March 24, 2020
the time of Cholera” was possible, but in the time of coronas, its existence
seems imponderable. “When sorrows come, they come not single spies, but in
battalion,” and the majority loses the sense of collectivity. During fear, men
lose their reason, self-preservation becomes the sole rationality, and the
Darwinian law of survival of the fittest the only law. A thin veneer of
civilisation cast away its veil. The struggle for the social space for
existence becomes apparent, humans turn into beasts. Under an exchange society,
freedom and insolence become synonymous and evident
aisles and shelves in malls, the dearth of basic amenities, and massive buying
of consumable commodities suggest not only the democratic abolition of thought
people undergo wilfully in an innately insecure capitalist economy, but also
reveals the energetic principles of politics based on enemy and fear.
Montesquieu observed, “Fear is what makes and sustains dictatorships,” but now
it has become the permanent feature of democracies as well.
alienated human being not only denies the existence of others but one’s own
being; existence with the exclusion of society makes him a self-preserving
individual, an emotionally dead person, a schizophrenic of Laing. Capitalism
brings forth not only genetically modified food but also the regimented people,
mechanically modified to behave in a manner where suffering of one guarantees
the happiness of the other.
Bernstein, interim director of the Centre for Climate, Health, and Global
Environment states, “We swim in a common germ pool with other life forms.”
However, the very material garbage produced by the spirit of capitalism has
effectively polluted the world and its climate. Nature is in ruin, and indirectly
the existence of humanity too.
triggered from Wuhan “at a wildlife market where wildlife animals were kept in
close proximity to each other and to humans…a perfect breeding ground for
zoonotic diseases, and for the bats that carry them. [Bats] are closely related
to us, they’re losing habitats, hence they go to these markets in search of
food, while encountering human beings they cause indirect afflictions to them.”
(Nature, 26 Feb).
biodiversity and species extinction that knocks the ecosystem off balance can
leave behind creatures that are prone to spread new illnesses. “Scientists
believe that West Nile virus, carried by migratory birds, might have benefited
from a fall in niche bird species like the woodpecker and a rise in more virus-friendly
species like robins and crows. Warming temperatures brought on by climate
change exacerbate the problem. As temperatures rise, animals are mixing in new
and unexpected ways, providing even more opportunities for diseases to spread”.
(Grist, 18 March)
the product of the same system based on greed and expansion, the capitalistic
Lebensraum. History is not oblivious to humans consuming all species, including
their own. Once cannibalism, in some cases, was a necessity and a custom, but
under market economy the large-scale consumption of different species has
developed into a profit- based industry with blackmarkets thriving under the
benign gaze of some states. China is probably one of them, where it flourished.
is not alien to coronaviruses since it experienced SARS erupting from Hong Kong
and MERS from Saudi Arabia, but COVID-19 is a different strain. “The scientists
have focused on two important features of its spike protein: the
receptor-binding domain (RBD), a kind of grappling hook that grips onto host
cells, and the cleavage site, a molecular can-opener that allows the virus to
crack open and enter host cells.” (Science News, 17 March).
evolved through natural selection in a non-human host, to cross over to human
beings later in a pathogenic state, which happened during the previous
outbreaks when SARS visited human beings through civets and MERS through
camels. Else, it came in a non-pathogenic state, directly or through an
intermediate host between humans and animals and became active after living in
humansfor a certain duration. With SARS-COV-2, a strong possibility of an
intermediate host acting as a transmitter between humans and bats or pangolin
co-author Andrew Rambaut cautioned that it is difficult if not impossible to
know at this point which of the scenarios is most likely. If the SARS-CoV-2
entered humans in its current pathogenic form from an animal source, it raises
the probability of future outbreaks, as the illness-causing strain of the virus
could still be circulating in the animal population and might once again jump
into humans. The chances are lower of a non-pathogenic coronavirus entering the
human population and then evolving properties similar to SARS-CoV-2′.
31 of 2019, the Chinese authorities alerted the World Health Organisation of an
outbreak of a novel strain of coronavirus, subsequently named SARS-CoV-2,
causing severe illnesses. Despite warning, the world, especially Europe and the
US, remained in a state of denial. Trump, Johnson and Morrison mocked it,
asking people to follow their routine. Were they naïve or postponing the
inevitable by giving time to the market to procure means offleecing humanity to
cash upon its misery?
leaves nothing to chance. When China was battling to contain the virus, the US
senators were selling their stocks before they could drop. Senator Kelly
Loefflerand Senator Richard Burr, Republican Chairman of the Senate
Intelligence Committee, dumped their million-dollarstocks after receiving a
private briefing on the COVID-19 coronavirus crisis to invest in vaccine
multinational pharmaceuticals of the US, fully aware of the catastrophe
dimension of corona’s lethality, were preparing to turn the calamity into an
opportunity by making new diagnostic kits, refusing to import the cheapest ones
from China and Cuba. Trump, the front man of multinationals, has fixed his
lusty gaze on CureVac, a German state funded company, striving to make an
anti-corona vaccine. His bid to buy the exclusive rights on the sale of the
possible vaccine has stirred the raw nerve of Karl Lauterbach, a German
politician.Bewildered and stupefied he remarked,”Capitalism has limits.” Alas,
the bible of capital knows no such limit.
between people and malady is in reality a fight between labour and capital.
Capitalism is facing a new wave of recession. With the virus, the US economy
will contract at the annual rate of 12 percent by end-June. Even if the
international economy recovers in the second half,it will only balance the
things; stagnation is bound to stay. Even prior to the calamity, people in
France, Italy and Spain were on the streets, protesting to secure a better
world. Even the US is ringing with the lyrical tunes of democratic socialism, a
word tabooed in an indoctrinated society.
slumber are waking up to the reality not to help the masses but to bail out
corporations, airlines and private sector. Workers are being laid off,
unemployment is in ascendance. People in a state of panic, with little choice,
are dangling between cadaverous life and an outright death. Life under
capitalism has become a long sentence of an offence called birth. The
obsessive-compulsive neurosis of shedding one’s guilt through the paranoia of
washing hands repeatedly has become the only rational defence. “Here is the
smell of the blood still: perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten the little hand”
Saulat Nagi is an Australian-Pakistani based in Sydney. He has authored several
books on Marxism (Gramscian and Frankfurt schools) and history
Headline: About coronas and capitalism
Source: The Daily Times