Tomás Ó Flatharta

Looking at Things from the Left

An Evil King Rules an Afflicted Land: Coronavirus and the Depression in America – New Politicsm

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American Author and Activist Dan La Botz writes a grim assessment of the CoronaVirus Epidemic in America, and the related economic depression.

We in America live in what resembles some medieval fairy tale. An evil and maniacal king rules the plague stricken land. The wicked lords in the corrupt parliament rob the public coffers to enrich their cronies. The tribunes of the people, mostly venal and foolish, are alternately deceived or suborned by the King and the lords. Meanwhile many people are sick and many dying. The bodies pile up. The soothsayers blame it on the foreigners and plan pogroms. The mills have stopped; the inns and taverns have closed. Peasants rebel here and there but the plague prevents a general rebellion. Word has it the situation is the same in neighboring kingdoms all around.

That’s a fairy tale of course. What’s the reality? The United States now has nearly one million coronavirus cases and 50,000 deaths, more of both than any country in the world. We have an unemployment rate of 20 percent, the highest since the Great Depression of the 1930s. The two together represent what is perhaps the greatest crisis in American history, an absolutely unprecedented event: a catastrophe. And it may only have just begun.

As the coronavirus has swept across the country bringing illness to hundreds of thousands and killing tens of thousands, Americans have been shocked by the failure of government, business, and the health system. As the number of sick mounted, there were not enough hospitals, not enough hospital beds, not enough ICUs, not enough ventilators. Hospital personnel have lacked gowns, masks, and respirators. As hospital workers fall sick or die there are not enough health workers to replace them. Some seven thousand elderly died in private nursing homes. The disease is now rampant in prisons. It is rife in meat packing plants, with 725 cases at the Smithfield plant in South Dakota. Twenty-six U.S. Navy ships have crews with coronavirus, including 850 sick on the huge 5,000-crewmember U.S.S. Roosevelt. Everywhere essential workers—bus drivers, garbage collectors, grocery cashiers, delivery workers—became sick and many have died, and neither business nor the governments that regulate these companies acted quickly to save them.
— Read on

The most depressing part of this analysis comes at the end, where the activities and analysis of the largest organisation on the American Activist Left, the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA), is described.

The Democratic Socialists of America (DSA), the country’s largest socialist organization with 60,000 members, had endorsed Sanders but will not endorse Joe Biden, though many can be expected to vote for him. DSA and others on the left are involved in mutual aid projects and in worker organizing as well as social movements. DSA has formed an alliance withLabor Notes and with the small United Electrical Workers Union (UE) and has been working with nurses, teachers, truck drivers and warehouse workers. The left is also engaged in work around immigrant rights. The struggle goes on.

My question is : the author rules out any support for TweedleTrump or TweedleBiden in the November 2020 USA General Election. He observes many DSA supporters will be drawn into the TweedleBiden swamp, led there by the Pied Piper of Vermont, MiniTweedleSanders. It seems to this outside observer that an alternative electoral strategy is necessary for the American Radical Left, which offers a practical alternative, today, for the November 2020 Electoral Contest. Left Critics of the “Vote Sanders” strategy have, in the main, been shown to be correct. But, can all those critics, today, get behind a progressive left and eco-socialist campaign to fight the November 2020 Contest?

– John Meehan

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