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Is it Covid-19 or Capitalism?

Squares are empty, streets are silent… A picture of abandonment overwhelms the biggest cities of the world! In many countries we see state of emergency being declared. Along with announcements “We are at war with Coronavirus” they make calls: “don’t go out, stay at home.” A horrific, depressive landscape even extending beyond the atmosphere of dystopian sci-fi films! Capitalist rulers who make humanity live a nightmare now say that they seek to stop the novel coronavirus epidemic.

Squares are empty, streets are silent… A picture of abandonment overwhelms the biggest cities of the world! In many countries we see state of emergency being declared. Along with announcements “We are at war with Coronavirus” they make calls: “don’t go out, stay at home.” A horrific, depressive landscape even extending beyond the atmosphere of dystopian sci-fi films! Capitalist rulers who make humanity live a nightmare now say that they seek to stop the novel coronavirus epidemic.

Using the Covid-19 epidemic the bourgeoisie pushes society into a horror tunnel. Day and night they announce the number of cases and flare up the panic. Governments announce large budgets supposedly to fight the epidemic. But these resources are not being used to build hospitals, provide better healthcare and support the poor and those under risk who lack resources. Trillions of dollars are funnelled downright to business!

The bourgeoisies’ goal is not to fight the epidemic but disguise the capitalist collapse by turning the epidemic into a means of fear mongering. The problems accumulated in the heart of capitalism come up bursting. They are not caused by the coronavirus epidemic. No, not at all! Capitalist system has long been in a deadlock. We call this deadlock the historical crisis and deadlock of the system. It causes the economic crisis manifesting itself with extreme convulsions and in a deeper way. What happens in the stock markets these days is one of the manifestations of this. With the deepening crisis the collapse has become inevitable. It is not the Covid-19 driving the system into crisis but the antagonistic contradictions accumulated within the system.

By using Covid-19 the bourgeoisie is seeking to suppress the struggle of the working class against exploitation. During 2018 and 2019 the working masses were in the streets protesting unemployment, poverty, corruption, inequality, injustices, the devastation brought by capitalism. The empty streets in France and Chile for instance were filled with millions of working people before the epidemic. And with the excuse of epidemic the Chilean prime-minister Pinera now ordered the army into streets, banned gatherings and demonstrations. And what is to make of French president Macron who clings to coronavirus saying “we are at war”? He was being squeezed by workers’ actions and strikes up until recently. It will not be surprising that the novel coronavirus will be recorded in history as “the virus that salvaged Macron!”

The bourgeoisie says humanity is at war. Are we to believe that? According to the figures issued by the WHO, which is the current epicentre of the exaggerating the epidemic, between 290.000 and 600.000 people annually die of flu and complications caused by it. Each year, 11 million children die from simple diseases and starvation. Within the first two months of 2020 alone, hundreds of thousands of people died from simple diseases: 70,000 from common cold, 140,000 from malaria. 240,000 people died from AIDS and 1,200,000 from cancer. Each year, millions of people lose their lives due to occupational accidents (read: murders), occupational diseases and wars. But those who do not lift even a finger in face of these deaths put the whole world in alarm these days. Those who say “we are at war with Covid-19” are waging a war against the working class actually! The bourgeoisie seeks to legitimise anti-democratic repressive measures and severe consequences of the economic crisis by means of the coronavirus. While tens of thousands of people are being laid off they impose a ban to confine them at homes.

While ILO declares that 195 millions of workers will lose their jobs, the UN says around 500 millions of people will face a deeper poverty. By putting the blame on the coronavirus they seek to justify the capitalist system. One of the leaders of the working class once said “learn everything, forget nothing.” To forget means to swallow the lies told by the rulers and drift behind them. So let’s remember once again: millions of workers were laid off in the aftermath of the 2008 crisis. Just in the USA 3 million workers were fired in the last three months of 2008. At the end of 2009 that figure reached 7 million. But the working class did not accept this. A huge wave of protests against the crisis brought about by capitalism erupted across the world. Workers, toilers at large, the youth began questioning the capitalist system. Since those days interest in socialism amongst youth in the USA increased. And popular uprisings that erupted at the end of 2010 spread throughout the Arab world.

Should the system crisis of capitalism not rock the stock markets across the world and everything was going on well with the economy, the rulers would never exaggerate the situation that much. They would not declare emergency and force the people into confinement at their homes. Strictly speaking, the real reason behind the storm of horror created by the rulers is not the coronavirus. They made it into a nightmare going beyond the scales of sci-fi films for the purpose of presenting it as the cause of the profound crisis of the capitalist system. Through scare they seek to bring society under control and cover up the crisis the cost of which they will place on the backs of the working masses.

What this shows is that Covid-19 cannot simply be viewed as a fast spreading epidemic, and that the calls made by authorities and so called measures taken by them cannot be taken without questioning. It would be naïve to think under capitalism, which is driven by not humanity but profit, the rulers tell the truth. What they do is to scare society and make people unable to think in rational way. In a scared and panicked society people cannot think properly and they tend to swallow the lies told by the rulers. Yet the truth is quite apparent.

Moreover, the reason for the global healthcare crisis in face of this epidemic is that for many years healthcare systems have been driven in the interests of capital to near collapse, turned into a paid and low-quality service. As with all epidemics Covid-19 affects mostly the working people. The rich, with their private doctors, have already gone to their remote shelters while hundreds of millions of working people have no access to even essential healthcare. Each year 2000 workers die of work accidents in Turkey. Most essential measures for safety and health at work are not taken. Therefore we should not forget that Covid-19 is a class issue to fight against. We must expose that the main enemy is capitalism and a determined struggle needs to be waged to raise the consciousness of workers and organise them on this basis.

As a fighting workers’ organisation, UID-DER carries on its activities on this basis. At workplaces, among working women and youth it carries on organising work. By regular home visits to workers and their families it explains why society is being driven into scare and panic. It strengthens the unity and solidarity among workers.

UID-DER raises demands to fight for in workplaces and trade-unions such as banning lay-offs and any form of forced leaves unpaid or less paid, full implementation of measures for safety and health at work, betterment of healthcare to prevent the epidemic, unlimited access to healthcare free of charge, putting the health of labourers first not the profits of Big Pharma, free provision of vaccines and medicines including those to be developed for Covid-19.

  • Full implementation of measures for health and safety at work! Workers’ control over the implementation of these measures! Severe punishment for breach by capitalists! 
  • Ban lay-offs!
  • Full-paid leaves to be the only form of leaves! No forceful usage of annual holidays!
  • Unemployment insurance fund to pay all workers in need without exception!
  • Free, adequate, extensive healthcare!
  • Freeze workers’ utility bills and credit debts!
12 April 2020