Three months after COVID 19 emerged in Wuhan, its epicenter, China has succeeded to contain and beat back this pandemic, with no new cases reported for last few days. At its peak, this epidemic affected 81,054 people in China, with 3287 deaths. Starting with the shut down in Wuhan and few other places, at its peal 60 million people were under lock down. Now, after effectively containing this epidemic, China has already started economic recovery and rehabilitation of affected people.
We are well aware that China is no more a socialist country, but an imperialist country, a bureaucratic dictatorship, engaged in trade war with the US for world hegemony. But, instead of taking a positive approach to China’s handling of this epidemic, right from the beginning the China-based branches of Voice of America, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post and Time, US media giants, were taking a Xenobhobic, racist, antagonistic approach while reporting its anti-corona virus efforts, which was parroted around the world, including India. They portrayed the makeshift hospitals erected very fast in Wuhan as “concentration camps,” The lock-down in China was criticized saying “ it came at great cost for its people’s livelihoods and personal liberties.” The Wall Street Journal called “China Is the Real Sick Man of Asia”. At the same time, now when the whole of Italy is under lock down, with military deployed to enforce it, even then many above 80 years are left to die without treatment (as many reports from there reveal), all that is done there is praised by the same media as great, “risking its economy in an effort to contain Europe’s worst corona virus outbreak”. One can understand the increasing rivalry between US and China, who are engaged in a dirty trade war for world hegemony. But Trump has extended it through the imperialist think tanks and media to attacking China’s efforts to contain the outbreak of corona virus also. As a result, even when WHO and other UN agencies and China had warned about the pandemic nature of COVID 19, necessary precautions were not taken to prevent it from spreading to US and Europe. Modi led RSS/BJP regime was fully engaged in finding ways to get the NPR/NRC done based on CAA, in organizing a great welcome to Trump, planning the pogrom in Northeast Delhi from 23rd to 26th February, apart from involvement in the divisive election campaign for Delhi assembly, While the first corona virus case was reported from Kerala and the state government’s efforts were reported, no attention was given to take precaution at al India level. Even after Kerala government came under severe criticism for not checking passengers from international flight for COVID 19, and it started checking international as well as internal air travelers by end of February, attention was given for it by the central authorities only by the second week of March, as the number of corona patients in Maharashtra and elsewhere went above Kerala, with cases and deaths daily increasing. By that time, the epidemic had reached serious proportions in Italy, Spain, France and other EU countries along with US and Canada, and Iran, around the world to more than 160 countries. Only then Modi woke up, addressed the nation on 19th, called for janatha curfew on 22nd February, followed by lock down of almost 400 million, and putting the remaining 940 million under distress with railways, interstate buses and many other facilities cut. Already there are 462 people tested positive and 9 deaths according to hospital count.
Meanwhile the total affected in 160 countries reached 3, 16, 659, and death too going above 15, 000 on 22nd March, with 4825 deaths in Italy, above 2000 in Spain alone. In US, Canada in North America, and in the EU countries of Europe, the oldest and richest imperialist countries, the number of affected people and dead are galloping everyday, with the lack of medical facilities to the common masses well exposed. In these countries panic is leading to pandemonium. Though harsher methods are used to contain the present uncontrollable spreading of this epidemic compared to those followed in China, still Trump and company are refusing to take lessons from the Chinese experience.Same is the case with Modi regime in India. They have no answer to the question: if China could contain the COIND 19 outbreak with the lock down of 60 million people, how come even after more than 600 million people are already under lock down all over the world, there is no containment of the pandemic COVID 19 in sight? Why it is spreading alarmingly all over the world, with many hundreds dying everyday? This shows the anti-people, barbaric nature of the imperialist system
In this critical situation, while asking these cardinal questions to Modi government, we have to demand the following steps from it on an emergency basis:
- Almost half India’s population, about 600-700 million, are under severe economic distress following the lock-down and other restrictions. Why you are not coordinating with the state governments and declaring an economic package for providing food ration, financial assistance, medi-care etc? Do it now.
- WHO and other agencies have called for testing a larger section of people for corona virus to understand its real spread among the masses. Take immediate action to bring the huge private medical sector under control of central and state governments as Spain has done, and involve them to test at least 10% of the people on an emergency basis, and to provide treatment to affected people.
- Now, apart from giving sermons, Modi government has restricted its action merely to bringing more people under lock down. But, even this is reduced to a mockery as RSS/BJP leaders and cadres tried to transform the 5 minutes clapping hands and beating plates at 5 pm on 22nd Feb. called by Modi to Hindutva rallies even joined by the police men , violating the basic purpose of lock-down. So, we demand that, keeping away the divisive politics of BJP, the Modi government should form broad people’s committees at all levels, especially at grass root level, joining hands with the state government, mobilizing with the medical personnel from public and private sector, the retired doctors and nurses, people’s representatives and youth/student volunteers, for (1) testing atleast 10% of the people to find the real extension of the virus infection, (2) for providing quarantine/isolation facilities to the large number of house-less people, (3) for hospitalization of all COVID 19 patients, (4) to continue mid-day meals for children,(5) for providing free food ration to all needy families,(6) to provide economic assistance to all who lost their jobs based on the economic package to be urgently announced by the central government in consultation with the state governments, and (7) to supply all necessary medical kits to all people.
We appeal to all political parties, people’s movements, trade unions, mass organizations, civil society/voluntary organizations to get actively involved so as to make it make the campaign to contain and beat back the pandemic COVID 19 a massive people’s movement, compelling the central and state governments to come out with necessary economic package for it.
The Central Committee of CPI(ML) Red Star calls upon all Party Committees to get actively involved in this movement, if necessary mobilizing the masses to put pressure on the central and state governments to declare the economic package and involve the whole state machinery with the people’s forces to make it a success without any delay.
CPI(ML) Red Star
23rd March, 2020
TUCI Press Statement on Corona Virus.
The New Corona virus has presented society with a fresh challenge. The fact that such a threat is recurring so frequently (like SARS in 2003 and MERS in 2012) shows that the ecology of the world is in a crisis caused by human wanton intervention. In the face of the unknown danger of COVID-19 the Government seems to have chosen the strategy of total shutdown. However, it is only being implemented in a half-hearted fashion. Factories and other industrial establishments have not been shutdown in many states. This is absolutely foolhardy and makes a mockery of the shutdown of schools, courts, government offices trains, etc. There is no value in isolation if factories are going to be allowed to function. Some states have called for shutting down factories and industrial establishments but that is also not enough. Workers are not in a position to bear the burden of the shutdown. It is necessary that all workers, including contract workers, casual workers, badlis and the like must be paid their full wages for the whole of the period of the lockdown.
Besides this, the workers, in many places are being made to stay in their residences and are not being allowed to move out of their residences (sometimes by the police force). It is necessary to provide for reaching essential items like food, medicines and sanitation materials to all persons at or near to their place of residence such that they can collect the same while maintaining appropriate social distancing.
At the same time TUCI assures the public at large that its workers who are engaged in essential services like municipal services, hospitals, banks, airlines (for evacuation of our citizens) etc will work diligently and ensure that they will do whatever is possible to help during these times.
To recap our demands of the Central and State Governments:
- Wherever it is necessary to impose a shutdown, such a shutdown must include also factories and other industrial establishments.
- All workers working in such shutdown establishments must be retained in service, including contract, casual, badli, etc workers.
- All such workers must be paid full wages for the full period of shutdown as if they had actually worked during those days.
- All workers in other areas which are not shutdown but who are unable to reach the places of work due to the shutdown must be treated as if they are in an area of shutdown.
- If the shutdown extends to the end of March, care must be taken to reach the wages of the workers to them immediately.
- Provision must be made to reach essential items like food, medicine, sanitation materials to all persons during periods of shutdown.
It is only in this fashion that we will be able to make use of the strategy of shutdown to fight this new menace.
- Workers of the world unite as never before to fight COVID 19!
- The World is for us to win and leave to the next generation. Don’t let the capitalist bosses destroy the world!
TRADE UNION CENTRE OF INDIA (TUCI)