My name is Raya. I’m the Secretary of DSA Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky, and the author of a lot of the posts you see on our social media.

You might not have heard of me before, I generally don’t believe in talking about myself on DSA’s social media, but today’s a little different. Today I do want to talk about me because today I’m terrified. I’ve been classified as an essential worker, forced to work against my will during this pandemic, and today I learned that one of my co-workers is calling out sick with COVID-19 consistent symptoms.

She hasn’t been tested- and she won’t be: tests are available only for the wealthy few, not workers like us- so we don’t know if it’s COVID or not. And she can’t even quarantine the full two weeks because our employer only provides paid sick leave if you somehow do get a test and doesn’t pay us enough to take it unpaid. I have the next couple days off and she’ll stay home as long as she can, so maybe I’ll escape catching it. Maybe it isn’t COVID. Maybe masks and social distancing at work will be enough. Maybe. But maybe only means maybe not this time. Because it isn’t a question of if the pandemic spreads among my co-workers, it’s a question of when.

The great socialist leader Engels once referred to this kind of thing as “social murder.” The capitalist class, the landlords and bosses, knows full well what it is doing. They know that our workplaces aren’t safe, that we are dying and being forced to make impossible desperate decisions, and that re-opening the economy will only spread more disease. They just don’t care. Our lives don’t matter to them or their system. Capitalism is all about profit, the endless accumulation of capital at the expense of human life. It must be overthrown and replaced by a new socialist system, one that prioritizes human need and where the working class can democratically decide our own fate.

My name is Raya, and my experience isn’t unique. It’s what every essential worker is going through right now. Join us in fighting for the things we need to survive, join us in the struggle for a better world, join DSA to organize for socialism and working class power: https://dsausa.org/join