Joma Sison on the global situation and Covid-19 pandemic
3. The People’s Response to the Covid-19 pandemic
It is correct for the people to use disinfectants, do social distancing and respect the rules of quarantine and lockdown whenever these are needed in the face of Covid-19. The people must stay safe from the highly contagious virus and avoid prejudicing the health of other people.
But they retain their democratic rights to make demands from the state and health authorities for mass testing of the people at the community level and treatment for the sick and the means of survival while they are locked down and deprived of their means of livelihood. They can ventilate their grievances in order to obtain positive results for the common good.
To any positive extent that public officials recognize the urgent needs of the people and try to satisfy them, it is absolutely clear that social needs are being met by policies and actions for the common good and for whoever is dire need. But it is clear from the beginning that capitalism fails in the face of pandemic. What is needed is the spirit of service to the people and the desire for socialism.
In view of the utter bankruptcy and antisocial character of capitalism in a time of pandemic, the people and their anti-imperialist and democratic forces are justly demanding system change from capitalism to socialism and that everyone must be assured of a basic income in order to subsist and the social services like public health, public education and public housing.
Higher economic and social demands can be made in the developed countries, especially the imperialist countries. The level of economic development allows substantial social reforms and even socialism. But of course, the obstacle is the violence-prone rapacity of the monopoly bourgeoisie which would rather repress the people or aggress other countries than agree readily to the just economic and social demands of the people.
Consider the trillions of dollars wasted by the US on its high-tech armaments, overseas military bases and endless wars of aggression. The US military forces have been far worse than Covid-19 in killing people. They have killed 25 to 30 million people since the end of World War II.
The huge US military expenditures can be redirected towards the expansion and improvement of social services. Best of all, if the American people succeed at system change. They can build a socialist society of plenty, creativity, justice and peace, if the monopoly bourgeoisie ceased to engage in domestic oppression and exploitation and in wars of aggression and mass destruction abroad.
In the case of underdeveloped, especially pre-industrial countries, the tax levied on the exploiting classes can be increased instead of decreased in order to promote economic development through national industrialization and land reform and provide social services in the spheres of education, health, housing and so on.
But substantial reforms can be achieved only if the people have strong patriotic and progressive forces in order to remove from power those who harm the people; and promote those leaders that work for the benefit of the people. Best of all, the people and their revolutionary forces can strive for system change and achieve national and social liberation towards the goal of socialism.
In any kind of crisis such as the Covid-19 pandemic, the best of the people and their organized forces stand out and shine. The people’s social activists make the demands in favor of the people and do what they can to arouse, organize and mobilize them for the common good. They gain the experience and strength for carrying out anti-imperialist and democratic struggle toward the goal of socialism.
At the community level, they create ways for the people to have food, shelter and medical care and to engage in mutual aid. They call for donations from those who can give these. And they do not get paid for the volunteer work that they render. The actions that they can carry out for the common good under the circumstances of fighting the pandemic are a means of gaining public support and strengthening the organized forces.
In certain countries, where the people have revolutionary movements against the ruling system, the leading revolutionary parties have responded to the UN secretary general’s call for a global ceasefire in order to fight the Covid-19 pandemic. In these countries, the revolutionary movement have their organizations attending to the economic and health needs of the people.
As a result of the pandemic, the vile character and failings of the world capitalist system are exposed. Even after the pandemic, the systemic crisis will continue and worsen in both imperialist and in nonimperialist countries. And the anti-people regimes and leaders in many countries will be held accountable and hated as enemies of the people not only for mishandling and aggravating the pandemic but for continuing an unjust system.
But wherever they exist, the revolutionary movements of the people will grow further in strength and will make advances. Where they do not exist, they will rise and wage revolutionary struggles. The world capitalist system will continue to be crisis-stricken economically and politically and its crimes will generate more favorable conditions for the rise of the revolutionary movement for national liberation, democracy and socialism.#
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