The Covid-19 Pandemic and the World Capitalist Crisis – Statement

The undersigned revolutionary working-class groups demand the protection of all workers and oppressed people from the dangers caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, which is a very dangerous threat to the health and lives of the oppressed. Particularly older workers, the retired, the disabled, those with underlying health conditions, to prisoners, the impoverished, those in nations such as Iran, occupied Palestine and Gaza, Cuba, Venezuela and North Korea who are targeted for starvation sanctions and barbaric deprivation of basic medical supplies and services by imperialism and its allies, and particularly also many oppressed people who live in impoverished semi-colonial nations in Africa, Asia, Latin America and Oceania.

This pandemic crisis has produced the most serious economic and political crisis for capitalism since the Second World War, or earlier crises that led to that war such as the 1929 Wall Street Crash and the Great Depression. The fundamental contradiction facing world capitalism is that the prolonged strategy of saving capitalist profitability over the last several decades has involved savage attacks on social benefits, including healthcare benefits, for workers and the poor around the world, both in the imperialist countries, going hand in hand with globalisation and the export of jobs to poor, low-wage countries, this putting pressure on the working class in the imperialist countries to accept a serious decline in living standards and benefits.

The imperialist drive to capitalist restoration in the former USSR and much of its sphere of influence was initially the driving force of these such attacks, but they have become a generalised phenomenon throughout the capitalist world, part of neo-liberalism, the dominant creed of capital today, which is seen by the ruling classes of the world as their saviour from the spectre of Communism and the Russian Revolution.

A similar, parallel thing has been done also in poorer, semi-colonial countries, where the rise of exported capital and the increase in jobs has led to the rise of free market economics and attacks on already meagre healthcare and social welfare systems there also, through such things as IMF ‘structural adjustment’ programmes to attract imperialist investment.

Now that neo-liberal capitalism is itself in terminal decay, we see the grotesque spectacle of the rise of right-wing populism with a stern, fascist tendency, put in power in part as a result of the disillusionment of backward sections of the working class in many countries, which has given rise to leaders such as Trump, Johnson , Bolsonaro and Modi, who make light of and mock a deadly pandemic that threatens to decimate the victims of capitalism, those who are considered surplus population by much of the ruling class.

At the same time we see that under mass pressure and fear of an eruption of the rage of the masses at the huge death toll that is threatened, and the obvious fact that healthcare has been deliberately undermined for decades as part of neo-liberal asset stripping and privatisation, many bourgeois regimes are attempting to stave off disaster by imposing a necessary measure of quarantine on the population.

We support the quarantine and demand effective measures of public health. We will also support agitation to force recalcitrant neoliberal regimes to carry out such measures where they a playing with obscenities like Johnson’s injunction to the British population to ‘take it on the chin’. While there is no vaccine or cure for this new disease the working class is in a defensive, backs-to-the-wall situation and needs to be extremely cautious about protecting its most vulnerable and frail components. We must seize on the weapon of quarantine to protect ourselves, and fight for the nationalisation of health provision and its supply chain, housing for the homeless, and protections for workers sacked because of the pandemic. We defend the international solidarity efforts of the workers’ states and peoples oppressed by imperialism against the pandemic, as Cuba has been doing.

But this situation is causing the capitalist system to totter economically, and we must demand of the bourgeois states every possible measure to negate the ruinous impact of capitalism and neo-liberalism on the masses. We demand the expropriation of private healthcare and the privileges of the rich to save as many working class people as possible from the pandemic. We demand the expropriation of failing industries in the economic crisis, and that all workers, in regular and ‘casual’ employment of all kinds, be paid in full for the duration of the pandemic. We demand economic planning to handle the economic needs of the masses under quarantine; the idea that market economics and neoliberalism can be any kind of solution to any of this is poisonous rubbish, too preposterous for words. Such is the international nature of this human crisis that this must be on a world scale if a terrible death toll is to be avoided in the poorest parts of the world.

At the same time we must be vigilant against attempts by far right and fascist forces to exploit the need for a quarantine to attack the democratic rights of the masses, to attack our freedom to criticise, to institute a dictatorship. An ominous example is the demand of Orban in Hungary for the right to rule by decree for the duration of the pandemic. There are similar dangers from Trump in the US, from Johnson in Britain, and in many other places. We must be on our guard.

Above all we demand and seek the world revolution, as the only way to save the working class, and the planet on which we live, which is being degraded and polluted, particularly through capitalist mode of production induced climate change, to the point where human extinction is on the horizon. Capitalism has caused a devastating Climate Change that in combination with systematic destruction of nature have caused unprecedented degradation of nature throughout the world. This allows deadly viruses such as the coronavirus to evolve, adapt, and jump from animals to humans. While we are facing such a deadly threat it may appear unrealistic to talk of world revolution, but the root causes of this calamity, and others to come, dictate political and economic tasks that only the world proletariat in power can solve. This particular disaster will end at some point and there must be a reckoning with its causes. We need worldwide economic planning, we need an end to the destruction of the ecosphere, we need the revolutionary overthrow of capitalism worldwide.

Signed:

Frente Comunista dos Trabalhadores (Brazil)

Tendencia Militante Bolchevique (Argentina)

Socialist Workers League (United States)

Socialist Fight (Britain)

Trotskyist Faction of Socialist Fight (Britain)

The above groups who endorse it are part of the Liaison Committee for the Fourth International.

Mohammad Basir Ul Haq Sinha, President, Inter Press Network, Dhaka – Bangladesh

Fernando Gustavo Armas, physician, militant of Socialismo Revolucionario – Argentina

Akhar Bandyopadhyay, non-partisan Political Activist — India

Ady Mutero, Revolutionary Internationalist League – Zimbabwe

Akash Mirza, chair, Bangladesh Revolutionary Socialist Union – BRSU

Nigel Singh, independent left militant, Oxford, UK

Curtis T, youth and socialist activist, Monrovia, Liberia

The above groups and militants also endorse the statement.

3 thoughts on “The Covid-19 Pandemic and the World Capitalist Crisis – Statement

  1. This approach is disorienting militants from what really has to be done. Which is to deepen theoretical understanding so that correct Leninist understanding is developed and put in a place to become the leading force in discussion throughout the workers movement.
    It is excellent that Cuba is treated as a workers state, which it is. But it is preposterous to treat Trump and Johnson as arriving on the scene because of the “backwardness” of workers. This ludicrously treats bourgeois elections as genuinely reflecting the “will of the people”. What nonsense! See Marx and Lenin on the true nature of elections and how the bourgeoisie do everything from mass media control to manipulation of the process, all the way through to total fabrication of the poll results.
    Trump and Johnson are the manipulated-into-power puppets of the billionaires and got there through buckets of complex history to do with the unfolding crisis of capitalism and the FAILURES of Bush’s warmongering, Obama’s politically-correct drone striking and class compromise, Corbyn’s social chauvinist pro-Zionist reformist uselessness etc.
    Describing the monopoly-capitalist system in a way that implies all its economic strategies are CHOICES, rather than FORCED by the very class-war and inter-imperialist CONFLICT nature of capitalist exploitation is a million miles from Marxist analysis too.
    “Demanding this” and “demanding that” is fake “leftism” – the last-gasp of treacherous reformism. The ultimate in this is “We demand the world revolution”. Demanded from whom? Are you looking for permission? What a philosophically confusing approach!
    The extraordinarily heroic health workers of the USA, UK, Italy and Spain etc are demanding PPE and for serious measures to be carried out by their rotten capitalist states and deviously fascist leaderships. They are being betrayed. Give all workers leadership to make revolution by warning that their own bourgeoisies have dirty FASCIST reasons to have allowed the pandemic to let rip through their populations in order to have a diabolical EXCUSE for the CRASH of capitalism and its descent into total economic breakdown, trade war and world war that was going to happen ANYWAY. (Reasons on top of the usual callous indifference to the health of their populations, except as wage slaves)
    In Italy, the poorest of the poor are starting to raid supermarkets to avoid starvation. Fascist and Mafia movements are being set up to take advantage, with one being reported on called National Revolution. But maybe this can be split and genuinely socialist mass revolutionary movements will emerge.
    All round the world, gig economy workers are becoming destitute. What happens in India under lockdown of the slums – can thousands simply starve or die??
    What is needed is the world socialist revolution, for sure. The onus on all people calling themselves socialist leaders is to deepen understanding so that they are able to fight anti-communism, stand up for revolution and workers states, and build Bolshevik groups and currents of thought.
    What stands in the way of this is all revisionism, of every variety, that has spent lifetimes telling workers that world capitalism would never get into a serious global crisis, that supporting labour parties was the right approach, that Stalinist popular frontism would work, that Soviet “peace campaigning” was all that was required, or that Hungary 1956, Czechoslovakia 1968, Poland 1980 were “genuine workers uprisings” etc (all inspired and financed by the CIA, Vatican, Mafia, Nato and other dirty capitalist forces).
    Socialist China for all its revisionist failings of leadership (and OVERuse of capitalist economic methods) has shown brilliantly what wonders in pandemic fighting can be accomplished by the central planning of a workers state. Hubei senior health officials’ (apparent) initial hesitancy shows some of the philosophical weaknesses of bureaucratic thinking, typical of the parties of the first big wave of socialist revolution. Lenin was scathing of the idea that bureaucratic weaknesses could be overcome overnight. He saw the route to the spread of the socialist revolution as requiring the STRENGTHENING of the Soviet state and the propagation of Leninist revolutionary struggle around the world.
    Trotsky got into a vain subjective muddle and turned on the Stalin Soviet party for rejecting his leadership; he then spent years poring contempt on everything they did and called them a new “ruling caste” who would lose the war against Nazism. His legacy is what all present-day Trotskyists have to battle with.
    If you really want to help the world socialist revolution to develop, then step up the fight against Stalinist revisionism by explaining how the Soviet party, despite huge successes, drifted away from Leninist revolutionary science into first, useless popular frontism in the 1930s, and then full-scale liquidationism under Gorbachev in 1986-91. But that, nevertheless the brilliance and power of the dictatorship of the proletariat, a transition phase, was still seen in Soviet socialist achievements in healthcare, education, culture, sport, housing, industry, agriculture etc – even if marred by many mistakes and some stupid crimes, wrapped up in the block-headed cult of the personality.
    But the Trotskyist ideological confusion that has long been a “left” version of anti-communism has to be dispensed with. Trot parties have been pretty equally culpable in backing social democracy as the wretched Stalinist parties.
    Would Corbyn have done a better job fighting the pandemic?? NO! Because the leading circles of the billionaire class of the UK were ALWAYS going to decide that letting the COVID death toll rise and rise was their route to staying on-side with Washington, culling the “burdensome” poor elderly, HIDING the real economic reasons for the Crash, and stepping up the police state. Labour “leftism” was and is powerless in the face of this; any serious approach would have been wrecked by the bourgeoisie. The Labour party is a tool of imperialism that needs to be EXPOSED and DEFEATED by mass contempt and Bolshevism.
    The necessity was and is for the stinking Nazi hand of the greedy exploitative ruling class to be removed from all world affairs by socialist revolution.
    Build Leninism.

    1. This statement, although it does have some valid Leninist aspects, is seriously flawed w/a distorted, antagonistic view of Leon Trotsky, who played a critical historical role in upholding Leninism.

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