Europe

The Spanish government has decided to continue "non-essential" economic activity as of last week, disregarding the scientific opinion of expert epidemiologists as well as the sentiment of most of the affected workers. The government has thus yielded to employers, condemning thousands of working families to the risk of contagion and losing loved ones.

The Finnish government, led by Social Democrat PM Sanna Marin, faced a challenging spring even before the global crisis caused by the pandemic. Hailed as a left-winger and a radical reformer by liberal outlets and the international media upon taking office, her coalition government includes centre-right parties on the same platform as her predecessor Antti Rinne. She has already withdrawn her earlier stated support for reforms such as a six-hour workday and a four-day work week.

Spanish royal household is entering one of the greatest crises it has had to face since the coronation of Juan Carlos I in November 1975. The findings of the Swiss public prosecutor's office of irregular accounts and trust funds in tax havens, which have transferred more than 100 million dollars in the last decade, in the name of Juan Carlos I and Felipe VI, has sparked popular outrage.

An open split has emerged within the Tories, between those who are desperate for business to return to normal; and those who are terrified of the backlash if private wealth is put above public health. We must fight to put lives before profits. Originally published 7 April.

Macron’s latest speech has confirmed what we already knew: that his priority is not to save as many human lives as possible, but to safeguard the profits of the capitalists. The measures he announced during his speech on Monday are motivated solely by the defence of the material interests of the ruling class. The MEDEF (the bosses’ organisation) was surely satisfied.

The media, bourgeois and reformist leaders have all been whipping up a “wartime” spirit of national unity against the threat of COVID-19. Recently elected leader of the British Labour Party, Sir Keir Starmer, has even made overtures about joining a government of national unity with the Conservatives. But the coronavirus pandemic is exposing the class lines in society more than ever. National unity is a reactionary fiction. What is needed is workers’ unity in the face of this crisis, and against the rotten system responsible.

After this article was written, the Procavi has stepped up its anti-trade union harassment. Comrade Nadia Garcia, the SAT shop steward at Procavi, has received a formal complaint from management which threatens her with disciplinary action for the distribution of leaflets as the company alleges this could potentially “spread the coronavirus”!

Since mid-March, the National Education system is supposed to ensure pedagogical continuity for nearly 12 million primary and secondary students. Far from the meticulous preparation praised by Minister Jean-Michel Blanquer, pedagogical continuity has been set up with a mixture of approximation and improvisation. This has plunged students and staff into great confusion, while, at the same time, reinforcing social discrimination.

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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