mass murder by negligence & outright contempt for the masses

Bipartisan back-to-work campaign produces catastrophe
Andre Damon, WSWS, Jul 14 2020

Kirkland Fire and Rescue ambulance workers load a patient into an ambulance, Tuesday
Mar 10 2020, at the Life Care Center in Kirkland, near Seattle (Photo: Ted S Warren/AP)

The COVID-19 pandemic in Pindostan has developed into an unmitigated catastrophe. On Monday, Pindostan recorded more than 65k new cases, and daily cases are at nearly twice the earlier peak seen in mid-April. The Pindo accounts for a third of the total new cases globally, despite having just 4% of the world’s population. In Florida, more than 40 hospitals are full, and hospitals in Texas are turning away ambulances. People are waiting in line for days to get tested, and Pindostan’s rudimentary and fractured public health system, relying on fax machines to share data and waiting up to a week for test results, is inundated. Nurses and doctors are facing a critical shortage of protective equipment. This catastrophe is the outcome of the premature reopening of businesses throughout the country. Since non-essential manufacturers reopened two months ago, the number of COVID-19 cases has more than doubled to 3.4m, and some 43k more people have died, bringing the death toll to 138k. A social crime is being committed, with devastating consequences. However, in the countless hours devoted to discussions of the pandemic on the cable news and in newspaper columns, no one seriously asks: Who is responsible? Who made the decision to prematurely reopen businesses? And what social interests have dictated policy?

Of course, Trump and his far-right Thug allies, who downplayed the pandemic and encouraged people to disregard social distancing, have played a crucial role. Trump is waging a war against director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Anthony Fauci, for daring to point to the obvious fact that the pandemic is now raging out of control. However, it is not just a matter of Trump. Nearly every governor, Demagog & Thug alike, reopened non-essential businesses while the country lacked sufficient testing and contact tracing. As states reopened non-essential production throughout early May, more than half did so as “case counts are trending upward, positive test results are rising, or both,” according to an analysis by the NYT. Among the states that reopened without meeting the most basic federal guidelines were Maine, North Carolina, Kansas, and Colorado, all of whom have Demagog governors. This campaign included the active participation of the Demagog-aligned media. The NYT ran no less than eleven columns by Thomas Friedman advocating for “herd immunity,” which means abandoning measures to contain the pandemic, while the WasPo published an editorial calling the “Swedish model” of herd immunity “appealing.”

The universal demand to return to work has been dictated by Wall Street and the corporate and financial oligarchy. For the ruling class, the pandemic has been a giant money-making opportunity. One bond trader spelled it out clearly in an interview with Reuters:

COVID-19 is now inversely related to the markets. The worse that COVID-19 gets, the better the markets do because the Fed will bring in stimulus. That is what has been driving markets.

Since March, the Fed has funneled $3t into the markets, increasing its balance sheet from $4ton to over $7t. This policy was endorsed nearly unanimously by Demagogs & Thugs in Congress when they passed the so-called CARES Act in late March. This unlimited supply of money has fueled a massive rise in asset values. The S&P 500 stock index touched its highest level Monday since the outbreak of the pandemic, and it remains above where it was a year ago. One money manager recently told Fortune:

We are in irrational exuberance. This is a bubble. The economy is grinding, slowing down, we’re lurching in and out of COVID, yet the tech market makes new highs every day. That’s a classic speculative bubble.

It is this vast upward redistribution of wealth that explains the intensity of the campaign to herd workers into factories that are hotbeds for the spread of COVID-19. While the trillions of dollars of “magic money” pumped into the financial markets may be fictitious, the wealth of the financial oligarchy is very real: their jets, their supercars, their mansions and condominiums. In the end, this wealth must be sweated out of the working class. The case of Tesla CEO Elon Musk can be taken as specific example. On May 11, Musk announced the resumption of production at Tesla’s main facility in California, defying state law, with the complicity of the state’s Demagog Party government. In the period since Tesla reopened, its stock surged by 50%, making it the largest carmaker by market capitalization. This, in turn has led to a surge in the personal wealth of Musk by $30b to $70b, triple his net worth just two years ago. Getting workers back on the job was critical to this milestone. The Financial Times noted:

Tesla was foregoing upwards of $500m in revenues a week amid the shutdown, money that a company that has never had a profitable year can ill-afford to forego.

In a letter to employees, Musk pointed to the impetus for reopening, writing:

Breaking even is looking super tight. Really makes a difference for every car you build and deliver.

As a result of the massive expansion of Tesla’s stock value, Musk is set, within a matter of days, to receive the highest CEO payout in history, by an order of magnitude, in the form of a $2.4b bonus. The policy of that has been implemented is not socially neutral. It was not about saving the “economy,” but about saving Wall Street and maintaining and indeed expanding the wealth of the capitalist oligarchy that holds the vast majority of financial assets.

From the standpoint of the ruling class, the pandemic has had other advantages. To the extent that older people are the primary victims, it will help lower rising health-care costs, long cited by ruling-class think-tanks as a strategic problem. The mass unemployment created by the pandemic likewise has its benefits for the ruling class. Whereas Pindostan was facing the tightest labor market in decades earlier this year, the economic crisis sparked by the pandemic has destroyed tens of thousands of jobs, many of them permanently. The Trump administration has been leading the call to eliminate the $600 weekly unemployment insurance subsidy passed under the CARES Act, but this demand has also received bipartisan support. Democratic Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont joined the chorus of demands for allowing workers’ benefits to expire, declaring that it “discourages work.” Critical to the ruling class’s back-to-work campaign is the drive to reopen schools amid a raging pandemic, which threatens the lives of tens of thousands of students and teachers and will inevitably lead to a further rise in new cases in the public at large. The ruling class is intent on using the COVID-19 pandemic to expand and intensify the processes that prevailed before its outbreak: the growth of social inequality, the dismantling of social infrastructure, and the transformation of the Pindo labor force into a casualized pool of cheap labor. A social crime of monumental proportions is being committed, whose victims pack the morgues and cemeteries from coast to coast. The guilty parties are the representatives of the ruling class, Thug & Demagog alike, and their accomplices in the media. The motive lies in the defense of the wealth of the oligarchy and the capitalist system. The response of the working class must be socialist revolution. This is the inescapable conclusion that flows from the pandemic.

The politics of the capitalist debt economy
Nick Beams, WSWS, Jul 14 2020

As workers around the world confront the greatest threat to their jobs and living standards since the Great Depression, amid moves by governments to withdraw the very limited social support they have provided to meet the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, the financial oligarchy has a very clear agenda. All the economic forces of the state, of both governments and central banks, must be mobilised to ensure its continued accumulation of wealth through the provision of endless supplies of money to boost share prices and other financial assets. This was set out most clearly in a note issued earlier this month by JPMorgan Chase, reported by Bloomberg. The note said that extremely loose monetary policy, allowing the maintenance of ultra-low interest rates and massive purchases of debt by central banks, would have to be continued for a long time. The bank’s conclusion was:

More debt, more liquidity, more asset reflation.

According to one of its leading strategists, Nikolaos Panigirtzoglou, there will be a $16t increase in debt this year, taking the total amount of private and government debt in the global financial system to $200t by the end of the year. So far this year, top-rated Pindo corporations have issued almost as much debt as they did in the whole of 2019. The total raised by investment-grade firms is just $27b less than the $1.15t they issued over the course of 2019, putting them on course to exceed the record debt issuance of $1.37t in 2017. Markets froze at the end of February and in the first weeks of March, but after the intervention by the Fed, which stepped in to act as the backstop for the entire financial system by purchasing assets ranging from government bonds to commercial paper, April was the biggest month ever for new corporate bond sales. In part, this is the result of an effort by major corporations to insulate themselves from the effects of the pandemic, but this is by no means the only motivation. They are also taking advantage of the ultra-cheap money provided by the Fed and its commitment to support the corporate bond market, including the purchase of below investment-grade junk bonds.

The debt binge is not a recent development. In this, as more generally, the pandemic has proved to be an accelerant of trends already underway long before it appeared on the scene. In the wake of the 2008 financial crisis, would-be reformers of the capitalist economy maintained that because the crisis had been sparked by increasingly risky debt-fuelled speculative operations of major banks in the sub-prime mortgage market and elsewhere, there needed to be a deleveraging of the financial system. The reverse took place. The massive amounts of money provided by the Fed, the ECB and other central banks financed the spread of debt speculation from the banks to the entire financial system, resulting in an historically unprecedented expansion of corporate debt. This money was not used to finance expansion in productive investment. Rather, it was deployed in various forms of so-called “financial engineering” to boost profits and stock prices. Among the most prominent mechanisms were mergers and acquisitions and stock buybacks. According to a report in the Financial Times last week:

There has been a relentless build-up in corporate debt in Pindostan, where companies now owe a record $10t, equivalent to 49% of economic output. When other forms of business debt are added in, that already extraordinary figure increases to $17t.

The rise and rise of corporate debt was already causing concern before the onset of the pandemic. Former Fed Chair Janet Yellen drew attention to the increased use of leveraged loans to companies, which by previous standards would have been considered highly risky. In an interview with the Financial Times in Oct 2018, she warned there had been a “huge deterioration” in the standards of bank lending to corporations that posed “systemic risks.” One of the key risks associated with these loans, issued to companies with shaky credit ratings, is that they are repackaged into collateralised loan obligations, which are then bought and sold by investors in a process similar to that which occurred in the sub-prime mortgage market. Yellen attributed the risk to a relaxation of regulations, but in fact it was the outcome of the QE policies pursued by herself and her predecessor Ben Bernanke, and now taken to new heights under the current Fed chair, Jerome Powell. In the space of less than four months, Powell has overseen the expansion of the Fed’s balance sheet from $4t to $7t, with predictions that it could rise to more than $10t. The intervention brought a more than $7t rise in the market capitalisation of Wall Street in just three months. Other warnings were also issued. At the end of 2019, the IMF said that around $19t of corporate debt in Pindostan and seven other countries, some 40% of the total, could be vulnerable if there was a “material slowdown” in the world economy, signs of which were already appearing at that time. Today, the world economy is experiencing the sharpest contraction since the 1930s as a result of the pandemic.

There are now two interconnected processes at work in the global economy: the creation of the conditions for a major financial crash and a restructuring of class relations aimed at imposing impoverishment on the working class on massive scale. The central bankers are seeking to stave off a financial collapse by the provision of still more money. But while they can expand the money supply at the press of a computer button, these actions do not create additional value, and the whole house of cards can collapse overnight. This was seen in mid-March, when markets froze and even highly-rated debt, such as government bonds, could not be sold, signifying that their value was essentially zero. While Powell has insisted there are “no limits” to the Fed’s actions, endless money-printing begins to call into question the stability of the dollar and other major currencies that form the basis of the global financial system. Financial assets, the prices of which are inflated by the Fed and other central banks, do not in and of themselves represent value. In the final analysis, they are a claim on the surplus value that is extracted from the exploitation of the living labour of the working class.

And herein is the objective source of the other central feature of the present situation: the homicidal return-to-work drive being imposed by capitalist governments around the world in the interests of the financial oligarchies they represent, even as the pandemic spreads and intensifies. Value must be pumped back into the mountain of fictitious capital the ruling classes have created to bail themselves out through a “restructuring” of class relations, no matter what the economic or health costs to the producers of all wealth, the working class. The history of the past decade and more, since the crash of 2008, has demonstrated there is no possibility of reform of this system. Rather, just as austerity was imposed after that crisis, a new round of “restructuring” is now being organised, as evidenced by the push to withdraw even the limited pandemic-related social welfare measures on the grounds that they must not be allowed to become a “disincentive” to work and that so-called “mutual obligations” have to be enforced. Against this class war “restructuring” the working class must advance is own independent program based on the fight for political power as the first step in the establishment of a socialist economy based on human need and not the dictates of profit.

Trump wages war against science and Dr Fauci, not coronavirus
Patrick Martin, WSWS, Jul 14 2020

Trump has stepped up his war of words against Dr Anthony Fauci, head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) since 1984 and the leading government expert on the coronavirus pandemic. Trump criticized Fauci during two television interviews last week and then had his White House staff leak a hostile memorandum to the media listing Fauci’s supposed mistakes during the COVID-19 crisis. Most of the statements listed in the memorandum concerned Fauci’s recommendations on specific public health measures, which changed from month to month depending of the scope of the danger. For example, in the early stages of the pandemic he urged people not to wear masks, because there were shortages and he thought the limited supply should go to health-care workers first. It requires a considerable degree of political hubris to raise the accuracy of Fauci’s statements and predictions to defend the biggest liar in modern Pindo history. It is only a few months since the Pindo public witnessed Trump suggesting that the injection of bleach might be a useful measure to combat the coronavirus, to say nothing of his shilling for discredited “cures” like HCQ and his suggestion that the virus would disappear “like a miracle” once the weather turned warm.

This dirty tricks campaign is aimed at undermining Fauci’s increasingly blunt criticism of the colossal failure of the Trump administration and various state governments in stemming the pandemic. It deserves that label, as the memorandum was characterized by the WaPo and several television networks as similar to the “opposition research” conducted against a rival candidate during an election, Dan Scavino, deputy White House chief of staff for communications, went so far as to place a cartoon on his Facebook page Sunday night depicting Fauci as “Dr Faucet,” flushing the Pindo economy down the drain, demanding schools remain closed and even (a real grievance for Trump) suggesting that there would be no professional football season this fall because of the coronavirus. Trump embraces such childish smear tactics, rather than simply firing Fauci, in part because the doctor has extensive job protection under civil service rules and could be removed only by his direct superiors, DHSC Sec Alex Azar and Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health, and only for cause. More importantly, firing Fauci, the administration’s only voice on COVID-19 with any credibility with the public, would undoubtedly generate a political backlash against Trump of major proportions. The 79-year-old Fauci has headed the NIAID under six administrations, and clearly continues to serve in a demanding position, long after he could have retired, because of his devotion to public health.

Tensions between Fauci and the White House have been mounting over the past two weeks as the disease expert let it be known that he did not agree with Trump’s claims that there was no connection between the reckless campaign to reopen the Pindo economy and the subsequent surge in coronavirus infections. In congressional testimony, Fauci warned that the country could soon face 100k new infections each day—triple the peak rate of April and May. Fauci has contradicted some of Trump’s more ignorant public statements, such as his assertion that “99%” of coronavirus cases are harmless, and his claim that the number of Pindo coronavirus cases is going up because more people are being tested, not because more people are falling ill. He also disagreed with Trump’s claims that the lower death rate of the past two months meant that the virus was weakening or even “going away.” He told one interviewer:

It’s a false narrative to take comfort in a lower rate of death.

Two interviews last week seem to have brought Fauci to the brink of a public rupture with the White House. In a podcast with the election website, Fauci said:

As a country, when you compare us to other countries, I don’t think you can say we’re doing great. I mean, we’re just not.

This directly contradicts the incessant claims by Trump that the Pindo response to the coronavirus is an unparalleled success, claims that are ludicrous given that Pindostan leads the world in both deaths and total cases. Fauci went on to say that he could understand why the EU would continue to ban Pindo citizens from entering, on public health grounds. In an interview Friday with the Financial Times, Fauci revealed that he had not briefed Trump on the pandemic for at least two months and had not spoken with the president at all since early June. He explained that the White House had blocked most requests for television interviews with him and that his “honesty” was probably the reason. He told the British newspaper:

As you probably have figured out, I have a reputation for speaking the truth at all times and not sugar-coating things, and that may be one of the reasons why I haven’t been on television very much lately.

On Monday, after the White House effort to trash his professional reputation over the weekend, Fauci warned that Pindostan hasn’t “even begun to see the end” of the pandemic, although he expressed some optimism about progress in the development of vaccines and potentially therapeutic drug treatments. Trump responded later Monday, during a brief question-and-answer session with reporters at the White House, by deflecting any discussion of Fauci in particular but reiterating his most absurd and discredited statements about the “great progress” that Pindostan is making against the COVID-19 pandemic. In response to a reporter who pressed him on his repeated claims that the coronavirus is not actually increasing in Pindostan, and that the rising number of positive cases is the product of greater testing, Trump replied:

We’re doing great with testing! We’ve done 45m tests! If we did half that number, we’d have half the cases!

Even this piece of stupidity was not the crudest statement coming from the Trump administration. That prize goes to Admiral Brett P Giroir, assistant secretary of health and human services, who was the White House-approved spox making the rounds of the Sunday television talk shows. Asked on NBC Meet the Press about the White House attack on Fauci, Giroir said:

Dr Fauci is not 100% right, and he also doesn’t necessarily have the whole national interest in mind, and he admits that. He looks at it from a very narrow public-health point of view.

These are words that should be branded on his backside. Trump, of course, according to the sycophantic admiral, has “the whole national interest in mind.” In other words, he upholds the global position of Pindo imperialism and the profits of the giant corporations, which are being undermined as long as workers cannot be herded back into the factories and other workplaces because of the threat of COVID-19. As for Dr Fauci, his “very narrow public-health point of view” consists of the sincere desire to save millions of people from a serious illness that means death for hundreds of thousands, if not many more, and significant health consequences even for many of those who are fortunate enough to survive. In a contest between those two outlooks, there is little doubt which would be preferred by the working people who make up the vast majority of the country.

Donald Trump’s Genocidal Acts Against Humanity
Wayne Madsen, Strategic Culture, Jul 14 2020

FDNY EMTs arrive with a patient at St John’s Episcopal Hospital in the Far Rockaway
section of Queens, May 20, 2020. Photo: Brendan McDermid/Reuters

In 1979, UN Committee on Human Rights rapporteur Abd’el-Wahab Bouhdiba cited the atrocities committed by the Khmer Rouge regime in Cambodia as an example of “autogenocide,” the carrying out or enabling of mass deaths among one’s own nation. Previously cited examples of genocide at the time Bouhdiba’s coined the word autogenocide, were Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan. The former’s genocide of Eastern European Jews, Romani, Slavs, and other non-Germans also included German Jewish and other citizens, making it a practitioner of both genocide and autogenocide. The genocide of Chinese by Japanese military occupiers fit the broader definition of genocide. In addition of mass executions, Bouhdiba found that the Khmer Rouge also committed genocide through famine and disease. The latter included dysentery, cholera, and typhus. That conclusion in light of Donald Trump’s criminal negligence in handling the Covid-19 pandemic, which has witnessed Pindostan topping the world’s charts in infections and deaths, evokes the Khmer Rouge precedent in suggesting that Trump and his administration have been practicing autogenocide against the Pindo sheeple. Over the last century-and-a-half years, autogenocide from governments permitting the spread of deadly infectious diseases has been alleged by various human rights lawyers and historians. These include the actions of the Ottoman Turks against Armenian nationals of the empire from 1915 to 1916, of various Congolese armed factions against the people of the DRC from the 1990s to the present, and by the Toad-backed Yemeni puppet government against the people of Yemen. But what of the 135k (and counting) deaths of Pindos from Covid-19 caused principally by the criminal negligence of the Trump regime? When the statistics are perused, the victims of Trump’s genocide-by-inaction are principally ethnic minorities, an alarm bell that should be sounding in every international human rights office around the world. The following is what the Pindo CDC have reported about the deaths from Covid-19 of non-white ethnic groups in Pindostan:

Long-standing systemic health and social inequities have put some members of racial and ethnic minority groups at increased risk of getting COVID-19 or experiencing severe illness, regardless of age. Among some racial and ethnic minority groups, including Non-Hispanic black persons, Hispanics and Latinos, and American Indians/Alaska Natives, evidence points to higher rates of hospitalization or death from COVID-19 than among Non-Hispanic white persons. As of Jun 12 2020, age-adjusted hospitalization rates are highest among Non-Hispanic American Indian or Alaska Native and Non-Hispanic black persons, followed by Hispanic or Latino persons.

This disparity can be traced to the Trump administration’s disregard for testing and tracing among ethnic minorities and failure to provide adequate medical assistance to hard-hit regions where non-white ethnic minorities are predominant, including inner cities, rural areas of the Deep South and Southwest, and Native American reservations. When Trump told a crowd of his racist supporters in Tulsa, Oklahoma that he ordered his administration “to slow the testing down,” it was the closest thing to an admission by Trump that he is only interested a causing mass deaths from Covid-19. Such previous acts by ruthless leaders and warlords have resulted in charges of autogenocide in Ottoman Turkey, Cambodia, the DRC and Yemen. Trump gave his autogenocide policies a dry run in 2017 when he withheld needed relief aid to Puerto Rico, a Pindo commonwealth territory, in the wake of the disastrous Hurricane Maria. The CDC’s analysis shows that Non-Hispanic American Indian or Alaska Native persons have a rate approximately 5 times that of non-Hispanic white persons, non-Hispanic black persons have a rate approximately 5 times that of non-Hispanic white persons, and Hispanic or Latino persons have a rate approximately 4 times that of non-Hispanic white persons. That is a documented set of statistics that open the door for an investigation by Pindo and international human rights teams of a possible concerted effort by key individuals in the Trump administration, including Trump, Pence, senior advisers Jared Kushner and Stephen Miller, and HHS Secretary Alex Azar of adopting policies to bring about the highest number of deaths among non-white Pindos by limiting, embargoing, restricting or otherwise interfering with the delivery of medical assistance to regions of Pindostan where non-white Pindos are concentrated.

A survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that non-white Covid-19 deaths far exceed the averages in total death counts. In Alabama, African-Pindos make up 27% of the population but account for 45% of all Covid deaths. In Mississippi, where African-Pindos account for 38%t of the overall population, they also account for an alarming 50 percent of all Covid deaths. In Georgia, blacks are 31% of the population and have suffered 47% of overall deaths. In Louisiana, the ratio is 32% to 53% of overall deaths. In South Carolina, it is 26% to 45%. In Faschingstein, the capital city of Pindostan, where blacks comprise 45% of the population, they account for a staggering 74% of overall deaths. In Nebraska, Hispanics are 11% of the total population and account for 24% of overall deaths. In Arizona, where Native Americans account for 4% of the population, their overall death count is 16%. Embargoing, restricting, or otherwise withholding virus testing kits, ventilators, personal protective equipment (PPE), and other medical materiel from African-Pindo neighborhoods, Hispanic barrios, Native American reservations, and other regions based on ethnicity, the preponderance of co-morbidities among the targeted population, and other discriminating factors could constitute the conducting of biological warfare by permitting Covid to rampantly spread to vulnerable groups. Trump also restricted the dissemination of important Covid data from federal agencies to state and local government public health departments. This policy was readopted by states like Florida, Texas and Arizona, which refused to share Covid data with county and municipal health authorities.

The involvement of Trump son-in-law Kushner in commandeering supplies of ventilators, PPE, and other supplies to individual states makes him a potential criminal co-conspirator, along with Trump, Pence, Miller, Azar, White House trade adviser Peter Navarro, and others, in conducting passive biological warfare. Targets of this passive warfare included African-Pindos; Hispanic-Pindos; Native Americans; elderly military veterans who were administered lethal and untested HCQ, an anti-malarial drug; and nursing home residents of all ethnicities. In some cases, the White House targets were not ethnic, but political. Demagog Party states were victimized by medical supply embargoes with Thug states receiving more favorable treatment. New York Magazine charged the White House with carrying out a wartime operation against state governments. The magazine’s “Intelligencer” column on Apr 19 of this year wrote:

In addition to abandoning the states to their own devices in a time of national emergency, the federal government has effectively erected a blockade, like that which the Union used to choke off the supply chains of the Confederacy during the Civil War, to prevent delivery of critical medical equipment to states desperately in need.

Kushner announced at a White House press conference that the federal medical stockpile was not meant for use by the states, as if the states were not included in the “United States of Pindostan.” In addition to embargoing the federal stockpile of medical supplies to the states, the Trump White House began ordering federal agents to begin confiscating ventilators, respirator masks, and other supplied from states, local governments, and private medical firms. This biological warfare-by-proxy targeted the States of Colorado and Michigan, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, the City of Los Angeles, Somerset County in New Jersey, and Kaiser Permanente. The domestic embargo of health-care supplies, along with the hobbling of federal health agencies like the NIH and CDC and the Pindo withdrawal from the WHO, all represent individual criminal charges in an indictment of the Trump administration for carrying out “autogenocide” against the Pindo sheeple. Trump is not the only leader carrying out Covid-related autogenocide against his own people. Ideally, Trump, Bolsonaro, Duterte, members of their regimes, and a few other worthies should all be paraded before the ICC in The Hague to answer to criminal charges of autogenocide.

Houston hospitals overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients as Texas continues to reopen
Chase Lawrence, WSWS, Jul 14 2020

Houston, Texas has the highest number of COVID-19 cases and related deaths in the state, with 43,939 infections and 455 deaths. Dallas, Texas’ second-largest city, is in second place. Statewide, COVID-19 cases stand at 258,658, making up around 8% of total infections in the country. Texas continues to set new records in terms of those catching and dying from the disease on a weekly basis. Scenes familiar to what was witnessed in New York in the spring are appearing in Houston. At HCA Northwest Hospital, a refrigerator container truck is parked outside the hospital in preparation for overwhelmed morgues. Emergency rooms and ICUs are packed. The average daily rate of new hospitalizations due to COVID-19 was 360 at the Texas Medical Center hospitals in Houston, almost double the rate from two weeks ago. This is the context of the murderous back-to-work campaign being pursued by Texas Governor Greg Abbott, who conceded in a leaked May 1 meeting that reopening would “ipso facto” cause an increase in COVID-19 cases.

An executive order that mandates masks and a $250 fine for those not wearing them was signed by Abbott and went into effect on Jul 3, in an attempt to cover up his criminal role in facilitating the spread of the disease. The governor previously forbade mayors and local governments from requiring the wearing of masks and then quickly rolled back shutdown measures. The warning made by health professionals and scientists around the world that governments should not reopen too early and that masks are insufficient to prevent disease spread is being vindicated in real time. In an interview with a KLBK TV reporter on Jul 10, Abbott stated that “things will get worse” in relation to the virus. When questioned about what he would do if the mask mandate was “not enough to make a difference soon,” Abbott responded that “the next step would be a lock-down.”

In Harris County, which is in the Houston area and the third most populous county in the country, South East Texas Regional Advisory Council numbers show 1,580 ICU beds out of 1,614 total are in use. In short, there are just 34 beds remaining for the whole county. According to numbers obtained by ProPublica and NBC, as of Thursday, overflow patients are receiving treatment in emergency rooms. Emergency rooms are neither equipped nor staffed with the specialized personnel required to handle illnesses like COVID-19, which can require an extended period of treatment and special equipment. Rather, they are primarily used to stabilize patients so they can then be sent to the relevant hospital department. A study published in the Academy of Emergency Medicine notes:

Hospital mortality and hospital length of stay are associated with length of Emergency Department boarding.

Another study published in Critical Care Medicine concluded:

Prolonged Emergency Department boarding times are associated with worse patient outcomes.

An emergency physician at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Dr Cedric Dark, speaking with ProPublica, stated:

The problem is you can’t get them to where they need to be, and now it puts the ER doc in the position of having to function like the hospitalist or the intensive care doctor, and that’s not a role that we’re really supposed to be in. This slows down the beginning of care for somebody who needs hospitalization, and the beginning of care for any medical condition is the most crucial period of time.

This fact is illuminated in an increase in at-home deaths due to the inundation of hospitals with coronavirus patients. An investigation by ProPublica found that there has been a 45% rise in cardiac arrest calls that “ended up with paramedics declaring people dead at the scene” in the Houston area since February, with 250 dead-on-arrival calls in March and 300 in June, topping previous records for these months. Esmaeil Porsa, CEO of Harris Health System, the public hospital system in Harris county, which includes two full-service hospitals, speaking to ProPublica, said:

Due to the lack of ICU beds, patients will continue to board in the emergency room. This is not an optimal level of care. The only reason this is happening is because we are being forced to do it.

Hundreds of workers infected and four dead from COVID-19 at LA sweatshop
Marc Wells, WSWS, Jul 14 2020

After months of reports and formal complaints filed by workers and advocacy groups in light of neglect for safety measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the LA County Department of Public Health (DPH) ordered on Jul 10 the continued closure of the downtown LA garment manufacturer LA Apparel. Four deaths and more than 300 infections have been confirmed among the 400-strong total workforce. This marks the largest single outbreak in LA County to date. With evidence of what the DPH called “flagrant violations” of public health infection control orders and the refusal of the company to cooperate in the investigation, the authorities had already ordered the closure of the company’s South LA facility on Jun 27, after an inspection of the factory found multiple violations of distancing requirements and infection control protocols, such as the use of cardboard as a barrier between the workers. Dr Barbara Ferrer, Director of the LA County Dept of Public Health, stated:

The death of four dedicated garment workers is heartbreaking and tragic. Business owners and operators have a corporate, moral and social responsibility to their employees and their families to provide a safe work environment that adheres to all of the health officer directives—this responsibility is important, now more than ever, as we continue to fight this deadly virus.

These empty words come after months of ignored calls for safety measures and the implementation of a criminal return-to-work policy that is now producing a social disaster throughout the state and Pindostan as a whole. The Democratic Party is fully responsible for the catastrophic situation in California, where voluntary “recommendations” have replaced regulations. In this context, it is no surprise that LA Apparel has been able to defend itself from legitimate claims of alleged negligence. Its owner, Dov Charney, founder and former chairman of Pindo Apparel, complained about “a maze of conflicting directions.” He stated:

It’s morally irresponsible for the Health Dept to speak on the infection rates at our factory without also addressing its connection to the issue at large: that the Latino community in Los Angeles is left vulnerable to COVID-19 in a health-care system that provides no support with testing and no support or assistance for those that test positive.

Paradoxically, Charney shifted production at the factory from T-shirts to nonmedical masks recommended by the CDC in March. The truth is that corporations in Pindostan have been allowed and, in fact, encouraged to operate with complete impunity and disregard for adequate safety measures, removing any obstacle to the maximization of profits. LA County Supervisor Hilda L Solis was at odds with the policies of the state and county:

It is unacceptable that many garment workers are making face masks and other protective gear for pennies on the hour while being forced to work in cramped areas that undermine physical distancing, and that lack protocols to regularly sanitize their work-stations.

Statements from officials like Solis evince the hypocrisy of local, state and federal governments and represent a gross under-estimate of the real situation. A more accurate picture of the real situation emerges from workers’ direct claims and reports. For months, the Garment Workers Center, a worker advocacy group, has received reports from LA Apparel workers about “employees who suddenly stopped coming to work,” and “described that management did not announce whether absences were COVID-19-related, nor make changes in sanitizing practices.” The group reported the case of Francisco, a worker becoming ill shortly after he started to work there in May. They said:

He received his positive COVID-19 test result on May 20, and was hospitalized for almost three weeks. The next day, May 21, a second GWC member tested positive and has not been able to return to work. Management has not reached out to either employee, and they are unclear whether paid leave will be offered to them.

LA has become a central hub for the garment industry in recent years, exploiting more than 45k workers and representing a major component, approximately 10%, of manufacturing operations in the area. A vast majority of workers are female immigrants, many are single mothers, most of them from Latin America. A 2015 report by the Garment Worker Center, Research Action Design and the UCLA Labor Center titled “Hanging by a Thread!” exposed a disastrous situation at the time, with long working hours: 10-12 hour days, 6-7 days a week, misery wages, a lack of affordable child care and fear of retaliation, especially with regard to immigration status. An intensified economic crisis triggered by the pandemic and the spread of the virus itself have greatly exacerbated already dire conditions for tens of thousands of families.

The CUNY School of Labor and Urban Studies recently interviewed Yani Dewi, an immigrant worker from Indonesia, who denounced the exploitive conditions in LA. When she arrived in 2007, she worked 30 18-hour days a month for $200 monthly. This is no aberration, but the way the garment industry operates, especially by exploiting immigrants who speak little or no English and often holding their passports. A typical daily pay is around $20 to $25, based on the infamous “piece rate” payment system according to which workers earn as low as $.03 per assembly operation (trimming a blouse, setting a seam, etc), a method that increases unsafe working conditions, as workers make great efforts to maximize production output. Unsurprisingly, a 2019 report released by an advocacy group called Labour Behind the Labels associated with the University of Sheffield, UK, found that, out of 32 companies surveyed, no major brand pays garment workers a living wage. On every continent, from Asia to Africa to the Americas to Eastern Europe, garment manufacturers are paying poverty wages. Almost all brands received an E score.

Journalist Dana Thomas has recently written a book, Fashionopolis: The Price of Fast Fashion and the Future of Clothes, which exposes some of the crimes committed by multinational corporations at the expense of garment workers worldwide. From the Ranaa Plaza fire that killed 1.1k garment workers in Bangladesh seven years ago, to the Karachi, Pakistan fire that killed 260 workers in 2012, to LA’s own Bendix Building, cheap labor and poor working conditions are the rule of life for millions of workers the world over. Thomas told news site Cheddar last year:

I went and visited them in downtown LA in the Bendix Building. Down the hall from cool art galleries there are people, undocumented workers, sewing clothes for a dollar or two an hour. So it says “Made in Pindostan,” you think “Oh, that’s great!” It’s not necessarily great. It’s really hard to know.

The pandemic has lifted the lid and the reality of brutal exploitation is vividly visible across the globe. The recent case of Leicester’s garment industry is another example of governments’ malign neglect and the acceptance of outright corporate criminality. Workers were forced to go to work even while sick or lose their jobs, while factories continued to operate at full speed.
In a recent Euronews interview, textile workers in Leicester revealed that the factories are not COVID safe. Nick Sakhizadah said:

It was as normal, as before: no gloves, no masks, no social distance, nothing at all.

In Bangladesh, where nearly 200k have been confirmed COVID-19 positive, the impact of low wages and harsh working conditions are evident in a recent health examination of female garment workers. There, 80% of female workers suffer from anemia, a relatively common condition which increases the chances of maternal and perinatal mortality, claiming 1m lives per year globally. The test revealed that poverty and poor diet increases the incidence of anemia. These conditions created by the drive for profits have made this section of workers extremely vulnerable to COVID-19. On top of bestial working conditions and ultra-low wages, the economic impact of the pandemic has caused production to shrink considerably and hundreds of thousands of jobs have been eliminated. Such conditions are throwing this section of workers into struggle. From Cambodia to Bangladesh, from Bangalore to downtown LA, workers must form rank-and-file safety committees in their factories to coordinate their struggles against the corporations and demand the implementation of measures to protect them from the virus. Workers must be organized to assert their right to refuse to work in unsafe conditions, control the pace of work and raise their living standards. Fundamentally, this fight will require that workers unite in a struggle for international socialism against their common enemies: capitalism and the state that defends it.

NYC releases dangerous school reopening plans
Sandy English, Steve Light, WSWS, Jul 14 2020

NYC public school

Last week, NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio declared his criminal intent to reopen the largest school district in Pindostan, with over 1.1m students and over 75k teachers, on Sep 10. Giving voice to the interests of Wall Street that his Demagog administration so dutifully serves, he declared Thursday:

We’re full steam ahead for September. The goal, of course, to have the maximum number of kids in our schools as we begin schools.

On Monday, New York’s Demagog Governor Andrew Cuomo followed suit by announcing that public schools statewide can open in September if the two-week average coronavirus positive testing rate is below 5% by Aug 1. De Blasio and the city’s Dept of Education have released a plan, following guidelines from the CDC, in which classes of 12 students will be held on alternating days or weeks. Students will continue remote learning on days in which they are not in a school building. The DOE dubiously claims that these minimal social distancing measures, along with the usage of face-masks and the deep-cleaning of school facilities, will prevent the transmission of the coronavirus among educators and students in the city’s dilapidated schools. They fail to explain how these measures will be implemented when the district has slashed its budget by $773m for the coming fiscal year. The DOE’s school reopening plan has been met with widespread skepticism by New Yorkers and opposition by educators and parents. As one educator told the online education journal Chalkbeat:

It’s just a lot more questions than answers at this point, and that’s frustrating because we have, what, eight more weeks?

Parents must decide between Jul 15 and Aug 7 whether they would prefer a blended learning program, with children’s attendance in a physical school some days and remote learning on others, or whether they would opt for full-time distance learning. The DOE has made no provision for daycare for children on days on which they are not in physical classrooms or for the children of educators. The DOE’s proposed temperature checks at the school entrance does not guarantee safety from asymptomatic or presymptomatic students or teachers, while having children wear masks and social distance consistently is a near impossibility.

According to media reports, the city has no plans to bus over 90k children to school buildings and will only transport children with special needs for whom busing is mandated. No word has been given on if or how these buses will be cleaned. As to the hundreds of thousands of students who will simultaneously take public transportation to school, the DOE has issued no word on safety measures on the city buses and subways. The DOE plan to reopen schools is, in fact, so full of holes, and its proposals are so improbable, that it is transparently only one more aspect of the effort to push the working class back to work regardless of the death toll. This “return-to-work” campaign has been spearheaded by the Trump administration and the corporate media, and carried out with only minor variations by Democratic and Republican politicians across the US. As a result of these policies, the virus is now spreading out of control, with Friday seeing the highest number of new cases so far, 71,787. Yesterday saw an additional 65,488 new cases, the second highest figure to date.

The de Blasio administration’s intransigent opposition to shutting down the city by mid-March, including the public school system, caused New York to become the epicenter of the pandemic for months. To date, the city has 215,924 confirmed COVID-19 cases, 55,451 hospitalizations and 18,670 deaths, with a minimum of 4,613 additional deaths likely attributable to the virus, by far the highest figures of any state in Pindostan. The DOE’s track record in the early days of the pandemic is nothing short of criminal. Information was suppressed by the department in early March about the rate of infection in the school system. At least 74 educators have now died from the virus, while the DOE continues to stonewall about releasing information on the circumstances of these deaths and any estimates of those who have been infected with the virus.

Also complicit in the late closing of the schools was the local teacher union, the United Federation of Teachers (UFT), which refused to mobilize its membership against the continuation of in-person classes in March, despite the fact that its president, Michael Mulgrew, privately warned de Blasio of the dangers of continuing to hold classes. Only after teachers began agitating on social media for a strike or sickout and thousands signed a petition saying they would not come in to teach on Mar 16, did Mulgrew reluctantly send a letter asking parents to demand the mayor close schools. One NYC teacher told the WSWS:

Are we going to get to the Florida and Texas range? Hopefully not. But really, increasingly my worry is, come September where will we be? If we add all these people back to classrooms, coupled with the outdoor dining stuff that appears to be going on, there’s at least going to be some spread. I work in a really large school where people come in by one door at the same time. We have several elevators and they are usually crowded. I don’t think it’s going to get any safer when flu season comes around in late October and people are showing some of the same symptoms as COVID.

The DOE has claimed that it will disinfect school buildings. Last week Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza claimed:

The reopening plan calls for every school to be deep-cleaned on a nightly basis with electrostatic disinfectant sprayers, and HVAC systems are being upgraded as we speak to ensure better ventilation in all of our schools.

The teacher who spoke to the WSWS said that he had seen the DOE “so-called deep cleaning” in March, before the schools were shut, noting:

It was completely half-assed, done with a spray-bottle. Everything will be done on the cheap.

Another teacher remarked on Facebook:

The DOE needs to provide supplies for all schools as needed. They weren’t doing that before Covid and we know that. It’s why many of us worry.

Cleaning, building maintenance and even reasonably sanitary conditions in school bathrooms have been degraded from years of neglect. The school system is totally unprepared to provide students and educators with a clean environment. The DOE’s plan, in short, is criminally negligent. That, however, has not stopped the UFT from giving its full backing to the plan. In a letter to its members, UFT Pres Michael Mulgrew said:

We believe a blended learning model, with students in class on some days and remote on others, balances our safety concerns with the need to bring students back.

Since the shutdown of the schools, the UFT has played an active role in suppressing basic information about the health and safety of teachers. It has stopped teachers from taking out grievances against the DOE for COVID-related issues. Over 200 members of the UFT have taken out an improper practice charge against the union with the NY State Public Employees Relations Board for violating its duty of fair representation. The struggle to protect the health and safety of educators and students and to prevent the NYC public school system from once again becoming a vector for the transmission of the virus cannot come from the UFT. Like all unions, this organization’s sole purpose is to ensure that any resistance to the policies of the ruling class is neutralized and turned back into fruitless efforts to change the right-wing trajectory of the Demagog Party. The SEP calls on educators and parents to take matters into their own hands by forming independent, rank-and-file safety committees in every school and neighborhood, in order to build a nationwide strike movement in opposition to the unsafe reopening of schools. Inevitably, this will entail a struggle against the capitalist profit system itself and for the implementation of socialist policies. All those educators and parents interested in taking up this fight should sign up for our email newsletter and contact us today.

Teacher unions support drive to reopen schools as pandemic explodes
David Brown, WSWS, Jul 14 2020

Last week, the Trump administration and several state and local governments launched their campaign to reopen schools with daily in-person instruction across the country. On Jul 6 Trump provocatively tweeted, “SCHOOLS MUST OPEN IN THE FALL!!!” This was followed on Jul 7 by Education Secretary Betsy DeVos telling a meeting of governors, “Schools must reopen, they must be fully operational.” Florida’s Dept of Education issued an order requiring five days of in-person instruction when their schools reopen in August, sparking immediate protests from teachers. Nationwide the pandemic is spiraling out of control after lockdowns were lifted and social distancing measures relaxed with no plan at the federal, state or local levels to contain the disease. Friday saw a record 71,373 new infections nationwide in one day. The increase of new cases is paralleled by a steadily increasing death toll, with 830 lives lost Friday.

A return to in-person instruction under these conditions, where even the pretense of containing the pandemic has been abandoned, is homicidal. With ongoing community transmission, classrooms would become major vectors for further transmission. Teachers have responded with outrage to this callous disregard for the safety of students, teachers, and staff. Spontaneous discussion between teachers on social media in areas like Arizona and Oakland, California immediately turned to organizing strikes to prevent in-person teaching where the pandemic is growing. For their part, the Pindo Federation of Teachers (AFT) and National Education Association (NEA) have solidarized themselves with the demand for students to physically return to school, merely quibbling over the details. On Jul 10 they released a joint statement with the Pindo Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), stating:

Educators and pediatricians share the goal of children returning safely to school this fall. Our organizations are committed to doing everything we can so that all students have the opportunity to safely resume in-person learning.

In working with the AAP, the unions signed on with an organization providing pseudo-scientific justifications for the Trump administration’s drive to reopen schools. On Jun 26 the AAP released their “Guidance for School Re-entry,” emphasizing:

The AAP strongly advocates that all policy considerations for the coming school year should start with a goal of having students physically present in school.

This reckless guidance was given as new cases in Pindostan were already soaring to record highs. In the AAP’s specific guidelines, scientific proposals are filled with caveats subordinated to economic concerns. For elementary schools they state as a high priority, “Desks should be placed 3 to 6 feet apart when feasible,” but list reducing class sizes to make this “feasible” a low priority because, they state:

The risk reduction of reducing class sizes in elementary school-aged children may be outweighed by the challenge of doing so.

After decades of budget cuts and bipartisan privatization schemes, public schools across the country are woefully underfunded. More than 30 students are regularly crammed into classrooms. School nurses, when schools even have them, cover thousands of students. Basic health-care supplies like bathroom soap and paper towels run out months before the school year ends. Under the economic impact of the pandemic, schools are bracing for sharp cuts to education funding. In May the Learning Policy Institute estimated that states would require an additional $230b to fund education through the coming fiscal year. Throughout the current pandemic, there has been overwhelming bipartisan support for providing public money to banks and corporations while carrying out cuts to social services. Democratic senators like Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders voted for the CARES Act, which funneled trillions of dollars to prop up the stock market but provided only $13.5b for K-12 education. Now the Demagog Party is promoting the HEROES Act, passed by the House, that only provides $60b of relief to K-12, leaving roughly $170b in education cuts to be made this year. That was enough for AFT President Randi Weingarten, who tweeted on Thursday:

A reminder that if we really want to reopen schools, the Senate needs to pass the #HEROES act.

In other words, all Weingarten needs to take her “seat at the table” and push teachers back into the classrooms is for the budget cuts to come from the Demagogs. On Thursday, the AFT held a “School Reopening Roundtable” chaired by Weingarten with Demagog Sen Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Dr Jill Biden, Joseph Biden’s wife. None of the speakers suggested any action to oppose the forced reopening of schools under conditions of the accelerated spread of COVID-19, and not once were any of recent strikes or protests by teachers mentioned. Elizabeth Warren cynically dismissed the concerns of teachers fearful for their own health and safety, the health and safety of their students and the broader community by declaring, “I get it.” Ignoring the recent mass struggles by teachers over cuts to education funding she added:

But the next time you feel frustrated, do something about it! The thing you can do is you can sit down and think, ‘OK, we are aiming toward Nov 3. How do we make sure, make sure, make sure, make sure that Joe Biden is going to be elected and that we’re going to get Demagogs up and down the ballot?

The claim that electing Demagogs will protect the lives of teachers and students forced into the classroom during the pandemic is absurd. All across the country, Demagog governors have lined up behind the return to work and sanctioned ending all measures to seriously confront the pandemic. Meanwhile, they completely accept plans to force the cost of the CARE Act’s multi-trillion-dollar corporate bailout to be paid for through cuts to education and other services. Already California, with a Demagog governor and state legislature, has passed a budget delaying a record $11b in payments to school districts until the next fiscal year forcing cuts upon districts. In no state was the time spent social distancing used to hire enough contact-tracers and expand hospital capacity to actually contain the pandemic. Weingarten, Warren and the Biden campaign imagine teachers have no memory. When the Obama administration with Joseph Biden as vice president took over in 2009, a Demagog majority controlled both House and Senate. Immediately they launched a nationwide campaign against public education, including massive budget cuts and the promotion of privately-run charter schools.

The budget cuts were so deep that 12 years later, when schools were closed to prevent the spread of COVID-19, per pupil spending in many states remained below 2008 levels. The chronic underfunding of public schools in Pindostan over the past decade was a policy carried out by the Demagogs. The bipartisan assault on education drove a series of militant struggles that were bitterly opposed by the trade unions. Beginning in Feb 2018 teachers in Pindostan launched a series of wildcat strikes outside of the trade union straitjacket. First, in West Virginia, then Oklahoma and Arizona, followed by strikes in LA, Oakland, and protests in many more states, teachers took a brave stand to demand living wages and safe working conditions. In each case, Weingarten and the AFT fought tooth and nail to isolate the strikes and demobilize them. During the Arizona strike, Weingarten explicitly opposed a nationwide teachers strike, telling the WSWS:

Education is a statewide issue. I want to make sure that these walkouts become walk-ins to the voting booth in November.

The Demagogs, no less than the Thugs, have proven themselves unwilling and incapable of fighting the pandemic at the national and local levels. We urge teachers, students, parents and workers to form rank-and-file safety and workplace committees in every school and neighborhood to determine under what conditions schools should reopen. Preparations must be made for a nationwide strike of teachers and school workers to block the unsafe reopening and demand a crash program to rebuild the schools and hire the necessary staff to provide high quality, safe and equal education for all. No teacher or school should be penalized for refusing to work under unsafe conditions. There must be no loss of income as long as the pandemic continues.

Seventeen states and tens of universities file lawsuits against ICE attack on international students
Sam Dalton, WSWS, Jul 14 2020

Following the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic across Pindostan, on Mar 13, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) issued an exemption to its requirement that international students studying in Pindostan on F-1 visas must attend classes in person. At that time, the government said the arrangement was “in effect for the duration of the emergency.” However, on Jul 6, ICE made an abrupt announcement reversing the exemption. The change in policy means that over 900k international students attending Pindo colleges this fall will be required to take at least one in-person class to remain in Pindostan. The announcement was made last week, just as the pandemic was hitting record numbers of cases in Pindostan, over 375k coronavirus cases in a single week, more than the number of cases reported in February, March and the first week of April combined. The measure is part of a broader attempt to force universities and grade schools to fully reopen for the fall semester. The ICE rule reversion came the same day Trump tweeted, “SCHOOLS MUST OPEN IN THE FALL!!!” The rule is also seen as an opportunity for Trump to appeal to his fascist base by whipping up a hostile anti-immigrant environment.

A number of lawsuits have been filed against the ruling. One filed jointly by Harvard and MIT has received the support of over 50 amicus briefs from other universities. An initial decision by the judge is expected on Wednesday, July 15. Another suit has been filed by the University of California system, which enrolls over 40k international students. California Attorney General Xavier Becerra has also filed a lawsuit on behalf of California State University and the California Community Colleges system. On Jul 13, seventeen mostly Demagog-controlled states and the District of Columbia joined the universities in suing the Trump administration. In response to this lawsuit, the government defended its action on the basis of national security concerns, stating:

A solely online program of study provides a non-immigrant student with enormous flexibility to be present anywhere in Pindostan for up to an entire academic term, whether that location has been reported to the government, which raises significant national security concerns.

The invocation of “national security concerns” is completely baseless. Rather, it is part of the Trump administration’s broader efforts to stoke extreme nationalism by targeting immigrants and refugees.

The Harvard and MIT lawsuit provides no safeguard against future attacks on international students. It seeks only a temporary restraining order on ICE’s Jul 6 rule, an order setting aside the rule and a declaration that the rule is unlawful. Nowhere in the lawsuit are future guarantees for international students’ residency requested by the universities. Even if the judge grants every request, the short- and long-term future of international students in Pindostan remains perilous. The lawsuits undertaken by the coalition of mostly Demagog-controlled states and the capital territory are perhaps even more blatant in their disregard for the democratic rights of international students. Commenting on his decision to back the lawsuit, New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal derided the Trump administration for using “international students and the tuition they pay as leverage.” The Demagog-led lawsuit’s notion that the rights of international students should be defended on the basis of the tuition they pay is particularly foul. It detracts from the fact that many international students are from working-class and lower-middle-class backgrounds who attend colleges in Pindostan on scholarships or through years of saving and sacrifice by their parents. Indeed, international students face food insecurity at a higher rate than their Pindo counterparts. The harsh reality is that if the money can be sourced elsewhere or if state contracts are at risk, then these universities will have no qualms sending international students on their merry way.

The states’ lawsuit also represents the interests of a section of the ruling class who are concerned about the damage the ICE ruling will cause Pindo imperialism’s foreign policy interests. As of last year, 62 of the world’s heads of state had spent a portion of their higher education in Pindostan. There is also no doubt a deep concern among Demagog Party boxtops of a massive backlash by students and workers against this measure, which threatens to break out of the confines of the state-sanctioned opposition. Already dozens of petitions have been signed by thousands of students, Pindo and international alike, who understand that the move represents an attack on democratic rights more broadly. Both the anti-immigrant policies of the Trump administration and the back-to-work campaign have been facilitated and supported by the Demagog Party. Just last month, the Supreme Court suspended habeas corpus and due process rights for asylum seekers. The darling of the “progressive” wing of the Demagog party, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, voted in favor of the reactionary ruling. This is the logical conclusion of Obama-era immigration policies, which saw record numbers of migrant deportations.

Other measures taken in the past two months include the realization of long-term policy goals of the right wing of the Trump administration, particularly fascist ex-adviser Stephen Miller. These include the crackdown on H-1B work visas and the vicious reprisals against Chinese graduate students. Indeed, over 370k Chinese students on F-1 visas face deportation following the ICE ruling. Following Trump’s victory in the 2016 election, Pindostan was rocked by mass protests in a number of major cities against his xenophobic and nationalistic policies. The role of the Demagog Party has been to nullify that anger with token resistance, or in many cases to actively participate in the crackdown. Their actions have given the Trump administration carte blanche to carry out widespread attacks against asylum-seekers, foreign workers and international students alike. The lawsuits filed by the mostly Demagog-controlled states and state-aligned university administrations will not buck this trend. International students should not have any illusions in these or any future legal actions. As anti-immigrant measures are enforced at an ever greater pace by all sections of the Pindo ruling class, it will ultimately be in the arena of a political struggle of the working class armed with a socialist perspective that the right to equal and high-quality education regardless of nationality will be secured for all.

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