Skip to main content

Cononavirus crisis 'giving rise' to racism, maskophobia against Chinese, migrants

By Bhabani Shankar Nayak*
The coronavirus pandemic is battering lives and wreaking havoc in world economy at the same time. This worldwide health and economic crisis reveal the inherent structural fault lines within neoliberal economic system dominated by global corporations. The fault lines are further exacerbated by the amoral market led states that protect interests of big businesses and pharmaceutical corporations.
The incoherent, incomprehensive and reluctant strategic response to this crisis by the developed counties like UK and USA reflect utter failure of the neoliberal ideology that promotes business of sickness by privatising public health.
The Thatcherite and Blairite neoliberal economic policies are destroying the National Health Service (NHS) in UK; one of the best healthcare systems in the world. The NHS is suffering from funds crunch, shortages of doctors and nurses due to under investment in health infrastructure for decades.
How do we expect the NHS to face complex challenges of coronavirus pandemic? The conservative government’s response to the crisis is pumping up money to sustain business and less focus on fighting the pandemic. The focus is more on the survival of the businesses than lives of ordinary people. The Tory government’s failure to face such a crisis is giving rise to racism and maskophobia against Chinese and other migrant population.
Donald Trump calls coronavirus as Chinese virus. Such statements fuel racism and anti-Chinese sentiments in the society. His government’s policy response abandons poor American’s ability to access healthcare during this pandemic. It puts nearly 58 per cent American lives in risk.
His government is an utter failure to deal with coronavirus in USA. The American imperialist trade embargo is directly responsible for the higher percentage of deaths in Iran due coronavirus pandemic. It is important to demand for the removal of American trade embargo on Iran on humanitarian grounds. But capitalist geopolitics is all about business.
The business of sickness is an integral part of neoliberal ideology and its economic system. This pandemic is an opportunity for profit hungry pharmaceutical corporations, private healthcare providers, insurance agencies and other businesses. The stockpiling of essential goods by people is selfish, nasty and brutish. But such Hobbesian solitary behaviours are reinforced by the neoliberal economic policies practiced over last four decades.
The individualistic response to crisis is a product of neoliberal capitalism that reshaped us from social beings to mere customers under a market led society and state. Therefore, it is important to break away from such a system that promotes death and destitution by using pandemic as an opportunity to make the empire of profit.
Courtney Davis and John Abraham in their book “Unhealthy Pharmaceutical Regulation: Innovation, Politics and Promissory Science” argue that drug regulatory agencies in US and EU are corrupted. These agencies and their policies promote commercial interests of the pharmaceutical industries and undermines the interests of the patients for last three decades. People in Italy, Spain, UK, France and USA are in the receiving end of such policies.
Cuban doctor Luis Herrera, creator of Interferon Alfa 2-B medicine, argues, health is not a commercial asset but a basic right
This pandemic calls for structural reforms both within economic and health systems across the world. Kate Pickett and Richard Wilkson in their book “The Spirit Level: Why Greater Equality Makes Societies Stronger” argue that egalitarian societies are healthy societies. There is a strong link between inequality, poverty and poor health.
Poor people are more vulnerable to coronavirus. Therefore, all government policies need to steer towards poor and working-class people both in short run and long run. Emancipatory politics and policies are only alternatives that the state and governments need to emulate. Nationalisation of pharmaceutical industries, private hospitals and medical facilities, universal access to medicine are few primary steps in fighting coronavirus pandemic.
China was the epicentre of coronavirus pandemic. State capitalism or socialism with Chinese character with all its limitations has managed to contain and reduce the spread of coronavirus. China and Cuba provide medical aid to Italy now when European Union looked the other way. In spite of all liberal criticisms, Cuba has managed to develop infrastructure to produce highest number of doctors, nurses and medical professionals in the world.
Cuba has established the BioCubaFarma group which is rolling out Interferon Alpha 2B drug that can be used to treat coronavirus pandemic. Unlike developed capitalist countries, Cuba shares the technology with many countries like Finland, China and USA. Cuban doctor Luis Herrera, the creator of the Interferon Alfa 2-B medication, argues that “health is not a commercial asset but a basic right". Cuban provides medical aid and many doctors and health professionals are working in many African and Latin American countries.
This crisis offers the limitless possibilities of socialist alternative which means borderless solidarity, sharing economy and technology for people and caring for healthy environment. It is our choice for a healthy and harmonious economy for the present and future. Let’s fight for socialism together or perish together under pandemic incubator called capitalism.
---
*With the Coventry University, UK

Comments

TRENDING

Young environmentalist's arrest 'sinister', even parents not told of her whereabouts

By Our Representative  The Coalition for Environmental Justice in India (CEJI), a civil society network, has said that it is “highly disturbing” that Disha Ravi, a young woman climate activist from Bengaluru was “picked up” in what is referred to as a “closely guarded operation” of the Delhi police. Disha, 21, has been remanded to police custody for five days after she was taken from Bengaluru to Delhi.

Mukesh Ambani's earnings during Covid 'can lift' 40% informal workers out of poverty

By Dr Gian Singh*  The Inequality Virus Report released by Oxfam, a non-profit organization, on January 25, 2021 on the growing inequalities in different parts of the world, sheds light on the growing economic, educational, healthcare and gender inequalities in India. The report has revealed that the wealth of billionaires has increased by 35 per cent during the lockdown period in the country.

US forensic revelation enough evidence to release Sudha Bharadwaj, others: Civicus

Counterview Desk  Civicus, a Johannesburg-based global alliance of civil society organisations and activists claiming to have presence in 175 countries with 9,000 members and working for strengthening citizen action, has sought immediate release of Sudha Bharadwaj, arrested in 2018 under the anti-terror Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) and accused of having links with the banned Communist Party of India (Maoist).

'These people shouldn't be in jail': UN official seeks release of 16 human rights defenders

By Our Representative A United Nations human rights official has called upon the Government of India (GoI) to “immediately release" 16 human rights defenders who have been imprisoned on charges of terrorism in the Bhima-Koregaon Case, insisting, “These people should not be in jail. They are our modern-day heroes and we should all be looking to them and supporting them and demanding their release.”  

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur* Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.

Golwalkar's views on tricolour, martyrs, minorities, caste as per RSS archives

By Shamsul Islam*  First time in the history of independent India, the in-charge minister of the Cultural Ministry in the current Modi government, Prahlad Singh Patel, has glorified MS Golwalkar, second supremo of the RSS and the most prominent ideologue of the RSS till date, on his birth anniversary, February 19. In a tweet he wrote : “Remembering a great thinker, scholar, and remarkable leader #MSGolwalkar on his birth anniversary. His thoughts will remain a source of inspiration & continue to guide generations.”

Evolution of Sardar Patel's understanding of those 'involved' in Gandhi's assassination

By Shamsul Islam*  As the world mourns the 73rd anniversary of MK Gandhi's assassination by Hindutva terrorists on January 30, 1948, RSS, the most prominent flag-bearer of Hindutva politics, whose cadres rule India today, is found reacting angrily to the reality – that the criminals who assassinated Gandhiji were not only part of the ideological world-view of Hindu Mahasabha (led by VD Savarkar) and RSS brand of Hindu nationalism but were also connected with these. 

No Election Commission safeguard against electromagnetic hacking of EVM: Study

Counterview Desk  Releasing a new study simultaneously in Chennai and Kolkata in view of the forthcoming elections in Tamil Nadu and West Bengal, the Citizens’ Commission on Elections (CCE) – a civil society initiative – has regretted “lack of integrity of EVM voting”, pointing out, the Election Commission of India (ECI) does not appear to safeguard against the possibilities of ‘side-channel attacks’, i.e, hacking electronic devices through electromagnetic and other methods.

20% of FIRs against journalists in 2020 alone, targeted attacks in 2021 'too many to count'

Counterview Desk  Condemning what it calls “alarming rise in state repression and clampdown on news outlets and journalists” that “expose” the anti-people nature of the establishment, India's top civil society network, National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM) has demanded “immediate release of arrested journalists, withdrawal of arbitrary charges and protection of media persons facing threats.”

Top academic claims he warned farmer leaders of Hindutva plot on Jan 26 morning

By Shamsul Islam* The photographs here show a Hindutva protagonist, Deep Sidhu, with his real masters. He is said to be the culprit who tried to derail the historic farmers' struggle by putting up a religious flag at Red Fort on January 26, with no Delhi police which works under the Indian home minister Amit Shah, a senior RSS cadre who is often described 'Iron Man' by Hindutva camp-followers.