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.
Following the publication of our article “Who is who in Nuevo Curso", which denounces the collaboration of the individual known as Gaizka with the high functionaries and institutions of the bourgeois state, this person has up till now maintained absolute silence. No comment. Silence is his response. And we can hardly believe that he hasn’t understood what we are saying, because his friends have immediately leapt to his defence. But none of them have refuted any of the facts that we have brought to light: nothing, zero, nada.
The pandemic is a disaster for the population in the UK and for the British economy. It will further deepen the disorientation of the working class and make its conditions worse. It has stimulated propaganda for national unity, which the bourgeoisie will try and run with as it blames everything on Covid-19. The one thing that they should not be allowed to get away with is the responsibility of the ruling class for letting the coronavirus rip through the population.
We are publishing this international statement of the ICC on the current Covid-19 crisis in the form of a "digital leaflet" because under the conditions of the lock-down it is clearly not possible to distribute a printed version in large numbers. We are asking all our readers to use all the means at their disposal to disseminate this text - social media, internet forums, and so on - and to write to us with information about any of the reactions and discussions that this provokes, and of course with their own views on the article. It is more than ever necessary for all who fight for the proletarian revolution to express their solidarity with each other and maintain their connections. While we have to isolate ourselves physically for the time being, we can still come together politically!
A close sympathiser of the ICC responds to an attack on our organisation by the so-called "International Group of the Communist Left"
Graph showing the decline in the number of hospital beds and places in France between 2013 and 2018While the epidemic was already largely spread in Europe and notably in Italy, the French bourgeoisie were very late in timidly beginning to take measures in order to "protect" the population. It wasn’t until the situation was catastrophic in certain regions such as Picardy and the Alsace that the Macron government woke up and took drastic decisions: necessary isolation, closing of frontiers, police controls and mobilisation of the army to help medical teams that are totally overwhelmed.