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(en) ait russia: Whose crisis is this? [machine translation]

Date Wed, 27 May 2020 08:57:42 +0300

We publish a translation of the text from the German left-wing resource "Magazin", which cites and critically examines the main arguments of supporters and opponents of universal isolation as a measure to combat the coronavirus-19 epidemic. Constructed in the form of a discussion between opponents, the text gives a clear idea of why the current health problems have arisen and how the ruling classes use the current situation for their own purposes. The material in question is primarily about Germany, but what has been said is quite applicable to other countries, including Russia. ---- The conversation of the thinker with concern about the coronavirus and the health crisis (it can be imagined as an internal dialogue in the same person) ---- A .: Everyone is talking about the virus. But we are not. ---- B .: How is it not? We are talking too. Can't you see what's going on?

A .: Viruses have always been and remain a part of our life. Sometimes we defend ourselves against them. Sometimes this is done by our immune system. And sometimes we need the help of a doctor.

B .: Coronavirus is a huge danger! For all of us, and especially for the elderly and the sick. Perhaps for smokers.

A .: It is unlikely. In addition, coronaviruses are already known to us. Four of them cause numerous flu outbreaks every year. And there are three more that we also know: SARS, MERS and SARS2. Now we are talking about this very last. And we do not know how dangerous it is. On the one hand, we are dealing with math. This is a puzzle with many unknowns. Seeing only a certain result, we can falsely assume that everything comes down to only one of these factors. But if other factors are added, the equation will not converge. If we could determine the values of other factors, from A (asbestos) and L (air pollution) to T (tobacco smoking), then V (virus) would no longer look so omnipotent and frightening. All calculation models have the disadvantage that they scatter like a house of cards, if one of the factors is not taken into account.

B .: But there are figures and facts! What to do with the growing number of infected? What to do with the increase in the number of dead?

A .: On the other hand, this is an area of statistics. Even if mathematically we knew all the unknowns, we should still consider the result in relation to other data. To know how high mortality is, you need to know and compare average statistics. To know the number of infected, you need testing, no doubt. It is not possible to deduce propagation speed from current testing practice. After all, so far there has been only an increase in positive tests. After all, people with typical symptoms are checked. Thus, the growth of positive test results reflects only the increase in the number of tests in suspicious cases. This is a pure tautology, not saying anything about the spread of the virus. And, above all, about his danger. We know little about this virus, and this is in obvious disproportion to the observed reaction.

B .: But statistics should not obscure specific things from us. Indeed, 10% of people have severe symptoms. Our duty is to save them.

A .: Another statistically incorrect conclusion. You need to know the total quantity, but this is not. Therefore wander in the fog. Only 10% (if so many) of people with symptoms can fear a severe course of the disease. Moreover, such a move does not depend on the virus itself, but on other factors, such as age and the presence of other diseases. Indeed, in our days, they die not only from this virus. This virus is not a fatal disease, such as Ebola, where the chances of survival are 10%. People die with a coronavirus, not a coronavirus. As already mentioned: we always live with viruses, more or less dangerous. Coronavirus is not deadly and may not even be particularly dangerous, but it spreads very quickly. This happens with flu viruses. Under other, better circumstances, there would not be much talk about this. But then suddenly everyone began to see in other people only the threat of viral infection. However, before it was not otherwise. Under capitalism, man is no helper to man!

Now about ethical duty. Yes, any, even a small number of people need protection. But current measures rather hinder this. After all, they are so all-encompassing that the effect of the virus on people remains in them as in a black box - and targeted protection is not guaranteed.

B .: But isn't social distance the best opportunity to protect yourself and others? We do not know how the virus will behave, but because of solidarity we remain at home. This is the path of minimum risk, which makes maximum protection possible.

A .: First of all, we protect the destroyed healthcare system from overload in this way. She was saved before the destruction in such a way that she threatens to fall apart from itself not a very dangerous, but widespread infection. Lack of personnel, overloads and lack of equipment have been discussed for many years. So all this is no longer a surprise. By the way, not everyone can stay at home - you need to be able to afford it. So at least for this reason it will not protect everyone. But solidarity does not mean that everyone suddenly begins to act as if they are in mortal danger, which in fact is not. Act must be targeted, and not direct actions indiscriminately. At the moment, it seems, first of all, the spread of panic and fear is occurring. Shock exposure is highly desirable

B .: But the situation is really emergency! In such a situation, we must take full responsibility and cannot behave as usual. If we respect each other and keep our distance from each other, we will survive this crisis.

A .: Why should we consider an emergency situation that they have been talking about for the coming years for years? This is only possible if you ignore it or want it. And why should we all now be held accountable? The health care system was deliberately destroyed and privatized. Her goals themselves have changed. She no longer belonged to social security, but was supposed to serve as a means of making a profit. And now we are clearly seeing what we know. But at the end of February, the Minister of Health insisted on his discussion on the closure of hospitals!

B .: Well now, the health system is being helped. They give more money, more staff. New emergency hospitals are being built. And even the army helps. This could lead to future changes. Care professions are gaining greater public recognition.

A .: Just make a lot of efforts to leave everything as it is. No one calls into question the senseless system of lump-sum payment of services for a single case of treatment or making a profit as a goal. The medical and pharmaceutical industry can pretty rub their hands. They are also rewarded for their antisocial actions. They should be immediately expropriated! And drive those responsible in the streets. Only, of course, in compliance with a safe distance and wearing masks. Do not think about changes for a long time! And recognition is worth something only when it does not come down to symbolic applause. Or sweet words. This would require a change in society. And he who expects this from the rulers is mistaken about their intentions.

B .: Seriously? Doesn't the government react quite intelligently in this crisis? It is enough to look at other countries - there you can see much worse forms of the ongoing processes, in medical and political terms.

A .: Do you still believe that the virus threatens us. But all those who destroyed and want to continue to destroy public health are far more dangerous. Our lives are always threatened by disease. Because of this, we do not stop living, but we need medical treatment - for everyone and for free. We are threatened by the fact that social wealth is in the hands of those who not only want to deprive us of access to it, but also protect it with violence - in the first place, of the state. The ban on leaving the house is a panic reaction of the government, as the situation takes on the features of uncontrollability. Anyone who praises the idiocy of the government as some kind of draconian measure, simply legitimizes with his - with his own encouragement - fear the most inadequate of all measures.

B .: The ban on contacts, the ban on leaving home and forced closure - this is all temporary until improvement comes. They are not inadequate, they simply are not applied consistently - for example, in enterprises.

A .: Until there is an improvement in what? The government does not say what it intends to do over time. It only says that the infection curve should be slowed down. That is, about the fact that the virus will adapt to the capacities of hospitals, which are not enough. But rhetoric betrays everything: everyone now bears responsibility. The rules should be followed. Discipline and cohesion are needed. This is a classic authoritarian neoliberalism. You need to feel guilty if you are sick, and do not dare to demand the right to health from the government. Under the guise of ideological empty phrases, people are required to refuse. And by the way, yes, in the German arms production, not a single conveyor should stop for a minute, with or without contact prohibition. But is this an argument for banning contacts?

B .: It is about slowing down the growth curve of new infected people, otherwise collapse is threatening. In such a situation, not a single person should be exposed to risk.

A .: This is just one of the points of view. Virologists are by no means unanimous. One of them was made by an adviser to the government, and, as it were, by chance, for the biggest restrictions and, moreover, he only blindly sees only the molecular biological level, but does not know human society. And also confuses the honor of the scientist with fidelity to the government, for which he is revered. Other virologists are not only more liberal politically, but also more critical. And they are more interested in how the virus affects a person. But political decisions are justified just by insurmountable medical circumstances, which, upon careful examination, turn out to be only the stubborn personal opinion of one expert in a very limited molecular biological field. And then it is enforced by police across the country. All this is very doubtful. Especially if the measures seemingly called to serve to fight the virus, promise to be worse than the virus itself. How does isolation work - especially for the elderly and the sick? Loneliness is already considered a dangerous folk disease - in the UK there is even a ministry for loneliness. Of course, this translates the social problem into the medical plane, but at the same time shows that it has serious consequences.

B .: But otherwise thousands of people will die - as it was in Bergamo and in Spain! This must be prevented, if possible, even if collateral damage is caused.

A .: We still need to investigate why such a bad situation has developed in Bergamo. This is also due to the extent to which the local health care system has been destroyed - including under the sign of the German-European policy of austerity after the 2007 crisis and with many other factors. The photographs are terrifying, but with the help of terrible photographs, politics is made - just like with the help of decorative, but unused corpses in large American cities to intimidate people with their president, as if they no longer knew who he was. As for Europe: the German government very quickly and clearly informed the Italian that there would be no generalization of debts at the European level. But what, at the same time, the German economy will be saved by huge loans. For Italy and Spain, this is impossible; they will go bankrupt. What is happening now we could already see during the so-called "refugee crisis". When nothing more can be done politically, they try it with terrible and compassionate photographs. This is a politically helpless reaction to arrogance and inequality in Europe. And at the same time it serves to establish the jargon of horror about decisions concerning life and death. Moreover, such sentences are passed by society itself. The poor die on average 10 years earlier than the rich.

B .: But this is cynical! Are you going to deny that people are dying in Italy?

A .: I cannot and will not deny that people are dying. But the question is why this is happening. And in what these deaths are used for. This world is cynical, not the one who talks about it. It's obvious that in the current health crisis, we are talking about a claim to the sole rightness and political power. But both of them must remain invisible - that is, precisely with ideology.

B .: This is too much given by conspiracy theorists on the network who deny the virus.

A .: To deny the virus is nonsense. But even virologists argue how dangerous it really is. And to determine the proportionality of the measures taken - this in a democracy should be the task of every citizen. However, the government proclaimed the end of the world, and then, of course, everything was justified. The leftists were simply outwitted: it was enough to shout out "solidarity" - and all of them here as they sat down peacefully in their kitchens in housing communities. Here even the government was surprised how easy it was to abolish fundamental freedoms. Just one hygiene prescription! This is a test of fascism, a little training for a serious case. And the virus here came in very handy. All parties rallied around the government. And they all get something: the green ones have more bike lanes, and the right ones have closed borders. And the maneuver showed that you can rely on the media: immediate self-standardization. They voluntarily participate in the hunt for violators of the rules and stigmatize the so-called improper behavior. Critical communication is no longer practiced. Instead, a scene of confrontation is played out between two opponents - a viral threat and a brave government. And every layman from the middle class now publishes his own coronavirus diary from a self-imposed delusional quarantine.

B .: But a lot of fake news also runs. Right-wing supporters of conspiracy theories are spreading rumors. The media informs about figures and facts, and does not sow panic.

A .: Large-scale misinformation is carried out with the help of figures and facts. As if they were explaining something. The problem is that such an interpretation was almost always deliberate: government measures have no alternative. Now it is slowly changing. Trending opinions were branded as fake news. It was especially interesting when the position of heretics a few days later without any reservations appeared in the so-called "quality" media already in the form of an official position. In crude systems of domination, this always happens: the opposition is persecuted, but if it is right, the government takes over its position as its own. And the panic is sowing with might and main: on the pretext of warning against it. One doctor from Vienna a hundred years ago already knew how the desired is expressed through the opposite.

B .: But should one in such a situation show little confidence in the effectiveness of the measures? What is necessary is always partly reasonable.

A .: That is what the government is speculating on. It creates facts that paralyze rational thinking. The fact that they do not rely too much on trust is already indicated by the talk of "characteristic testing," which was used to justify the ban on leaving the house. The population is now under suspicion. But this also shows how great the desire for crisis is. It is a dream of all authoritarian characters who now rule decrees and orders, but without parliament and opposition. All of Germany dreams and enjoys. That the economic and political crisis was coming, they already foresaw. The social conflict was postponed many times - it was both thirsty and feared at the same time. And here comes the emergency due to the virus, which allowed the repressed to return in a transformed form. For some, this is a war against an internal enemy, for others - against the outside. Or the fight against lack of discipline and cohesion. All the powers that be use the virus for their own purposes. Among other things, how well this works is demonstrated by the fact that in Germany only companies with billions of profits stopped paying rent, but not thousands of tenants who barely make ends meet from month to month: this is a "community of common destiny", thanks to the crisis.

B .: At the moment, this is not about politics, but about public health. Governments must protect him, this is their task. And we are interested in saving life. This is the most crucial interest.

A .: Bourgeois governments have long been not worried about the fate of that part of the population that is excessive for capital. How simple it would be to prevent thousands of deaths from tuberculosis! But it will not bring benefits. Assistance in committing suicide has long been a ubiquitous practice with indulgence for the pharmacological industry - this can be seen in the example of opioids in the United States. No, the conflict is political: it unfolds between the conditions of reproduction of those who own capital and those who do not have it. The former want hospitals for a few solvent patients, and the latter for everyone. Ultimately, we are talking about political power. The question is: Whose crisis? Who will win?

B .: But now there is urgent help for the victims, including independent workers and small entrepreneurs. The German state has reserve funds to help everyone. Even the ban on new debt for state bodies is being softened. Perhaps even the end of the neoliberal doctrine!

A .: Instead of expanding public infrastructure such as healthcare before, they are now distributing funds to hold out. True, only to its own population, generalization of debts at the EU level, by the will of Germany, will not be. Thousands of people will find themselves in a state of poverty and unemployment, despite all the loans and help. In other countries, people probably will not bear it in silence, perhaps in Germany too. Neoliberalism has by no means ended, and the virus will not end it - this is what people themselves must do. Now any social movement is being suspected of spreading the infection and is immediately blocked. But for a long time it will not remain so. The ruling circles also anticipate this, therefore they act even more authoritarianly for preventive purposes. Part of the future conditions of the struggle is to prevent this.

B .: I'm afraid. I would not want to get infected, wither, or die on the floor of the hospital or in the gym, lose friends or relatives.

A .: We are all afraid. We are afraid of death - but also of social death. This fear lives on capitalism, betting that the fear of death is stronger than the desire for a better life. This is the secret of slavery. One of ours once said in a poem that we should be afraid of a bad life more than death. We should again learn to lose fear together. Well, or at least not to be afraid more than necessary - and then the virus will not be the greatest of our fears. And, perhaps, the socialist republic of polyclinics will rise from the ruins of the global health care system, and not the ugly fascist state of survival.

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