Trump’s administration is more interested in saving Wall Street and boosting their profits than they are in saving lives and meeting the needs of the people.
“Trump refuses to nationalize pertinent industries and be responsible for producing and distributing medical equipment.”
Friends and Comrades:
In Italy, military trucks are now being used to haul away dead bodies. Perhaps by the time U.S. cities and states get help from the military that is what they will be doing, hauling dead bodies. On Meet The Press this week when the head of FEMA was asked, “Is the federal government in charge of getting medical supplies and material to where it is needed?” -- the answer was “No.” The message to the states was “if you need it buy it.” In other words, in this pandemic crisis the federal government is encouraging competition between the states thus allowing businesses to engage in profiteering while people are dying.
Unlike China, there is in the United States no uniform practice for combating the spread of the coronavirus or the virus itself. But also after the health authorities made us aware of the fact that the killer virus was in the house the federal government has consistently refused to take decisive action with regard to testing, treating and curtailing the spread of COVID-19, even as more and more people are getting sick and dying.
All the graphs and charts I have seen depicting the dramatic spread of the coronavirus are more or less postmortem studies of what has happened in other countries focused on what is happening and can happen here.
“In this pandemic crisis the federal government is encouraging competition between the states thus allowing businesses to engage in profiteering while people are dying.”
The fact of the matter is that we have come to the crossroads where the White House finally, after months of foot-dragging, declares a national emergency and then does nothing to facilitate the movement of supplies (i.e. masks and ventilators), testing (test kits), and ICU beds. Still Trump refuses to nationalize pertinent industries and be responsible for producing and distributing medical equipment. New York is buying masks that previously sold for 80 cents apiece for $4 apiece. The first line of defense is to protect the nurses, doctors and all health care workers on the front-line fighting COVID-19.
The news every day in the media is that the federal government is not providing a supply line to the front lines. In effect these policies amount to a death sentence for thousands or even millions of people and the powers that be know this so why haven’t they ended these policies? Why has the federal government abandoned the people to the extent that Mayors and Governors, health care workers and doctors are begging for help? How many more empty promises will it take before we rise up?
Trump is right, we are in a war but he, by virtue of his deliberate indecisiveness has made it a one-sided war and he is definitely not a Field Marshall. But is it really indecisiveness or is it a deliberate attempt to dismantle the government and give the monopoly capitalists an opportunity to privatize the government in this moment of pandemic crisis? Watch what they do and say. They are pushing market solutions, instead of the government taking over and directing the corporations they are suggesting that corporations take over government functions. Its neoliberalism on steroids. Trump is meeting more with the Big Business Leadership Roundtable then he is with unions and workers.
“Why has the federal government abandoned the people to the extent that Mayors and Governors, health care workers and doctors are begging for help?”
They are more interested in saving Wall Street and boosting their profits and getting multi-trillion-dollar bailouts than they are in saving lives and meeting the economic needs of the people.
Right now, the U.S. Senate is fashioning a legislative package that has a carrot for the monopoly capitalists and a stick for the people. COVID-19 is not discriminatory, but the Republicans are. They are giving the least to those who need the most. They are using this pandemic crisis to make the poor poorer and the rich richer. And we can’t go for that.
We must stand up and fight back. We must put forward and fight for a program of action that will get us out of this pandemic crisis by helping the 140 million people living in poverty, and the hundreds of thousands of adults and children who are homeless, by helping the millions without health insurance, by ending mass incarceration starting with the wrongfully convicted and those too poor to make bail, by ending the ICE raids and the immigrant detention centers, by bringing the working class to the roundtable to curb the feast of the beast that is monopoly capital, to address fissures in our society created by racism, sexism and national oppression. We must vigorously reject the DOJ’s move to suspend habeas corpus under the guise of emergency powers.
We must also demand an end to the racist attack against the Chinese people by Trump who continuously refers to COVID-19 as the “Chinese virus.” We must end the embargoes against Cuba, Iran and Venezuela.
In a few words, our class enemies -- who are also the enemies of the people -- use this pandemic crisis to maintain the status quo by pumping economic hormones into a dying system. We must use it to organize the people and hasten the demise of the enemies of the people. Now is the time for the power of the people to demonstrate that it is greater than the people in power.
“We must vigorously reject the DOJ’s move to suspend habeas corpus under the guise of emergency powers.”
We suggest that in your respective localities you push for the following demands, particularly the release of prisoners from local jails and state prisons (especially those known to be wrongfully convicted) as well as the release of immigrants from ICE detention centers:
- Designate specific portions of federal emergency funding for addressing the coronavirus within prisons and jails.
- Test prison and jail inmates daily for infection and provide hospitalization and treatment for those in need.
- Provide hand sanitizers throughout all common areas of prisons and jails and hand washing facilities.
- Require that all prison staff, vendors and contractors are queried, screened and tested when indicated for possible exposure and/or infection at every entry into a facility.
- Report cases of coronaviruses within prison and jails to the public and families.
- Allow family and friends visits on the same basis. Provide hand sanitizers throughout visiting rooms and regularly disinfect them. Provide for prisoner and visitor handwashing before and after all visits.
- Provide for free phone calls to family and friends during this public health crisis and increase the availability of remote video visits.
- Immediately release to their homes or the homes of family and friends all prison inmates who are elderly (over 60) or have medical conditions that compromise their immune system, including Type 1 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, cancer, chronic HIV or HCV infection, leukemia, or multiple myeloma.
- Provide a minimum of a 30-day supply of all prescription medications (with written prescriptions) and foodstuffs to those released, and referral to local public health clinics in their areas.
- Release on OR bonds all local jail prisoners being held pending trial, except for those requiring hospitalization for severe mental or physical disorders, or those charged with first degree murder or sexual assault.
- Adopt at the state and county level the National Commission of Correctional Health Care Standard on Infectious Disease Prevention and Control
- Immediate moratorium on ICE raids and family separations
- Immediate moratorium on deportations
- Depopulate migrant detention centers and release those detained in ICE custody
- Provide testing to released detainees and treatment to those who need it
- Establish “Know Your Health Care Rights During the Pandemic” drives for immigrants
- Establish legislation that would provide DACA protections to all undocumented immigrants immediately (the “Right to Family” legislation)
- Provide economic relief to include all US residents regardless of immigration status
ALL POWER TO THE PEOPLE!
Frank Chapman is interim executive director of the National Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression (NAARPR)
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