Lifting the Mask of Capitalist Disaster: The Coronavirus Response

Black Rose Anarchist Federation / Federación Anarquista Rosa Negra


By Tariq Khan

From official disregard and denial to mismanaged response, each day the COVID-19 crisis brings into ever sharpening clarity the hypocrisy and moral bankruptcy of the current ruling class. Claims of American exceptionalism and greatness are revealed to be a crumbling mask for the systemic rot that pervades.

One does not have to be a radical to be appalled by the utter depravity of the conservative establishment’s response to the crisis. We watched Republican lawmakers who have tax-funded paid sick leave for themselves vote against a proposal for working-class people to get paid sick leave. Right-wing lawmakers stalled Coronavirus legislation in an attempt to sneak abortion restrictions into the bill. But it is not only conservative leaders that have been exposed as bankrupt, but also establishment liberal centrists. After listening to months of establishment Democrats during primary debates shoot down mild social democratic proposals for universal healthcare and student debt cancellation with the neoliberal mantra “how are you gonna pay for that?,” we saw the Federal Reserve pull $1.5 trillion — enough to wipe out almost all US student loan debt — out of a hat to inject into the stock market just to calm already-wealthy investors. The Coronavirus bill Nancy Pelosi championed as guaranteeing paid sick leave left out 80% of workers, in order to appease business owners. That was only the beginning, as the Trump administration has moved to bail out the wealthy owners of the cruise ship, hotel, airline, oil, and natural gas industries, while not even considering bailing out the many low-income families who are afraid of school closings because schools provide many children with the only meals they get.

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The battle of Adwa: an Ethiopian victory that ran against the current of colonialism

The Conversation

Ethiopians attend a parade to mark the 123rd anniversary of the battle of Adwa last year. Photo by Minasse Wondimu Hailu

On the first day of March 124 years ago, traditional warriors, farmers and pastoralists as well as women defeated a well-armed Italian army in the northern town of Adwa in Ethiopia. The outcome of this battle ensured Ethiopia’s independence, making it the only African country never to be colonised. Adwa turned Ethiopia into a symbol of freedom for black people globally. It also led to a change of government in Italy.

The town of Adwa is located in Northern Tigray, closer to the southern border of Eritrea. Yeha, the capital of Ethiopia’s ancient empire from 980-400 BC, and the monastery of Aba Garima, which was founded in the sixth century AD, are located near the town.

The battle between Ethiopia and Italy took place in the mountainous terrain of the area.

Adwa still stands as witness to what ordinary Africans can do when they come together as farmers, pastoralists, women and rural people, workers and artists. They are able to score a decisive victory against global colonialist forces.

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