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.

 

A worrying new variant of COVID-19 has emerged, designated B.1.1.529 or Omicron. This strain was an inevitable product of the reckless pursuit of short-term capitalist interests, which are dragging out this seemingly endless pandemic nightmare.

This document was approved by delegates at the 2021 World Congress of the International Marxist Tendency (full report here). It provides our general analysis of the main processes taking place in world politics, at a time marked by unprecedented crisis and turmoil. With dynamite in the foundations of the world economy and the COVID-19 pandemic still casting a shadow over the global situation, all roads lead to intensified class struggle.

Whilst Tory ministers celebrate so-called ‘freedom day’, coronavirus is ripping through society, leading to mounting health problems and pressures on the overstretched NHS. Once again, the Tories and bosses are putting profits before lives.

The Tories have confirmed plans to lift all remaining COVID restrictions on 19 July. But society will not return to ‘normal’. The period ahead will be one of contagion, capitalist crisis, and class struggle. Workers must organise and fight back.

The ruling class is doing everything in its power to assist the evolutionary development of SARS-CoV-2, to become more infectious and vaccine resistant. In their myopic incompetence and sheer disregard for human life and scientific evidence, the capitalists are helping to ensure this pandemic drags on for years and continues to wreak havoc on billions of lives. 

The recent outbreak of COVID-19 in the town of Odemira, which led to a lockdown being imposed upon two local parishes, has exposed a festering wound on Portugal’s social fabric. The outbreak has brought to light conditions of modern slavery, involving human trafficking and the exploitation of migrant workers, living under extremely precarious conditions, which contributed to the outbreak of the disease.

Earlier this month, an independent panel commissioned by the World Health Organisation (WHO) published the findings of its research into the international response to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. Surprisingly, the report places the blame for the crisis exactly where it belongs: with bourgeois politicians and capitalist bosses. In this period of widespread barbarism and untold suffering, the WHO report shows the brutality at the heart of the ruling class’ response to the pandemic, as well as the ease with which it could have been avoided.

A worrying new strain of the coronavirus has emerged from the nightmarish second wave in India, which some scientists fear could spark yet another wave in Britain (where it has gained a foothold), and set back the global fight against the pandemic. This “double mutant” strain, which seems to be more transmissible than previous iterations of the virus, is spreading globally. The hapless Tory administration in Britain is making all the same blunders that provoked the catastrophic surge of infections last winter.

As the second wave of COVID-19 wreaks havoc across the country, the plight of the working class in Bangladesh is worsening. The situation has not yet reached the proportions seen in India just yet, it could soon get to such levels as the ruling class hasn’t taken any measures to provide basic health facilities and vaccines to the millions of workers who live in poverty.

Nepal is no exception as the world faces a new surge of COVID-19. With new cases increasing daily, Nepal’s Ministry of Health and Population claims that the total number of infections stands at 343,418, while reporting 3,362 deaths. For the last several days, 8,000 cases have been reported daily.

We are 16 months into a pandemic that according to some reports has claimed 6.9m lives and plunged capitalism into its deepest-ever crisis, and the ruling class is still torn by internecine squabbles over patent waivers, export bans and priority-deals.

The Bolsonaro regime’s handling of the pandemic in Brazil has been catastrophic. 400,000 people have died (officially), the healthcare system is collapsing and now hunger is rampant. The wretched capitalist system in Brazil has created a humanitarian nightmare and an ideal breeding ground for new, more dangerous variants. Even the ruling class is beginning to distance themselves from Bolsonaro as the mood in society turns to bitter anger against the regime.

Concerns are rising about the impact that the catastrophic situation in India could have on the COVID–19 pandemic on the African continent. Africa’s vaccine supply relies heavily on India’s Serum Institute, the source of the AstraZeneca vaccines distributed by the global COVAX project which is supposed to provide vaccines to poor countries. India’s export ban on vaccines has severely impacted the predictability of the rollout of vaccination programs and will continue to do so for the coming weeks and perhaps even months.