Statement on the epidemic in Mexico and the probable world pandemic

Anonyme, Domingo, Mayo 10, 2009 - 09:48

The porcine influenza:
Another product of the capitalists insatiable thirst of profit and barbarism

Last Thursday April 23, the Mexican government made public the existence of a sprout, in Mexico City and its metropolitan area, of a epidemic, provoked as he said, for a "new" illness, originally called porcine influenza, which was caused for the contagion of a virus between persons, called A-H1N1. This virus produces similar symptoms to that of other types of influenza, although severer and, without a prompt treatment, the affected person can die for pneumonia in a few days.

The Mexican government initiated in that moment a “sanitary campaign”, to avoid supposedly the extension of the epidemic, based on hygienic measurements and on the progressive suspension of public activities (beginning for the schools of all the levels and later movies, sports, restaurants, etc.). Nevertheless, in the following days there were brought more and more cases, even in other regions, up to including the whole country. According to the official statistics, in the first week more than 2,000 had been brought already, and more than 150 dead persons. Later, on the pretext of that tests of more reliable laboratories were done, the count was begun again, from approximately 100 cases and 10 "confirmed" deaths; taking into consideration, also, that the epidemic must have begun before the official declaration (what is proved by the reports, from months before, about “atypical pneumonias”), it is clear that the government tries to underestimate the real damage caused on the population for the epidemic. This statistical manipulation contrasts, nevertheless, with the application of more restrictive measurements for the movement of the population (like the extension of the suspension of schools in the whole country, and the closing of diverse governmental offices), and the notice that the government is acquiring suitable laboratories, more antiviral medicines, temperature detectors for airports, quite which indicates the extension of the epidemic, without telling that even the government admits that the deceases continue, although the official statistical information becomes more and more confused.

In the international level, one lives also through a situation of dispersion of the "new" illness. In one week, in the United States, of a few isolated cases it has passed to a hundred of confirmed cases, with some sharp focal points like California and New York. Also, more and more countries are bringing the appearance of cases like Spain, Great Britain, New Zealand, Israel... Many countries have begun taking all kind of measures “to avoid the entry of the virus” - from the flights suspension to Mexico, special sanitary control panel to travelers originated from Mexico and the United States, recommendations of not traveling to Mexico, up to the pigs sacrifice. All this has led the World Health Organization (WHO) to raising - in one week - his level of “alert of pandemic” from 3 to 5 (in a scale of 6); so the above mentioned organism is on the point of decreeing "officially" the existence of a pandemic, this is, the dissemination of the illness to world scale.

The establishment of a "semistate" of exception in Mexico

The first important aspect that we must denounce, on the situation that one lives particularly in Mexico in face of the current epidemic, is the intensification on the part of the capitalist State, of his political-ideological mechanisms of totalitarian control cut. This situation begins with the “sanitary emergency” declaration, done in a surprising way, at 11 P.M., that provoked on the following days an enormous confusion, fear and paralysis between the working population. The first step of the government was, then, to anticipate and to avoid any type of action or attempt of more or less spontaneous organization of the workers to face the emergency (across meetings of parents in the schools, initiatives originated from the university students or from "civil" organizations, or even of the medicine institutions or schools, as it happened, for example, in the earthquake of 1985). The official propaganda not only emphasizes the need of not to travel, to avoid the hand greeting, to be covered with mouth-scarfs and, especially, the seclusion in the houses, -quite which has created a mutual suspicion atmosphere between the workers - but also the government took advantage of the situation to let again the army and even the navy (sic!) to patrol the streets on the pretext of “distribute mouth-scarfs”. Without mentioning that many companies have taken advantage of the situation to partially or completely deduct the salary, or to give forced holidays, to the workers forced to suspend their activity.

Along with the public activities suspension, it has also decreed the suspension of any political act, including the May 1st demonstration. This way, the situation has served to the State to carry out an essay of a "semistate" of exception establishment, -a little of which the current president of the country dreams since he assumed the charge- during which, simultaneously that the media spread the fear and suspicion between the working population, the State appears like the only capable organism of giving cohesion to the society, like the only existing resource behind which the workers must line up to try to solve his problems. In addition to this situation, it was strengthened the State control both over the information about the situation, and over the media, especially TV, in which the governmental propaganda has turned permanently, by means of newscasters, special programs, informative cuts, press conferences; while the protest voices were drowned in the official mockery and censoring.

This situation has been accompanied by a sharp and increasing orchestrated ideological campaign not only by the Mexican government, but by all the governments of the whole world, together with the WHO, which chases two related objectives: The first one, is to convince the workers of that “his government” -the capitalist State- does all the possible for the population wellbeing and that it worries primarily for the workers health, without importing his social layer. With this, they try that does not appear in view of the day the fact that the function of the current State - of all governments - is not to guarantee the “population wellbeing”, but the maintenance of the exploitation conditions of the wage-earning workers, and as a result, that the “system of health” do not take as a beginning of functioning the boasted one “priority of the workers health”, but that of the called "cost-benefit", for which it is the cold monetary calculation of losses and profit the one that determines the maintenance of a quantity of workforce, in accordance with the requests of the capitalist production, and therefore a certain "investment" in healthiness, which, certainly it tends to diminish drastically precisely in crisis epochs. From there that in the capitalism a real "prevention" or “preparation“ to attend to the workers in cases of disasters or epidemics does not exist; much less in the “peripheral” countries; much less in the current epoch of economic crisis in which we live.

The second objective of this campaign, is to convince the workers of that the current porcine influenza (as other similar epidemics arisen in the most recent decades, as the SARS or the avian flu) are mere chance products of the nature, and therefore impossible to foresee and to avoid, for which they can only be fought once they have arisen. With this, the government try to conceal the real origin of these new illnesses: the capitalist system of production itself, which takes the creation and profit accumulation for a limited number of capitalists as the fundamental objective, and not the satisfaction of the needs for the whole community of workers. This objective involves, inherently, the existence of such conditions of production that these do not take into consideration the risks for the workers, nor the destruction or contamination of the natural resources and -especially in the last decades, in the frenzy of the use of "modern" technologies to reduce costs and to raise the profits- that do not take into consideration the possible alterations of the natural conditions provoked by the industrial processes, which sooner or later give inevitably place to monstrous creations, such as the new "recombined" viruses that threaten increasingly the life of million human beings. Without telling that in many countries the bourgeoisie has made use of the situation to encourage moreover the nationalistic hate and the xenophobia, that is to say the fear and the rejection to the "foreigners", like way of supporting the divisions between workers of different countries (for which the bourgeoisie has resorted even to the soccer).

Across this ideological campaign the capitalist class tries to assure that the workers do not see another exit to his every time worse life situation (loss of work, housing, health...) that to keep on sacrificing passively in the capitalist altar; and especially, every government tries to prevent that the more and more dramatic situation in which the workers are -for the economic crisis and all the disasters that accompany its- became a one of rebellion, protests and class struggle.

The capitalist production: origin of the new viruses and epidemics

In this frame, from inside of the country, every day turns more difficult to know the real situation of the epidemic. On the one hand the official propaganda insists that the health system “is sufficient”, “is prepared” and has worked appropriately to face the epidemic. Nevertheless everywhere "jumps" information in the opposite direction: increasing complaints of patients about the delay and shortcomings in the attention and diagnosis, what is evident for the quantity of piled up deaths. Increasing complaints of the the health sector workers (doctors, nurses and other personnel) about have to receive infected patients without being provided with appropriate equipment, neither protection nor suitable facilities, what is confirmed by the information that circulates in the hospitals about cases of infected medical personnel, before which the government orders these workers to keep on fulfilling “his obligation” and “sacrifice mission”. Discovery, to the step of the days, that it had not in the country nor only one laboratory to determine the new type of virus (the Mexican government had to be informed about the first cases by Canada and the United States). Every day more information about that the epidemic had begun weeks or even months before the official declaration. Evidence of which the isolation of the population have already exceeded the target to avoid the spread of the epidemic throughout the country, and of which the State, after the current phase of “mitigation“, prepares itself to make to turn the population to a “normal situation” in a few days. The increasing manipulation of the statistics, the recent declarations of the tall officials of the government about that “we will have to learn to live with this illness”, and even the change of name of the epidemic (from “porcine influenza” to “human influenza”) show that the bourgeois State will decree a “return to normality” while the epidemic will continue.

Nevertheless, in spite of the real informative encirclement established by the government, little by little there begin spreading some journalistic notes and opinions of scientific investigators and researchers who point towards the real causes of this epidemic (as well as of similar others in the last years), and particularly towards the origin of the epidemic in Mexico. These opinions, which turn out to be dispersed in some articles of newspapers or in Internet, are obviously denied by the governments as by the WHO, and squashed under the ideological bombing of the "official" information, spilled principally by the more important media: the TV - on which the State exercises a total control.

So, it has been known, nevertheless, that at least from last March - one month before the official declaration - an influenza epidemic sprout had already arisen in Mexico. In these days, in a town of approximately 3,000 inhabitants who live in the biggest misery, named La Gloria in Perote Valley, Veracruz, 400 of them fell seriously ill from the airways, and there were at least two dead children. The authorities established a “sanitary encirclement” and without any serious investigation, declared as of "bacterial" origin the illness (the settlers confirm this, because they talk only about antibiotics, as the medicines that they received). This sprout was neglected and carefully concealed by the government (both local and federal), and the situation went out to the light one month later only because it came out in the press that, after sending to laboratories a few tens samples taken to the settlers of La Gloria for their analysis, at least a case had given "positively" for the “new” influenza. Nevertheless, the Health Minister has obstinately denied, that there should be known the point of “origin“ - that is to say, the first sprout - of the epidemic in Mexico, and even that any day should be known. The radio and TV commentators mock constantly at the one who speaks about the case of La Gloria (like a “paranoia of the conspiracy”). But: why this interest of the government to conceal the case of La Gloria? Two motives exist, linked each other:

    • The first one, is that, on having left to the daylight that there existed clear and sufficient indicators of an epidemic sprout, several weeks before the official declaration at least, it shows up the real functioning of the State, which is much different from the official speeches. And, therefore, one of two possibilities: Or the governmental mechanisms braked the investigation of the epidemic -for negligence or to intention-. Or the federal government knew already, at least from March, the existence of the epidemic sprout, but it did not act to prevent from reducing capitalist profits obtained during the April holidays (tourism, hotels, planes...). In any case, it is logical to think that the wide dispersion of the virus throughout the country, and even the world -as the cases of sick tourists testify it - took place precisely during that holiday period.

    • The second one, is that, for “coincidence“, there exists from 1994 in La Gloria town one of these modern and monstrous industrial porcine farms, property of Carroll Farms, branch of one of the biggest meat producers of the world: Smithfield Foods. A big farm of the same type as those that, for years, numerous investigative and scientific studies have related to the origin points of the new "recombined" viruses, like the current one A-H1N1, of which it has been proved that it is precisely a result of the combination of porcine, poultry and human viruses. For the investigators it becomes more and more clear that the focal point of the epidemic -at least as for Mexico- if it is not that other simultaneous focal points exist, it would have been in this town, what has untied an increasing scandal, however much the Mexican government, with the complicity of the American and of the WHO, tries to conceal and to silence it. Press statements of the owners of the farm, about which they “have always fulfilled” the established health norms, and of which the official dependencies “have always endorsed his good functioning”, it would cause laugh - if there was not behind the intention of concealing his criminal responsibility - in a country as Mexico, where the easy corruption of the officials is not only to all known, but also the existence everywhere of unhealthy slaughterhouses and, in general, the wide freedom which the companies of all kinds enjoy to contaminate and to destroy the natural resources, all this with the authorities complicity.

This way, it appears the direct tie between the capitalist production and the appearance of epidemics like the current one. Let's quote an expert, who clearly shows the situation that, in this respect, there lives the world (the bold faces are ours):

Six years ago, Science dedicated an important note (...) to prove that, after years of stability, the virus of the North American porcine influenza has jumped towards a rapid evolution route. Since it was identified, at the beginning of the big depression, the porcine influence H1N1 only had turned aside lightly of his original genome. Nevertheless, in 1998 the hell doors were opened. A highly pathogenic stock begun to decimate the animals of an industrial porcine farm in North Carolina, and new and more virulent versions began to appear almost every year, between them a strange variant of H1N1 that was containing the internal genes of the H3N2 (another type A influenza that circulates between human beings). Investigators (...) were worrying that one of these hybrids could turn in human influenza (they believe that the 1957 and 1968 pandemics were produced by a mixture of avian and human virus in the pigs body) and called to the creation of an official alertness system on the porcine influenza: reprimand that, of course, went unnoticed in Washington (…)

“But: what caused this accelerated evolution of the porcine influenza? Probably the same that has favored the reproduction of the avian flu. (...) As many writers have stood out, the animals upbringing has been in recent decades transformed into something more similar to the petrochemical industry than to the happy farmers family (...) Essentially, is a transition from the pigsties towards vast hells of excrement, of unprecedented nature, in which tens, even hundreds of thousands of animals with flagging immune systems suffocate between the heat and the ordure and exchange at frenzied speed pathogenic with his partners of prison and his pathetic progeny. The one who has traveled round Tar Heel, in North Carolina, or Milford, Utah –where Smithfield Foods subsidiaries produce every year more than one million pigs each one, as well as hundreds of large full of poisonous shit puddles– it will for intuition understand how much the agribusinesses have interfered with the natural laws.

“Last year a distinguished commission summoned by Pew Research Center published and important report on the animal production in the industrial farms, which was underlining the sharp danger that “the continuous virus recycling … in big herds will increase the opportunities of novel viruses generation, by means of mutation or recombinant events, that might propitiate a more effective transmission between human beings”. The commission also warned that the mixed up use of antibiotics in porcine factories (cheaper alternative than drainage systems or more human environments) was favoring the infections increase for golden staphylococcus resistant to antibiotics (…)

“Nevertheless, any attempt of improving this new pathogenic ecology would have to face the monstrous power exercised by cattle conglomerates like Smithfield Foods (pig and cow) and Tyson (chicken). The Pew Center commissioners, informed about systematical obstruction of his investigation for the corporations, (...) Also, is an highly globalized industry with equivalent international political weight. As well as Charoen Pokphand, the giant of the chicken, with head office in Bangkok, managed to suppress investigations on his role in the spread of the avian flu for the whole Asia, it is probable that the due epidemiology of the porcine influenza sprout smashes against the corporate hindrance of the pig industry.” (“The dangerous pigs use suit”. Mike Davis. Reproduced in Spanish in the Mexican newspaper La Jornada, April 29, 2009).

In the same way, another author explains the generation mechanism, inside these big capitalist industrialized farms, of the new viruses that, with major gravity and speed of transmission, affect the human beings since decades ago:

“A pathogenic virus uses the host organism to transmit itself to another organism. If it kills it before time, it remains isolated and cannot reproduce itself. In the evolution of a viral stock, a balance exists between the virulence level and the transmission rate (from one host to other). If the transmission is more rapid, the stock increases its virulence, killing the host more quickly.

The mechanisms that promote the viral mutations that lead to major virulence and rapidity of transmission are present in the cattle, porcine and poultry production in industrial concentrations. The overcrowding, the industrialized feeding and massive antibiotics and hormonal supplements injections (for the rapid growth), are excellent promoters of an evolution that leads to virulent pathogenic stocks. The overcrowding and the weak immune systems of pigs and birds produced under these circumstances are propitious to generate very rapid transmission rates. The garbage accumulation is certainly a contamination focus with serious risks for the human health and the ecosystems integrity. The cruelty to the animals in these productive centers is not a minor problem. The cherry of the cake is the weak genetic changeability in the concentrated population on these farms.

“Under these conditions, the periodic substitution of the pigs and birds populations provides hosts' new lots and favors the evolution of pathogenic stocks. And if the substitution hastens to increase profitability (chickens earlier processed in two months, today are in 40 days, for example), the viral cycle hastens because the pressure increases so that the virus reaches more rapid the transmission phase to another organism. The virulence intensity increases proportionally.

On having thought about how to close what Marx calls the process pores of the capital valuation, the big porcine and poultry industry has arose a generating system of pathogenic stocks of porcine and poultry fever. This is what explains the appearance of a philogenetic network of influenzas that attack the human being precisely when the industrial model of poultry production is globally extended.” (Cradle of the pathogenic influenza. Alejandro Nadal. La Jornada, April 28, 2009).

Let's emphasize the points that seem more important to us:

    • It is completely false, as the officials of the Mexican government continue shamelessly repeating that the virus A-H1N1 was not known until “a few days ago”. The scientists have been alert for years on the existence and the danger of virus mutations produced in the putrid environments of the current capitalist industrial farms of the whole world, and even on the existence of the same virus that today is producing the pandemic. And not only that of Mexico, but neither no government, nor that of the United States - where the virus arose for the first time - neither the WHO, nor nobody, does really nothing to brake this danger, since it would be equivalent to commit an outrage against the nature of the capitalism: the profit search anyway.

    The rise focus of the modern epidemics are the big capitalist industries. Behind the viruses, the capitalist class is the direct responsible of the massacres caused by the current epidemics and pandemics. And the capitalist class perfectly knows this situation. It knows that its industrial processes involve increasing damages to nature and population, but it neither stop them, neither modify them, nor invest in prevention of these damages, because it would need an expense that, again, would mean to reduce its profits. This situation worsens moreover for the current economic crisis, since the companies, in its desperate attempts to survive, reduce even more their expenses -that for them are "secondary"- in workers protection and health, industrial garbage treatment, etc.

    • The capitalist State organisms related to healthiness, epidemiological alertness, environment. (of all countries, not only of peripheral countries, but also big powers), do not have, as they proclaim it, the fundamental function of “protecting the human life”, but, first of all, the maintenance of the conditions for the capitalist production. That is why, repeatedly, they appear like “accomplices“ of the same companies that generate the damages, and especially of big monopolistic companies, in particular doing all the possible from concealing the real causes of the illnesses, stopping any serious investigation that tends to show the responsibility of the above mentioned companies, justifying and "whitening" these companies, and allowing "legally" the harmful industrial processes to go forward. From there that the workers must understand that, while the capitalism keeps on existing, there will not be able to be established social mechanisms to stop and avoid the spread of this type of epidemics, but, on the contrary, these will keep on increasing.

It will not be the WHO the one that finishes the barbarism

The current epidemic has opened again, in the media, the question of the role of the “World Health Organization” in the combat of the current pandemics. For example, the Mexican government has insisted, to wash its hands with regard to its responsibility in the extension of the epidemic, that it has fulfilled the marked "WHO protocols". The question is, then: why does not the WHO do anything, for example, to close these viruses recombination nests that are the current capitalist farms? The answer is the same than in case of the state “health” organisms: Because its function is not to protect the human life, but the capitalist class interests.

Precisely, the WHO is a UNO dependency, that is to say, the cave where the imperialist bandits -all the capitalist States capitalist- directed by the biggest, adjust their conflicts. Only an ingenuous one might think that the WHO would commit for a moment an outrage against its own owners interests, which have created it and subsidize it: the big capitalist powers and the big transnational corporations. For it, the WHO lacks -as some bona fide persons denounce it- of a politics and means, so much to brake the damages caused by the same capitalist industries, as to prepare the epidemics, and it is only, in addition to the place where the big capitalist laboratories dispute the juicy business that arise with every epidemic, the cover of the massacres and natural disasters caused by the capitalist production.

What to do then in the face of this perspective of increasing epidemics and disasters provoked by the capitalism?

It is clear, first of all, that the workers cannot resign to simply accepting the "solutions" that "his" government (or the WHO) offers them. This way is equivalent to allow the capitalist class to keep with impunity on threatening every day more the health and life itself of million workers of the whole world. It is necessary to fight joined - breaking the corporatism and national prejudices-, on the outside and against the capitalist institutions, to prevent our conditions of life and work from keeping on deteriorating: But where to direct the struggle? A false way would be gets into the "environmentalism" Greenpeace type, focused to eliminate some evil, some effects of the capitalist production, but without going out of the frame of the proper system, what only it takes to a blind alley. For example, the struggle for closing certain harmful company ends, ideally in his transfer to another region -as it was the case of the Carroll Farms - and in the worst to serve as mere instrument of the competition between different capitalists.

The only perspective to gain the claims related to the conditions of work and life, what includes safety, healthiness, medical services, is then, to include these claims in only one stream of general struggle of resistance of the working class against all the attacks of the capital, such as the dismissals and the decrease of the wages, which at present affect also million workers. This route is, also, the only one that can open the perspective of an international struggle of the working class to end once and for all with this decadent production system that is the capitalism, which at present the only thing that it can offer is more a misery and unemployment, more calamities of all kinds, more imperialist wars, anyway, an increasing barbarism, in which the epidemics, like that we live now, are scarcely a part.

Internal Fraction of ICC.
April 30, 2009.

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