On this first of May, the working class faces the terrible pandemic conditions of Covid-19 which has unleashed a latent world capitalist crisis. This situation has causes the worst death toll since World War 2. Its causes are linked to the antagonistic relationship with nature that capitalism has imposed upon humanity through its drive for profit above all considerations of sustainability and rationality, which has so destabilised the climate as to threaten human existence. As well as the immediate danger of large numbers of the vulnerable, the sick, the disabled and the aged dying or being incapacitated from the disease, workers and the oppressed face an unprecedented danger of loss of livelihood and in many places even mass starvation from the huge economic crisis of capitalism that the pandemic has crystallised.
In the imperialist countries, economies are being kept afloat by massive government borrowing which will be a source of acute economic convulsions even after the pandemic for many years to come. After the credit crunch and near financial collapse of 2007-2010, the poor were victimised by a decade of savage austerity and attacks on the social wage to an unprecedented degree. After this crisis similar things will be posed and the ruling class will likely again come for the working class to make them pay for the crisis. Though this will be more dangerous for the ruling class as it is increasingly clear to the masses that the cause of the massive weakness in health systems that have made the pandemic so much worse for the population is rooted in the previous vicious austerity attacks. That gives hope that militant working class resistance can emerge to confront the entire logic of capitalist profit that stands behind this crisis.
In oppressed and semi-colonial countries the situation is much worse and more threatening, as the public health systems are much poorer, when they exist at all, than in the imperialist countries. In Africa, in much of semi-colonial Asia, in Latin America and Oceania, quarantines and lockdowns have often been harsher and enormous numbers are suffering huge hunger and deprivation as the meagre benefits that many survive on in the imperialist countries simply do not exist. Huge numbers of workers in the informal or black economy have no income at all during the quarantine and are struggling to avoid starvation. As well, semi-colonial countries face imperialist aggression which continues despite the pandemic, as with Trump’s continuing attacks and threats against Iran, the bombing of the population in Somalia, recently resumed, and the sending of US warships to threaten Venezuela amid phoney allegations of drug trafficking from the US narco-lords. A particularly frightening example is occupied Palestine, where the Israeli occupiers have brazenly attacked medical facilities set up to treat Palestinian victims of the pandemic. Thus the Israeli genocidal drive against the Palestinian people is intensified, exploiting the pandemic as a weapon.
The Trump threats of aggression against China, the pretext being the preposterous lie that Covid-19 was produced in a Chinese laboratory, is another example of imperialist aggression against nations from the Global South that do not fit in with imperialisms world domination. We call for defence of underdeveloped and non-imperialist capitalist nations such as Iran, China, Venezuela, Somalia against imperialism as well as defending the remaining workers states of Cuba and North Korea against imperialism and counterrevolution.
In Argentina, the “progressive” Peronist government of Alberto Fernández, who took a series of statist measures in the face of the pandemic. Today he is surrounded by right-wing governments, some directly of coup origin. In the name of its economic protectionism, the Alberto Fernandez government unilaterally distances Argentina from Mercosur, which is hegemonized by neoliberal economic trends, while seeking to negotiate the issue of debt inherited from Macrismo that the Alberto Fernandez government itself assumed. even without investigating it. This also includes the possibility that in the face of an unpayable debt, Argentina will definitely go into default. Today, in front of quarantine, workers face the blackmail of the employers on the reduction of wages to keep their jobs with the complicity of the union bureaucracy. It is in this context that Alberto Fernandez has managed to agree on governance – and in some cases co-opt – to the bureaucracy of the trade union centrals. All in a context where the pseudo-Trotskyist left is unable to advance in an independent regroupment of the working class.
Bolsonaro’s neo-Nazi government leads the Brazilian population to their deaths. The coronavirus became an incidental ally in the class war. The phenomenon of Bolsonarism is a type of colonial Nazism, born in the country with the deepest slave tradition of the bourgeois era. The government is supported politically by generals and socially by bankers, benefiting them from positions and capital like no other in history. Bolsonaro will only fall if one of these two powerful social actors drops his thumb. But all fractions of capital agree with the economic policy inspired by the Pinochet dictatorship. Brazil’s military summit organizes, organically and officially, the Southern Command of the US Army. The government also relies on the police and police forces (militias), which are more numerous than the armed forces. The country has a long tradition of death squads that acted even during the PT governments against landless, homeless and indigenous people.
Bolsonarism does not exist as a national, centralized and partisan force, but the militiaman leads a Nazi movement without a party, assisted by the Trump administration and strategists like Steve Bannon. The mass base of Bolsonarism, which articulates their social consensus, is the sectors linked to the informal economy, where petty bourgeois tendencies, even with consumption levels below the proletariat, are enhanced by individualization and entrepreneurship. There, the ideology of prosperity and neo-Pentecostalism, the Universal Church and other sects that are associated with the governing Bolsonarist sect develop from the ideological instance. But the aspirations of the governing nucleus have not yet converted the Brazilian state into a fascist state. Workers’ organizations have not been wiped out. The unions did not suffer state intervention. The proletariat has not been physically repressed on a large scale, mass arrests, tortures and deportations are not taking place as in times of classical fascism. A system of administration that is profoundly dominant of the masses has not yet been imposed to prevent independent action and organization by the proletariat.
Thus, the social force capable of overthrowing the militia president would be the numerous Brazilian working class. But the hegemonic political directions of the proletariat are deeply conciliatory and bourgeois for 15 years of class collaboration. The leaderships of the PT, PCdoB, PSOL, CUT, MST, MTST support their conciliation policy in the fact that the working class is on the defensive, due to the economic recession (unemployment) and now by the pandemic. Among these contradictions lies the strength of the Bolsonaro government. Without popular resistance at the height of the capital’s offensive, the Planalto Palace became the headquarters of a laboratory of the world extreme right. Not by chance, it was in Brazil and not in Mexico or Indonesia, equally populous semicolonies, where the coronavirus exploded with the greatest mortality among backward and dependent capitalist countries. All of this leads us to believe that in Brazil the government is not mistaken, but it would have already consciously assumed the massacre of the population. Against this government and this tragedy we defend an anti-fascist workers’ united front policy that brings together its mass organizations for the struggle. The immediate fight is in defense of broad labor rights, by guaranteeing jobs and wages in the quarantine that is economically guaranteed by the State and employers.
In Bangladesh the working class are those minimally educated people who engage in “manual labor” with little or no prestige. Unskilled workers in the class— dishwashers, cashiers, maids, and waitresses— usually are underpaid and have no opportunity for career advancement. They are often called the working poor. Garment workers are often forced to work 14 to 16 hours a day, 7 days a week. During peak season, they may work until 2 or 3 am to meet the fashion brand’s deadline. Their basic wages are so low that they cannot refuse overtime – aside from the fact that many would be fired if they refused to work overtime.
Minimum Wages in Bangladesh is expected to reach 8000.00 BDT/Month by the end of 2020, according to Trading Economics global macro models and analysts expectations. In the long-term, the Bangladesh Minimum Wages is projected to trend around 10000.00 BDT/Month in 2021, according to our econometric models. on the other hand The tea garden workers of Bangladesh lead a poor life due to their low income (less than US$1 for a day’s work from sunrise to sunset), which is much lower than that of the Indian tea garden workers. As a result, the workers are not able to consume sufficient food and nutrition.
Health safety condition of labour class in Bangladesh is not so good It is estimated that over 11,000 workers suffer fatal accidents and a further 24,500 die from work related diseases across all sectors each year in Bangladesh. It is also estimated that a further 8 million workers suffer injuries at work – many of which result in permanent disability. Although little research has taken place in Bangladesh, it is internationally recognized that most occupational deaths and injuries are entirely preventable, and could be avoided if employers and workers took simple initiatives to reduce hazards and risks at the workplace.
In Britain workers are facing a right-wing populist Tory government, led by Trump-ally Boris Johnson that has become a byword for cavalier disregard of public health, initially boasting of a strategy of promoting ‘herd immunity’ through allowing the disease to rampage through the population. The Prime Minister even managed to infect himself as a result of this strategy. They have been forced to partially retreat by intense popular pressure, and to institute a widespread lockdown with school and shop closures and an incomplete state-funding of the wages of some laid off workers and underwriting of small businesses, though this was done reluctantly and is full of holes. The Labour Party’s former left social-democratic leadership was recently ousted after an election defeat that was in part engineered from within, by its own neo-liberal right-wing, and is now in practice an echo of the ruling Tory party over most issues. The workers movement needs to regroup around a revolutionary programme by means of political clarification within the large layer of disillusioned Labour supporters who may well regroup around expelled left figures like Chris Williamson, and to prepare to fight against a likely renewed austerity once the pandemic is over.
In light of the above, the following revolutionary groups of the working class send greetings to the exploited classes and their organizations internationally, as well as to all the oppressed peoples and strata of the population on the occasion of May 1, on this international day workers of protest and resistance this year 2020, as part of the strategic struggle for the international socialist revolution.
Frente Comunista dos Trabalhadores (Brazil)
Socialist Fight (Great Britain)
Socialist Party (Bangladesh)
Socialist Workers League (United States)
Tendencia Militante Bolchevique (Argentina)
Trotskyist Faction of Socialist Fight (Great Britain)