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Highlight keywords  |Print this articlePrint this article
From: The Socialist issue 1083, 21 April 2020: WhereÂ’s our PPE? WhereÂ’s our testing? WhereÂ’s our money?

Search site for keywords: Coronavirus - Workers - Trump - Health

Coronavirus news in brief

Trump weaponises pandemic...

photo Gage Skidmore (Creative Commons)

photo Gage Skidmore (Creative Commons)   (Click to enlarge)

As the number of unemployed workers applying for benefits rises to 22 million due to the coronavirus crisis, reactionary US president Donald Trump is determined to end the country's health lockdown measures, which he sees as undermining his chances of a second term in office.

But having failed to overrule state governors and lift the lockdown, Trump resorted to mobilising his alt-right supporters to pressure Democrat governors in Michigan, Minnesota, and Virginia.

Motley crews of gun-toting, confederate flag-waving far-right activists congregated in a number of cities following Trumps tweets to "liberate" these states.

Incendiary tweets are Trump's forte. In 2017, after white supremacists terrorised the city of Charlottesville - one of whom murdered an anti-fascist protester - the bigoted president described these thugs as "very fine people".

...as does Bolsonaro

Not to be outdone by Trump's cavalier measures, far-right Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro - who described the deadly coronavirus as "just a little flu" - sacked his health minister who had repeatedly contradicted the president by insisting the country's health lockdown remains in place.

Instead, Bolsonaro held a rally of his supporters in Brasilia on 19 April, ignoring social distancing, to attack lockdown measures. Ironically, his far-right fans called for a return to Brazil's military dictatorship (1964-1985) when the country endured two decades of lockdown.

Brazil has more coronavirus infections than any other country in Latin America.

Amazon workers walk out

On 17 April, 1,200 Amazon workers at the Torrazza plant in Piemonte in the north of Italy walked out over safety: "Because our health comes before everything".

Four workers had tested positive for Covid-19 but bosses refused to give information about which department they were in or what shift they were working on.

Masks had only arrived at the factory one week previously, and there was only one a day for each worker over an eight-hour shift. Workers said the pace of work had not lessened and social distancing and other safety measures were not being implemented.

Meanwhile, Amazon boss Jeff Bezos, the world's richest person who has funded anti-socialist campaigns, has seen his enormous wealth soar to stratospheric heights during the pandemic. With a surge in online orders from customers in lockdown, Bezos's net worth has grown $24 billion to a staggering $143.1 billion.

Donate to the Socialist Party

Coronavirus crisis - Finance appeal

The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

  • The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
  • Our 'fighting coronavirus workers' charter', outlines a programme to combat the virus and protect workers' living conditions.
  • When the health crisis subsides, we must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
Inevitably, during the crisis we have not been able to sell the Socialist and raise funds in the ways we normally would.
We therefore urgently appeal to all our viewers to donate to our special coronavirus appeal.

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