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 coronavirus crisis has already begun to cause bottlenecks in cargo transport in Brazil, demonstrating the weaknesses of our system due to the monopoly of the road sector for general cargo transportation. With the aggravation of the Covid-19 pandemic more restrictive measures may be adopted, which will prevent the delivery of cargo of all products that are consumed internally in the country, especially food.

The comrades of the IMT in Italy, Sinistra Classe Rivoluzione launched a campaign, “Workers are not cannon fodder” for the closure of all non-essential production, with the workers to be sent home on full pay, and where work is deemed essential for full protective equipment to be provided and safety procedures strictly adhered to. Their campaign appeal saw over 200 trade union shop stewards and activists sign up immediately, and more workers are signing every day. Add your name to show your support!

The third week of March 2020 began with an avalanche of measures to contain the spread of the COVID-19 virus in Mexico. The figures in the state of Quintana Roo, given by the mayor of Benito Juárez on 25 March from her official Facebook page, are around 22 cases in this municipality alone, and a total of 27 in the entire state. Four in Solidaridad and one in Othón P. Blanco.

IMTV held an interview with Paul Murphy, TD (MP) for Dublin South West in the Irish Dáil (parliament), in which we discussed the coronavirus and the political crisis unfolding in Ireland. If you missed it, you can catch the recording here on marxist.com!

On March 29, David Rey, head of the Spanish section of the International Marxist Tendency (IMT), Lucha de Clases, spoke to our Brazilian comrades about the health crisis in his country and how Marxists are facing the situation.

The declaration of the state of emergency is unprecedented in Spain, except in the brief period of the air traffic controllers’ strike 10 years ago. It is true that this declaration currently has overwhelming support among the population. This is understandable. The seriousness of the situation and the uncertainty that accompanies it makes people trust "authority" as the only reliable source of protection available, at least as long as that trust lasts. So what is the position of Marxists on this?

The entirety of France has supposedly been in lookdown since 16 March. Macron said it and the media repeated it: “Stay home!”. Personally, like millions of other workers, I can not isolate myself. I continue to go out each day to work as a cashier in a “fair” minimarket. Although, the sales are reaching record highs and the boss sends us raving emails each day to congratulate us on our role in this “national effort”.

More than 20 years ago, on the eve of the introduction of the Euro, the Marxist tendency predicted that faced with new and insoluble problems the common currency would “break down amidst mutual recriminations”. Those recriminations began in a five-and-a-half-hour-long conference call between EU leaders last Thursday.

Amidst the global turmoil unleashed by the spread of the coronavirus pandemic, the U.S. has decided to ramp up its imperialist aggression and interference in the Venezuelan government. On Friday, 27 March, the U.S. Department of Justice filed charges of drug trafficking, corruption and the promotion of terrorism against Nicolás Maduro, President of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, and 13 high-ranking state officials, all in an attempt to legitimise any future acts of intervention and insurgency in Venezuela. On 25 March, Jorge Rodriguez, Minister of Communication, also presented the country with evidence of a new conspiracy, organised in Colombia, to traffic arms into Venezuela,

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Venezuela has entered another week under preventive social quarantine, following the government’s announcement on Friday 13 March that the country’s first cases of coronavirus had been detected. A terrible burden is being borne by the working-class and poor, who were already facing a dire economic crisis before the sanction-strangled healthcare system faced the prospect of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Coronavirus has arrived in the immense favelas of Rio de Janeiro. The number of cases of contaminated slum dwellers is difficult to know, because counting and recording have been done based on the officially recognized neighbourhoods, which do not cover the slums.

In an effort to save their system, the Tory government has pledged to throw hundreds of billions at the economy. But what they give with one hand today, they will attempt to take back through austerity tomorrow. We must make the bosses pay.

As the coronavirus pandemic rages on, we are told: “the virus does not discriminate – rich and poor alike, we are all in this together”. However, the reality is that the privileged elite, who enjoy relative safety, expect the workers to risk infection to keep profits rolling in. This virus is exposing the rotten and heartless nature of the capitalist system, where profits rather than human lives are the priority.

The social distancing measures necessary to fight against the spread of the coronavirus that we have been subjected to for several weeks have been promoted through media campaigns that highlight the advantages of staying at home. “Finally we can dedicate ourselves to all those things we don’t normally have time for in the hustle and bustle of daily life”: reading, yoga, watching a nice film, the more hobbies the better… But the reality is very different.