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 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.

In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, millions tried to prepare for social isolation like they would for a blizzard—stocking up not just on toilet paper and sanitizer, but also on pantry basics like milk, eggs, flour, and beans. Faced with this sudden surge in demand, grocery stores across the country were completely overwhelmed. Not just shelves but entire stores were cleared out, so “one-per-customer” rules were established on select items and notices were posted detailing which were out of stock. As we have written elsewhere, the capitalists can’t efficiently sustain supply

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This article was produced in Spanish some weeks before the coronavirus pandemic, which has obviously affected the situation in Haiti. There are around 70 confirmed cases in the country, and its fragile healthcare system means the virus could have a catastrophic impact if it takes hold. The hated president Jovenel Möise declared a state of emergency and lockdown in March. Protests continued all the way up to the lockdown, and violent clashes between the army and police over pay disrupted carnival in February, showing splits in the repressive state apparatus. Clearly, none of the fundamental issues have changed since this piece was written.

COVID-19 is bringing economic and social dislocation with no parallel since the Second World War. It is a huge burden on working-class people, and a real concern for the strategists of capital.

Kano has become the epicentre of the spread of Covid-19 in northern Nigeria. A large number of so-called “mysterious” deaths was recently reported, but the state government of Kano blatantly claims that the sharp rise in deaths is not due to Covid-19. Here we provide an eyewitness account from an IMT comrade in Kano.

A major political crisis has broken out in Brazil. The Minister of Justice Moro resigned yesterday after president Bolsonaro removed the head of the Federal Police (FP) Valeixo, who had been nominated by Moro. The now former minister of justice has accused Bolsonaro of wanting to appoint a new FP head from whom he could get information in relation to cases involving Bolsonaro's sons, including the assassination of PSOL councillor Marielle Franco.

Every day, people in Egypt hold their breath as they follow the daily reports on the spread of the coronavirus. Currently, there are 3,659 cases of contagion and 276 deaths (as of 22 April). The country is facing widespread uncertainty.