americas

Reality of Pindo capitalism exposed: Millions line up for food aid as pandemic spreads
Niles Niemuth, WSWS, Apr 13 2020

“In the eyes of the hungry there is a growing wrath. In the souls of the people
the grapes of wrath are filling and growing heavy, growing heavy for the vintage.”
— John Steinbeck, The Grapes of Wrath, Apr 1939

The rapid spread of the coronavirus in Pindostan is revealing the consequences of decades of ruling-class policy, which have left the center of world capitalism completely unprepared for a significant health-care emergency. At the same time, the economic crisis brought on by the pandemic is exposing the reality of widespread poverty and insecurity. During the Great Depression of the 1930s, breadlines became a symbol of social distress. Such scenes are reemerging in the form of massive line-ups for emergency food assistance in every state and community. On Thursday, 6,000 cars lined up for five miles at a food bank drive-through in San Antonio, Texas. Some families arrived 12 hours early to ensure they received some aid. In Inglewood, south of Los Angeles, 5,000 cars lined up to receive food on Friday. Food bank usage in Pittsburgh has increased by 543% in recent days. Those who are lining up are not just the poorest workers, who typically rely on food banks in hard times, but also broader sections of the working class and middle class families who have never had to rely on such aid in their lives. Shanell Gray, a recently laid off hotel worker, told the Columbia Dispatch at a food distribution in Ohio’s capital city this weekend:

I’ve never had to go to a food pantry in my life. This just went really fast. I was able to pay my rent for this month. May is the struggle.

Nearly 17 million workers have filed for unemployment in the last three weeks, the highest number ever recorded. Even this figure, underestimates the scale of layoffs. Millions more are either ineligible for benefits or have been unable to apply due to overloaded websites and call centers. The vast majority of the population has yet to receive any financial assistance. Just 10,000 people had received a direct deposit to their bank account as of Friday, and most states still have not established a means of sending out the $600 weekly increase in unemployment for four months. While trillions have been handed over to the banks and gigantic corporations, with no requirement that they wait in lines, every obstacle is being put in place to prevent workers from getting anything and to cut off aid as soon as possible. Labor Secretary Eugene Scalia, son of the late arch-reactionary Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, has done everything in his power to limit payments, including by excluding gig workers who use phone apps to find work and making it easier for companies to avoid paying sick and family leave. Scalia declared in an article posted last week on Fox Business News:

We want workers to have work, not to become dependent on the unemployment system.

The comments mirrored Trump’s outraged exclamation:

We’re paying people not to go to work!

The consequences will be catastrophic. According to one survey, nearly three-quarters of all workers live paycheck to paycheck. Almost three in 10 Pindo adults have no savings. With so many hanging on by their fingernails before the pandemic, the often-individual experience that one missed paycheck spells personal disaster has become a mass phenomenon. Already, one-third of Pindos missed paying rent in the first week of April, a figure that is sure to be higher in May as millions deplete their savings accounts to get by without a paycheck. If they are not immediately being evicted, due to a patchwork of local and state level moratoriums, then millions will eventually be thrown into the streets because they cannot afford to pay back the rent they will owe when workplaces reopen. If the promised stimulus money does arrive from the federal government, it will count for little. The one-time $1,200 payment will not cover the cost of rent in most cases, let alone food and other essentials. The stopgap measures included in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act passed by bipartisan assent last month are woefully inadequate to meet social need. While so many are hungry for food the anarchy of the capitalist market has been exposed by the fact that farmers are destroying crops of staple foods as orders and prices fall. No measures have been taken to redistribute and process food for consumption, even as stores struggle to keep up with demand for basic food items such as milk and eggs. Instead, eggs are smashed by the tens of thousands, countless tons of green beans mulched and plowed into fields, onions buried by the tens of thousands of pounds in trenches to rot. 5% of the country’s milk supply has been dumped, and it could rise to 10% with the continued closure of schools, restaurants and hotels. The massive economic devastation that is unfolding will be exploited by the Trump administration to agitate for back to work, creating conditions in which those who are unable to find work or refuse to endanger their lives are cut off from unemployment and other aid. The working class will have its say. Over the past several days, worried comments have begun to appear on the likelihood of mass social unrest. Bloomberg editorial board member Andreas Kluth warned Saturday that the pandemic will lead to “social revolutions” which the ruling elites must be prepared to confront. Kluth explains that countless Pindos simply do not have the option to stay home to avoid the coronavirus, putting them at risk of getting sick or infecting their families. He notes that the situation is even worse for the millions who live in slums in countries like South Africa and India, where social distancing is not an option, handwashing is impossible without running water and there are no emergency supplies of face masks. He writes:

In this context, it would be naïve to think that, once this medical emergency is over, either individual countries or the world can carry on as before. Anger and bitterness will find new outlets. In time, these passions could become new populist or radical movements, intent on sweeping aside whatever ancien régime they define as the enemy.

Capitalism is being exposed to a degree without precedent in modern history. Workers must draw the lessons. A system that funnels trillions to a handful of financial parasites while condemning millions to poverty and death must be swept aside.

As COVID-19 death toll mounts, Pindo ruling class demands a more rapid return to work
Bryan Dyne, WSWS, Apr 13 2020

After a week in which more than 10,000 Pindos died from COVID-19, the media and political establishment have launched a concerted effort to get workers back to work, even as the pandemic continues to spread and kill in Pindostan and internationally. This effort is being spearheaded above all by the Trump administration. During the most recent coronavirus task force media briefing, Trump claimed that country as a whole is “doing really well” and “doing much better than we thought it would.” Task force coordinator Deborah Birx said the White House was “ensuring that everybody gets optimal care,” a claim that went unchallenged by the press even as hospitals such as Elmhurst in NYC were still inundated with patients. Throughout the week, Trump repeatedly called for Pindo businesses to “open with a big bang.” Members of the administration have claimed that Trump is seeking to reopen much of the Pindo economy on May 1. These demands contradict the warnings of global health officials. Last week, Dr Hans Kluge, the UN body’s regional director for Europe, pointed to a danger of a resurgence of the pandemic, stating bluntly:

Now is not the time to relax measures. This is not the time to lower our guard.

Trump’s demands to prematurely reopen businesses are being echoed internationally. Spain is planning to restart construction and manufacturing. Canadian PM Justin Trudeau has eyed summer for a loosening of lockdowns and a return to work. Little mention is being made of the actual figures in Pindostan. The total number of coronavirus cases nears 560,000, and the deaths are just under 22,000. Significantly, the number of recovered patients is less than 32,000, an indication both of the length of time those infected must suffer and a warning of how many are still sick and may die from the pandemic. Dr Anthony Fauci, Trump’s public health adviser, told CNN’s Jake Tapper:

When one starts to relax some of those restrictions, we know that there will be people getting infected.

Nonetheless, the administration was considering “rolling re-entry” of individual states back into normal economic operations, “maybe next month.” Tapper did not ask, and Fauci did not explain, how states will handle workers traveling from those that are not locked down to those that are, and back again, continuing the spread of the pandemic. Various news outlets have amplified the return-to-work message. On CNN, Fareed Zakaria criticized early predictions that the number of needed hospital beds was “way too high.” He did not attempt to reconcile that statement with the mass graves for COVID-19 corpses being dug on Hart Island in NYC, or the shortage of body bags at Sinai-Grace Hospital in Detroit. Zakaria claimed:

In the places with the best testing, the numbers of who are actually infected suggest a fatality rate similar to the seasonal flu. This would result in fewer than 40,000 deaths, rather than the 100,000 to 240,000 earlier predicted by the Trump administration. While this is still a tragedy, we should be glad that the work we’ve done to abide by social distancing has done some good. It has come at a price.

The “price” for Zakaria and his ilk is not the lives lost to the disease, but the collapse of the Dow Jones in March and the fact that the markets have not since recovered to their record highs of February. Billions of dollars in profits have been and will be lost, reflected in projections by Goldman Sachs that the Pindo GDP will contract by 24% from April to June of this year. In the ruling class, there is no genuine concern for the price of the pandemic being placed on workers. It was reported Friday by the WaPo that Labor Sec Eugene Scalia is using his authority to limit who qualifies for the supposedly expanded unemployment benefits passed by Trump, even as nearly 17 million workers have been forced off the job. Under Scalia’s orders, “gig economy” workers such as Uber and Lyft drivers are less likely to get benefits, and companies now have an easier time denying their employees coronavirus-related sick and family leave. Nor is there any mention made of the massive budget shortfalls at the state and local levels. New York, Ohio and Illinois are estimated to lose billions in tax revenue and coronavirus costs, while cities including Phoenix, San Antonio and Faschingstein are predicting shortfalls of tens of millions. Nationally, states and municipalities are expected to lose between $158b and $203b through 2021. State and local governments are already eyeing massive social cuts to make up for these deficits, including schools, art programs, public libraries, as well as pensions for state employees. Pennsylvania has withheld payroll for 9,000 of its workers who have been forced to stay at home. San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg said:

I do think cities across the country are looking at some degree of austerity.

What none of the mayors, governors, members of the media or the White House are discussing seriously is what is actually needed for workers to return to their jobs safely. WHO Dir-Gen Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Friday:

Important factors to consider are, first, the transmission is controlled; second, that sufficient public health and medical services are available; third, that outbreak risks in special settings like longterm care facilities are minimized; fourth, that preventive measures are in place in workplaces, schools and other places where it’s essential for people to go.

None of these conditions exist in Pindostan or in any other of the countries hardest hit by the pandemic. At most, the CDC has stated that employers “should” provide masks, gloves and other protective equipment and that they “may” want to provide their workers with sick leave. Similar “guidance” has been provided by the public health organizations in other countries. Without the resources being spent to put these measures in place, any back-to-work order will be a bloodbath for workers. The unsafe and unsanitary conditions will expose millions to the disease, and rapidly accelerate a pandemic from one that has infected millions to one that will infect tens or hundreds of millions of people around the globe.

Biden joins the “back-to-work” bandwagon
Patrick Martin, WSWS, Apr 13 2020

In an op-ed column posted on the website of the NYT on Sunday, to be published in the newspaper’s print edition Monday, presumptive Demagog Party presidential nominee Joe Biden aligns himself with the campaign by big business and the Trump administration to force workers to go back to work, regardless of the dangers from the coronavirus epidemic. The headline of the column tells the story:

Joe Biden: My Plan to Safely Reopen Pindostan.

Under conditions where more than 10,000 Pindos died last week from the coronavirus, and the infection continues to spread through every state and county, threatening to drive the death toll far higher, Biden does not announce a plan to save lives or protect the population from the deadly virus. Instead, his concern is “how we get our economy back on track,” in other words, how the capitalist class can resume the process of extracting profit from the labor of workers. Thus, while Biden makes a few minor criticisms of the Trump administration for its slow and incompetent response to the COVID-19 pandemic, he shares the same political framework: the overriding responsibility of the government is to save the wealth and profits of the financial aristocracy, not the lives of the people. The three-point plan Biden elaborates is an exercise in evasion and deception. He avoids discussing the actual obstacles to an effective response to the pandemic, the profit-driven health care system and a government beholden to Wall Street, and says nothing at all about the scale of the catastrophe that is now breaking over the heads of the population. Here are his points with commentary:

  1. “We must get the number of new cases of the disease down significantly before sending workers back to work.” This differs only by an adverb from Trump’s declaration that the number of new cases has to begin to decline, however little, before the “big bang” reopening of the economy can take place. The former vice president explicitly rules out a health-first approach to the crisis, declaring flatly: “We can’t stay home and just wait for the vaccine to arrive.” Despite his claim that his plan “has to start with responding effectively to the immediate medical crisis,” he offers no concrete actions to supply health-care workers with necessary materials like masks and gowns, or the ventilators, drugs and other chemicals now in short supply for the desperately ill.
  2. “We must put in place widespread, easily available and prompt testing and a contact tracing strategy that protects privacy.” Biden might as well promise the moon, or pie in the sky when you die. To implement such testing, the entire course of the government’s response to the pandemic would have to be overturned, as well as the refusal of the giant pharmaceutical and medical equipment companies to make such widespread testing possible. This demand is included without the slightest expectation on the part of Biden and the Demagogs that any such effort will be undertaken. It is noteworthy that no state run by a Demagog governor, including New York, California, Michigan and New Jersey, has attempted to implement large-scale testing. On the contrary, testing has been limited to patients already experiencing severe symptoms consistent with COVID-19.
  3. “We have to make sure that our hospitals and health-care system are ready for flare-ups of the disease that may occur when economic activity expands again.” More weasel words. Health experts are not worried about isolated “flare-ups,” as Biden puts it, but about second and third rounds of the disease that could well be even more catastrophic than the first. According to one of the more conservative estimates, the first round of COVID-19 will kill 60,000 people in Pindostan, but a second round, ignited by a premature reopening of factories, offices and other workplaces, could kill another 140,000 people. As part of Point #3, Biden adds, “Reopening the right way will still not be completely safe.” Translated into plain English, this means that workers will die as a consequence of returning to workplaces that are not safe, to carry out work that is not necessary from the standpoint of human survival, health, food, shelter, public services, but is needed to resume the process of profit accumulation for the financial aristocracy.

It is particularly noteworthy that Biden makes no reference in his op-ed column to the $2.2t bailout legislation that passed Congress last month with unanimous bipartisan support in the Senate, and an overwhelmingly favorable voice vote in the House of Representatives. This bill provides the basis for virtually unlimited financial support for corporate Pindostan from the Fed, using the full resources of the government, while promising workers only a $1,200 one-time check and if they qualify, temporarily enhanced unemployment benefits. Biden’s silence betokens consent. He fully supports a bailout that was enthusiastically endorsed by the congressional Demagog leadership and approved by all his former rivals for the Demagog presidential nomination who hold seats in the Senate, including Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders. The entire Demagog Party, from its most conservative senator to the self-proclaimed “democratic socialist” Sanders, voted to back legislation that is a far greater bonanza for the financial overlords than the bail-outs that followed the 2008 Wall Street crash. Meanwhile, many of the 17 million workers laid off in the past three weeks have found it almost impossible to apply for unemployment compensation, with state systems overloaded, websites crashing and telephone calls unanswered. Biden says nothing about any of this, and proposes nothing to relieve the acute suffering and deprivation in working-class neighborhoods throughout the country. Biden tacks on a few mild criticisms of the present occupant of the White House, referring to “the administration’s failure to plan, to prepare, to honestly assess and communicate the threat to the nation.” He treads carefully and avoids specifics, since on the question of preparations to meet a pandemic, Trump did nothing more than follow in the footsteps of the Obama-Biden administration, which failed even to rebuild the Pindo disaster stockpile after it was depleted by the H1N1 and Ebola epidemics. It is revealing that Biden avoids even referring to the impact of the COVID-19 epidemic until the final paragraph of his op-ed, and then only in the vaguest generalities, saying:

The Pindo sheeple have already paid too high a price in illness, death and economic loss.

No one reading this banal tract would have the slightest inkling that Pindostan has just gone through the worst week in its history, from a public health standpoint, or that the weeks ahead are likely to be even worse.

Wholesale move to online education across Pindostan: A nightmare for students and educators
Alexander Fangmann, WSWS, Apr 13 2020

Nearly four weeks have passed since many US states began cancelling in-person classes at all grade levels in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Immediately many districts announced a transition to online classes via Zoom or other platforms. These measures are far from a panacea. The vast majority of young people are falling drastically behind and are increasingly anxious, while teachers tasked with designing new curricula virtually overnight are overburdened and stressed. The rapid transition to online education has revealed the inadequacy of preparation for such an eventuality by schools at all levels. In short, it has become a disaster for large numbers of students. At the same time, it is clear that changes being implemented now are only a prelude, as the ruling class uses the crisis to mount even further assaults on public education at the expense of teachers and students. Not only has it become evident that most school districts and colleges had no real plans for what to do in the event of a disaster of this magnitude, but decades of austerity have left them few viable or coherent options. According to UNESCO, students in 188 countries are out of school, or over 90% of students worldwide. In many places, students have had no schooling at all since schools closed. As of this writing, 21 states have closed schools for the duration of the school year. NYC has, as of this weekend, done likewise. A poll of 849 teenagers conducted by Common Sense Media between Mar 24 and Apr 1 indicates that 41 percent reported they had not attended even a single online or virtual class. While some districts are set to start distance learning on Monday, including in Chicago and parts of Oregon, others are set to wait longer. Even when schools have restarted online, many students are not logging in. According to figures released by LA schools, around one-third of high school students have not logged into classes daily, while 15,000 have attended none at all. Nationally, 21% of students are now “truant,” according to Education Week. Hundreds of thousands of young people, already traumatized by the lockdowns and deaths or illnesses of family members, are being made more anxious by attempts to learn with unfamiliar or unreliable tools. Malcolm Jones, a teacher in Norfolk, VA, told Education Week:

These students were distracted from their world by coming to this building that was outside of the community where they faced all these barriers. Now, they’re stuck at home in that chaos. Who can really expect some of these students to do that when they’re at home starving or they’re at home taking care of their siblings?

Students that qualify for special education in many states and districts have so far been left out completely. Access Living, an Illinois disability advocacy organization, notes “it is unclear if all missed services will be made up.” In other words, some students may receive no education services at all if it cannot be provided through videoconferencing or over the phone. With nearly 30 million primary and secondary students in Pindostan relying on free breakfast and lunch programs at schools, the move to online also threatens increased hunger for students, even for those whose parents are still employed in the midst of record layoffs. After initially setting up food distribution at schools to provide for these students, many districts have cut back on these plans, including Chicago and Detroit, or have eliminated them entirely, as in Houston, Memphis and parts of West Virginia. An enormous obstacle for many students is a lack of access to technology and internet service. Some schools have been able to provide devices such as laptops or tablets to some students, though it is fairly clear the efforts are leaving many, especially working class students, out of luck. As an example, Chicago Public Schools is working to distribute 100,000 devices, a mix of iPads and Chromebooks, to students for online learning. Even with this effort, CPS concedes that around 15,000 students will have neither a computer nor internet access. Bogdana Chkoumbova, the CPS Chief Schools Officer said:

The unfortunate reality is that our resources remain limited and there remains an unacceptable digital divide in our city and nation.

Chief Information Officer Phillip DiBartolo said in a letter to principals:

Not all students in our district will get new devices, but our top priority is getting a device to every student who needs one.

Despite its necessity for online education and other purposes, the FCC’s own figures estimate that 19 million Pindos lack broadband internet. In all likelihood, the number of households with functionally inadequate internet service is much higher. While some schools are offering wifi hotspots to students without internet access, others are simply directing students to sign up to inferior, low-cost options from internet service providers. In other words, the educational response to the pandemic, parallel to the medical crisis, takes place on a shoestring budget after years of de-funding. School closures, among the most important public policy measures to implement social distancing, were not implemented as national policy, with some districts still continuing classes. Likewise, district by district, the transition to online education is occurring in a chaotic and haphazard manner. Many students will not even have an online education experience as schools offer inferior options for students lacking technology or who are unable to use it effectively. These students will be left with the equivalent of correspondence courses, filling out worksheets picked up at school and returning them to school to be graded. Although college and university students often have better technology and internet access than primary and secondary students, online learning is still only undertaken by a minority of students in higher education. Before the pandemic, only a third had taken online classes and only 13% were taking classes exclusively online. As with students in primary and secondary education, the students already struggling the most academically fare worst in an online environment. Expectations for what students will learn through the end of this academic year are being drastically lowered, with teachers in some districts told not to fail students. Other schools, colleges and universities are moving from assigning distinct course grades to a simple pass/fail system. This is a recognition that neither students nor teachers have been adequately prepared to conduct effective online education. Real online education requires more work from instructors to do effectively, and it requires students to possess certain skills and abilities they may not have. According to a survey by the education technology company ClassTag, 57% of teachers who responded said they were not prepared to teach online.

At the same time as schools and students are struggling, the vultures from the for-profit online education and educational technology companies have been circling overhead. Practically all of them are offering some kind of limited-time access to resources that are usually quite expensive. Many are wagering that schools will be locked into the tools and be willing to pay large sums in the future when the limited free period expires. K12, an “education management” company that runs many “virtual” schools and “academies” across Pindostan for local school districts, has seen its stock surge since the beginning of the year. The company, founded by convicted junk bond trader Michael Milken, anticipates increased enrollment at its schools and more districts signing up for its services. According to a report from the National Education Policy Center, virtual schools such as those run by K12 and Pearson’s Connections Academy are marked by poor outcomes for students, with graduation rates of just 50% compared to the national average of 84%. Some colleges and universities are also being lured into arrangements with online program management companies. In these arrangements, which have expanded greatly since 2014, institutions sign away upwards of 60% of their future tuition revenue to these for-profit companies to run their online education programs. Staffed by lower-paid adjuncts, instructional designers and “coaches” instead of full-time faculty, the OPM companies offer a model that the ruling class would like to see expanded throughout higher education. These companies will be increasingly brought in as the expanding economic crisis begins to hit education funding. Many states and localities are implementing delays or freezes in collecting property and sales taxes, which are often a major source of revenue for schools, threatening a budget disaster over the coming months and the potential for layoffs in the fall, along with higher class sizes. During the last recession, hundreds of thousands of teachers and other education workers were laid off. Workers should be on guard that the Pindo ruling class will attempt to remake the education system from top to bottom in the wake of the pandemic. Pindo Sec Ed Betsy DeVos, an advocate of child labor, has already called for “rethinking education” in line with the previous Trump budgets for increased privatization. The massive ongoing bailout of Wall Street and big business have put paid to the claims for decades that there is “no money” for education. It is high time that funding for schools at all levels must be drastically increased. Teachers and students must demand internet and technology access as part of a basic right to education and culture. Training in online platforms should be universally provided and services adapted to meet all learners, to augment in-person education in normal times and allow education to proceed in emergency situations.

What is behind the high percentage of COVID-19 deaths among Black Pindos?
Eric London, WSWS, Apr 13 2020

COVID-19 testing at Elmhurst, NYC, Mar 25 2020. (Photo: John Minchillo/AP)

As the number of daily coronavirus deaths in Pindostan climbs to new heights, a wave of articles has appeared in the press presenting the deadly impact of the crisis as the product of racism. The press coverage focuses on Detroit, New Orleans, Chicago and Milwaukee, where Black Pindos are suffering from infection and death rates that far surpass the black proportion of the total population.
The figures are disturbing. In Louisiana, 70% of total coronavirus deaths are Black, though they make up just one third of the population. In Chicago, 67% of those killed by the virus are black, though they comprise 32% of the population. In Michigan, Blacks make up 40% of the deaths and one third of positive tests, despite comprising just 14% of the state’s population. In Milwaukee County, Blacks constitute 26% of the population but account for 73% of the county’s deaths. The data shows the deadly impact of the virus on the entire working class, and especially its most vulnerable populations. Workers of all races who lack adequate health care, who are forced to work under dangerous conditions by their employers and who suffer underlying ailments like obesity, asthma, diabetes, heart and lung disease are most at risk of contracting the virus and dying once infected. In the four highly unequal urban areas listed above, Blacks make up large portions of the impoverished working class. From this data, representatives of the ruling class, and particularly figures in and around the Demagog Party, are spinning a narrative that the catastrophic social impact of the disease is not due to the impact of decades of bipartisan social counter-revolution and Wall Street’s rapacious response to the pandemic on the working class, but due specifically to racial prejudice against all Black Pindos. In an Apr 8 op-ed entitled The Pandemic’s Missing Data, the NYT asserts:

Addressing the health crisis means recognizing that Pindo health institutions were designed to discriminate against Blacks, whether poor or not.

During an online event hosted by Bernie Sanders last Tuesday, “The impact of Coronavirus on African Americans,” Sanders said:

The Black Pindo community is suffering at a far higher rate than the White community.

Campaign surrogate Dr Darrick Hamilton downplayed inequality among Black Pindos, asserting:

Black people a priori have low wealth.

The coronavirus is a global disease and does not respect the boundaries of the nation states or the skin pigmentation of its victims. In Europe, the epicenter of the disease is in northern Italy, where Italians of lighter skin complexion happen to live. Thus far, the impact of the disease has been far more devastating in Europe than in Africa, while within Africa the virus has hit the lighter skinned Maghreb region far harder than sub-Saharan countries, though the dismal state of health-care threatens to devastate the entire continent. Nor is it the case that Black Pindos of all income levels face a higher level of risk. In NYC, 34% of deaths are of Hispanics, though Hispanics make up just 27% of the city’s population. Blacks comprise 28% of deaths, roughly equal to their share of the population, 27%. The impact on Hispanics is a product of the fact that many working-class immigrants live in cramped living quarters due to high rent and low wages, while undocumented immigrants also avoid seeking health-care and social support out of fear of deportation. In an Apr 8 article, the NYT reported:

Coronavirus was slow to spread to rural Pindostan. Not anymore. The virus has now begun to spread across rural areas largely populated by impoverished White Pindos with very limited access to quality health-care. Appalachia is particularly vulnerable. Indian reservations which grapple daily with high poverty and inadequate medical services are now confronting soaring numbers of cases.

The real cause for the high Black death toll in Detroit, Milwaukee, New Orleans and Chicago is massive poverty and inequality. Medical studies repeatedly point to the correlation not only between disease susceptibility and income, but also to social inequality overall. For example, a 2019 study titled “Income Inequality and Outcomes in Heart Failure” explains:

Countries sharing the same GDP may have quite different health outcomes, reflecting the distribution of income within those societies. That is, it appears that it is not only the wealth of a society but the distribution of wealth within that society that influences health.

Among all Pindo cities with a population over 350,000, Detroit, Milwaukee, New Orleans and Chicago rank first, fourth, fifth and eleventh poorest respectively. Each city has a Gini coefficient of between 0.46 and 0.50, worse than most Central American or sub-Saharan African countries. The working class population of each city has been devastated by decades of deindustrialization, cuts to health care, welfare and other social programs. In each city, massive levels of inequality are the effect of the ruling class transferring billions of dollars from the working class to the rich. The social looting carried out by the ruling class through the Detroit bankruptcy of 2013 and response to Hurricane Katrina in 2005 further paved the way for the explosion of coronavirus deaths today. But the social counter-revolution that devastated Detroit, New Orleans, Milwaukee and Chicago was not led by the “White community” against the “Black community.” In these four cities, unrelenting attacks on living conditions were either spearheaded by or implemented with the active support of Black Pindo Demagog boxtops serving the interests of the ruling class and the corporations. Black politicians like former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick and former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin, both of whom were sent to prison for fraud and bribery, epitomize the corrupt social types who rose to the top of the Demagog Party machines in the era of the promotion of “Black capitalism,” enriching themselves as the cities’ majority-black working class lost their homes, jobs and health-care. The richest 10% of Black Pindos now own 75% of all wealth owned by Black Pindos, while 65% of Black Pindos own 0%. From 2007 to 2016, the top 1% of Black Pindos increased its share from 20% to 40%.

Such levels of inequality surpass those among White Pindos and Hispanic Pindos, showing that racial politics have only exacerbated inequality, opening up positions of privilege for affluent Black Pindos without producing any gains for Black Pindo workers. On the contrary, conditions of life for Black Pindo workers have declined across the board in the decades of the ascendancy of racial politics. The massive growth of inequality among Black Pindos from 2007 to 2016 corresponds with Obama’s presidency, during which average family health care costs rose from roughly $13k to $19k, while over 20 million citizens remained without health insurance. The affluent proponents of racial politics have no interest in improving the living conditions of workers of any race or ethnicity. Their social outlook is expressed by the fact that wealthy Black Pindos voted overwhelmingly in the 2020 Demagog primary for Joe Biden and exerted their social power to support the Demagog narrative that Biden was the candidate for the entire “Black community.” This layer is willing to overlook Biden’s recent praise for segregationists and his responsibility for the mass incarceration of millions of impoverished Black Pindo men, provided he protects their class position and guarantees their special access to political and business perks and privileges. Across the world, workers of all races and nationalities have launched strikes and protests against unsafe work conditions and the “back to work” plans of the capitalist governments. When an employer is ordering a worker to face death so he can profit, the worker is not likely to consider his employer’s race to be of great import. The development of a racial narrative is aimed at blocking the emerging unified movement of the working class and protecting the flow of corporate profits. Socialists fight for the unity of the international working class, for a class understanding of the impact of the disease, and for the confiscation of trillions in wealth hoarded by the rich to protect the most vulnerable populations, including in Detroit, New Orleans, Chicago and Milwaukee, from the devastating physical and economic impact of the coronavirus.

One Comment

  1. Posted April 13, 2020 at 10:35 am | Permalink

    At least one … oops, almost said “American” powerhouse is on the roll: Jewish Hollywood Movie Box Office Grossed $3,855 Last Week.
    Time for a holocaust booster shot to propel it to $4,000 if not higher.
    Although to ask me, they don’t deserve even that, people can daydream the afternoon away in the soup line for free.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: