Both Covid-19 and capitalist profiteering must be eradicated!

Print
8 April 2020

On 8 April, the number of recorded deaths in Britain increased by 936 - more than on Italy’s worst ever day, when 919 people died.  This trend was already on the cards.
    Britain is the last of the large European countries to be reached by the pandemic.  But the coronavirus did not care about Brexit.  It went on to plough its lethal trail just as it had done on the Continent before.  And Johnson's policies were not designed to fight the epidemic, just to conceal the Tories' past criminal negligence - i.e. the crumbling state in which their cuts had left the NHS.
    When Johnson and his advisers finally realised something had to be done, they introduced their own version of the policies previously used in China, South Korea and the main European countries.  But it was already too late and, above all, too little - because they could not bring themselves to do it seriously.
    So now the respected Seattle IHME Institute is saying that when the epidemic reaches its peak in Britain, the number of deaths will also be the highest in any European country, at over 60,000!
    Of course, no-one can be sure about these figures.  We know that the IHME was right in its past warnings against Johnson's policies in Britain and against Trump's idiotic denial of the pandemic.  So its prognosis should at least warn us about the general shape of things to come, as the peak comes closer.

The corrupt role of profiteering

Ironically, Boris Johnson may be the first statesman to become a casualty of his own criminal neglect.  Tough, but fair.  However, the Covid-19 crisis disaster cannot just be blamed on incompetence.  Everything in this crisis is tainted, above all, with the imprint of capitalist profiteering.
    The cuts which ran down the NHS were aimed at using public money to rescue big business after 2008.  Meanwhile, private profiteers were invited to parasitise its budget through backdoor privatisation, thereby accelerating its collapse.  Today, however, Hancock dares to hail his own "generosity" for writing off £13.4bn in "historic NHS debt" - that is, money stolen from the NHS by the Tories!
    Thus the corrupt effect of capitalist profiteering made sure that the NHS would already be working to the limits of its capacity long before the crisis.  And the same process, this time through outright privatisation, reduced the care home system to a skeleton, unable to protect its elderly residents.
    Then came the Covid-19 pandemic.  Emergency measures could have been taken immediately to stock up on what was glaringly missing.  Such "strategic" stocks are kept for military purposes.  Why not for public health?  Well, because it would have cost money, which was earmarked to cut the profiteers' losses.
    And what about the various Covid-19 tests, treatments and vaccines?  Every rich country, including Britain, seeks to favour one of the private firms which is engaged in frantic competition for huge profits.  Frantic, but not safe, as was shown by Hancock's decision to throw away the 17.5m anti-body tests he had ordered because they could not be trusted.  Yes, even when it comes to saving lives, capitalist profiteering corrupts everything!

Beware of what the profiteers are up to!

How long will the Covid-19 emergency last, when will "normal activity" resume, and in what way?  No-one can tell yet.
    Of course, government advisers are already drawing up plans for the end of lockdown.  But they are under pressure from big business to allow the resumption of production as soon as possible - with or without the necessary safety measures.
    Indeed, how is big business going to restart making profits?  They're rediscovering a very old reality: that capitalist profit comes from the theft by employers of part of their workers' labour.  Without workers at work, there can be no capitalist profit.  It's as simple as that!  They can get the state to put money in their pockets through all kinds of schemes, but that can only paper over some of their losses - not generate profits.
    So, the capitalist class and their politicians will push workers back to work as soon as possible.  But since that won't be enough to cover their lost profits, they're going to use the opportunity to cut jobs, wages and conditions to the bare bone.
    Their experts are already discussing the consequences publicly: the UN estimates that 5 times more jobs will be lost than after 2008.  Others, in Britain, say that we'll soon be facing a situation similar to the Great Depression of the 1930s, with the official jobless shooting up to 6m and a lot of furloughed workers joining them later.
    Only the future will tell if that is true.  But there is already enough evidence to show what the bosses are up to.  And better be safe (by preparing ourselves for the battles we will have to fight) than sorry (by waiting until it happens)!