We are publishing an article written by our comrades in France which shows that the bourgeoisie’s negligent and irresponsible response to the Covid-19 pandemic is not limited to populist government’s like those in Britain and the US. It is followed by an article that highlights the similarity of government action on both sides of the Channel. This article was written by a sympathiser but is fully in line with our position on this question.
"It is not the consciousness of men that determines their being, but, on the contrary, their social being that determines their consciousness” as Marx famously said. Today, the reality of most people’s ‘being’ across the globe is deteriorating in a dangerous and bewildering manner: wars, economic hardship; environmental degradation, enforced migration and this year, in addition, a new virus. These material conditions of growing chaos and confusion – plus the apparent absence of a credible alternative – are the soil nourishing the proliferation of ‘conspiracy theories’.
Syrian mercenaries, backed by Turkey, arrive in war-torn Libya
After the "Arab Spring" was over in Libya, where a part of the population rose up against the bloody and corrupt regime of Gaddifi, the western powers (in the name of the "humanitarian protection of the civilian population" that the ex-dictator had brutally repressed) declared war on the Libyan leader. After massacring numerous civilians under a barrage of bombs and liquidating Gaddafi, they left the country in the hand of multiple bloody groups who are still fighting over control of the moribund Libyan state.
Police take the knee - but still beat-up demonstrators
The anger at the cold-blooded police murder of George Floyd is real, and it has been shared by white people as well as black, by Latinos, Asians, and among the young in particular. But we live in a society which is dominated materially and ideologically by a ruling class, the bourgeoisie or capitalist class. And anger in itself, however justified, is not enough to challenge the system that lies behind police violence, or to avoid the many traps laid by the bourgeoisie. The protests were not started by the ruling class. But it has already succeeded in pulling them onto its own bourgeois political terrain.
This dossier contains all the articles on the present COVID19 health crisis.
Because of the Covid-19 and the lock-down, it is not possible to distribute a paper version of World Revolution at the moment. But we have produced a PDF of WR 386 in A4 which makes it easier for readers to print off copies for their own use. Subscriptions to the paper press will be held in suspense until the next paper is produced, although subscribers to the International Review should now be receiving International Review 164 in the mail, containing the reports and resolutions from the 23rd ICC Congress.
This coronavirus pandemic has shown up the inadequacies and failures of all health services under the capitalist system. Despite the very real differences in their resources, or lack of resources, the degree of organisation by the state and the degree of involvement of private firms, they are all based on two essential aspects of capitalism: the nation state and the need to extract as much value from those who work in the sector for as little money as they can get away with.
In this article, our section in Peru denounces the ravages of the pandemic, but above all the cynicism and negligence of the democratic state, which has no other concern than profit and the accumulation of capital, abandoning and sacrificing both health workers and the sick. Health workers in Lima and other cities tried to organise sit-ins and demonstrations, demanding protection and resources. The state has responded with police repression and arrests!
This article was written by a close sympathiser in the US. We welcome this initiative and encourage others to follow the example. And of course we also welcome the fact that workers in the US have been reacting against the severe dangers they are facing. As we have argued in our article on the class struggle internationally (see above), it is important to recognise that the working class is not willing to submit to everything that capitalism is trying to impose on it at the moment, even though the objective conditions of the pandemic and the lock-down are a real obstacle to the development of the open, mass struggle.
New York Amazon workers on strike against lack of safety procedues
After the promising signs of a new mood of resistance in the working class, exemplified by the strikes in France in December-January, the Covid-19 pandemic and the global lock-down have created enormous difficulties for the class struggle. But what is in some ways remarkable is the fact that, despite the omnipresent fear of contagion, despite the apparent omnipotence of the capitalist state, the signs of class combativity that we saw in the winter have not simply evaporated but, in an initial phase and faced with the shocking negligence and unpreparedness of the bourgeoisie, we have seen very widespread defensive movements of the working class.
Trump’s absurd pronouncements and responses to Covid-19 pandemic are well documented, but in the end they are only a fairground mirror reflection of the absurdity of the whole system.
The Covid-19 crisis and the lockdown have not made the class struggle disappear: we have already referred to workers’ strikes demanding proper safety equipment and working conditions in a number of countries, and we will be coming back to this in future articles. There is no denying however that the lock-down creates particularly difficult conditions for the development of the open, massive struggle. But we also know that we are going to be faced with unprecedented attacks on our living standards, and we have to prepare our response. This necessarily entails drawing the lessons of previous struggles, and this is the aim of the article we publish here, written by our section in France, which examines the important strikes of railway workers, health workers and others last autumn and winter.
A close sympathiser examines the way the British bourgeoisie used the ideology of "Herd Immunity" to cover up its own negligence, while also revealing its ruthless attitude to the most vulnerable members of society.
A debate with a group of comrades in Alicante, Spain, about the significance of the present pandemic.
This statement by the Korea-based group Internationalist Communist Perspective was written before the elections in South Korea, which took place on 15 April 2020 and ended in a landslide victory for the current president Moon Jae-in, to a large extent because of the country’s relatively effective response to the Covid-19 outbreak. According to the comrades this text was the only voice raised against participating in the elections.
While the German authorities were, like others around the world, initially unprepared and hesitant, they then proceeded forcefully and left the impression internationally that they were more effective in combating and managing the pandemic and, apart from South Korea, appear almost as a successful exception. The availability and utilisation of intensive care beds and the rate of deaths (which had topped the 5,000 mark at the time of writing this article) are cited in particular as indicators. Why is Germany just barely scraping by in the face of a potentially catastrophic situation for all countries?
We are publishing this article because of the paramount importance of gaining a deeper understanding of the rise of Chinese capitalism in the last three decades, and more specifically of the aims of its “New Silk Road” project. It should be noted that it was written some time before the current Covid-19 pandemic, which will certainly have a significant impact on the global imperialist pecking order. It also puts forward a number of elements – such as the sections on the “Mackinder Doctrine” and on the development of the “credit economy” in Stalinist regimes – which are currently under discussion in the ICC. We therefore offer it as the contribution of an individual comrade.
The picture is bleak, the deaths are counted in their hundreds, the smell of acid floods several sectors of the city, entire families have perished, as have many health workers. So far, the Ecuadorian state has recognized 315 deaths from Covid-19 , without specifying how many of these took place in the city of Guayaquil. However, the number of deaths from Covid-19 in Guayaquil does not represent the objective number of people, doctors, journalists and foreigners who have witnessed the enormous tragedy; for its part, the state, unable to respond to the health emergency, is trying to hide the numbers of bodies scattered on the streets.
This new volume in the series on communism will look at the some of the major problems posed to the revolutionary project of the working class by capitalism's entry into the last stage of its decadence, the phase of decomposition: social atomisation and loss of class identity, uncontrolled urbanisation and destruction of the natural environment, and so on. In doing so it will revisit some of the questions posed in the past about the social and economic measures needed to carry through a communist transformation.