The COVID Response Plan Workers Need
February 11, 2022 • 2 min read
The pandemic response of the US government at every level, from local municipalities to state governors all the way up to the Oval Office, has been woefully insufficient at best and criminally negligent at worst. And the proof is in the staggering death toll of American lives lost to COVID-19, which at the time of this writing stands at 917k and climbing. Hospitals around the country remain overwhelmed, state workers and the national guard are being ordered to act as glorified babysitters because teachers are sick or resigning in droves, people cannot go to work because they can’t secure consistent childcare, the extremely contagious Omicron virus continues spreading at alarming rates — and yet multiple states, including those controlled by Democrats such as California and Oregon, are displaying their allegiance to capital over human lives by deciding that now of all times is the perfect moment to relax mask mandates. Eviction moratoriums are expiring, and Pandemic Unemployment Assistance ended ages ago. There are no more stimulus checks coming, and the ones we did receive fell far short of the need. Democrats and the GOP have a united front, pretending that COVID is over and telling us to shut up and go sacrifice ourselves for the economy.
The fact remains that the pandemic is by no means over, and workers have not received any substantial lasting benefits or guaranteed protections to help us weather this storm. As such, the Puget Sound Socialist Party calls for the immediate implementation of the following emergency relief measures for everyone living in America:
Paid stringent one month quarantine to stop the spread of the virus
Immediate nationwide transition to remote learning for students
Cancel all student loan debt immediately and completely, and reimburse those who have already paid
Implement a universal healthcare solution immediately to meet the incredible need during a US public health crisis that is unprecedented in our lifetimes
Provide immediate shelter to all who need it, including temporary housing such as motels, which should give way to a permanent public housing option before expecting anyone to leave where they are at
Waive vaccine patents, ramp up vaccine distribution, and implement a federal mandate
Cancel overpayment balances sent out by the Washington Employment Security Department
Resume the eviction and utilities moratorium for the duration of the pandemic
Defund the cops and military, and tax the billionaires to pay for everything mentioned above
The multi-millionaire elected taskmasters cracking the whip would do well to remember that labor is the only reason anything gets done in this country. If we are united in our demands, we can shut this whole thing down. And we’re not going to accept insulting pizza parties and “heroes work here” signs while receiving minimum wage, no benefits, no healthcare, virus exposure, and generally being treated like disposable cogs in a machine. Capitalism is straining under the weight of its own monstrous contradictions, which means now is the time to strike while the iron is hot, stand up and say no more.
Labor is entitled to all it creates! Protect children, the elderly, the immunocompromised, and all working-class people! Healthcare and education are human rights! Stop the spread of COVID to reclaim our lost time and our lives!