Masking for COVID-19 mitigation and safety is anti-capitalist solidarity

On Feb. 6, the Boston branch of Workers World Party collectively decided and unanimously voted, prompted by young and disabled comrades and candidates, to reaffirm our Party’s position of solidarity with our class regarding the pandemic with the resolution below, explaining the branch’s masking protocols to the movement.

Members and friends of Workers World Party Boston branch masking in solidarity, Trans Day of Resistance, March 18, 2023. WW Photo: Steve Gillis

Whereas, hundreds of thousands of workers globally continue to die every month in the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic that is now three years into the virus’s evolution, and;

Whereas, thousands of workers continue to die weekly in the U.S. in the continuing SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, and;

Whereas, an estimated 3.5 million to 10 million workers in the U.S. alone have been disabled, many long-term, through multiple COVID-19 infections that cause an immune deficiency and by sequela of COVID-19 with many potential debilitating symptoms, becoming acknowledged by many doctors and characterized by world public health officials as a mass disabling event over the last three years and commonly known as long COVID, and;

Whereas, workers who are disabled, immunocompromised, children and over 65 years of age are especially susceptible to death and long-term effects from COVID-19, and;

Whereas, data shows that the COVID-19 pandemic disproportionately affects Black, Indigenous, Latinx, Asian and other oppressed communities, especially in countries where public health care is governed by the capitalist for-profit system, and;

Whereas, developing scientific, medical and historical knowledge leads to the responsible conclusion that COVID-19, as well as other deadly pandemic diseases like H5NI (avian influenza), will be a daily part of human society and all life on the planet for the foreseeable future, and;

Whereas, capitalist governments led by the U.S. are pushing and demanding the exact opposite perspective, to “normalize” a deadly disease in order to “open up for business,” and;

Whereas, the Biden administration, in direct contradiction to scientific facts and leading global public health organizations like the United Nations’ World Health Organization, has declared an end to the federal COVID-19 Public Health Emergency, essentially an end to the pandemic, on May 11, 2023 (as ridiculous and dangerous as declaring Juan Guaidó president of Venezuela), and;

Whereas, Biden’s new Chief of Staff Jeff Zients, who dismantled pandemic protocols and ordered “masks off” during his previous Biden White House role as COVID-19 response coordinator, earning him the #ZientsMustGo campaign by medical professionals, is a Wall Street investment banker and corporate lobbyist, and;

Whereas, the Biden administration has declared an imminent end to federal funding of all COVID-19 mitigation (vaccines, masks, testing and test kits, school meals, SNAP and housing benefits, unemployment, pandemic worker rights, etc.), and;

Whereas, all corporate COVID-19 benefits (remote work, sick pay, etc.) have ended (except for a few at union worksites, where a modicum of COVID-19 paid leave remains), and;

Whereas, “take the masks off” and “get back to work, shopping and eating out as normal to save the economy” is the ubiquitous ruling-class battle cry in this global class war, despite the contradiction that this capitalist program itself, which has produced millions of disabled workers, has become a “labor shortages” catalyst of deepening crises in the global capitalist economy, playing out acutely now in the U.S. and England, and;

Whereas, the few exceptions in the world where workers’ governments are attempting to broadly mitigate the pandemic and the population understands masking as a social public-health precaution and responsibility — like Cuba, China and Vietnam — have seen qualitatively lower COVID-19 infection, death and disability rates and are under attacks of killer sanctions and warfare by the U.S. and other capitalist governments, including for their people-before-profit COVID-19 mitigation policies, and;

Whereas, in the U.S., Indigenous nations, leaders of Black, immigrant and other oppressed communities, disability rights and justice advocates, elderly people and public-health professionals, independent of the capitalist governments, are urging not only the general public, but also left organizations in particular, to mask, especially indoors, in solidarity with those most impacted by and in danger from COVID-19, as the most effective method to slow the spread of COVID-19 and other airborne pathogens, and;

Whereas, the first question, therefore, that must be answered clearly for organizations who aspire to represent the working class is, “Which side of the global class war regarding this historic global pandemic are you on?”

Be It Therefore Resolved that, the Boston Branch of Workers World Party is on the side of science, health professionals, disabled and elderly workers, oppressed workers and workers’ governments, all of whose constituents and citizens are voluntarily wearing masks as acts of individual and public health and solidarity with others, and;

Be It Further Resolved that the Boston Branch of WWP reaffirms the Party’s “Socialist Demands for the COVID-19 Crisis,” first published March 18, 2020:

  • Free health care for all;
  • Nationalize the health-care system under community control. Build emergency hospitals;
  • Full pay, benefits and guaranteed income for all;
  • Food, housing, medical supplies and utilities including internet for all;
  • Suspend rent, evictions, mortgages, utility shutoffs and ALL debt;
  • Prioritize resources for communities of color, migrants, LGBTQ2S+ people, seniors, youth, people with disabilities;
  • Empty prisons and detention centers. Shut down ICE. End racist attacks;
  • Community control. No cops. No military;
  • $2 Trillion to the workers not the banks; and
  • End U.S. wars, sanctions, and environmental destruction.

Be It Further Resolved that, based on all of the above, the Boston branch of WWP has reconfirmed our COVID-19 emergency protocols, established in March 2020, to require masking for health and solidarity in our office and for our comrades and candidates in their general social outings and interactions, in order to keep each other as safe as possible and to uphold and promote solidarity among the world’s workers and oppressed peoples.

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