From cradle to grave
Given that there is one preventable child death every four seconds, the current media obsession with Charlie Gard, an 11-month-old baby with a fatal genetic disorder, is
obscene odd but perhaps unsurprising. Offers of help have come from far and wide, even above: the Pope has been in contact with the god responsible for all our suffering. Returning to reality, we read ‘when doctors and nurses at the Vatican’s showcase children’s hospital complained in 2014 that corners were being cut and medical protocols ignored, the Vatican responded by ordering up a secret in-house investigation. The diagnosis: The original mission of “the pope’s hospital” had been lost and was “today more aimed at profit than on caring for children”’ (washingtonpost.com, 3 July).
The lot of workers towards the end of their adult lives is also bleak: ‘one in three nursing homes “not safe”. Inspectors failed more than a third of England’s 4,000 nursing homes on safety, says the Care Quality Commission watchdog, adding that the findings from its new, tougher inspection system were “completely unacceptable”. Failures included errors with medication, a lack of staff and patients not getting enough to eat and drink’ (theweek.co.uk, 6 July).
The reformist seesaw
‘As rallies across the country have demanded an increase in the minimum wage to $15 per hour, one state is reducing its legal lowest rate. Missouri is rolling back its minimum wage from $10 to $7.70. Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens, in office since January, is allowing a bill passed by the Republican-controlled state legislature to become law on Aug. 28 without his signature’ (dailycaller.com, 6 July). Over 150 years ago Marx wrote: ”instead of the conservative motto, A fair day’s wage for a fair day’s work, we must inscribe on our banner the revolutionary watchword, Abolition of the wage system’ (Value, Price, and Profit). Workers of the world wake up!
Zombies of the world unite!
The G20 summit took place recently in Hamburg alongside an imaginative protest by hundreds of zombies calling for us to ‘wake up!’ ‘The mud-crusted zombie figures were meant to be a symbol for “a society that has lost faith in solidarity and in which the individual struggles only for his own advance,” according to 1000 Gestalten’s official website. The act of shedding these costumes during the performance signified the idea that change can start with just one person. “We cannot wait for change to emerge from the world’s most powerful people, but we must now show all of us politically and socially responsible,” a speaker of the collective declared in an official statement’ (popsugar.com, 6 July). Correct. The revolutionary change that socialists strive for cannot come from above, from leaders, but only as a result of the majority understanding the need for and acting to bring about a world of free access and production for use.
Oh No…Not Again!
‘The long struggle for pro-independence groups to separate Biafra from Nigeria is gathering pace, 50 years after a brutal civil war over a successionist rebellion. Now, it’s mainly young activists from southeastern Nigeria, also known as Igboland, that are demanding separation’ (aljazerra.com, 5 July).
The war lasted over two and a half years and more than one million people lost their lives. The Socialist Party did not support either side, holding that the peasant farmers and workers had no interest in the capitalist rivalries within Nigeria over the control of oil production or the bloody intervention of France, the Soviet Union and United Kingdom, amongst others.
Pissing off patriots
‘Emily Lance received online threats of murder and rape after posting the video during Independence Day celebrations…Ms Lance is seen standing over a toilet on which a US flag is draped, and urinating on it with the aid of a device that allows women to do so standing up. She captioned it with: “F*** your nationalism. F*** your country. F*** your stupid f****** flag” ‘(bbc.com, 6 July) . This woman is correct. Nationalism and attendant flag waving/worship are barriers to the establishment of a stateless world commonwealth. Workers create all the wealth in the world, but do so for the benefit of a tiny class of parasites. In the USA, the top 0.1 percent of the population has as much wealth as the bottom 90 percent. Lance concludes: ‘What don’t you people understand? You’re celebrating freedom while damning me for doing the same. You can’t have it both ways.”