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From The Socialist newspaper, 28 October 2020

BAME Covid deaths due to capitalist inequality, confirms government

Black Lives Matter protesters, Hyde Park, 3.6.20, photo Socialist Party

Black Lives Matter protesters, Hyde Park, 3.6.20, photo Socialist Party   (Click to enlarge)

Deji Olayinka, South East London Socialist Party

Increased Covid-19 infection and death rates among ethnic minorities in Britain are mainly driven by social and economic factors, such as occupation, deprivation and where we live. So says the government's own Race Disparity Unit, confirming what the Socialist Party has argued from the start.

Government scientist Dr Raghib Ali confirmed the evidence "doesn't suggest there's any genetic explanation." However, he also said: "I don't think structural racism is a reasonable explanation."

This is because "it misses the very large number of non-ethnic minority groups, so whites basically, who also live in deprived areas and overcrowded housing and with high risk occupations." It is absolutely true that conditions must be improved for the whole working class. But it is also true that these socioeconomic factors disproportionately affect black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) workers.

Capitalist commentators are clinging onto this as a dismissal of structural racism. But as the Socialist previously explained, it's precisely these factors that show class inequality, the fundamental problem, is reinforced by capitalism's structural racism. (See 'Black and Asian Covid-19 deaths: an indictment of capitalist inequality' at socialistparty.org.uk.)

This new report follows studies showing death rates are up to three times as high for BAME people. The Office for National Statistics (ONS) suggested that almost 60,000 more coronavirus deaths could have occurred in England and Wales if more white people had faced the same risks.

Even when all known factors are accounted for, there is still an unexplained increased risk for certain ethnic groups. This may be due to factors the ONS does not cover, such as asylum seekers and refugees having to share bathroom facilities with multiple other families in hostels.

The main response from the government has been to introduce a new 'Community Champions' scheme, with part of the funding used to "enhance existing communication strategies." This is just another insulting attempt at misdirection by the government.

Rather than use the funding to solve the identified problems, they are rolling out policies that suggest BAME people have somehow failed to receive or understand the same warnings as our white counterparts!

Instead, the government should start with policies like those suggested, in response to the report, by the British Medical Association council chair: "To offer adequate funding that encourages individuals to be tested and to self-isolate if infected, given evidence that many feel that financial loss acts as a deterrent to do so."

Ending the excess risk for BAME people means ending the appalling working and living conditions that can affect anyone in the working class. As a start, the unions must lead a fight for work or full pay, full funding and public ownership of the health and care sector, and democratic workers' and community control of health and safety measures.

  • Black Lives Matter and fighting racism is one of the themes at socialism2020.net Online forum 20-23 November

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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.
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In The Socialist 28 October 2020:


What we think

Tories' school meals outrage


Coronavirus News

Don't let Tories starve our kids

Tory 'Starve a Kid to Save a Quid' scheme

Boots launches 120, 12-minute Covid test

Under the microscope


Workplace News

Backing Hugo Pierre for Unison general secretary

Royal Mail: No more behind closed doors talks

Fight Leeds Labour council's massive cuts

Workplace news in brief


News

NHS England's 1bn winter shortfall: we need union action, not platitudes!

BAME Covid deaths due to capitalist inequality, confirms government

Mayor and government compete to attack London transport: fight for no cuts!

Grenfell watch: landlord's 800,000 saving


Food Standards

Food and a capitalist Brexit: No trust in Tory Deals!


International News

Nigeria protests shake regime

"We need a leadership that comes from the movement"

Bolivia elections: Crushing defeat for the right as MAS secures landslide victory

US presidential election


Campaigns

Online youth rally says: We won't pay with our futures

Birmingham: 'Refund our fees' protests

Solidarity with the movement in Nigeria

Evicted students can fight back and win

Waltham Forest Save Our Square:

Why I joined the Socialist Party - "I'm 15, and already I've lived through two global recessions and a pandemic"

Bristol jobs protest: We want 100% pay


Readers' Opinion

One rule for them, and another for us

Books that inspired me: Germinal

The Socialist Inbox


 

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