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The Deadliest Pandemic

Among the infinity of unknowns about Covid 19 there is one incontrovertible fact: It is not another Black Death or Spanish Influenza.  Deadly as it is, it will not kill a third of Europe’s population or 100 million people worldwide.

Contingent on that fact is an obscure future about which speculation is idle, but a few things have become clear in its short, dramatic run.  It has hit countries unprepared for any outbreak harder than those where some prophylaxis was available.  It hurt those that denied or suppressed the knowledge of it and didn’t act worse than those that did.  It hit America very hard as it was unprepared and didn’t acknowledge it when it began.

With infected numbers increasing, in widespread but porous lockdown that has frozen the economy, and with no certainty on its trajectory, the nation is locked in bitter wrangling on what to do, how to do it, and for how long.

Setting aside the tragic, pathetic inadequacy of our barbaric Capitalist Health Business Joke, the pandemic has been curiously used by MSM information meisters both to partially mask and also to rationalize the latest monumental implosion and crash of American Finance Capital.

The perversity of this ploy is patent, since beyond their serendipitous timing, the two cataclysmic events are entirely unrelated.  The pandemic blindsided the entire world; implosion of American Jolly Roger Capitalism was widely foreseen, overdue, and regularly predicted.

For a century and more, in scholarly works from many perspectives, it has been established incontrovertibly that this nonpareil engine for looting and defiling the living world and enslaving and brutalizing humanity, embodied intrinsic contradictions that would cause it to crash regularly, and finally to cannibalize itself.  This, in spite of a long history of hagiographic eulogizing and sanctifying by its tiny sliver of beneficiaries, the Capitalist Grandees.

Reality notwithstanding, the Capitalist juggernaut won the minds of The People.  It would be simply pathetic and not worth examining this issue, if Americans had been so profoundly stupid as to swallow whole the poison bolus of ridiculous bullshit Capitalists conjured and embedded in tangles and thickets of solemn sophistry, foxy jargon, and yahoo science to enslave them.  As it happens, they weren’t.  It actually took decades of betrayal.

Beyond the endless propagandizing doled out by their wholly-owned “free press”, their rigidly disciplined organs of “public information”, and their junk-peddling factories of “entertainment”, they were able to capture our public education system to buttress their cartechism.  History was boldly falsified, distorted and deformed by corporate hacks to sell Capitalism to children.

With government bought by bribing the sleazy whores with whom they packed the Congress and infected the Courts, the toughest battle of Capital was that for destruction of organized labor.  From our earliest history, the bloody war for workers’ rights flared to flame repeatedly and the struggle was battered down again and again with great violence: elimination of the Molly Maguires and Railroad Brotherhoods, National Guard gunning of UMW miners at Cripple Creek and the Ludlow Massacre, killing and jailing Coeur d’Alene district rebels and coal miners of Matewan, the Haymarket hangings, Joe HIll’s execution, and the brutal eradication of the Wobblies.

The Great Depression caused by one of Capitalism’s spectacular failures, put heavy pressure on industry and FDR, creating space for unions. The Reuther brothers organized auto workers, and Labor made real gains, but they were soon lost as Capitalism–rescued by the enormous productivity of Labor through WWII and after–attacked, denounced and betrayed it with pious assistance from the corrupted government it owned outright.

The last fifty years have seen the near extinction of organized labor and the total takeover, not only of government and the courts, but of society itself, by the ruthless dictatorial power of debt-based Finance Capital.  Since the crash of ’08, in which overtly criminal banks were bailed out by trillions of Fed dollars while people got pink slips, evictions, and bankruptcies, the giant syndicate of Finance Capitalism has become ever more concentrated in an economy the main products of which are debt, poverty, and weapons.

The last decade saw the most flagrant financial scam ever as the Fed and Big Capital made, in business terms, a merger.  The Fed cut rates to near zero for giant banks, purportedly to fund loans to Main Street.  In practice, giant corporations got boatloads of near free money to buy back their own stocks, driving prices ever higher on nothing but the bid-up: the classic recipe for asset bubbles.  Finally, as was inevitable, the con crumbled.

This is where serendipity comes in.  At the very time the whole manky monstrosity of Finance Capital–with its arcane heraldry of monetary hocus and pocus crafted by criminals for thieves and gangsters, with its discount windows and Repo markets; bonds, bills and notes; CDOs and tranches; puts, calls, naked shorts and derivatives–began to wickedly unravel, Covid 19 emerged from its unknown lair and began swiftly to sicken the world.

This is not a cause and effect scenario, though.  This is not A: therefore B.  A and B are unrelated.  The Masters of Disaster would like you to see the virus as a causal trigger.  To downplay and background the financial meltdown’s actual cause is to sell it as a force majeure wonder that only a Black Swan event could have prepetrated on a wise, responsible market.

The polite term for that is horseshit.  The Titans of Wall Street have been so dizzily, voraciously out of control in their hoggish chicanery, pumping their empty, shoddy, socially damaging Potemkin Rackets for so long with such criminally lucrative rigged payoffs that they just can’t beiieve the jig is up.

And it isn’t.  It would be, if Capitalism and that magic Invisible Hand of the Market actually existed, instead of just the dead and stinking myths, the elaborate, simple-minded fairy tales that let them screw the world so long.  The fact is, there is no Capitalism, and there hasn’t been since WWI.  What exists is a fascist style union of government and giant corporations in which the latter go all in on wildly leveraged scams till they crap out and go broke, when government gifts them massive injections of public money again.

In the present plunge, the Fed and Treasury hooked up to refloat dead Big Losers to the tune of many trillions while dealing chump change to The People.  One contrarian hedge funder, to the horror of his ilk, suggested that government stop acting as Bag Man of Last Resort and just let the corporate High Rollers crash and burn.  At last report he was still alive.  But no way, that would be Capitalism.  What, hold those shameless phonies feet to the fire and force the degraded bastards to play by the rules they’ve been hyping us with for generations?

All pandemics run their course and their time of death and terror ends.  Covid will.  The most fatal one in history–Capitalism–will be no exception.

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Paul Edwards is a writer and film-maker in Montana. He can be reached at:

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