The response to the outbreak of the coronavirus has once again revealed the ridiculous nature of imperialism and captalism in Ireland.
The political failure to implement an all-Ireland response to the outbreak is yet another symptom of the disease that is partition. Communities which have a man-made border running through them currently have different political policies for neighbours who live yards apart. This is not due to the border alone, but rather is a result of Britain’s imperialist arrogance.
There have been a variety of opinions put forth as to how this pandemic should be handled. What is without question, however, is that both the 26-county state, and the British government, have made their decisions based on the interests of big business. Leo Varadkar has made a point in every speech of reinforcing the idea that ‘work’ must go on for anyone who can work, and that respobsibility for covering and reimbursing lost wages will be foisted upon the public. His speeches are a far cry from the policies which he has enacted for years targeting housing, healthcare and other social resources, which had now left people living in homeless groups, hostels, crowded apartments and swarming a healthservice which he has consistently under-resourced.
Factored into the costs which the public pays to big businesses for goods are insurance costs which they pay to cover their expenses in events such as this pandemic. So where now is this safety net? Of course the term ‘insurance’ is in this case a reflection of what the insurance industry is in general: a scam and an extortion racket which fleeces the working people.
Big tech companies, financial institutions, construction contractors, franchises and corporations make billions in profit each year in Ireland thanks to exploitative labour practices and generous tax breaks. Apple alone owes Ireland 14 billion euro by order of an international court for failing to pay adequate taxes. They have thrived whilst the workers have toiled to fill their pockets, or faced homelessness and desolation. Despite this Varadkar and his political allies have allowed this wealthy elite to abandon all respobsibility for ensuring financial stability for those off whose backs they have made their fortunes. Instead workers are forced to decide between staying at home penniless or risking their health and safety at work.
Throughout the world governments, particularly left-leaning governments, have moved quickly to dismiss the interests of the private sector in favour of protecting the people. The media rushed to distract from this by claiming that newly-built hospitals and other measures in these countries were ‘shabby’ and their construction had resulted in so many deaths. Nationalising hospitals and other infrastructure scares big business. Many big businesses for example make profit from the pharmaceutical industry and private healthcare; when states take this over, big business makes less or no profit. In the case of a pandemic such as this, one would think that the state would dismiss the interests of these big businesses in favour of protecting citizens. However, the gombeen establishment in Ireland has shown itself consistently to be no more than a committee for that rigging public affairs in the interest of the rich.
Prior to the emergence of this pandemic Ireland was already dealing with a housing crisis. Scum landlords should already have been put in their place for the extortionate rent prices they are charging, and the conditions in which they have human beings living. Yet they won’t stop charging rent. Cases have already been reported in which Landlord scum have threatened to evict tenants for not paying rent.
This is not the only excess of the private market. Many firms decided to cash in on the crisis also. Whilst small blue-collar establishments closed their doors immediately for the sake of staff, customers and locals, the big businesses and services held out to milk the situation. They bought hygiene products and other goods and resold them at extortionate prices. Our health staff have not yet felt even a fraction of the impact which will come from over-prices yuppie hives in the cities which remained open for business.
In the midst of this chaos Republican Socialists have consistently forsaken their own safety to put communities first. As have underpaid employees, charities and community groups. But all of these ‘feel good’ stories should not distract us from the fact that we have a failed economic and political system, which must be ended at once. This pandemic will end, but the systems which have perpetuated it must follow suit, to prevent the wellbeing of people on such a mass scale from being forsaken like this again.