Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/1082/30623

From The Socialist newspaper, 14 April 2020

Rapacious capitalism and the spread of coronavirus

Donít blame me for coronavirus! photo Valerius Tygart

Donít blame me for coronavirus! photo Valerius Tygart   (Click to enlarge)

Simon Carter

Donald Trump continually refers to the coronavirus pandemic as the "Chinese virus". He believes this demonisation of China plays to the isolationist, racist and xenophobic sections of his domestic support - a crucial audience as the bigoted president seeks a second term in office.

This weaponisation of the pandemic also serves his geopolitical interests as he pursues his trade war with China.

Of course, none of this racist rhetoric is preventing mainly poor Americans succumb to this deadly virus. Nor will Trump's gamble of blaming outsiders for the coronavirus crisis in the US necessarily succeed in preventing a working-class backlash, at some stage, against his administration's inept response - which is centred on ensuring the continuation of capitalist profit.

But Trump isn't alone in blaming China, and Chinese practices, for the global pandemic. True, the Chinese state bureaucracy - a military police dictatorship - crucially delayed for several weeks notification of the new virus, and silenced whistleblowers in its healthcare system.

But the same charge of delaying a response can be levelled at most Western capitalist democracies - including the UK, where Johnson's Tory government delayed testing to identify those infected and who thus could be isolated. And, as is widely reported, even now the scope of testing even healthworkers and carers remains ludicrously low.

Instead, lest we forget, Johnson and his sidekick advisor Dominic Cummings initially pursued a criminal 'herd immunity' strategy, which meant that by the time the lockdown and testing was belatedly introduced, the virus had firmly established itself in the population.

Whistleblowers in the NHS have also been threatened with the sack if they complain about the lack of PPE and testing on social media.

What really lies behind the relentless jibes and attacks of Western capitalist leaders and political commentators on China's 'lack of transparency', is that president Xi Jinping's regime is now kick-starting its economy while the British, US and EU countries remain mired in lockdown. And that the Chinese political bureaucracy could emergefrom the crisis far better positioned to expand its share of global markets and enhance its status.

Charge of backwardness

The other charge against China is that coronavirus started in its unhygienic food markets trading in dead and live wild animals ('wet markets'), such as endangered Pangolins, bats, and so forth. This charge is a similar one to the emergence of Ebola virus in west Africa. That is, poor and uneducated people trading bushmeat or deriving traditional medicines from wild animals became exposed to new viruses.

The reality is more complicated. As the academic Andrew Liu recently wrote: "Statistics suggest the real key variable are the effects of globalisation, which have enriched the country's (China's) business classes. Prices for the animal (Pangolins) have climbed from $14 a kilo in 1994 to more than $600 today... Customers ordering wildlife often do so in order to flaunt their wealth or to celebrate a good day on the stock market, although they remain a minority: most Chinese citizens support strict limits, if not a ban, on wildlife consumption. Resurgent Pangolin consumption is thus a result of economic liberalisation in China - which the US championed - not simply of traditional culture."

In late February, the Chinese authorities eventually outlawed the sale of wild animals in food markets albeit temporarily.

Capitalism in its drive for profits ruthlessly exploits nature and the environment. Land clearances for logging and agribusiness, and by poor people driven by poverty, brings humans into contact with animals carrying reservoirs of new viruses. Global trade then ensures these diseases are swiftly circulated round the world.

In that sense, coronavirus is not 'natural' or the result of traditional or backward practices, but the result of rapacious capitalism; and the victims are human populations and the environment we depend on.

Donate to the Socialist Party

Coronavirus crisis - Finance appeal

The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

  • The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
  • Our 'fighting coronavirus workers' charter', outlines a programme to combat the virus and protect workers' living conditions.
  • When the health crisis subsides, we must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
Inevitably, during the crisis we have not been able to sell the Socialist and raise funds in the ways we normally would.
We therefore urgently appeal to all our viewers to donate to our special coronavirus appeal.

Please donate here.

All payments are made through a secure server.

My donation £

 

Your message: 

 


In The Socialist 14 April 2020:


Coronavirus news

MPs get £10k each for lockdown expenses - where's ours?

Dispatches from the front: NHS staff say give us PPE, not medals!

Johnson's hospitalisation: a tale of two treatments

Big pharma's profiteering holds back drug supply

Lockdown increases domestic violence calls - Tory money a drop in the ocean

NHS nurse: we're not wasting PPE - the Tories don't value us

Rapacious capitalism and the spread of coronavirus


What we think

Exit strategy? PPE and mass testing and workers' control of workplace safety

Fight back against the corona propaganda war


Transport

London Transport workers fighting private companies and TfL to secure health and safety


Workplace news

Unite opposes all cuts to domestic violence services

Passport workers forced back to offices as Home Office shirks its duty of care

Collectively demanding safe warehouse working conditions

Usdaw shop workers' union activists meet via Zoom

Coronavirus workplace news in brief


Labour

Sabotage - the inner workings of Labour's political machine exposed


Campaigns

Plymouth students discuss rent strike

Final push for May Day greetings

Socialist Party coronavirus crisis finance appeal

Join an online Socialist Party meeting during lockdown

The Socialist Party and socialist ideas are growing


Lessons from history

How the catastrophe of WW1 sparked revolution


Readers' opinion

Going viral: Socialist comments on the corona crisis


 

Home   |   The Socialist 14 April 2020   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate   |   Audio  |   PDF  |   ebook






Related links:

Coronavirus:

triangleMoJ cleaners' covid outbreak

triangleTory full return to school plans gamble with lives

triangleThe Socialist inbox

triangleRenationalisation of the probation service

triangleThem & us

Capitalism:

triangle75th anniversary of the Attlee Labour government

triangleCapitalism and corruption go hand in hand

triangleI left Labour and want to end capitalism - join us in Socialist Party

triangleA new movement for system change

China:

triangleChinese state's imposition of draconian law reignites Hong Kong protests

triangleHackney & Islington Socialist Party: China today and the coronavirus

triangleCoronavirus: international cooperation needed, not capitalist competition

Capitalist:

triangleFrom slavery to Black Lives Matter - racism and capitalist injustice exposed

triangleTrade unionists stand in solidarity with Maxine Peake

International

International

24/6/20

South Africa

South Africa: Building jobs and living wage campaign

10/6/20

France

France: 20,000 rally against Paris's killer gendarmes

10/6/20

US

Black and white youth rise up against racism - US protester speaks to the Socialist

3/6/20

USA

USA - another cop killing of unarmed black man sparks widespread protests

31/5/20

US

Outrage spreads globally following US police murder of George Floyd

27/5/20

Hong Kong

Chinese state's imposition of draconian law reignites Hong Kong protests

27/5/20

Lebanon

Economic collapse leads to renewed protests across Lebanon

20/5/20

US

Trump, coronavirus, capitalism, and the presidential race

6/5/20

India

India: Fighting the curse of capitalism and coronavirus

6/5/20

Trump

Trump puts profit before safety (again)

6/5/20

US

US: Trump's public health cuts have condemned thousands worldwide

29/4/20

May Day

A CWI May Day 2020 statement

29/4/20

Ireland

Irish police use Covid-19 emergency powers to disperse Dublin shop workers' protest

22/4/20

USA

US private healthcare system in meltdown

14/4/20

Coronavirus

Rapacious capitalism and the spread of coronavirus

triangleMore International articles...


Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party
Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

LATEST POSTS

CONTACT US

Phone our national office on 020 8988 8777

Email: info@socialistparty.org.uk

Locate your nearest Socialist Party branch Text your name and postcode to 07761 818 206

Regional Socialist Party organisers:

Eastern: 079 8202 1969

East Mids: 077 3797 8057

London: 07748 534 891

North East: 078 4114 4890

North West 079 5437 6096

South West: 077 5979 6478

Southern: 078 3368 1910

Wales: 079 3539 1947

West Mids: 024 7655 5620

Yorkshire: 077 0671 0041

ABOUT US

ARCHIVE

Alphabetical listing


July 2020

June 2020

May 2020

April 2020

March 2020

February 2020

January 2020

2019

2018

2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999