IThe world is suffering a calamity. The coronavirus pandemic is spreading out of control. There are hundreds of thousands infected and thousands of dead. What is happening in the world is unprecedented. Borders are being closed, millions of people and countries are being quarantined. The crisis of the health systems under capitalism is becoming clear. There are strong elements of chaos. Panic and uncertainty grow in millions of people not only because of the fear of contagion but also because there is a great distrust of those at the top, of capitalist governments and regimes. Trump and Bolsonaro, for example, continue to minimise the coronavirus.
The coronavirus can affect
anyone. But those who suffer the most, and will suffer the consequences of the
pandemic, are the workers, the popular sectors, the exploited and oppressed of
the world. We are suffering from the loss of lives, but there are also social
consequences on the people. World trade has been affected and there will be a
further fall in production. Multinationals will want to make the working class
and the people of the world pay for this. In the coronavirus midst crisis, the
capitalists want to save their profits and wealth. They want to cut wages,
layoff or suspend without pay. They don’t care about the health and safety of
capitalist-imperialist system does not guarantee an adequate response to this
humanitarian crisis affecting millions. For the revolutionary socialists, the
priority is to contain the spread of the coronavirus (Covid 19) and ensure the
lives of millions. And for this, it is necessary to fight in the forced
quarantines to impose emergency measures in defence of the working people and
the popular sectors.
The global health crisis
is the responsibility of capitalism
This calamity we are
experiencing is the responsibility of the capitalist-imperialist system.
Capitalism is an unjust, irrational system for the rich. The breeding ground
for the growth of the disease is the increasing misery, overcrowding,
environmental changes and health systems based on the profit of private
The emergence of a new
and serious disease like the coronavirus reveals the collapse of capitalism, as
the persistence of epidemics of cholera, Ebola, tuberculosis, the epidemic
resurgence of dengue fever and the reappearance of measles.
We must seek the causes
in the conditions of misery experienced by billions. Over 1.3 billion people are
in a situation of “multidimensional poverty”, they lack the fulfilment of needs
such as health, education, drinking water, electricity, housing (data from the
UN’s World Poverty Report 2019). 26 billionaires (among them Bill Gates, Jeff
Bezos, Warren Buffett, Mark Zuckerberg, Amancio Ortega or Carlos Slim) possess
the same amount of money as 3.8 billion of the poorest people on the planet.
They ask insistently we wash our hands to avoid contagion, but 2,100 million
people in the world lack access to safe drinking water.
destruction is also a factor in the spread of new infectious diseases. Even the
UN itself, as an imperialist agency, has warned of this. The actions of the
multinationals contribute to the poisoning of water by industrial waste and
open-pit mega-mining. Jungles and forests are being transformed into deserts,
and plant and animal species are being wiped out. This is the abyss to which
capitalism leads us. Never like now is the historical dilemma of Socialism, or
The coronavirus outbreak
revealed the weakness of capitalist China. The dictatorship of the Communist
Party of China (CCP) censored and repressed the doctor who issued the first
alert at the end of December 2019. This delay of months facilitated the worsening
of the epidemic in China and the world.
The health disaster in
both the imperialist countries and the semi-colonial countries is coming to
light. The data from Italy show the seriousness of the pandemic and that in 10
years the different capitalist governments have burst the public health system,
draining 37 billion euros from the health budget. This is repeated all over the
world. In all countries, the state public health system was collapsed before
the pandemic began. The private health care business has been favoured. Today
we see the consequences. The European press reports, for example, that a
coronavirus test in the Spanish state, in private clinics, costs between 300
and 800 euros. In the United States, it was reported to be at $3,000 or $4,000
in a private service. A country that has almost no state public health. Obama
installed a very precarious system that Trump questioned. In semi-colonial
countries, this is aggravated.
Let the Capitalists pay
for the coronavirus crisis
Given the severity of
the pandemic, the capitalist governments do not guarantee an adequate response
to stop it and save millions. The multinationals (Exxon Mobil, Facebook,
Amazon, Wal Mart, Cargill, Bayer-Monsanto, Microsoft, Ford, Toyota, Nike,
Alibaba or Johnson & Johnson) and the big business and financial groups (JP
Morgan Chase, Bank of America, Citigroup, HSBC or Goldman Sachs) want to save
their profits over the health of the masses. And the capitalist governments
endorse this logic of exploitation. This policy is best expressed by the head
of imperialism, Donald Trump, who continues to downplay the pandemic and has
declared that the economy comes before health. He calls for maintaining
production and avoiding quarantines or measures to safeguard millions. The same
thing is being done by ultra-reactionary governments like Jair Bolsonaro in
Brazil. Boris Johnson, United Kingdom Prime Minister, who also denied the
importance of the pandemic, has ended up with the virus.
Meanwhile, the United
States and the European Union grant ultra-million-dollar state subsidies to
save the banks, the multinationals and to avoid the collapse of the bourgeois
states, instead of spending more extraordinary funds for health, extracted from
the great fortunes of the world’s multi-millionaires.
With this same logic of
putting capitalist interests before the life and security of the working class
and popular sectors, factories and workplaces are kept open, and not only those
that provide basic supplies. there are not compulsory safety measures for
workers who have to be in essential jobs. It is this contempt for working life
– shared by the Conte government in Italy, Sanchez-Iglesias in the Spanish
State, and other governments – that has provoked a strong response in the form
of strikes in northern Italy that finally forced a halt to non-essential
production. With similar aims, other partial strikes and protests such as
cacerolazos (banging of pots and pans), “balconazos” (massive clapping from
balconies) are taking place in the Spanish State, France, Brazil, Colombia,
Chile, and Argentina.
The outbreak of the
coronavirus crisis, which has paralyzed economic activity, lights the fuse of
the existing crisis of stagnation and retreat of the open capitalist economy in
2007. The coronavirus is not the cause of the capitalist economic crisis, but it
contributes to deepening it. The IMF had already said that there was a global
stagnation before this new crash of the stock markets and oil prices.
Everything shows that there will be a before and after the coronavirus. When
the coronavirus is over, there will be a very serious social crisis for the
mass movement. The multinationals, imperialism, and their governments will
attempt to compensate the crisis losses with new austerity plans, plunder, and
exploitation of the masses. The ILO is already talking about the possibility of
losing 25 million jobs. The capitalists, the superrich, not the peoples of the
world should pay the crisis of the coronavirus and its consequences.
Already in the coronavirus’
midst tragedy, companies have fired workers or suspend them without pay or with
reductions. From now on we must mobilise from below, to demand measures that
will stop the pandemic and losing lives, such as measures in defence of the
working class and the popular and poor sectors of the world.
The IWU-FI call to fight
for global workers’ and people’s emergency plan:
We should turn urgent
funds over to increase health budgets drastically, to deal with the health
emergency. Funds for, among other measures, the expansion and improvement of
health facilities, salary increases for all health professionals, new
recruitment, free remedies for all, and health and cleaning supplies for all.
The funds for the health
emergency should come out of high progressive taxes on business groups,
financial capital, and non-payment of the external debts.
For a single, state-run
national health system, with free consultations, treatment and medicines paid
for by the state and administered by users, doctors, workers and professionals
in the sector. For the nationalisation of private health care, of the
laboratories of medical specialities. They must function under the control of
workers and scientists of health and medicine.
Training in all
workplaces of hygiene and health committees, with the power to implement the
cessation of tasks in all non-essential activities or those lacking necessary
safety measures. Price control of medicines and all essential products to avoid
A general reorganisation
of production according to the needs of the health emergency under workers’
No to the use of the
coronavirus for militarisation measures or to restrict freedoms and the right
to protest. Unrestricted defence of democratic freedom.
Prohibition of layoffs
and suspensions. Distribution of working hours among all workers with the same
pay. No to wage reductions. Implementation of insurance for the unemployed,
self-employed and the millions who work without contracts and labour rights.
To face the coronavirus
crisis and what will come after the pandemic, we call for the widest unity of
action of the workers, popular, youth, women and environmental organisations,
and the anti-capitalist and socialist left, to coordinate a movement of an
international struggle for the workers and popular emergency plan in the way to
the in-depth struggle to end this capitalist-imperialist system and impose
governments of the working class and the people.
Unity – Fourth International (IWU-FI)
28 March 2020
*”The environment and human health are closely
linked; many of the new infectious diseases result from activities that affect
biological diversity. Changes in the landscape (through the extraction and use
of natural resources, for example) can facilitate the emergence of diseases in
wild species, domestic animals, plants and people” (“Global Environment
Outlook”, a report by 250 scientists commissioned by the UN and completed in