WSWS on Covid-19

19 Mar

World Socialist Website, maintained by the Socialist Equality Party, is worth keeping an eye on. Its reports on the coronaviris crisis have been outstanding. I’ve no links to the SEP, one product of the implosion of Gerry Healy’s frightful WRP, but the WSWS site is one I visit often.

Here’s an extract from a post yesterday:

Several autoworkers have already tested positive, including at the Sterling Heights Assembly Plant outside of Detroit. There can be no doubt that, as a result of the criminal decision to keep production going, a far larger number of workers are already infected.

Manufacturing plants throughout the US are being kept in operation. Boeing, which is requesting tens of billions of dollars in government bailout money, is forcing workers to maintain operations, even as senior management have been instructed to work from home. Several Boeing workers have already contracted coronavirus, and it has certainly spread much further.

Workers in the service industry, who come into contact with hundreds of people every day, continue to work.

Amazon is hiring hundreds of thousands of workers to meet the surge in demand for online shopping. While management is working at home, the horrific conditions in Amazon warehouses remain the same. One worker told Buzzfeed News, “They’re offering no preventative solutions, only payment for workers after we’ve been infected, which doesn’t help to slow the spread of the pandemic or alleviate the suffering [and] risk of death from contracting it.”

In other words, Amazon considers the lives of its workers to be expendable, and any paid leave it offers to those who contract the virus is considered part of the cost of business, more than made up for by the surge in profits.

There is no reason that workers in industries that are not essential to the functioning of society should continue to work. Workers in essential industries, such as health care, must be provided with safe working conditions. Medical workers throughout the country are outraged over the fact that they are being forced to carry out their critical jobs under highly dangerous conditions without the most basic safety equipment.

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