rich are not the same. So are their rates of healing! Covid-19 is a class issue in every sense of the word. It hits first and foremost workers. It has become a pretext of the attacks against the working class.

The capitalist system of exploitation is shaken by a massive crisis. It is not the coronavirus that caused the crisis. But it is the profit-driven nature of capitalist production that ignores the humanity and the nature. The rulers are not taking the necessary measures. They are also pushing society into fear and panic. For, they want to cover up the deep crisis that shakes capitalism. The rulers spread fear among society in order to restrain workers and toilers from questioning capitalism and struggling against it.

Brothers and Sisters!

As a result of the deep crisis in the capitalist economy, capitalists have already laid off tens of millions of workers. As many workers have been sent home for quarantine, it is not yet exactly clear how many more millions of workers have been laid off. However, present figures reveal that the situation is extremely serious. In the USA, 17 millions of workers have applied for unemployment insurance in the past four weeks. In China, over 5 million workers have been laid off in last 2 months. These numbers are unbelievable and yet true. Even bourgeois ideologues admit that this crisis is not an ordinary one, but a hurricane.

It is not for nothing that rulers deliberately exaggerate the coronavirus. If there was no coronavirus scare, millions of workers would not have agreed to losing their jobs and staying at home. So far, in many countries, governments have declared state of emergency and curfews. By doing so, do they really intend to fight the epidemic? A closer look at the practices reveals that the real intention is not to fight coronavirus.

For example, Orban, the authoritarian prime-minister of Hungary, introduced a draft to parliament to get powers to rule the country by decrees. Prior to the outbreak of the Covid-19, Pinéra, the prime Minister of Chile, had been confronted with a public awakening, unable to suppress the mass mobilisation. Now, he has put the army on the streets and banned meetings and demonstrations. In France, Macron had been on the back foot in the face of strikes. Now, he is clinging to coronavirus, saying “We are at war”. Allocating 2 trillion dollars to save the capitalists, the Trump administration has put the army on the streets in states such as New York.

Sisters and Brothers!

In Turkey, it is unclear how many workers have been laid off so far. However, dozens of factories suspended production. Workers have been either fired or forced to use unpaid or annual leaves. Capitalists are imposing flexible working. Work from home is becoming widespread. Those working from home are confronted with rising energy bills and food expenses. In some workplaces, even meals have been cut under the pretext of coronavirus.

Announcing a package called “Economic Stabilization Shield”, the ruling AKP once again provided rescue to the capitalists. What fell to the share of labourers from this package is nothing more than “cologne”. There is not a single clause in this package to protect workers.

Coronavirus has explicitly exposed the fact that workplaces lack even the most basic occupational health and safety measures. On the one hand, the rulers are instilling fear into society by using coronavirus. On the other hand, they avoid taking the most basic occupational health and safety measures in workplaces. Turkey ranks the first in Europe and third in the world for fatal work accidents. Yet, the government has suspended the implementation of important articles of the occupational health and safety law. Currently, almost 10 millions of workers have no occupational safety specialists and doctors in their workplaces.

The healthcare system is an awful state in Turkey, as elsewhere in the world. The rulers claim that they are fighting against the epidemic. But somehow they abstain from expanding the public health service and offering all health services free of charge.

Brothers and Sisters!

This disease is a social issue and it can only be defeated socially. If the working class organises itself, it can get necessary measures taken in workplaces as well as other spheres of social life. As long as it remains unorganised, the working class cannot respond to the attacks of capitalists. We must unite to get necessary measures taken in our workplaces. We must claim our rights. We must fight to get our demands met. The working class can strengthen its immune system only by organising and remaining wary of the lies of the capitalists! Let us unite around the following demands:

  1. Full implementation of health and safety measures in all workplaces! Workers’ control over the implementation of these measures! Severe punishments for bosses who neglect these measures!
  2. Bans on layoffs!
  3. All leaves to be turned into full-paid leaves! No forced annual leaves!
  4. Unemployment insurance funds to be allocated for all workers without exception!
  5. Free, adequate, extensive healthcare!
  6. Write off workers’ utility bills!
  7. Freeze workers’ credit card debts!
25 April 2020