DSA COVID-19 Bulletin #2: News and organizing updates during a global crisis

DSA COVID19 Bulletin

The DSA COVID-19 Bulletin is designed to keep DSA members and all working-class people informed about the evolving COVID-19 crisis and its political implications. If you’d like to get the DSA COVID-19 Bulletin by email, sign up here, and share this link with your friends and comrades! Anyone can sign up. New bulletins come out several times a week.

In This Issue

Trading Our Lives

If you’re still trying to wrap your head around this crisis, you’re not alone. But rest assured that when your class enemies got a heads-up, they didn’t waste the opportunity to profit from the confusion caused by the Trump administration’s misinformation campaign. Republican Senators Richard Burr, Jim Inhofe, and Kelly Loeffler and Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein had inside information about the severity of the epidemic. Rather than warning the public, they sold their stock before the market crashed. From holding an election in the midst of the outbreak to selling off stock, the ruling class has shown that, as long as their profits and power are protected, they are perfectly alright with mass murder of the working class.

As testing efforts slowly ramp up across the country, confirmed cases have soared over the past 24 hours, and the enormity of the crisis continues to be revealed. The federal government is now “preparing for a pandemic that could last up to 18 months or longer and ‘include multiple waves of illness.’” Already, hospital workers report shortages of protective gear.

Meanwhile, claims for unemployment benefits rose 33% in the past week, and early data from states indicate that claims will skyrocket exponentially to the fastest rise in U.S. history. More than half of all U.S. jobs are at risk — meaning we could approach or exceed the 25% unemployment rate of the Great Depression.

Can We Get a Little Help Here?

If you had any doubts that we were on the darkest timeline, here’s a recap of how the establishment was fucking around instead of putting together a decent aid package:

Despite fears that the anemic Democratic Party leadership would allow themselves to be outflanked by the Republican Party with a more aggressive economic response, Republicans have thus far proven unwilling to adopt as policy the more populist rhetoric of some of their more opportunistic members. Senate Republicans’ trillion dollar stimulus package would provide a small one-off cash payment based on 2018 income where those at the bottom receive the least. 22 million of the poorest Americans would receive literally $0.

Bernie Sanders is still the only candidate proposing relief on the scale necessary to combat both the health and economic crisis engulfing the country. To beat this virus, some argue that the government will have to mount a World War II-style mobilization, coordinating massive amounts of public and private resources. Bernie is the only national political figure able and willing to lead this effort.

Instead, while the working class is left in the lurch to figure out how to make ends meet, Big Pharma is already conspiring to profit from our suffering. So are investment bankers and medical suppliers, by the way: every day they’re scheming to price-gouge on essentials like masks, ventilators, and medicine. Big Pharma has been lining Joe’s pockets with big donations and he’s proven himself a loyal ally in their profit-seeking. Because investors value profit over human life, essential workers like UPS drivers are being forced to show up to work without adequate protective equipment, endangering themselves and our whole society.

To save thousands of lives and avoid even more unthinkable misery, we must oppose pandemic profiteering by fighting big corporations and even nationalizing them.

Workers Strike Back

It’s never been clearer — only we can save ourselves. These stories of working-class heroes are giving us a shot in the arm:

As capitalist markets grind to a halt, it’s increasingly clear which workers provide for essential human needs and which do not. All states should declare grocery clerks, care-givers, and logistics workers, in addition to healthcare workers, as essential and first responders, and prioritize giving child care, hazard pay, and personal protective equipment to these heroes keeping society running.

Chicago librarians fought against the mayor’s refusal to close libraries, calling them essential services.

As more people start social distancing, Amazon sees a big payday and is pursuing profits even as it threatens the lives of their workers. Italian Amazon warehouse workers went on strike after the company refused to comply with proper COVID safety procedures, including social distancing in the warehouse, proper cleaning of common areas, and lack of disinfectant for employees to use.

Norwegian workers won 20 days of paid leave — even better than their pre-coronavirus plan!

Closer to home, Chipotle workers are organizing, demanding that their employer close with full paid time off. Support them by signing their petition. And activists are demanding the release of detained migrants in ICE detention facilities.

DSA ANNOUNCEMENTS


How’s it going out there? We want to hear about your mutual aid efforts, organizing wins, and how you’re taking care of one another and avoiding despair. We’ll be featuring stories from chapters across the country — submit your stories!

We will be sending these bulletins several times a week. If you’d like to keep receiving them, sign up here, and share this link with your friends and comrades! Anyone can sign up.

Global health crisis, economic collapse, and a democracy in peril. It’s hard to imagine a better time to join the largest socialist organization in America.

During the pandemic, Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) is practicing social distancing for our members’ safety and to slow the spread of COVID-19.

As the largest socialist organization in the US, we believe it’s essential to share information about what is going on in the world during these unprecedented times — the nature of the pandemic, the looming depression, the responses (or lack thereof) of our government, the deadly negligence and abuses of for-profit corporations, as well as the heroic organizing, resistance, and mutual aid by workers fighting for a working-class solution to the coronavirus pandemic. We also want to share ways that you can get involved in this fight.

There has never been a more important time to be in DSA. Join, renew your dues, or switch to monthly here.