Coronavirus

covid 19 map Image PixabayThe COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic has plunged the capitalist system into a deep crisis. The stock markets are plummeting, a recession seems inevitable, and the ineptitude of the ruling class’ political leaders is being ruthlessly exposed everywhere.

Rather than a concerted, global response to the outbreak, protectionist tendencies in the world market have been accelerated, as governments rush to throw up borders to horde medical supplies and scramble for exclusive rights to vaccines.

The bosses and bourgeois governments have attempted to force the working class to shoulder the burden of this emergency, banning mass gatherings at the same time as sending people to work without adequate safety measures. This has been met with a backlash, with a wave of strikes in badly affected countries like Italy forcing the bosses to backtrack. This is despite the woeful response of the leaders of the workers’ mass organisations, who have mostly fallen in line with their governments rather than fight back.

While this pandemic was the catalyst, it was not the cause of the current social, political and economic crisis. This was already prepared in the last period of capitalist crisis and austerity, which savagely cut health services, brought increasingly degenerate leadership to the fore, and caused huge resentment to accumulate in the fabric of society. COVID-19 was accidental, but the calamity it has provoked was inevitable.

This virus marks the beginning of a new, tumultuous period in world history, one in which the consciousness of the masses will rapidly advance as the totally rotten state of the capitalist system and its leaders are laid bare.

 

The capitalists are eagre for the COVID-19 crisis to come to an end, and many anticipate a rapid economic bounceback. But the new normal will be one of crisis, chaos and class struggle.

A second wave of COVID-19 is ravaging Europe. This was not inevitable, but a deadly consequence of governments prioritising the wealth of the capitalists over the health of the population. We say: make the bosses pay to protect lives and livelihoods! To fight the virus, abolish capitalism!

The world’s poorest countries are going through a vicious cycle of spiralling debt. The coronavirus epidemic has added a further heavy burden to their state coffers. These mainly raw material producing countries were already struggling to deal with the collapse in raw material prices, and this latest crisis makes the situation completely untenable, which has major implications for the advanced capitalist countries as well.

The Black Death of the 14th century dealt a mortal blow to the feudal system, which was decaying even before the plague hit. Similarly today, the COVID-19 pandemic has revealed the bankruptcy of capitalism – and the need for socialism.

The workers and poor of Bangladesh are crushed between the COVID-19 pandemic and a severe economic crisis, while the government throws money at big business and wades in a swamp of corruption. For millions of people, winning a better society is a matter of life or death.

The Colombian workers and youth are trapped in a nightmare. The parasitic bourgeoisie has totally failed to curb the coronavirus pandemic, and has used the economic crisis as an excuse to carry out further cuts and attacks on the working class. Socialist struggle is needed to free Colombia from its unbearable condition.

As the pandemic drags on, anger and distrust towards the government is growing. Many are understandably sceptical of what they hear in the media or from politicians. The labour movement must channel this mood along class lines.

Boris Johnson's announcement of new measures highlights the catastrophe that he and his cabinet have created. We must overthrow this government of chaos. We cannot trust the Tories with our lives.

On Friday 18 September, the President of the Community of Madrid, Isabel Díaz Ayuso of the right-wing PP (Popular Party), announced a “selective confinement” of 37 zones in the southern districts and towns on the outskirts of the capital. These are home to some of the poorest neighbourhoods and also those hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. This discriminatory and ineffective measure, implemented on Monday 21 September, sparked immediate outrage amongst the residents of these working-class neighbourhoods who have come out in a series of protests.

The COVID-19 pandemic has laid bare the contradictions of capitalist society for everyone to see. It has brought to surface the glaring class divide in India. While the wealthy minority enjoy conditions of comfort and privilege, the poor are struggling for their survival.

The US is standing on a precipice overlooking an abyss of hitherto unimagined proportions. Since March, over 56 million workers have filed unemployment claims, and as of this writing, roughly half of them are currently receiving unemployment benefits.

We are living through a decisive turning point in history. At such times, it is natural to look for reference points or historical parallels. But nothing seems to really fit what we are experiencing.

While the real economy has fallen off a cliff in recent months, stock prices have reached record highs. Capitalism is nothing but a casino. In place of this speculation and gambling, we need a rational socialist economic plan.