Workers' Weekly On-Line
Volume 50 Number 15, April 25, 2020 ARCHIVE HOME JBCENTRE SUBSCRIBE

Coronavirus Pandemic

Nothing Is More Precious than the Right to Life

NHS medical staff protesting at the disreguard for the lives of their patients in the
"winter crisis" day of action with a banner-drop across Westminster Bridge, February 15 2020

The response of the ruling elite and big business to the coronavirus pandemic has been characterised by the reduction of everything to an individual matter. This is true whether one speaks of the approach before or after the shift away from so-called "herd immunity" towards partial lock-down.

Going into this crisis, Boris Johnson warned that "many more families are going to lose loved ones before their time". Since then, the extent to which some lives are taken as dispensable has become increasingly evident.

One of the main features being revealed is the fact that the entire society is not organised to place the care of the most essential workers, the most vulnerable workers, and other working people in first place. The government stands condemned for the shocking situation regarding even the most basic protective clothing and equipment for many workers, especially in the health service. Health Secretary Matt Hancock epitomised this contempt for human life when he declared of the personal protective equipment (PPE) shortage: "There's enough PPE to go around, but only if it's used in line with our guidance. We need everyone to treat PPE like the precious resource that it is." In other words, it is not the lives of these front-line workers that is the precious resource, it is the PPE, over the provision of which the government has been criminally negligent.

It has also since transpired that thousands of lives have not even figured, as the Health Secretary admitted that the deaths in care homes and the community from Covid-19 had been "substantially underestimated".

There has been much concern expressed about the fact that a disproportionate number of people from African, Asian, Caribbean and other minority backgrounds, many of them health workers, have lost their lives during the pandemic.

The taking of some lives to be lost in the line of duty, collateral damage, or unworthy of mention or even of being counted; the failure of society, including production and distribution, being organised and mobilised to protect all life; talk of the need to make tough decisions: these things reveal the profoundly anti-human and anti-conscious outlook of the ruling elite.

In that respect, it is not for nothing that, in the immediate period leading up to this crisis, the openly eugenic views being propagated by those in the inner circles of government were being exposed. The approach initially pursued, of "herd immunity" at the cost of potentially hundreds of thousands of lives, was itself effectively a Malthusian policy.

It is also significant how Boris Johnson's own personal fight against the virus has been portrayed, as one proving his fitness and worth. In other words, there are some people who are battlers against the virus and win through while there are others, of which those with special needs, the elderly, and those in care homes are examples, who fall by the wayside. Whether those promoting this outlook are conscious of it or not is not the issue. It is repugnant and must be totally rejected.

Now is the time to uphold that All Human Beings have the Right to Life!


Link to Full Issue of Workers' Weekly

RCPB(ML) Home Page

Workers' Weekly Online Archive