Development of Socialism in Covid Pandemic
Speech delivered by Hon. Madhav Kumar Nepal, former Prime Minister, Senior Leader, Nepal Communist Party (NCP), and Member of the House of Representatives, on September 30, 2020 at the Main Session of web conference on Development of Socialism through the Lens of COVID-19Response: Theory, Institution-building and Practice.
Distinguished leaders and esteemed delegates of South Asian Communist and Left Parties,
Minister Song Tao, Head, International Department of Communist Party of China
Vice Minister GuoYezhou
Comrade Li Junru , Ex-Vice President of Central Party school of CPC
Comrade GaoYongzhong, Ex-vice president of Central Party History
Honorable Member of Parliaments, Party Central committee members,
Guests, Marxist Intellectuals and Paper writers,
Namaste and very warm Greetings !
Welcome you allin this grand web conference on Development of Socialism through the Lens of COVID-19 Response: Theory, Institution-building and Practice.
We live in a crucial juncture in the history of humankind marked by visible contradictions. The obviously capitalist world order is in deep crisis. The pandemic of COVID-19 has posed challenges that were not visualized even a year ago. Such ominous developments have hugely impacted on both the health and livelihood of all in general and the working class in particular. As we represent the working class, this is all the more challenging as our region has become the epicenter of pandemic.
As we are peace-loving and favour unity among the forces representing the working class, we have strong conviction that such a daunting crisis faced by humanity can squarely be tackled only with broader support, collaboration, coordination, solidarity and internationalism.
Against this background, I fully welcome the objective of this conference to both share our experience on COVID-19 and come up with concrete action plan to move forward.In my personal analysis, the COVID-19 is a wakeup call both for our region and for allthe Marxist and Socialists around the world. The degree of success and efficiency of countries like China, Cuba, Vietnam, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Laos, Nepal and Kerala state of India ruled by Communist and Socialist Partiesin dealing with the pandemic is an eye-opener. Besides, it carries a great message that Communist and Left forces have to carry forward the struggle amidst the havoc manifest in core capitalist states. It is high time that we shouldworktogether more proactively to build a community with a shared future for mankind and help promote a fair, just and prosperous world for people to lead happy and dignified lives.
As we have chosen the main theme of the web conference as COVID-19 response, we thought it plausible to share experience with socialist countries of China, Vietnam, Laos, Cuba, etc.Such interactions help analyze, compare and highlight specific responses by Socialist and Capitalist states in dealing with the crisis. Comrades from IDCPC, China have obliged us by accepting our invitation to attend the conference and present their miraculous experiencein effectively tackling the impact of deadly virus. We will continue such exchange with other Socialist countries to enlighten us of their successful strategies and experiences in coming days.
We are all aware that the pandemic is spreading rapidly in the whole world. Infections have already crossed 33 million with more than one million fatalities. With our region being the hotspot,there is a surge in India with 6 million infections making it the second most affected country with almost 96,000 deaths. In Bangladesh and Pakistan account over three hundred sixty thousands and over three hundred ten thousand-plus respectively. Experts have lurking fear that Nepal with already over seventythree thousand cases may soon undergo infection at the community level with deadly result.
Against such prognosis of dire consequences, I visualizethree urgent tasks ahead.
- First, mobilize our party, cadres and actively participate in all works of prevention, control, distribution of safety items and medicines, management of quarantine and isolation facilities to protect our people from corona virus, other diseases and hunger. In such difficult times, we have to reach to every people, door to door and show our socialist spirit. That is how we build the movement, organize people and carry forward our struggle. This will also inculcateconfidence among people, boost their morale and strengthen their power to fight with pandemic.
- Second, we have learnt that broader solidarity, cooperation, coordination, joint effort and internationalism are vital in our fight against pandemic. Therefore, it is historically important for us to strengthen our regional solidarity and cooperation. We can learn from each other. Besides, sharing from China’s experience will be of great significance in this regard.
- The third relevant task we have to undertake is to expose the failure of capitalism to deal with health crisis and highlight the strength of socialist states. China, Cuba, Vietnam, Laos, DPRK, Venezuela, and Kerala state of Indiaare proving our ideological strength, the commitment of socialist leadership as the basic motto of success underlines a system that keeps people's lives on the first priority. Such a daunting challenge has reiterated our belief that there is no alternative to socialism. Socialism is the ultimate solution.
Unfortunately, people in countries ruled by neo-liberal policies and privatized public sectors are suffering due to inherent weaknesses in capitalist system espoused by hegemonic, fundamentalist and ultra-nationalist character of the leadership. People within those countries like USA, Brazil, Italy, and Spain have deeply experienced the failure and crisis in the system more than what is apparent.
Against such pessimistic scenario, let me briefly highlight the comparative differences onresponse to COVID-19 by Capitalist and Socialist states. In Socialist states, due to public ownership of the productive means, there is equality and fair distribution of resources while in capitalist states, the resources are privately owned and inequality is wide. Due to lack of social security and people's welfare, the life of working class is miserable in capitalist states as profit, business and market assume first place. This is one of the reasons why working class suffered most in capitalist states in the aftermath of pandemic.
Therefore, there was no lockdown in initial period to protect their economy. There was monopoly market on masks, personnel protection equipment, sanitizers and other medical items vital to protect people. Absence of supply chain of state did not help people get their necessities. Farmers get subsidies, lower class get social securities and workers get welfare in socialist states that lack in capitalist states. Owing to such disparity, socialist countries like China responded efficiently and effectively to beat COVID-19 while countries like USA, UK, Brazil, etc. suffered most.
Even during lockdown, containment and prohibitory order, workers didn't lose jobs, peasants and farmers were able to sell their products and people didn't suffer from hunger and poverty in socialist states as compared to those in capitalist countries. Socialist states were not only ensuring good health and lives of people within the country but China and Cuba were promptly dispatching frontline doctors to other countries for assistance. China led the world to fight against pandemic sharing knowledge and experience. It also sent medical experts, masks, PPE and other medical items all over the world exemplifying solidarity and internationalism.
The decision to withdraw from WHO during this global pandemic, attempt to isolate China when global solidarity was needed, shows the irresponsible and biased attitude of imperialist countries. While the virus knows no borders and pandemic does not distinguish classes, races or ethnicities, they were busy in inventing conspiracy theories, politicizing the epidemic, labeling the virus or stigmatizing other countries while there was the need of coordinated actions. China has done a miracle in the battle against pandemic. We have seen Chinese Socialist Spirit of making a 1000 bed hospital within a week. The world is all-praise for coordinated action, mobilization of party cadres and leadership of President Xi Jinping. I take this opportunity also to appreciate the article by Minister Song Tao in Red Party newspaper about CPC and General Secretary Xi's concept of governing party and governing country.
Therefore, when we are in this gathering of South Asian communist and left parties where Comrades from IDCPC of China are sharing their experience regarding the response to the impact of COVID-19, we have very important tasks ahead. It is important to discussnow about strengthening our ties and promoting solidarity and internationalism with all socialist parties and countries around the world. One of the lessons we learned from health crisis is that we can't fightalone. When the pandemic is challenging humanity in the globalized and interconnected world, there is no alternative to broader solidarity, cooperation, support and internationalism. I hope this conference will be amilestone in laying the foundation of building solidarity and cooperation amongst us.
I would, once again, like to welcome you all. Thank you very much all esteemed delegates and comrades in-arms for joining this conference and we will collectively make this conference successful with your valuable participation and sharing and pooling of experience and expertise.
Thank youand Namaste to all