Black Lives Matter: Justice for George Floyd!

Statement on the killing of George Floyd by a racist cop

Photo: Offices of Ben Crump Law via The New York Times

Black people in the United States suffer racist violence at an alarming rate at the hands of the police. The lynching of George Floyd by a white cop in the state of Minnesota is the latest example of what African-Americans endure on a daily basis in public spaces, at work and in schools. A videotape of his senseless death went viral, sparking outrage, anger and rage.

Minnesota is now on fire. In fact, protesters set a police precinct in fire during the first night of the anti-police uprising, and all throughout the Unites States protesters are targeting other symbols of power and repression. What we are witnessing now are some of the biggest riots since the 1990s when a group of sadistic and racist white cops brutalized Rodney King in the streets of Los Angeles. The anti-police brutality uprising in Minnesota also comes in the aftermath of massive protests in Ferguson, Missouri and Baltimore during the Obama administration.

The riots, led by a multiracial and rebellious youth, are spreading like wildfire all across the US, sending a strong message against the white supremacist system that sustains racial discrimination, racist police violence and poverty. The legacy of slavery and Jim Crow racism is still intact, and in recent years, the right wing presidency of President Donald Trump reinforced this divisive legacy by spreading racism and xenophobia.

The Minnesota uprising is taking place at a time when the most recalcitrant sector of the American ruling class is in power while the capitalist system is facing an acute crisis due to the worldwide pandemic. Trump is a neo-fascist whose words and deeds have emboldened the growing network of armed white supremacist fascist militias in the country. Meanwhile, the so-called opposition party, the Democratic Party, has also strengthened of state repression by funding police departments which both the Republican and Democratic parties, the two parties of capitalism, depend on to protect private property, maintain the status quo and safeguard the profits of their rich donors.

To uproot racism and the racist violence that permeate every aspect of American life, we must combat racism and white supremacy whenever it rears its ugly head. As socialists and revolutionaries, we believe that Black liberation in the United States is central to the fight for a different world free of capitalist exploitation and oppression of any kind.

We salute the protests in Minnesota and other states and express our solidarity with Black people in America and other oppressed communities here and abroad. If we want to defeat Trump and its ilk and everything that they represent; combat racist violence and win justice for all victims of police brutality and ultimately, transform the system of oppression and exploitation that we live under, we must organize our side. To that end, we call on student organizations, labor unions, LGBT, feminist and immigrant rights organizations, artists and writers and grassroots community groups to unite and give a political direction to the riots and the rising collective anger so we will be prepared for the fire next time.

Justice for George Floyd and all victims of police brutality! Black Lives Matter! Black, White and Brown workers unite! Down with White Supremacy, the police and Fascism!

Socialist Core, June 1, 2020

Posted in Donald Trump, English, National, Statements | Leave a comment

Anti-racist uprising in America! Justice for George Floyd!

Statement by the International Workers’ Unity-Fourth International

On a racist police officer smothered 25 May, George Floyd, a 46-year-old African-American worker, on a public street in Minneapolis, while other officers held off a group of people trying to stop the attack. Several videos of the arrest showed that he was not armed and did not resist the arbitrary and racist arrest. After they handcuffed him, racist henchmen threw him to the ground and police officer Derek Chauvin choked him for ten minutes, pressing Floyd’s neck onto the asphalt with his knee, even after he lost consciousness. Passers-by filmed the crime and filled millions around the world with outrage. Thousands of protesters echoed the cry of “I can’t breathe” over the next few days.

Large demonstrations have erupted across the country with the slogan “No justice, no peace”, recalling the anti-racist uprisings in Ferguson and Baltimore in 2014 and 2015. In defiance of repression and the pandemic, crowds have taken to the streets of Minneapolis first and then to many of the nation’s major cities. Protesters surrounded the home of the murderer Chauvin until the National Guard attacked them. The police facility to which Floyd’s killers were allegedly assigned was set on fire on Thursday. There was also extensive looting.

Beyond the role of police provocateurs in some actions, the attack on the symbols of repression has generated a great impact, and the mobilisation has spread to the rest of the country. In Louisville, where young Breonna Taylor was recently killed by racist cops, there have been large protests and seven reported gunshot wounds in the repression. There has been a pattern of attacks on the press by the police, with arrests like that of Black journalist Omar Jimenez of CNN in Minneapolis, and shots at cameramen and other attacks in several cities.

On Friday 29th, hundreds of protesters gathered in front of the White House, where Trump was staying, defying the curfew. Banners with slogans like “An Eye for an Eye” reflected the radicalised spirit of the fighting youth in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Phoenix, Oakland, Houston, Atlanta, Detroit, Las Vegas, San Jose and Memphis. In the small Mississippi town of Petal, the mayor spoke out to support Floyd’s murder, and hundreds of people rallied around his resignation. There are workers’ resistance to the repression: In Minneapolis, bus drivers used to transport the rioters refused to do so, and the same thing happened in Brooklyn. It is important to demand that the unions take action on a national level in solidarity with the anti-racist struggle. If the bureaucrats refuse, they must be swept away.

Right-wing Trump calls for shooting protesters

Trump’s first reaction was cautious, sympathising with Floyd’s family and assuring them that a federal investigation would provide justice. But as the people’s struggle grew, his fascist convictions came to the fore. In the early morning hours of 29 May, he tweeted that protesters were “thugs,” threatened militarisation to impose “order,” and even quoted a phrase from Miami’s racist police chief Walter Headley, who in 1967 said that “when the looting starts, the shooting starts,” a clear incitement to use military and paramilitary violence against the protests.

The president not only gives the green light to the brutal methods of the repressive forces, he also signals the neo-Nazi paramilitary and white supremacist groups. Already an unknown attacker has shot and wounded a protester in Minnesota and there has been at least one hit in Denver. The contrast between the repressive forces’ treatment of violently attacked anti-racist demonstrations, and the protection afforded to armed mobilisations by extreme right-wing racist groups, which have taken over government buildings protesting against social distancing measures in the pandemic’s context, is striking.

Trump’s message of incitement to shootings has been criticised by some Democrats and the social network Twitter has partially reduced its visibility, a sanction that irritated the racist president, who has already taken legal initiatives to regulate the networks. But one factor preventing a deepening crisis in the ruling class is the role of the Democrats in serving repression and order.

The Democrats, the liberal component of the party of order

Minnesota’s Democratic governor declared an emergency to allow the deployment of the National Guard, and by Thursday night, they had deployed 500 military personnel. Trump lashed out at the Democrats, whom he accuses of being “leftist radicals” and threatened to further militarise the state. The mayor of Minneapolis, also a Democrat, also called for the deployment of the National Guard. Overwhelmed by the mobilisation, they have enforced a curfew, with little or no effectiveness.

Former President Obama has called for an investigation but refused to call Floyd’s death a murder. He concluded his message by congratulating “most of the men and women” in the police force who “take pride in doing their hard work properly. He was scrupulously careful not to use the word “racism” and he praised the repressors. Former Social Democratic pre-candidate Sanders did criticise systematic racism and police violence against Black people and demanded the arrest of all the cops involved in the murder. He demanded that all future deaths in police custody be investigated and criticised Trump for inciting the police to carry out shootings. But it did not call for mobilisation, nor did it show solidarity with the ongoing ones.

The virtual Democratic presidential candidate, Joe Biden, issued an extensive statement criticising racism and calling for calm, without using the word murder. Amy Klobuchar looked like a likely running mate of Biden’s, but she has been unmasked by the crisis. African-American communities already repudiated her for her complicity with racist police in Minnesota during her years as a prosecutor. After Floyd’s murder, her role in covering up police brutality in Minneapolis has been widely publicised.

The governor of New York, Democrat Cuomo, who has been antagonising Trump over the response to the pandemic, has said he supports the protesters while condemning “the fires and robberies”. This is pure demagoguery and double talk. The police in his state, who are as racist as the others, have taken it upon themselves to suppress the protests with the same violence.

The US: A Racist State

This heinous crime brings back into focus the racist character of the regime of the world’s largest capitalist and imperialist power, and its very limited bourgeois democracy. The U.S. rose as a power based on hundreds of years of slavery and maintained apartheid-like laws of racist segregation until the 1960s. Several states apply policies designed to deny the right to vote to the black population. Until 2000, interracial marriage was illegal in the state of Alabama. One third of black children live in poverty, and the per capita income of blacks is ten times less than that of whites. Twenty-seven percent of Black people live below the poverty line. Unemployment, at over 10 percent among Black people, is more than twice as high as among whites. A 2017 study showed that a third of the over two million prisoners in the U.S. are Black. There are proportionally six times as many Black prisoners as white prisoners and twice as many Latino prisoners. A low-income Black man is over 50 percent more likely to be incarcerated in his life. Convictions for drug use are six times more frequent against Blacks than whites, although the rate of use is the same in both groups. In 2016 the murder rate at the hands of the repressive bodies was 10.13 per million among the indigenous population, 6.6 per million among blacks, 3.23 among Latinos, 2.9 among whites.

Racist groups like the KKK carried out thousands of lynching against Black people between the end of the 19th century and the first half of the 20th century. In the post-war period, they applied policies of state terrorism with racist criteria. The FBI’s Cointelpro programme had as its priority the destruction of organisations of the indigenous movement and black communities, through infiltration, criminalisation and physical elimination. Traitors from the movement murdered the anti-racist fighter Malcolm X in the service of the FBI. The oldest political prisoner in the country is the indigenous Sioux leader Leonard Peltier, imprisoned for 44 years. One of the most impressive displays of racist violence was on 13 May 1985 bombing of a Black neighbourhood by Philadelphia police. Sixty homes were destroyed, and they killed eleven people. The attack, with warlike characteristics, was directed against the Black organisation MOVE.

Racist police violence under the cover of impunity. The racist paramilitaries who recently murdered Amaud Arbery in Georgia were only charged because they filmed the murder and the denunciation became widespread. No police were charged with the recent murder of Breonna Taylor in Kentucky. When Eric Garner was strangled in 2014 by racist cops in New York City, not one cop was prosecuted, nor for the murder of Michael Brown in Ferguson the same year.

Racist cop Chauvin, Floyd’s killer, was arrested after three days of intense nationwide protests. It was so exceptional, wiped out by popular mobilisation, that prosecutors claimed it was the quickest charge ever brought against a cop. But it is an exception that confirms the rule: he is only charged with third degree murder, i.e. “unintentional”. Meanwhile, the bourgeois media refrain from using the word “murder”.

International anti-racist solidarity!

Racism is a scourge inherent in capitalism, from its very birth. The slave trade was one mechanism of the original accumulation. The ideology of pseudo-biological racial differentiation arises in this process of genocide and slave exploitation. Within the framework of capitalist relations of exploitation, racist hatred is advocated by the bourgeoisies to divide the working class and perpetuate the super-exploitation of the most marginalised and oppressed sectors, blacks, indigenous people and immigrants.

The Covid pandemic19 has shown that the destructive effects of capitalism have a global dimension and hence the need for a global fighting response from the working class. The anti-racist uprising in the U.S. deserves the solidarity of the world’s revolutionaries. Along with the protests in Chile, Lebanon and Iraq, it is part of the revival of the class struggle after the impact of the pandemic. In the U.S., structural racism has also been reflected because Black and Latino populations have been punished much more harshly in proportion. This has contributed to the widespread situation of discontent that has been overtaken by the vicious racist murder of George Floyd.

Let us call on the leaders of the U.S. unions to break their complicity with the repressive Trump government and call strikes to bend the arm of the racists. Let the public employee unions refuse to defend police who repress workers, attack popular communities or commit racist crimes. Let us call on the members of the National Guard to break discipline and not to repress. Let us demand justice for George Floyd, an independent investigation and an exemplary punishment for the murdering police. In the struggle’s heat it is also necessary to build the independent social and political organisations of the left that will give continuity to the struggle until we defeat the Trump government and its reactionary and racist policy in the service of the multinationals and the capitalist-imperialist system.

We call for united acts of protest in front of the U.S. embassies and consulates to express our support to the Black and Latino hardened youth who, from the bowels of the greatest imperialist power, resist racist oppression and increasingly question inequality and capitalist exploitation. Let us take the momentum that the struggle in the U.S. gives to the anti-racist cause to denounce and combat expressions of racist violence and oppression in our own countries.

International Unity of Workers-Fourth International (IWU-FI)

30 May 2020

Posted in English, National | Leave a comment

¡Levantamiento antirracista en EEUU! ¡Justicia para George Floyd!

Unidad Internacional de Trabajadoras y Trabajadores-Cuarta Internacional

El 25 de mayo, George Floyd, un trabajador afroestadounidense de 46 años, fue asfixiado por un policía racista en la vía pública de Minneapolis, mientras otros efectivos mantenían a raya a un grupo de personas que intentaban detener la agresión. Varios videos del arresto evidenciaron que no estaba armado ni opuso resistencia al arresto arbitrario y racista. Luego de ser esposado, los esbirros racistas lo lanzaron al suelo y el policía Derek Chauvin lo asfixió durante diez minutos, presionando el cuello de Floyd contra el asfalto con su rodilla, incluso después de que perdiera el conocimiento. El crimen fue filmado por los transeúntes y llenó de indignación a millones en todo el mundo. El grito de “no puedo respirar” fue retomado por los miles de manifestantes en los próximos días.

Grandes manifestaciones han estallado por todo el país con la consigna de “Si no hay justicia no habrá paz” (No justice, no peace), recordando los levantamientos antirracistas de Ferguson y Baltimore en 2014 y 2015. Desafiando a los represores y la pandemia, las multitudes han tomado las calles de Minneapolis primero y luego muchas de las principales ciudades del país. La casa del asesino Chauvin fue rodeada por manifestantes hasta que la Guardia Nacional arremetió contra ellos. El local policial al que se presume se encontraban asignados los asesinos de Floyd fue incendiado el jueves. También hubo grandes saqueos.

Más allá del posible rol de los provocadores policiales en algunas de las acciones, el ataque a los símbolos de la represión ha generado un gran impacto y la movilización se ha extendido al resto del país. En Louisville, donde la joven Breonna Taylor fue asesinada recientemente por policías racistas, ha habido grandes protestas y se reportan siete heridos de bala en la represión. Se ha evidenciado un patrón de ataques a la prensa por parte de la policía, con detenciones como el del periodista negro Omar Jiménez de CNN en Minneapolis, así como disparos contra camarógrafos y otras agresiones en varias ciudades.

El viernes 29 se concentraron centenares de manifestantes frente a la Casa Blanca, donde se encontraba Trump, desafiando el toque de queda. Pancartas con consignas como “Ojo por ojo” reflejan el espíritu radicalizado de la juventud luchadora en Nueva York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Phoenix, Oakland, Houston, Atlanta, Detroit, Las Vegas, San José y Memphis. En la pequeña ciudad de Petal, en Mississippi, el alcalde hizo apología del asesinato de Floyd y centenares de personas se movilizaron por su renuncia. Hay resistencia obrera a la represión: en Minneapolis choferes de autobuses empleados para transportar a los antimotines se negaron a hacerlo, lo mismo ocurrió en Brooklyn. Es importante exigir a los sindicatos tomar medidas a nivel nacional en solidaridad con la lucha antirracista. Si los burócratas se niegan hay que barrerlos.

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El derechista Trump llama a tirotear a los manifestantes

La primera reacción de Trump fue cautelosa, solidarizándose con la familia de Floyd y asegurando que una investigación federal proporcionaría justicia. Pero ante el crecimiento de la lucha popular, sus convicciones fascistas salieron a relucir. La madrugada del 29 de mayo en la madrugada tuiteó calificando de “matones” (thugs) a quienes protestan, amenazó con la militarización para imponer el “orden” e incluso citó una frase del jefe policial racista Walter Headley de Miami, quien en 1967 dijo que “cuando se inician los saqueos, se inician los tiroteos”, una clara incitación a usar la violencia militar y paramilitar contra las protestas.

El presidente no solo da luz verde a los métodos brutales de los cuerpos represivos, también envía la señal a los grupos paramilitares neonazis y supremacistas blancos. Ya un atacante desconocido hirió de bala a un manifestante en Minnesota y se registró al menos un arrollamiento en Denver. Es notorio el contraste entre el trato brindado por los cuerpos represivos a las manifestaciones antirracistas, atacadas violentamente, y la protección brindada a las movilizaciones armadas de los grupos racistas de extrema derecha, que han tomado edificios gubernamentales protestando contra las medidas de distanciamiento social en el marco de la pandemia.

El mensaje de incitación a los tiroteos por parte de Trump ha sido criticado por algunos demócratas y la red social Twitter redujo parcialmente su visibilidad, una sanción que irritó al presidente racista, quien ya ha emprendido iniciativas legales para regular las redes. Pero un factor que impide que se profundice una crisis en la clase dominante es el rol de los demócratas al servicio de la represión y el orden.

Los demócratas, el componente liberal del partido del orden

El gobernador demócrata de Minnesota declaró emergencia para autorizar el despliegue de la Guardia Nacional y la noche del jueves ya se habían desplegado 500 militares. Trump arremetió contra los demócratas, a los que acusa de ser “radicales de izquierda” y amenazó con militarizar más extensamente el estado. El alcalde de Minneapolis, también demócrata, igualmente solicitó el despliegue de la Guardia Nacional. Sobrepasados por la movilización, han aplicado un toque de queda, con poca o ninguna efectividad.

El expresidente Obama se pronunció solicitando una investigación pero se negó a calificar como asesinato la muerte de Floyd. Concluyó su mensaje felicitando a “la mayoría de los hombres y mujeres” de los cuerpos policiales que “se enorgullecen de realizar su duro trabajo de manera correcta”. Se cuidó escrupulosamente de usar la palabra “racismo” y ensalzó a los represores. El ex precandidato socialdemócrata, Sanders, sí criticó el racismo sistemático y la violencia policial contra las personas negras y exigió el arresto de todos los policías involucrados en el asesinato. Exigió que en el futuro sean investigadas todas las muertes bajo custodia policial y criticó a Trump por incitar a la policía a realizar tiroteos. Pero no llamó a movilizar ni se solidarizó con las movilizaciones en curso.

El virtual candidato presidencial demócrata, Joe Biden, emitió un extenso comunicado criticando el racismo y llamando a la calma, sin emplear la palabra asesinato. Amy Klobuchar lucía como probable compañera de fórmula de Biden, pero ha sido desenmascarada por la crisis. Ya era repudiada por las comunidades afroestadounidenses por su complicidad con la policía racista en Minnesota durante los años en que se desempeñó como fiscal. Luego del asesinato de Floyd se ha difundido ampliamente su rol en el encubrimiento de la brutalidad policial en Minneapolis.

El gobernador de Nueva York, el demócrata Cuomo, quien viene antagonizando con Trump por la respuesta ante la pandemia, ha dicho que apoya a los manifestantes mientras condena “los incendios y robos”. Pura demagogia y doble discurso: la policía de su estado, que es tan racista como las demás, se ha encargado de reprimir las protestas con la misma violencia.


EEUU: un Estado racista

Este atroz crimen vuelve a poner sobre el tapete el carácter racista del régimen de la mayor potencia capitalista e imperialista del mundo, así como su muy limitada democracia burguesa. EEUU se levantó como potencia sobre la base de cientos de años de esclavismo y mantuvo leyes de segregación racista parecidas a las del apartheid hasta la década de 1960. Varios estados aplican políticas diseñadas a negar el derecho al voto a la población negra. Hasta el año 2000 el matrimonio interracial fue ilegal en el estado de Alabama. Un tercio de los niños negros viven en la pobreza, el ingreso per cápita de los negros es diez veces menor que el de los blancos. El 27% de los negros viven por debajo de la línea de pobreza. El desempleo, de más del 10% en la población negra, es más del doble que entre los blancos. Un estudio de 2017 mostraba que un tercio de los más de dos millones de presos en EEUU son negros. Hay proporcionalmente seis veces más presos negros que blancos y el doble que los latinos. La probabilidad de que un hombre negro de bajos ingresos sea encarcelado en algún momento de su vida es mayor al 50%. Las condenas por consumo de drogas son 6 veces más frecuentes contra negros que contra blancos, aunque la tasa de consumo es igual en ambos grupos. En 2016 la tasa de asesinatos a manos de los cuerpos represivos fue de 10,13 por millón entre la población indígena, 6,6 por millón entre los negros, 3,23 entre los latinos, 2,9 entre los blancos.

Grupos racistas como el KKK realizaron miles de linchamientos contra personas negras entre fines del siglo XIX y la primera mitad del siglo XX. En el período de posguerra se aplicaron políticas de terrorismo de Estado con criterios racistas. El programa del FBI llamado Cointelpro tuvo como su prioridad la destrucción de las organizaciones del movimiento indígena y de las comunidades negras, mediante la infiltración, la criminalización y la eliminación física. El luchador antirracista Malcom X fue asesinado por traidores del movimiento al servicio del FBI. El preso político más antiguo del país es el dirigente indígena sioux Leonard Peltier, preso desde hace 44 años. Uno de los despliegues más impresionantes de violencia racista fue el bombardeo el 13 de mayo de 1985, por parte de la policía de Filadelfia, de un barrio negro. Sesenta viviendas fueron destruidas y once personas murieron. El ataque, con características bélicas, estaba dirigido contra la organización negra MOVE.

La violencia racista policial al amparo de la impunidad. Los paramilitares racistas que recientemente asesinaron a Amaud Arbery en Georgia solo fueron acusados porque filmaron el asesinato y la denuncia se generalizó. Ningún policía fue acusado por el asesinato reciente de Breonna Taylor en Kentucky. Cuando Eric Garner fue estrangulado en 2014 por policías racistas en Nueva York, ningún agente fue enjuiciado, tampoco por el asesinato de Michael Brown en Ferguson el mismo año.

El policía racista Chauvin, asesino de Floyd, fue detenido luego de tres días de intensas protestas a nivel nacional. Fue algo tan excepcional, arrancado por la movilización popular, que los fiscales afirmaron que era la acusación más rápida que se ha realizado contra un policía. Pero es una excepción que confirma la regla: apenas se le acusa de homicidio en tercer grado, es decir “no intencional”. Mientras tanto, los medios burgueses se abstienen de usar la palabra “asesinato”.

¡Solidaridad internacional antirracista!

El racismo es una lacra inherente al capitalismo, desde su nacimiento. El tráfico de esclavos fue uno de los mecanismos de la acumulación originaria. La ideología de la diferenciación pseudobiológica racial surge en ese proceso de genocidio y explotación esclavista. En el marco de las relaciones de explotación capitalista el odio racista es propugnado por las burguesías para dividir a la clase trabajadora y perpetuar la superexplotación de los sectores más marginados y oprimidos, los negros, indígenas e inmigrantes.

La pandemia del Covid19 ha demostrado que los efectos destructivos del capitalismo tienen una dimensión mundial y de ahí la necesidad de una respuesta de lucha global por parte de la clase trabajadora. El levantamiento antirracista en EEUU merece la solidaridad de los revolucionarios del mundo. Junto a las protestas en Chile, El Líbano e Irak, es parte del reavivamiento de la lucha de clases luego del impacto de la pandemia. En EEUU el racismo estructural también se ha reflejado en el hecho de que la población negra y latina ha sido castigada mucho más duramente en términos proporcionales. Ello ha abonado a la situación generalizada de descontento que se ha desbordado por el vil asesinato racista de George Floyd.

Llamemos a los dirigentes de los sindicatos de EEUU a romper su complicidad con el gobierno represor de Trump y convocar huelgas para doblarle el brazo a los racistas. Que los sindicatos de empleados públicos se nieguen a defender a policías que repriman a trabajadores, ataquen a las comunidades populares o cometan crímenes racistas. Emplacemos a los miembros de la Guardia Nacional a que rompan la disciplina y no repriman. Exijamos justicia para George Floyd, que se realice una investigación independiente y se imponga una pena ejemplarizante para los policías asesinos. Al calor de la lucha es necesario construir también las organizaciones sociales y políticas de izquierda independiente que den continuidad a la lucha hasta derrotar al gobierno de Trump y su política reaccionaria y racista al servicio de las multinacionales y del sistema capitalista-imperialista.

Llamamos a hacer actos unitarios de protesta frente a las embajadas y consulados de EEUU para expresar nuestro apoyo a la juventud aguerrida negra y latina que desde las entrañas de la mayor potencia imperialista resisten contra la opresión racista y cada vez más cuestionan la desigualdad y la explotación capitalista. Tomemos el impulso que la lucha en EEUU da a la causa antirracista para denunciar y combatir las expresiones de violencia y opresión racista en nuestros propios países.

Unidad Internacional de Trabajadoras y Trabajadores-Cuarta Internacional (UIT-CI)

30 de mayo de 2020

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Posted in Español | Leave a comment

The Progressive International is founded. A New Workers’ Internationalism?

by Miguel Lamas

On Monday 11 May, the official launch of the Progressive International (PI) took place, a worldwide political movement that claims to fight “for democracy and equality” and brings together important political and social organisations and intellectuals. The best known among the participants of the PI is Bernie Sanders, a former “socialist” candidate within the U.S. Democratic Party… although he retired last April and now supports the imperialist Biden.

According to several publications, they state that the PI “was born with the commitment to promote the union, coordination and mobilisation of activists, associations, unions, social movements and parties to stand up for democracy, solidarity, equality and sustainability.

According to the philosopher Srećko Horvat, “the aim is to create a planetary political subject, a common political vision to prevent the deterioration of the environment and other existential threats to humanity and the planet”. 

The leaders of this new international political organisation agree that the health and economic crisis resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic has revealed the need for all progressive actors to row together to defend universal health care, protecting labour rights and international cooperation.

Who are they?

The Progressive International, led by Yannis Varoufakis (former finance minister of Syriza, the Greek centre-left government, although it later broke with this grouping) and Sanders, also has the backing of a council made up of over forty advisors, including political leaders, writers and activists such as American Noam Chomsky, Canadian journalist and researcher Naomi Klein, Icelandic Prime Minister Katrín Jakobsdóttir, Argentina’s Minister of Women, Gender and Diversity Elizabeth Gomez Alcorta, former Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa Delgado, Brazil’s Fernando Haddad, the Workers’ Party (PT) candidate for the 2018 elections won by far-right-winger Jair Bolsonaro; Former Brazilian Foreign Minister Celso Amorim, former Bolivian Vice President Álvaro García Linera, Croatian philosopher Srecko Horvat and the young German activist Carola Rakete, a ship captain and symbol of the rescue of migrants in the Mediterranean.

The unity of international action

First, the call to form the PI is in tune with a feeling that is spreading among the workers and oppressed of the world: the need to unite to defend life and rights.

Today one only has to look at the news to see how workers, women, young students of the working class and other oppressed sectors all over the planet have similar social dramas, while the transnationals take billions of dollars of “aid” from governments and bankers and continue to collect fraudulent state debts incurred to help billionaires or the banks themselves.

The IWU-FI appeal

From the International Unity of Workers – Fourth International we made the “Call for a global workers’ and people’s emergency plan. May the capitalists pay for the crisis of the coronavirus”, where we support all these expressions of struggle in each country and call for continuity and unity in a broad international movement so that the capitalists pay for the crisis and not the workers and peoples. We propose to fight for a workers’ and people’s emergency plan in each country and internationally. All over the world money is needed for health, wages, work and food. The coronavirus pandemic is not over. And we also have the social pandemic that imperialism, the multinationals and their governments want to impose. For all these reasons it is necessary to fight for imposing non-payment of foreign debts. For a front of debtor countries, like the one promoted by various African countries, to not pay, and high progressive taxes on the multinationals, the banks and the landowners of the world. To devote, in each country, these funds to combat the Covid-19, to prohibit layoffs or salary reductions, to give an insurance or a quarantine salary to the unemployed (unemployed) and to give food to millions of needy people.

Any international initiative to fight for these points, undertaken by the PI or any of its sectors, would be a positive channel of common action.

But what did and are these leaders doing?

But we cannot see that, those who lead this international, sometimes already governed countries, like Rafael Correa, former president of Ecuador; or Álvaro García Linera, former vice-president of Bolivia; or Fernando Haddad, of the Brazilian PT. They are no longer rulers. But, when they were, before the pandemic, they ruled with the transnational oil and mining companies and with the bankers. García Linera, with his so-called “Andean capitalism,” supported the Santa Cruz agribusiness that led to the environmental disaster of the destruction of the Chiquitania forests. His pro-big capitalist policies led Ecuador, Bolivia and PT-ruled Brazil to deep crises before the current pandemic.

In Brazil, faced with the catastrophe of the pandemic, the PT is betting everything on the presidential elections of 2022, calling for a “broad front” and refusing to mobilise, showing the CUT (Unified Workers’ Central,  led by the PT) in a traitorous role as never seen before, letting the deeply anti-worker measures of Bolsonaro and Guedes (Minister of Economy) and the real genocide that the insane Brazilian president promotes by ignoring the pandemic.

With Bernie Sanders, he was the most popular candidate of the Democratic Party, he concentrated the support of millions of workers, women and youth who saw him as a “socialist” option and in favour of the people because he defended free universal public health and free public education. And precisely when the pandemic began, in which public health in the U.S. was in total crisis, Sanders withdrew his candidacy and gave his support to Joe Biden because of imposing the bourgeois-imperialist Democratic apparatus. 

But in addition, by supporting Joe Biden, Sanders’ group not only abandoned his candidacy, but gave up giving a “socialist” or progressive option to the workers and youth. The Democrats are one of the two major imperialist parties that dominate the U.S. political system. Recently they voted in Congress on a $2.1 trillion “stimulus package,” the bulk of which is for the big multinational corporations and banks. And it was voted on by the Democrats, almost unanimously (231 out of 232 seats), with the support also of Sanders’ pro-Sanders legislators.

The PI and the need for a revolutionary socialist international

The PI seeks to position itself politically in the crisis as a centre-left option with certain progressive demands. But the facts show that, even before the pandemic, the capitalist crisis leaves little room for the big capitalists to agree to give any concessions to the workers. And, in fact, the leaders of the current PI accommodated to this, agreeing with big capital and upholding the regime of democracy for the rich.

The current extreme worsening of the crisis makes all the economists, including the IMF, predict tens of millions of layoffs (in the US alone it exceeds 40 million!) and the destruction of all labour rights. Nor will the bourgeois governments be willing to put money into health care or education. And as all the financial rescue plans show, the priority will be to save the profits of the big multinationals. Unfortunately, Sanders, as has been said, is complicit in this. That’s why the “internationalism” of the PI hardly goes beyond some common statement.

The “prognoses” of economic disaster, which are plans of capitalism to recover its profits at the expense of the workers, will not prevent the workers from fighting for their rights and against hunger. For that, yes, the solidarity and unity of the workers’ struggles on an international scale is needed, because it is a very hard fight, even to defend the most elementary rights.

And only by building a world organisation with the revolutionary perspective of the Third and Fourth Internationals, of conquering workers’ governments, and true socialism, ending the world domination of imperialism and its multinationals that are leading us to catastrophe, will we be able to achieve victory.

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International appeal: Let’s fight for a global workers’ and peoples’ emergency plan

Let the capitalists pay for the coronavirus crisis!

The Covid pandemic19 is being used by imperialism, capitalist governments and big business to unload the crisis on the working class and popular sectors of the world. Already millions are suffering from layoffs or wage cuts, and hunger is growing for large sections of the poor on all continents.

This pandemic is not over and it is not known when it will be overcome. There is no vaccine in sight. The coronavirus, like cholera, dengue or the return of measles, has emerged from the breeding ground created by the capitalist-imperialist system. It can only be explained in the context of growing misery, overcrowded housing and environmental degradation produced by the multinationals in their race for profits at the expense of the over-exploitation of the masses. The destruction of the state’s public health services, the product of years of austerity and budget reduction, was made evident. Especially in the main capitalist powers such as Italy, Spain and the United States. In Italy, for 10 years, they reduced the health budget by more than 30 billion euros. In the United States there is almost no state-run public system. But this also happens, under different forms, in all the countries of the world. Capitalism encourages the private health care business.

And now, in the face of this global calamity that they facilitated, they do not want to take over. For the capitalist-imperialist system and the multinationals, the first thing is to defend their wealth and profits, not the health and dignified life of billions. With or without the argument of the pandemic and the quarantines, they fire their workers, lower their salaries, or they don’t pay for the “crisis” at all. Before the coronavirus, the multinationals, the banks and the big landowners of the world were accumulating huge profits. It is now almost popular that 26 super-millionaires had the same amount of money as 3.8 billion of the world’s poorest people. We are talking about multinationals like Amazon, Microsoft, Ford, General Motors, Toyota, Siemens, Exxon Mobil, Chevron, Total, Samsung, Nestle, JP Morgan Chasse, HSBC, Alibaba, Walmart, Johnson & Johnson, Bayer-Monsanto, Pfizer, Coca Cola, Boeing, Airbus, Facebook, Apple, Cargill, among others.

Furthermore, the “bailouts” of the Donald Trump government are not to invest in public health or to “save” the wages of the American working people. They are to save the American multinationals. Something similar is happening in the European Union. Trump gave $455 billion to big business as a state-guaranteed bank loan. That is, if they don’t pay, it becomes a public debt. While in the last month there were over 20 million new unemployed. At the same time only 10 billionaires, including Amazon owner Jeff Bezos, Facebook owner Mark Zuckerberg and Microsoft owner Bill Gates, increased their wealth by 51.3 billion dollars.

The other mechanism for plundering imperialism, the banks, the IMF and the World Bank is the mechanism of foreign debt. In 2020 the global debt reached a historic record of US$253 billion. This is how the peoples of the world are being plundered. The governments that are agents of imperialism have been paying a fraudulent debt for decades, while today, according to data from the same UN, there are 821 million people who go to bed hungry and because of the growth of poverty and hunger 300,000 people could die every day.

The crisis of the coronavirus shows the debacle of the capitalist-imperialist system and puts on the table the fight for a fundamental change. We must fight to end this system, achieving governments of the workers that begin building a socialist society without bosses and with economic planning based on the needs of the working class and the oppressed sectors.

On this path, today we have to promote the workers’ and people’s struggles to face the crisis of the coronavirus. To defend the health and life of the exploited peoples and to confront the attacks on social conditions by the governments and the big capitalists.

The working class and the popular sectors are already coming out to face this reality. Beginning with the health workers demanding more budgets, wages and supplies, followed by the workers’ strikes in Italy in March demanding a halt to production. Strikes in companies against layoffs or for security measures in the United States, Spain, Greece, Argentina, Colombia, looting from hunger in Venezuela, or pots and pans banging in Brazil against Bolsonaro and his criminal policy. The confrontations in the popular districts of Paris against police repression. And the surprising return of popular mobilisations in Lebanon, demanding against the continuity of the austerity they had been repudiating since October 2019.

From the IWU-FI we support all these expressions of struggle in each country and we call for continuity and unity in a broad international movement so that the crisis of the coronavirus is paid by the capitalists and not by the workers and peoples.

We propose to fight for a workers’ and people’s Emergency Plan in each country and internationally. All over the world money is needed for health, wages, work and food. The coronavirus pandemic is not over. And we also have the social pandemic that imperialism, the multinationals and their governments want to impose. For all these reasons it is necessary to fight to impose: No to the payment of foreign debts. For a Front of debtor countries not to pay, and high progressive taxes on the multinationals, the banks and the landowners of the world. To use, in each country, these funds to fight Covid19, to prohibit layoffs or salary reductions, to give insurance or quarantine wages to the unemployed and to give food to millions of needy people.

We also call for the repudiation of all forms of police repression, using the argument of confinement or quarantine, such as militarisation and for the right to workers’ and people’s protest.

It is becoming more and more evident that to face the current crisis of the coronavirus as the one that will come after the pandemic, it is necessary to advance in unified actions at an international level. In many countries there are already calls for progressive taxation of wealth. In Africa, a block of countries is being created not to pay the foreign debt. There has already been a global action of protest by Apps workers. The FIT-Unity of Argentina had called for a conference of Latin American struggle that has only been postponed by the pandemic. Other initiatives of international struggle will emerge. In this framework, from the IWU-FI we support all forms of struggle and coordination starting with the three points mentioned above: 1) No to the payment of foreign debts; 2) high progressive taxes to those above and 3) against all forms of repression and for the right to protest. And we call for the broadest unity of action of the workers’ and people’s organisations, of the movement of struggle of women, youth, the movement against environmental degradation as well as the anti-capitalist and socialist left to coordinate a movement of international struggle.

International Workers’ Unity–Fourth International (IWU-FI).

11 May 2020

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Llamamiento: Luchemos por un plan global de emergencia obrero y popular

¡Que la crisis del coronavirus la paguen los capitalistas!

La pandemia del Covid19 está siendo utilizada por el imperialismo, los gobiernos capitalistas y los grandes empresarios para buscar descargar la crisis sobre la clase trabajadora y los sectores populares del mundo. Ya millones sufren el despido o la rebaja salarial y crece el hambre para amplios sectores de la población pobre de todos los continentes.

Esta pandemia no ha terminado y no se sabe cuándo será superada. No hay vacuna a la vista. El coronavirus, como el cólera, el dengue o la vuelta del sarampión, surgió del caldo de cultivo que crea el sistema capitalista-imperialista. Sólo se explica en el marco de la miseria creciente, el hacinamiento habitacional y de la degradación ambiental que producen las multinacionales en su carrera por las ganancias a costa de la super explotación de las masas. Se puso en evidencia la destrucción de los servicios públicos estatales de salud, producto de años de ajuste y reducción de los presupuestos. En especial en las principales potencias capitalistas como Italia, Estado español o los Estados Unidos. En Italia durante 10 años redujeron el presupuesto de salud en más de 30 mil millones de euros. En Estados Unidos casi no hay un sistema público estatal. Pero esto también se da, bajo distintas formas, en todos los países del mundo. El capitalismo alienta el negocio de la salud privada.

Y ahora, ante esta calamidad global que ellos facilitaron, no se quieren hacer cargo. Para el sistema capitalista-imperialista y las multinacionales, lo primero es defender sus riquezas y ganancias, no la salud y la vida digna de miles de millones. Con el argumento de la pandemia y de las cuarentenas o sin ellas, despiden a sus trabajadores, rebajan el salario o directamente no pagan por la “crisis”. Cuando antes del coronavirus las multinacionales, los bancos o los grandes terratenientes del mundo venían acumulando grandes ganancias. Ya es casi popular que 26 supermillonarios tenían la misma cantidad de dinero que 3.800 millones de las personas más pobres del mundo. Estamos hablando de multinacionales como Amazon, Microsoff, Ford, General Motors, Toyota, Siemens, Exxon Mobil, Chevron, Total, Samsung, Nestlé, JP Morgan Chasse, HSBC, Alibabá, Walmart, Johnson y Johnson, Bayer-Monsanto, Pzifer, Coca Cola, Boeing, Airbus, Facebook, Apple, Cargill, entre otras.

Además los “salvatajes” del gobierno de Donald Trump no son para invertir en salud pública o para “salvar” el salario del pueblo trabajador norteamericano. Son para salvar a las multinacionales yanquis. Algo semejante ocurre en la Unión Europea. Trump otorgó 455.000 millones de dólares a las grandes empresas como préstamo bancario con garantía del estado. O sea que si no pagan pasa a ser deuda pública. Mientras en el último mes se produjeron más de 20 millones de nuevos desempleados. Al mismo tiempo solo 10 multimillonarios, incluyendo al dueño de Amazon, Jeff Bezos, el dueño de Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg y el dueño de Microsoft, Bill Gates, aumentaron en 51.3 billones de dólares sus riquezas.

El otro mecanismo de expoliación del imperialismo, la banca, el FMI y el Banco Mundial es el mecanismo de la deuda externa.  En 2020 la deuda global alcanzó un récord histórico de US$253 billones. De esa forma se saquea a los pueblos del mundo. Los gobiernos agentes del imperialismo llevan décadas pagando una deuda fraudulenta mientras hoy, según datos de la misma ONU, existen 821 millones de personas que se van a dormir con hambre y que por el crecimiento de la pobreza y el hambre podrían morir 300 mil personas por día.

La crisis del coronavirus muestra la debacle del sistema capitalista-imperialista y pone sobre el tapete la lucha por un cambio de fondo. Hay que luchar por terminar con este sistema, logrando gobiernos de las y los trabajadores que inicien la construcción de una sociedad socialista sin patrones y con una planificación económica basada en las necesidades de la clase obrera y los sectores oprimidos.

En ese camino, hoy tenemos que impulsar las luchas obreras y populares para enfrentar la crisis del coronavirus. Para defender la salud y vida de los pueblos explotados y enfrentar los ataques a las condiciones sociales por parte de los gobiernos y los grandes capitalistas.

La clase trabajadora y los sectores populares ya están saliendo a enfrentar esta realidad. Empezando por las y los trabajadores de la salud reclamando más presupuestos, salarios e insumos, siguiendo por las huelgas obreras de Italia de marzo exigiendo parar la producción. Las huelgas en empresas contra los despidos o por medidas de seguridad en Estados Unidos, Estado Español, Grecia, Argentina, Colombia, los saqueos por hambre en Venezuela o los cacerolazos en Brasil contra Bolsonaro y su política criminal. Los enfrentamientos en los barrios populares de París contra la represión policial. Y la sorpresiva vuelta de las movilizaciones populares en el Líbano, reclamando contra la continuidad del ajuste social que venían repudiando desde octubre del 2019.

Desde la UIT-CI apoyamos todas estas expresiones de lucha en cada país y llamamos a darle continuidad y unidad en un amplio movimiento internacional para que la crisis del coronavirus la paguen los capitalistas y no los trabajadores y los pueblos.

Proponemos luchar por un Plan de Emergencia obrero y popular en cada país e internacionalmente. En todo el mundo se necesita plata para salud, salario, trabajo y comida. La pandemia del coronavirus no ha terminado. Y también tenemos la pandemia social que quiere imponer el imperialismo, las multinacionales y sus gobiernos.  Por todo ello se hace necesario luchar por imponer: No al pago de las deudas externas. Por un Frente de países deudores para no pagar, y altos impuestos progresivos sobre las multinacionales, los bancos y los terratenientes del mundo. Para dedicar, en cada país, esos fondos para combatir el Covid19, prohibir los despidos o las rebajas salariales, dar un seguro o salario de cuarentena al desocupado (parado) y dar comida a millones de necesitados.

También llamamos a repudiar toda forma de represión policial, usando el argumento del confinamiento o cuarentena, como la militarización y por el derecho a la protesta obrera y popular.

Cada día se hace más evidente que para enfrentar la actual crisis del coronavirus como la que vendrá luego de la pandemia se necesita avanzar en acciones unificadas a nivel internacional. En muchos países ya se está reclamando imponer impuestos progresivos a la riqueza. En África se estaría generando un bloque de países para no pagar la deuda externa. Se hizo ya una acción mundial de protesta de los trabajadores de las Apps. El FIT-Unidad de Argentina había convocado a una conferencia de lucha Latinoamericana que solo está postergada por la pandemia. Otras iniciativas de lucha internacional irán surgiendo. En ese marco, desde la UIT-CI apoyamos toda forma amplia de lucha y coordinación empezando por los tres puntos arriba señalados: 1) No al pago de las deudas externas; 2) altos impuestos progresivos a los de arriba y 3) contra toda forma de represión y por el derecho a la protesta. Y convocamos a la más amplia unidad de acción de las organizaciones obreras y populares, del movimiento de lucha de las mujeres, de la juventud, del movimiento contra la degradación ambiental como de la izquierda anticapitalista y socialista para coordinar un movimiento de lucha internacional.

Unidad Internacional de Trabajadoras y Trabajadores-Cuarta Internacional (UIT-CI) 

11 de mayo 2020

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What kind of world are we heading to after the Coronavirus?

The severity of the coronavirus crisis and its consequences has opened a debate about what the world will look like after the pandemic. Dozens of articles are being written. Some are betting on a supposed return of the “role of the state” and a better “redistribution of wealth”. Others warn that we could already be on the road to strengthening authoritarianism.

By Miguel Sorans, leading member of the Socialist Left and the IWU-FI

The severity of the crisis is not in dispute. First, the pandemic. Millions infected in 185 countries and over 100,000 dead. In the second place, the social consequences on the peoples of the world are serious, with millions out of work or receiving reduced salaries because of the nefarious role of the world’s big businessmen and bankers. With millions who have no access to daily food, or water to wash their hands. The economic and social crisis of capitalism will deepen. Many say that the crisis will be like the capitalist crash of 1929. But in reality, we come from the crisis of 2007/08 which was equal to or greater than that of 1929. And now the head of the IMF, Kristalina Georgieva, warns “that the world is in a worse recession than in the crisis of 2008” (Clarin, Argentina, 26 March 2020). The very leaders of world imperialism tell us we are already living through the worst crisis of the capitalist economy in its history. For the first time, we can say that the capitalist world is almost at a standstill. Those at the top tell us it is because of the pandemic. Yes and no. Because, in reality, the coronavirus came to deepen the crisis of the economy that already existed. By the end of December 2019, we were already on the verge of a new global recession.

Would we be moving towards a better world?

“If there is a positive side to the COVID-19 pandemic, it is that it has injected a sense of unity into polarised societies. To the surprise of many, this was said in an editorial in the British newspaper Financial Times. Such is the degree of the crisis that some imperialism spokespersons seek to give an optimistic and “solidarity-based” version of capitalism. They claim that: “Redistribution will be back on the agenda. The privileges of the rich and elderly are at issue. Policies until recently considered eccentric, such as basic taxes on income and wealth, will have to be in the mix” (BAE Business, 5 April 2020). Others, like Joseph Stiglitz or the American economist Carmen Reinhart, propose a “collaboration” of the rich countries by granting, for example, a moratorium on foreign debts.

Because of the seriousness of the crisis and the social upheavals that could be created, there are bourgeois sectors that propose some palliatives to cushion the debacle that is being experienced. We cannot even rule out that some exceptional measure will be implemented because of the crisis and social pressure. But there will be no fundamental improvements, nor progress for the working class and the popular sectors. Over 50 million new unemployed are already announced in the world. Imperialism and the multinationals will once again try to unload the crisis onto the backs of the masses, with new plans of adjustment, plunder and exploitation. The only change, the only redistribution of wealth in favour of the people, will come from the struggle to impose workers’ governments all over the world.

The danger of a more authoritarian world?

At the immediate juncture, governments are taking advantage of the pandemic and quarantine to demobilise the masses. For this, governments are appealing to national unity and, in other cases, to the militarisation of the crisis, sharpening the authoritarian features of many regimes and governments.

The health crisis has increased the role of the armed forces (distributing food, setting up hospitals, making transfers) and the police in controlling quarantines. Virtual control has also grown. It is estimated that some 40 countries use mobile phone tracking systems and various applications to monitor quarantines or follow personal movements and contacts, in China, Hong Kong, South Korea, Taiwan, Singapore, Russia, Israel, the United States and many European Union countries. Eight major European operators, including Telefonica, will provide the European Commission with location data of their mobile phone customers.

There is a danger that after the pandemic, all this will be used against peoples who rebel or to prevent them from doing so. This is not a new trend. Already before there were advances by ultra-reactionary and authoritarian governments (Trump, Bolsonaro, Erdogan, Putin, Viktor Orban in Hungary, Nicolas Maduro in Venezuela or the dictator Rodrigo Duterte in the Philippines). Or the repression in Chile of the carabineros (police force) on the mobilisations against Piñera. But it remains to be seen whether the authoritarian regimes will prevail. Because what predominated before the coronavirus crisis was the tendency to political destabilisation of capitalist regimes and governments by popular mobilisations. At the beginning of the coronavirus, there was a revolutionary wave of a struggle that was shaking the world. Part of that wave was the popular rebellions in Chile, in Lebanon or the workers’ strike in France. There doesn’t seem to be a structural setback in the willingness to mobilise, but a short-term realignment of the mass movement, which adjusts to the quarantine situation to avoid the contagion. For now, there are no mass mobilisations, but there are strikes or partial protests to demand health security in the pandemic’s face or against layoffs and wage cuts. But once the coronavirus is over, there may be new mobilisations or popular rebellions in many parts of the world against the social and economic consequences of the coronavirus crisis. This is what we revolutionary socialists are preparing for.

Henry Kissinger’s justified fears

Perhaps the person who has best reflected this possibility, of a world with new and greater social confrontations that question the capitalist-imperialist system, has been Henry Kissinger, one of the historical references of imperialism.

The former chancellor of Richard Nixon, who started the rapprochement of Mao’s China to U.S. imperialism (1972), and who suffered the defeat of the Vietnam War (1975), published an opinion column in The Wall Street Journal (…/the-coronavirus-pandemic-will-forever…).

“When the COVID-19 pandemic is over, many countries’ institutions will be perceived as having failed,” he predicted. “The historic challenge for leaders is to manage the crisis while building the future. Failure could set the world on fire,” he warned. Kissinger, at 96, remains lucid in his defence of the system. He knows that people are visualising the debacle: “institutions will be perceived as having failed. And that the world “could burn”. That is why in that same article he advises that “Programs should also seek to ameliorate the effects of impending chaos on the world’s most vulnerable populations.”

His fear, as a faithful representative of the world’s oligarchies, is justified because Kissinger knows about the wave of rebellions that have been taking place since 2019. He knows that the people are fed up with capitalist austerity plans and the growth of poverty and exploitation. Kissinger and company fear this possible “raging fire” of the people’s rebellions. Social confrontation is posed as a hypothesis based on reality. The post-Coronavirus world will be the aggravated continuity of everything we know today about capitalism. That is why from the IWU-FI we have called for “the broadest unity of action of the workers, popular, youth, women’s and environmental organisations, and the anti-capitalist and socialist left, to coordinate a movement of the international struggle for the workers and a popular emergency plan towards a fierce struggle to end this capitalist-imperialist system and impose governments of the working class and the people” (International Call, March 2020. Changes can only come from the mobilisation of the working class and the people.

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¿A qué mundo iríamos después del coronavirus?

La gravedad de la crisis del coronavirus y sus consecuencias ha abierto un debate sobre cómo será el mundo luego de la pandemia. Se escriben decenas de artículos. Algunos apuestan a una supuesta vuelta del “rol del estado” y a una mejor “redistribución de la riqueza”. Otros advierten que se podría estar ya en el camino del fortalecimiento del autoritarismo.

Por Miguel Sorans, dirigente de Izquierda Socialista y de la UIT-CI

La gravedad de la crisis no está en discusión. En primer lugar, de la pandemia. Millones de contagiados en 185 países y más de 100 mil muertos. En segundo lugar, las consecuencias sociales sobre los pueblos del mundo son graves, con millones sin trabajo o cobrando salarios reducidos por el rol nefasto de los grandes empresarios y banqueros del mundo. Con millones que no tienen acceso a la comida diaria o al agua para lavarse las manos. La crisis económica y social del capitalismo se va a profundizar. Muchos dicen que la crisis será como el crack capitalista de 1929. Pero en realidad venimos de la crisis del 2007/08 que fue igual o superior a la del ´29. Y ahora la titular del FMI, Kristalina Georgieva, alerta “que el mundo está en una recesión peor que en la crisis de 2008” (Clarín, Argentina, 26/3/20). O sea, que los propios jerarcas del imperialismo mundial nos dicen que ya estamos viviendo la peor crisis de la economía capitalista en toda su historia. Por primera vez se puede decir que el mundo capitalista está casi parado. Los de arriba nos dicen que es por la pandemia. Si y no. Porque, en realidad, el coronavirus vino a profundizar la crisis de la economía que ya existía. A fines de diciembre del 2019 ya se estaba al borde de una nueva recesión mundial.

¿Iríamos hacia un mundo mejor?

“Si hay un lado positivo en la pandemia de Covid-19, es que ha inyectado un sentido de unión en las sociedades polarizadas”. Para sorpresa de muchos esto fue dicho en una editorial del periódico británico Financial Times. Tal es el grado de la crisis que algunos voceros del imperialismo buscan dar una versión optimista y “solidaria” del capitalismo. Aseguran que: “La redistribución volverá a estar en la agenda. Los privilegios de los ancianos y ricos en cuestión. Las políticas hasta hace poco consideradas excéntricas, como los impuestos básicos sobre la renta y la riqueza, tendrán que estar en la mezcla” (BAE Negocios 5/4/20). Otros. como Joseph Stiglitz o la economista norteamericana Carmen Reinhart, proponen una “colaboración” de los países ricos” otorgando, por ejemplo, una moratoria de las deudas externas.

Es claro que ante la gravedad de la crisis y las convulsiones sociales que se podrían crear, existen sectores burgueses que proponen algunos paliativos para intentar amortiguar la debacle que se vive. Incluso no podemos descartar que alguna medida excepcional se concrete por la crisis y la presión social. Pero no habrá mejoras de fondo, ni progresos para la clase trabajadora y los sectores populares. Ya se anuncian más de 50 millones de nuevos desocupados en el mundo. El imperialismo y las multinacionales buscarán hacer descargar otra vez la crisis sobre las espaldas de las masas, con nuevos planes de ajuste, saqueo y explotación. El único cambio posible, la única redistribución de la riqueza en favor de los pueblos, vendrá de la lucha por imponer gobiernos de las y los trabajadores en todo el mundo.

¿El peligro de un mundo más autoritario?

En la coyuntura inmediata los gobiernos están aprovechando el tema de la pandemia y la cuarentena para tratar de desmovilizar a las masas. Para esto los gobiernos están apelando a la unidad nacional y, en otros casos, a la militarización de la crisis, agudizando los rasgos autoritarios de muchos regímenes y gobiernos.

La crisis sanitaria agrandó el papel de las fuerzas armadas (reparten comida, instalan hospitales, hacen traslados) y de las policías para el control de las cuarentenas. También ha crecido el control virtual. Se estima que unos 40 países utilizan los sistemas de localización de los móviles y distintas aplicaciones para vigilar las cuarentenas o seguir los movimientos y contactos personales, en China, Hong Kong, Corea del Sur, Taiwán, Singapur, Rusia, Israel, Estados Unidos y muchos países de la Unión Europea. Ocho grandes operadores europeos, entre ellos Telefónica, van a proporcionar a la Comisión Europea datos de la localización de sus clientes de telefonía móvil.

Efectivamente existe el peligro que luego de la pandemia se pretenda utilizar todo esto contra los pueblos que se rebelen o para tratar de evitar que lo hagan. No es una tendencia nueva. Ya antes había avances de gobiernos ultra reaccionarios y autoritarios (Trump, Bolsonaro, Erdogan, Putin, Victor Orbán en Hungría, Nicolás Maduro en Venezuela o el dictador Rodrigo Duterte, de Filipinas). O la represión en Chile de los carabineros sobre las movilizaciones contra Piñera. Pero está por verse si van a predominar los regímenes autoritarios y represivos. Porque lo que predominaba antes de la crisis del coronavirus era la tendencia a la desestabilización política de los regímenes y gobiernos capitalistas por movilizaciones populares. Al inicio del coronavirus existía una oleada revolucionaria de luchas que estaba conmoviendo al mundo. Parte de esa oleada eran las rebeliones populares en Chile, en Líbano o la huelga obrera de Francia. No parece que haya un retroceso estructural en la disposición a movilizarse, más bien existe un reacomodo coyuntural del movimiento de masas, que se ajusta a la situación de cuarentena para tratar de evitar, lógicamente, el contagio. Por ahora no se producen movilizaciones masivas pero sí huelgas o protestas parciales para reclamar por la seguridad sanitaria frente a la pandemia o contra despidos y rebajas salariales. Pero una vez superado el coronavirus puede haber nuevas movilizaciones o rebeliones populares en muchas partes del mundo contra las consecuencias sociales y económicas de la crisis del coronavirus. Para eso nos preparamos los socialistas revolucionarios.

Los justificados temores de Henry Kissinger

Quien quizás mejor haya reflejado esta posibilidad, de un mundo con nuevas y mayores confrontaciones sociales que cuestionan al sistema capitalista-imperialista, ha sido Henry Kissinger, uno de los referentes históricos del imperialismo.

El ex canciller de Richard Nixon, que inició el acercamiento de la China de Mao al imperialismo yanqui (1972), y que sufrió la derrota de la guerra de Vietnam (1975), publicó una columna de opinión en The Wall Street Journal (5/4/20).

“Cuando termine la pandemia de Covid-19, se percibirá que las instituciones de muchos países han fallado”, pronosticó. “El desafío para los líderes es manejar la crisis mientras se construye el futuro. El fracaso podría incendiar el mundo”, advirtió. Kissinger, a los 96 años de edad, mantiene su lucidez en defensa del sistema. Es consciente que los pueblos visualizan la debacle: “se percibirá que las instituciones…han fallado”. Y que el mundo se “podría incendiar”. Por eso en esa misma columna aconseja que se “deberían tratar de mejorar los efectos del caos inminente en las poblaciones más vulnerables del mundo”.

Su temor, como fiel representante de las oligarquías del mundo, está justificado porque Kissinger sabe de la oleada de rebeliones que se venían dando desde el 2019. Sabe que los pueblos están hartos de los ajustes capitalistas y del crecimiento de la pobreza y de la explotación. Los Kissinger y compañía le temen a ese posible “incendio” de las rebeliones populares. La confrontación social está planteada como una hipótesis basada en la realidad. El mundo post coronavirus será la continuidad agravada de todo lo que conocemos hoy del capitalismo. Por eso desde la UIT-CI hemos convocado “a la más amplia unidad de acción de las organizaciones obreras, populares, de la juventud, del movimiento de mujeres, el movimiento en defensa del ambiente, como de la izquierda anticapitalista y socialista, para coordinar un movimiento de lucha internacional por el plan de emergencia obrero y popular en la perspectiva de la lucha a fondo por terminar con este sistema capitalista-imperialista e imponer gobiernos de la clase trabajadora y el pueblo” (Llamamiento internacional, marzo 2020. Los cambios sólo podrán venir de la movilización de la clase trabajadora y los pueblos.

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Let the capitalists pay for the coronavirus crisis, not the working class and the people!

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 workers.

The 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 capital.

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.

Capitalist environmental 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 Barbarism ratified.

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 speculation.

A general reorganisation of production according to the needs of the health emergency under workers’ control.

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.

International Workers’ 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 early 2019).

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The global crisis of the capitalist economy and the coronavirus

By Miguel Sorans

On Monday, 9 March, the world’s stock markets collapsed. A new “Black Monday” for the world capitalist economy. Wall Street stopped trading for 15 minutes. The price of oil fell to $33 a barrel. In January, it was at $63. The price cut is an emergency move that Wall Street set up during the 2008 crisis to avoid panic selling. But the panic between the capitalists, finance capital and the multinationals is installed. And it’s not just because of the coronavirus.

Wall Street suffered the worst crash since 2008. All the stock markets in the world fell. In Mexico and Brazil, governments devalued currencies.

Many economists and business analysts are trying to attribute the new explosion and collapse of the capitalist economy to the effects of the coronavirus epidemic. The consequences of the coronavirus undoubtedly have an influence. But the coronavirus is not the central cause of the new global economic crash. The coronavirus epidemic is very important. Already over 110,000 people are infected worldwide and it affected about 100 countries.

The coronavirus deepens the existing acute crisis of the world capitalist economy. The capitalist-imperialist system still cannot overcome the acute economic crisis opened in 2007/8. This is demonstrated by reality.

“The world capitalist economy had already slowed down to a ‘rate of fall’ close to 2.5% per year. The United States is growing at only 2 percent a year, Europe and Japan at only 1 percent; and the main emerging economies of Brazil, Mexico, Turkey, Argentina, South Africa and Russia are stagnating. The huge economies of India and China have also slowed significantly in the last year. And now the COVID-19 quarantine has pushed the Chinese economy into an abyss”.

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), which represents the 36 most advanced economies in the world, warns that the impact of COVID-19 could halve global economic growth this year compared to its previous forecast. The OECD reduced its central growth forecast from 2.9 percent to 2.4 percent but warns that a “longer and more intense coronavirus outbreak could reduce growth to 1.5 percent by 2020″ (Michel Roberts, British economist, in Sin Permiso, 7 March 2020).

The coronavirus added, “more fuel to the fire” of the capitalist economic crisis. The coronavirus emerged in China (see “China: Coronavirus and Dictatorship.” iwu-fi uk). China is the world’s largest exporter, and the record fall in industrial production because of the closure of companies is already having a negative impact on the whole capitalist world. It already transcends China’s frameworks. Everything related to the tourism industry, for example, is affected. Oil production and prices are falling. The crisis of the capitalist economy that has been going on since 2007/08 will deepen. Multinationals are worried about their huge profit losses in China and the world. The speculative games of the stock markets and oil prices only express the quest to save the wealth of the world’s billionaires. The big problem for humanity is that imperialism and its governments will deepen their austerity plans and plunder of the working class and the people.

The sudden appearance of the coronavirus epidemic is also an expression of the decline of capitalism. The growth of poverty, overcrowding, environmental changes and the collapse of the world’s public health systems are the breeding grounds for the emergence and development of old and new diseases.

Capitalists must pay the economic and coronavirus crisis

To make matters worse, the coronavirus epidemic is not stopping around the world, although they say that in China the cases have dropped. At the time of writing, there are already over 110,000 infected people in the world, 3,800 dead and over 100 countries affected. Italy has declared the country under quarantine.

The capitalist-imperialist system and its governments do not guarantee an adequate response to this humanitarian crisis that is affecting millions (see “Coronaviruses and the Rise of Dengue Fever. El Socialista No. 451 www. ). They take measures such as suspending massive sporting or artistic events. They encourage panic to cover up a major disaster without going to the root causes.

The people of the world have to go out and demand real measures from their governments in the emergency face. Let those at the top, the capitalists, take charge. We demand that urgent funds be turned over to increase health budgets to attend to the health emergency. Funds to, among other measures, expand and improve health facilities, give salary increases to all health professionals, make new hires and provide free medicines for all. That these funds come out of high progressive taxes on business groups, financial capital and that foreign debts are not paid. For a single, state-run national health system, with free consultations, treatments and medicines paid for by the state and administered by users, doctors, workers and professionals in the sector. For the nationalisation of the laboratories of medical specialities and that they function under the control of the workers and scientists of health and medicine.

As we said above, imperialism and its multinationals will want to use the coronavirus to launch new attempts to further exploit the people. There is already talk of hundreds of thousands of redundancies and suspensions in the companies. They will seek to lower wages with greater devaluations of the currency in the semi-colonies and greater plundering with the mechanism of the foreign debt.

The workers and the people cannot pay the capitalist crisis and the coronavirus. No layoffs or suspensions. No to the payment of the foreign debt. Money for health and jobs. Let the companies and those above take charge of the crisis.

The rebellions in Chile, France, Lebanon, Iraq, Palestine and other social protests, which are growing in the world, show that the fight against the austerity plans and for the defence of the life of the people continues.

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