YESTERDAY, Boris Johnson announced new emergency laws making social gatherings of more than six people illegal in England from next Monday.
This law applies to any meeting or gatherings anywhere either indoors or outdoors; it does not apply to schools or workplaces.
These draconian measures will be enforced by the police with powers to break into any home suspected of breaking these new laws and street patrols searching out illegal gatherings. Under the emergency legislation 30,000 troops are available for the project.
These emergency laws represent the emergence of a military-police state under the guise of fighting the coronavirus pandemic.
The Tories claim that these laws are necessary because of the sharp rise in the number of Covid-19 infections. This rise has taken place because the bosses insisted that there must be a return to work to safeguard their profits and keep capitalism going.
In the past three days, almost 8,500 people tested positive for the virus with 30 more deaths recorded, driving the total number of deaths in the UK up to 41,584.
This is the sharpest increase since May, the date when the Tories started to ‘relax’ lockdown and began their orchestrated campaign to drive workers back to their jobs and force the re-opening of schools.
They dismissed all the warnings from health professionals that this would inevitably lead to a further spike in the infection rate, just as they ignored the experience of European countries that ended lockdown weeks earlier and experienced the same dramatic increase. They were not willing to overcome the coronavirus at the expense of their profits!
The Tory government was and is determined at all costs, including the cost in lives, to get capitalism working again and restore the profits of the bosses. This has been the driver of the Tories all along.
They buried the Cygnus report that in 2016 warned the UK was not prepared for a flu-like pandemic and which warned particularly about the risk in care homes. Instead, they carried out a policy of forcing residents out of hospitals and back into care homes that became a killing ground for the elderly.
Throughout lockdown, which helped curtail the spread of the virus, workers and youth followed advice to avoid large groups and maintain social distancing.
They were prepared to make sacrifices for the national health at a time when the Tories were forced to concede a limited measure of state support for workers through the furlough scheme.
They are not prepared to make these sacrifices now, with the Tories demanding a return to work, ending the furlough scheme, reopening schools and universities, and are now trying to blame young people for the massive increase in pandemic cases.
Youth are right to reject responsibility for this spike in Covid-19 – the responsibility for the pandemic is with the Tories and the capitalist system they serve.
The harsh lesson being learnt by workers and youth today is that capitalism, which puts profit above all else including human life, is completely incompatible with providing for the health of the nation.
It is no accident that the contagion and death rates across the world are at their peak in the leading capitalist countries, with America experiencing a massive surge in deaths from Covid-19 approaching 200,000 as a direct result of US capitalism’s ‘back-to-work’ drive.
Significantly, the only countries that have managed to contain the virus are those like the deformed workers state of China where production is not primarily for profit.
While Johnson yesterday was announcing his emergency laws, Unite (the biggest union in the country) launched a campaign to plead with the Tories not to ‘abandon’ workers. In fact it is the trade union leaders who have abandoned the working class, by refusing to fight this government and its drive to keep capitalism going.
The working class must stand firm and say ‘enough is enough’. The capitalist system that is incapable of fighting this pandemic or providing any future for workers and young people must go.
What is urgently required is to build the WRP to provide the leadership in the unions that will organise a general strike to kick out the Tories and go forward to a workers government that will defeat the virus and go forward to socialism.