Coronavirus

covid 19 map Image PixabayThe COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic has plunged the capitalist system into a deep crisis. The stock markets are plummeting, a recession seems inevitable, and the ineptitude of the ruling class’ political leaders is being ruthlessly exposed everywhere.

Rather than a concerted, global response to the outbreak, protectionist tendencies in the world market have been accelerated, as governments rush to throw up borders to horde medical supplies and scramble for exclusive rights to vaccines.

The bosses and bourgeois governments have attempted to force the working class to shoulder the burden of this emergency, banning mass gatherings at the same time as sending people to work without adequate safety measures. This has been met with a backlash, with a wave of strikes in badly affected countries like Italy forcing the bosses to backtrack. This is despite the woeful response of the leaders of the workers’ mass organisations, who have mostly fallen in line with their governments rather than fight back.

While this pandemic was the catalyst, it was not the cause of the current social, political and economic crisis. This was already prepared in the last period of capitalist crisis and austerity, which savagely cut health services, brought increasingly degenerate leadership to the fore, and caused huge resentment to accumulate in the fabric of society. COVID-19 was accidental, but the calamity it has provoked was inevitable.

This virus marks the beginning of a new, tumultuous period in world history, one in which the consciousness of the masses will rapidly advance as the totally rotten state of the capitalist system and its leaders are laid bare.

 

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 recent years, US Immigration and Custom Enforcement’s brutal onslaught against undocumented workers has sparked waves of outrage and protests across the US. But as COVID-19 continues to wreak havoc in society and the economy, ICE is sparing no effort to maintain and even escalate repression against migrants—actively undermining efforts to mitigate the spread of the virus in the name of “homeland security.”

Millions of ordinary people in Indian-occupied Kashmir are facing an unprecedented situation amidst the coronavirus lockdown imposed on the whole of India for 21 days. Kashmir was already under a strict curfew and has faced brutal repression since 5 August 2019, when a draconian law was passed by the Modi government changing the status of Jammu and Kashmir as a separate state, dissolving its state assembly by presidential order and relegating it to a union territory directly controlled by the central government.

Watch John Peterson, editor of Socialist Revolution – newspaper of the International Marxist Tendency in the USA – discussing the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in the States, which has rapidly become a focal point of the global outbreak, with nearly half-a-million confirmed cases and 13,000 deaths across the country.

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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As the COVID-19 pandemic extends into April, the conditions for working class people in Canada continue to deteriorate. Federal and provincial governments continue to prioritize business interests over workers’ lives despite the exponential growth of confirmed cases in Canada, now more than 11,000 infections and over 130 deaths.

The coronavirus has led to shutdowns, movement restrictions, and shortages of medical supplies and food around the world. However, for one place in the world, this was the norm before the pandemic.The Gaza Strip, already under heavy restrictions and shortages since the beginning of the blockade 13 years ago, now must also contend with the threat of COVID-19.

A series of wildcat strikes in the USA and elsewhere, including from non-unionised workers, shows the working class is not going to passively allow the bosses to sacrifice their health for profit. The COVID-19 pandemic is helping millions of workers understand their power in society as the sole producers of wealth, and despite the limitations of their leadership, they're ready to fight!

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. 

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.

Whenever there is a crisis of any kind, you can count on corporate America to try to use it to enhance their brand’s image, and the novel coronavirus pandemic is no exception. As an example, it was announced last week that the food-delivery giant Grubhub would be waiving $100 million in fees to non-chain restaurants. The company marketed the move as a gracious gesture, with CEO Matt Monloney declaring, “independent restaurants are the lifeblood of our cities and feed our communities. They have been amazing long-term partners for us, and we wanted to help them in their time of need.”