World Relations

The impact of the war in Ukraine will be felt far beyond European shores. With Russia and Ukraine together being responsible for 12% of all calories traded, and natural gas forming an important component in fertilisers, the war is exacerbating food inflation. Coming at a time when many of the dominated capitalist countries have built up massive debts in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, the war is adding to a perfect storm that will provoke class struggle on a global scale.

The 10 richest people in the world have more than doubled their wealth since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, while over 160 million people have been driven into poverty. Inequality is killing one person every four seconds, and the poor are four times more likely to die of COVID-19 than the rich. This is all according to Oxfam’s 2022 report Inequality Kills.

At the dawn of 2022, the cries of “Happy New Year” have an empty ring for most people, because most people are not happy at all. In the past, in troubled times, they looked for consolation in religion. But nowadays, the churches stand empty. Instead, people have tended to take refuge in their local pub, or perhaps in the cinema, which have become something like a modern opium of the people. But given that many of these are closed, many have nowhere else to seek comfort than in their television set.

The recent agreement between Australia, the UK and the US has caused a crisis in international relations. With France temporarily recalling its ambassador from Washington and China issuing a protest, the new agreement has upset feelings across the board. This deal, however, merely constituted one more step in a wider realignment among the imperialist powers.

Another year, another overwhelming vote at the United Nations General Assembly against the US blockade against Cuba. This time it was 184 votes for the motion, two against (the US and Israel), and three abstentions (Brazil, Colombia and Ukraine). This is the 29th time the UNGA votes against Cuba's blockade since the motion was first put to the vote in 1992, and once again, the USA will completely disregard it.

The recent meeting of the G7 nations was heralded as being a comeback for America and its allies, with the aim of stifling the rise of China. But instead, the summit only confirmed the decline and disunity of Western imperialism.

We are 16 months into a pandemic that according to some reports has claimed 6.9m lives and plunged capitalism into its deepest-ever crisis, and the ruling class is still torn by internecine squabbles over patent waivers, export bans and priority-deals.

As the COVID-19 pandemic drags into its second year, it continues to expose and intensify the contradictions of world capitalism. The madness of vaccine nationalism clearly demonstrates that a system based on private property, and the division of the world into antagonistic nation-states, is not equipped to deal with a viral threat that has no respect for borders, profit margins, or narrow nationalist interests.

About a year has passed since COVID-19 was declared a global pandemic. Over two million people have died directly from the virus itself thus far. Many more have died from ancillary causes. While the vaccines now in circulation offer a ray of hope for the masses, who are trapped in a cycle of isolation and precarity, the crisis is far from over. Not least because protectionism and “vaccine nationalism” are preventing billions of people from actually accessing these lifesaving resources. When will it all end?

There are no parallels to the current chaos wreaking havoc on society. This is no normal capitalist crisis. Revolutionary developments are exploding to the surface across the world. We need a leadership that is up to the task.

Yesterday, an inquiry into the May 2017 Manchester bombing began, more than three years after the attack. The inquiry's chairman stressed that he was “not looking for scapegoats”, but rather searching for the truth. In reality, the purpose of this inquiry is the exact opposite. We republish here an article by Alan Woods, written the day after the attack, which traces the criminal role played by British intelligence agencies, which facilitated the tragic event. 

All over the world, lockdowns are being lifted. Amidst the biggest economic and social crisis in living memory, the ruling class is pushing a “return to normality” – before it is safe, while preparing new attacks on the working class. This pandemic is continuing to bring the rottenness and cynicism in capitalist society to the surface.

As billions of dollars are invested into creating a vaccine for COVID-19, the imperialists are only interested in protecting their intellectual property and settling scores with one another. Meanwhile, global bodies like the WHO further reveal their impotence in the face of this international public health emergency.

The IMF declared at the beginning of April that we have entered into “the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression”. Yesterday, their perspective was confirmed when figures released for the US showed a rate of 4.8 percent decline. Today, the figures are out showing a 3.8 percent contraction in one quarter in the Eurozone. The disastrous handling of the coronavirus pandemic sharpened an economic crisis that was already in the making.

Events on a world scale are moving at breakneck speed. The new coronavirus (COVID-19) has set in motion a chain reaction, which is upending any semblance of stability in one country after another. All of the contradictions of the capitalist system are coming crashing to the surface.

The latest outbreak of coronavirus has caused the biggest wave of stock market losses since 2008, wiping $5tn off share values worldwide. Markets are worried that the virus will have a serious impact on an already weak world economy. These fears are not unfounded.

The birth of the New Year was celebrated with the usual razzmatazz. In London, revellers welcomed the start of a new decade with fireworks displays, as did many people in Edinburgh and other major cities. No doubt, Britain’s new Prime Minister Boris Johnson was celebrating even more enthusiastically than most other people. Having won the 2019 general election with a handsome majority, he is now free to lead the nation to a successful conclusion of the Brexit negotiations. That, at least, is the theory.