NSW open for big business to spread Covid

Written by: Louisa L on 19 July 2021

 


The corporate cat stuck its head out of the Covid bag early last week in Sydney, when NSW Premier Gladys Berejilklian mentioned she was taking guidance from business leaders.

Sydney's Lockdown Lite saw Covid spread like a hydra. Cut off one head and two or three more appeared. Chopping became increasingly frenetic. Barely a suburb remained without exposure sites. Red zones oozed across the city, regions and interstate.

We were "open for business". Traffic was as heavy as ever, as most jobs were deemed essential.

Almost every shop was open. Westfields and other malls were bursting with customers. Likewise, Officeworks, Bunnings, Ikea, JB HiFi, Spotlight, Harvey Norman and every other chain you could think of.

Stay at home, but go to work if your boss doesn't close down.

Is it any wonder that people pushed such a giant envelope and failed to take an escalating health crisis seriously enough?

Following capitalism's rules
"Those terrible Sydney-siders! They don't obey the rules!" the loudest condemnation from the very media giants who decry lockdowns.

This gleeful finger-pointing has an ugly, divisive side, separating "people like us" from "people like them".  State lines, the relics of former British colonies, deepen division leaving us open for plunder as we blame each other.

Yet in Sydney, few felt sorry for the five people heavily fined in the first week for gathering in one house. Nor for the footballer who copped a $35,000 fine and the sack for throwing a party.

The very justified outrage against removalists who infected Melbourne and lied about it became symbolic for "entitled Sydney-siders". Foxtel continues to demonise them for not staying home. Meanwhile it also spews bile at Dan Andrews.

What those outside Sydney often don't realise, is that people "out in the community while infected" have been obeying rules inflicted by capitalism. The exponentially growing list of exposure sites is overwhelmingly monopoly owned retail stores and worksites. Bolt and co knowingly manipulate this lack of knowledge.

Who suffers?
But where's the outrage for the two thousand people who went to Ikea one day and found themselves in isolation or infected? Ikea's two other megastores remained open. Not a fine. All legal. All good.

How many of those 2000 have children isolating too?

How many live pay cheque to pay cheque?

Who of them live in overcrowded apartments with views to brick walls, but no backyard?

And how many have life threatening mental health issues? At least one, this writer knows.

Who pays for the suffering this policy causes her and so many others?

What do we do?
There are many other questions begging to be asked and answered, but most importantly what do we do in face of all this?  

First, be kind and generous. Open our ears and phone lines for those who aren't doing well.

Second, build unity. Explain why some people push the envelope, rather than blaming individuals for problems caused by capitalism.

It's time to extend the web of connection between ourselves and others, for only the organised and active masses can create history and defeat capitalism. Little groups of insular lefties, no matter how perfect our analysis or feisty our spirits, can never do that alone.

Third (but not finally, for others will think of more to do) praise, and praise again, the health workers, epidemiologists, researchers, reporters and others who have fought for and won the stronger lockdown now announced. The overwhelming majority support them.

Corporations demanded profit while pandemic raged. Their tame politicians obliged.

A thousand or more infected, 100 in hospital, three dead, the toll rising.

Remember who to blame. Draw lessons. Never forget!

 

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