COVID-19 in Oakland: No tests for the African working class

March 19 is when Oakland, located in Alameda County, issued its shelter in place order, part of a combined six-county effort to stop the spread of COVID-19 cases.

Six weeks later we find data slowly identified by zip codes; two-thirds of Oakland’s COVID-19 cases are in the flatlands of East Oakland where Africans are located. 

According to the Alameda County Public Health Department, 366 of its 1,350 cases are in Oakland, the highest in the county.  

There are 21 identifiable testing sites available in Alameda County of which one-third are in Oakland. 

The COVID-19 testing sites in Oakland are for only the following: the general public with  symptoms, who have cash or insurance only. Also first responders and service workers, veterans with symptoms, homeless persons with symptoms, pediatric patients with symptoms and Kaiser Health and Sanford Health members only. 

Testing is accessed by appointment only, some with a doctor’s referral and others through online registration or by membership of health care plans. Therefore, the African working class is generally not included in those who qualify for testing.

Oakland is no different from any place on the planet where African people are located. The power over our lives is controlled by a foreign and alien State power for the purpose of economic exploitation and political advantage—the definition of colonialism. 

This is stated in the African People’s Socialist Party’s news journal, The Burning Spear, point 1 of its 14-point Platform. 

Many Africans in Oakland who have housing live below the poverty line in substandard units. Those who have no housing are forced to live in the streets without a pot to piss in. This includes babies, children, mothers, fathers and whole families in many instances.

Point 13 of the platform addresses the housing question of African people, “We want an end to the U.S. colonial domination of African people within the U.S.”

While data on the death rate in Oakland from COVID-19 remains a mystery, the material conditions African workers face are not. 

African people have the highest mortality rate of any nationality in Alameda County based on county public health reports. White people in the Oakland Hills have a life expectancy 14 years longer than African people in the flatlands. Simply stated, a white life is more valuable than a black life.

Where are Oakland’s testing stations located? Certainly not in the communities hardest hit by COVID-19 cases, and certainly not accessible even if they were. 

Current conditions during this Coronavirus, or correctly stated the colonialvirus, speak to the necessity of The People’s War strategy initiated by the African People’s Socialist Party to cure African people of colonialism which is the virus that has violently implanted itself in our lives.

We intend to organize the African workers in Oakland and worldwide to understand the nature of the social system we live under and suffer from every day. 

We intend to win them to a philosophy of liberation through our own efforts to rid ourselves of the parasite. This parasite that has existed off the blood, sweat and tears of our people for too long, it’s time to go.

Long Live the African People’s Socialist Party!

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