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Commentary :: International
An Alternative Explanation for the "Health Emergency" in Mexico
01 May 2009
As many are beginning to notice, the number of deaths attributed to the swine flu in Mexico has been greatly exaggerated. The first sign that something was amiss should have been the absence of information on the identities of the deceased. Missing were the normally present stories on the tragic lives of the victims. The second sign that something was amiss should have been the impressively small number of attributed deaths outside of Mexico. Despite all the hype, we are now finding out that this strain of swine flu is largely benign. How could such a small story have enveloped the world and caused global panic? The only real disaster has been memetic. The virus that threatens us is not a physical virus, but a memetic virus: the false rumor of a pandemic.
This false rumor had a start. It began with the Government of Mexico. The outbreak of a flu no more dangerous than any other flu was spun into an exaggerated story of biblical proportions. Over the past weekend, the President Calderón, without consulting the Mexican Congress, grasped upon this virus and made a decree giving federal authorities the power to invade homes, quarantine people at will, and bring the country to a standstill. His decree was based on a panic intentionally created by the government itself. Why would Calderón do this?

At this moment, Mexico is in the midst of an existential crisis. The combined realities of its corrupt government, the routes of the drug trade, and the neighboring drug market have combined to give rise to a system of drug cartels that rival the Mexican Government in economic power as well as raw firepower. Calderón is losing grip on the country his illegal election stole from Lopez Obrador . This darling of the corrupt Mexican ruling class has little means left with which to hold his grip upon power. Whether or not it will work, he seems to have made the decision to exaggerate a health crisis as a means to consolidate absolute power and to confer upon himself the powers necessary to stamp out those parts of the drug oligarchy not under his personal control. Shutting down the country and gaining access to any and all properties, homes, and businesses serves this purpose. What will come of this naked grasp of power it is too soon to know.

Meanwhile, around the world, the "never let a crisis go unexploited" factions have been having a hay day. In the United States, the pharmaceutical industries, owned in large part by friends of the former Bush Regime, are pumping up the media's drive to scare the hell out of everyone, driving Americans into hospitals and clinics for an injection of Tamiflu and driving politicians to call for the immediate stock piling of yet more Tamiflu. In the Middle East, Islamic Regimes are using the crisis as an excuse to kill pigs and to point to swine flu as Allah's wrath upon infidels. Israel, for its part, has been doing its best to exhibit its ability to control the media by having the name of the flu changed to something it finds more Kosher: The Mexican Flu. Israel has failed to explain how the name "Swine Flu" is any less offensive as the name "Operation Cast Lead ."

Racists are having a good time at it as well. Boston's neo-fascist Jay Severin was suspended from his job as a radio hate show host for referring to Mexican immigrants as "criminaliens," "primitives," "leeches," and "women with mustaches and VD," as well as blaming these defenseless people for bringing swine flu into the United States. There seems to be something in panic for everyone.

The only matter left to determine the end of this story is whether or not Mexico's Calderón will lead the world in a karaoke rendition of "I started a joke" by the Bee Gees.
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Swine Flu and the Attack of the Snake Oil Salesmen!!!
01 May 2009
Whatever deadly consequences this new Swine Flu can or cannot deliver,it is undisputably a truly wonderful opportunity for making lots of CA$H!!! The main beneficiaries of this lucrative "Crisis" are of course the big pharmeceutical companies who produce vaccines and flu related drug treatments.But there are many other,smaller swine flu "opportunists" out there who eagerly have products to sell.One such businessman is all over the internet cautioning the public that this swine flu was "man made" (genetically engineered) and was created solely to make many multi millions in vaccine dollars for Big Pharma.This Snake Oil Businessman offers some legitimate sounding accusatons about Big Pharma and government agencies conspiring to genetically splice together a "lucrative" new flu bug.Unfortunately he abruptly ends his diatribe by promoting his own "expensive" product which is somekind of "Magical" (non colloidal) elixir that was created with (he says) hi-tek lasers and nano particles.Unsuprisingly he offers no solid evidence nor any info on clinical trials etc..
So if you're already afraid of Big Pharma and their less than stellar health record on vaccines of all kinds,these smaller snake oil salesmen are hoping their "scare_mongering" will turn you and your dollars to them,during this "hyped" flu crisis,and then just blindly,fearfully trust in their untested and apocraphyl "cures".

*Probably the best and simplest advice on dealing with the swine flu outbreak was from Dr.Mercola who calmly advised against vaccines but promoted a healthy dosage of Vitamin D as one of the body's best anti-viral defenses!
Swine Flu and the Working Class
13 May 2009
The WHO (World Health Organization) immediately gave the alarm, stating that the contagion could spread to the world, mainly through air travel. Over a few days the alert level was elevated continuously, from Level 3 to Level 4 and then 5: "'Pandemic threat”. The large pharmaceutical industries, already alerted by the avian flu (which has proven to be a gigantic bluff) immediately undertook every effort to provide the health services of various countries with thousands of antiviral drugs (such as Tamiflu by Roche, which soon became a star on primetime TV ).
In a few days the panic over swine fever has spread around the world.

In Mexico it was the immediate closing of schools, stadiums, museums, libraries, universities, along with the use of surgical masks protecting mouth and nose that appeared to symbolize the "seriousness" of the situation! Even a single infected individual (real or imagined) in a country reved up the media machine that fueled the urgency and the fear of coming into contact with anyone who became ill!

According to media reports, in Mexico there are around 3,000 cases and 150 deaths (but from this total there were no more than 20 deaths actually caused by the fever), 1 death in the United States and a dozen patients, one case in Europe and only a handful in the rest of the world .

What kind of alarm should have been raised when, this past winter, during the European epidemic of influenza and respiratory diseases, there were 6,000 deaths in France alone (1) and probably as many in other countries – that is in the super-developed countries, with ultra-modern hospitals, pharmaceutical and health services? Faced with real epidemics that regularly occur each winter, capitalist society is only equipped to sell quantities of medicines and vaccines (usually also unnecessary or even harmful) and bury the dead. And the same thing occurs in summer during heatwave episodes!

One must not underestimate the danger that a disease can cause when it takes an epidemic form, a society that really has as a priority the welfare and health of mankind, would organize social life to meet that goal.

But this is not the priority of bourgeois society, the same as its priority is not the preservation of the environment and nature in which humanity lives. As in every "natural" disaster (earthquakes, floods, tsunamis, volcanic eruptions, etc..) negligent deaths and massive destruction are in fact the responsibility of a social organization based only on the search for profit: it is the search for the quickest profit that induces construction in areas prone to flooding, to economize on anti-seismic measures, etc..
Faced with a threat of epidemic, the society of Capital reacts in the same fashion, trying to "do business", either by selling drugs, newspapers or by obtaining additional grants for its "health organization" more panic spreads, the more we sell: all participants in the "panic" win, whether they be doctors, industrialists, owners of newspapers or parish priests.

But there is another aspect.

Spreading the panic, the bourgeoisie accentuates in the proletariat the feeling of powerlessness against superior forces that influence its fate and against which there is no possibility of resistance – be these forces a deadly virus or the "laws of economy”. And, at the same time, the ruling class and its state reinforce their apparent omnipotence by providing "solutions", presented as the only possiblity: in the case of the epidemic, drugs and other vaccines, in the case of economic crisis such or such measures, anti-worker measures. Moreover, the capitalists feel that they control the situation, the more their domination over the proletarian masses is unquestioned, the more easily they can falsify reality: their propaganda is that of half-truths and open lies, guilty silence during the phases of prevention (which are never realized) and deafening noise during phases of speculation.

Even on such occasions proletarians are encouraged to put their lives, their health, their future, in the hands of capitalists . It is well known, for example, that bourgeois society is incapable of providing a real solution to respiratory diseases caused by the poisonous atmosphere of large cities (Mexico City is one of the most polluted) rather than by all avian or swine influenza epidemics. There is no alert by the WHO, because to cure it, the destruction of capitalism – which causes the split between the rural areas and the city and stifles millions of proletarians in huge cities – is necessary !

Consequently, it’s the masses and the working poor who are always the most affected by every disease; periods of economic crisis thrust whole segments of the population into misery, even in the richest capitalist countries; – further exacerbating this phenomenon.

Bourgeois society which can only solve its crisis by impoverishing the masses, is not more "humane", more attentive to the needs of the proletariat; by nature it can only strive to exploit the forces of the workers to enhance the profitability of capital, ie to earn a profit at any cost, whatever the cost in terms of health or people's lives or the looting of nature.
The proletarians must not expect from the capitalist class and its state any cure for their ills, any solution to their miseries. When the bourgeois concede a few crumbs to workers, it’s either because they were forced by their classist struggle; or because they want to paralyze them pitting against each other in order to prepare for much more horrifying events: those of wars!

Against the bourgeois propaganda campaigns, aimed to sow widespread panic and helplessness among the exploited, the proletarians have to ascend onto an entirely different field: the field of class confrontation, the only one where their organized force can be reconstituted, the field on which solidarity can become real and unity effective, capable of thwarting all political and ideological influences spread by the bourgeoisie to infect the proletarians and subjugate them.

The working class has an historic task to perform: to destroy bourgeois society which is no longer capable of bringing any progress for humanity. To get rid of bourgeois society, with its capitalist mode of production, with its market, with its wars, with its ideology, propaganda and lies, will be only possible when the proletariat takes control of its own destiny, reconstitutes its class party, armed with the science that can decipher the contradictions of capitalism and sets the path to revolution, the dictatorship of the proletariat and communism: Marxism.

Then the panic will switch sides and hit the ruling class, terrified by the prospect of losing its privileges, its wealth, its domination; then, the chains that bind the proletariat will be finally broken and capitalism, its society and all its rotten institutions, including the "social" and "health" ones, will be thrown into the dustbin of history.

(1) figures of the "Weekly Epidemiological Bulletin" (April 15/09) for the first two months of 2009.

International Communist Party