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From The Socialist newspaper, 20 May 2020

Going viral: socialist comments and letters on the corona crisis

The Covid-19 pandemic is a world social crisis which touches every aspect of life. The iniquities and failings of the capitalist system are being exposed, and workers and communities are organising in response.

Send us your comments, reports, anecdotes and thoughts, in not more than 200 words (we reserve the right to shorten letters), to [email protected] Views of letter writers do not necessarily match those of the Socialist Party.

Demanding H&S, Newham, May 2020, photo East London SP

Demanding H&S, Newham, May 2020, photo East London SP   (Click to enlarge)

NHS already overwhelmed

What counts as "not overwhelmed"? Hospitals are still cancelling procedures that are not Covid-related, no doubt causing huge distress and potential dangers to health.

And now it seems it's going even further than that. We received two cancellation letters for my partner - one cancelling a CT scan of his chest and one cancelling an appointment with the haematology clinic.

He has been suffering from pneumonia and blood clots as a result of Covid and these appointments were both follow-ups because of Covid! I'm not sure what callous ivory-towered Tory toffs count as overwhelmed, but I'd say this comes pretty close.

Anonymous, London

Tories clap now, cut later

So the key workers they've been clapping for - while simultaneously not providing them with adequate PPE - will be made to pay for the financial crisis that will follow coronavirus.

You can bet they won't be taxing Branson, Ashleigh et al. Because that would also affect the bunch of posh boys in government.

Frannie Lianne, Cardiff

Clap for heroes dying on the frontline during the crisis - post-crisis wage freezes and tax increases.

The Tories couldn't give a shit about nurse, teachers, council workers, cleaners - I could go on and on.

Matt Whale, nurse, Hull

School student protest

All 600 sixth formers in my daughter's school refused to go into the assembly hall. This was mid-March, one parent had tested positive with Covid-19, just one week before the lockdown.

They were told that they were being insubordinate and were breaking school rules. They were threatened with detentions and other sanctions, but they held their ground. Eventually school relented and the assembly was cancelled.

If this is what 600 students did on their own, imagine what the labour movement, with six million trade unionists could have done.

Strike action could have shut down schools, public transport, airports and other unionised work-places.

The labour movement could have imposed a shutdown in early March, a few weeks before the government finally moved, and in this way saved tens of thousands of lives. This would have taken preparedness to break the Tory anti-strike laws.

Amnon Cohen, Haringey, London

Anti-lockdown protest

I gave into curiosity and watched some footage of the very small anti-lockdown protest in London on 16 May.

I have absolutely no political agreement with Piers Corbyn and co - the pandemic is real, 5G is not the real virus, climate change is real, and a vaccine would be a positive thing. Clearly far-right elements were present on the protest.

Marx does explain that under capitalism, society is "run behind the backs of the producers". There have been very real lies and conspiracies about the virus, testing, public sector resources, profiteering and many other things in this crisis.

One of the main things I am struggling with in this pandemic is the increased powers the authorities have.

The behaviour of the police does serve as a serious warning to socialists and trade unionists about 'the new normal'.

Protestors were grabbed for standing around with their signs, which contravenes "health protection", and arrested under the powers of new coronavirus legislation.

You can easily imagine the same tactics being used to deal with workers picketing or occupying.

Matt Dobson, Glasgow

Free technology from profit

When I was in the hospital, the young doctor told me that the CT scan can detect Covid in the lungs. Imagine what we could do with that technology, and how much more advanced it would be if it was free from the fetter of capitalist profiteering!

Mobile scanners could check workers' health for free. Many, many times working-class people can't get the scans they desperately need due to cost. You could find cancers before they became malignant and untreatable.

Although I didn't present with Covid symptoms, I was seen in the 'red zone', but still wasn't tested because they only test if you are admitted.

I think people are praising Nicola Sturgeon because in comparison to Boris, anyone would look competent. Even my wee dog could run things better than him.

Lynda McEwan, West Dunbartonshire

Tories don't give a damn about poor kids

Former Tory MP Amber Rudd is foaming at the mouth to release the lockdown - banging on about poor kids suffering.

She presided over massive cuts to both schools and social services when she was in government.

She doesn't give a damn about working-class kids. It's all about childcare, so the workers can be lashed back to work. She doesn't care about how many of us die as long as her mates make money.

Nancy Taaffe, Waltham Forest, London

Labour fails renters

Despite the threat of mass evictions, Labour's shadow housing secretary has said it would be "un-Labour" to suspend rents.

Bailing out banks at eye-watering cost is realistic politics. Supporting renters threatened with poverty and eviction isn't. Got that?

Thangam Debbonaire's reasons tell a story - some people would get their rent suspended who weren't going to be evicted. Are universal benefits 'un-Labour'?

She says if landlords go bust people would be made homeless. No reason to allow that, she doesn't deal with the linked proposal for mortgages payments to be suspended.

Why not take over homes from landlords that can't cope?

Paul Kershaw, Enfield, London


They voted against pay rises for nurses. But there they are, standing outside their mansions clapping their hypocritical, blood-soaked hands for NHS staff, carers and other key workers.

The Tories have failed these workers completely. They failed to control the virus, they failed to provide adequate protection, and many have paid with their lives.

The majority of frontline workers are low paid and undervalued. Without them society would fall apart.

And now the Tories rushed immigration legislation is slamming the door shut on 'low-skilled' immigration and will exclude 180,000 EU nationals in the NHS and care sector alone. I can't imagine what impact that will have.

While the Tories stand there pretending to be friends of frontline workers, they have been scheming to exclude many of them in the interests of an elusive "foundation for a high-wage, high-skill, high-productivity economy."

For the sake of our health and safety, this hypocritical Tory government has got to go.

Heather Rawling, Leicester

Care homes: tests and pay

Care workers fear being tested in case they have the virus and go from 400 to 94 a week sick pay. It's a disgrace.

Privatised care homes are at the epicentre of infections and Covid-19 deaths. All workers must be entitled to full pay if off sick for any reason.

Care homes and the Scottish and UK governments must ensure all staff are financially protected, with no loss of earnings. These homes must be brought under public ownership with all workers paid a living wage under local authority terms and conditions

Philip Stott, Glasgow

Tory flu

Having just read Hannah Sell's review of Pale Rider (see 'The Spanish Flu of 1918 and how it fanned the flames of revolt' at, I was reminded that the powers that be always give nicknames to these pandemics - Spanish Flu, Asian Flu in 1957.

It struck me that apart from that oaf Trump trying to dub the current virus the 'Chinese Flu', we don't really have a common name for Covid-19. I think this is a bit remiss and we're missing a chance here.

Perhaps we could call it Hancock's Flu or Johnson's Flu. Wouldn't it be great if we could get one of these names to stick for posterity?

Perhaps the Socialist could run a competition for a favoured name? 20 book token prize for the winner! Yes alright I'll pay for it.

Personally I'll stick with the Tory Flu. Stay Safe.

Kevin Wilson, Leeds

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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.
  • 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 Fighting Fund.

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In The Socialist 20 May 2020:

What we think

Confidence plummets in Tory strategy for Covid-19

Resist school reopening

Staff and parents fight 'back to school' plans

Make transport safe

Transport workers & passengers mustn't pay the price

Socialist Party news and analysis

Rich get handouts - workers get pay cuts

Contract tracer speaks out: Tories' plan is outsourced chaos

Crisis in council services: Labour must fight or stand aside

Furlough cut-off could force millions back to unsafe workplaces

Safe protests against Tory corona chaos continue

Johnson claims workplaces safe but HSE cancels inspections

Workplace news and analysis

Postal workers' action results in double victory for union

Trade unionists organise to fight for workplace safety in big NSSN meeting

Posties walk out in Peterborough after manager tests positive

Universal Basic Income: not a solution to insecurity and poverty under capitalism

Readers' opinion

The Jungle: capitalism's remorseless attack on workers' safety and conditions

Going viral: letters to the editors

Obituary: Rob Crabb

International socialist news and analysis

Trump, coronavirus, capitalism, and the presidential race


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