Declaration NCPN and CJB
Second wave: workers, students and pupils in uncertainty, but government only cares about big capital
Oct 7, 2020
The number of hospital admissions and deaths caused by the corona virus is rising rapidly. Meanwhile,increasingly more people are feeling the consequences of the new economic crisis. Among workers, students, and pupils, there is a lot of uncertainty about the second wave and the economic crisis, as well as what this will mean for their job or education. The government, however, refuses to offer solutions and leaves everything to ‘individual responsibility’. Only big capital can count on the government for generous support.
The NCPN and CJB fight for concrete demands to counter the undermentioned problems.
Workers see how their rights are being put on hold with the excuse of corona. In workplaces health measures are still too often ignored by employers, and there is often barely any protective equipment made available (like disinfectants, and if necessary, face masks, gloves, etc.).
Many people have to work from home, and that often means increased workload, unpaid overtime, workers being expected to be available 24/7, and necessary equipment not being made available (like a good monitor and ergonomic office chair). Many homeworkers are isolated from co-workers with consequences to their mental health, and it also reduces the possibility to discuss malpractices with co-workers or the union.
Meanwhile,unemployment is increasing rapidly. Mass layoffs are the order of the day and many people are insecure about their future.
Many flex workers and self-employed workers donot have an income and are left to their fate.
Pupils and students
Schoolchildren and students (of both vocational and academic education) are in great uncertainty. Especially many students have to make do with online classes, which can by no means be a substitute for physical education. Many students can notdo their internship or research, which causes extensive study delay. Gross infringements of students’ privacy are committed by educational institutions, who watch over their students like ‘big brother’ through webcams, microphones and sometimes even webbrowsers.
Healthcare sector under pressure
The healthcare sector is under pressure. GGD’s (municipal health departments) can not handle their tasksand have insufficient capacity to even test people with symptoms on time –while private laboratories are getting rich by offering expensive corona tests. Regular healthcare is again being downscaled in hospitals, whichcould have grave consequences for public health.There is even a scarcity of required medicine to help corona patients.
This situation is caused by privatization, decentralization and cutbacks in the healthcare sector that have been going on for years (as an indication: since 2003, the number of hospitals has declined by 20 and the number of hospital beds by more than 20%; the number of intensive care beds relative to the population of the Netherlands is one of the lowest in Europe).
Corona policyweakand contradictory
On top of that, the corona policy of the government is weak and contradictory. The government has been saying for months that face masks ‘do not work’–against the advices of scientists and the World Health Organization–and are subsequently made mandatory. The official guideline that healthcare workers in nursing homes didnot have to wear masksalso turned out to be based on the shortage of protective equipment instead of medical considerations. People rightfully feel cheated. This causes distrust in the population and even conspiracy theories about the health measures being unnecessary because of the virus supposedly not existing or not being dangerous.
The contradictionsin the government policy, however, are not caused by the virus supposedly being harmless. It is caused by the fact that the bourgeois governments never made the effort to take preventive measures for a possible pandemic and, instead of that, made enormous healthcare cuts. Now that the pandemic is here, there is a lack of preventive measures to fight the virus (even shortages of basic protective equipment for healthcare workers) and the interests of capitalare continuously being prioritized over public health.
The spreading of the virus is being presented by the government as something inevitable. The government is going for a strategy of ‘maximally controlling’ the spreading, so that ‘the healthcare sector won’t be overburdened’. Actuallythis means: constantly take minimal measures, so that the economy keeps running. Meanwhile it is clear that this policy is failing in every aspect. The infection rates areexceeding all records, the number of deceased people relative to the population is really high in comparison to other countries, and a second lockdown might be necessary if the spreading escalates, bringinggrave economic and social consequences.
We demand:enforce a strategy of completely containing COVID-19! The policy of ‘maximally controlling’ just means ‘letting people die in a controlled manner’.
Degradation of democratic rights
The coronaoutbreak is being used as an excuse for the degradation of democratic rights and expansion of the repression apparatus. This is not only about the ‘corona-law’ which gives the government and non-elected institutions authorizationswithout democratic control. It is also about measures that were already being prepared before the corona outbreak, like pepper spray and batons for BOA’s (i.e. community service officers; who have been forced to take more and more duties from the police over the past years because they get paid less, even though they are neither trained nor equipped for these duties), usage of the army for civil matters, weakening of investigative procedures for police brutality and lower sentences for violent police officers, and the possibility of having organizations banned by the minister (without interference of a judge or a legal process). The corona outbreak can under no circumstances be used as an excuse for the curtailment of political rights or the expansion of the repression apparatus of the bourgeois state!
Struggle is highly necessary
The government is definitely notwilling to take the aforementioned measures, which work in the favour of working people and the youth, on their own accord. Struggle will be necessary to make this possible, and thus it is important that during the pandemic the struggle is not only continued, but also strengthened!
After all, during these months, the government has shown that only big capitalcan count on generous support: tens of billions in subsidies, loans, tax exemptions and public tendering. The working class will receive the bill. The government will try to postpone cutbacks until after the elections as much as possible. The consequences of this new capitalistic economic crisis (already the third in the 21st century) will hit the working class hard in the upcoming years.
In the meantime, contradictions are rising between imperialist powersthat fight each other forcontrol over resources, transportation routes, markets, and even vaccines. There is a real threat of imperialist interventions and even wars in various parts of the world.
It is becoming clearer and clearer that the capitalist system is reaching its limits and has nothing left to offer the working class and the youth. More than ever, it is necessary to fight for a society without poverty, uncertainty, exploitation, and war - for socialism-communism!
The NCPN and CJB offer their heartfelt condolencesto the families and other loved ones of people who have died from corona, and from the consequences of the outbreak and the inadequate government policy.
CC of the NCPN
CC of the CJB