On Sunday, June 6, the Dallas Stands For Global Access To COVID Vaccines & Treatments event was held outside the Consulate of Germany’s Dallas, Texas office. Members of DSA North Texas, DSA AfroSocialists and Socialists of Color, Our Revolution North Texas, Dallas AntiWar Committee, Texas Fair Trade Coalition, Texas Alliance for Retired Americans (TARA), CODEPINK Greater Dallas, and several other organizations rallied to pressure Germany to consent to a full waiver of intellectual property laws on vaccines in addition to free treatment and diagnosis testing worldwide. This action was part of a coordinated campaign in other cities across the US to bring awareness to Germany’s role in maintaining the current, shameful inequality of global vaccine distribution.
As socialists involved in the struggle for Medicare for All, we believe that healthcare is a human right and pharmaceutical profits should never come before human lives. We believe in global solidarity with the working class in all countries of the world. The issue of vaccine equity intersects with DSA’s commitment to health justice, racial justice, anti-war, internationalism, and labor rights. While the US and other wealthy countries are now over 50% vaccinated, 130 countries are yet to receive a single dose. Many countries in the global south including in Central and South America, most African nations, and developing countries in Asia have only a 2% or less vaccination rate. As COVID-19 has claimed over 3 million deaths so far, Black, indigenous, people of color, and the poor working class have been disproportionately impacted.
After extensive pressure from organized groups and activists, the Biden administration recently agreed to support the “Trade-Related Intellectual Property Rights” (TRIPS) waiver at the WTO as a first step to enabling vaccines and treatments to be produced as broadly and quickly as possible. Unfortunately, the pharmaceutical industry has concentrated its power in Germany and other EU nations to hold up the process of global generic vaccine production.
Attendees of the Dallas rally held signs reading FREE THE VACCINE, VACCINE INEQUALITY = SYSTEMIC RACISM, DELAY = DEATH/ TRIPS WAIVER NOW, SOUTH AFRICA HAS A 1% VAX RATE/ THIS IS VACCINE APARTHEID, and HOARDING VACCINES IS WHITE SUPREMACY. We chanted the slogans FREE THE VACCINE/ GERMANY and FROM KENYA TO THE PHILIPPINES/ FREE TREATMENT FREE VACCINES. We submitted a formal letter to the Consulate of Germany’s Dallas office the day after the event which made our demands clear and included photos and videos of participants. Images from the rally were also circulated by German comrades on their social media channels within hours of the event.
Imperialism has allowed powerful nations to become rich through the exploitation and extraction of resources, wealth, and labor from countries with less power. We now watch this same system of capitalist hegemony determine which nations are worthy of becoming vaccinated against this deadly virus. This pandemic has proven something many socialist organizers have said for years; none of us is free until all of us are free. If the Coronavirus is allowed to continue to spread and mutate so that pharmaceutical companies can protect their patents and profits, the existing vaccines will become ineffective and we will all be in danger. We understand that capitalism is an existential threat to life on the planet. Now is the time to ensure that others hear and comprehend the gravity of this message.
Photos From Rally: