Demand Free And Universal Health Care System To Combat Covid-19

Covid-19 has put the future of humanity itself at stake, while Capitalism is at war with the society even now. What has been proved is the urgent necessity of a mass political movement of the working class against capitalism; a direct frontal assault on it in addition to immediate demands for the survival of the working class from hunger and diseases. What we are witnessing is nothing but the consequence of a society organized on the basis of profit and a society in which a few individuals (in single digit!) own more than what half of the entire population has. The pandemic has laid bare the inescapable necessity of a fundamental restructuring of society. Once again in the history of mankind, it has been proved that human progress and security is inseparable from the struggle against inequality.

Comrades! The novel corona virus pandemic is developing into a social, economic and political crisis on a scale that is without precedent. It has profoundly disrupted the existing world capitalist social order. Just estimates of the scale of deaths from the Covid-19 illness are causing widespread anxiety. Millions may die across countries. Many, such as Iran and Brazil, have reportedly begun digging mass graves.

It is now clear that this pandemic has exposed the inability of the capitalist system to deal with such a crisis. Capitalist governments throughout the world have responded with a staggering level of incompetence and disarray. Public health care systems, starved of resources, have failed. The complete incapacity of the developed countries, such as the United States, to respond to this emergency is an indictment of the entire capitalist economic system whose motto is: If the accumulation of our billions requires the death of millions, so be it.

That is why all policies in capitalist countries have been based on the private enrichment of the oligarchs at the expense of society, even when humanity is struggling against Covid-19. All governments are floundering to safeguard the profits of corporations as millions face dire consequences with almost no assistance. The World Health Organization, which supposedly exists to coordinate responses to health emergencies, is powerless and its guidelines and regulations are being universally ignored.

In such situations, we must demand:

  • A well formulated set of principles that guides the Government’s response to the crisis and takes into account the needs of the working masses as the unconditional priority over all considerations of corporate profit.
  • A massive and well-coordinated mobilization of resources to combat the corona virus as well as other diseases, including the allocation of adequate amount of fund to ensure for all equal and free access to testing facilities and a quality medical care for all who need it.
  • The profit-driven system of health care must be completely abolished and replaced with a public system of equal, free and universal coverage. All the idle resources and capital invested in the private sector must be taken over by the government and put to public service in this crisis.
  • A massive public industrial production program must be initiated to produce medical equipment in such amounts as required and desperately needed. For this, all the key industries must be brought under public ownership.
  • Take all immediate measures to safeguard the overall health of workers whether at home or workplace. Highly congested workplaces where there is a danger of the spread of the virus must be either shut down or regularly well sanitized. In case of shut down, the workers must get full wages and other benefits. Repeal all anti-worker laws and reforms, including newly announced 12-hour workday. Repeal all the government orders that freeze DA, DR, Bonus and wage increments of workers and employees.
  • Ensure ₹12000/- per month is deposited in every workers’ bank account till industries resume production.   
  • There must be a moratorium on evictions combined with a moratorium on rent payments.
  • The giant banks and corporations as well as all the riches buried in the chests of religion-based organizations must be placed under public ownership and democratic control i.e. must be nationalized and placed under people’s account monitor and surveillance.
  • The vast fortunes of the ultra-rich must be expropriated to make funds available to ensure universal access to health care, housing, utilities and other necessary social needs.
  • All of economic life must be reorganized on the basis of a planned economy, removing the obstacles posed by private property and the profit motive.
  • Raise your voice for Socialism!

These demands must be raised in addition to the immediate demands for massive relief measures programs that are being already raised by trade unions and other working-class mass organizations in alliance with revolutionary students and youth organizations.  

Originally published in Scientific Socialism: PRC’s Theoretical & Political Weekly Commentary on Current Issues (Issue 2 / 7-14 May ’20)

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