Friday, March 27, 2020

DSA - This is Barbarism

This Is Barbarism

Over 100 years ago, in the midst of the death and destruction of the First World War, German socialist leader Rosa Luxemburg wrote that capitalist society was at a crossroads and would either “transition to socialism or regress into barbarism.” In the 1930s, fascist parties took over Germany and other countries, and they indeed descended into genocidal barbarism.
Today, in the center of western capitalism, the United States, the president, Republican senators, and major financial leaders are calling for an imminent return to business as usual that could kill millions — but at least temporarily save corporate profits. 
This is barbarism.

The Evolving Crisis
There are now nearly half a million confirmed Covid-19 cases worldwide, with more than 40,000 confirmed cases in the United States quickly spreading in the South. Our caseload trajectory is rising faster than anywhere else in the world and could soon make the U.S. the center of the global pandemic. 
The virus is ravaging New York’s healthcare system, and in Washington nurses describe their work as analogous to war: “You’re in a battlefield where supplies are limited. The help’s slow to get to you and there’s lots of casualties and … you can’t see the enemy.” Decades of neoliberal austerity have left most local governments and public health systems totally ill-equipped to handle the crisis.
50% of those who die from Covid-19 have dying from secondary bacteria infections, something Mike Davis warnedabout in his critique of big pharma’s drive for profits.
The FDA granted the pharmaceutical giant Gilead seven years of monopoly on its drug, remdesivir, a possible treatment for coronavirus. Gilead is already known for price-gouging life-saving HIV drugs.
Activists with Asian Americans Advancing Justice (AAJC) are sounding the alarm about an uptick in violent attacksagainst hundreds of Asian Americans, fueled by Trump’s racist rhetoric.
Stock markets are rallying as investors welcome the latest bailout package. But Fed officials predict unemployment figures as high as 30 percent, which will snowball the economic havoc that’s in store.

Government (In)Action
Across the country, we’re seeing murderous levels of neglect and inaction. With Trump pushing for a return to work by Easter, the new strategy is to starve workers to protect the profits of a few, risking the lives of millions in the process. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced plans to force workers back to work in the epicenter of the US outbreak while he recommended $400M in cuts to Medicaid.
The passing of the buck to state and local governments has resulted in wildly uneven responses across the country. This will only prolong the pandemic.
Democrats have reached a deal with the Trump White House on the largest stimulus package in history — $2 trillion, including $500 billion in corporate aid. Early reports indicate that Bernie succeeded in his fight to add improved unemployment support for workers. Bailouts may be in order, but they must be equitable and put people over profit.We must reject a repeat of the post-2008 corporate giveaway that lined capitalists’ pockets at the expense of workers!
Some local governments have pursued steps guaranteeing rent grace periods, eviction moratoriums, and other relief measures aimed at cushioning the blow for workers. 
Joe Biden broke his week-long silence on Monday with bizarre and jumbled videos and interviews, displaying a lack of basic leadership capacity. Meanwhile, Donald Trump has seen his highest approval ratings as President, with a majority of Americans approving of his handling of the crisis. The leadership vacuum from anyone left of Trump shows why it’s more important than ever for Bernie Sanders to remain on the national stage. Bernie can retool his campaign to lead the charge against coronavirus and disaster capitalism as a surrogate for an absent workers’ party.

Workers Strike Back
The diverse working class is organizing like we’ve never seen — fighting to shutter nonessential businesses to stop the spread of COVID-19 while winning paid time off for workers. Essential workers in healthcare, logistics, transportation, and grocery are fighting to protect themselves and our whole society.
Healthcare: People are stepping up to donate medical supplies to hospitals. It may not be fully sufficient, but this mutual aid is an important and much-needed act of solidarity! East Bay DSA is hosting a digital townhall to hear from frontline healthcare workers in Oakland. Don’t miss it.
Transit: Following Detroit’s example, organized transit workers in Toronto and Alabama won rear boarding and free fares for riders to protect the public and the workers. Union taxi workers in Los Angeles have issued demandsranging from social distancing protocols to the expansion of SNAP for all essential workers.
Logistics: The presidents of two of the largest unions at Bath Iron Works on Tuesday called on the company to close and give employees paid leave for two weeks to protect the company’s 8,000 workers.
Grocery: Grocery workers in Berkeley won a $2/hour raise as hazard pay during the pandemic after gathering over a thousand signatures in their petition. H-E-B workers also won a temporary $2/hour hazard pay raise. Bosses at Kroger are so scared of workers organizing that they banned the website Labor Notes on their wifi. Check out the article that shook them up. Instacart is hiring hundreds of thousands of new workers to handle new demand for delivered groceries. We must support these workers in getting protection, support, and hazard compensation for this frontline work.
Agriculture: In Georgia, Perdue plant workers walked out in protest of their unsafe working conditions and lack of hazard pay.
Coffee Shops: After gathering over 24,000 signatures on a petition demanding the company close stores, Starbucks workers won.
We’re Fighting For the World 
Like Rosa Luxemburg a century ago, democratic socialists are fighting for a just, equal, healthy, and environmentally sustainable world. 
Under capitalism, private profit for billionaires drives our economy, our energy system, our government, and more. This profit is in effect stolen from the labor of millions of exploited, oppressed, overworked, and underpaid workers and from our environment. The pursuit of profit drives the privatization of energy, water, schools, transportation, and healthcare — driving the coronavirus pandemic to cause far more human suffering than it would otherwise. Profit drives the military and prison industrial complexes, the division of workers along the lines of race and nationality, and the devastation of our planet. Capitalism as a social system not only benefits the already rich at the expense of everyone else. 
Democratic socialism is the only cure to the disease that is capitalism. Workers—united across geography, ethnicity, gender, and age—are the ones who will win it.

DSA Announcements
  • Want to organize a COVID-19 response in your workplace or know someone who does? Fill this out, and share it far and wide.

Monday, March 23, 2020

Trump Removed the Scientist Whose Job Was to Warn the U.S. About Virus From China

President Donald Trump loves to blame China for the coronavirus pandemic, but new information surfaced over the weekend that the administration eliminated a position last July that potentially could have helped the US get an earlier jump on a response to the crisis, suggesting the president may need to place blame a little closer to home.
The Trump administration told the United States’ embed at the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that the position would be defunded, causing her to leave her post in July 2019, according to a report from Reuters’s Marisa Taylor. The embed helped train Chinese pubic health experts and served in part as a liaison between Chinese officials and their counterparts in the US. 
With the administration planning to discontinue the role, the embed return to the US about five months before China began to see its first Covid-19 cases. Under normal circumstances, the embed likely would have passed information about the novel virus to US officials. Instead, Chinese officials were able for weeks to conceal the virus and the threat it posed, leading to a delay in the world’s response to what was then a matter of great concern and is now a pandemic.

Vox news

WASHINGTON (AP) — A series of missteps at the nation’s top public health agency caused a critical shortage of reliable laboratory tests for the coronavirus, hobbling the federal response as the pandemic spread across the country like wildfire, an Associated Press review found.

President Donald Trump assured Americans early this month that the COVID-19 test developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is “perfect” and that “anyone who wants a test can get a test.” But more than two months after the first U.S. case of the new disease was confirmed, many people still cannot get tested.

In the critical month of February, as the virus began taking root in the U.S. population, CDC data shows government labs processed 352 COVID-19 tests — an average of only a dozen per day.

“You cannot fight a fire blindfolded,” Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, head of the World Health Organization, said at a recent briefing. “We cannot stop this pandemic if we don’t know who is infected.”

The Department of Health and Human Services, which includes the CDC, has begun an internal review to assess its own mistakes. But outside observers and federal health officials have pointed to four primary issues that together hampered the national response — the early decision not to use the test adopted by the World Health Organization, flaws with the more complex test developed by the CDC, government guidelines restricting who could be tested and delays in engaging the private sector to ramp up testing capacity.

Combined with messaging from the White House minimizing the disease, that fueled a lackluster response that missed chances to slow the spread of the virus, they said.

Saturday, March 14, 2020

Trump's Bogus Google Claim on Convid 19

SACRAMENTO PROGRESSIVE ALLIANCE: Trump's Bogus Google Claim on Convid 19: According to the Washington Post, Trump has lied 1,400 times since becoming President. So, what should we expect ?  On Friday. Presiden...

Friday, March 13, 2020

Teachers, Unions, Respond to the Virus and Trump's Incompetence !

Korean Response

Since January, in response to the coronavirus, the AFT’s attention has been focused on how to ensure the health and safety of our families and communities, particularly those on the frontline of this crisis. Now, since the World Health Organization has labeled the coronavirus a global pandemic, our attention must be on everything: prevention and precaution, treatment, and the short- and long-term economic impact of COVID-19 on families and communities.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention cautions that the spread of the new coronavirus will get worse in the United States before it gets better. But we’ve seen that the comprehensive response to COVID-19 in both China and South Korea—where they have used widespread testing and quarantines—appears to have stemmed the spread of the virus and is a very good sign.
The difference in the United States is that we are not fighting COVID-19 with all the tools we need because, unlike China and South Korea, the federal government has cut public health infrastructure and does not have enough tests for the coronavirus to use them preventively, as opposed to when a cluster erupts. Nonetheless, we wanted you to know what the AFT is doing related to preventing, treating and dealing with the long-term impacts of COVID-19 to protect people, prevent the spread and limit the ravages to our economy:
  • We are focused on the health and safety of frontline healthcare providers. This means fighting for proper safety equipment, including N95 masks. It also means pushing for high standards for workplace safety, even as the CDC attempts to roll back safety standards, potentially putting healthcare workers at risk.
  • We are equally focused on the health and safety of children, families and communities, and maintaining as much normalcy as possible. We know that social distancing, limiting who can be in schools beyond students and staff, and closing schools when necessary flattens the curve of exposure to the virus. But we also need to ensure that if (and when) schools close, distance and online learning is done in a positive, equitable and beneficial way—and that children who rely on schools for meals and a safe and welcoming environment have access to those supports.
  • We are supporting efforts to reduce the economic impacts of the pandemic. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has proposed a multibillion-dollar package of policies and programs to fight the spread of COVID-19 and help ensure that our economy and working people and their families are protected. It includes emergency paid sick leave, free coronavirus testing, provisions to protect frontline healthcare workers, and food assistance for seniors and vulnerable children and families. This bill, combined with the initial $8.3 billion in emergency funding to fight the coronavirus, is exactly what’s needed.
The AFT has done numerous information sessions since the coronavirus emerged, and we’ll do the largest telephone town hall to date this Saturday at 2 p.m. Eastern. We will highlight what we know, provide our recommendations and answer your questions. You can sign up for the town hall here.
And right now, you can help by sending a letter to your senators telling them to pass the vital comprehensive package that I mentioned above to protect the health of our families and communities, as well as to address the short- and long-term impacts to their economic well-being. You can send the letter by clicking here.
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License.