|Volume 50 Number 19, May 23, 2020||ARCHIVE||HOME||JBCENTRE||SUBSCRIBE|
The pandemic has exposed the backwardness of the current organisation of the economy under the control of the imperialist oligarchy. Those who own and control the economy have organised it so that the actual producers of value are considered a cost of production in their accounts and consciousness, a designated human cost of production for those in ownership and control. To favour the narrow interests of the imperialist oligarchy and their insatiable thirst for private profit, wealth and power, the workers who produce all the goods and services that the people and society require to exist have been reduced to just another productive force similar to a machine that has no say in the organisation of work, its direction, planning or what becomes of the social product and its value.
The alienation of the workforce from the work it performs, from the means of production it uses, from the value it produces, from the direction of the economy and how it could be organised combines with workers' ignominious status as a cost of production to become a deadly combination for all, especially evident during this pandemic. Workers have no say in how the economy should respond to the pandemic. They are forced to listen to the ruling elite declare what is to be done and to complain after the fact when life falls apart.
Instead of being mobilised to participate actively and consciously in deciding how the battle against the virus should be fought, workers are victimised as something that must be downsized and deactivated similar to machinery so that those in control eliminate them as a cost during the period to save what they can of their private wealth, power and control.
The disempowerment of the working class extends beyond the workplace into politics and the social forms and private lives of the working people as they become targets of measures that those in authority deem necessary to deal with the pandemic. Deactivating a large section of the workforce, especially women and the youth, and refusing to mobilise the people to combat the pandemic, paralyses the economy and the entire society, endangering food security and the people's mental health.
Workers are the essential human factor in producing the goods and services that the people and society depend on for their existence and are the human force necessary to overcome a public health crisis. Disastrous consequences regularly occur from the ruling elite denying the human factor its right to direct the economy in which it works and from their refusal to recognise that those who do the work are those who should decide what should be done to deal with problems.
Driven to objectify workers as a cost of production and to insist that the only utility of the work they do is to generate private profit for the few, the ruling elite have made the situation worse during the pandemic with absurd decisions that defy reason. Instead of reorganising the workplace so social distancing can take place, which in most cases would require more workers spaced out in time and distance, either they simply eliminate production or make no changes, thus creating virus hot spots such as in agribusiness.
The scene is one of working people supposedly without brains, stuck in isolation without the capacity to confront the disease as thinking human beings in unity with their fellow Canadians. They are told to accept their condition as a subjugated social force awaiting instructions from the ruling elite on when they can move and breathe, denied the right and organised means to discuss and exchange views with their fellow human beings so as to activate the human factor/social consciousness and together defeat the pandemic through actions with analysis.
The ruling elite are standing in the way of the New; they are blocking the real advance that socialised humanity is ready to accept. The challenge is to find a way forward in practical terms past the obstruction by the social force presently in control.
(TML Weekly, May 16, 2020)