The International League of Peoples’ Struggle-US chapter (ILPS US) stands with the masses of the world who are fighting to uphold our health and livelihood, as we face the Corona Virus Disease 2019 (COVID19) pandemic. We applaud and cherish the workers on the frontlines, who are providing health care, serving food, constructing medical facilities, cleaning buildings, manufacturing essential supplies, and continuing to keep our communities going and the economy afloat, even at risk to their own health and lives.
The state of emergency that we are now facing in the US and in the world openly exposes the pandemic as the direct result of the crisis of imperialism. What else can be expected from a privatized health care system designed to bloat the profits of insurance and pharmaceutical corporations? What else can be expected from the Trump administration, which has cut billions of dollars from the budget of the Department of Health and Human Services and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention while inflating the budget for the military to over $700 billion, the largest amount in history? What else can be expected when the government’s first reaction to the virus is to direct over $1 trillion dollars into the banking system and stock market to prevent Wall Street from collapsing, while haphazardly leaving it up to states to patch together support for workers who are ill and need to stay home or are being furloughed or laid off from workplaces that are being shuttered? What else can be expected from a system that foments racism against Chinese and other Asian peoples in a divisive attempt to scapegoat at a time when we most need solidarity and cooperation?
From patient to pill, the system aims to protect and benefit the interests of the ruling class, not the working class.
Now more than ever, we must respond to this crisis by uniting people in collective action for the good of humanity over the endless greed of the capitalist system.
We oppose the US’s continued imposition and escalation of sanctions on countries such as Venezuela, North Korea and Iran; sanctions block medications, medical supplies, food and other basic necessities from reaching the people of these countries who are in dire need now, and have strangled their economies over the long term. We condemn the US military strike in southern Iraq last week and the continued deployment of US troops abroad for military exercises, when resources must be directed to addressing the COVID 19 pandemic. We call for the end of US support to regimes like that of Rodrigo Duterte in the Philippines, which respond to this health emergency by implementing militarized lockdowns instead of providing medical treatment, testing, and monitoring.
We oppose the Trump administration’s opportunistic use of the crisis to push its longstanding agenda to cut corporate taxes for the ruling elite, block migrants at the border and terrorize those who already reside in the country, and stifling workers’ rights by cutting the flow of dues to unions. We reject the inclusion of $500 billion in bailout funds for big corporations with no guarantees that these funds will go to workers and not to CEOs and stock buy-backs; especially reprehensible is the $17 billion earmarked for defense industry corporations which already rake in gross profits from the bloated US military budget every year.
As the US Chapter of the ILPS, we echo and add to the demands of the full ILPS: that the affected working people must have guaranteed income regardless of their work situation, and those who are forced to continue working must be provided with proper training and safety precautions, as well as timely and free access to COVID 19 testing and treatment. Governments should redirect their military budgets and corporate bailouts to prioritizing vulnerable communities — freeze rents and evictions, cancel student debt. Children, families, elderly and people with compromised immune systems should be released from detention centers and prisons. Those in power should be held accountable for the health crisis.
The people must unite and exercise their collective action for their basic rights to housing, jobs, health care and education. Assert public needs over corporate greed and imperialist neo-liberal policies. We applaud the government of Cuba for its recent deployment of a team of doctors and nurses to Italy–the current epicenter of the pandemic–leading by example and shining a light of hope through this courageous act of international solidarity.