Europe

The coronavirus pandemic has exposed the cynicism, incompetence and brazen dishonesty of the tiny clique who run Britain. The mask has been torn away to expose the ugly face of class privilege. As Alan Woods explains, the public are sick of being treated with contempt. Johnson, Cummings and the rest are destined for the dustbin of history.

The pandemic has triggered the deepest crisis in the history of capitalism. There will be no return to ‘normality’. Consciousness will be transformed forever. We must build the forces of Marxism with a sense of urgency. This editorial by our British comrades explains how they are preparing to meet the new situation. 

Ruthless British Airways bosses are set to cut thousands of jobs at the airline, using the pretext of the pandemic to undermine workers’ wages and conditions. The labour movement must fight for nationalisation and workers’ control.

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.

Lauded by the establishment for his ‘credible opposition’, Keir Starmer is also under pressure from workers to oppose reckless Tory measures. Instead of compromising with the government, Labour should be taking them to task.

This article was written before the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in lockdowns throughout the world, including Denmark. However, the points it raises about the co-option of the climate movement by the forces of the establishment remain unchanged – and are all the more relevant given the global health emergency posed by COVID-19.

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.

After several weeks of tug-of-war, a precarious agreement was reached on aid to EU member countries that need extra financing to deal with the economic crisis triggered by the coronavirus epidemic. The states will get up to 540,000 million euros, but under what conditions? What does this have to do with the Marshall Plan for Europe that Pedro Sánchez demands? Is this viable?

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.

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.

The following article was written at the end of February and the first days of March, just before the world was hit by the crash of the stock markets on the 9 March and the full impact of the coronavirus pandemic. This sharp change in the situation obviously also changes the plans of the ruling class. But the underlying economic and political tendencies at play are still the same, although the issue of climate change obviously was pushed to the background. In the case of the Green parties, their character as parties of the ruling class is even-further confirmed in these times of crisis.