ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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May Day during Covid-19

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In the midst of much death and suffering due to Covid-19 around us, May Day 2021 has a special significance which cannot be missed. It marks a clear dividing line in world history demonstrating how the colonial epoch that had spread capitalist political economy throughout the world was frontally challenged by a worldwide health crisis caused by Covid-19. The fact that developed capitalist countries suffered the most casualties, and countries like India too are experiencing suffering of the same order, and the poor all over the world were the worst hit together with some from the other sections, exposes capitalism’s critical flaws. Workers’ movements for over a hundred years have pointed this out, but their voice was suppressed to ensure the development of capitalism. It was pursued vigorously with fresh policies taking it from one stage to another in the name of its supposedly inherent superiority over all others as a path of human development. This May Day has questioned that claim more fundamentally than ever before, as all the basic tenets of neo-liberal capitalism have crumbled.

The claim that privatisation is more efficient and beneficial for social development than public management has proved to be hollow. Public management does not mean centralised, bureaucratic, corrupt, authoritarian management for a favoured class in administration or in society or economy which is advanced technology driven in the current phase. It should have always meant decentralised, participatory, self-managing, responsible, transparent, technology-informed management, always benefiting the working people at the grassroots level. The derogatory status given to the public in capitalist discourse and laudatory use of the term private have been thoroughly exposed during the Covid-19 crisis when public agencies of the state played a critical role in serving people in all countries. They range from the government buying essential health equipment, drugs and vaccines for free distribution among citizens to relief and stimulus packages, job-generating infrastructure projects and special plans for the children, the poor and the minorities. The decline of public investment in health infrastructure in the recent decades, leading to the absence of easy access of the public, especially of the poor to public health centres and testing and treatment facilities during the past year caused havoc all over the world. Covid-19 sharply highlighted the greatest fault line of the current phase of capitalism, namely the decline of public health, public education and public welfare under neo-liberalism.

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Updated On : 22nd May, 2021
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