Socialist Equality Party (SEP) electoral members this week called for workers and health experts to support and participate in the Global Workers' Inquest into the COVID-19 pandemic.
Initiated by the WSWS on November 21, the Inquest seeks to thoroughly investigate the origins, causes and consequences of the virus pandemic, and expose the political and economic forces responsible for its uncontrolled transmission.
Electoral members condemned the catastrophic surge of infections caused by the “let it rip” policies embraced by governments worldwide. In Australia, according to the official statistics, more than 2 million people have contracted COVID in the past month, over 8 percent of the population. With the breakdown of contact tracing and testing, the numbers are clearly higher. This is in a country that reported just 33,000 infections in the first 18 months of the pandemic.
Electoral members have joined the SEP to take forward the struggle for a socialist program, based on protecting lives and health, not corporate profits, and to defeat anti-democratic electoral laws designed to deregister parties and stifle the mounting popular opposition to the parliamentary establishment. We urge all our readers to support the SEP’s fight and sign up as an electoral member today.
Craig, an IT worker from Melbourne, had watched Dr. Jose-Luis Jimenez’s testimony from the Workers’ Inquest. “The aerosol spread of the virus, for political reasons, has not been communicated to broad numbers of people,” Craig commented. “You see this in shopping centres where mask wearing is high, but the masks are simply inadequate to protect them and others.
“If it was done properly, people would be given the right masks. The same way we have standards for seat belts and in industry. If they admit that the virus spreads by aerosols, then they have a duty of care and responsibility to fix it in hospitals and businesses. The implication is that the misinformation is deliberate, so they don’t have to address it.
“Three years into the pandemic, we are just being told ‘get vaccinated.’ Masks aren’t being provided. Meanwhile, the Australian government is buying tanks and submarines.”
Craig said the pandemic has “had a profound impact on our lives and the lives of my children. They have been robbed of their childhood. We made the decision last year when lockdowns ended that we wouldn’t send the kids back to school until there was a vaccine available. This has had an impact on our ability to work and we weren’t supported by the school.
“These personal choices aren’t the way to resolve the pandemic. We are being forced to slug it out for ourselves.”
Asked about the need to eliminate the virus, Craig said: “It requires a coordinated approach across different countries and regions. We simply don’t have this. In Melbourne, we went through the strictest and harshest lockdowns, believing in the outcome that it would get rid of the virus. To have all those sacrifices swept away in a matter of weeks with the strategy of letting it go rampant is criminal. There is no other way of looking at it.
“I can’t imagine being a healthcare worker. It would be like being in the trenches in World War I waiting for bombs to drop on your head.”
Craig commented on the WSWS interview with respiratory physician and environmental epidemiologist Professor Guy Marks. “Marks talks about a ‘post truth world’ where science is put to one side and any idiot with an opinion can spread misinformation. The most distressing thing is the speed at which the conception of Omicron being ‘mild’ was spread by the Australian government.”
Speaking on the heavy emphasis placed on “comorbidities” by health departments in reporting COVID deaths, Craig said: “My wife and I say that at some point the ‘underlying health condition’ will simply be being alive. It’s extraordinary. It smacks of eugenics and is very sinister.
“The Global Workers’ Inquest is important to find answers, the truth about the origins of the pandemic and how we can find a way forward. If we don’t address what mistakes there have been, what cover-ups have been made, then there is no chance of being able to resolve it. What other solution is being put forward? By anybody? None. It doesn’t need the agreement of governments. We can act independently. It’s absolutely necessary and required.”
Cornelia, a retiree in Sydney, spoke about the pandemic’s impact on her life. “I don’t go out. I don’t go to concerts. I haven’t been to the movies. I avoid shopping—I do that mostly online. Masks up to the hilt. Not seeing my family. I look after two children and for a whole period we didn’t see each other until we had a safety plan.”
Cornelia received information from the SEP on the high-quality masks needed to prevent the spread of the virus. “People don’t know about this. I have just ordered the masks. Most of the masks we use are only 50 percent useful and companies are making money out of this. Everyone should be supplied with proper masks. And free testing. That would remove the price-gouging that the government invites.
“In the arts there has been no work, no money. Gigs got cancelled. None of these artists have an income. The same with exhibitions, where galleries have been shut. It’s still going on right now. They are going on the dole. That’s below-poverty wages.
“If every country doesn’t unite, we are doomed. I don’t see any difference between Labor, Liberal or the Greens at all. I have seen changes in the people I talk to. Certain family members were very right-wing—not anymore. They are seeing through different eyes.
“The press doesn’t give the truth. Look at Assange. Why is that man even in jail? It’s a different point, but the same politics.
“The twins I look after—the mother is terrified about what will happen as schools open. We recently had a close contact scare and there was panic for the day. She had to leave work and couldn’t get a RAT [rapid antigen test] anywhere. In the end, she got a test off a friend. The lack of testing is because of the criminality of the government. They are murderers. The Labor Party is no better.”
Elizabeth, from the New South Wales Central Coast, said: “When COVID first came here on the Ruby Princess [a cruise ship that spread the virus in 2020], I couldn’t believe that had been allowed to happen, and then again with Delta, and now Omicron. We would have been able to stop it, but the spread of COVID has been allowed by the government.
“They say that we have to keep the economy going, that they have to keep making money. It does my head in that this is always the main focus. The working class are the people that have to go out and work the hardest, and the government just sits back and points fingers.
“Now they are insisting on opening the schools. I think this is very scary, especially for young children. They would be in school worried that they are going to catch COVID. To me, health and wellbeing should come first, over the economy.
“I’m on JobSeeker [unemployment payment]. I was over 50 when I was trying to look for a job, after working in an office most of my life, and no one wanted to know about me. But my son works in hospitality, and for me, there’s a fear that someone he might come across has COVID.
“It’s obvious that with the new electoral laws, the government is scared to lose control. They are scared people will rise up against them and oppose what they are doing. I think Labor and Liberal are in it together. They are in each other’s pockets. Labor will not do anything different to the Liberal-National government.
“I agree with the SEP that there has to be a global response to the pandemic, as well as to climate change and war. The advice of the scientists is being ignored. The degradation of the environment is daunting, and governments are spending so much on the military.
“After war, there is devastation. It is mindboggling to me that we as humans have, in many ways, come so far and yet there are still wars. It’s barbarism, and obviously governments are profiting from that. Refugees are created from wars, and yet the government says that they don’t want to bring in refugees. Well then, stop the wars!”