Greece: Revolutionary Struggle Member Pola Roupa – Social & Class Inequality Breeds Pandemics

We are experiencing the deepest systemic crisis that is killing. Covid 19 was created by deep poverty and inequality. Doctors have already spoken out about the new poverty conditions that all kinds of epidemics are hatching in different parts of the globe. Covid 19 is a child of inequality, and as it gets deeper, new viruses may be born that may be even more murderous than this coronavirus. Isn’t it time for political criticism? But it is the very system of capitalism and the market economy of political oligarchy called representative democracy that creates an ever-widening gap between wealth and poverty, resulting in an ever-increasing poverty spreading across many countries on the planet.

A prominent pulmonologist who has publicly raised the issue of extreme poverty as a cause of the pandemic and has said that if inequality is not addressed, we will continue to have such pandemic phenomena, never again appeared on television screens. The way Covid 19 is treated is also done according to social and class conditions, although the system is essentially responsible for this development. Covid 19 may not discriminate against who it hits, but not everyone has the luxury of proper care (large homes with compliance with safety and hygiene, good nutrition) and not everyone has the ability to purchase overpriced materials to protect themselves, especially now with the millions of unemployed in Greece, locked in their homes and even exposed to hunger. Patients with covid 19 no longer have access to public hospitals that are already under the weight of the pandemic due to shortages of materials, infrastructure, and staff, while diagnostic tests are limited.

On the other hand, the country’s economic and political elite have direct access to public hospitals and private hospitals that are paid in gold for tests and “well-groomed” treatment. Addressing the pandemic is profoundly a class issue. The culmination of this deep classism is a nightmarish, fascist triage (sorting out which patients will live in hospitals), for which doctors have already been instructed to apply in Greece. In Spain, which counts thousands of dead patients due to a lack of oxygen masks, people over the age of 65 are allowed to die and the younger ones live. In Italy they are sorting out who will join the intensive care unit or not. But I ask: If a rich man gets sick, a former member of parliament, a minister, an elderly man who belongs to the economic and political elite, will they euthanize him to save a poor young man? No.

For the sake of neoliberal doctrine and the “sacredness” of the market economy, national health systems in Europe and the world have gradually been eroded. In Greece, the “memoranda” imposed drastic cuts in the health system that had already been dismantled in previous decades of neoliberalism. Health has long been a luxury for the affluent, while public hospitals have been under-utilized for years without basic equipment to operate. We still hear every day doctors on television begging for pandemic protection materials. They are actually fighting a heroic battle as they know that they risk their lives daily. But as they say, they do not want applause but material and technical help, more recruitment. Some have already stated that without the involvement of private hospitals, the National Health System will soon collapse. Here comes the dilemma: Can the “sacredness” of great property and capital be violated in this most critical period for mankind, where thousands of people are wiped out by the pandemic? Can speculation on the coronavirus be brought to an end? Can such an intervention be made in the system of capitalism and the market economy so that all private hospitals, all private clinics, are under public control and use? Should the pharmaceutical, medical and other industries take public control and management and change the production of “weapons” against the coronavirus? Can anyone affected by unemployment be fed what they need to avoid starvation? Can prohibitions and military laws be imposed on the streets by the capitalists and the speculators of death? Because in European countries, in the “democracies” of the West with the constitutionally registered “equality in life and health,” with the constitutionally guaranteed “equality,” there is no drastic provision that will cover all the empty health systems; it will cover the shortages in the production of necessary goods, but the sorting of those who will live and those who will die? Why do the poor who are trapped in Italy and other countries starve to death? The poor of the rich West are trapped in studios and apartments, in many cases many people in tiny apartments without food, without maintenance and protection, live with the threat of coronavirus and the threat of starvation. There are millions of people who don’t even have a home: the homeless, the poor refugees and immigrants who live in the hot spots and miserable detention centers by the thousands, the prisoners who are stacked in cells and wards without the possibility of self-protection. Can large-scale expropriations be made to support the National Health System and not to implement the murderous triage (sorting) in our country? Can the prices of medicines, foodstuffs, protection products against coronavirus be dropped and those who make profits be prosecuted? In some wars and revolutions, there are industry demands for weapons. Now that we have a ‘war’ against a murderous virus, can appropriate factory checks be made to get ahead of the ‘weapons’ that doctors and nurses need? Or will the bans be limited to travel and fines imposed on those who do not have the basic necessities to survive this dramatic period? And will we ‘swing’ our tail when someone rich pays alms with disposable masks in public? We do not want their alms… The imposition of triage that will inevitably take place in our country will be a mass murder in the name of the survival of capital and the political-economic system, in the name of protecting the interests of a fervent minority, the economic and political ruling class. This is what they are experiencing in Spain, this is what they are experiencing in Italy.

In the decade of the memoranda, we experienced a social genocide with “weapons, memoranda.” We are now experiencing something even worse as humanity. The poor will once again pay. But this time they will pay more, sacrificing their lives in the name of the “sanctity” of capital and the economic system as a whole. We see that the debate on the Eurobond has ended. No rich country in the European Union wants to take part in the collective settlement of the huge debt of the weakest countries that has soared amid the pandemic. But the solution of the debt and the Eurobond is only temporary, it concerns systemic stability and in addition it allows an unprecedented amount of speculative raiding by the international financial system and supranational capital on the greatest humanitarian crisis that humanity has ever experienced. A drastic redistribution of wealth here and now is needed, not an overload of the already huge public debt… Because, as the capitalists say, where there is land, “there is no such thing as a free meal.” This speculative raid on big business and global public debt will be the catalyst for an unprecedented imbalance in the economic and political system, a major challenge to its transformation or even its overthrow in many countries. The system of capitalism, the market economy and the representative “democracy” for the profits of the economic elite and capital are non-negotiable, even if it means millions dead…

We have repeatedly written that the systemic crisis is neither over nor will it end… The crisis-ridden system and state policies that burden the country with additional debt will plunge us into the most devastating chaos we have experienced since the end of the pandemic. And in fact, while it is mathematically certain that we will live in pandemics all the time…

Nature avenges us, poverty avenges us. Unless we overthrow the system of murderous injustice we have no future as humanity. We live in a fascist regime where the value of human life is diminished in the face of the “values” of wealth and power. Mass human euthanasia, unprecedented in humanity, is a eugenic nightmare not only because they do not stand up to health systems but mainly because governments, defended by system and capital protection, refuse to do what they must, refusing to get health systems out of the impasse. This excess to make an equal effort for all people to be saved, regardless of social status, class and age can only be achieved with a universal expropriation, here and now, of all private health units without compensation, with a universal expropriation of factory units for the manufacture of materials, medicines, machinery, respirators. They can be created if they want the necessary intensive care units, they can build the means for the salvation of the sick, they can if they want to prevent the triage being applied in any country, to any human being. It may not be possible to mobilize at this time, but we can make a universal proposal of the provision for which many doctors and other nursing staff are begging. We can claim it in whatever way is offered to us at this time. Let us all demand an end to the speculation of capital, to an end to speculation on human suffering and death, to arm our hospitals by all means necessary. Do what is possible and do not apply the murderous triage to anyone. Stop class and social divisions in medical care, the right to life.

EQUAL RIGHTS TO HEALTH AND LIFE FOR ALL PEOPLE

From the quarantine of the women’s prisons of Eleonas-Thebes,

Pola Roupa 
Member of Revolutionary Struggle

Post Script: FOR OUR PRISONERS AND OUR STRUGGLE

A veil of silence has fallen over the prisons. No one cares about the fate of the 12,500 people being held indoors, often suffocatingly full. The government has submitted a draft plan for the decongestion of prisons, but this is very limited. If it stays with those who plan to be released, it will be a drop in the ocean, it will only be to alleviate the reactions of the prisoners, while the problem of a large spread of the coronavirus epidemic will not be solved. The criteria for release may not be based on the normal prison capacity.

Pandemic precautionary measures and the possibility of compliance with basic security rules for coronavirus precaution require that at least 1⁄3 of inmates be released. As for the precautionary measures against Covid 19 in prisons, it is known that they are either incomplete or not taken at all. The government’s assurances that there are no Covid 19 cases among detainees do not convince us; reports of coronavirus disease cases are not confirmed, nor are they refuted. A peculiar “quarantine” in the information prevails for the country’s prisons. Security and discipline for detainees remain a top priority for the government. A mobilization like the one in the Korydallos women’s prison did not endanger either the health of the detainees or the security of the system. However, we were attacked by the government and the service with my transfer from Korydallos prison to Eleonas – Thebes prison and with the threats to the detainees that they will be locked up in the cells for 24 hours in case they insist on mobilization. They did the same in other prisons where detainees began mobilizations or attempted to begin.

The ministry also ordered the transfer of Nikos Maziotis to the Domokou prison with a strong police force. Almost midnight March 24, while he was sleeping, a strong police force stormed his cell and literally picked him up with the clothes he was sleeping on and without shoes. He was transferred because he drafted the text signed by all the wings in Korydallos prison, while he was the one who supported the necessity of a mobilization for the decongestion of the prisons. The government is taking revenge on whoever speaks. In particular, it retaliates and takes special measures against us by ordering special night shifts to put pressure on us, to undermine the mobilizations in the prisons. If the prisoners do not have a “voice,” as the representative of the Union of Criminologists said, who arbitrarily tried to become a representative of the prisoners, it is because they are deprived of the right to speak, to claim. Prisons are the “black holes” of totalitarianism and dictatorship in the world of modern representative democracy. As for the demands we have expressed for the decongestion of prisons, the interventions of criminologists are not only not supportive but also act as a deterrent as they reduce the demands for release. Prisoners need support to release as many prisoners as possible, drastically reducing the prison population to ensure the survival of both those who leave and those who stay behind. The ministry announced the exemption from the decongestion measures of those detained for heinous crimes. Alongside the rapists, it classified political prisoners under the well-known designation of “terrorism.” It is outrageous for me and Nikos Maziotis, who have mortgaged our entire lives, who have mortgaged our freedom in the fight against injustice, inequality, to enroll in these categories of heinous crimes. We ​​are fighting at all costs for a society of equality, freedom that will not fit these inhumane living conditions for billions of poor, that will not fit inequality, poverty, misery, that is, the conditions that are the causes in which they hatch murderous pandemics like the one we are experiencing. Precisely because we belong to the category of “heinous crimes,” Maziotis and I are sentenced to many years in prison. While Maziotis, who has already served almost 8 years in prison due to various disciplinary measures and due to the new disciplinary measure imposed on him in recent days, is essentially excluded from the possibility of obtaining a permit as well as being released on time provided for all detainees.

I raised the issue of decongestion of Greek prisons as the only solution for dealing with the pandemic in prisons, without having the prospect of being released from prison until the end of the pandemic, as is the case for many other prisoners, who we knew from before. What is this “heinous” crime that puts the common good beyond and above the individual interest? How many are claiming and are willing to suffer the consequences in order to benefit others and not themselves? What are those “heinous crimes” of the Revolutionary Struggle, our organization for which we are serving long prison terms?

The bombings of the Ministries of Economy and Employment, the stock market or the multinational CITIBANK and Eurobank? Is bombing the US embassy a heinous crime? Or the bombing of the BoG, a branch of the ECB and the IMF, an attack on the troika, a response to the disastrous memoranda that cost us, among other things, the disbanded hospitals?

And who are the ones who really commit heinous crimes but at the same time enjoy political and social immunity? Hasn’t N. Georgiadis of N.D. committed the heinous crime of pedophilia and is he being released free, as MPs of their faction ran to support him in court? (The term pedophilia is an unacceptable lenient word for a barbaric and truly heinous crime). Has V. Marinakis not committed the heinous crime of importing 2 tons of heroin into the country? What about the heinous crimes of embezzlement of public wealth for the benefit of ministers and government officials of all kinds? Or the bribes from multinationals to ensure their monopoly of “rights” in Greece? How infamous is the charge of a centralized, authoritarian and illegitimate totalitarian power over “heinous criminals” to political prisoners like us? History has already recorded the course of each. In the social field, our revolutionary path and our struggle, the Revolutionary Struggle, have been established for years.

As for the coronavirus pandemic, I wish you a painless fast end as much as possible. But because humanity has never moved forward with wishes or prayers, let this murderous pandemic become a compass to guide us as a society so that we can radically address both the causes that can be dealt with: deep class inequality and injustice. Let it become our compass that will show us the necessity of a regime overthrow, of a social revolution. It is now a matter of survival for the planet. It is now a matter of survival for all of humanity.

(via Mpalothia, translated into English by Abolition Media Worldwide)

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