Covid-19: Global Ecosocialist Network Statement
At its inaugural meeting by video conference on 3 May GEN unanimously adopted the following statement on the Covid-19 pandemic.
GEN sees the appalling Covid -19 pandemic as neither an act of god nor a random once in a lifetime natural disaster but as a symptom , like climate change and the plastification of our oceans, of the total environmental crisis which has developed in recent decades as a result of the metabolic rift opened up by capitalism between human society and nature.
As radical epidemiologists like Rob Wallace have shown the Covid -19 pandemic is only the latest and most deadly in a series of dangerous viruses, such as HIV, H5N1 (‘Avian flu’), H1N1 (‘swine flu’)SARS and MERS, which are a growing threat to us all, and that its roots lie in four features of modern capitalist agriculture: 1) the ever increasing dominance of food production by giant capitalist corporations practicing monoculture; 2) the ever growing encroachment on the wild by those same corporations increasing the likelihood of zoonotic infection [the leap of viruses across species to humans); 3) the prevalence of cruel and dangerous factory farming methods which concentrate immense numbers of animals in the smallest possible spaces; 4) increasingly globalised circuits of food distribution and trade which facilitate the rapid international spread of infection.
As a result humanity faces three conjoined and interacting crises: an ongoing climate crisis; an acute health crisis and an impending global economic crisis, all of unprecedented dimensions.
The Covid crisis has also highlighted the willingness of all capitalist governments and especially the far right neo liberal governments such as those of Trump, Bolsonaro and Johnson, to sacrifice human life on the altar of profit, especially old and sick people who do not any more generate plus-value. GEN also notes that this willingness bodes very ill for their ability to respond in any way adequately to the escalating climate crisis.
In the immediate situation GEN:
Expresses its solidarity with all health and front line workers across the globe, the vast majority being women, who are risking their lives for us all. We insist that they should be provided, by whatever means necessary, with adequate masks and PPEs.
Calls for public health to be put before private health everywhere .
Supports the principle of publicly owned health services free at the point of provision in all countries. Private beds, wards and hospitals should be requisitioned to deal with the crisis.
Calls for workers laid off and thrown into unemployment to be paid a living wage by the state.
In the short term, the additional indebtedness of the imperialist countries must be borne by transnational corporations and large fortunes, just as the public debt of dependent countries must be cancelled and these countries supported.
After this immediate crisis there must be no going back to capitalist business-as-usual because capitalist business-as-usual is threatening the very survival of humanity. The need for system change and ecosocialist solutions could not be clearer.