Europe

The COVID-19 outbreak is rampant. As we are writing, 3 billion people are in lockdown. The economic consequences of this situation are far-reaching. In some countries, whole sectors of industry are shut down. NASA satellite images reveal drastic decreases of greenhouse gas emissions in areas that are usually high emitters, such as China or northern Italy. The economic crisis that has been raging for several years has erupted under the impact of the lockdown, striking another blow to the global economy. Some reactionaries rejoice at this and go so far as to assert that "the virus is the solution to save the planet!” Marxists must staunchly counter this nonsense. 

Keir Starmer has won the Labour leadership contest. His Blairite backers are already baying for blood, calling for the Corbyn movement to be purged from the party. The left must rally around socialist policies and prepare to fight back.

The current health crisis marks a turning point in world history. Its economic, social, and political repercussions will be colossal. The chain reaction that began in December 2019, in a wet market in Wuhan, will not end with the ebb of the pandemic.

There has been a great deal of fanfare about the government’s pledges to protect workers and small businesses through this crisis. But, in reality, ordinary people have been left high-and-dry. We must make the bosses pay.

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!

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.

This evening, at 7pm Italian time (6pm BST), an online meeting is taking place, with some key trade union activists taking part, to discuss the way forward in the important struggle of the Italian workers. A simultaneous translation into English will be provided for an international audience. We invite you to tune in and listen to the proceedings of this important meeting right here on marxist.com, or on our YouTube channel.