Four years ago, Trump campaigned on the slogan, “Build the wall!” He was fueling the economic fears of U.S. workers whose real income had gone down for decades as the capitalists here squeezed more and more profits out of them and as the Great Recession, based on Wall Street greed, ruined so many people’s lives.
Trump and the reactionary forces are now replaying the same xenophobic strategy. But instead of blaming Latin American immigrants, this time they’re blaming China for America’s economic woes, and also for the coronavirus!
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo stated recently without evidence that the virus was created in a lab in Wuhan, China. Trump recently said “We are not happy with China…We believe it could have been stopped…quickly and it wouldn’t have spread all over the world.” Trump’s trade advisor, Peter Navarro, said, “We can’t have China, for example, bringing in those fake tests and counterfeit tests,” and a few days later publicly stated that China destroyed the economy of the entire midwestern United States!
These statements lay out the Trump reelection strategy: blame China for the virus and American economic woes, and criticize Democrats as “soft on China.”
It’s understandable why American workers want someone to blame for COVID-19 and their economic suffering. The Trump administration has consistently refused to take the pandemic seriously and is now focusing on restarting business as usual rather than protecting lives, rejecting the strong advice of even the White House health experts. And the U.S. health care system is based on making profits for Big Pharma, the insurance industry, and big hospital chains.
The tragedies we are facing are the product of a capitalist economy that values profits over people, no matter what their nationality. And the only people who benefit are the ruling classes of China, the United States, and other capitalist nation-states. They have an interest in making us fear each other. Let’s instead look for what we have in common.
Featured image credit: Wikimedia Commons