The pandemics in Spain reached the number of deaths higher then in Wuhan, China, in absolute numbers. It is behind only Italy. How come that a wealthy country member of the imperialist core has been affected so severly? What advocates of free and unregulated market fail to see, on purpose or not, has become clear for everyone who is not closing the eyes on the fact that decades of neoliberal policies give priority to capital accumulation then to human lives: global capitalism is unable to deal with an emergy situation which poses a dilemma “either you save human lives and sacrifice profits, or you sacrifice human lives to save wealth and power of the oligarchy”.
Spain is one of the EU members with the lowest state investment in public services such as healthcare. In fact, previous governments have been actively implementing neoliberal policies to the detriment of public and benefit of private healthcare. During this process, the public healthcare infrastructure suffered great obstacles and insufficiency to deal even with the regular situation. Waiting from 3 to 6 months for an appointment with a specialist, surgery or whatever other problem, overcrowded clinics, and lack of medical staff is everything but unusual. What was the answer of the right-wing populists when faced with this situation they themselves created? Blame the illegal immigrants because they do not contribute to the state budget but get public services for free.
When faced with a pandemics the picture gets even more terrorific: people lying on the blankets on the floor of hospital floors, dying in chairs, waiting in agony in the waiting room, and medical staff sacrifices because of the inadecuate means of protection. The irony of this situation is that the private hospitals that the neoliberal propaganda wants us to believe are superior in quality of services offered, are incapable of dealing with the outbreak of the virus. The irony of destiny is that one of the major proponents of privatisation and destruction of public health care, ex president of Community of Madrid, Esperanza Aguirre, suffered from the coronavirus infection and had to be hospitalised in the public hospital she helped ruin.
However, it is not only on the local level that the neoliberal policies caused wreck. The logic of global capitalism caused a new international division of labour by displacing manufacturing from the imperialist core to the peripheral countries, or so called Global South, in order to gain more profit on superexploitation of underpaid and oppressed workers–or, as it is called in the media, to gain “competitiveness”. The major consequence of that is that none of the necessary equipment is produced locally in the affected imperialist countries. They are forced to import it from the Global South, in particular from China. This situation shows the true face of the intra-imperialist competition where individual countries sabotage each other in order to stock supplies of ventilators, masks and protestive equipment.
Even now it seems as if the oligarchy did not learn. Instead of saving human lives they are focusing on helping out big business to ease their burden of the market slump and economic halt. They do not have an issue to inject millions in banks and temporary layoffs, but they still deem investment into public health care to be expensive. The government hesitates to implement measures which would harm the economy hence the ones they have taken are partial, insufficient and late. How long will it take to get out of it? Two months, four months? It is unclear. What is clear is that once it is over, things will never be the same. We can expect deep social changes and civil unrest. Who will take the lead, it is still an open question.