There are no “market?based solutions” to saving hundreds of thousands of vulnerable people’s lives from coronavirus. We have to suspend capitalism.
Resources from across society and the economy—whether car plants, corportate call centres, supermarkets or second homes—have to be thrown into an effort to save lives. That needs a collective and planned response, not leaving it to the anarchy of the market.
Workers in Royal Mail, for instance, could be used to deliver food and supplies to people who have had to self-isolate.
In the worst case scenario, the NHS will need an additional 20,000 ventilators to help people to breathe.
Yet The BBC reports that specialist firms that make ventilators and other critical equipment might not be prepared to share their intellectual property with others to help make more.
This shows up the logic of capitalism where firms compete with one another to grab a bigger slice of the market share of profits.
Instead, production should be subordinated to meeting people’s needs. There should not be attempts at further profiteering from the NHS during this crisis.
The Tory government says it wants a “national response”—while rigidly sticking to market logic. And under the guise of “national unity” and “pulling together,” the Tories and bosses will try to make ordinary workers pay.
We need class unity against the Tories and initiatives from below to protect people’s lives.
In some areas people are coming together to help each other during a time of crisis. Local organisation and initiative is welcome. But it must not be captured by the fakery of “national unity”. Instead it needs to be guided by class unity against the Tories.
That’s very different to bosses shutting up shop for the duration of the coronavirus crisis and abandoning workers.
The threat of mass layoffs hangs over people in pubs, restaurants, cafes, cinemas, theatres and conference centres. Sackings have already taken place and many zero hour contract workers have already been told not to go in.
As people are told to minimise social contact, it’s understandable that fewer people will use some services.
All those workers should have full pay and support throughout any closures.
The unions need to fight against the bosses in every such case—not sign up to any deals that sees bosses bailed out and workers paying the price.
Governments around the world have responded by prioritising keeping up profit flows. We need a bottom up approach that puts people before profit—and that means breaking with business as usual.
As capitalism fails, we need to put forward a socialist alternative.