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 wealthiest man in Egypt has sparked outrage by suggesting that “life must go on” after the coronavirus pandemic: which is to say, business should resume as quickly as possible, whether or not it is safe for workers, in order to keep the profits rolling in. This reveals the naked contempt of the Egyptian bourgeoisie towards ordinary people, whose class anger is bubbling just below the surface.

With the whole world’s attention turned towards the coronavirus crisis, the western-backed Saudi war on Yemen has continued unabated. The war machine and arms industry, fueling this savagery, have been deemed to essential to shut down during the pandemic.

The breakneck speed of events is evident here in New Zealand. On 1 March we had one confirmed case of COVID-19, a NZ resident returning from Iran. Two weeks later, we had 10. Then over the space of a week, the number of cases soared to more than 100. On the weekend of March 21-22 the government closed the borders to all but returning NZ citizens and residents. Finally, on 25 March the country was put into a complete lockdown. All worksites are now closed except for an approved list that provides essential services, such as food and medicine. Apart from essential workers, no-one can travel more than 2km from their place of residence. People can buy groceries and go for a

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An open split has emerged within the Tories, between those who are desperate for business to return to normal; and those who are terrified of the backlash if private wealth is put above public health. We must fight to put lives before profits. Originally published 7 April.

The first Honduran cases of coronavirus were confirmed in the early hours of Wednesday, 11 March. Just under a month later, infections in the country already number in the hundreds. The coronavirus is spreading so rapidly that the government has adopted "emergency measures" to try and contain the pandemic. However, the state is not prioritising the people’s wellbeing. As a result, the measures taken are insufficient and largely inapplicable to most Hondurans' lives.

Macron’s latest speech has confirmed what we already knew: that his priority is not to save as many human lives as possible, but to safeguard the profits of the capitalists. The measures he announced during his speech on Monday are motivated solely by the defence of the material interests of the ruling class. The MEDEF (the bosses’ organisation) was surely satisfied.

Watch Fred Weston (editor of marxist.com) discussing the world situation as the coronavirus pandemic rages on. While the bourgeois are trying to blame the current social and economic turmoil on the virus alone, it was in fact just the trigger for a crisis prepared in the last period. This video was recorded during an internal meeting of the IMT in Britain. 

The media, bourgeois and reformist leaders have all been whipping up a “wartime” spirit of national unity against the threat of COVID-19. Recently elected leader of the British Labour Party, Sir Keir Starmer, has even made overtures about joining a government of national unity with the Conservatives. But the coronavirus pandemic is exposing the class lines in society more than ever. National unity is a reactionary fiction. What is needed is workers’ unity in the face of this crisis, and against the rotten system responsible.

In the last week, over 20,000 workers took to the streets of Bangladesh to demand their wages after clothes factories stopped paying their staff due to a lack of orders. With the global coronavirus pandemic causing fashion retailers such as H&M, Walmart and Tesco to cancel their orders, many workers in Bangladeshi factories have gone up to two months without receiving any income. Now, in defiance of the nationwide lockdown, workers have organised massive protests demanding their money and risking infection to fight the bosses.

After this article was written, the Procavi has stepped up its anti-trade union harassment. Comrade Nadia Garcia, the SAT shop steward at Procavi, has received a formal complaint from management which threatens her with disciplinary action for the distribution of leaflets as the company alleges this could potentially “spread the coronavirus”!

The COVID-19 pandemic has created one disaster after another in Latin America, exposing the naked contempt of the ruling class for the workers of the region. But with the memory of Red October still fresh, this explosive new development is preparing revolutionary upheaval in the near future.

The 73 years that have passed since the transfer of power from British India to the native ruling classes of the Indian subcontinent has not alleviated the dire poverty, misery and exploitation of the vast masses of populace, and in particular the sanitation workers.

The coronavirus pandemic is a turning point in history. The world economy is receiving one savage blow after another. Healthcare systems are totally overwhelmed in the advanced capitalist countries as a result of decades of attacks on living standards. The inefficient and ghastly nature of capitalism is in full display in the west, where people until recently enjoyed at least a semi-civilised existence. In Africa, Asia and Latin America the consequences of a full-scale outbreak will be catastrophic.