Salvation from the coronavirus cannot be achieved by instilling fear in the people, isolating them at home, but by providing free access to all people to meet their basic needs, infrastructure, water supply, electricity, disinfectants, and public health care.
For weeks now, the bourgeoisie has had almost a single topic on its agenda: CORONAVIRUS, COVID-19.
The destruction of nature, and the natural habitat of many animal and plant species, as well as of humans, because of the capitalists’ ambition for profit, is causing epidemics and contagious diseases to occur all over the world. Excessive and serial production in poultry farms and livestock farms on a huge scale, contribute, and even become a catalyst for the emergence of epidemics.
The coronavirus epidemic in the Chinese city of Wuhan, which occurred at the end of December 2019, quickly spread around the world and reached life-threatening scales by affecting countries all over the world. The imperialist states did not initially take any measures against the epidemic of this virus, only when there were already deaths in their countries, suddenly the imperialists began to build an image of “responsible leaders” “thinking of for the people”, taking one after another “measures” in “the benefit of the people.” The measures were as follows:
-Do not leave your houses;
-Wash your hands;
-Do not walk on the streets more than two people close to each other;
-People over the age of 65 must not leave their homes;
-In supermarkets and other public spaces, stay at a distance of 1.5 meters from each other;
-In some administrative regions and even entire countries, a state of emergency and curfews were introduced.
But the factories of the imperialist monopolies and those of the companies that serve them continue to produce, and despite the virus, they continue to exploit the workers. Hundreds of thousands of health workers and workers from all walks of the world continue to be exploited without protection against the virus, and their right to health and safety at work is being violated. Their health and that of their families is at risk.
In the imperialist countries, public spaces such as cinemas, theaters, shopping malls, sports halls, etc. were closed. In supermarkets, basic goods and detergents were exhausted. The flour, yeast, toilet paper, and napkin stands were emptied.
Supermarkets allow one by one customer to enter, and some products are not allowed to be touched. At first glance, there is a very sterile environment, even at the cashpoints are placed limiters to maintain distance between customers. But for example, most of the cashiers do not even have protective gloves, they are forbidden to wear masks because it “threatened” the overall image of the supermarket! That is, with all these flagrant “measures” that have been taken, they are far from providing a cure for the disease caused by the virus and being in line with its spread.
And these measures do not have such a purpose. Governments also confess when they announce measures: “We want to prevent the virus from spreading.” The first thing they have to say was, “We started working with all our laboratories to make a cure for the disease, we provided free tests and vaccines for the people. By measuring people’s temperatures, we explain to them what measures to take to protect themselves.” “We will stop deaths with these and these measures.” That’s what they have to say, but nothing like that has been heard so far.
The peoples of the world have survived many epidemics to this day. During the plague epidemics, medical practices, health care, and drug production were far behind.
At the beginning of the 20th century, when the Spanish flu pandemic claimed the lives of more than 50 million people worldwide, the possibilities of medicine in the capitalist countries were not as backward as in the plague epidemics. Shortly before the outbreak, the bourgeoisie, which had spent hundreds of billions of dollars on weapons during World War I (the First Imperialist Redistribution War), did not prevent the deaths of millions during the Spanish flu pandemic.
Today, with the advancement of technology and science, the situation is very different from that in the past. But capitalism and imperialism have not changed, they are still the same. They provoke unjust wars and internal conflicts, in the countries, they have turned into their colonies to be able to open their markets, for their goods and products, a result of overproduction driven solely by the ambition for profit.
Imperialism, which invests the billions earned from the arms trade that killed millions, again in the treasuries of the monopolies(multinational companies), when it comes to public health makes “budget cuts”, with the privatized health system, they are content to “care” for the health of only the class that has the necessary money. Not even the simplest test kits are provided, nor the simplest masks and gloves.
NOTHING TO HAPPEN TO THE MONOPOLIES, AND THE PEOPLE TO LOST THEIR LIVES IN THE PANDEMIC!
The US imperialists and the EU imperialist countries as soon as the first cases of coronavirus in Western countries were identified, in their statements on the television, one after another began to compete over who would provide more and more financial “aid” to capitalists. US President Trump and German Chancellor (Prime Minister) Merkel have said they will grant nearly $ 1 trillion to imperialist monopolies. And in our country (we mean Turkey, but we can safely say that this also applies to any other country were capitalists are on power), the situation is no different.
The fascist government of the AKP (the ruling party in Turkey) granted 100 billion Turkish lira in the form of “tax reliefs, incentives for housing loans to mobilize the construction sector, credit reliefs for small businesses.”
If they had transferred all this money to laboratories to produce medicines, a vaccine for Coronavirus might have been invented by now.
1 trillion dollars … This is the amount announced only by the United States and Germany.
With these $ 1 trillion, they can make it possible to end hunger and poverty around the world. But their goal is not to save people’s lives, but to add more money to the profits of a handful of parasites and exploiters. Here is proof that human life has no value in the eyes of the imperialists. People can die from the virus by tens, hundreds, thousands, the only thing they will do is to show themselves on TV to make a few statements, shed crocodile tears, or attend a funeral ceremony and that’s it.
In 2008, along with the mortgage crisis, while thousands of people became homeless and impoverished, the American imperialists gave to Rockefeller family $ 900 billion. Each year US imperialists spend $ 500 billion on the military-industrial complex and arms production.
How does socialism fight infectious diseases and epidemics?
In general, imperialism, by reducing health care costs by depriving it of labor, social and democratic rights, claims to be taking action against the Coronavirus, but at the same time does not provide any funding to laboratories that could develop a vaccine against the virus.
Under socialism, which is a system in which human is placed above all else, the right to access health care, which is vital, is free and universally accessible to the people. For example, in the Soviet Union, in the first years after the revolution, the people died from the typhus epidemic, killing 1,600,000 people between 1918 and 1920, and the infant mortality rate was 7 million, with the death toll estimated at hunger and infectious diseases is 15 million people.
The Spanish flu, which spread in the first years after the revolution, in Soviet Russia, while the war against the counter-revolutionary forces continued, is estimated to have killed nearly 3 million people from the peoples of the Soviet Union.
Besides, among the key leaders of the Bolshevik Party, there are also deaths from this disease. Yakov Mikhailovich Sverdlov, who was de facto the first head of state of the Soviet Union, died in March 1919 of the Spanish flu. He was only 33 when he died. However, the speech delivered by Vladimir Lenin, after his death, showed how important Sverdlov was for the Bolsheviks, and that he was not just head of the state.
„The illegal circles, revolutionary underground work, the illegal Party, which nobody personified or expressed so integrally as Yakov Sverdlov—this was the practical school through which he passed, and the only school that could have enabled him to reach the position of the first man in the first socialist Soviet Republic, the position of the first organizer of the broad proletarian masses.“ 
Lenin, although he knew that the Spanish flu was a contagious disease, visited Sverdlov while he was ill, saying that despite his serious condition he continued to work.
In the years of famine and poverty, Lenin said the following:
“A whip is whipping over us, lice and typhus are advancing on our armies. Comrades, it is impossible to imagine the appalling situation in the areas affected by typhus, where the population is dying, there are no material means, where all life has stopped, the whole life of the people is stagnant. For this reason, comrades we say, ‘Comrades, we must focus all our attention on this problem. Either the louse will defeat socialism, or socialism will defeat the louse.”
The fact that Soviet Russia was facing such devastation was the first reason that, for the first time in the world, the health care system was centralized and made free and accessible.
At that time, the centralized and free health care system was not a method that the countries that existed during this period liked. From the data that have survived to the present day, we find that this is the health care services were provided by religious or private institutions.
The Soviet Union, after the October Revolution and the bloody civil war, for the first time in the world began building a modern public health care system. In the Soviet Union, in addition to building this system, although at the beginning of this right to enjoy the people living in the central regions of the countries part of the Union, in the following years, in a very short time the system spread to all parts of the Union.
Vladimir Lenin, in the orders he sent to the doctors, wrote that priority should be given to areas where infectious diseases had spread and those that had been severely affected by famine.
After the introduction of the centralized health care system in the Soviet Union, some Western countries also partially applied this model. Although the United States implemented a system of health insurance in which employers are the leading factor, it is taking some measures after the Spanish flu pandemic. In the mid-1920s, the Soviet Union came up with the following position, in terms of understanding what the medical practice of the future should be:
“A skill that seeks not only to cure a person but also to analyze the professional and social causes that exacerbate the disease, so that it can show ways to prevent this disease.”
This understanding, which teaches us that disease should not only be approached from the viewpoint of biology, but also from the viewpoint of sociology, later found its echo around the world.
If we have to summarize, we can say that only Marxists-Leninists think about the health of the people, and everything that can be in their favor, and look for solutions to this. The solution to the problem cannot be found without the participation of the people. The people can find a solution to the problem together, together with the people’s committees that can be created.
While the imperialists humiliate the people by showing for hours on TV how to “properly” wash their hands as if people do not know how to wash their hands, as they direct the people to the toilet paper as a “precaution” against the virus, while every day in our country Dozens of liters of disinfectants are poured into the streets, absolutely nothing is said about preventive health care and free access to health care, which are the real and effective measures against the spread of the virus and all other diseases.
The opposite is done, all money and material resources are poured into the treasuries of the capitalists, of the imperialist monopolies. The doctors and medical workers of the people who work for the benefit of the people, together with the People’s Councils, based on our experience gained in previous periods, are our structures (meaning the People’s Front-Turkey), through which, together with the people, we can find and implement solutions to counter the coronavirus epidemic.
The infectious diseases that humanity has gone through and that have claimed the most lives:
1 – Antonine plague
The epidemic of Antonine’s plague occurred in the period 165-180 AD, in the Roman Empire, and it is an infectious disease brought by soldiers returning from military campaigns in the east. The epidemic kills 2,000 people a day. In this first epidemic of plague, known to mankind, the empire lost nearly 30% of its population.
2- Plague of Justinian
This epidemic, observed in 541-542 in the Byzantine Empire, affecting mainly its capital Constantinople, the Sasanian Empire, and the port cities of the Mediterranean, is considered one of the largest plague pandemics in history. It is estimated that about 25 million people died in the first epidemic, and 50 million people died in cyclical epidemics over the next 200 years.
3- The Black Death
The plague epidemic between 1346 and 1353 claimed to have killed between 75 and 200 million people. As a result of the epidemic, Europe’s population has shrunk by 30 to 60%. It also calls into question the role of the church and God in society, becoming one of the preconditions for the birth of the Renaissance.
4- Cocoliztli epidemic: 1545-1548
The infection that caused the cocoliztli epidemic was a form of viral hemorrhagic fever that killed 15 million inhabitants of Mexico and Central America. Among a population already weakened by extreme drought, the disease proved to be utterly catastrophic. “Cocoliztli” is the Aztec word for “pest.” A recent study that examined DNA from the skeletons of victims found that they were infected with a subspecies of Salmonella known as S. paratype C, which causes enteric fever, a category of fever that includes typhoid. Enteric fever can cause high fever, dehydration, and gastrointestinal problems and is still a major health threat today.
5- American Plagues: 16th century
The American Plagues are a cluster of Eurasian diseases brought to the Americas by European explorers. These illnesses, including smallpox, contributed to the collapse of the Inca and Aztec civilizations. Some estimates suggest that 90% of the indigenous population in the Western Hemisphere was killed off.
The diseases helped a Spanish force led by Hernán Cortés conquered the Aztec capital of Tenochtitlán in 1519 and another Spanish force led by Francisco Pizarro to conquer the Incas in 1532. The Spanish took over the territories of both empires. In both cases, the Aztec and Incan armies had been ravaged by disease and were unable to withstand the Spanish forces. When citizens of Britain, France, Portugal, and the Netherlands began exploring, conquering and settling the Western Hemisphere, they were also helped by the fact that disease had vastly reduced the size of any indigenous groups that opposed them.
6 – The 7 cholera epidemics
There have been 7 major cholera epidemics in human history. The deadliest and largest epidemic was in the period 1852-1860. It was during this epidemic that it became clear that one of the main causes of the disease was the pollution of water sources used for drinking purposes. Human feces and all kinds of other waste were dumped into the Ganges River, whose waters are used for drinking and cooking. For this reason, the scale of the disaster and epidemic was greatest in India.
7- The 3rd plague epidemic
It was observed in the period 1855-1859, began in China, from where it spread around the world, taking the lives of 12 million people in India and China alone. The epidemic was called the Third Plague after Justinian’s Plague and the Black Death.
8 – The Typhoid epidemic during the First World War
During the period 1914-1918, along with the war came the typhus epidemic caused by lice carrying this bacterium. 25 million people in Europe and Asia are ill. In the Soviet Union alone, 3 million people died.
9- 1918 Spanish flu epidemic
Also known as “Spanish disease”, this strain of influenza reappeared in the new century, this time under the name “bird flu”. When it first appeared in the 20th century, the disease claimed the lives of between 50 and 100 million people worldwide.
10 – The Asian flu
The “Asian flu” observed between 1957 and 1958 killed 4 million people, and the Hong Kong flu, which occurred between 1968 and 1969, claimed the lives of about 2 million people.
11 – The HIV-AIDS virus
The first example of HIV infection, which in the middle of the 20th century was found to be transmitted from humans to apes, was observed in 1959 in the Congo. However, his examination and the establishment of an accurate diagnosis did not occur until the 1980s. Effective treatment for the virus, which has killed 36 million people in the last 30 years, has not yet been discovered.
12 – The SARS epidemic
In 2003, the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) epidemic in China affected 8,000 people, killing 800 people worldwide, with 350 people killed in China alone.
The oligarchy seeks to quell the revolt of the masses, under the guise of “measures”! For this purpose, people are locked up at home, and turned into their prison guards!
Using the virus as a pretext, it is trying to legitimize new attacks on democratic and labor rights, mass surveillance, and control!
We can get rid of the virus, not by locking ourselves in our homes, but by fighting for our rights!
As can be seen from the data above, even when millions of people around the world die, the imperialists do nothing to prevent this. The oligarchy that serves to imperialists is not different from them.
The oligarchy, in addition to not taking adequate and effective measures in the field of health care, against the virus, it uses the situation in its war against the people. The first thing the AKP’s fascist government did (the ruling party in Turkey; although the situation in the rest of the world is no different) was to take “measures” in prisons and courts.
The fascist government made it mandatory to use the Video Conferencing System (SEGBİS) in the hearings of all defendants who are currently imprisoned, and whose cases are still pending (there is no separate pre-trial detention in Turkey until the trial begins and during the process, people are in prison). The video conferencing system is a violation of the right to defense in court, and the abolition of the use of this system is among the demands of the Permanent Resistance against Permanent Fascism(in Turkish Sürekli Faşizme, Karşı Sürekli Direniş), which continue for more than 3 years in prisons all over Turkey.
Visits to lawyers and relatives in prisons were restricted under the pretext of “health measures.” Visits between lawyers and political prisoners will take place, with the signing of special declarations, and will take place in special rooms with a glass barrier. The visit is carried out on a special system with telephones, and the conversations are recorded, thus violating the right to secrecy of the visit between a lawyer and a client, and the right of defense.
The right to visit political prisoners is being taken away, making the isolation even more severe and its effects more destructive.
In prisons that are said to have taken so many measures, isolation and torture continue. More than 300,000 convicts and defendants are being held in unhealthy conditions and dirt, and in many of the prisons the space in the cells is not enough and they are overcrowded.
Those in prison with their children are at even greater risk. The fascist government is discussing the release of drug dealers instead of the release of mothers and children whose immune systems have not yet developed. At the same time, during these days of the pandemic, political prisoner Mustafa Koçak, who is on a hunger strike till death against his unjust life sentence, was subjected to forced medical intervention and brutal tortures and was forbidden to visit his lawyer and relatives, under the pretext of “measures” against the epidemic.
About the amnesty discussed for about a month, it was announced that the revolutionaries would not be included in its scope. They claim that by banning people over the age of 65 from going outside, they protect them from the virus. But the truth is that the first person detained for non-compliance with the ban was a protester in Istanbul’s Bakırköy Square against the purges of the fascist oligarchy against progressive civil servants that has been going on for more than three years(the purges began after the coup attempt in July 2016).
Who can claim, that Necdet Özsaygın, who recorded on video the protest action, whose demands include the repeal of all decree-laws issued during the state of emergency in Turkey, and the closure of the commission to review dismissals made under these ordinances laws, was detained to protect his health? And the government pretend to do that on his behalf, while Özsaygın was fined with a citation which amount is bigger than, that of the pension he receives.
Instead of providing enough tests, masks, protective equipment, vaccines, etc.; the fascist government is trying to turn this situation to establish complete control over people’s lives, to monitor them, and to place thermal imaging cameras even at bus stations, the virus cannot be used as a pretext for all this. For the fascist oligarchy, everything is just an occasion to intensify the war against the people.
As they appeal to the people, “Stay at home!”, They say nothing about what people will eat and drink, how they will continue their lives. Because the goal is to control the anger of the people and to lock them at home.
To all of the above, they are trying to show all these repressions and bans as “measures” aimed at preserving people’s health and lives.
1- Imperialism is responsible for the emergence of the virus, the failure to take measures to control the pandemic, to create opportunities for the treatment of the disease, and to kill 15,000 people (as of the date of writing of this article, April 2020).
2- By almost completely blocking people’s daily lives, using the coronavirus as a pretext, thus turning life into hell, the governments are closing people at their homes. The fascist government of the AKP does not want any protest action or resistance against it. For this reason, it banned any protests.
3- The imperialists and their lackeys, whose crisis is deepening, even more, using the coronavirus as a pretext, are increasing their attacks, this should not be a motive for us to stop or pause the struggle for a certain period, on the contrary, we must intensify it now. The fascist government, instilling the fear of infection and death, imposing fines, is trying to stop our resistance, which it has failed to destroy in recent years, despite its repression and the terror it has unleashed. We will not abandon our positions in the resistance, that we won by paying a heavy price for them! The fascist government, which tells us to “stay at home,” actually it is saying, “Stay hungry and die at home!” By struggling and resisting, we will win our rights from this unjust capitalist status quo, which condemns us to misery, which mocks us.
4- By telling our people how the state budget funds are directed to the monopolistic capitalists using the virus as a pretext, how the people are getting poorer, how the repressions and terror against the people and the revolutionaries are increasing, we will spread our struggle and together with the people we will be in the squares.
Source: Halk Okulu(People’s School) magazine, issue 20, March 29, 2020, pp. 35-38.
1- Source of the quotation: https://www.marxists.org/archive/lenin/works/1919/mar/18.htm
2- More about the People’s Councils you can read in the articles on this address:
3- Mustafa Koçak martyred on April 23, 2020, on the day 296th of his Hunger Strike till death(Death fast) resistance. More about him you can read on this address: