Joma Sison on the global situation and Covid-19 pandemic

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2. The Covid-19 Pandemic

Between the two main imperialist powers of today, the US and China, there are accusations and counter-accusations regarding the origin of Covid-19 and the malicious criminal motive behind it. There are speculations that one imperialist power is using the Covid-19 pandemic in order to weaken and defeat the other. These are manifestations of the growing contradictions between the US and China.

China accuses the US of having created Covid-19 in a bio-warfare laboratory in Fort Detrick in Maryland, USA, and having used the US athletic delegation to the World Military Games in Wuhan in October 2019 to bring into Wuhan the highly contagious virus. In turn, the US accuses China of having created the virus in its virological institute only to leak it to the Wuhan wet market through the sale of laboratory test animals.

There is the third view that the Chinese scientists themselves got the virus from a laboratory operated by the US military and somehow leaked the virus to the Wuhan meat market. Still there is the fourth view that Covid-19 is of purely zoonotic origin and has mutated from a previous virus, generated by an environment extremely devastated and imbalanced by imperialist plunder.

We let the independent scientists do their investigation and let the experts on international criminal law use the scientific findings and conclusions to prosecute the culprit if possible. But in the meantime, we can discuss the impact and consequences of Covid-19 to the world capitalist system and to the people.

Covid-19 has exposed and aggravated the antisocial character of the world capitalist system, the unpreparedness of the monopoly bourgeoisie and the harsh consequences to the people who have long suffered class exploitation, gross inequality, mass poverty and deprivation of social services in the fields of public health, education and housing.

Under neoliberal economic policy, the broad masses of the people have become extensively and extremely vulnerable to the recurrent and worsening crisis of the world capitalist system, to the imperialist sanctions, threats of war, actual wars of counterrevolution and aggression, natural disasters and pandemics.

The vulnerability of the overwhelming majority of the people consists of having no income and property to tide them over in case of unemployment or being out of work even only for a week for whatever reason of emergency. This is absolutely clear in a lockdown situation in which the people cannot go to work and have no public transport to use in order to obtain medical treatment for Covid-19 or any other illness.

Worst of all, when so many people need testing and treatment in time of a pandemic, the public health system has been eroded by the neoliberal economic policy of privatizing and eroding what remains of the public health system so that there are not enough health personnel, facilities, equipment and medicines. The remaining tokens of the public health system are easily overloaded and break down. And the private hospitals can at will turn away patients because they are not intended to serve the public, they have inadequate facilities or the patients cannot pay for the medical treatment.

We have also seen the tragedy of doctors, nurses and other health workers themselves getting sick and dying from Covid-19 because of the lack of personal protection equipment. The neoliberal state and the hospitals have appreciated the role of private profit but have depreciated the role of the health workers and the social service that they must render to the people.

In quite a number of developed and underdeveloped countries, where neoliberalism has been imposed as a policy, there has been the pseudo-scientific notion that it is enough to do washing of the hands and social distancing and at worst lockdown down on communities or entire regions because after the contagion has run rampant and claimed plenty of victims then the herd immunity develops in the rest of the population.

Thus, quite a number of governments have not made timely and adequate preparations and action plans to fight the pandemic. There is no mass testing for a long while. Thus, the spread of the contagion has not been measured well. And there is a lack or shortage of health personnel and resources for the treatment of those afflicted by Covid-19. The lack or shortage of ventilators has caused the death of many patients suffering from pneumonia, whether they are elderly or younger.

The ruling bourgeoisie and the entire ruling system have deprived the overwhelming majority of the people of the means of fending for themselves in time of lockdowns. And their political agents can only promise food rations and some compensation for the wages lost. But the promise is not kept in a timely and sufficient manner. The most victimized are those who are the millions of jobless and homeless as well those imprisoned in congested jails.

But ahead of any reasonable concession to the people, the monopoly bourgeoisie is assured of financial bailouts and stimulus packages in order to make up for their business losses. We are well aware of the policies and actions being undertaken by the rulers of imperialist countries to override the breakdown of the production chain and the drastic falls in the stock market.

In the underdeveloped countries, especially where the barefaced repressive regimes exist, the tyrannical and corrupt bureaucrats invoke the Covid-19 to divert public funds to their own pockets instead of providing for the urgent needs of the people. Whatever good or service is provided is ascribed to those in power in order to raise their political stock.

Worst of all, the fascist-minded rulers use the lockdowns to tighten their command over the military and police forces of the state to promote further the notion through the exercise of repressive measures that they are the saviors of the people. In the meantime they use state power to aggrandize the private interests of their families, political cohorts and business cronies.

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