Published on PTLN 5-07-20
Resistance Mounts as a Failing System Kills Us
From the Editors, peoplestribune.org
April 25, 2020
As stories in the digital edition of the People’s Tribune show (see link below), the economic and public health catastrophe now gripping America is exposing a for-profit system and a government that doesn’t give a damn about people’s lives and is not competent to deal with the crisis. But we also see the unprecedented outrage, humanitarianism and growing resistance by the people.
The pandemic has the greatest impact on the most vulnerable, who the government refuses to protect: the homeless, people of color (especially African Americans and Native Americans), people without health care, the elderly, low-wage workers, prisoners in crowded jails, immigrants in detention centers, health care workers without proper protection, and so on.
Likewise, the economic crisis is forcing many people to do without income or assistance they depend on, increasing hunger (while government allows food to be destroyed), and making people homeless or leaving them homeless (while empty hotels and apartments stand vacant). The economic crisis could well kill more people than the virus.
The net effect is a genocidal assault against our people, and especially against those that the billionaires who run this country want to eliminate: people whose labor is no longer needed in an increasingly automated economy.
The for-profit system paved the way for the disaster with decades of hospital closings, cuts in the public health system and social safety net, denial of health insurance to millions, having no adequate national stockpile of emergency medical supplies, diversion of trillions in public funds to the military and the wealthy, and the squandering of capital on an orgy of speculation in the financial markets while automation and off-shoring of jobs left millions in poverty.
The lack of a coordinated national response to the virus by the federal government led to the disgraceful lack of testing and the chaotic competition among states for scarce medical supplies. Meanwhile, the government hands out trillions of dollars to big business, while giving crumbs to the workers, small businesses, and state and local governments.
But the people are fighting for their lives, organizing, making demands on government for nationalized health care, for food and an income, rent relief, release of vulnerable prisoners, etc., and for a coordinated national response to the crisis that ensures the health and economic well-being of all people.
People are also thinking and talking about building a whole new society based on cooperation, not competition for profits, and where humanity comes first. We can’t go back to what was.
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