On Sacrifice: Coughing up Blood for the Economy.

For only 8 hours a day and the risk of contracting the coronavirus, you can keep stocks high and help me build my Olympic-sized pool. Please get back to work.

To my loyal employees. This post is a gentle reminder from your friendly neighbourhood CEO. Getting us (by which I mean YOU) back to work is the top priority right now despite that Chinese/Democrat hoax quarantining people left and right. Your health can wait, but the economy can’t. I’m gonna have to sell my third jet because you’re too “sick” to pack boxes for 12 hours without a bathroom break. I know that you’re personally willing to sacrifice yourself for the good of my bank account because you love freedom and hate socialist practices like health care and days off. Thank you for your blood and sweat in these trying times. Your name has been entered into the company draw for a $10 gift card to the Olive Garden. See? We have fun here. Signed, Shit-eating CEO and the government that bows to my will.

P.S Fuck you and fuck your sick relatives.

Photo Source: Vox, 2020

That first bit may have seemed like an exaggeration, but was it really? Trump has been adamant about getting the American public back to work and back to business as usual. COVID-19 has been eradicated then? We have a vaccine? Turns out it really was a hoax and it’s all Obama’s fault for some reason involving ISIS/Hillary Clinton/Rosie O’Donnell? Nope. None of those. The stock market is hurting and corporations/industry execs/stockholders are sad. Money calls and you, the working class, must pull and push to get the wheels of capitalism moving again. You lucky ducks. COVID-19 is very infectious and spreads rapidly, but hey you’ll be fine in that warehouse or fast food establishment that serves hundreds per day. The Donald said so and Mike Pence (who doesn’t believe in science) probably agrees. Let’s talk about this today and try to see their reasoning beyond the dizzying madness of basically everything right now.

The economy hasn’t just been on the mind of Trump and his loyal cadre of hobgoblins in man-shaped suits. No, not at all. Our government in Canada is just as committed to getting us back to work as soon as possible (they just hide it better). In fact, every nation that sings the praises of capitalism while ignoring its clear shortcomings want things to return to the way they were in the before time. Granted, Canada’s government has been more proactive about actually providing relief than our neighbours down south, but this doesn’t change the end goal. Industry and corporations can’t afford to have things change after all of this is done and our governments know this and fear a collapse. Politicians, big business, crap media, and loudmouth pundits are now more eager than ever to push this agenda and get us all “well” and back to grind.

Photo Source: Media Matters, 2020.

Unsurprisingly, the corporate sock puppets at Fox News were laughing about COVID-19 just a few weeks ago, but as soon as potential financial ramifications began to emerge (and their orange saviour acknowledged it wasn’t entirely a hoax) they changed their tune. Rhetoric went from “Go on a vacation cause airports are empty” to “stay inside for America’s sake” to “get back in the trenches, disposable pawn” really friggin’ quick. In truth, several news outlets have gone back and forth on the issue despite clear scientific evidence for us all to stay inside and not be around people right now. Fox, as usual, is just a propaganda factory for corporate and political scum suckers so it leads the charge for “back to work fever” (literally if you get the coronavirus). Steve Hilton, former adviser to David Cameron (AKA Pig Fucker) was on Fox last week claiming that the “ruling class and their TV mouthpieces [are] whipping up fear over the virus” and that working Americans can’t afford a shutdown. A problem that unregulated capitalism created and won’t ever address, but I digress. On March 17th, Tucker Carlson had some choice words for you slackers and scientists where he preached that tackling the virus requires a balanced view that saves jobs without resorting to things like universal basic income which is “decadent and foolish”. His multi-million dollar job isn’t in danger of course. No, he means your server job that pays under minimum wage and keeps you loyal to the State for mere peanuts. You can and should keep that job in Tucker’s America. The point here is that these seedy ghouls want things back to normal, but their normal is both corrupt and unsustainable as we’ve seen with the piss poor preparation for COVID-19. Do you really want that kind of normalcy back?

The government is offering relief though so isn’t that a good thing? Federal and provincial governments in Canada are offering rent aids, halting student loans, and giving a $2000 per month benefit. Trump is actually thinking about embracing universal basic income (how Democratic Socialist of him) because of economic strain. We all need money for rent, groceries, student loans, prescriptions, and utilities after all so shouldn’t I be celebrating this generosity? Yeah, but why should we have to worry about paying for necessities during a pandemic let alone in general? What seems like benefits for you are really just relief stipends for capitalism because you aren’t entitled to true freedom or security outside of a crisis. Rent allowances only benefit your landlord. Groceries cost too much and we’re paid too little so here’s some money that you shouldn’t get used to. Student loans are soul crushing debts that shouldn’t exist, but don’t worry cause we don’t have to pay for 6 months. Heat, hot water, and electricity are luxuries, but sure peasant we’ll give you some leniency with your payments. Our right to a home, to food, to heat, to education, and to safety/health shouldn’t be dependent on what a government is willing to offer during a crisis. We should have these things and these inherent rights every single day in a truly fair and just society. This isn’t charity given from the good of their hearts. It’s a limited time offer for things for which we should be entitled to from the beginning.

Doctor breaking down when he can’t hug his child. Photo Source: Indy100, 2020.

I also want to highlight a major reason why our so-called leaders want you back to work ASAP. Working class peoples are starting to realize their worth in this crisis. Doctors and nurses on the front lines are more valuable than some vapid Beverly Hills socialite. Grocery clerks dealing with hundreds of panicking folks are far braver than some oil baron sealing himself in a penthouse. Grade school teachers are more in demand than Wall Street stockbrokers. There are average people out there taking it upon themselves to form movements and initiatives to help their neighbours despite limited funds and resources. They aren’t sitting on billions of dollars and offering up a paltry 0.05% of it to COVID-19 research, but instead they’re facing it head on with little more than compassion and dedication to drive them. You are the key to change here and that’s goddamn scary to the people up top. How can they get away with paying you nothing and keeping you loyal if you know your worth? How can they suck our blood and trample our dreams if they have to depend on us after this is all done? We won’t get out of this pandemic with any systemic changes unless we acknowledge our power to bring positive change about, but on our terms and not theirs.

Comic Source: Charleston Gazette-Mail, 2020

Is this a cynical view? Certainly. Is it entirely wrong? No. Our ideas of normal have been forever changed by capitalism and our bosses, landlords, and greasy politicians aren’t keen to alter the system once COVID-19 is a memory. Government support is merely a band-aid for a problem that was exacerbated by capitalist greed and numerous cuts to social welfare. The demand for us to get back to work despite COVID-19 isn’t for our sheer love of the job market, but rather a return to the status quo that keeps the pockets of the rich bursting at the seams. Take this pandemic seriously as both a critical health issue as well as a systemic issue. Don’t let those in charge claim victory and return us to a bleak, unfair, and ultimately unprepared system that will undoubtedly lead to more pandemics down the road. They want things back to normal, but we deserve far better than that. Our freedoms shouldn’t be determined on what a government or corporation is willing to provide during a crisis.

Thanks for reading and I hope to see you all again. Solidarity, my friends.

X.S.

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