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.

 

Watch our interview with comrade Kazeem about the situation in Nigeria, where the coronavirus poses a catastrophic threat, and the perspective is one of explosive class struggle.

With cases of the novel coronavirus continuing to rise and no plateau in sight, nurses in Massachusetts have found themselves fighting more than just the virus to keep themselves and their patients safe and healthy. Between the ineptitude and inaction of the government and the barriers to care created by hospital administrators and shareholders, the nurses are exercising their collective power and using the resources of their union to take control of providing supplies, support, and guidance to healthcare workers. The nurses’ actions clearly demonstrate the timeliness and effectiveness of the ...

The Moroccan regime has detained over 500 political prisoners, according to the president of the Moroccan Association for Human Rights, Aziz Ghali. Amongst them are those imprisoned in the Hirak Rif protests and the Gerak Jaradah movement: trade unionists, bloggers, a journalist… pretty much everybody. Not a day goes by without social media reporting the arrest of new militants or ordinary citizens whose only crime, in the majority of cases, is having published a Facebook post critical of living conditions or of the state’s politics.

The bosses are pushing ever harder for workers to return to work. And the Tory government is giving them free rein to restart the economy without the necessary safety measures. The labour movement must organise a fightback.

In a report released on 29 April, the ILO forecast that 1.6 billion workers in the informal sector will lose 60 percent of their income after one month of the crisis. In the worst-affected countries, poverty rates among informal workers will increase to 84 percent. As the crisis bites, workers in insecure work will face disaster.

Watch our interview with Ben Morken, who discusses the situation in South Africa: the impact of COVID-19, the political crisis and the perspectives for class struggle.

The Red Workers’ Front organised an online May Day rally in which workers from all parts of the country expressed their views and condemned government policies, which are leading to more hunger and death for the workers alongside huge bailout packages for the rich and powerful.

On Tuesday 28 April – in what protestors are coining ‘the night of the molotov’ – working people streamed into the streets of Lebanon in an open show of force against the government. The masses are once more in the streets calling for a solution to the dire economic situation that the country faces.

The coronavirus pandemic has exposed the underlying contradictions of capitalism, triggering a deep crisis on the scale of the 1930s. There will be no rebound after the lockdown ends, but a prolonged economic depression.

As of the end of April, the amount of COVID-19 deaths in Sweden per 1,000 inhabitants is three times that of Denmark, three times that of Germany and four times that of Norway. The government is peddling the nationalist idea that Sweden is somehow different and better than the rest of the world. But the pandemic has revealed the true colours of Swedish class society.

The IMF declared at the beginning of April that we have entered into “the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression”. Yesterday, their perspective was confirmed when figures released for the US showed a rate of 4.8 percent decline. Today, the figures are out showing a 3.8 percent contraction in one quarter in the Eurozone. The disastrous handling of the coronavirus pandemic sharpened an economic crisis that was already in the making.

Watch our interview Josh Holroyd, writer for the British Marxist paper Socialist Appeal, about the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on Europe. The myth of European Unity has been shattered by this outbreak. The fraternity of EU member states has been replaced with new borders, hoarding of medical resources and mutual recriminations. Caught in the middle are the European workers, who are suffering the consequences of this emergency while their national leaders squabble. Strikes have already erupted in Spain, Italy etc., and the next period will see renewed class struggle sweep the continent.