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Three years of health crisis. Three years of a Left in denial, withdrawing from crucial battles.

Fourteen questions to Left-wing parties and collectivities on the 2020-23 health-crisis management, by 101 activists of the Greek Left.

The pandemic of COVID-19 and its management left their mark on society, especially in countries like Greece, with its damaged health system and the extreme authoritarian measures imposed by the government. Neither the unforgettable self-sacrifice of the medical doctors and the health workers, which all the Greek people witnessed and acknowledged, nor the struggle of the Left against the government's attempt to dismantle public health care, prevented the deep traumatisation of our society by those in power, who turned the crisis into an opportunity.

Various models for dealing with the pandemic have been applied globally, but certainly the one followed in Greece cannot be considered successful in terms of its results. Our government imposed the harshest quarantine in Europe, and we also had the worst health outcomes.

Public health issues are inherently multi-dimensional, and a political approach to them is most important. We, the 101 signatories of this document, coming from across the spectrum of the Left and the self-organised social liberation and social justice movements, ask the parliamentary parties that self-identify as left-wing or communist, as well as the leftist and movement collectives outside parliament, to address the following crucial questions concerning the capital issue of pandemic management. We ask them to consider both the current scientific data and their own members' experience of the pandemic, in ordere to distill their political conclusions from the events of the last three years.

1- In your party or collective estimation, did the lock-downs imposed by the Greek government effectively protect against the pandemic? Did they have a positive or a negative impact on the economic situation of the people and the most vulnerable social strata? Did they provide capital with an opportunity for restructuring of the economy in its favour, especially by transferring power and resources to its oligarchic part, and particularly to Big Pharma? What was their overall impact on class struggle?

2- Were the restrictive measures imposed aimed exclusively at tackling the health crisis? How did the policies of restricting freedom in the wake of COVID-19 contribute to an increasingly authoritarian state, that represses violently every popular movement and demand? What were their overall political consequences?

3- Do you consider that carrying out compulsory medical procedures is in any way justified on political or scientific grounds? In particular, may compulsory vaccination for pandemics be justified? Even vaccinating with experimental formulations, not fully licensed and lacking sufficient evidence of their safety and efficacy? Can compulsory vaccination for low-risk groups, such as children and adolescents, be admissible? Ditto for high-risk groups, to whom the administration of pharmaceuticals needs particular care, such as pregnant women or sufferers from autoimmune diseases?

4- Was mass vaccination permissible, in principle, without individualised medical assessment and by bypassing the first-line physicians?

5- Was it permissible to substitute institutions responsible for public health (e.g. the National Pharmaceuticals Organisation) with ad hoc committees ('expert committees', 'vaccination committees', etc.) whose members enjoy penal and civil immunity for their decisions?

6- Was discrimination against unvaccinated citizens in any case permissible? Were compulsory diagnostic tests for the unvaccinated and the incompletely vaccinated justified? Is it politically permissible to require demonstration of "health passports" for employment or participation in social activities?

7- Was it permissible for the government to suspend the 7,500 medical doctors and health workers who refused to get vaccinated? Are they entitled to full compensation, after the courts decreed their returning to their positions, for the time they were suspended? Should the unvaccinated and partially vaccinated medical doctors and health workers be subject to mandatory testing, as the government decrees? Is their punitive treatment related to the government's attempt to dismantle the public health system?

8- Can those who opposed mandatory vaccination, or had reservations about the safety of vaccines, be called "science deniers" etc.? Do the movements against compulsory vaccination belong to the far Right?

9- Does your party or collective study the evolution of morbidity and overall mortality in our country and in other countries where, among other things, mass vaccination with mRNA vaccines was imposed?

10- Has your party or collective studied the alternative medicines and other treatments proposed since the beginning of the pandemic? Have you assessed the results of their mass application in countries such as China, Cuba, Nicaragua, India, Japan, etc.?

11- Has your party or collective studied the overall public health policies in countries that identify themselves as non-capitalist, and have you noticed any differences from the policies implemented in Greece?

12- Does your party or collective have a comprehensive critique of the public health policies implemented in our country?

13- Does your party or collective have a comprehensive critique of the ways in which capitalism and, more specifically, the financial and techno-economic complex privileged in the West (e.g. Big Pharma) influences the development and application of scientific knowledge?

14- Does your party or collective consider the management of the pandemic, in Greece and internationally, transparent and complying to the scientific data at the time? If not, where do you locate the main problems?

We look forward to having clear and honest answers to the above questions, in order to feed the political dialogue, to help the people gain a clear picture of what each political force stands for, and to halt the rise of the Right, which has been crucially facilitated after most organised forces of the Left and the social movements in our country adopted key elements of the dominant capitalist narrative.

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