Marxism and Ecology in a time of pandemic: John Bellamy Foster, Amy Leather & Martin Empson

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Socialist Workers Party Youtube Channel | April 18, 2020

We’re live! Join John Bellamy Foster, Amy Leather & Martin Empson to discuss Marxism and ecology in a time of pandemic. The global environmental crisis has demonstrated how the system’s drive to accumulate means that capitalism puts profit before people and planet. The work of Marx and Engels in understanding the relationship between capitalism and nature has resurfaced in recent decades as an outstanding critique of the system’s destructiveness. The coronavirus pandemic originates in the same system that is driving climate change and the biodiversity crisis. Fossil fuel capitalism, industrial agriculture, deforestation is driving environmental destruction and creating the conditions for new and deadly diseases. Join authors and activists John Bellamy Foster, Amy Leather and Martin Empson to discuss how Marxism and Ecology can explain the crises we face and offer an alternative.Read More »

We started planning before first COVID-19 case was reported: Pinarayi Vijayan, Chief Minister of Kerala, India

Down to Earth spoke to Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan to understand his government’s modus operandi.

by Jayanta Basu

Down To Earth | April 17, 2020

When the first case of a person testing positive to the novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) was reported in Kerala on January 30, 2020 — most of India knew about the ensuing disease (COVID-19) vaguely as an outbreak somewhere in China.

Kerala, however, was alert to prevent any spread of Nipah (outbreak in 2018) — which also traced back to bats, has no cure / vaccine and killed the state’s citizens (18 of them). The state’s handling of the situation earned it global recognition, including a certificate from the World Health Organization (WHO).Read More »

Argentina to Soon Welcome 200 Cuban Doctors for COVID-19 Fight

teleSUR | April 20, 2020

Cuba has been at the frontline of the fight against the pandemic, sending doctors and nurses to 21 nations across the world.
Cuba has been at the frontline of the fight against the pandemic, sending doctors and nurses to 21 nations across the world. | Photo: EFE

The Cuban medical brigade is expected to arrive in May when the infection rate will likely hit its peak in Argentina. 

Argentina’s government confirmed Sunday night that a contingent of 202 Cuban doctors will arrive in the South American nation to help local health professionals with the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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GOP Tax Cuts in Coronavirus Relief Bill Give 82% of Benefits to Millionaires and Billionaires

by Alan Macleod

MintPress News | April 15, 2020

Coronavirus Tax Cut

Hidden away in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act is a series of Republican tax cuts that will save the ultra-wealthy $90 billion in 2020 alone. According to a report from the Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT), a nonpartisan congressional body, almost 82 percent of the benefits of the tax breaks will go to just 43,000 Americans who make over $1 million annually. In contrast, less than three percent will go to the great majority who earn less than $100,000 per year.

The provision, inserted into the emergency bill intended to save the economy from implosion, allows business owners to suspend any limitations on how much they can deduct against their non-business income, such as capital gains tax, in order to further reduce their tax liability, in some cases likely to zero. Unsurprisingly, this business-friendly loophole is destined to aid the extremely wealthy and ultimately hurt the rest. The JCT projects that the tax cut will add almost $170 billion to the deficit over the next ten years, something that Republicans, if history is any judge, will use as a battering ram against any progressive policies tabled.Read More »

U.S.: Unemployment claims rise to 22 million; women workers hit hardest

by Mark Gruenberg

People’s World | April 16, 2020

Unemployment claims rise to 22 million; women workers hit hardest
People line up outside the Utah Department of workforce Services Monday, April 13, 2020, in Salt Lake City, to file for unemployment. | Rick Bowmer / AP

WASHINGTON—Some 5.25 million more people filed initial claims for jobless benefits in the week ending April 11, the Labor Department reported on April 16. Those claims—added to the millions filed in March—raised total jobs lost to the coronavirus pandemic to 22 million, wiping out all gains in U.S. jobs since the end of the Great Recession a decade ago, several analysts pointed out.

The jobless rate shot up, too, even though those numbers lagged a week behind, BLS said. The 6.615 million new claims—9,000 more than the initial figures—from the week ending April 4 and the 6.687 million new claims at the end of March took the jobless rate to 8.2%, BLS added.

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American hunger: Many are starving as food banks buckle, exposing capitalist decay

by Albert Bender

People’s World | April 20, 2020

American hunger: Many are starving as food banks buckle, exposing capitalist decay

A volunteer carries food to load into a car at a food distribution center, Friday, April 17, 2020, in the Crenshaw district of Los Angeles. Food banks in the state have seen a spike in numbers as the state’s unemployment level has jumped to to 5.3% for the month of March. | Marcio Jose Sanchez / AP

From New York to California, from Florida to Michigan, millions of Americans are lining up in cars stretching for miles and miles in desperation to stave off the grim specter of hunger, waiting hours for food. U.S. capitalism at its worst, the grim reaper of starvation, is descending on hapless families. The rapacious rich can gather in their palatial mansions and sit down to sumptuous platters of the most delectable of foodstuffs and feast to their heart’s delight. But not the workers, the toilers, the poor. The coronavirus has exposed the fragile underbelly of the so-called “Great Economy” in the United States.

Recently, a columnist asked, “What are hungry Americans to do when the food banks don’t have any more food for them?” This question was hauntingly answered with simply another question: But if things are this bad at the very start of this new economic downturn, what are things going to look like a few months from now?

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As US Shale Oil Plunges, Trump Admin Takes Aim at Venezuela

by Whitney Webb

MintPress News | April 17, 2020

Venezuela Oil War Feature photo

WASHINGTON DC (The Last American Vagabond) — IPresident Trump recently praised a deal reached largely by Saudi Arabia and Russia, two of the top oil producers in the world who together dominate the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), saying that the agreed upon production cuts would “save hundreds of thousands of energy jobs in the United States.”

Despite the president’s rosy tone, most analysts have called the agreement – which presumably will freeze the Saudi-Russian oil price war that broke out last month – “too little too late” and have noted that a slew of bankruptcies from the U.S. shale oil industry are inevitabledespite the actions that have been taken. Even the Federal Reserve has stated that around 40% of domestic shale companies now face bankruptcy in just a few months if the price of oil remains under $30, a figure it is unlikely to pass for some time due to slumping demand caused by global lockdowns, among other factors that have emerged as the current coronavirus (Covid-19) crisis has played out. Trump has since fielded the possibility of imposing tariffs on oil imports to drive up oil prices and favor the domestic consumption of U.S. shale oil, but it remains to be seen if that policy will materialize.Read More »

Why the West Hates Sandinista Nicaragua

by Stephen Sefton

teleSUR | April 20, 2020

As of Monday there are 10 confirmed cases and two deaths.
As of Monday there are 10 confirmed cases and two deaths. | Photo: EFE

In Nicaragua’s case, Western media and NGOs have comprehensively distorted and repeatedly lied about the country’s extraordinary achievement of containing the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Nicaragua’s success in containing the COVID-19 virus makes the failure of the U.S. and its allied countries look pathetic. The country’s low numbers of nine confirmed cases to date and just two fatalities categorically vindicate the policies of its Sandinista government led by President Daniel Ortega and Vice President Rosario Murillo.

Read More »

Bodies in the Streets: IMF Imposed Measures Have Left Ecuador Unable to Cope with Coronavirus

by Alan Macleod

MintPress News | April 13, 2020

Ecuador Coronavirus Feature photo

If you are using one of the many coronavirus incidence trackers, the Pacific country of Ecuador does not seem to be particularly badly affected by COVID-19. Officially, the country has less than 7,500 cases and 333 deaths. But everybody knows this number is nonsense, including President Lenín Moreno, who freely admitted that authorities were collecting over 100 dead bodies a day from Guayaquil city alone, the epicenter of the pandemic tormenting his country.Read More »

Democratic Republic of Congo, WHO grapple with both Ebola, COVID-19

by Kiran Pandey

Down To Earth | April 17, 2020

The Democratic Republic of Congo faces the twin threat of Ebola disease and VOCID-19 pandemic Photo: UNICEF/Karel Prinsloo

The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) grappled with two global health emergencies: The Ebola virus disease and the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

The World Health Organization (WHO) also faced a significant challenge, as it ran short of at least $83 million to contain the Ebola outbreak in the DRC, said to be one of the poorest countries in Africa, according to several experts.

The DRC — with 2,266 deaths and 3,456 Ebola infections as of April 12, 2020, according to the country’s health ministry — suffered from the world’s second largest outbreak on record, since August 1, 2018.Read More »