The Covid-19 pandemic arrived in the wake of a structural crisis of capitalism that began in 2008 with the meltdown on Wall Street. It has unmasked a worldwide economic downturn comparable to the one that existed on the eve of World War II.
The pandemic is playing out against a backdrop of mass unemployment, enormous growth in profiteering, rising global warming, permanent wars (big and small), the flight of millions of terrorized migrants, and growing anger over state repression, racism and femicide.
Early in the crisis, imperialists with President Trump in their lead, talked of a quick return to pre-pandemic “normality.” But the rebellion against police murder and brutality, led by Black youth in the U.S. and supported worldwide, is proof that the pandemic—coming on top of the structural and political crisis of capitalism–is creating a “new normal” among the world’s working class and poor. Patience is in short supply and awareness that fundamental change is needed grows, along with the need for revolutionary leadership and regroupment of socialist forces.
The scourge of capitalism
We are in the sixth month of the Covid-19 pandemic. Brazil is now its epicenter, but deaths and infection rates increase alarmingly in México, Russia, and India. So far more than 490,000 deaths have been recorded worldwide.
The devastation caused by the coronavirus is the result of the neoliberal capitalist offensive against the conquests by workers and the people. This attack consisted, among other measures, of the massive privatization of public institutions and the delivery of enormous wealth to the global capitalist elite. After decades of cuts in public health systems and the rise of private hospitals, capitalist governments were ill-prepared to effectively deal with this health crisis. They were forced to mitigate the spread of the virus through quarantine and social distancing, without guaranteeing the resources for the subsistence of the working and poor population or the necessary funds to ensure the personal protective equipment for frontline workers such as hospital employees, bus drivers, grocery store workers, delivery drivers, farm workers and people that work in meat packing plants.
In contrast, these same governments and central banks have provided trillions in rescue financing to national and transnational corporations. This is a replay of actions taken in the wake of the 2008 crash on Wall Street. Once again, the international bourgeoisie is determined to make the working class and the poor pay for the current pandemic beyond their sacrifices already made through illnesses and death.
The failure of Left Populism
The political landscape is changing fast. Left populists–past and present, in and out of government–are being exposed as loyal servants of capital, determined to maintain the status quo at any cost. They have implemented repressive measures against workers who demand safe working conditions and personal protective equipment, and they use police state methods and the military against people driven into the streets by hunger.
The list of such leaders is long: Andrés Manuel López Obrador in Mexico, the recently elected Peronist government of Alberto Fernández in Argentina, and Nicolás Maduro in Venezuela, among others.
These rulers continue to pay interest on loans from international lending institutions instead of meeting the needs of frontline medical workers or launching widespread testing for the virus. Some also take advantage of the pandemic to undermine democratic rights won by workers and the oppressed in the struggle for social equality.
Meanwhile, massive unemployment is decimating workers’ ranks as the bosses cut wages and lay off millions of people; desperation grows even greater in the absence of sufficient government support. This is leading to rising political instability and the threat that rulers will use the current economic catastrophe to launch ultra-right and fascist forces against protestors. Already white supremacists, praised in the past by Trump as “very fine people,” are committing acts of violence while masquerading as Black Lives Matter protestors—all in an attempt to turn the public against the movement that has arisen in the wake of the death of George Floyd.
For revolutionary socialist regroupment
The failure of left populism to hold any ground against rapacious international capital is heightening the awareness that this system is totally bankrupt. For this reason, the denunciation of capitalism and defense of democratic rights have acquired a new relevance in 2020. The logic of replacing capitalism with socialism–a new system based on meeting the needs of the world’s majority–has become more obvious and urgent. The challenge facing the present generation is to make serious steps toward rebuilding a new revolutionary movement and quickly. Without it, the intractable problems of the 21st century will continue to mount along with the suffering.
The Committee for Revolutionary International Regroupment seeks to work with any and all revolutionary forces committed to this project while fighting on the ground to build democratic centralist, socialist feminist parties. We invite collaboration with other groups, both in the on-the-ground struggle and in the work of regroupment, for without revolutionary leadership even massive rebellions like the Arab Spring will not be able to achieve basic democratic rights.
• • •
The Committee for Revolutionary International Regroupment (CRIR) demands the following:
– The cancellation of foreign debt payments for countries outside the imperialist centers in order to allocate resources to deal with the pandemic.
–Rescind the bailouts of multinational corporations, the banks, and Wall Street.
–Nationalization under workers control of all the companies that either fire workers or close. Reduce hours of work with no cut in pay.
–Nationalization under workers control of all healthcare and transnational industries and companies whose products are essential for medical needs.
–Put the resources of the private health system under government control and make them available to the entire population.
–Collaborate internationally on virus treatment and vaccine research.
–Make Covid-19 services free, including testing, treatment and vaccines once developed.
–Prohibit corporate patenting of a Covid-19 vaccine; no profiting from its use and distribution.
–Stop police abuse in the guise of enforcing the quarantine and social distancing.
–Reduce hours of work with no cut in pay in order to employ more people while reducing their exposure to Covid-19.
–Release all political, non-violent, and elderly prisoners as well as incarcerated migrants in refugee camps and detention centers.
–Open the borders; artificial boundaries offer no defense against the virus.
Committee for Revolutionary International Regroupment (CRIR)
Partido Socialismo y Libertad – Argentina
Movimento Revolucionário Socialista – Brasil
Freedom Socialist Party – U.S. and Australia
Partido Obrero Socialista – México
To contact CRIR, email email@example.com