October 3, 2020

Trump Has Covid. Now What?



The main function of conspiracy theories is that absent a belief in an all powerful God that controls all events in the world, we at a base level desire to know that somebody is in control, that this global society isn’t constantly flying off the rails.

The problem is though, that nobody smart is in charge, and our global society really is constantly flying off the rails.

I’m seeing a lot of liberals and progressives and just non-marxists on the left in general, talking about how Trump getting COVID is probably just another media stunt, that this is somehow going to be good for him, that he is going to use his illness to try to delay the election, or that he is using the media cycle to distract from everything from his tax returns showing evidence of fraud and evasion, to the fact that his administration hired under-qualified doctors with little medical experience to over see the detention camps if they were “philosophically aligned with the mission” which turned out to be genocideally forcing immigrant women under the knife for hysterectomies.

And I’m seeing the Right-wing true believers now saying that the reason that Trump and his inner circle caught COVID isn’t because he refused to follow a single health and safty guideline from the WHO or CDC, but it’s because the Democratic Party are using Biological Warfare against Trump and his inner circle.

Applying Occam’s Razor, the simplest answer is often the correct one.  And the correct answer is this.  Trump is incompetent, and fucked up.  He fucked up big time.  If you want evidence, look at his entire real estate career and his entire presidency.  It has been a single continuous failure.  Fucking up is all Trump has ever done.  And he never apologizes, because he is a narcissistic monster.

So first, to the idea that TRUMP GOT COVID ON PURPOSE OR IS FAKING IT.
His getting COVID is not something he did on purpose to distract us from the issues.  Ever since day one every news cycle has been filled with 5 new horrible things that Trump has done that were either unprecedented, unethical, illegal, or just violated basic social norms and human decency.  Everything the man does is horrible, he is a walking trash fire, writing in his own personal hell of narcissistic reaction, , barely understanding the world around him.  The only reason that this monster hasn’t had his face smashed in by the people he fucked over, is because he was born rich, rich people don’t roll like that, and poor people don’t have access.

It isn’t an October Surprise.  It isn’t a calculation.  It isn’t a miracle.  It isn’t RBG in heaven arguing her first case with God. It isn’t because of all the witches hexing him on twitter (although, thank you very much for doing that, that made my day).

Trump got COVID19 because he didn’t listen to science. He has botched the public response since DAY ONE. 

Back when  it wasn’t clear how bad this would get, Trump and the GOP tried to sell the whole “staying open” thing at first saying that our grandparents should be willing to die so that we can work in unsafe conditions and also get sick and die.  That we should all go out and die for wall street.  This was the cardinal sin that was never corrected for, and landed Trump in the Hospital.

Because he refused to respond adequately, the virus moved from being contained to being community spread.  That led to the mask thing.  To wear a mask was to admit that he failed.  So he was against masks.  That was the second sin Trump committed that landed him in the hospital.

Trump decided that people shouldn’t wear masks at his rallies, which he would continue to hold, like the one in Tulsa (which by the way, Herman Cain also refused to wear a mask, got COVID and DIED because he listened to Trump and didn’t wear a mask at this rally).

Everything he has done so far, it is not part of any master plan, it’s reactive, it’s ego soothing, it’s totally surface level, there is nothing else to it.  He isn’t smart.  He isn’t complex.  He has no clue what he is doing.  That is why he is such a massive failure, and everything about his presidency is a massive failure.  We should get used to saying that the people who run this country are idiots who don’t know what they are doing.  They are all just making shit up as they go along, there is no plan, there is no steady hand on the wheel, it’s all a bunch of made up bullshit, and all of us working class people have to suffer the consequences of their failures, because that’s how capitalism is structured.

He doesn’t care about other people, he is more concerned with looking right than being right.  Which means he can never admit to being wrong, ever.  His fragile ego is so frail and brittle that he totally self-destructs, like we saw at the first presidential debate with Biden, where he did nothing but scream and yell and interrupt Biden the whole time.  People are saying that that was his strategy.  No.  That wasn’t a strategy.  That was incompetence.  That was a toxic person, who hadn’t done their homework for the whole semester, writing a bunch of bullshit on the exam, and then arguing with the teacher that the test wasn’t fair.  It was pathetic, childish, incompetent, a total hissy fit.

Trump stated publicly, that he didn’t want people to wear masks to his rally because it would only remind him of his public policy failure.  That’s it.  There’s no plan beyond that.  He just doesn’t want to admit that he is wrong, because he is an unthinking monster incapable of critical thinking or empathy.  He is so awash in his own bald faced lies, he believes them.  He is the kind of person who would asphyxiate huffing their own farts to prove that his shit doesn’t stink.  Think of the stupidest meanest kid on the playground in middle school.  That’s who we are dealing with.  A morally stunted manchild incapable of admitting to failure, and is thus cursed to never be able to improve, grow, or learn.

Now, I’m a socialist, I do not carry water for the Democrats, and frankly I resent having to defend them. And as somebody who has studied microbiology, I have to ask, “How could Trump *not* have gotten COVID at this point?”  It’s a miracle it took this long. 

He did literally everything wrong that he possibly could have.  He did exactly the opposite of what everybody at the WHO and CDC told him he needed to do.  The real miracle is that it took this long for him to get it.

This isn’t part of any plan by the Democrats, this isn’t part of any plan by Trump.  Sometimes people just get sick, because that’s how Viruses work.  And to the right-wing conspiracy theorists pointing out that soon after Trump was infected, a bunch of other people around him who ALSO REFUSED TO FOLLOW BASIC SAFETY GUIDELINES also got infected?  To those people, this looks like evidence of a conspiracy theory afoot.  To me, I have to wonder if these people understand how infectious diseases work.  You get the virus from people who have the virus.  We told you to wear masks, we told you to social distance, and you refused.  The only person to blame is Trump himself.

I think it’s really important to combat conspiracy theories though, that’s why I’m recording this podcast today.  We need to confront conspiracy theories and magical thinking because if we actually care about the state of the world, we need to have a scientific approach to understanding it, or we are just going to delude ourselves into believing whatever nonsense we want to believe, instead of actually knowing things.

That’s the whole thing with this whole “make America great” slogan, America was never actually great.

America has been an undemocratic, capitalist shithole banana republic for most of the people living here, for most of its existence.  And guess what?  It still is.  It’s actually always been this bad, but the centrists were better at keeping the cosmetic up on the facade.  Liberalism has at long last given us Trump because America is also a narcissistic nation that is incapable of admitting to it’s mistakes.  We can’t admit that we were founded on slavery, that the founding fathers were a bunch of aristocratic slave owners who never wanted the vast majority of us to even have voting rights in bourgeois elections, and the US Government under the control of both capitalist parties has consistently attacked and destroyed left wing movements for worker power.  Anything good about America today is because working class people organized and fought and struggled and formed unions, and organized general strikes, and shut down the economy, and were able to pry temporary wins from the dictatorship of capital that still runs this country.  And we aren’t willing to admit any of that as a nation.  Not even Biden is willing to admit to all of that, because to do so, to really say that Black Lives Matter is to admit that they haven’t for the last 300 years in America.  To say that Medicare For All is a good solution is to admit that the capitalist system is wasteful, inefficient, and kills people.  And Biden is not willing to admit that.  To say that we need a Green New Deal is to admit that Capitalism is incapable of solving any of the problems it has created, least of which the existential threat which may cause the extinction of the entire human species at some point in the next few hundred years.  And Biden won’t admit that.

And because he can’t admit that America was never great, because we as Americans can’t admit that America, for the most part, has been wrong, has hurt people, because like Trump, we have not been able to admit our mistakes, to admit our failures, we have not been able to grow, to learn, to become better people, and we have not been able to grow, learn from our mistakes, or become a better country.

And voting for Biden isn’t going to change any of that.  Really, voting for anybody to be a part of this government, even Bernie Sanders, will have a limited chance of changing it to be anything other than a cudgel in the hands of the capitalist elite.  Though of course I would rather have a Bernie presidency, or a Howie Hawkins presidency, than a Trump Presidency or a Biden presidency.  I don’t want to discourage people from voting, it’s important, but it isn’t going to be enough to defeat Trumpism. 

The Liberals, driven by their support of capitalism at all costs, actually followed the same playbook this election cycle as the Centrist liberals did in the 1920 and 30s in Germany, siding with the capitalist class in fighting against the Socialists and Communists in favor of centrists, while cautiously keeping the fascists at arm’s length, treating them as a parliamentary force that could be defeated through elections.  The American Left lost access to the public sphere of debate in the corporate media with the Liberals kicking the Green Party off the ballot in many states, and working together to defeat Bernie Sanders to prevent him from getting the nomination. 

The main reason that I think that Trump really has COVID, is that before it hit, and more specifically, before it hit him, Trump was all lined up to potentially win the presidency by a slim margin, or failing that, institute fascism through street violence by his fascist supporters like the ProudBoys, the KKK, Identity Europa, and the other fascist groups that saw a surge of activity following Trump’s 2016 election.

Without the pandemic, it might have worked.  Qanon would have pushed their NeoNazi antisemetic conspiracy theories.  When he first got into office, he talked about the “coming storm.”  People familiar with the history of WW2 should have immediately recognized that what he was talking about was the same storm that the Nazis talked about in the Wiemar Republic, for which the “Storm Troopers” of the SS derive their name.  Qanon talks about “the coming storm” where all sorts of celebrities and rich and powerful people will be rounded up and killed. 

It’s really important to recognize that the argument that Qanon is making is the same argument that was made by Hitler made about Jews.  He used an old anti-semetic trope that Jewish people steal christian children and use their blood for Satanic rituals to give themselves magical powers. 

Qanon says the same thing, but says that the elites are primarily stealing children for sex trafficking, but that the sex trafficking ring is actually a front for a secret Satanic cult that steals christian children and uses their blood in rituals to give themselves magical powers. And the people that Qanon keeps pointing to as ring leaders are mostly Jewish.  Hmm.  Must be a coincidence.  Or Qanon is a Nazi recruiting front, just as the German Newspaper “The Storm” was in the 1930s.

The Fascist right-wing thrive on conspiracy theories.  Let’s not muddy the waters with our own made up bullshit.  Let’s be truthful.

Let’s remember the words of Carl Sagan, “if it can be destroyed by the Truth, it deserves to be destroyed.”

If there is anybody that deserves to be destroyed by the Truth, it’s the Liar in Chief. 

September 19, 2020

The Right-Wing have Declared War

The Right Wing don't care about the rules, they will cheat, steal, and murder, to get whatever they want.

"Good sportsmanship" doesn't apply, because THIS IS NOT A GAME.

September 16, 2020

They Vacation While We Die

The following statement was delivered by Arlo Hennessy on Labor Day 2020 as part of an action by the Southern Maine Worker's Center

They Vacation While We Die

by Arlo Hennessy

“They vacation while we die.” We are the workers- “When we talk about the Workers’ Center organizing for racial, economic justice and human rights, we use the term "worker" in its broadest sense. We understand that most people are workers, including those who are employed by the formal economy, hustling in the informal economy, taking care of their families, or unemployed due to the pandemic. Workers may or may not be protected by employment law. They may or may not be receiving wages. All of those who are struggling with the impacts of the global economy, neoliberal policies, and economic injustice-- key parts of a system that attempts to deny us our human rights-- are in essence workers.”

They are politicians, who are supposed to be working for us, but instead are on vacation. Time off from; squabbling, self aggrandizing, and lining pockets with business handouts. While the family cares & heroes act, collect dust, and Trump’s worker relief bill goes unchecked. Today, Maine workers at restaurants, resorts, ice cream shops and coastal businesses are exposed to COVID-19 so these same politicians can enjoy vacationland. If a vacation is the fruit of our labor, then right now it is a poison apple.

I want to highlight what was said today, the pandemic & subsequent labor crisis has hit black, latinx, native/indigenous, asain, and workers of color the hardest. Black workers are in the midst of another crisis, the state sanctioned murder of black americans at the hands of police. BLM has a platform that amongst many demands, is calling for the abolition of police as an antidote to violence, because as Gil Scot Heron once put it “America is now blood and tears instead of milk and honey.”

Black liberation, decolonization, no borders- ending white supremacy needs to be a tenant of the labor movement, because without us there is no labor movement. The labor movement is the abolition of slavery, chinese rail workers, the latinx and philipino farmers of the chicano rights movement, Ai Jen Poo and the domestic workers bill of rights, the Somali warehouse workers organizing against trillion dollar multinational corporation Amazon. We cannot let the bastards win, by dividing the class and race struggle as if they were not one. That's why I call on my brothers and sisters of the labor movement to stand with the Black Lives Matter movement and endorse their platform. To do otherwise, portends more violence, death and the further erosion of union brotherhood.

I end with a quote by Martin Niemöller, which illustrates how cowardice in the face of facism lead to the atrocity of the holocaust.

"First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a socialist.

Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me. "

We are blocking traffic for a moment of silence, for the people lost to the pandemic and violence of this historic crisis, both directly and indirectly beginning with; the workers lost to COVID-19 and the disproportionate rates of fatalities that have claimed the lives of black, navajo, latinx, and poc workers across the country & Maine. Specifically the 125 + tyson chicken poultry workers and 499 navajo (data).

This moment is to honor the black lives matter movement, and mourn for our black lives lost to police brutality and white supremacy in America. We call for justice for James Blake & his family, and Breonna Taylor, for David Okat and Chance Baker Portland, Maine. Kawom Smith- Walker, Lincoln county Jail Auburn Maine. Too many more to count, Black Lives Matter.

This moment is for those who have died due to the housing crisis, lives lost from illness, overdose, or exposure in Portland Maine.

Lastly, this moment is for our & your loved ones in the labor movement who passed this year; Wayne Poland, Tina Malcomson, Juliet Holmes Smith, Steve Gordon, Mark James, Sandy Bishop.

Hold these people & uprisings in your hearts while we pause, beginning now.

August 17, 2020

As the DNC tacks hard to the Right, Should the Left Follow?

What is Trump's "Delay" Play about?

Who is in Joe Biden's "Middle Class" anyways?

Green Party 2020 Convention Report

Gloobians and Xxors, a sci-fi political parable.


  There was this planet where the vast majority of intelligent life was a species called the Gloobians. On some of their backs lived a parasitic race of tiny worms called the "Xxors" who divided themselves up into two groups, the Klixxors, and the Klaxxors, and the two groups managed to hold power in the planetary congress, making laws while sitting on the backs of their enslaved Gloobians, slurping up their blood and laying eggs under their skin.

I traveled down to the surface to meet with the Gloobians, obviously the vast majority of intelligent life on this planet.  The first group I met with were members of some sort of underground rebel alliance who wanted to form a Gloobian political party.

Now this made very little sense to me.  Why wouldn't they have one already?  The Gloobians very obviously made up the vast majority of intelligent life on the planet, it should be EASY for them to form a political party of their own, and they should be able to institute a policy by which they eliminate all the Xxors from their backs, and nobody would get their blood sucked, or have eggs laid under their skin ever again.

I asked them why they didn’t have such a political party already.  The Gloobian Party rebels said, “well it’s just very difficult.”

I didn't understand at all why this would be the case, so I pressed further, “but why would the vast majority allow themselves to be ruled by blood sucking parasites?  Why would any of them align themselves with either party of blood sucking Xxors?  Is it illegal for you to form such a party?

“No.” the Gloobian Rebel Alliance answered matter of factly.

“Well, do the Xxors secrete some sort of chemical that make Gloobians love the Xxors?”

“Hah, oh no, that's certainly not the case.  They are quite irritating.” and the Gloobian pointed at his own back, “I have Xxors living on my back right now, and I would love to get rid of them, but it would be illegal to kill them, and they can only feed on Gloobian blood, and so since they are also intelligent life. Some Gloobians think we need the Xxors, but most Gloobians agree that they are idiots.  Almost every Gloobian hates the Xxors universally."

“Wait so all Gloobins hate having the Xxors on their backs? Well, what the heck is stopping you from just changing the laws to make it legal to remove them, and just get rid of all the parasites entirely?” I asked.

The Gloobian rebels shifted their stances queitly and looked at their many feet, and finally one spoke up, “look, we don’t really understand why either, you should just go ask around.”

So I did.  I walked into town and bumped into a Gloobian campaigning for one of the Xxor parties.  I approached her and asked why she supported the Xxors.

“I don’t support the Xxors at all!” she said.  

“Then why are you out here campaigning for them?” I asked.

“Are you kidding?  I’m trying to make sure that the Klixxors don’t win!”

“Are you aware that there is a Gloobian party, that is by and for the Gloobians?  They want to get rid of the Xxors entirely”

“Ha!” She snorted, condescendingly, “You really don’t know anything do you?  We have to vote for the Klaxxors to make sure that the Klixxors don’t win.”

“So are the Klaxxors better?”

“Well they would be, except they have to appeal to the Gloobians who would normally vote for the Klixxors and weaken the Klixxor base to make sure that the Klixxors don’t win.  So for this election, they are adopting a lot of the Klixxor policies.”

“And the Klixxors are especially bad?”

“Oh yes, they want to suck our blood and lay their eggs in our skin!”

“And the Klaxxors don’t do that?”

“No, they do that too, but if we have to live with Xxors on our backs, laying eggs under our skin and sucking our blood, we may as well suffer with dignity.”

I paused for a second to make sure I understood, but I was certain that I did not. “But you don’t have to live with the Xxors laying eggs under your skin or sucking your blood at all though. You could vote for the Gloobian Rebel Alliance, and just get rid of both Klixxors and Klaxxors, all the Xxors.  Why don’t you do that?”

She shook her head and took pity on me, “you stupid earthling, you don’t know anything at all.  I already said, if we don’t vote for the Klaxxors, the Klixxors will win, and it will be four more years of them sucking our blood and laying eggs under our skin.  You poor stupid idiot.  You don’t understand politics at all, do you”

And I had to agree, that no, I certainly did not.  Not one bit.

July 6, 2020

Reading the Communist Manifesto: Chapter 1

The Communist Manifesto: Phil Gasper Annotated Edition

Free online version at Marxists.org

Other literature cited this episode you might want to check out:

"Reform or Revolution" by Rosa Luxemburg
Hardcopy available at Haymarket Books:

Free Online Version

"State and Revolution" by VI Lenin
Hardcopy available at Haymarket Books:

"Fascism: What it is, and How To Fight It" by Leon Trotsky

Free Online Edition:

"Fighting Fascism: How To Struggle and Win" by Clara Zetkin
Hardcopy available at Haymarket Books:

Free Online Edition:

June 28, 2020

Be Prepared

What does being an Eagle Scout, firing a gun, or canoeing the Allegash have to do with COVID-19?

March 23, 2020

The Left Must Be Prepared to Fight Back

by Jen Roesch

I believe that there is an ideological war going on right now and that the left needs to be prepared to do battle. In the very first days of this crisis, we saw moratoriums on evictions, expedited unemployment benefits, CA housing the homeless in hotels and prisoners being released in OH. All of these measures showed that the market, profits and our repressive apparatus are not untouchable. This crisis has opened up questions of profit vs human need in fundamental ways.

But now that many of us are all in isolation and the economic consequences are being felt - with unemployment predicted to reach 30% - there is an ideological backlash underway. Trump has said that the price may not be worth it. But he is not the only one. Increasingly, the mainstream media outlets are questioning the measures taken, arguing for more "surgical" approaches, saying that the economy cannot withstand this. This has been combined with confusing information on what it will take to fight the pandemic, if what we are doing will "work" and how long it will continue. And we cannot fool ourselves that these appeals will not resonate with people who are suffering and economically terrified right now. This is why a left-wing alternative, with a strong and unified message, is so crucial right now. We need to press it on all fronts. Here are my thoughts on what I think that needs to include:

1) The "economy" and fighting the pandemic are only counterposed if we accept the maintenance of profits, individual wealth and privatized production as inevitable. We have the resources right now to continue to feed and shelter people and meet their basic necessities. This could be met through a "shelter-in wage" for the duration of the crisis while freezing rent, mortgage and all debt payments so that wages are solely devoted to necessities. All healthcare for the duration of the crisis should be underwritten by the government. Meanwhile, manufacturing and distribution firms should be directed by the government to shift all resources to essentials and to ramping up our medical capacity: protective equipment, hospital beds, testing capacity, ventilators and housing for the mildly ill. Those who are deemed essential should be given hazard pay, enhanced safety protections and enhanced labor rights & regulations to protect themselves. Ultimately, this is an argument for a sharp curtailing of the powers of the banks and private industry and at least partial nationalization of sectors of the economy. It is the only way to meet the scale of the need. But this can be communicated through concrete demands that can make sense to millions of people in a moment like this.

2) The idea that the pandemic can be addressed "surgically" through measures targeted at "vulnerable" populations is a fantasy. It is out of touch with the reality of working class life. The elderly (which in the context of pandemic really only means over 60) is not a rich, isolated subgroup of the population. They are raising grandchildren after children have died (remember we have a middle-aged death crisis in this country); well over 10 million senior citizens are still working, many at exhausting, low wage jobs at a places like Wal-Mart; millions of senior citizens live in poverty, including 17% of Latinos and 19% of African-Americans; and massive numbers of the elderly live in multi-generational households where they are cared for by their working children. There is no way to quarantine this population separately; they are embedded in the fabric of our social and economic lives. Beyond the elderly, this disease also targets a wide range of vulnerabilities - with obesity, existing respiratory illness, high blood pressure and diabetes topping the list. It is a minority of American households that do not have a member with one of these underlying conditions. We haven't yet seen what this virus does to a population as generally unhealthy as ours.

3) Our response to this crisis has been characterized by half measures taken too late, then second guessed and then driven by the immediate crises presented by our lack of preparation. This has led to situations where we are told it is "too late" for testing to matter or where healthcare workers are told to ration protective equipment because we will run out. Too frequently, the administrators and politicians have responded by changing the public health message to match the shortages and deficiencies. This is very dangerous precedent from a public health perspective. Instead, we urgently need to get ahead of this. This requires a non-partisan federal commission of the most knowledgable experts to learn from the international experience and coordinate a federal response. This should include the power to make binding recommendations for production needs.

4) Our social institutions and collective sense of social connection have been eroded by decades of neoliberalism. People's tendency to look out for themselves is often a "rational" response to a situation in which no one guarantees your safety, collective power has declined and you have only yourself to rely on. We urgently need to rebuild a sense of social responsibility to one another - our literal lives depend on us taking actions that are difficult but necessary to protect the whole. As much as we might like, we cannot do this through moralism and exhortations. But we also cannot simply abandon the idea that we are responsible to one another. We do have agency. So we need to rebuild a social fabric from the ground up by looking out for one another, sharing information, providing resources and support. At the same time, we need to articulate demands that make people see themselves as part of a broader collective. And perhaps most difficult, we have to rebuild some sense of collective power. Examples like the Amazon workers in NYC who fought going to work, or the threatened sickout of teachers, or nurses organizing for protective equipment - we need to amplify and expand these. I saw Starbucks workers arguing that they should be considered non-essential - how do we support this? The more we can score some wins, the more we can build that collective fabric. But this will be hard and not always win. Part of our ideological battle is winning the argument for solidarity.

We need to be clear that arguments for "getting people back to work quickly" or "not letting the economy fail" are really arguments for letting millions of people die. We also need to be clear that there is no "going back" to the way things were. The question before us is whether our society is rebuilt on our terms or theirs. It is both an opportunity and a danger that we haven't seen in decades.

March 12, 2020

Now is the Time for Solidarity: DSA National Statement on COVID-2019

From the 2008 global financial collapse to the natural disasters caused by climate change that rocked Northern California, New Orleans, New York, and Puerto Rico, capitalism is causing devastating human crises. During each of these crises, it has been poor, working-class, and already marginalized people who have suffered the most — while banks, energy companies, and the real estate industry have been bailed out. 

Now with the COVID-19 outbreak and a looming economic recession, it is hospital workers, poor and unhoused people, the elderly, incarcerated people, the immunocompromised, immigrants, and other marginalized groups who will likely bear the most impact. Millions of people have inadequate health insurance or none at all, millions are living paycheck to paycheck, and millions more are not given paid time off from work. That means that workers and poor people will be vulnerable to illness while being unable to afford treatment or even testing, endangering whole communities. Many who miss work because of the outbreak will lose pay, lose their health insurance, be unable to pay utility bills, or face eviction.

All of this is worsened by the fact that our government has been slashing budgets for services such as SNAP (food stamps) while handing bailouts to oil and natural gas companies. It is clear our irrational and expensive privatized healthcare system, organized not to protect human health but to extract profit, is unable to handle a crisis such as a sudden global pandemic.
Meanwhile, Trump and the Republicans are exploiting the crisis to blame scapegoats: immigrants, Chinese people, and the European Union are demonized, encouraging racism and xenophobia. Further, Trump’s stimulus plan will decimate Social Security if passed, one of our last truly universal social programs and a line of defense for seniors who are some of the most vulnerable to COVID-19.

As socialists, we reject austerity, privatization, racism, and xenophobia. Instead, we — the Democratic Socialists of America — stand with the working class, poor, and marginalized of our society and demand a working-class solution to this crisis.

A pandemic like COVID-19 confirms the truth in the radical labor movement slogan, “An injury to one is an injury to all.” We need to rapidly reorient our society away from the principles of individualism and private profit and toward the principles of justice and solidarity.

We support the measures proposed in the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, including federal funding for free coronavirus testing for all and paid emergency leave.

However, Congress must go further.

First, Congress must pass Bernie Sanders’s proposed Medicare for All legislation. Without providing comprehensive healthcare, free at the point of use, to all US residents, we cannot mitigate this crisis or its vastly disproportionate impacts on poor and working-class people. It is unacceptable that almost a hundred million people in the US are uninsured or underinsured during a massive public health crisis, while health insurance CEOs take home annual salaries in the tens of millions of dollars.

Second, Congress must pass an emergency moratorium on evictions and on utility shut-offs until the crisis abates. If workers are unable to work because of quarantines, they should not be punished for being unable to pay their rent and utility bills. Ultimately goods like housing, water, electricity, internet, and more should be provided as social rights to everyone, not hoarded for the profit of a few billionaires.

Third, instead of bailing out oil and natural gas companies during this crisis as Trump has suggested, Congress should take advantage of low oil prices to begin to phase out domestic oil production while introducing aggressive Green New Deal legislation that mandates carbon neutrality by 2030 while creating millions of good, green jobs. If we are to avoid catastrophic climate change — which will make natural disasters like hurricanes and global pandemics like coronavirus much more frequent and much more intense — we need to transition our economy off of fossil fuels starting immediately. With a looming economic crash that could put millions out of work, low interest rates and a oil price crash make this the perfect time for the Federal Government to begin this transformation.

In the face of a pandemic, we recognize we are only as safe as the people most impacted by our current systems. As a fourth demand, we call for a nationwide end to cash bail and a moratorium on deportations. The US is home to the largest detention system in the world. Given the torturous conditions, overcrowding, and unaccountable nature of our current carceral system, we call for individuals in prisons, jails, detention centers, and camps to be let go and that facilities are properly staffed with medical teams to ensure the well-being of those who cannot be temporarily released. We demand a moratorium on deportations to ensure that immigrant communities are kept safe and are not discouraged from seeking treatment.

We echo the demands laid out by Bernie Sanders earlier today, as he calls for state and national hotlines for residents to use for resources, information, and updates. We agree that this level of transparency must be relayed by scientists and health experts and not politicians. A vaccine, when developed, must be free, and that any medicine developed to help with the crisis must be sold at cost. The ICU and ventilator shortage must be addressed, and medical residents, retired medical staff, and other medical personnel should be mobilized, staffed with proper instruction and personal protective equipment, to ensure adequate staffing. We also agree with his call for emergency unemployment assistance at 100% of a worker’s income for ALL people, including those who work off tips, gig workers, domestic workers, and independent contractors. There must be emergency shelters erected, complete with healthcare and food, for the unhoused, domestic violence survivors, and college students.

Finally, all of this social spending should be paid for by taxing the rich. The American working class has repeatedly bailed out the same massive corporations and billionaires that cause and exacerbate crises. The Trump administration’s proposed solution, a payroll tax cut, would not provide any relief for the working class and, in fact, would exacerbate the issue by providing an incentive to continue working, even if sick, particularly for those without remote work settings or paid sick leave. The proposal would also endanger some of our most vulnerable populations by gutting funding to Social Security and Medicare. Time and again, the ruling class uses crisis to pit us against each other. This time, the rich — whose wealth is produced by workers — should foot the bill.

As a practical measure and show of solidarity for all working class people, especially the elderly, unhoused, chronically ill, and immunosuppressed who are most vulnerable to COVID-19, we recommend that all chapters immediately begin implementing social distancing measures, including:
  • Cancel, postpone, or move online any meetings scheduled for more than a small group of people;
  • Practice the CDC’s recommended preventative actions as precautionary measures, especially maintaining a distance of 6 feet or more from others;
  • Establish a chapter-wide COVID-19 policy describing symptoms members should watch for and to encourage members who are sick to stay home or attend meetings through phone or video conferencing software like Zoom;
  • Setup infrastructure for members to text-bank and phone-bank from home instead of canvassing whenever possible;
  • Create a plan to check-in on local membership and make sure everyone has the resources needed to navigate this crisis, especially elderly members and members who are immunocompromised;
  • Develop scenario plans to adapt meetings and actions based on the rate of infection in your area, see this template for sample scenarios and alternatives to traditional mass mobilizations;
  • Perform routine cleaning of surfaces such as, tables, electronics, door handles, etc. before and after all in person meetings using products such as sanitizing wipes or antibacterial spray;
  • Supply hand sanitizer at all meetings and encourage its use (see the CDC’s guide for producing hand sanitizer);
  • Place posters that encourage good coughing and sneezing etiquette and hand washing in meeting areas.
Our current system is unequal, unjust, and careening towards disaster. It is as clear now as ever that our society faces a choice: we will have socialism, or we will have barbarism. We call on chapters to use the aforementioned recommendations to practice solidarity with your local membership and keep each other safe. We also implore chapters to review this COVID-19 Resources Guide for Organizers to form demands and identify resources that can inform our organizing in this crucial moment.