2021 has confirmed at least five things that many already knew.
1.We were only able to continue in the face of the global pandemic thanks to our key workers. From health and care staff, to drivers, maintenance teams, researchers, retail workers key service sectors and emergency services and their support structures, society continued to function because of their efforts, their input and their commitment.
2. The year also highlighted that many of these key workers are amongst the lowest paid and least valued. Add to that the fact that many public services have been deliberately underfunded and run down over a number of years and, as they strain to respond to the demands of the pandemic, the very people who crippled them present their privatisation as the solution.
3. We were reminded too that capitalism and public health are basically incompatible. The pandemic exposed many of the profit centred priorities of the capitalist system. It has compounded pre-existing inequalities in wealth, race, gender, age, education and geographical location. We are not ‘all in this together’ and we never were.
4. We also learned that the nurse, the cleaner and the key workers in essential services are far more important to society than the executives of the large corporations. We have learned that society can and is willing to make sacrifices, and to make the changes necessary to create a better world for everyone.
5 Only a socialist society can safeguard and enhance public health for all. Only a socialist society can provide the economy, the job security, opportunities and rewards that all those who have made the sacrifices and coped with the changes deserve as we strive to make socialism the new normal.