By Ed Dalton
Editors Update: Since the article was sent to Mr. Moufawad-Paul the hyperlink to our article has been removed. We leave the article up for posterity. He stated, “I previously had a link to an article from ‘Tribune of the People’ that I mistakingly thought held this position. It was an erroneous reading on my part, and other articles clarified their position.” We express our gratitude for the correction.
Editor’s Note: This was intended to be a comment or email to Mr. Moufawad-Paul, but his site does not provide a simple way to post it as such. We publish this open letter in the interest of making our position clear to him and his readers.
Hello J. Moufawad-Paul,
I am the author of the article, Austin: Reactionary City Prohibits Gatherings Greater Than 10 and Threatens $1,000 Fine, that you linked to in your recent piece, Thoughts on the Pandemic and “Biopolitics.” In your post, you accused my article and by extension our paper, of, “anti-academic Marxisms that traffic in a thinking parallel to Agamben’s COVID truther nonsense.”
I am writing to ask you for a correction. If you read the articles on the website, you will see we do not promote “COVID Truther nonsense” as you claim. In fact, I as well as the paper argue that COVID-19 is a very real problem, affecting the most oppressed sections of the working class the hardest. We do argue that this real pandemic makes worse an already existing economic crisis, and that the imperialist ruling class is using it in their interests to further restrict and control the masses of people. This is hardly deniable. Trump has effectively closed the border and prevented protest. In some places, abortion has been restricted to the point of inaccessibility for working women unemployment has rapidly increased breaking historic records, and the armed wings of the state have begun to enforce social distancing measures with increasingly violent measures. These things are verifiable and objectively reactionary.
What is being argued in Tribune of the People is that the consequences of the state’s policies are worse than the threat of the virus. Losing so many jobs will kill more healthy people, as true as it is that completely curable diseases kill more people than COVID-19 on a global scale. This situates the problem within capitalism and not nature or anything else.
Here are some quotes from other articles which make our position clear. You can agree or disagree, but please do your readers the service of honest engagement. Portray us accurately and please do not rush to assumptions or assign us a position we do not take:
“This spike in claims is due to the massive layoffs resulting from the current economic crisis, only made worse by the COVID-19 pandemic.” (From: Reality of the Economic Crisis)
As you can see, the position here is not that the pandemic is fake or made up or independent from the economic crisis.
“The outbreak of COVID-19 gives the imperialists everything they need to shut down a rebellious mass response and to pass the weight of their new depression off onto the working-class.” (From: Imperialist Economic Crisis is the Real Motivation for Enforced Isolation)
And importantly, from the same article:
“In cases where social-distancing are absolutely necessary, the only way to make this approach sustainable would be to cover all lost wages for workers who are unable to work. The imperialist ruling class will not do this without a fight, which is why revolutionaries advance the slogan, ‘Give us work, or give us wages!’ Coronavirus is real and the responses to it from the imperialist ruling class offer no solutions at all for the people, and are not even tenable as safety measures.”
All of the above quotes are taken from the website, you can find them easily if you read through the articles. There are many more examples as well.
This is simply not “truther nonsense” and should not be represented as such. I hope that reading more articles on the website will give you reason to make a retraction and only say what is true.
Thank you for your time and consideration. Debate and disagreement are good things, provided we correctly represent the views we aim to struggle against.