Covid-19 Exposes how oppressive, greedy, corrupt, inhuman capitalist rulers are playing with nature and people’s life

Is it that the gripping hold of corona pandemic is entirely unanticipated? Perhaps not. Already back in 2008, in an article published in Nature, a prestigious scientific journal, it was pointed out that it was pointed out that 60% of the 355 new diseases that have surfaced between 1966 and 2005 have their origin in various wild animals. Moreover, 75% of the 175 odd contagious microbes which appeared in the last two decades of 20th century with potential of being immensely harmful as the days would roll by were transmitted from wild creatures. HIV came from a section of monkeys, Ebola from monkeys and bats, NIPA from pigs, Marburg again from bats, MERS from camels, SERS once again from bats, JIKA from monkeys, LASA fever like PLAGUE from rats and so forth. According to ‘Intergovernmental Science Policy Platform of Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services’ of UNO, unprecedented destruction of forests and wetland as well as killing and trading of wild animals for commercial purposes had taken place during these two decades. Almost 10 lakh species, both plants and animals, are on the verge of extinction. In surveys conducted between 2011 and 2019, it has come up that over 12,000 square kilometre of forest land has been destroyed. This destruction of moderately dense forest land, increase in open forests and extinction of species is narrowing down the distance between human beings and wild animals. If forest lands are destroyed and land erosion takes place unabatedly, the normal habitat of wild animals are wrecked. In that event, the microbes (bacteria, germs) and viruses which hitherto residing with plants and animals in forest environment seek to find a new abode in human bodies and tend to undergo fast genetic changes which augment their infectious power several times. So zoonotic diseases caused by harmful germs like viruses, bacterial, parasites, and fungi which jump from non-human animals (usually vertebrates) to humans are rising menacingly. A virus or bacteria which stay harmlessly in one animal body often assumes a highly dangerous character when switching to another animal body. Technically, this is called cross-over of diseases or cross-species virus transmission. More would there be thoughtless and uncontrolled deforestation, sea reclamation, mangrove cutting, demotion of hills and artificial change of the path of the rivers, more would the apparently innocuous viruses and bacteria in animals and plants switch home to human bodies and pose serious threat to human civilization. Also, the animals which are being poached or smuggled on a large scale for various commercial propositions like meat selling, extraction of organs, peeling of skins etc. are often severely stressed and immuno-suppressed and excrete whatever pathogens they have in them. People in large numbers in the marketplace frequently come in intimate contact with body fluids of these animals facilitating emergence and transmission of various diseases including lethal ones.
Our health to a great extent depends on the climate and the other organisms we share the planet with. But what is alarming is that just to fulfil the greed of the corporate rulers, reckless anthropogenic activities, particularly large-scale deforestation in the name of urbanization and development are going on unbridled. Industries are being set up with no protection against either toxic emissions or proper disposal of waste material just for the sake of keeping cost of production down and enhancing profit margin. Harmful effects of risky careless mining, like degradation of land from quarrying and waste dumping and contamination of ground water by mine effluents including radioactive rocks and minerals have been posing special hazards to the impoverished and mining labourers and the communities living nearby. Moreover, the big imperialist powers are engaged in developing nuclear and biological weapons on a mass scale as a part of their increased militarization of economy and orchestration of local and partial wars as well as wars of occupation.
As a result of all these aberrant, if not criminal, activities, there is apart from laboratory generation of various microbes and harmful chemicals menacing disruption of ecological balance, huge greenhouse gas emissions, occurrence of massive forest fires, side by side with melting of glaciers and the polar ice-caps, growing water scarcity, contamination of river water and a spurt in repeated bouts of natural calamities and catastrophes like frequent earthquakes, prolonged droughts, recurrent hurricanes, vast floods, tsunami causing immense casualties both of life and property. And not to speak of other adverse effects of climate change like growing pest attacks, drought and floods due to increased range of changes in rainfall patterns, increased intensity and frequency of extreme weather events, among a host of others, which are also seriously impacting quality of the food chain, output of agricultural produce, not to speak of its catastrophic effect on life and livelihood of poor and marginal peasants.
As we are placing too much pressure on nature, nature in turn has long been sending us a retaliatory message with ongoing climate crisis and periodic eruptions of pandemics and epidemics like SARS, MERS, HIV and others. Outbreak of disease like the coronavirus are fundamentally connected to underlying factors that render particular areas and individuals vulnerable and then the infection are spreading rapidly between cities through infrastructures of globalisation such as global air travel networks. Now Covid-19 has joined a long list of infectious diseases, like the Spanish flu of 1918 in New York and Mexico City or the Ebola Virus Disease in West Africa in 2014, and is likely to leave enduring marks on urban spaces.
Any student of Political Economy and Science knows that in nature, nothing takes place in isolation. Everything affects and is affected by every other thing. Nature exists dialectically and acts dialectically. So man like all animals by his existence and activities affects natural environment and is dialectically affected by it. But while the animals affect the environment unintentionally, man can and does it with “premeditated, planned action directed towards definite preconceived goal.” Yet man cannot do it at his sweet will. Man cannot rule over nature like an emperor or conqueror, as pointed out by great Engels . Man cannot create natural laws. He can only with the help of science discover the natural laws. He can only restrain the harmful effects of one natural law by using and acting in the process of another natural process and thereby use it to his benefit. Likewise, we are with the passage of time coming to know about various laws operative behind shaping and patterning the environment. Every day, we are acquiring better understanding of these laws which is enabling us to perceive both the immediate as well as long term consequences of various production activities we have been undertaking as well as how they are interfering with the course of the nature. So, great Marx had observed, “History itself is a real part of natural history—of nature developing into man” (Economic and Philosophic manuscripts of 1844).
Great Engels, close revolutionary comrade-in-arms of great Marx and co-founder of the scientific philosophy of Dialectical Materialism, had sounded a caution 137 year back,: “Let us not, however, flatter ourselves overmuch on account of our human conquest over nature. For each such conquest takes its revenge on us. Each of them, it is true, has in the first place the consequences on which we counted, but in the second and third places it has quite different, unforeseen effects which only too often cancel out the first. The people who, in Mesopotamia, Greece, Asia Minor, and elsewhere, destroyed the forests to obtain cultivable land, never dreamed that they were laying the basis for the present devastated condition of these countries, by removing along with the forests the collecting centres and reservoirs of moisture. When, on the southern slopes of the mountains, the Italians of the Alps used up the pine forests so carefully cherished on the northern slopes, they had no inkling that by doing so they were cutting at the roots of the dairy industry in their region; they had still less inkling that they were thereby depriving their mountain springs of water for the greater part of the year, with the effect that these would be able to pour still more furious flood torrents on the plains during the rainy seasons… Thus at every step we are reminded that we by no means rule over nature like a conqueror over a foreign people, like someone standing outside nature – but that we, with flesh, blood, and brain, belong to nature, and exist in its midst, and that all our mastery of it consists in the fact that we have the advantage over all other beings of being able to know and correctly apply its laws…The individual capitalists, who dominate production and exchange, are able to concern themselves only with the most immediate useful effect of their actions. Indeed, even this useful effect… retreats far into the background, and the sole incentive becomes the profit to be made on selling…In relation to nature, as to society, the present mode of production is predominantly concerned only about the immediate, the most tangible result; and then surprise is expressed that the more remote effects of actions… are mostly quite the opposite in character.” (The Part Played by Labour in Transition from the Ape to Man) How his postulates are proving to be prophetically true today.
So it is the savage appetite of greed stripped naked in shameless barbarity that has allowed the deadly virus to beat its war-drum roaringly with volleys of its horns and make the human civilization trembling. Civid-19 pandemic has once more proved this to be right and exposed how ruthlessly oppressive, reactionary, utterly corrupt and highly inhuman capitalism and its policies aimed at pocketing maximum profit by way of ruthless exploitation not only of the toiling masses but even the nature is wholly and solely responsible for periodic outbreaks of life-threatening and other health hazards.
(Fact Sources:—euro.who.int dated 12-11-18,https://www.ncbi. nlm.nih.gov, India. Mongabay.co dated o3-01-20, https://ipbes.net/global-assessment, The Statesman 03-04-20, ABP- 12-04-20)

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