Prisoner Writes on the Coronavirus—and Noche Diaz of the National Revolution Tour Responds



From a prisoner:

“[A] proper response to combat crisis, such as this virus, is virtually and selfishly non-existent in a capitalist society,...”

Does anyone else feel some type of way as you watch the American Bourgeois propaganda machine spit out messages of “Stay home,” “close everything down,” “(necessary) curfews,” “Stay away from each other,” everything will be ok,” “just stay home,” “Trust your government, they will take care of the problem and do what they will do to keep you safe!”

I mean I understand. The coronavirus is a legitimate lethal threat to a lot of people. A lot of people have died and will continue to die around the world because of it. It’s a real life pandemic. But let’s not pretend as if it’s something new. It is a price that comes with being in a civilization. It is one of those unfortunate consequences of civilization. Better now that we are better technologically advanced and have means to better combat this. These and many types of viruses back then, would kill a lot much more people. Back then, the response to this type of situation was, really nothing, cause they had no choice, there was not much people could do, due to lack of means and technological advancements.

My thing is, that in today’s day and age, those important means and advancements exist in the world. Yet, because those means are produced and owned privately, for the sole accumulation of capital, a proper response to combat crisis, such as this virus, is virtually and selfishly non-existent in a capitalist society, because the relation between a capitalist government and its people is solely that of control and of the capital and commodity relationship.

A capitalist/imperialist run government does not care for life. It cares little that people are dying. Don’t be fooled by their calm assuring words, whose actions contradict the “feeling” they are trying to portray.

A capitalist run government’s sole focus is on how much capital will it cost to cure these people, how much capital will they “waste” producing and providing (as in selling you) essential goods. The capitalist and their government’s main worries lie in how much profit they can salvage by lay-ing off millions of workers. I repeat, in order to retain their profit. A capitalist run government and society does not care if you were forcibly laid-off and you still got bills to pay, they don’t care if you have children to feed. They attempt to bribe you, saying they will give out one thousand or two thousand dollars (which is definitely nowhere near enough) then, it’s dependent on how much yearly income you make. Really? So now they’re just in our faces measuring what class deserves how much money (I repeat) FOR THE ESSENTIALS AND NESSECITIES OF LIFE! So if you’re poor, low-income, working class, even middle class, you just out of there, “fuck you” is what they telling us. Does this not show you how a capitalist/imperialist run government does not care about its people, let alone humanity. Is this the type of society you want to continue living in?

But the bourgeoisie propaganda machine is telling you; “stay in doors,” “everything is going to be ok, that’s how we will fight this,” “stay indoors.” Eventually they will force you to stay in doors so they can “combat this” “it’s going to be ok”. NO! it’s not going to be ok. Not for the sick. Not for the immigrant who for fear of deportation won’t get tested. Not for the millions of unemployed workers, not for the people who already had little to no income already living in poverty. Not for those 3rd world countries, who because of Imperialism ravaging and extorting them lack major essential resources and material resulting in already horrid condition, and is now being devastated worse by this virus crisis.

I understand, people are scared and rightfully so. But are we, are you going to ignore and do nothing about the fact that this capitalist/imperialist system we and the world lives under is making worse the consequences brought about by this virus? Will you ignore, did you even know that things don’t have to be like this? That if the means of production were to be socially owned and produced for the betterment of humanity a proper response to this epidemic crisis, any crisis as a matter of fact, could be better met.

Reason why I say a “proper response to this epidemic crisis, any crisis.” That’s because, under communism, societal relations wouldn’t be based on capital and commodity. The necessities of life, and especially, most importantly when it comes to health and health services would be produced and socially owned, with its sole purpose and highest priority being to care for and provide unconditional, any & all medical attention to those in need, regardless of class or income. We wouldn’t have to worry about being extorted by hospitals and health insurance companies, under a planned economy with the means of production socially owned, constantly producing the essentials of life and further advancing technologically in what we produce and how we produce, to overcome those necessities and essentials of life for humanity. What would be the need to charge you for such essential and necessities of life if the sole goal of a communist society is to get together and socially produce those means for the betterment and advancement of humankind? Under capitalism, things are already produced socially but for private capital gain. Some paradox don’t you think? Getting together to produce that which will be denied to you and yours unless you pay the price (a price you already paid with surplus in working for them.)

But please, allow me to apologize, I feel like I’m ranting now. I just wanted to share what my thoughts are every time I see the television and hear about this coronavirus crisis. It’s what comes to my mind every time I see the news coverage, presidential briefings, cheesy corny commercials and TV shows telling us what we should do and the only thing to do against the coronavirus and the crisis it’s bringing. All I hear is the propaganda machine saying “stay home” “do nothing” “ignore how your capitalist run government is handling things” “stop and don’t have meetings with each other, stay away from each other, fear each other, the next person ‘might’ have the virus” “Don’t question how your government is handling things, binge watch a show.”

That’s all I see and hear coming out the Bourgeoisie Propaganda Machine, and the whole time I’m thinking, Revolution! A Communist Revolution and how urgently we need it. Now more than ever!

So Please! to the Revolutionaries and those who call themselves Revolutionaries, who are out there in the free world or in prisons, in the streets and across the world. If these words somehow reached you. I urge you, from one Revolutionary to another, from one comrade to another. Do not cease in your Revolutionary work. Do not fear to take action and to further take to the streets, no matter what’s going on or what they tell you. Do not cease in your actions and in demanding by any means necessary, the removal of these capitalist gangsters and its fascist governments. Because the more you do nothing, the more this crisis and the next one deepens, the fascists will further implement and find their excuse to legitimize and solidify their rule.

And if the masses don’t have enough Revolutionary minded people with a scientifically grounded vanguard party to help lead and show them the way and how it’s done. The people, out of fear and confusion because of this pandemic and any further crisis, will unknowingly accept a fascist rule.

I’m aware, and I understand, that a Revolutionary situation is not yet present, for lack of Revolutionary minded people in the millions. But be sure, that with your contribution, however it may be, your continued work and further amping up Revolutionary actions and efforts, the grounds for Revolution will be further fertilized.

Just pay attention and stay focus, and don’t allow Nothing! stop you from continuing to work towards the Communist Revolution that humanity urgently needs.

Fear nothing comrades, for ours is a Righteous Cause!

In Struggle, XX

* * *

From Noche Diaz:

Thank you for the letter. I am Noche Diaz, and have volunteered to respond from the National Revolution Tour.

I feel this letter is an important contribution to the process of struggling to understand the current situation with this coronavirus outbreak and to identify how to work right now for much needed advances in the revolution humanity needs. In reading this, I felt it is an important example of how Bob Avakian (BA) talks about those this system has cast off and counted for nothing, can count for a great deal and have a great role to play in making revolution and emancipating humanity.

There are important things to draw from the letter about the need, ever sharper in this moment, to bring alive for masses of people the reality that there is a different way things could be through revolution, leadership for that which people don’t even know they have, and the role this could play in giving people a sense of urgency to work now for revolution. And I think we share and appreciate your right-on sentiment when you say, “I urge you, from one Revolutionary to another, from one comrade to another. Do not cease in your Revolutionary work.”

In thinking about your letter, I also went back to something written by BA in his recent article “The Deadly Illusion of Normalcy and the Revolutionary Way Forward,” which I hope we can get to you in entirety but want to point out this part:

Even as the capitalists and governments representing their interests have been forced to take certain emergency steps that in some ways run counter to the inherent dynamics of their system (such as massive intervention by the government in the functioning of the economy), the ways in which this system constitutes an obstacle to dealing with this crisis continue to assert themselves—including not only such perverse actions as the hoarding by some of vital medical and other supplies, in order to drive up the price, but also the fact that the creation of wealth under this system proceeds on the basis of ruthless exploitation and the impoverishment of masses of people throughout the world, while even in the “wealthier” countries there is significant poverty and large parts of the population live paycheck-to-paycheck and are only one serious crisis away from disaster; the ongoing rivalry between different capitalists (or associations of capital), with their private ownership of the means of production (land, raw materials, technology, factories and other structures) and private, competitive accumulation of wealth acts as a hindrance to necessary cooperation and the production of things that may be urgently needed but are not productive of private profit—and the whole ideology of advancing one’s interests at the expense of others, the individualism that is fostered by this system and is promoted to an extreme currently in this country, runs counter to and undermines inclinations toward cooperation and, yes, sacrifice for the greater good.

I think what’s being scientifically analyzed here is, and will continue to be, very important in this period to be able to understand what is happening, why, and how to lead people to act on this situation to advance the revolution. When you point out the basic nature and priorities of capitalism and those who rule over us in your letter, we have to make sure to not imagine these rulers as all powerful and without strategic problems/considerations of their own. The government is definitely “of the system,” but the government also has to factor in the legitimacy and survivability of the system as a whole, and their own system sets the limits of what even they can do.

And you can see this now. The science points to the life-saving effects of implementing social-distancing measures, frequent hand washing, disinfecting surfaces, as well as widespread testing and contact tracing to identify and stop the spread of this virus. Yet, while some parts of the capitalist government have advocated and tried to implement some of these measures (which WOULD be correct, and life-saving, to do), their system is in the way of doing even that. Because it ran counter to the needs of profit, plans were not made (or were ignored and undermined) for such an epidemic to have emergency reserves of personal protective equipment, for example (which, as you point out, epidemics do happen and this system knew that too.) The race for a vaccine is also now a race to get the property rights to sell the vaccine. Millions in the prisons and detention centers are seen by the system as expendable and left in situations unable to carry out almost any of these life-saving measures, which could spell a mass death sentence. All this even before talking about the anti-science fascist Trump/Pence regime sabotaging the response efforts, distorting the facts and science about the virus, and more openly mobilizing their fascist followers to advocate a kind of blood sacrifice to “Re-open” American capitalism-imperialism.

It will take struggle among ourselves, and with masses, to figure out how to maximize advances for revolution in this moment. This includes how to relate to the developing pandemic, and how this is all interacting with the pre-existing conditions of this oppressive capitalist-imperialist system. It will also mean keeping our eyes on the prize by taking on big frameworks that stand as obstacles to dealing with reality and the need for revolution, waging ideological struggle over problem/solution, which is concentrated in the work and leadership of BA. Even right now BA has been leading struggle to break through on the big need for opening up society-wide debate over reform and revolution, and struggle deep and hard with the ways of thinking that stand in the way of what humanity needs. This is a big part of the essential work of the revolution in this period, struggling to bring forward conscious followers of BA, re-forging a growing movement for an actual revolution, with a growing and strengthening vanguard grounded in this science and leadership. As one part of that we have been getting out to the people in the neighborhoods, health centers and other places where people are out with communiqués from the revolution, including recently the May 1st Communiqué from the revolution, May Day 2020: The World Today Is a Horror--But a Better World IS Possible!

I hope this reply gets to you, and finds you in high spirits. I think this kind of exchange can bear fruit for the whole process, and can serve as a great contribution from you and others who are able to contribute in that way.

The RNL Show—Revolution, Nothing Less!

Episode 3: Science and the New Communism, Prisons and COVID-19

BAsics, from the talks and writings of Bob Avakian is a book of quotations and short essays that speaks powerfully to questions of revolution and human emancipation.

“You can't change the world if you don't know the BAsics.”

Order the book HERE
Download the book in ePub format HERE

See also:

The Coronavirus Pandemic — A Resource Page

  • What IS the Corona virus COVID-19 and what do scientists know about this?
  • How is the capitalist-imperialist system making the effect of the Coronavirus worse than it has to be?
  • How do the “savage inequalities” of the system play out in the way this virus affects different sections of people? Who does it come down the worse on, and why?
  • How would the revolution handle the coronavirus or similar epidemics if it held state power?

Read more


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