My dad shared a meme on facebook today. It showed an image of a little child with an EpiPen and was captioned, “So if a kid has an allergic reaction, the parents have to pay a ridiculous price for an EpiPen, but a junkie who has OD’d for their 15th time gets Narcan for free? What a screwed up world we live in.”
Now as warped a logic as this is, when my dad or the other eleven thousand (probably working class) folks shared the meme, they were expressing a valid frustration. Their children are sick, they themselves are sick, and they don’t understand why it costs so much just to feel safe and to know their families are going to be taken care of when those scary moments come. That reality is a harsh and heartbreaking one for so many families in the US.
However, this is wildly misdirected anger. We’re lashing out at an addict when the people behind both problems mentioned in this meme (the opioid epidemic and overpriced health care products) are actually the same big pharma corporations. Should EpiPens cost as much as they do? No, absolutely not. Health care should be an inherent human right. However, corporate pharma CEOs inflate these prices and get rich off of the suffering of your children. It’s the CEO you should be mad at, not the drug addict who again has in many cases been forced into their addiction by the same big pharma CEOs’ lust for profit.
Pharma companies hand out massive benefits and incentives to doctors if they’ll prescribe drugs like fentanyl or oxycontin. Over decades of these practices, it has created a heartbreaking opioid epidemic killing thousands upon thousands – while they lean back crossing their fingers and getting rich. The corporations and the CEOs are the ones profiting off of all our suffering, whether it be the mother who can’t afford her child’s medication or the mother weeping at her child’s casket after a fentanyl overdose.
We can’t waste our time pointing fingers at the other victims because we’re frustrated about our own victimhood. We have to organize and fight against folks who are causing this hurt for all of us.
The capitalist class will always turn finger pointing into a particularly insidious art form. What happens when the CEOs outsource their work to sweatshops or the prison industrial complex, forcing children and prisoners to make their products at little to no pay? They tell the white working class that affirmative action and immigration took all their jobs.
When they pour billions of dollars and every bit of power from their imperialist military and police forces into crushing and sabotaging communist or socialist movements that appear on this globe? They point to our very own beliefs and claim it naturally falls apart, that we will never thrive.
And here, when they force working class folks into debt to buy their children the medicines they need to survive? They point fingers at the addict who they’ve also forced into heart-wrenching circumstances and say, “He is doing this to you. It’s all his fault,” further forcing the wedge between working class folks. Stand together with your fellow working class folks. Do not allow these swine to divide us. Together we are strong. Solidarity!