Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Covid-19 in the USA: Statements by Communist and Left parties demanding Free Healthcare

The COVID-19 outbreak in the United States, the most powerful economy in the world,  has already showed the disastrous results of capitalist development in people's healthcare. 

According to the latest data, there are more than 50,000 confirmed cases and 655 deaths throughout the country as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic.  

Below you can read the view of U.S. Communist and Left parties on the Covid-19 pandemic, their critique towards capitalist establishment and the Trump administration, as well as their demands including public and free healthcare. 

* * *


COVID-19 or Coronavirus disease 2019 has recently been declared as a pandemic illness by the World Health Organization (WHO), and is affecting hundreds of thousands of lives around the globe. The United States, its corporations, businesses, and government, has already proven itself incapable of adequately handling all aspects of this outbreak. Because the bourgeois state lacks the apparatus to properly care for the most at risk communities we, unfortunately, must turn to these communities to help prevent the spread of the SARS-CoV2 virus.

We encourage the people, of not only the United States, to refrain from panic and paranoia, but to also take the threat of this virus seriously. SARS-CoV2 is more infectious than SARS but not nearly as deadly. SARS-CoV2 has a 4% average fatality rate, however for anyone 80 years or older the fatality rate is as high as 14.8%. Anyone with an immuno-deficiency is similarly at risk of experiencing severe symptoms.

We encourage everyone with cold/flu like symptoms to self-quarantine, to the best of their abilities. We encourage everyone to look out for the most at risk members of their family and community, and work with them to help limit their exposure to the virus. We encourage everyone to wash their hands frequently.

We encourage those least at risk of severe symptoms, and those not exhibiting symptoms, to work with community centers and activists to provide food and supplies to their neighborhoods.

We are in the midst of a public health terror.

It is easy to succumb to fear and misinformation regarding wide spread health concerns.

The Party of Communists USA advocates for the safety, knowledge, and community of the working-class people. We refuse to perpetuate ideas of violence, xenophobia, and alienation. The COVID-19 disease is an international crisis. Meaning we must extend compassion to all nationalities, and come together to address the crisis. SARS-CoV2 is not Chinese or East Asian borne, and it does not solely belong to any country, race, or nationality. Viruses have no bias and no preference. You can contract the virus through direct contact with someone affected – not through what you consume, and not through only people of East Asian descent.

COVID-19 presents a large economic problem for the working people of the United States. Thousands of Americans go without access to healthcare, and without paid sick leave. These individuals are often the backbone of our functioning society. They serve our food, they are our transportation, they watch our children. Without the access to real healthcare, many are facing unpaid leave, or even loss of employment, upon contracting the virus. There are no federal mandates in the United States on emergency paid leave, and the Senate has recently rejected a bill for emergency paid sick leave to Americans.

The Party of Communists USA demands the United States Government to:
  • Provide quality healthcare to every person in the country, with no out of pocket costs at entry.
  • Begin mass production of testing kits so every person showing cold/flu symptoms may be tested.
  • Work with China and Cuba to better coordinate the production and development of vaccines and anti-viral drugs.
  • Release all those currently imprisoned in so-called “migrant detention centers”.
  • Provide job protections and mandatory paid sick leave so that all may properly self-quarantine without fear of losing their livelihoods and their ability to provide food for themselves and their family.
  • Cease the demonization of China’s response to the pandemic, and cease demonization of the Chinese and other ethnic groups/immigrants
  • FREE healthcare.

FREE healthcare is a human right. To have this right is to have the freedom to pursue life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, as we have been falsely promised since the founding of this nation, and the rights we the people will never have under a capitalist mode of production.

So what causes this disease and how can we test for it?

COVID-19 i s caused by the virus known as severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). This virus is similar in structure and function to previously identified coronaviruses such as SARS-CoV, which was responsible for the severe SARS outbreak between 2002-2003. Coronaviruses such as SARS-CoV-2 are composed of a viral envelope that contains numerous glycoprotein projections known as spikes (these spikes give the virus its “corona” or crown like appearance), as well as a nucleocapsid that houses the virus’s genetic material or RNA. Like many viruses, SARS-CoV-2 utilizes these spike proteins to enter host (e.g. humans) cells by interacting with a complimentary protein receptor on the host cell surface, in humans this receptor is known as ACE2. ACE2 receptors are highly abundant in type II aveolar cells in the lungs, as well as cells in the heart (This is why people with the virus experience respiratory symptoms such as pneumonia). Upon binding to ACE2, the virus is taken into the host cell where it releases its genetic material (RNA). The virus then utilizes the host cell’s machinery in order to replicate itself. These viral copies are then released from the host cell and are free to infect other cells carrying the ACE2 enzyme.

How can we test for the presence of SARS-CoV-2 in humans? The most common way to test for SARS-CoV-2 infection is to check for the presence of viral RNA. This is accomplished by first collecting a nasopharyngeal swab or sputum sample. The sample is then tested using real time reverse transcriptase PCR (rRT-PCR). In this method, samples containing the viral RNA sequence will interact specifically with components of the test kit and produce a fluorescent signal. This fluorescence is detected by the PCR instrument and thus allows for detection of the virus within hours. However, capitalism has severely limited availability and access to these tests.

One of the more effective means of dealing with a pandemic is dealing with it before it has had the opportunity to become one: By monitoring livestock, or (if it can be managed) wild populations that may come into contact with domesticated animals. Most viruses (Ebola, to mention but one example) begin as zoonotic diseases; that is, they are viruses that initially occur in wild animals, that then infect domestic versions of the same (or sometimes other) animal species…then, because of the speed at which viruses mutate, become versions of the same virus that can be spread from animal to human populations…and from there, mutate into versions that can spread from human to human by various means.

Unfortunately, because capitalism hardly has the health and welfare of humanity as one of its priorities, that bird has already flown, so to speak. The question now has become, how to prevent further transmission of the virus until a remedy or other prophylactic measures can be implemented. Research has been done (not usually by Big Pharma, because for them to engage in such research would be killing the goose laying golden eggs) into vaccines that prevent mutations, and infections overall, by utilizing numerous viruses at once, thereby programming the human immune system to hunt down and destroy any infection at all that its helper-t/white cells might encounter. But there’s potentially a huge problem with this approach.

As dialectical materialists, we are aware of the constant nature of change, and of the interconnectedness of all things. If we take this approach and look back at the evolutionary origin of the human race, and of most vertebrate species as a matter of fact, we will find that we originated in the form that we possess because of our interactions with pathogens! For example, asexual reproduction is a far more efficient means of an organism reproducing than is sexual reproduction. So why don’t most vertebrate species reproduce this way? Because of the stunning speed with which viruses and other pathogens mutate: If we were to reproduce asexually, we would produce exact copies of ourselves (save for the natural mutations that occur and that drive evolution)–and that means that pathogens would be able to rapidly mutate and extinguish our entire species! Therefore, natural selection–in the arms race to defeat dangerous organisms attacking us that biologists call ‘Red Queen’, after the character in Lewis Carroll’s ‘Alice in Wonderland’ (because, as she states, ‘It takes all the running you can do just to stay in one place’)- devised sexual reproduction as a flexible and practical defense to extinction for us and our fellow creatures. The reason is that sexual reproduction produces new combinations of DNA with every generation…thus making it harder for even fast-changing disease organisms to ‘match’ and destroy the entire species.

Therefore–considering how important pathogens such as viruses in general have been, and continue to be, whether we realize it, like it, or not–we should give serious consideration to whether it’s really wise for us to attempt blanket immunity or resistance to those pathogens. The Law of Unintended Consequences suggests that, in the long term, such an action might ultimately mean our demise…far from being a panacea of any sort (as it surely does seem to be for the immediate future).

The problems we are facing, with regards to coronavirus, are exactly why we need socialism. Look at how dysfunctional the bourgeois state is; they are only worried about their money, not about the people. People are losing their jobs, or they are being sent home without any sick leave at all, let alone paid sick leave. Many of these people have children being sent home from school as well, and there is no childcare being provided for them. People who are not sick are forced home to take care of their children, and they will lose pay over this. The bourgeois state is scrambling around, incapable of properly addressing all of these issues, because they lack the state power to do what is necessary. The bourgeoisie’s preoccupation with maintaining their profits, over the lives and well-being of the people, has shown the true nature of capitalism. Meanwhile, we can look towards countries with socialized healthcare, such as Vietnam, where they have tackled the issue to the best of their ability, and the virus is on its way to being wiped out. Immediately, they built the necessary test kits, and got to work. This shows the efficiency of a planned economy. In China, those who are quarantined are not worried about becoming homeless, or going hungry, the state provides for their people. Capitalist states worry about the bottom dollar, socialist states worry about the people. As well, in Vietnam, they have taken the proper measures to ensure that the needs are met of all people affected by the virus, including food. Again, this shows the functionality of socialized healthcare as opposed to private healthcare, and the need to abolish capitalism.

Covid-19 has succeeded in revealing the absolute weakness of American capitalism when dealing with a crisis. Whilst countries like China and Vietnam have succeeded in containing the virus, America instead chooses to contain Wall Street losses, with a 1.5 TRILLION dollar bailout, leaving ordinary working class Americans to fend for themselves. It is socialism for the rich, and rugged capitalism for the poor! This is simply unacceptable, atrocious and outrageous, and these kinds of actions must be met with the fury of the people!

“A world without workers is impossible, a world without capitalism is necessary!” – World Federation of Trade Union (WFTU).

This article is the collective works of the following comrades in the Party of Communists USA Health, Safety, Aged, Disabled Commission, A., Saoirse, Samantha, Laura, Trevor, and Gabriel.

* * * 


An open letter on the Coronavirus crisis

Our class and people are faced with a health, economic, and political crisis of unprecedented proportions. The Trump Administration’s denial and inaction in response to the rapid spread of the new Covid19 coronavirus have made an almost unimaginably bad situation far worse.

A few days ago, our National Board received a briefing on the situation from a public health expert. The main take away from that report is that from a public health perspective, the most important thing is to first slow the spread of the virus in order to prevent health care resources from becoming overwhelmed and then stop it. Because of the lack of widespread testing, we do not yet know the degree and extent of the crisis. Countrywide testing has become a national imperative.

To slow the spread of the virus, physical distancing which means staying at home, only going out when absolutely necessary, and then staying six or more feet away from others. Is necessary. In order to reverse and end the crisis, quarantines of the sick and developing a vaccine are necessary.

China was the first country to face the coronavirus. Under the leadership of its  Communist Party with an orientation to public health and not profits, was able to get a handle on the crisis by taking extraordinary measures, implementing mass testing, quarantining the city and province where the first outbreak occurred, and mobilizing the entire nation’s resources to support those regions. By responding early with strong science-based public health measures, Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan, according to news reports, have managed the epidemic without overwhelming their health care systems, even while experiencing acute illnesses and deaths. .

With the stock market crashing, mass layoffs and the economy grinding to a halt, the main issue before us in the U.S. is addressing the crisis by putting people before profits.

Unsurprisingly, the stimulus proposals put forward by the GOP favor big business. We must reject this in no uncertain terms: we must lend our voices to the trade unions and mass democratic movements that are demanding paid sick leave, unemployment benefits, free testing and medical care for those infected.

Urgent on-line mobilizations are underway demanding that all workers be included, especially frontline, tip, contract workers, undocumented workers and those without a job many of whom are women and people of color and youth. This should also be applied to immigrants.

We must demand emergency measures to ensure protective equipment to health care personnel.  We should also embrace more far-reaching and transformative demands being put forward to meet the needs of people. Needless to say, soon we will add our own unique perspective and demands.

Make no mistake: there are political dangers as well. The Republican right is making proposals to restrict democratic rights and Trump’s attacks are ongoing. Primary elections have been postponed in seven states and the impact on the upcoming national election are at this point unknown.

The CP National Board is meeting on Wednesday, March 25, to address our Party’s response to the crisis and to put forward a program to address it. The National Committee is meeting on Sunday, March 29.  A party statement on the crisis is being developed.

We feel strongly that the Party must remain active and involved as the crisis unfolds. Club meetings can be held by conference calls and using social conferencing platforms like Zoom. We have a Zoom account that can be utilized on request.

Stay-at-home conditions do not mean that we become immobilized. Social media and social networks, like Facebook and Twitter provide a means to interact, engage and struggle. Webinars are being organized to demonstrate the needed tools. We encourage our clubs and districts to check them out.

If there ever was a time to utilize peoplesworld.org, cpusa.org along with our Facebook and Twitter platforms it is now. Sharing articles, commenting on them, circulating petitions, making phone calls, sharing images, videos and podcasts is so important. Now is the time to share our This Week @cpusa YouTube production along with the young communist Specter podcast.

Our role is to provide our unique working-class revolutionary “plus” and counter Trump lies, while supporting science, truth, and solid public information.

Proposals are under development for a national membership-and-friends Zoom meeting on the crisis. Organizing national schools and local study groups is under consideration. During these difficult days, it is extremely important to be in touch with our members, particularly our older veteran comrades to ensure they do not feel isolated and are safe and healthy.  Please do not take this for granted. In many communities mutual aid groups are forming to help with groceries and other needs.

And everyone should take every measure to stay safe and healthy by remaining indoors and observing the public health directives. This includes our young comrades. While seniors are most vulnerable, everyone is at risk. Our working class, in the first place nurses, doctors, and other caregivers are on the frontlines of this life-and-death struggle against the new coronavirus. We must give them every support. Please reach out to the organizations and movements that we are involved with and share with us their ideas and proposals as we will share ours.

Together we will win this fight. Of this we are certain!

* * * 

Chicago, IL – The U.S. capitalist class has shown the world that it is completely unprepared to manage a crisis. Instead of creating a comprehensive plan to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and to treat those infected, the Trump administration has left the states to determine what is best, leaving hundreds of millions of people vulnerable to infection. Instead of establishing paid sick leave for all, they have spent $1.5 trillion in a single day to try to shore up the investments of Wall Street. We, the multinational working class of the United States, have been left to fend for ourselves.

As working people, we need to practice solidarity now more than ever. We will bear the brunt of the suffering from this crisis, from being the only ones forced to work throughout this pandemic to being the ones forced out of work from the impending recession. Our class will suffer unemployment and horrendous health care conditions while the rich continue to rake in their plunder. The day will come when we will demand everything from them. They have no right to run this country, nor this planet. Some day soon, the working class will come knocking on their doors looking to collect.

Today, however, all efforts must be put into immediately heading off the disaster our country faces. As the Labor Commission of the Freedom Road Socialist Organization, on behalf of the multinational working class of the United States, we are issuing the following demands on the Trump administration and all businesses in the country:

1. Immediately close all non-essential and non-emergency businesses and services. This is a public health pandemic that impacts every square inch of this country. We need to act accordingly.

2. No worker shall suffer a loss of income as a result of the crisis. Whether someone misses work because of a quarantine or a lockdown, misses work because they are sick, or works for a company that closes either temporarily or indefinitely because of the crisis – every worker will continue to be paid.

3. Every worker forced to work needs to be kept as safe as possible. Everyone who works in essential or emergency services needs to be provided with the adequate training, personal protective equipment and supplies in order to do their job with the lowest risk of exposure.

4. Every worker forced to work needs to receive additional “hazard pay.” Millions of workers are going to put their lives on the line to keep the population safe and prevent the worst pandemic in a lifetime. They need to be compensated accordingly.

These are the demands that must be raised from the labor unions, on behalf of their members and the working class as a whole.

As a movement of working people, we have a single, central tenet: “An injury to one is an injury to all.” We are all in this together. We need to take care of each other, of our families, our workers, and our sisters and brothers in the labor movement. In our hands – the hands of the hundreds of millions of working people in this country – lies the strength to build any future and weather any storm. We can unite, we must unite, to ensure that the greedy capitalists do not drag us into the abyss.

* * * 

Socialist demands for the COVID-19 crisis

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to spread, the government’s response to the crisis has been criminally negligent, while capitalists would rather risk workers’ health than stop production for profit.
As the ruling class shows itself to be incapable of addressing the crisis, how can we, as working class and oppressed people, organize to meet our needs? What demands can we put forward in response?
Workers World Party proposes the following 10 demands – which are a work in progress based on the fluidity of the crisis – as an initial socialist response to COVID-19:
  • Free healthcare for all
  • Nationalize the healthcare system under community control. Build emergency hospitals
  • Full pay, benefits and guaranteed income for all
  • Food, housing, medical supplies, and utilities including internet for all
  • Suspend rent, evictions, mortgages, utility shutoffs and ALL debt
  • Prioritize resources for communities of color, migrants, LGBTQ2+ people, seniors, youth, people with disabilities
  • Empty prisons and detention centers. Shut down ICE. End racist attacks
  • Community control. No cops. No military
  • $2 Trillion to the workers, not the banks
  • End U.S. wars, sanctions, and environmental destruction.