The rapid spread of the coronavirus pandemic is wreaking economic and social havoc across the world. There are 130,095 confirmed cases of coronavirus worldwide and 4,752 deaths. With testing widely unavailable and inaccessible, the actual numbers are likely much higher. Decades of austerity, cuts to healthcare, and attacks on the rights of working class people have made governments entirely unequipped to deal with the crisis. As usual, the hardest hit are the working class and oppressed.
Meanwhile, global markets are in freefall. In the U.S., the stock market has shut down twice already and the Dow Jones industrial average has fallen by 20% — this hasn’t happened since 2008. The U.S. has been quick to try to calm the markets, but it has not taken the immediate measures required to invest in healthcare or give respite to workers who are struggling to get by.
Entire countries are on lockdown and governments are restricting movement inside and outside of their borders. Trump has banned travel from Europe for foreign nationals for the next 30 days. But closing borders won’t keep out a disease that is already here, and it certainly won’t fix the fact that the United States’ privatized healthcare system is disastrous for working class people, even under normal conditions.
Under a system in which working class people fund healthcare costs via GoFundMe and are one medical bill or lost paycheck away from financial ruin, this pandemic will be catastrophic.
But coronavirus is not just a health crisis. It’s the direct result of capitalism.
The ruling class is floundering as the disease spreads and markets barrel toward a potential recession. It is clear that capitalists and politicians are more interested in saving the markets than the well being of working class and oppressed people. Their solutions are concentrated on preserving capitalist profits, not on finding the quickest, most efficient, and safest way to protect people from the virus and get proper care to those who are infected or at risk.
Though there is much uncertainty in the days, weeks, and months ahead, we know one thing for sure: the working class and oppressed are the ones bearing the brunt of the crisis and will continue to do so as the situation intensifies and we head towards a possible global economic recession. We’re the ones who can’t get tested, who can’t stay home, who can’t get care when we need it.
As the current crisis unfolds, as Left Voice we believe it is vital to magnify the voices of those hardest hit by coronavirus. We want to publicize your stories with the healthcare system, your fight to get tested and get care. We want to publicize your experiences on the job, your struggle to get time off, and to make rent.
Hospital workers, nurses, doctors, patients: we want to share your rage at our failing healthcare system.
Gig economy workers who are struggling to get by: we want to highlight your struggle to find work or get necessary time off.
Care workers, nannies, and teachers who are forced to continue working and put yourselves at risk: we want to highlight your voices and experiences.
We believe that it is critical to shed light on the many economic, social, and political ways in which the working class and oppressed are impacted by the current situation. We open our pages to submissions so that we can make sense of the current situation with a class perspective — as workers, as those without access to healthcare, as immigrants, as those most vulnerable to capitalism’s inevitable crises.
With this in mind we are calling for your testimonials, articles, artwork, and other collaborations to shed light on how we are affected in the U.S. and beyond by the spread of the coronavirus and governments’ and employers’ responses to it. Send us your stories, your experiences, and your anger.
Please send us your pitch by writing to Left Voice at [email protected].