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). www.uit-ci.org
11 May 2020