YCL General Secretary Johnnie Hunter wrote in the Morning Star about the pandemic, how it has exposed the barbarity of capitalism and how the Young Communist League was organising to help.
The pandemic calls for solidarity against those who seek to exploit us – and the YCL is organising to help
“Human beings are naturally selfish. We’re programmed to only look out for ourselves.”
It’s the cliched and tired retort of right-wingers and anti-communists everywhere. But it’s true that the Covid-19 crisis certainly has brought out the worst in certain sections of society. The cavalier and cruel Tory Party has been chief among them.
Boris Johnson and his cabinet were prepared to subject working people in Britain to the rapid and overwhelming spread of the virus through the population in order to develop a heard immunity. A head start or a callous economic edge over other countries focused on saving lives?
What is clear is that Britain’s ruling class views working people as nothing more than livestock. For those in Downing Street, Whitehall and the City of London, hundreds of thousands of deaths would have been an entirely acceptable “negative externality” for keeping the economy running on a “business as usual” basis. Private profit and the value of shares comes before human life.
Internationally, we have seen the EU bureaucracy abandon the peoples of Italy and Spain in the face of the crisis. Trump has stooped to ugly and racist smears against China. The US and EU member states have intercepted and appropriated essential medical supplies bound for so-called allies in their hour of need.
Some might be forgiven for thinking that this crisis has indeed confirmed that human nature is indeed selfish.
This would be a mistake however. It would buy into the implicit narrative of Britain’s privately owned media. It would ignore the true breadth of the struggle taking place in Britain and across the world against Covid-19. It would be to disregard the billions of acts of kindness, co-operation, courage and self-sacriﬁce taking place every day.
The world owes the Chinese people a great debt, for their sacrifice and determination in containing the virus initially. They are now engaged in one of the biggest international humanitarian aid efforts ever seen. Socialist Cuba, despite the cruel US blockade, has sent doctors and antiviral medication to countries across the globe.
Here in Britain we have seen the heroism and superhuman efforts of our NHS and other frontline workers to combat the crisis. Despite being separated from their families for extended periods, working around the clock under unbearable conditions, they haven’t flinched.
Just as inspiring, we have seen working people, in the face of government incompetence, seize the initiative and set out the help their communities and front-line staff through this crisis in a myriad of ways, big and small.
As part of this broad effort, the YCL’s branches have launched Covid-19 Aid Campaigns up and down the country with the aim of spreading awareness, offering support and organising in our communities.
Even before the government confirmed a lock down, YCLers were distributing leaflets and posters in their neighbourhoods volunteering to assist the elderly, the less able and more vulnerable people.
The same types of campaigns are being run by Britain’s inspiring tenants’ unions, Acorn and Living Rent. Alongside these groups and the labour movement, Britain’s communists have been organising and lobbying at a local and a national level for concrete measures to combat the crisis and support front-line workers.
Despite the gravity of the situation, the danger to individuals and their families, these acts of selflessness have been the real story of this crisis.
Solidarity between working people — from neighbours to nations.
The ruling class and its ideology have demonstrated the worst of human society in this crisis.
History tells us that only working people can save working people. If there is indeed a “human nature” which binds us, it is undoubtedly the boundless and immutable capacity for compassion, co-operation and self-sacrifice being displayed by workers around us at this very moment.
The despicable actions of the ruling class, their Tory Party, the profiteers, can’t be forgiven.
The heroic actions of workers in Britain and abroad during this crisis can’t be forgotten.
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