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(en) France, Union Communiste Libertaire UCL - UCL press release - A crisis of international scope: the responsible is capitalism ! (fr, it, pt)[machine translation]

Date Fri, 27 Mar 2020 10:01:15 +0300

In three months, the coronavirus has spread to nearly 170 countries, in total more than 200,000 cases of Covid-19 have been confirmed as well as 9,000 deaths according to the WHO. At the origin of this health crisis, it is capitalism which is in question and in particular the meat industry which, in addition to degraded health conditions, induces deforestation. The latter destroy the habitat of disease-carrying animals. These factors thus favor the coming into contact of viruses with human populations. The current organization of the economy and trade has accelerated the spread of the virus worldwide. Competition and the race for profit between capitalists have delayed and limited health measures in many countries.
An international health and economic crisis
In Latin America, Uruguay took the first measures against the virus as of last Friday (March 13) by deciding to close all of its borders. 80 cases are listed on the 3.4 million inhabitants. Quarantine has been established, police checks are announced. Schools are closed and companies are gradually doing the same while putting in place safety recommendations ...

In Argentina, since the first case confirmed less than 2 weeks ago, the pandemic has spread to just under 100 cases. Schools are closed since Monday, a mandatory quarantine has been declared, the Friday, March 20 until 1 stof April. Announced Thursday evening and direct effect from midnight, the population had very little time to prepare. A massive deployment of the country's police forces raises fears of an outburst of police violence in working-class neighborhoods and especially in villas (slums). Outings are allowed to buy food in supermarkets that continue to operate, to go to the pharmacy and to help vulnerable people.

The challenge of protecting workers, paying their wages and closing down companies will arise, will employees be forced to work in defiance of their lives as in Europe ? Millions of workers in the popular economy are outside formal wage labor, and will not be protected. What about these millions of people who will not be able to survive without going out to work ? Because of very worrying access to water, a major crisis is feared. While Argentina was already experiencing an epidemic of dengue fever, concentrated mainly in the slums where mosquitoes thrive due to the high unsanitary conditions. This epidemic worried the government less, affecting only the poorest.

Brazil is also taking the brunt of the irresponsibility of its far-right president, slowing down all measures on the pretext that the pandemic is rather due to "collective hysteria". Despite everything, the country started belatedly to follow its Latin American counterparts and today decreed the closing of all its land borders and the ban on entry to people coming from certain European and Asian countries. In Chile, too, the measures of the political class aim first of all to protect profits rather than the population.

In Africa, where the first case of Covid-19 appeared in Egypt in February, we are preparing for the worst. For the moment we are talking about 640 cases in 33 countries, but caregivers warn that too few tests have been done and that the figures are surely below the reality. The African continent is suffering all the more from the crisis because of the colonial attitude and policies aimed at making a whole part of its economy dependent and kept, the measures taken by European countries and the United States in terms of, for example, trade therefore has all the more impact. In terms of health, the situation is also alarming, with many areas in which it will be very difficult, if not impossible, to put in place even the basic measures aimed at slowing the spread.

Resistances and organization of those below
In Mexico for the moment the government is trying to prevent the rapid implementation of the necessary measures. The Zapatista communities have decided on emergency measures "Considering the frivolous irresponsibility and the lack of seriousness of bad governments and the political class as a whole, who use a humanitarian problem to attack each other, instead of taking the necessary measures to face this danger which threatens life without distinction[...]as well as the absence of a real plan to face the threat ..." [1]The red alert is therefore declared in the"caracoles", which will be closed until further notice.

The United States, under the torments of Donald Trump, is not immune to an attempt to minimize the magnitude of the risk. Quarantine measures have all the same started and solidarity and resistance are being organized, with in particular a call for a rent strike which is starting to gain momentum. There too, given the slowness to respond to it, the crisis risks wreaking havoc, especially since the ultra-liberal health system will not authorize the working classes to treat themselves properly and receive the necessary care.

While containment is complete in Italy, the country with the highest number of deaths, businesses that were not absolutely necessary to stem the epidemic continued to produce until Sunday, March 22. It is because strikes have multiplied that the government has been forced to suspend (until April 3 for now) all non-essential activities. It was the workers who imposed the necessary measures on the capitalists and the state. In Portugal, the left government is taking the lead by completely suspending the right to strike.

Everywhere, the health crisis is extremely worrying for those below. The capitalists and their political servants endanger us for their profits when they take shelter, do not take social measures, or even challenge our social rights to try at all costs to send us back to work, or prevent us outright to leave it. The solution will only come from our solidarity and our self-organization to resist. We must continue to stay in touch, exchange our experiences and our resistance to bring our internationalism to life.

Union Communiste Libertaire, March 22, 2020

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[1] https://lavoiedujaguar.net/Face-au-coronavirus-l-EZLN-ferme-les-caracoles-et-appelle-a-ne-pas-abandonner

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