WASHINGTON, DC, July 24 — Several thousand workers and students from around the world marched to the White House today to demand that bosses and politicians take the steps needed to stop the racist AIDS epidemic worldwide. PL’ers distributed about 2,000 CHALLENGEs and communist pamphlets, arguing that the bosses and politicians would never serve the workers’ needs. Communist revolution is the only path to victory against AIDS. Many people responded with interest and were pleasantly surprised to meet serious revolutionaries. Many asked us to contact them for further discussions.
The “We Can End AIDS Mobilization” united a multi-racial group of activists led by people living with HIV attending the International AIDS Conference. Organizations mobilized thousands of workers to travel to DC to march along with thousands from Uganda, South Africa, Kenya, the Russian Federation, and many other countries in an inspiring display of international solidarity.
Nevertheless, a revolutionary strategy will be needed to stop the epidemic. The bosses may wish to limit the spread and severity of the disease when it actually debilitates its workforce, but their relationship to profit always prevents solving the complex HIV/AIDS epidemic. Capitalism reinforces the epidemic every day. AIDS activists must turn away from piecemeal, NGO-driven, partial if well-meaning initiatives, and tackle the even harder task of making communist revolution if we are to succeed in eradicating HIV/AIDS.
The march demanded cheaper HIV drugs, taxes on stock transactions to pay for HIV programs, needle exchange programs, stable affordable housing, reproductive rights for women, and an end to mass imprisonment of blacks, Latinos, and immigrants. En route to the White House, the march made stops at UPS to condemn its bosses’ homophobia. We also protested Wells Fargo in response to the local campaign of the Criminal Injustice Committee of Occupy DC that attacks the bank’s investments in profit-making prisons and support for mass incarceration.
The demands of the march could achieve small improvements. The targets (UPS, Wells Fargo, and the White House) are certainly among the enemies of the working class. But the AIDS epidemic will only end when workers abolish capitalism and take power. An egalitarian communist society will provide the conditions of life and the power to allocate resources to care for workers’ health.
HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, thrives in the cesspool of capitalism’s racism and poverty. It disproportionately affects people who are poor, imprisoned, use drugs, sell their bodies, and are gay. It is a major destabilizer of black communities. The bosses’ neglect of this disease is racist to the core, both in the U.S. and worldwide.
In the U.S., black men and women account for close to half of all new HIV infections. Data shows that this is not a function of personal behavior but a function of racist attacks, including incarceration, homelessness, unemployment, stigma and segregation. The marchers raised these issues which are largely missing from UN reports and plenary speakers at the AIDS conference.
The “war on drugs” that criminalizes drug possession and uses stop-and-frisk profiling techniques and imprisons so many black men and women also drives the HIV epidemic. The discrimination against homosexual people or drug users create shame and fear that keep people from seeking care and from advocating for social change. The fighting spirit of the marches broke down these barriers and brought everyone into the struggle, including thousands of unionized women who capitalism forces to sell their bodies in India. They were not allowed into the U.S. but rallied at the same time in India. The march provided a small glimpse of a mobilized international working class.
What the working class needs is a revolutionary party to organize against and to smash capitalism – the cause of this racist AIDs epidemic – once and for all. Progressive Labour Party is doing just that. Join us!