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Sunday, April 26, 2020

What to do When Your Party is a Serial Abuser?

A few weeks ago, the UK was rocked by a leaked report recounting the activities of top officials in the Labour Party. As Morning Star details (4-18-2020):

Pages upon pages of emails and texts expose in stark detail how some of the party’s most senior officials acted to sabotage the Jeremy Corbyn leadership, obstruct everything it tried to do, direct vile abuse at staff and activists perceived to be supportive of Corbyn and express contempt for the members whose fees paid their salaries.

Most shockingly of all for those who pounded the streets, knocked on doors and phone banked for Labour, the report exposes top staff working against election victory, running a secret campaign to protect rightwingers in safe seats at the expense of winnable marginals, voicing growing dismay as Labour in 2017 closed the gap with the Tories and reacting with fury when the party broke Theresa May’s majority.

The records of Labour officials expressing preference for a Tory victory to a Corbyn one show treachery to their party and its members, but loyalty to a capitalist system they are used to being part of running.

In an article in The Guardian (4-21-2020), John McDonnell, the shadow Chancellor under Corbyn’s leadership, denounced the racism found in the report and directed at some of Corbyn’s closest associates by some of Labour’s top officials:

The alleged abuse of Diane Abbott, Dawn Butler and Clive Lewis, three prominent black shadow ministers, was appalling and, as others have commented, betrayed a deeply worrying underlying strain of racism.

The leaked report, commissioned to report on alleged anti-Semitism inside the Labour Party, was unsurprisingly ignored by the US mainstream media.

Unsurprisingly, because it might conjure up memories of the Wikileaks revelations of Democratic Party leaders plotting against the Bernie Sanders primary campaign leading up to the 2016 election, the actions taken against Sanders caucus voters, the embarrassing resignation of the party leader in the wake of plotting, the leaking of debate questions to Sanders’ opponent in that primary season, and many other 2016 attempts to sabotage Sanders’ campaign. 

Of course, reporting the Labour Party’s undermining of Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership might also plant suspicions about Biden’s miraculous rising from the dead this year, the leaked misinformation about Sanders, the red-baiting, the slanders, and the seemingly orchestrated dog-and-pony show of a motley crew of candidates slicing and dicing the primary vote suddenly surrendering and endorsing Uncle Joe Biden. 

In other words, the complicit US media doesn’t want to give any ammunition to the suspicion that there may be a significant parallel in the ways that established “center-left” parties suppress any real left movement within their orbits. 

While the Labour Party has a claim to exist somewhat as a membership party, with its members or their organizations having some say in its leadership, the US Democratic Party can make no such claim; “membership” is simply a matter of registration, and party activism is largely limited to carrying out dictated electoral activity, fund raising, and voting. The days of visits from and discussions with ward or neighborhood leaders are long past. Today, the Democratic Party is more like a sports team than a political party: one can choose it, follow it, and support it, but only marginally influence it.  

But like the Labour Party, the Democratic Party pretends to be democratic while its leaders do all they can to stifle any democratic stirrings. Where insurgencies energize the typically most active, progressive, and earnest members, the leadership finds a way to undercut, underfund, or even engage in dirty tricks to derail their efforts. 

In the US, the McGovern, Jesse Jackson, and now Bernie Sanders campaigns are examples of serious, but failed attempts to inject left politics into a party determined to define itself through a brand of tepid social liberalism which is inoffensive to its corporate financial base. If there is a role for the Democratic Party to challenge corporate dominance, to reverse growing inequality, and to expand the social safety net, the leadership has yet to reveal it.

Much attention has been drawn to analyzing what Corbyn and Sanders did wrong, where their campaigns failed. The more important matter is how a candidate can overcome the barriers that are institutionally, systematically placed in front of her or him. How can a candidate ride a party to victory when the party’s leadership does not want the candidate to be successful? 

As Roger D. Harris explained in a recent thoughtful wrap-up of the Sanders phenomena in Popular Resistance

Sanders proved on one hand that a sizable potential constituency would support and fund a progressive agenda. On the other hand, the Democrats – who would rather risk four more years of Trump than back someone with a mild New Deal agenda – are the graveyard for such a movement. The Democratic Party is an instrument of class rule and not a democratic institution…

If your obsession in life is to defeat Trump, by all means hold your nose and vote for what you perceive as the lesser evil.

For the US left, the quadrennial question looms: do we put the Sanders campaign behind us and, paraphrasing Harris, hold our nose and vote for the candidate anointed by the Democratic Party and its corporate backers?

For some, it comes easy. They argue that Trump is such a repugnant figure that, should the Democrats offer a veteran of every corporate-friendly, socially reactionary current surfacing in the Democratic Party, one must still vote against Trump. As in the past, the revolutionary left, the Marxist-Leninist left, the socialist left could not make much of a difference, if it so desired. The serious anti-capitalist left lacks the influence to decisively affect the outcome of the US Presidential election in spite of Democratic operatives occasionally blaming their defeats on them. For the most part, the debate among Marxists over whether to support the pathetic Democratic Party candidate is a sterile one.

But leftists can begin to show the way from such an ugly option. The left can emphatically point to the futility of a lesser-of-two-evils strategy that stretches over the four decades since the election of Ronald Reagan (and before) that has only seen the political center move inexorably rightward. 

They can insist that the defenders of the lesser-of-two-evils strategy explain how such a strategy could ever produce significant change. 

The left can explain that demagoguery prevails precisely when the options available to people hungry for change are meager. The Trumps, Johnsons, and their ilk arise when traditional party loyalties are taken for granted and when supporters are desperate for new answers.

Leftists can stress the role of consistent, principled, and unbending independent politics and, most importantly, how that independence can be expressed broadly, electorally and otherwise. Independence can not be conditional upon the electoral fate of politicians and parties that are hostile to left politics.

For many of us, that means encouraging and supporting third-party breakaways, electoral formations where the left is welcome. Of course it is understood that not everyone will agree. Some will argue that this moment is different.

In the spirit of respecting differences, it was still disappointing to see the recent open letter addressed to the youthful supporters of Sanders-- who the signatories called “the new new left.” Former leaders and members of the 1960s SDS-- with a cringe-worthy, patronizing tone-- warned ominously that failing to vote for Joseph Biden, the presumptive Democratic Party candidate, would be to hand the Presidency to a “protofascist.” 

Most would agree that ridding the political stage of Donald Trump is a good thing. Probably many will even accept replacing him with a corrupt, corporately-compromised, and regressive substitute like Joseph Biden. 

But it is disappointing that the retired SDSers make no demands on the Democrats, set no conditions for support, suggest no alternative actions in uncontested states, offer no program beyond the dismal electoral choice, and supply no vision for distraught Sanders backers.

This from the group advising the existing left movements in its founding statement in mid-1962 that: “An imperative task for these publicly disinherited groups... is to demand a Democratic Party responsible to their interests.” These then-young, idealistic radicals dared to make demands on the Democratic Party in the months before Barry Goldwater Jr. embarked on arguably the most right-wing, dangerous campaign for the US Presidency in modern history. 

Then, it seemed important to challenge a Democratic Party deaf to poverty, racism, and inequality. SDS sought to force “peace, civil rights, and urban needs” onto the political agenda, even in the face of a Republican challenger who openly argued for the use of nuclear weapons. 

Today’s self-described “veterans” of those long-past struggles now make a simple, unconditional demand: “we must work hard to elect [Biden].”

They ominously liken this moment to the late history of Weimar Germany immediately before Hitler’s ascension. Indeed, there are many parallels to today: a growing severe crisis of capitalism; a bankrupt political party with no answers to the crisis, yet commanding the allegiance of most workers; demagogues appealing to a disillusioned middle strata and a neglected working class. 

In the Weimar Republic, many people sought a broad “democratic” coalition in 1932 to reelect the militarist conservative Paul von Hindenburg-- a-lesser-of-two-evils-- to defeat Hitler’s Presidential candidacy. The Social Democrats, the counterpart of today’s Democratic Party, believed that their support of von Hindenburg would stop the greater-of-two-evils. Months later, von Hindenburg appointed Hitler Chancellor, giving him a grasp of power that he would never relinquish.

Trump is not Hitler, but a barren opposition-- an opposition ill-equipped to respond to the despair engulfing most people’s lives-- opens the door wide for the Trumps to walk through. As Weimar shows, a hollow appeal to unity at all costs may be insufficient, even ill-advised in the effort to close that door. 

The old SDSers and the other Democratic Party loyalists need to ask themselves if Joseph Biden’s Democratic Party has the vision to give hope to those suffering what may prove to be capitalism’s greatest crisis. With millions experiencing hardships unknown before, they want to vote for something, not just against Trump.  

One would have hoped that the “old new left” would have offered something more of substance in their lecture to those who understandably felt that the Sanders program was betrayed and derailed by the Democratic Party establishment. 

As the Sanders supporters consider their choices going forward, they might heed the conclusion drawn in the Morning Star article. Noting the sabotage of Corbyn’s leadership by many of the Labour Party’s officials, the author warned that “much of the left engaged in a futile effort to bury real differences and appease an irreconcilable enemy.

As long as we keep making such mistakes, we will keep losing.”  

Greg Godels 

Saturday, April 18, 2020

Searching for Meaning in a Pandemic

Driven indoors by a deadly virus, most people, especially in the wealthier, advanced capitalist countries, are facing uncertainties unknown in their entire lives. The virus’s ruthless defiance of borders and all but the most privileged social cleavages has cast a shadow over expectations and prospects, while bringing the global economy to a near-standstill.

What can We Learn?

For those who have money and power, their interests come before the health and welfare of the rest of us. Most bourgeois politicians, top corporate executives, bankers, and billionaire investors are willing to risk the lives of the vulnerable to secure their own status and restart the capital accumulation process. Every day, we see anxious politicians lobbied by the agents of monopoly capital. They are ready to ignore the advice of academics and professionals who are experts in disease control and public health in order to send safely isolated workers back into danger. 

In the US, we have private health insurance and market-based health services rather than universal, equitable health care. The fact that the victims of the novel coronavirus could not be promptly diagnosed, triaged, and given care, the fact that response was so uneven, and the fact that health care providers had to compete for the scarce, but essential means to combat the virus demonstrates the tragic inadequacy of an industrial model relying on the market, profit, and the fetish of “efficiency.” Tens of thousands of lost lives expose this failure.

Where politicians in other countries have callously shrunk their national health services for political expediency, they, too, must answer for the unnecessary deaths of thousands.

We should learn that health industry administrators, faced with medical supply shortages and accelerating demand, are prepared to make life-and-death decisions based on protocols devised by so-called “bio-ethicists.” Rather than rallying behind victims’ families and health care workers, rather than seeking emergency powers to ramp up production or purchases, rather than mobilizing volunteers or lobbying for a more rational distribution of national resources, hospital administrations opt to choose which victims deserve to live.
Misnamed “bio-ethicists” compete to find the most “humane” way to select those for death. Some will remember the righteous indignation over “death panels” during the Obama-era healthcare debates. With real life-or-death decisions being taken, the anti-reform zealots are remarkably silent. 

The all-too-popular slogan “We are all in this together” has proven to be nonsense. Class and race remain the decisive factors in determining who wins and who loses. It’s not that Black, Latino, and poor people are selected as victims by the primitive infectious agent, but that social neglect, inequality, and discrimination renders them more vulnerable to the virus. The behavioral choices, access to information and prophylaxis, health care, conditions of shelter, transportation options, and general resources available to the disadvantaged determine that they will more likely be victims, suffer, and die. The media feign shock at numbers that reveal the vast overrepresentation of African American cases and deaths, as though racism, urban segregation, and poverty were already conquered.

Similarly, the media are astounded by the miles of backed-up cars clogging highways waiting for relief from food banks, as though food banks came into existence when the virus struck. Before the virus, the needy were expected to stand in line in shame for their modest handouts.

The virus has shown the privilege of celebrities, the ultra-rich, and the political stratum, who have secured tests and expedited, preferred attention to the dangers threatened by the virus. Forbes magazine documents how a “loophole” in the recovery act could allow up to 43,000 of the richest people in the US to enjoy a gift of up to $1.7 million while everyone else tries to pay their bills and live on a $1,200 stipend from the US Treasury.

The bottom feeders-- the scam artists, the predators on the elderly, the price gougers, the hoarders-- have come out in force to take advantage of fear. Despite unleashing these vermin in an era of deregulation and laissez faire, the government that spies on everyone shows no desire to stop the predation of a populace experiencing unprecedented insecurity.

The lessons learned in the last economic disaster go unheeded. Once again, the banks and monopoly capitalist firms are assured that their vulnerabilities and missteps will be publicly covered, even rewarded. The once detested excuse of “Too big to fail” has roared back with a vengeance. Despite the collapse of real economic activity, the equity markets have begun to recover and, shamefully, bounce back when new, unparalleled unemployment numbers are announced. Even The Wall Street Journal is compelled to notice “..a confounding reality: soaring share prices and a floundering economy” (4-17-2020). Investors know that relief for capitalism will always be in the wings, even if there is no bailout for the rest of us.

We should learn to scoff at talk of “recovery.” Since 2000, “recovery” has only meant that global financial institutions will manipulate interest rates, juggle questionable, inflated assets, and create new financial games of chance in order to put lipstick on an ugly capitalist pig. That corpulent pig-- stuffed with near-worthless financial junk-- has threatened to deflate for over twenty years. Only persistent manipulation by central banks has re-inflated the global monster. The “product” that economists and statisticians purport to measure is really bloated equity markets, debt-driven economic activity, and unhinged property values; all connection to reality-grounded value is long broken.

While this fictional “recovery” has been heralded, the circumstances of those who work for a living has stagnated or sunk (median household income in the US has risen by less than 4% since 2000), buoyed only by taking on more and more debt. The “desperation”  indicators-- like the inability of 40% of the people to sustain even a $400 unexpected bill-- are well documented. The coronavirus crisis has only brought into the spotlight the desperation that has followed in the wake of low wages, gig jobs, grinding healthcare costs, unaffordable housing, student-loan debt, and declining public services. For the vast majority, talk of a recovery is an insult.

Should we not ask why it is that the People's Republic of China has avoided the worst consequences of the virus, especially since they were the first to face its devastation? Could we learn how it is that the International Monetary Fund expects that the PRC economy is expected to grow this year, while the US is projected to decline by 5.9% and the EU by 7.5%? Could it be that its state-owned enterprises were able to respond quickly and decisively? Should we see the fact that the PRC banking sector is largely publicly owned and able to put the prompt and rational distribution of financial assets above profit-taking? Does it matter that the political leadership of the CPC-- the Chinese Communist Party-- is more responsible to the public than the soulless bourgeois parties of the West? Is it a coincidence that the Democratic Republic of Vietnam has accounted for no coronavirus deaths? These are ideas that never enter the conversation in the West.

What can We Expect?

As with the last major crisis over a decade ago, this crisis spawns numerous analyses and prognostications. Uncertainty breeds speculation and “experts” feel compelled to venture opinions. 

The truth is that even the experts remain baffled by the course of the coronavirus. Its behavior and the effectiveness of chaotic Western public policy are uncertainties at this stage, rendering the media blame-game meaningless, if not harmful. The exposure of the systemic weaknesses of capitalism in arresting a pandemic and serving the people is far more significant and immediate than the Trump-Biden horse race.

The state of the US economy is another matter. The nearly universal declining numbers do not lie. Nor does the immediate expectation of further decline. We also know that, in many ways, the economic collapse is unprecedented in the lifetime of almost everyone living today. 

In a short span, JPMorgan Chase forecast an annualized GDP drop of 25% and a rise in unemployment to 10%, only to revise their estimates to a 40% decline in GDP accompanied by 20% unemployment. Goldman Sachs projects that the downturn “will likely be four times worse than the financial crisis [of 2007-2009] and the U.S. will see its highest unemployment rate since World War II…” But the forecasts turn more pessimistic almost before the ink dries.

Ahead is a massive restructuring of global capitalism. Where it goes depends, of course, on subjective, political factors. But history teaches that the trajectory of capitalism, when experiencing a severe economic collapse, will generate a process of what Joseph Schumpeter, an apologist for capitalism, euphemistically called “a gale of creative destruction.” What that process produces, of course, could be deflected or shaped somewhat by political forces of right or left, but the prevailing tendency will be for stronger countries to shift their distress to weaker countries. The tendency will be for big capitals to smash or absorb smaller capitals, for concentration. The tendency will be to use unemployment and its accompanying pain to cheapen the cost of labor, to increase the rate of exploitation. The tendency will be to shift the balance of economic and political power further toward elites. In short, capital will attempt to restore its health by shifting its problems to the weak, destroying many and much in the process. 

Whether this trajectory is repeated as it was after the 2007-2009 crisis depends upon subjective factors-- today’s politics. 

Sterile debates, like the argument between the debt scolds (advocates of minimal government spending, austerity) and the new-age proponents of Modern Monetary Theory (the uncoupling of money expansion from a long-thought rigid relation to negative economic consequences like inflation), are not helpful today, though they are crowding other political options off the stage. 

The last 20 years of persistent, deeply rooted global deflationary pressure have left the zealots for balanced budgets and “moderate” debt with no argument. Central banks have injected trillions into economies with barely a hint of inflation resulting. Relatively extreme monetary inflation has barely contained the underlying deflation plaguing world economies. Thus, none of the near-hysterical inflation warnings proved justified.

The Modern Monetary Theory (MMT) proponents took this relatively limited experience of mounting debt and tepid inflation to demonstrate that MMT was more than a policy of limited application to a specific time and place, but a universal theory of money. In fact, it is a conditional theory, conditional upon very specific, historically determined conditions being met. 

In practice, MMT disconnects monetary policy from any objective standard of value (like gold, for example) and attaches it to the ultimate subjective standard, a fiat national currency. In as much as subjective confidence persists, MMT can persist. But a subjective standard-- because it is decoupled from objective value-- masks the underlying dynamics of the capitalist system; it distorts, rather than settles the chronic problems that plague the accumulation process. The massive bailouts of the last decade and of today appear to use central bank monetary activity to restore equity markets and financial institutions, but they merely isolate the rot and postpone a day of reckoning. The underlying problem remains unresolved, only to surface again, triggering another deflationary spiral, an unloading of “assets” without real value.

It would appear that bourgeois politics has found no other policy approach than austerity or MMT. Austerity, the prescription of the right and much of the center, has failed again and again, bringing countries like Greece to the brink of collapse.

And MMT-- applying a sling to a broken arm-- is the last gasp of the social democratic left, a panacea that promises to bring the best of all possible worlds: giving more to the needy without taking from the greedy. MMT sells an easy tactic that kicks the can of capitalist failure further down the road.

What is needed today is a radical solution to radical, unrivalled problems. 

Standing in the way of an effective approach is a wimpy, Nostalgia Left. 

For most of the trade union leadership, the dream is a return to the 1950s when the pesky Reds were subdued, the bosses allowed wages and benefits to track productivity in return for labor's cooperation with imperialism, and Blacks and women were not disrupting labor peace. 

The current centerpiece of the US Democratic Party-- financially secure, suburban social liberals-- long for a time before Trump when politics were courteous and the vast, growing economic inequalities were an unsightly, unfortunate, but tolerable blemish on the harmony of US civil society. 

Nearly all that remains of the old Democratic coalition, today ignored by the Democratic Party leadership, dreams of the era before Reagan, when Democrats actually gave a tepid voice to economic justice and worshipped at the altar of equal opportunity. Devoted to a fading memory of the New Deal, they place their hopes in a Democratic Party soul transplant. It’s not capitalism, but its ugly stepchild, neoliberalism, that they abhor. 

Too many of the aging radicals of the Old New Left were terrorized by McCarthyism, leading them to forage for something distant from Communism, to the left or right of real, existing Communism. Their search dashed, they have settled for a stale, visionless pragmatism. Their old 1960s antagonists would surely be amused at the irony. 

Thankfully, there are new generations of the left searching for big answers to the big problems of the moment. The last twenty years have shaped a less-than-promising future for millions of young people. And the spring of 2020 only promises far, far worse. To meet these challenges, one can hope that their journey takes more and more of them to revolutionary socialism, to the socialism of Marx, Engels, and Lenin, to the socialism that animated the working class movements for most of the last century and a half.

Greg Godels

Sunday, April 5, 2020

Capitalism Kills!

On April 3, thirteen hundred, twenty people (1320) died in the US from Covid-19, the disease inflicted by the novel coronavirus. Deaths in the US account for nearly a quarter of deaths resulting from the virus worldwide on that day. And New York state, the epicenter of US deaths, accounts for over one-half of those deaths (almost as many as the entire UK on April 3). To give some perspective, during the week of Tet, February 11-17, 1968 in Vietnam, five hundred, forty three (543) US soldiers were killed, the most lethal week of the war. Many attribute those deaths in war to shifting popular opinion and bringing the anti-war movement to decisive heights. 

On April 3, nearly 40% of all new cases globally were located in the US. Clearly, the US is fast becoming the center of the viral attack, potentially the greatest victim.

At the same time, the response in the US has been woefully inadequate. New York needs 20,000 to 40,000 ventilators, but they have 2,200 stockpiled, with 4,400 coming from FEMA. The mid-Atlantic region has only 10% of its needed N95 masks and none of the 15,000 body bags requested. FEMA reports having only 9,961 ventilators on April 2. And so it goes, from state to state, each state competing with the others over scarce supplies, a glowing tribute to the virtues of the market economy.

Politicians and media gasbags who usually wrap themselves in the flag and spout patriotic platitudes in times of crisis are unusually subdued and circumspect. Except, of course, they are vocal in condemning, questioning, or misrepresenting the aid delivered by other countries, especially Russia and PRChina. There is a profound reluctance to admit that the US is not the shining city on the hill of long standing mythology, capable of overcoming any adversity without the help of others. 

As Russia delivers needed medical supplies to the US, neo-Cold Warriors warn of the hidden motives and self-serving agendas that are really behind these acts of solidarity. At the same time, the US government, incompetent to deal with its own apocalyptic domestic crisis, tightens the noose it holds around contrived foes-- Cuba, Venezuela, Iran-- denying them access to crucial supplies necessary to combat the coronavirus. 

Nothing demonstrates the extraordinary lengths to which the US elite will go to preserve its self-styled image of “free world” leader like its determination to deny the success of countries like PRChina or DRVietnam in defeating the virus. As new cases explode in the US, a wide range of media outlets, from the leading mouthpieces of the capitalist class, The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times, to  the “centrist” Washington Post, to the government-supported anti-Communist Radio Free Asia, to the wacko-right Daily Wire, are reporting that the wily Chinese have vastly under-reported the deaths in Wuhan and Hubei province.

Apart from man/woman-in-the-street anecdotal accounts blown into vast conspiracies, the gotcha-journalists build their case around a cremation urn-count supposedly made by unidentified “social-media sleuths” and the alleged report of one crematorium in Wuhan. The sleuths arrive at a figure of 42,000 virus deaths, “16 times the official number” for Wuhan. However, they fail to explain how, from an urn count, their sleuths can determine which urns contain remains from virus victims and which do not. This would be especially difficult since, given one estimate of the annual death rate in PRC (7.4/1000), one would expect a normal number of deaths in Wuhan and Hubei province in a four-month period of between 27,000 and 47,000 deaths. 

Bizarrely, Radio Free Asia arrives at their own count of 46,800 by simply assuming that Wuhan’s 84 furnaces have been running non-stop, 24 hours a day, with each cremation taking an hour. Again, no allowance is stated for “normal” deaths. 

If this gruesome numbers-mongering is reminiscent of hysterical Cold-War demonizing, it is because it follows the same pattern of blatant, evidence-free slanders that characterized that era.

Western media and our political aristocracy would better serve if they would devote attention to the ballooning “unnecessary deaths” amongst the so-called “advanced” capitalist countries. They should be condemning the shamefully misnamed “bioethicists” who are ready to concede that we must devise criteria to summarily allow some sufferers to die for lack of enough beds, ventilators, or attendants; this is the bioethics of Nietzsche or Mengele. 

Whatever other countries have done to save lives and are doing to help others should be celebrated rather than diminished.

Instead, Western pundits are pointing the finger and blaming others for the virus and the inadequate response, the economic collapse, and the growing human costs.

When not blaming the Chinese, it’s the Russians. Some point to “globalization” as the culprit, especially its just-in-time supply chains. Others blame the federal bureaucracy, a favorite target of the crazed government-is-the-enemy crowd. Or more specifically, it’s FEMA or the CDC, which certainly earned some blame for its smug, we-know-best negligence.

Liberals fault Trump, the Republicans, our imperfect, log-jammed “democracy,” or decades of fiscal austerity. 

Of course the most vile charge is to condemn the US people for their lack of discipline, their faulty choices, their failure to heed their clueless leaders.

The tragedy is that the culprit escapes, only to inflict pain another day. Even much of the US left hesitates to bring the enemy fully into the light of day, preferring to blame today’s miseries upon “neo-liberal capitalism,” “disaster capitalism,” “crony capitalism,” or a hundred other flavors of capitalism that, if we were just able to purify them, everything would be good again. 

But we are on the brink of an unprecedented disaster that will change everything. We need to accept that capitalism, not some aberration or deviation from capitalism, but capitalism itself, is bringing the Western countries to their knees, permitting the ravages of a virus to kill the weakest, most vulnerable of our sisters and brothers. It is capitalism that, despite commanding the most advanced science of history, allows possibly hundreds of thousands of people to succumb to a sub-life form, while other, poorer countries are able to meet that threat.

Surely these tragic events demonstrate that markets should not decide our fate, that profit must not govern our safety and security, and that we should not place our confidence in leaders who garner their stature from their proximity to wealth and power. 

Greg Godels