We reproduce a flyer that will be distributed this week, on paper and by cell phone, in three capital cities of Argentina. It has been prepared by comrades who have been organizing for some time in Mendoza, San Juan and Córdoba, hand in hand with comrades from La Antorcha and Emancipation. The flyer reaffirms the needs highlighted by this epidemic, needs that are being discussed in hospital yards, in homes and in thousands of networks of friends and co-workers woven from cell phones during the quarantine. Upholding these demands without losing perspective during the period of confinement will be essential to confront the global and brutal wave of attacks with which the bourgeoisie will try to revive capital at our expense once this disease’s spread subsides.
What did the workers in other countries who have begun to suffer from the epidemic before do and what are they demanding? They are striking to stop non-essential production, but also to ensure that the basic needs of all are guaranteed and that the “recovery” that follows does not “restore” the profits of capital at the expense of increasing the workers’ misery.
We know that the health crisis freezes profits, but we cannot accept that in order to alleviate the situation for the companies, workers should lose their jobs, their homes and find it difficult to meet their most basic needs. The owners want us to pay the consequences of a system that puts the interests of capital before human needs.
Only with our comrades and neighbors, fighting together with workers all over the world, can we resolve this chaos. That fight can only be given by those of us who have suffered it. The owners of the companies are willing to make sacrifices… that is to say, they are willing to sacrifice us in order to keep their investments “alive”; the unions and those who collaborate with the “Crisis Committee” want to “balance” saving lives with saving the investments of the companies that maintain them. But we are in a situation that has no possible balance. Production can be restarted, lives lost and bodies severely maimed by disease, cannot.
- We need effective quarantine enforcement on non-essential activities.
- We don’t need militias in our neighborhoods, we need health workers with safe conditions, medical equipment and hospital beds.
- We do not need rudimentary and obsolete field hospitals, we need an optimal health system, equal for all and prepared for contingencies.
- We need decent housing with rooms for parents and children, water, electricity and sanitation… Quarantine and disease show how insufficient our homes are even to keep us all alive.
- We do not need subsidies, benefits or penalties for employers. It is an aberration that there are no jobs available when there is so much work to be done to meet everyone’s most basic needs.
- We need security and equipment to effectively prevent the spread of infection to workers in essential industries. Automatic discharge to allow for the confinement of all those who are most at risk (over fifty, immunosuppressed, etc.)
Today the demands are driven by the coronavirus outbreak. But, if we confront the pandemic as workers, tomorrow, when the quarantine and the epidemic are over, we will become stronger in the battle against the attacks on our living conditions that will follow.
We workers must defeat what sickens and kills us: just as we stop our employers to defend health, we will defeat capital to save our humanity.
Movement for Emancipation