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A socialist feminist response to COVID-19

Free, universal healthcare

Nationalize the medical system with workers’ control over decision-making and management. Make the industry nonprofit, including pharmaceuticals, hospitals, supply companies, and nursing homes. Guarantee a living wage for healthcare and homecare workers.

Protect lives.

Distribute free personal protection equipment to providers of essential services, including childcare. Require employers to provide safe conditions on the job. Ramp up production of testing materials and research into treatment and a vaccine, using funds taken from the military and border wall operation. Make COVID-19 services free, including testing, treatment and vaccines once developed.

Guarantee livelihoods.

Launch an immediate, multimillion-person public jobs program to train people and put them safely to work producing medical supplies, testing for the virus, carrying out privacy-protected contact tracing, and supporting research.

Reduce hours of work with no cut in pay to employ more people while reducing their potential exposure. Expand unemployment insurance to provide a guaranteed living wage for everyone who is jobless until full employment is reached. Include gig workers, the self-employed, farmworkers, and workers in the informal economy, without regard to immigration status. Provide hazard pay for frontline workers.

To fund programs for workers and assistance for small businesses, rescind the past decades’ tax cuts for the rich and reinstate the higher corporate and income tax rates of the past.

Aid parents and children.

Provide childcare at no cost for parents who work. Offer free laptops, home Wi-Fi, and lunch programs for students whose schools have closed. Free, nutritious, quality food aid for low- income households as needed.

Support the most oppressed and the hardest-hit.

Prioritize help for people without shelter, immigrants, people of color including Native communities, women, seniors, and LGBTQ+ people. Cancel student debt. Suspend debt payments for working-class consumers and small businesses.

Ban profiteering.

Prohibit corporate patenting of a COVID-19 vaccine; no profiting from its use and distribution. Rescind the bailouts of Wall Street, the banks, and multinational corporations.

Preserve human rights and political freedoms.

Honor the rights to protest, strike, and refuse to do unsafe work. Guarantee housing for all. No evictions, foreclosures, or utility shut-offs. Cancel rent and mortgage payments for those in need. End the attack on abortion rights under cover of the pandemic.

Release all detained immigrants and nonviolent prisoners. Full precautions and care for those who remain incarcerated. Shut down ICE. End the scapegoating of Chinese immigrants and Asian American communities. Stop police abuse under the guise of enforcing social distancing. End the militarization of the neighborhoods of people of color and the poor.

Extend international solidarity.

Place a moratorium on all payments of foreign debt by poorer countries. Distribute food aid and medical supplies to countries in need at no charge. Collaborate internationally on virus treatment and vaccine research without profit-based competition or restrictions. End U.S. sanctions. Open the borders; artificial boundaries offer no defense against the virus.

For a socialist society.

Make human needs the driver of production and distribution of goods and services. Eliminate the profit motive underlying systemic sexism and racism and the destruction of a habitable planet. Give workers decision-making power over how society is run. Shared abundance for all.

Reprinted with permission from Freedom Socialist, June 2020


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