COVID-19 and Circuits of Capital

by  and 

Monthly Review | March 30, 2020


This article is the Review of the Month for the May 2020 issue. The print version will carry the same date at the end of the article as today, March 27, 2020. That we are publishing the Review of the Month online more than a month ahead of the publication of the issue as a whole is unprecedented for us and is testimony to the present emergency. We anticipate that minor updates will be added to the article when the entire magazine is posted online on May 1. 

—The Editors


COVID-19, the illness caused by coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, the second severe acute respiratory syndrome virus since 2002, is now officially a pandemic. As of late March, whole cities are sheltered in place and, one by one, hospitals are lighting up in medical gridlock brought about by surges in patients.

China, its initial outbreak in contraction, presently breathes easier.1 South Korea and Singapore as well. Europe, especially Italy and Spain, but increasingly other countries, already bends under the weight of deaths still early in the outbreak. Latin America and Africa are only now beginning to accumulate cases, some countries preparing better than others. In the United States, a bellwether if only as the richest country in the history of the world, the near future looks bleak. The outbreak is not slated to peak stateside until May and already health care workers and hospital visitors are fist fighting over access to the dwindling supply of personal protection equipment.2 Nurses, to whom the Centers for Disease Control and Protection (CDC) has appallingly recommended using bandanas and scarves as masks, have already declared that “the system is doomed.”3

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Ecosocialism or barbarism: an interview with Ian Angus


ROAPE  | March 24, 2020

In an interview with, ecosocialist and writer Ian Angus discusses the environmental crisis, the Anthropocene and Covid-19. He argues that new viruses, bacteria and parasites spread from wildlife to humans because capital is bulldozing primary forests, replacing them with profitable monocultures. Ecosocialists must patiently explain that permanent solutions will not be possible so long as capital rules the Earth.

Can you tell readers of ROAPE about yourself? Your background, life, activism and politics etc.

I was born in Canada and have lived here for my entire life. As a teenager, I was inspired by the Cuban and Vietnamese revolutions, and became active in the Marxist left while still a student. I helped organize anti-war demonstrations and support for Latin American refugees in the 1960s and 1970s, and I wrote frequently for socialist publications in Canada and the U.S. My first book, published in 1981, was Canadian Bolsheviks, a history of the early years of the Communist Party of Canada.

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WHO warns: Coronavirus pandemic in Asia is far from over

| March 31, 2020

In view of some Asian countries slowing down the spread of the coronavirus, officially Covid-19, pandemic, the World Health Organization (WHO) experts have warned: No country should let its guard down.

“Let me be clear. The epidemic is far from over in Asia and the Pacific,” said Takeshi Kasai, WHO Regional Director for the Western Pacific.

Takeshi Kasai was talking to reporters on Tuesday.Read More »

Coronavirus Pandemic: Goldman Sachs on possible future changes

Countercurrents | March 31, 2020

The coronavirus pandemic is influencing the entire human world. The pandemic’s impact and the changes it will bring are searched. After the crisis is over, there will be many changes. The longer the pandemic lasts, the more people may embrace new aspects of lifestyle.

The global oil industry has been hit hard. Oil prices have crushed. Long-term viability of many of the oil producers are being questioned. In some cases, the costs of shutting down a well are so high that drillers are paying customers to take oil away.Read More »

Fidel Castro: A champion of public health

by Abhay Shukla

Down To Earth | December 21, 2016


The demise of Fidel Alejandro Castro Ruz is a huge loss to the global public health. As the leader of the island nation of Cuba for nearly half-a-century, Fidel not only led exemplary initiatives to ensure healthcare for all within the country, but also ensured that Cuban doctors were the first to reach out to people in developing countries during natural disasters. Under Fidel, Cuban medical scientists also developed cutting-edge measures to combat diseases, ranging from meningitis to cancers.Read More »

Cuba offers its hand to the Caribbean


Granma | March 30, 2020

Photo: Prensa Latina

Several Caribbean island countries have expressed the gratitude of their peoples with a warm welcome as Cuban doctors arrive, offering a helping hand with invaluable medical support to the battle against Covid-19, as a gesture of solidarity.

It was already late into the night in the Lesser Antilles when an airplane landed on the main island of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines to deliver its precious human cargo, Cuban health professionals arriving to help.

At the foot of the plane’s stairway, stood Ralph Gonsalves, Premier and dear friend of the Cuban Revolution, who stepped forward to receive them, and found no other words for welcome and gratitude than to evoke the founding fathers of Cuba’s vocation for healing. He thanked “the Cuba of Fidel and Raul”, and President Díaz-Canel, the “continuator.”Read More »

St. Kitts and Nevis Thanks Cuba for Its Aid Against COVID-19

teleSUR | March 30, 2016

Cuba has been at the frontline of the fight against the coronavirus pandemic.

Cuba has been at the frontline of the fight against the coronavirus pandemic. | Photo: EFE

Despite sanctions and a decade-long economic embargo imposed by the United States, Cuba could send medical brigades even to European nations such as Italy.

The government of Saint Kitts and Nevis expressed Saturday its appreciation and gratitude for the assistance Cuban authorities are providing to the Caribbean island to help it handle the novel coronavirus outbreak.

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Chinese Specialists Arrive in Venezuela to Combat Coronavirus

teleSUR March 30, 2020

Venezuelan government delegation greets the Chinese envoy of medical specialists in Caracas on Monday, March 30th.

Venezuelan government delegation greets the Chinese envoy of medical specialists in Caracas on Monday, March 30th. | Photo: teleSUR

China has come to the aid of several nations affected by the coronavirus, including countries like Italy and Iran, who have been deeply impacted by the illness.

On Monday morning, a HAINAN Airlines flight from Beijing arrived in the Venezuelan capital, Caracas, to deliver aid and transport several medical specialists to help fight the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.


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Pandemic and Socialism

by Prabhat Patnaik

People’s Democracy | March 29, 2020

IT is said that in a crisis everybody becomes a socialist; free markets take a back seat, to the benefit of the working people. During the Second World War for instance, when universal rationing was introduced in Britain, the average worker became better nourished than before. Likewise, private companies get commandeered to produce goods for the war effort, thus introducing de facto planning.

Something of the sort is happening today under the impact of the pandemic. In country after country there is a socialisation of healthcare and of production of some essential goods, which markedly departs from the capitalist norm; and the more severe the crisis the greater is the degree of socialisation. Thus Spain, the second worst-hit European country after Italy, has nationalised all private hospitals to cope with the crisis: they are all now under the control of the government. Even Donald Trump is directing private companies to produce goods urgently needed during the pandemic. Tightening government control over production does not just characterise China at present; it marks US policy as well, not to mention several European countries.Read More »

India’s failed lockdown: devastating the poor, weakening the fight against COVID-19

by Prabir Purkayastha

People’s Dispatch | March 30, 2020

India covid
Tens of thousands of migrant workers thronged transport hubs in New Delhi over the weekend in a desperate bid to go home.

The tragic pictures of migrant families walking hundreds of kilometers to their villages in India are now there for all to see. For them, the alternative was to either stay and starve, or make the perilous trek back to their villages. As they are saying, the coronavirus may kill us, but if we stay without food, hunger surely will. Is this a catastrophe that should have been anticipated, but was not? Why didn’t the government see that this would happen? Particularly, as people thronged stations and depots, leaving for home even before the “janata curfew” [ a voluntary people’s curfew called for by prime minister Narendra Modi] on March 23? Do we conclude that the government and its officials – including the PM – completely forgot the poor while crafting the lockdown policy?Read More »