Europe

Health and safety is not the first priority of the Austrian government - despite all its solemn assertions. The government sees its primary task in ‘protecting Austria’s appeal as a business location’. This is the lesson to be drawn from the three new legislative packages that result in the revision of 85 statutes and create 7 new ones. The new sweeping laws have been passed in a split vote by a majority. Only votes against came from FPÖ and NEOS.

Lucha de Clases has interviewed Jesús Suárez and Pedro García, members of the Fertiberia-Avilés factory committee within the Trade Union Confederation of Workers’ Commissions (CCOO), on the current COVID-19 crisis and how it is affecting the worker and business activity. Fertiberia manufactures fertilizers and industrial chemicals.

Underfunding and lack of equipment had already thrown the Swedish health care into a crisis before the pandemic. With little to no measures to stop the spread, there is a clear risk of a catastrophe. As workers respond to the crisis, we can expect a sharp rise in the class struggle in the coming weeks and months. This set the tone for the biggest congress ever of Revolution, the Swedish section of the IMT – with 100 Marxists present online from all over the country.

In November 2018, the British management of Luxfer Group announced the closure of its factory in Gerzat, in the department of Puy-de-Dôme. This despite the fact that the site was turning a profit and receiving many orders. The factory, which manufactured oxygen tanks, shut down in 2019, which led to an important mobilisation by the workers. The health crisis triggered by the coronavirus has given new meaning to their struggle.

Interview with Axel Peronczyk, CGT shop steward from the Luxfer factory in Gerzat.

For the last 5 years, I have been a volunteer fireman in a small fire station in the south of France. Like many other professions, we are mobilised to fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. And like our colleagues working in healthcare, we are doing our absolute best with the means available to us.

The cynicism of the bourgeois knows no bounds. It reaches even the darkest of domains, like pandemics. Under capitalism, the existence and spreading of diseases can bring massive profits to a small minority. These last few years, while healthcare systems around the world have been destroyed by austerity, investors have pocketed colossal sums of money by speculating on pandemics. Since 2017, the World Bank has allowed investors to buy bonds with an annual interest rate of up to 11%, specifically under the pretext of fighting pandemics in poor countries. If a pandemic is declared, they lose their investment. But every eventuality is covered, and the criteria that trigger pay-outs to

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Nursing homes are one of the most critical areas of care in the coronavirus pandemic, making them one of the most dramatic points of struggle in the current period. The situation in Madrid is especially dire, revealing the magnitude of the problem with absolute clarity. As of 26 March (the day on which the latest data was released), 50 percent of the 2,090 deaths registered in Madrid came from nursing homes. This compelled the army to intervene, which at once began to search for corpses abandoned in these homes. Today, La Sexta cited a shocking report according to which 3,000 of the 10,000 deceased in the entire country are old people coming from said residences. We interviewed Nuria,

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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.

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