Survive on $1,200 for 10 Weeks? The Virus is Corporate Oligarchy!

Karena Acree-Páez


What was the first thing Americans did when the coronavirus scare began? Hoard resources. In other words, every capitalist for himself! The slightest stress on U$A’s system of  inverted totalitarianism led to an immediate toilet paper crisis. 

This time of crisis has given rise to terrifying configuration of corporate power which must be exposed and understood. We are headed into uncharted economic catastrophe, potentially worse than the Great Depression. 70% of the U.S. economy is based on consumption because we don’t manufacture much of anything any longer, except for weapons. Desperation breeds desperate responses, but problems also breed solutions. We have the moral imperative to organize and push back against the oligarchic elite. We have to rise up now because it’s the right thing to do. 

The Stimulus Bill is a Slap in the Face to U.S. Workers

On March 29, 2020 during an interview with “Face the Nation, Steve Mnuchin informed Americans that we should be able to live on $1,200 (or $2,400 for a married couple) for 10 weeks during a pandemic. This lunacy serves to evidence how far removed Mnunchin is from the lives of the working-class and the working-poor. The average cost of rent for a very small apartment in New York City, San Francisco, or Los Angeles – all epicenters of the coronavirus – is at least a few thousand dollars; factor in food, insurance, healthcare, transportation, and other expenses to expose the fact that that $1,200 will hardly bring any semblance of economic relief when we are looking at a forecasted 30% unemployment rate in the second quarter of 2020. 

The bill prescribes no relief for renters who make up 36% of U.S. households, 65% of households under the age of 35, and the majority of renters are black and Latino. (Source: Pew Research Center) What does that say about the priorities of the lawmakers? The priorities are to bail out corporations, money given at zero percent interest which can be leveraged ten to one to large banks and a few crumbs tossed to the rest of the population facing 30% unemployment. Only one in four people can work from home, and those in the lower working class who make up the service economy have been left without jobs. A $1,000 check will get funnelled back right into credit card companies. A defacto rent strike may happen only because people simply won’t have money to pay rent. We are headed into uncharted economic catastrophe while the oligarchs bail each other out. 

Trillions to Corporations

The $2 trillion bill is really more like a $6 to $10 trillion bill. Wall Street chatter says it will be $10 trillion because well, what’s another $4 trillion? 

It’s packed with cash for large monopolists on Wall Street and is full of opaque slush funds of political bribes. The stimulus bill awards money for hedge fund billionaires who are hiding out in their wine caves. Six trillion dollars of low-cost, no cost credit to the likes of JP Morgan will enable them to buy up their competitors and small businesses, which are pressed due to no income. CNBC’s Jim Kramer, a former hedge fund manager, said that the economic downturn due to the pandemic would leave the U.S. with three retailers: Amazon; Walmart; and Costco.

Economic Hardship or Risk Death for a Paycheck? The Choice is Yours.

American executives are calling for people to return to work even if they die in the coronavirus pandemic. Dick Kovacevich, a former Wells Fargo CEO and Chairman explained, “We’ll gradually bring those people back and see what happens. Some of them will get sick, some may even die, I don’t know. Do you want to suffer more economically or take some risk that you’ll get flu-like symptoms and a flu-like experience? Do you want to take an economic risk or a health risk? You get to choose.”

We are reminded that a CEO’s job is to devalue labor and convince people they are doing them a favor by paying them less – crash the economy, make jobs scarce, and make people desperate enough that they can be rehired for less. In recent history, it is clear that this has been repeatedly done since Reagan’s reign of terror on the working class.

Ventilators Are Being Donated  by Veterinary Hospitals

Instead of instructing industry to mass produce ventilators, the self-proclaimed greatest nation on earth has ventilators being donated by veterinary offices. We are converting convention centers into hospitals with lounge chairs in place of hospital beds, ready to accept the infected masses as COVID-19 cases spike and hospitals reach capacity. What a disgrace. 

The Federal Government recently sent 170 broken ventilators to California from the national stockpile. Thankfully, Silicon Valley company Bloom Energy offered to get to work fixing them. On March 30, 2020, California Governor Gavin Newsom made a public plea on Facebook Live to anyone who has ventilators to donate, even if they are old or broken. 

Meanwhile, China manages to build brand new hospitals with thousands of beds in about 10 days, showing the world what a planned, centralized economy can do. In Venezuela, a military clothing factory has immediately switched their operations to the mass production of manufacturing masks, hospital bedding, and surgical clothing. At least the U$ has rappers who are donating masks to hospitals and tattoo artists who are donating gloves and protective gear to hospitals. 

Meanwhile, ICE placed a bid for 45,000 N95 masks to be distributed to twenty-six field offices as ICE raids have ramped up while more families are home during the pandemic.  Let us not forget that U.$. domestic programs of terror require agents with protective masks, too. 

Democrats are Handing the Keys Over to the Trump Administration and Corporations

The coronavirus bill is a shocking reminder that corporations rule the empire. While trillions of dollars worth of political bribery went to corporations, the Democrats permitted the corporate coup in exchange for a mere pittance in unemployment benefits.

Democrats had leverage and ability to expose that this bill was a handout to corporate America and a consolidation of corporate power, but they let Chuck Schumer control the whole progress after a bit of moral grandstanding by a few “progressive” Democrats. The handover of power to Wall Street is happening under the cynical facade of helping people. This is another corporate coup by the corporate state. A few months from now, these cowardly, stupid or corrupt Democrats will say they don’t understand what’s happening. Democrats and Republicans have, in the spirit of bipartisanship, handed the country over to corporations and solidified the corporate oligarchy’s hands around our throats. 

The Federal Reserve has already hired Blackrock to manage the bailout while saying that Blackrock will also participate in the bailout. This reveals that they were already stealing before the bill passed in the House. 

The COVID-19 virus pandemic further exposes the problems that were already there. 

We are being ruled by a corporate oligarchy. The free market system based on false scarcity, fake money, and exploitation encourages fear and desperation to consume us and act selfishly as individuals. It is up to us to utilize this crisis to guide us to fundamentally restructure both politics and society. 

An illuminating article by Carlos Cruz Mosqueda of Anticonquista explains, “… we have seen how masses of people in the Western world have selfishly emptied the shelves of large supermarket chains and pharmacies at the first signs of crisis. This individualism, the opposite of the collectivism practiced in Cuba and Venezuela, is no doubt a cultural phenomenon with roots in the capitalist world system. This is a system in which competition among individuals is encouraged at all levels and in all situations. The effect of this is that the most vulnerable people in society are more likely to perish; if not because of the virus, then because of lack of access to basic goods, medicines and community support.”

If you want something you’ve never had, you have to do something you’ve never done before.

This new virus has exposed who supports the economy. We can do without the politician and the businessman and we cannot do without the but never the proletarian force! Instead of asking humans to sacrifice themselves to save a brutal capitalist system, why don’t we sacrifice capitalism to save humanity?  Why should we trust in the corporate oligarchy that controls the dictatorial policies of the monetary system? Why do we continue to keep supporting parasites when our hope for the future lies in our class,  the working class? 

The virus is the corporate oligarchy. The cure is to seize the means of production, build centers of political power firmly outside the duopoly, and demand housing, healthcare, food, and education as human rights. 

Politics in the U.$. will never be the same again. There will be a new party, but who will be behind it? A Billionaire? A Fascist? A Three Percenter? Now is the time for workers to make demands! Smash the duopoly and build new centers of political power for the working-class!

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