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Despite Rishi Sunak’s unprecedented economic measures, some members of the Left still aren’t happy with the Government’s response to the Coronavirus crisis.

John McDonnell immediately commented that “he hasn’t gone far enough”. 

But far greater an issue for the whole country is Left-wing activists.

Momentum, for example, has claimed that “this crisis is political and there must be a political response”, adding that “we will make demands”.

What will these “demands” look like, many will be wondering.

The group has requested full sick pay for all workers (including those on zero hours contracts) and an end to all benefit sanctions, among others.

But perhaps the more important question is what will happen if the Government ignores these requests.

Will the Left try to exploit the Coronavirus to advance a political agenda?

There are increasing signs that this is the case.

Guido Fawkes has already picked up on their use of Zoom (the video-conferencing tool) to politicise the pandemic.

On Friday Ian Lavery, Labour Chairman, was found telling his fellow comrades that the crisis offered “a great opportunity”.

Elsewhere, The World Transformed (described on Twitter as a “4-day festival and year-round political education project… to build left power”) has been using Zoom for similar purposes.

Tomorrow Rebecca Long-Bailey will join a “Mass Zoom Call” with the organisation, in which she will “discuss how we, as a movement, respond to Coronavirus”.

In a newsletter to her followers, Long-Bailey – who has already pressed for Universal Basic Income in the last week – publicised the conference, which is titled “Coronavirus: How can we win our demands?

The description of the event goes as follows: “As the impacts of the Coronavirus crisis continue to ramp up in the UK and beyond, it’s becoming clearer day by day that we cannot rely on Boris Johnson and this Tory government”.

It adds that “there is still huge scope for traditional workplace organising and tactics such as strikes to be successful.”

Last week, The World Transformed hosted another activist event about the Coronavirus.

One of the main speakers was Helen O’Connor, an organiser from the trade union GMB, who has been campaigning for Lewisham Hospital cleaners to get paid “after they walked out over nonpayment of wages”.

She calls for “all hospital services to be brought back under the control of the NHS as a matter of urgency”.

Elsewhere O’Connor says that if the issue “isn’t sorted, there could be further walkouts next week”.

Grace Blakeley, an economist and author, who attended last week’s Zoom call, demonstrates just how ideological an opportunity some activists see the Coronavirus. 

In a piece she writes: “We must demand not simply a bigger state, but a more democratic one too. The only way to counter the oligarchic tendencies now emerging within many western democracies is to deepen the accountability of public officials to working people. Government departments, central banks, and quangos must all be subject to much deeper public scrutiny. If the government does embark upon a programme of mass bailouts, the corporations it saves should be run by the people, not just a tiny elite”, before suggesting the “epoch-defining” pandemic could signal “the beginning of state-monopoly capitalism.”

Given that The World Transformed has said: “We cannot sit back”; that it’s crucial “we open up new and empowering spaces”, and that comrades should “be ready for a rapidly evolving sequence of events”, the Government clearly has another problem on its hands.

They are going to have to watch out for the radical Left…

65 comments for: How the Left is exploiting the Coronavirus for political gain

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