PBSP Statement on the Coronavirus situation

To the workers, farmers, the poor, the working class, the middle class and the progressive and patriotic people on the coronavirus situation

(Unofficial Translation)

8 May marks two months since the diagnosis of coronavirus in Bangladesh. Before that for two months almost the whole world got a glimpse of terrible sting of coronavirus. But Indian agent and imperialist-backed fascist government of Hasina did not make any real preparations in those two months to save the country and the people from this horrific infection. They were busy celebrating the birth centenary of their father, the national traitor and fascist Sheikh Mujib. For which they continue to spend crores of money and plan to seduce the people by false propaganda of history.

After the sudden announcement of lockdown in India they also shut down everything from March 24. But called it ‘holiday’. They have not announced or explain any outline of that so-called ‘holiday’. By cheating in this way, they keep people unprepared, only provide security for themselves and push people towards an unknown future.

When everything was shut down because of the so-called ‘holiday’, the people had to suffer immensely. The vast majority of the city’s workers numbers in thousands broke the lockdown and moved to the villages, spending huge sums of money and suffering. Later, on the instructions of Sheikh Hasina, the blood sucking garments owners took the opportunity to open the garments and on 4 April, the people again sent back to Dhaka. After the immense suffering and spending money moving to the city they learn that the lockdown has been extended. Thus, the repeated change of decision and failure to announce it in advance, not giving instructions to these workers and following the interests of the garment owners has increased the suffering and uncertainty of millions of workers. Millions of unofficial workers- transport workers, rickshaw pullers, construction workers, small factory workers, day laborers, domestic workers, hawkers, peddlers, small traders and shopkeepers, barbers, shop workers, street children and the unemployed, transgenders, beggars, prostitutes- those suffered the most.

In addition, the rental pressure on the slum-like houses in which they live comes down on them. The home owners are usually the local base of the Awami League and the other bourgeois parties.

The livelihood crisis of these working and poor people became worse than the coronavirus. They were forced to ignore the so-called lockdown. But the bourgeois intellectuals, the frightened educated middle class and the Awami League leaders blame them for this.

Following in the footsteps of the West, the government and Sheikh Hasina declared an unannounced lockdown to secure themselves and their flat dwellers, leaving the country’s billions of slum dwellers, poor people and farmers in a state of stagnation without any preparation for the disaster. The government cannot prevent coronavirus by implementing any real lockdown, nor can it solve the livelihood problems of the people. The coronavirus has spread across the country, and the people of this lower class are also in dire straits.

In the name of relief activities during the lockdown, the government-Awami League opened the way for a new theft. The worthy successors of Sheikh Mujib’s associates ‘Wheat Thief’ and ‘Blanket Thief’ are now engaged in rice theft, relief money theft and oil theft projects. But instead of blaming Hasina, Awami League and the government, Awami intellectuals are blaming the corruption of a few thieves which is revealed and taking steps to show off people. A joke has started about relief. Countless people are suffering for lack of relief, they are being forced to break physical distance and sit for relief on the streets, even protesting in the streets. But the shameless Awami leaders are propagating that relief is being delivered to every house. Many humanitarian people and some clever, corrupt Awami leaders are giving relief on their own initiative, so a large amount of people have survived starvation deaths.

On the other hand, Sheikh Hasina has resorted to a heinous deception in the name of incentives. This hypocritical propagandist of great development, middle income country and record reserve money did not actually give any grant to the above people. In fact, they have just announced some loans for industrial owners. Which will benefit the bank-owners and bureaucrats of her party and their agents, some big bourgeoisie. Millions of small producers, including farmers, and small and home-craft industries will not be benefited much from this loan called ‘incentive’.

They have created the biggest crisis in agricultural production, especially in the sale and marketing of perishable agricultural products. As a result, farmers and small entrepreneurs are being forced to sell milk, eggs, fish and vegetables at a loss in many places. On the other hand, due to the serious failure of management and looting in the city, the price of goods is increasing from time to time. As an inevitable result, many wealthy farmers are being forced to give up agricultural production. Agricultural laborers and poor farmers are facing serious livelihood crisis due to lack of work. As a result, agriculture will face a more serious crisis.

Claiming self-sufficiency in food, the Hasina government has opened the Indian border for food imports during this extreme transmission. Which is benefiting its own party businessmen and India.

* Despite the government’s serious failure in preventing and treating the coronavirus, some Awami League leaders continue to lament that Hasina is dealing with the coronavirus very successfully, which is a unique example in the world. But forget about Singapore, Vietnam; Bangladesh is many times behind the poorer countries like Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bhutan, Maldives battling coronavirus; they are blaming the people for not following the lockdown, for causing the transmission.

The government did not provide an overall outline of the ‘holiday’ of the unannounced lockdown. The focus of all executive orders is ‘stay at home’. Who will fight if everyone is at home? What about the training of war soldiers? What about their protection? What is the way to defeat the enemy? What is the plan of life-livelihood-production of the people? What is the way to protect those who are not able to stay in the desired social distance? How do millions of young people spend their time sitting in their prison-cell like home, what is the solution?

The government is stumbling and following India changing the lockdown again and again without any overall plan. They locked down themselves at home and advising people to stay at home.

In Dhaka alone, millions of people do not have homes; How will they stay at home? At least 2 million people live in slums; How will they stay at home? At least 5 million people live in homes with at least 10/20 rooms in a building, with at least 5/6 people in each room; One toilet is used by 10/20 people; A kitchen is used by 5/10 families; How will they maintain ‘social distance’? Has the government taken any measures suitable for real situation to prevent the spread of coronavirus in our country? Or do they think that garments workers and all other workers live like their big palaces, even 100 bigha (40 acres approx.) Ganobhaban-houses, or like affluent middle class living in 3/5 rooms flat? Besides, what measures has the government taken to deliver food to their homes and treat them through health system? If people do not go to the market, how will their problems be solved? And what is the role of the government in ensuring ‘social distance’ in the market?

If farmers in rural areas do not market their produce, if people do not go to the market, then how will agriculture and farmers survive? What arrangements has Hasina made to buy agricultural products from their homes and farms at fair prices and take them to the city? Without few show off steps harvesting Boro paddy; What measures has been taken by the government to ensure that the agricultural laborers go to the paddy fields in compliance with the health rules and ensure their livelihood?

Putting everything aside, the government is only busy with opening garments, despite the prohibition of everyone. Why? Is it in the interest of the workers, or in the interest of the bourgeoisie who owns the garments, and to prevent their own downfall? Where did their ‘stay at home’ therapy go?

* There is no treatment in hospitals, it is not possible either. Because, they have not taken any good measures to protect the medical staff. What it has done is with ample opportunity for the coronavirus to spread; with the opportunity to infect medical and police personnel.

When a large number of medical and police personnel are infected and outraged for the lack of security equipment, Sheikh Hasina is ideologically corrupting them by offering indecent bribes in the name of compensation. They are government employees. They are obliged to do whatever is their responsibility. Hasina’s responsibility is to provide them with health care, where she has shown serious failure.

In the interest of maintaining power, she has announced that government employees will get BDT 25 to 50 lakhs in case of death due to coronavirus infection. But what is their number? The farmers, migrant workers, garments workers, transport workers who are really making the country stand still, if someone of them dies of coronavirus, many are dying already, how much will they get from a so-called ‘compassionate’ leader like Sheikh Hasina?

They have not set any policy for the treatment of other emergency patients other than coronavirus. Due to the lockdown, the general public is not able to travel even with the dying patients, they are not getting admission and treatment in the hospital. Or do they think that everyone has 1/2/5 private cars with the money of corruption and exploitation like them?

They have taken the policy of less testing, less infection, less death. In fact, experts believe that the number of infections and deaths is much higher. The government has become dependent on foreign countries for everything- test kits, safety and medical equipments. The initiative of the local inventors, scientists, physicians, humanitarians and philanthropists and brave young people willing to go to war- without relying on anything, they are looking at foreign countries, especially India. Depending on the corrupt state forces. At the same time, they are trying to make their pockets heavier in various ways from the coronavirus situation.

Now when the test is being extended a bit (which is also very inadequate), it turns out that the infection is much higher. The number of infections is increasing. And just then, ignoring the advice of all kinds of experts garments, big shopping centers and transport were opened in the interest of the big bourgeoisie at the behest of Hasina. Congregation prayers have been reopened in mosques under the pressure from fundamentalists. As a result, Sheikh Hasina and the government have created another serious threat to spread the coronavirus across the country.

After so much fuss about middle income and development, they have suddenly become so poor that having breathless with some half-hearted relief to the workers and the poor for a month. However, all quarters outside the government demanded that free food aid be provided to these workers and poor people for at least 3 months. They demanded to save the people and thus save the country by confiscating the illicit money of the corrupt, defaulters and money launderers abroad. They demanded that the focus should be on saving the country and its people by shutting down large foreign-dependent development and white elephant like extensive money spending projects. But the Hasina government is doing the exact opposite.

The blood sucking garments owners in many cases are not paying their salaries, or paying half of the salaries, they retrench workers, laying off garments without following any rules and regulations. Transport workers are demanding the Awami League leaders to help them whom they given hundreds of crores as donation, which is not being listened to. The workers are forced to protest even during this lockdown, which is suppressed by the police, in addition Sheikh Hasina kept the army ready.

Everything shows that the Hasina government has put the country and the people at a serious risk keeping only their own bourgeois interests in mind, only the interests of looting and because of their own failures and incompetence.

* The reasons for their failure are-

Firstly, this government is the government of the big anti-people bourgeoisie. Without building a self-reliant agro-based industry, a self-reliant patriotic economy and development, they have built a path of cosmetic development. They are making the country entirely dependent on the foreign-dependent garments and migrant sector and show off their so-called development. Apart from rescuing foreign interests through big development projects, they are also looting hundreds of crores and smuggling that money abroad, which is many times bigger than the 23 years of exploitation during the Pakistan period. As a result, when the crisis in their foreign masters’ country has reached its climax, they are in a great crisis, for which they have no solution. Whatever world imperialism does, they will follow it and will continue to lie and gossip of ‘Bangabandhu’, Sheikh Hasina, Awami League.

Not only that, they did not build the health sector as strong as the welfare-oriented bourgeois state does. Their allocation to the health sector is less than one-third in the bourgeois sense. They have privatized almost all the health systems in their own interest, facilitated their own treatment and plundered the people’s money, throwing them into the sea of today’s medical crisis.

Secondly, they are a fascist government of extreme corruption, extreme exploitation and looting, extreme anti-people, completely isolated from the people, who care more about their own group interests and their foreign interests than the interests of the people, including workers and farmers.

* Various bourgeois political groups are offering various suggestions to address such anti-people roles and failures of the Awami-Hasina government, one of which is the formation of a ‘national committee’. The Hasina-Awami League has rejected it for fear of losing their power, while at the same time chanting the hypocritical slogan of unity of the people.

The talk of unity of the people from the Awami League is just like the devil listening to the scriptures. People are far away, they are neither capable nor willing to unite their own class. They are acceptable only to people immersed in Hasina-Bangabandhu chanting.

On the other hand, the BNP (Bangladesh Nationalist Party), civil society or the military- whoever from the bourgeois ruling class come or stay in the power, the situation will be more or less the same, of which the present Awami-Hasina regime is the worst. Because, they are the fascist government in power without a vote empowered by India, who have no accountability to anyone even in their own class. They are top to bottom corrupted. They are making anyone disappear, including journalists, harassing with lawsuits for the mildlest of opposition. In fact, they are responsible for almost 90 percent of the suffering of the people in the country due to coronavirus. No national committee can do any positive work with them. But the same is supported by a large section of the so-called leftists, including CPB (Communist Party of Bangladesh), who want to push the people into the camp of the bourgeoisie, the enemy of the people.

* Coronavirus is not a domestic problem. It is ridiculous to deal with this with such bogus nationalist slogan of ‘Bir Bangali’, what the Awami reactionary nationalists are doing. On the other hand, it is completely a material problem, which cannot be solved without dealing with it in a scientific way. So there is no solution in prayer, namaz, Amulet- in these spiritual ways either, even though the believers resort to it from their helplessness. But religion-mongerer and fundamentalists use it for their political and financial interests, as Hasina’s government is doing.

Whether the coronavirus was intentionally created by an imperialist power is still subject to proof; But it is also not completely natural. Many more viruses have been created due to the misdeeds of the world-imperialist system. Their anti-people and profiteering system has caused huge damage to the global environment- soil, water, air, climate, forests, oceans, mountains, biodiversity and human immunity. Moreover, the imperialist world-leaders, whose main leader today is an utterly stupid, self-centered, profit-headed fascist businessman like Trump, are complicating the situation day by day by driving their own businesses and profits to prevent and treat the coronavirus. They sacrificed coronavirus drugs and vaccines for the sake of their profits and monopolies. As a result, by the combined knowledge of the world’s scientists and by the initiative, courage, creativity, self-sacrifice and organization of the people, they do not have the power to utilizing these to eradicate coronavirus or any more such ‘natural’ disaster in the future.

* Already, the US-China conflict over responsibility for the coronavirus has intensified. The root cause is the conflict between the imperialists over trade and world-sharing. It is the sign of a new tension and crisis in the world. As a result, the people of the world will suffer unimaginable misery in the wars that their conflict will create in the future, even to a limited world war. On the other hand, instead of finding a just solution to the serious economic crisis that is knocking on the door, they will impose all the burdens on the people of the Third World, and on the working and poor people in their own country. Sheikh Hasina is just a small pawn of their inhumane game. As a result of which the poor people of the country are already suffering, it is expected that they will suffer more in the future.

* So with the change of an anti-people and anti-people government like Hasina, mankind will not be spared unless the whole world system is changed to get rid of more crises today and in the future.

We have to eradicate them and establish a system in the interest of workers, farmers and working people, where a strong people-oriented health system can be established. All activities aimed at socialism must be established, the ultimate goal of which is to put an end to all forms of human exploitation of the world and to lead mankind to a society without exploitation and without class. Which can take mankind to a new world of unity and collective merit of people all over the world.

* In our country, if an unelected fascist government like Hasina fails to deal with the coronavirus and its impact of extreme economic crisis, it will establish the most open barbaric fascism by itself or by imposing military force. They will also use religious fascism, a glimse can be seen even in this coronavirus situation. Already Hasina is shamelessly bowing to their pressure and helping to spread the coronavirus.

Not only the working and poor people, but also the middle class will not be spared from this. They will not listen to any progressiveness. They will not accept any anti-imperialist patriotic proposal and resistance.

* Therefore, the people should not be dependent on them but should be organized in a movement against them to snatch their rights. Conscious people must stand by the endangered people as well as try to build and unite their movement against corruption, looting, profiteering, false propaganda, flattery of fundamentalism, foreign dependency including India, fascism and so on.

At the same time, the people must be armed to oust them from power. Our party is working towards that goal. So, strengthen the party, help the party more in this crisis, be armed, form an armed squad under the leadership of the party, organize in various mass organizations and strengthen the preparation for the greater struggle by strengthening the people’s war to establish the revolutionary mass power of workers, farmers and the poor.

Central Committee, Proletarian Party of East Bengal (PBSP)
Dated – 10 May 2020

C. Kistler

Also editor of Nouvelle Turquie.