By John Beacham – April 3, 2020
A country, the wealthiest country in history, faces a pandemic that is decades in the making.
The leaders of the country have months to go into action before that long known to be inevitable pandemic hits the shores of the country and then becomes a dire emergency situation for the people. Months.
The leaders have months to provide the necessary personal protection for healthcare workers and others. They have months to start pumping out life-saving ventilators. Instead, the country fails to mobilize.
That country is the United States—unprepared and unable or unwilling to unite and marshal its vast resources and technological know-how to do the right thing.
Even more: many of the leaders of the most powerful country in history display a willful ignorance of science and blatant disregard for human life.
Thousands, tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions of people needlessly die. People you know and people you do not know.
Some leaders, who should not be allowed to ever utter such vile without grave repercussions, even say that mass death is preferable to a loss of profit. This is massacre mentality.
The economy—that behemoth which, astoundingly, doesn’t provide for so many millions of us even in the best of times—does not survive for even a few weeks without a massive intervention.
It appears that a modern crisis renders the modern economy as an un-rowable rowboat confronting a hurricane. The capitalist economy is, in fact, historically obsolete.
Jail the Murderers; Take Power
Who or what is responsible for the predicament we find ourselves in—a predicament that we must no longer have any tolerance for?
Actually, it’s not that complicated. The criminal leaders of the capitalist empire are to blame. Afterall, they have the power. They are to be blamed and held responsible. Responsible for murder. For mass murder.
These people must no longer be allowed to rule. The capitalist system must end. Workers ought to and must seize the economic and political levers and reigns of the country. That is the future that is needed now. Needed yesterday.
One example out of a thousand more
It is shocking. Individual states are competing with one another and the federal government and other countries for necessary medical equipment and treatments. During a global pandemic!
It is shocking that there is a scarcity of the equipment known to be necessary during an inevitable pandemic.
At this crucial juncture, state governors and the Trump administration bicker daily. Most members of Congress—from both parties—are woefully inactive with regards to the nature of the crisis. The Trump administration needs to be put to the fire by the democrats. That’s not really happening.
An inadequate response to a social crisis delegitimizes the status quo. Period. It shows the impossibility of reforming the capitalist system.
Mind you, reformism should not be opposed necessarily. Reformism is real people and real progressive people we should never alienate. We must, however, express it loud and clear: the historical timeframe for thinking primarily in terms of reforms or community aid is over. Our problems are too big. The crisis of the planet is too profound.
The Coronavirus unveils the big contradiction. Crisis only can bring renewal. A new day is coming. Leaders and organizations who are focusing on a complete overhaul of human social systems are needed.
I repeat. We need as many people as possible to accept the need for socialist revolution and make preparations for that glorious eventuality.
The End of the United States as the United States?
It certainly should be.
The Trump administration—with no opposition from the centers of elite power—is using the pandemic to escalate attempts to overthrow the democratically elected government of Venezuela and to escalate imperialist pressure on Iran. They are deploying an outrageous, dangerous and completely out of place racism to ramp up aggression against China.
China, by the way, has dealt with this pandemic in exemplary fashion. They have put people before profit. They stand ready to help the rest of the world. How has the U.S. reacted to China’s success? Lies and vitriol. Disgusting!
At the very least, we all must grasp the reality that in a time of global crisis, the United States (and Europe) is not leading. Not at all. This stark fact should be an important revelation for humanity. If you do not lead now, you must not lead. Ever again.
Let’s not let our fellow humans die in vain. Let’s all fight for an internationalism of peace and equality. In fact, there will be no future without a genuine unity of the human race around a program of people’s rule for people’s needs and a sustainable planet.
We have more in common with the people of China, South Korea, Venezuela and Iran—different countries with different systems that have managed to do right by their people during a time of crisis.
We are the ones we wait for
Across the country—across the world—people are springing into action. There are thousands of examples.
Many, many people are fighting for their lives, preoccupied with survival, busy working or doing their best to not think about the problem. All understandable. Human even.
Here in the United States, there have been efforts large and small to make up for the government’s negligence in not supplying enough surgical masks, N95 masks, and other Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for healthcare workers.
(There is no excuse for PPE not being provided to the entire population, btw)
In some cases, millions of dollars are being raised to get masks to medical care facilities.
In a crisis, the people always, always are willing to step up to the plate—and, even, like nurses, put their lives on the line en masse for the rest of us.
Workers make things run. We should run things.
All of that great, heroic energy and effort—it is not enough. It’s a sign of what is possible. But it is never enough.
Organizing and stepping in to aid people in these situations is needed (class society makes it necessary). It may be all people can do and it may make people feel better about the horrendous situation or help people feel less helpless. But it is never enough and carries within it the seeds of futility and despair.
The need for extra, but inadequate aid should be made superfluous in the face of our current social and economic potential.
We may have to take less, but we should never, ever be satisfied with less than what is possible. Never. Ever.
The reality: what is possible is always and forever expanding.
In other words, power matters. We clearly need to seize the economy, seize industry, seize the healthcare industry and more. Make it publicly owned and direct it to meet people’s needs. Producing for profit is over. Canceled.
For power, we will need to fight. We will need leaders with greater discipline and greater disciplined organizations.
We need Socialism.
Is there any other path? No, there is not.
John Beacham is a college teacher, a union member and an anti-war/social justice activist. He was the Midwest coordinator of the PSL campaigns for president in 2008 and 2012. He is currently the founder of MASS ACTION Podcast & Publication. http://mass-action.org
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