Socialist Worker

An imperial disaster

Issue No. 2697

The outskirts of Nairobi

The outskirts of Nairobi (Pic: computerwhiz417/flickr)


If coronavirus rips through countries ravaged by imperialism, it would spell catastrophe for millions.

In the Global South, countries were underdeveloped by slavery, colonialism and imperialism.

And in recent decades free market shock therapy—pushed by the US, Britain and the International Monetary Fund—has kept people in dire conditions. 

How is social distancing possible in Kibera in Kenya? Some 250,000 live on the outskirts of Nairobi in the largest slum in Africa.  An average shack in Kibera is 12 foot by 12 foot and often houses eight people. Those who aren’t unemployed survive on less than a dollar a day. 

And how can people wash their hands when they rely on two water pipes for the whole area? 

Some rulers in the Global South will try to grab more power for themselves and offer no solutions.

African health services have valuable experience of dealing with viruses, but underfunding and privatisation leave them exposed.

South African hospitals have fewer than 1,000 intensive care unit (ICU) beds—for a population of 56 million. 

Poverty means around four million people living with HIV/Aids can’t get medication to help their weakened immunity. 

In Zimbabwe, the capital Harare’s infectious diseases hospital has zero ICU beds. 

If the catastrophe comes, we should all point the finger at imperialism and neoliberalism.


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