Capitalism, through the Covid-19 pandemic and the world recession, expands the elements of barbarism across the world.
The real numbers of the pandemic – not the lies released by governments – already point to more than one hundred million infected and more than two million dead. It is one of the worst pandemics in history, which has been developing for six months, still without medicines or vaccines. Furthermore, the global recession brings hunger and hundreds of millions of unemployed workers.
From the beginning, we warned that this combination of pandemic and world recession had consequences similar to those of a world war. We, revolutionaries, are obliged to present a program to address this crisis that capitalism cannot solve.
From this perspective, we publish this proposal for an emergency program against the pandemic and the economic crisis. It starts from the immediate response to these problems, combined with measures that point to a break with capitalism and for workers’ power.
We present this proposal and place ourselves at the forefront of the battle of workers and oppressed people against capitalist governments’ backlash; the capitalists who want to put the burden on the back of the working class through hunger, poverty and now with our lives.
We present this program for study and open debate with all the fighters and organisers as a tool to develop the struggle against this actual genocide produced by the pandemic and the economic crisis.
1- The pandemic and the global recession open a new world situation
The workers’ families are mourning for their dead from the COVID pandemic, the worst since the Spanish flu in 1918. Now they have to face massive unemployment and hunger, the product of the most significant world recession since 1929.
Workers are suffering the most significant attacks in a century. The social effects are similar to those of enormous earthquake and tsunami at the same time. Or like the consequences of a world war.
Neither the pandemic nor the economic crisis is the product of chance. It is capitalism that kills, through COVID. It is capitalism that brings unemployment and hunger through its crises.
Capitalism is bringing the world back to barbarism. The current misery is equal to capitalism plus the savagery of the future: massive unemployment, miserable wages without any job security.
Was it possible to avoid all of this? Yes! With current technology, the productive forces could allow everyone to eat, dress, and live with dignity, have access to culture and leisure. The world could live without economic crises.
But for that, it would be necessary to end the rule of the bourgeoisie, whose goal is to put production at the service of its millionaire profits, and not for the benefit of the people. It would be necessary to expropriate large companies and plan the economy according to workers’ needs.
The world could be better prepared to protect humanity from pandemics. But for that, it would be necessary that health was not just another commodity, under the control of large companies.
Before the pandemic, there were already several places of rising class struggle and revolutionary processes, like in Chile, Colombia, Hong Kong, Iraq, and Lebanon.
Amid the pandemic, a revolt broke out in the USA, becoming the centre of attention worldwide. It is a symbol of capitalism’s failure. The USA, the most powerful country in the world, was shaken by an uprising against racism and police violence, and strongly radicalised by more than 40 million jobless from the economic recession, and more than 3 million infected by COVID.
Capitalism, which presented itself to the world as the only way out for humanity, shows its real face. The big imperialist bourgeoisie cannot guarantee life in its world show-case. Capital domination was questioned by an uprising not seen in decades, with the American masses taking to the streets demanding radical changes in their lives. It demoralises politically and ideologically capitalism and sparks mass struggles around the world.
We are likely entering a new world situation, with a sharp polarisation of the class struggle, which can lead to revolutions and counter-revolutions. Military coups d’état can take place as the one staged by the Hungarian president Orban. We mean sudden changes in political situations, toppling of governments and regimes can happen.
Wars between countries can also occur due to inter-bourgeois divisions. A new world war is not likely, due to the brutal USA military superiority. But regional conflicts may occur.
The disjunctive socialism or barbarism is once again vigorously posed.
The bourgeoisie has demonstrated its inability to ensure the survival and basic needs of humanity. A world socialist revolution is needed to put the proletariat ahead of the destinies of humanity. But this process only will be successful if it has a revolutionary leadership at its head. For this reason, the priority task at this historical moment is to build revolutionary parties worldwide.
2- The worst pandemic in a century
Contrary to what governments say, the pandemic is not under control. On the contrary, it is getting worse worldwide. There are many more infected and killed by COVID than official figures admit. Governments want to hide their absolute inability to preserve workers’ lives. They want to justify the end of partial quarantines worldwide.
A real genocide is taking place, which brutally affects the poor, the workers, the black people, the immigrants. The pandemic reaches all sectors, but not equally. It is the poor who are most exposed; they have neither medical assistance nor a salary or houses to make it possible to stay in quarantine.
After harshly affecting workers in Europe and the USA, the pandemic hits the city outskirts in Latin America and Asia very strongly. It is now becoming widespread in Africa.
In these poor neighbourhoods, many of the workers who are not jobless have precarious jobs. If they don’t work for one day, they can’t eat. Their homes are packed, often without tap water or sewage, without the minimum conditions for quarantine. It is the poor who die the most; they are the actual risk group for the pandemic.
For decades, the governments of the right and reformist “left” parties (social democracy, PT, etc.) applied the neoliberal plans that scrapped public health, privatised hospitals. Humanity is completely unprotected in the 21st century from the virus because there are not enough hospitals, let alone the necessary intensive care units. Health systems have collapsed.
There are no safe drugs or vaccines for C-19 so far, even after outbreaks caused by other coronaviruses (SARS in 2002, MERS in 2012). As this did not yield profits for large pharmaceutical companies, there was no investment in research. Only now, with the pandemic, they try to make up lost ground. There will be no vaccine in the short term, and there is no safe treatment. After months of the most severe pandemic in recent history, humanity remains helpless.
Under pressure from companies, governments have even abandoned partial quarantines. They are exposing workers to a new round of the pandemic. In some countries, reopening takes place at its height. Governments protect affluent neighbourhoods, and as soon as they consider the pandemic controlled in the wealthiest sectors of society, they abandon the poor peripheries to its effects.
According to scientists “herd immunity” has not even in the most affected countries, has not been reached, which ensures the control of the pandemic. Effective vaccine or treatment has not been achieved, so all countries remain threatened by the continuation of the current wave or a new wave.
It is necessary to halt production in companies with infected workers. There is an urgent need to advance the self-organisation of workers to demand medical care in neighbourhoods and companies.
We demand a safe quarantine, with housing and full wages for all workers, whether employed or not. We defend the shelter of workers who live in unhealthy housing in hotels or uninhabited houses and apartments.
Intensive and massive testing is needed to track and monitor the pandemic. No more underreporting!
It is necessary to guarantee medical care to all the people, with an immediate increase in the budget for public health services, with the expropriation of private hospitals and the building of new hospitals and intensive care units.
Other industrial sectors must be converted to the production of inexpensive and straightforward mechanical ventilators, as well as masks, alcohol gels, and other essential materials to fight the pandemic. Health workers must be given the right working conditions and decent wages, including paid overtime, to combat the COVID and training!
Pharmaceutical and hospital product manufacturers must be expropriated under workers’ control. Vaccines, drugs, and tests must be free and offered to the entire population.
We defend sanitation systems, health care, and services (electricity, water, gas, internet, etc.) for poor neighbourhoods, against the isolation of poor neighbourhoods and their transformation into ghettos.
The lives of workers and poor people matter!
3- It is possible to face the economic crisis
Governments admit the existence of a massive economic crisis. It would be impossible to hide that. But they say the pandemic will soon be over and the economy will recover quickly. That is a lie! There is a severe global recession in progress, which could turn into a depression similar to that of 1929! There will be no quick recovery under this system.
The lives of seven billion people are determined by the interests of a few thousand millionaires and billionaires, owners, and large shareholders of imperialist companies.
All of Lenin’s definitions of imperialism remain valid although much more hypertrophied by the “globalisation” of the economy.
The bourgeoisie that rules dependent countries are submissive to imperialism. They may have partial conflicts, but in general, they are economically subordinate with even greater political subservience. In general, they reflect economic groups that also concentrate in their hands a good part of the national wealth, associated with imperialism.
Imperialism had already caused millions of dead in world wars to maintain its rule. The combination of the pandemic with the economic crisis demonstrates, once again, the deadly consequences for humanity due to the delay of the socialist revolution.
There was already a serious world economic crisis when the C-19 pandemic appeared. A downward curve in the capitalist economy that began to emerge in the great world recession of 2007-09 had already determined the decay of large areas on the planet.
The divisions and confrontations of the big world bourgeoisie, such as the US-China trade war and the EU crisis, express the growing imbalance, typical of this decay. A new global recession started in early 2020.
Then the pandemic came. An extra-economic factor enforced the confinement of half of the world population and the paralysis of the economy – a hard blow to an economy in crisis. The new global recession could turn into a depression similar to 1929.
The OECD predicts that the world economy is expected to fall between 6 and 7.6% this year. The IMF predicts a 4.9% drop. Both forecasts are much worse than the 1.7% drop in the 2008 recession. Projections indicate a drop in the GDP of the main imperialist and emerging countries between 5 and 11% in 2020. Even China is likely to experience stagnation or even a recession.
Government bailouts – often of billion dollars – have in common their central goal: to save big companies. Once again, as in 2007-09, governments put aside neoliberal plans to implement gigantic “Keynesian” plans to inject public money into companies. They can avoid the bankruptcy of big companies, but at the cost of a brutal public debt, the largest in 150 years, higher than that which occurred after the first and second world wars. Inevitably these public debts will then be charged to workers, with attacks on public health and education, pensions, etc.
For the workers, only crumbs, as some temporary aid, insufficient to reverse the growing hunger. Along with this, governments are taking advantage of the pandemic to advance the suppression of labour and social rights.
Unemployment is spreading rapidly. Whether through summary dismissals or non-renewal of contracts, the bourgeoisie and governments are imposing massive unemployment. Hundreds of millions of workers will be unemployed worldwide. Workers are still seeing a large part of their income reduced through lay-offs, furlough, or wage cuts, having no guarantee of keeping their jobs. Millions of small businesses are going bankrupt. You will die of hunger in the 21st century on the outskirts of the great cities of the world.
We are going to have a long convulsive period in this crisis, with long and complicated moments in each country, even after the end of the pandemic.
The crisis allows multinational oligopolies to concentrate ownership in their hands further. The major imperialist countries, such as the USA and Germany, will impose their hegemony even harder. The conflict between the United States and China will intensify, and whichever gets out of the recession better and faster will advance in the world division of labour.
Imperialism is now announcing the future: capitalism with barbarism. Current hordes of unemployed may be the keynote of modern capitalism using artificial intelligence, 5G, etc. Lowered wages, which do not even fulfil the capitalist function of restoring the workforce, were already a reality in Haiti and Bangla Desh and are now widespread. To this is added the generalised precariousness of labour relations.
In capitalism, economic crises are periodic. After this one, others will come, perhaps even more serious. We cannot allow humanity to continue dying and living in misery to sustain the super-profits of multinationals.
It is necessary to fight hunger, directly guaranteeing food in poor neighbourhoods. For the self-organisation of workers to impose themselves in the face of the crisis caused by capitalism. For this, the expropriation of food-producing and trading companies is necessary. We defend the right of the poor to expropriate food from supermarkets or wherever.
Organise the unemployed into committees in poor neighbourhoods. Unite the employed and unemployed workers at workplaces and neighbourhoods.
It is necessary to prohibit retroactive dismissals since the beginning of the pandemic. It is essential to end the precariousness and outsourcing of work, demanding job security to all workers.
Unemployment can be combated by immediately ensuring a salary equivalent to that necessary for the support of all workers. A public works plan is necessary to employ all workers.
Against salary cuts and lay-offs! Salary readjustments according to inflation! Let us work less so that everyone can work that the unions and workers’ associations assume these proposals to unite the employed workers with the unemployed.
Retirees’ pensions equal to those of active workers! No to reductions in pensions that condemn the older people to hunger. Reduction of retirement age: rest for those who have worked all their lives to allow young people who are now starting to work.
In defence of workers’ strikes so that workers can impose their demands against the economic crisis!
Immediate reversal of all neoliberal plans! Guarantee of jobs with labour rights as paid vacation, Christmas bonus, and full pensions for all workers!
Capitalists, these big exploiters, keep their secrets under lock and key. Monopolies, which control 90% of goods production, are never accountable for their suspicious dealings and banking operations, their money laundering in tax havens. Open the companies’ accounting books! Abolition of business secrets!
There is no way to change the economy without ending the control of financial capital. If workers control the banks, they will be able to direct the economy entirely differently. It is necessary to expropriate banks and financial assets and to establish a single state bank per country, under workers’ control. Let workers control the economy.
No to the payment of domestic and foreign debts to guarantee sufficient capital to finance this plan. Impose a tax on large fortunes. Abolition of workers’ current debts to banks and credit cards. Credit and financial aid for small businesses, which must be saved from bankruptcy.
It is necessary to expropriate large companies and plan the production to suppress crises like these and meet the needs of workers and the poor. We advocate that capitalists – not workers – pay for the crisis.
4- It is necessary to remember the example of the USSR
When we say that it would be possible to avoid economic crises and face the pandemic, we recall historical experiences that demonstrate this.
The 1917 Russian revolution was the only one that truly put the proletariat in power. The Paris Commune had already done this, but it only lasted three months. A broader democracy than the most democratic of bourgeois democracies. A workers’ democracy, which could discuss and decide daily the fundamental problems of the state and the economy.
The Russian revolution faced the typhus epidemic in 1918, shortly after the seizure of power, with the country still destroyed, without sanitary conditions or a hospital structure. But it was possible to defeat the epidemic, turning the structure of the new Russian workers state, with the few resources it had to do so.
Unfortunately, the defeats of the other revolutions in the world have left the Russian revolution isolated. As a consequence, a bureaucracy was created within the USSR and took power through the Stalinist counter-revolution.
Even though bureaucratised, the USSR preserved the state ownership and economic planning, which enabled the transformation of one of the most backward countries in Europe and Asia into the second world economy, behind only the United States.
A second comparison is necessary. When the world sank with the 1929 depression, many countries fell between 20% and 30% in annual GDP, but the USSR developed strongly. Industrial production grew at 16% per year between 1928 and 1940.
All this historical experience was erased from memory by the dominance of the Stalinist bureaucracy and its countless heinous crimes. Its action against the revolutionaries prevented the extension of the world revolution, completely removed the proletariat from power, and imposed brutal totalitarian domination, which has nothing to do with socialism.
After leeching off the workers’ states, these same bureaucracies commanded the restoration of capitalism in China (in the 1970s, with Deng Hsiao Ping), in Russia (1980s, with Gorbachev) and in the other bureaucratic workers’ states.
These states were no longer workers, but capitalist, when great democratic revolutions overthrew the Stalinist dictatorships. The capitalist restoration was carried out by the bureaucracies. The uprisings of the 90s took place against bourgeois dictatorships as well as against the brutal drop in the standard of living determined by the beginning of the restoration.
These revolutions were very progressive because they overthrew these bourgeois dictatorships, and they destroyed the world apparatus of Stalinism. However, as a product of the absence of a revolutionary leadership directing the masses, bourgeois leaders who commanded these processes. New bourgeois sectors, many born out of the old bureaucracies, ruled these states.
It has not yet occurred in China and Cuba because capitalism was restored, but bourgeois Stalinist dictatorships remain in power.
The bourgeois propaganda took advantage of these two events that occurred at different times – the restoration of capitalism led by bureaucracies and then the overthrow of Stalinist bourgeois dictatorships – to publicise “the death of socialism” worldwide, as if the masses had rebelled against socialism, and not against bourgeois dictatorships.
This ideology has since then been imposed all over the world, showing capitalism as the only alternative for humanity.
The current reality of these countries, such as Russia or China, shows that the return to capitalism has caused the populations to be subject to the same catastrophes that other capitalist countries suffer, such as the pandemic and the economic recession. They also need new socialist revolutions.
Worldwide, capitalism is severely challenged by this combination of pandemic and world recession. There is a commotion in the consciousness of the world masses. It is time again to raise the socialist flags with all strength. We defend socialism with workers’ democracy, in force in the early years of the Soviet Union, and we denounce the bureaucratic Stalinist version still defended by sectors of the left.
5- The pandemic is a consequence of the destruction of nature
Capitalism destroys workers and also nature. Profit-driven capitalist production consumes far more natural resources than can be replenished for at least half a century. That is why we have global warming, rivers and atmosphere pollution, reduction of living species.
Rampant deforestation destroys ecological balances and enables the uncontrolled mutation of viruses that were previously confined to wild animals. This aggression against nature is responsible for the appearance of recent epidemics such as Ebola, SARS, MERS, and now COVID.
The planet is heading towards an irreversible ecological collapse if capitalism continues. New pandemics will emerge after the current one.
But this is not inevitable. It is necessary to end the control of the economy by large multinational companies. It is essential to plan and rationalise the exploitation of the planet’s natural resources taking into account the environment and not the greed of a small minority of billionaires. But for that, the expropriation of these companies and the ecological conversion of production is urgent, which will ensure that the aggressions against nature cease and prevent ecological collapse.
6- The mass struggles in the USA
The revolutionary mass uprising after the assassination of George Floyd brought the USA to the forefront of class struggle in the world. It is not merely a cyclical and episodic revolt. It was the first time in decades that the masses took the offensive while the most powerful white bourgeoisie in the world reacted defensively. And is the first time that a struggle of this magnitude and radicalism escapes the bourgeois leadership of the Democratic Party. Regardless of its immediate results, the US has entered a new situation of polarisation and instability.
The US imperialism has shown a decline in its industrial hegemony and, increasingly, experiencing gigantic financial parasitism. It remains hegemonic in the world, due to its financial preponderance and massive military superiority. But its decay was shown live, and in colour, as it became the world centre of the pandemic, the death toll reached 130,000, more than double the war in Vietnam.
Now the economic recession is advancing to a depression. Unemployment rose from 4.4% in March to 14.7% in April. Even with a slight fall after the reopening of the economy, these rates had never occurred since the 1929 depression.
The revolt over the death of George Floyd has as its immediate motive the fight against racism in the USA. Once again, fighting oppression acquires a fundamental role in the rising of struggles around the world.
The radical and mass struggles came from the consequences of the pandemic and the economic crisis. The white youth would not have joined the black people’s actions to fight racial oppression if such a brutal social situation did not ferment it.
The Democratic Party, always brought the union movement in the United States in tow, once again tries to direct the uprising and opposition to the government to the November presidential elections. However, it also had to suppress the struggles to try to maintain control directly.
The mass struggle in the USA weakens imperialism and drives the mass movement around the world. Its results are of enormous importance for the world-class struggle.
The American proletariat will have to escape the clutches of the Democratic Party and the union bureaucracy to build its class independence. The task of building a revolutionary party in the USA takes on enormous importance today.
7- The European Union crisis
At the beginning of the year, Europe already showed clear signs of decay, with the stagnation of the German economy, its flagship, and prospects of a recession in the entire continent. The pandemic has hit the continent hard, especially Italy, Spain, France, and Britain. Now, the continent sees its decline and a tendency for the polarisation of the class struggle.
The OECD forecast for European GDP is a drop between 9 and 11.5%. It is is a figure closer to depression than to a recession.
Germany, despite its stagnation, managed to implement a billion-dollar bailout to save its large companies and control the pandemic. The situation is more serious in other imperialist countries, which are unable to do something similar.
The European Union has already suffered a severe blow with the Brexit. Faced with the pandemic and the recession, it is even more divided, showing that there is no “European solidarity” other than the profit of the companies of the great powers. Therefore, it was unable to have any joint response to the pandemic in the most affected countries. The policy of lending to countries only serves to save large companies and will soon be converted into austerity measures, to be charged to European workers.
European governments have generally heralded a policy of “national unity” to face the pandemic. It is stronger in governments led by the social-democracy, as is the case with Spain (Sanchez, PSOE) and Portugal (Costa, PS).
It is a scam. There is no unity between the high bourgeoisie and the workers. These governments primarily manage to preserve the big profits of large companies, without really protecting workers, who are suffering the brutal effects of the pandemic. This “national unity” will clash with the reality of the economic crisis and the deaths by COVID.
Now, European governments have ended partial quarantines to save companies, as in Italy, Spain, and France. They directly expose workers to a new wave of contamination by the virus.
Before the current crisis, France was shaken by the protests of the yellow vests and then by an important transport strike. Even during the pandemic, there were significant mobilisations against the government, inspired by the American example.
Important partial mobilisations occurred in other countries, showing the way to fight the current crisis. The worsening situation may bring a revolutionary process to some European countries.
The far-right has come to stand as an alternative to the failure of the old European Social Democratic and Conservative parties due to their support of the recessive and anti-workers austerity policies implemented by the European Union and facing now a social-economic severe crisis. These sectors blame immigrants for unemployment and call for xenophobic nationalism. Our alternative to oppose the imperialist imposition of the European Union is not the xenophobic bourgeois nationalism of Le Pen, Salvini, or Johnson, but the revolutionary and internationalist strategy of the Union of Socialist Republics of Europe, a real Europe of the workers and the peoples.
8- China in the face of the crisis
Since capitalist restoration, China has entered into the world division of labour as a kind of “factory of the world”. Large multinationals have settled in the country to produce for the world market, taking advantage of cheap labour and the Chinese dictatorship.
Since then, China has come a long way forward in the world market. The new Chinese big bourgeoisie produces on a continental scale for Chinese territory and the world market, taking advantage of the support of the large state-owned banks. China exports capital to semi-colonial countries and oppresses those countries. At the same time, it has a fundamental weight in the world commodities market due to its role in the import of raw materials.
China has integrated into the world market as a privileged sub-metropolis. But now it wants to climb a step in the world division of labour. It is the fundamental basis for the US-China trade war, which is expressed in struggles such as over control of 5G technology. Now, with the global recession underway, whoever comes out of the crisis better, can advance in this conflict.
The pandemic originated in China, in Wuhan. It was under control, but now there are signs of resumption of new cases. The economy was hit hard by the pandemic and the global recession. It is possible that in 2020, China’s economy will stagnate, due to the halt of exports to the recessive world market. It may well be that a recession is making its way, which would be the first since the restoration of capitalism. It is very serious for a military dictatorship that holds control by the combination of repression and robust economic growth.
Taking advantage of the pandemic, the Chinese state strengthened its internal control and repression systems. And now it has extended its claws to Hong Kong after the approval of the Decree 23 to stifle the uprising in that city.
The Chinese proletariat – today the largest on the planet – was already carrying out a series of strikes before the pandemic and the economic crisis. With the possible stagnation or even recession of the economy, living conditions will worsen much more, and there may be an explosion of mobilisations. Will China be able to drown the uprising in Honk Kong? Will the Chinese dictatorship assert itself in the post-crisis world market? These possibilities are in place. But there is another, with the integration of the Chinese proletariat in the revolutionary processes in the world.
9- The semi-colonial countries
The Covid-19 epicentre shifted from China to Europe and then the US. But the pandemic’s peak is concentrated in Latin America, Asia and Africa’s semi-colonial countries. And that is where millions of deaths will provide definitive numbers for the pandemic.
The IMF predicts a drop in production in Latin America of 5.3%. Africa may see a drop of 1.6%, with the worse retraction in South Africa, of 5.8%. India is facing a very rough break in its economy. Hundreds of millions of workers might lose their jobs.
The dead abandoned in the streets of Guayaquil are only the first growing signs of barbarism that are arriving. Countries with a terrible hospital structure, with a considerable part of the population without water or sewage, are being swept away by the pandemic. Hunger weighs on the streets of poor neighbourhoods of Latin American and Black Africa brutally.
The bourgeois governments’ attitude varies in front of the pandemic. Some deny the danger, underestimate the disease and refuse to take minimal isolation measures, such as Bolsonaro (Brazil), Ortega (Nicaragua), Lopes Obrador (Mexico), Magufuli (Tanzania)
Other governments seem to have the policies to fight COVID-19 and call for national unity, such as Fernandez (Argentina). The latter gained more political support from the masses in the first months of the disease.
All of them, however, are guided by the spirit of guaranteeing corporation profits and payment of their external debt to imperialism.
The harsh reality of a brutal economic drop and the pandemics devastation is going to originate crisis in these countries’ governments and regimes. Such reality may lead to a strong polarisation in the class struggle, with a sharper confrontation between revolution and counter-revolution, revolutionary uprisings, fall of governments, military coups, etc.
We already had, by the beginning of the year, distinct revolutionary processes in course in Chile and Colombia in Latin America. Now there is a tendency towards the emergence of new revolutionary processes in the world.
In Ecuador, after last year’s October insurrection, the struggle was halted. With the crisis and the pandemic, it is now beginning to resurrect in the streets of Quito, Cuenca and Guayaquil, threatening to resume the revolutionary process.
Bolsonaro’s government crisis is rising, already with an important and growing opposition sector in the base, but still with the support of a minority mass sector. In the face of the pandemic’s brutal gravity and the economic crisis, new struggles may erupt in the country,
In the Middle East and the North of Africa, after the struggles known as the Arabic Spring of 2011, important defeats occurred in Syria and Egypt. The revolutionary process reemerged in 2019 in Argelia and Sudan, taking down governments, as in Lebanon and Iraq. Afterwards, there came the pandemics and economic crisis. The fall in the oil prices has severly weakened the entire region. It notably weakened two columns of the regions’ counter-revolution. Saudi Arabia had to partially retreat from South Yemen, and in its military intervention in the civil war. Iran started taking back its military forces which had supported Assad from Syria.
In Palestine the US government and the new Netanyahu government proceed with the colonial expansion, ethnic cleansing and coordinate the implementation of the “Deal of the Century”, a new step in the attachment of Palestine territories. The Palestinian economy, heavily dependent on Israel and the imperialism, may face a GDP drop of 14% and the loss of US$ 2.5 billion with the pandemic. There is a growing opposition to the Palestinian Authority government for its collaborationist posture with Israel. The confrontations and calls for resistance are accentuated.
New struggles arose in Lebanon and Iraq, still small, but more radicalised. A new wave of sharp polarisation between revolution and counter-revolution may be generated in the Middle East.
In India, the repressive far-right government (Modi) had been facing great struggles against an anti-Muslim law at the beginning of the year. It is one of the biggest proletariats of the world, with brutal over-exploitation. The government maintained itself on the basis of new economic growth of 7% in the last few years, which now is abruptly reduced, with the possibility of recession throughout the year. Unemployment went from 8 to 26% from the start of the crisis to now. Indian economy’s stagnation and the Strong impact of the pandemic are stimuli for a possible eruption of the giant Indian proletariat.
It may be that we are advancing towards a new polarisation of class struggle between revolution and counter-revolution in semi-colonial countries, with further revolutionary explosions to a superior level than at the beginning of the year.
In all of these processes, it will be necessary to confront imperialist domination and the associated national bourgeoisie directly.
Once again, it is necessary to point out the tragic persistence of the revolutionary mass leadership crisis that may lead to defeats in the most advanced processes. For that reason, the construction of revolutionary parties is posed as an objective necessity.
10- The struggles against racism and other forms of oppression
The struggles against oppression are a fundamental part of the revolutionary processes around the world. It is not by coincidence that the revolt against racism in the US is a worldwide symbol of the struggles at this moment.
The pandemic and recession qualitatively affect workers and the poor the most. And, amongst them, even more so the oppressed sectors.
The governments stimulate racism, xenophobia, sexism and LGBTphobia to divide the workers, to play natives against immigrants, men against women, white people against black people.
It is the black and the immigrants that are most exposed because they work in factories and essential sectors that do not stop. Caravans of immigrants in Central America expressed the radicalisation and desperation of such sectors.
It is necessary to unite the workers in the struggle against all kinds of oppression. There is no advancing in the unity of workers without fighting against the oppressions that divide them.
To fight oppression, it is necessary to fight against capitalism, that utilises the oppressions to maintain domination and over-exploit the oppressed. To do that it is essential to also fight against reformist leaderships that defend capitalist strategies. On the one hand, they place they see their possibility to be empowered within capitalism, a mistaken perspective, even more so with the recession. On the other hand, they also divide workers between black and white, men and women, preventing a common struggle against racism and sexism. The participation of white youth in the struggle against racism in the US is a common example to be followed worldwide.
It is necessary to defend the end of police repression and of the killing of black people! Dissolution of the police! Reorganise the police with democratic control, and elections of all official posts!
Igual pay for equal work! Men and women, black and white must have the same salary for the same work. For the immigrants’ right for asylum with no restrictions, equal wages with that of native workers, and equal retirement rights. For the right to healthcare, housing and food for all migrants. For an end to deportations and restrictive migration legislation. For the right of nationality, according to birthplace, so no one is an immigrant in their own country — legalisation and subsidy to all unemployed immigrants.
11- Against the violence against women! In defence of LGBT rights!
There were already signs in recent years of a considerable rise in women’s struggles, with giant protests against sexist violence and for the right to abortion. In revolutionary processes, the participation of women in the vanguard is significant, in some cases the majority.
The pandemic and quarantine measures led to an increase in female domestic violence, as also in the killing of women and in other violations.
No discrimination of race, nationality or sexual orientation in medical assistance. The lives of women matter!
Equal pay for equal work. Equal opportunities! Down with the lowering of salaries and work posts for women!
For the end of violence against women! For the rights to legal, safe and free abortions all over the world. Labour quotas and employment opportunities for the entire LGBTI community.
Dismantle the networks of sexual enslavement of women and prison for all traffickers! Against the police persecution of prostitutes.
The quarantine must not increase women’s daily work. Reduction of work hours without a reduction of wages to all working women with children, including the ones working at home.
Increase of the budgets for female protection policies, such as hotlines and shelters against violence. Increase of the budget to defend childhood, against violence within the family during confinement.
Down with violence and LGBT phobia. For the immediate and universal right to identity.
12- Reformism is the bourgeoisie’s right arm in the mass movement
Reformist parties and organisations – social democracy, Stalinism, the PT, Syriza, etc. – tend to fulfil a central role in the current crisis.
Because of the crisis of governments and regimes, the bourgeoisie must look to utilising those parties even more so than in the past to contain the mass movement, halt or avoid new revolutionary processes.
These parties are not “allies further to the right” for the revolutionaries. They are enemies of the revolutionary processes for being the bourgeoisie’s arms in the mass movement.
They can, with the authority of being political leaderships of the opposition, leaders of unions and the feminist, black or immigrant movements, redirect the deflect the struggle towards agreements with bourgeois governments. Or still, from within the governments, help implement the bourgeoisie’s plans and repress the struggles.
In this moment of brutal capitalist crisis, the reformist leaderships are dedicated to presenting, in every corner, alternatives of “human capitalism”. Bernie Sanders, who was supported by a great part of the world reformist left, openly engages with Biden – the imperialist bourgeois electoral alternative.
The neo-reformists, such as Syriza – such as Podemos, Bloco de Esquerda, etc. – have already shown their direct role in the bourgeois governments. They support or take part in social democratic governments to defend the bourgeois state in the name of “radical democracy” in the moments of crisis or social convulsions. Chile’s Frente Ampla and PSOL in Brazil follow in their steps.
The strategy of these parties is nothing more than a modern version of Bernstein’s reformism. Now the horizon became humane capitalism, an impossible utopia, as the pandemic demonstrates every day.
The distinct sectors of the Church play very different roles in each country. From the support of right-wing governments to acting as reformism’s assistants. They manage to have an ideological basis and a world view that allows them to incorporate important sectors of the youth, generally backing a strategy of reforming capitalism.
The revolutionary leadership crisis, due to the hegemony of reformist leaderships on the mass movement remains as the cause of the defeats of revolutionary processes. Now, in the new situation created by the pandemic and the economic crisis, there may be new revolutionary processes, which makes it even more important to fight against the reformist leaderships.
13- The bourgeois dictatorships supported by Castro-Chavism
Stalinist reformism and petit-bourgeois nationalism evolved as to gestate new bourgeoisies with control of the state apparatus, such as in Nicaragua with the Ortega family, as well as in Venezuela with Chavism and in Syria with Assad.
In China and Cuba, the processes were different because they went through socialist revolutions in the past. Nevertheless, the Stalinist bureaucracies commanded the restoration of capitalism, acting as the foundation to gestate a new bourgeoisie, also from within the state apparatus.
In all of these countries, there are corrupt and repressive bourgeois dictatorships. The support given to them by Castro-Chavist reformist parties all over the world only indicates their degree of degeneration. Supporting the Syrian people’s genocide by Assad’s repression is part of their responsibility for this crime against humanity. Supporting Maduro’s dictatorship in Venezuela – which lives through an economic depression and a humanitarian crisis due to Chavism’s twenty years in power – is staining the socialist flags. Supporting the Chinese dictatorship is to directly defend the capitalist model of over-exploitation of workers for the world.
Now, these dictatorships will face the challenges of the pandemic and economic recession. Inevitably the dissatisfaction in the bases will greatly increase.
There may be new explosions as there have been with the Syrian revolution of 2011, defeated by the dictatorship, and the 2018 uprising against Ortega, also defeated by the government’s repression.
It is necessary to confront the ideology that in Venezuela, Cuba and China socialism exits, as is said by so many of the defenders of the great bourgeoisie as well as the supporters of Stalinism. Just as in the past we were obligated to delimitate categorically from the Stalinist dictatorships as “examples of socialism”, today we have the obligation of denouncing that they are bourgeois and corrupt dictatorships. There is not a single drop of socialism in these countries. There is no anti-imperialism in these governments.
14- The neo anarchist reformists
The neo anarchist and autonomist groups and movements managed to gain prestige in vanguard sectors of the struggles, capitalising on the decay of reformist organisations and union bureaucracies. There are multiple groups, from Zapatism, the ones with references from John Holloway, Toni Negri, Chantal Mouffe and many others. They have many differences amongst themselves, but share ideologies opposed to Marxism.
These groups do not look for workers organisation. They do not defend the proletariat as the social subject of the revolution. They do not propose the destruction of the bourgeois state, as opposed to classic anarchists. They do not defend, therefore, the socialist revolution. They limit themselves to a reformist practice of organising local or cooperative associations. Other than that, they are direct enemies of the necessity for revolutionary parties.
Today they are one more face of reformism, with the appearance of a libertarian left. They are strategic allies to reformism in the revolutionary processes, despite looking like their enemies in the first steps of those processes. That is why, many times, they end up as electoral support for reformist alternatives.
It is not enough to fight against the reformist leaderships, it is also needed to confront these groups. The more they manage to lead the struggles, new defeats are guaranteed.
15- In defence of proletarian control
The workers are the ones who build the country and know how to guarantee production. In a moment of an acute capitalist crisis like the current one, the defence or proletarian control is even more critical.
Only imposing the wants of the workers from the base may the massive destruction of the productive forces that is currently being caused by the capitalist crisis be prevented.
In the face of the government’s lies about the numbers of the pandemic, it is the workers from the base who must assume control over the situation. The healthcare workers can fulfil a role that the governments do not. The residents of popular neighbourhoods must outline their needs and control the means of combating the pandemic.
Workers are the ones who must know the role of each factory. They are the ones who must assume control over the companies that threaten to lay off workers.
16- Down with repression! For self-defence committees!
Police violence is present all over the world. The generalised outrage of the North American masses against the murder of George Floyd brought to light the rage accumulated against the police actions around the world.
Governments used to repression to stifle the generalised discontentment. The hatred against repression transforms into a strong basis for new struggles.
There is no means to reform the police, changing its nature. The repressive apparatuses are central parts of the bourgeois state.
But it is necessary to have policies that will break the hierarchy of the armed forces and the police, calling them to not repress the struggles, demanding the election of their commanders by the communities.
At the same time, it is fundamental to utilise every opportunity to develop workers’ self-defence. That must occur from the beginning to defend struggle, as well as the defence of worker neighbourhoods against police invasions. Self-defence in the neighbourhoods is also the only real way of protecting against the groups related to the trafficking of narcotics.
17- The unions and self-organisation
Trotsky said that in the imperialist era the unions would grow more attached to the bourgeois state. In a situation of pandemic and recession, the pressure towards that doubles. The union bureaucracies are the instrument for the sterilisation of the organisms which should be at the head of the minimal worker struggles.
For that reason, in many countries, the unions are seen by the workers as part of the bourgeois regime, part of “what’s already there”, which inspire no confidence in the bases. On the other hand, often, the reorganisation processes still do not generate new organisms. The result is a disorganisation of the workers, which limits the potential of the struggles.
The call for a united front of the workers’ organisations, to assume the fight in the face of the grave economic crisis and the consequences of the pandemic, is fundamental. That is important to make possible a unified struggle against the catastrophe that confronts us. It is also essential to unmask the bureaucracies that do not assume that struggle.
The call to unity is for advancing workers direct action, maintaining our political differentiation from the reformist and bourgeois leaderships. It has nothing to do with political fronts or permanent unity with such leaderships. The struggles will only advance if the workers overcome these leaderships.
Many times, this battle is strictly connected to the struggle for a new leadership and for proletarian democracy. Without proletarian democracy there is no possibility of guaranteeing the importance of the bases. Without new leaderships, it is not possible to guarantee either proletarian democracy or the struggles.
In other places, there is the need for a self-organisation process for the construction of new organisms, be it in the workers neighborhoods, or in the work place.
18 – In defense of the democratic liberties
The bourgeois states, both the ones organised as democratic regimes or as Bonapartist, impose each day more repression against the workers’ struggles.
The direct repression against the struggles, the military occupation of popular neighbourhoods, the assassination of popular leaders, the criminalisation of movements, censorship on the press, vigilance and control over each part of the population are a high priority for bourgeois governments.
The political prisoners maintained in prison even during the pandemic, as it is the case in Chile and with Palestinians, are the conscious expression of this government genocide.
Many times the governments legitimised such measures as a “guarantee of quarantine” and for this they gain the support of even left sectors. They are states of exception, states of emergency, curfews, etc. In reality, they are a prevention against social convulsions that are being incubated from the bases.
It is necessary to defend democratic liberties so that the workers and the youth can organise and fight.
19- Combat the far-right
The class struggle polarisation lead to an increasing tendency towards the emergence of far-right sectors. That is expressed in the elections but also in the appearance of directly fascist groups at the basis.
It is of great importance to differentiate institutional far-right from fascist groups. Reformist organisations, in order to justify their allegiance with “democratic” bourgeois organisations, classify all far-right as “fascist”. But fascists are sectors which prepare and act with even military perspectives of destroying the proletarian movement and its organisations.
The institutional far-right acts through bourgeois democracy, and even grows through the elections, such as Trump, Bolsonaro, Le Pen, Vox and others. They consciously lean on division and oppression as a methodology to divide the working class. And many times manage to divide it, using white proletariat against the black, and white workers against immigrants or natives, or men against women, etc.
There is a minority directly fascist sector emerging in the shadows of these processes. They are an ultra-minority, because the bourgeoisie does not feel a need for them. However, there is a tendency towards their growth in the shadows of the bourgeois democracy crisis, protected by the institutional far-right.
It is necessary to engage in a massive political and ideological battle against the racist, sexist, LGBTphobic and xenophobic division that the far-right ideas incite within the working class. Other than the political and ideological confrontation, it is also needed to organise self-defence committees for military combat, when necessary.
20- The youth without perspective
Around the world, the youth has been harshly affected by the neoliberal capitalist plans. The low wages and more precarious state of labour relations made most young people into people without a future. The damage done to public health and education reduces even further the youth’s life perspective.
The pandemic and confinement measures caused the closing of schools and universities all over the world, leading to a broadening of education through the internet. However, that increased the educational distance between those who have access to the internet and a computer and those who have not, the majority of whom are the world’s poor young.
Now, unemployment will fall harder upon the young. That may lead to new popular explosions, with the radicalised youth at the front.
It is not by accident that the youth from the popular sectors are the vanguard of the revolutionary struggles that take place in many parts of the world. The feeling that there is nothing to lose moves the young towards action and confrontation with the police.
The First Line in Chile – the fighters who defend the protests against the police – are symbols of a worldwide process. The youth from popular neighbourhoods was the vanguard also in the revolutionary processes in Ecuador, Colombia, Iraq, Lebanon, Hong Kong, just as it is now in the US.
Public and free education on all levels! For the repeal of the neoliberal plans which damage public education! For the increase of the budget for public education! For the guarantee of conditions for accessing free online education during the pandemic.
Guarantee of employment for the youth! Equal pay for the young and adults! Immediate formal hiring for all poor young people.
21- Public and free access to the internet
Modern communication is extremely important – the internet and social media. During the isolation caused by the pandemic, that became even more omnipresent.
However, far from meaning a democratisation of communication, access to computers and social media remains a privilege. Corporations use social media for propaganda, far-right groups use them to disseminate xenophobic lies and ideologies.
It is necessary to socialise internet access, with free computers and mobile phones and public and generalised public wifi.
22- Socialism or barbarism
The state is in fact a dictatorship of the dominant classes in order to impose their control over society. Be it through the bourgeois democracy, or Bonapartist regimes, the politics imposed is bourgeois. A minimal minority impose their wants over millions of people, through the governments, parliaments and armed forces.
In the bourgeois democracies, the elections are manipulated by big corporations which finance the biggest parties and always win, through right-wing parties or a reformist “left”. The economic plans are often the same whether the “right” or “opposition” win.
The democracy of the rich is in crisis. The farse of the “state for everyone” is increasingly recognised by the workers. Corruption is an illness of every bourgeois state.
We want to destroy the bourgeois state and build a proletarian democracy. This democracy must be supported by the workers’ organisms, with elected delegates and mandates revocable at any time. All employees must have payment equal to an average industrial worker.
We are not inventing something. We are leaning on the historical examples of the Paris Commune and the seven first years of the Russian revolution before the Stalinist bureaucratisation. As Lenin said, that workers state was a thousand times more democratic than the most democratic of the bourgeois democracy.
The combined expropriation of big corporations and planing of the economy will allow for a new society, which will address the workers’ needs instead of guaranteeing the bosses’ profits.
Only by advancing towards socialism can we avoid barbarism. Only in that way can we avoid the ecological collapse that draws nearer and recompose the nature destroyed by capitalism.
23- For the construction of revolutionary parties, sections of the IV International
We are at the beginning of a new historical moment, marked by the pandemic, economic crisis and new confrontations between revolution and counter-revolution around the world.
Moments such as this lead to great shifts in the masses and vanguards consciousness. We must look to transform it into rupture with the bourgeois and reformist leaderships.
The tragedy of almost every revolution has been the lack of revolutionary leaderships. Even with how heroic the masses’ actions are, they will be defeated, if the revolutionary leadership crisis is not overcome.
For that reason, there is no task more important than building the parties, that unite revolutionaries around a program and the Bolshevik party conception. The construction of the parties is inseparable from the reconstruction of the IV International, a revolutionary international, based on the III International led by Lenin and Trotsky.
As Trotsky said in his message recorded for the Conference that founded the IV International in 1938: “Yes, our party takes each one of us wholly. But in return it gives to every one of us the highest happiness: the consciousness that one participates in the building of a better future, that one carries on his shoulders a particle of the fate of mankind, and that one’s life will not have been lived in vain.”
We want to call activists from the struggles to build the revolutionary parties and the International Workers League along with us, our embryo of a revolutionary International. That is the only way to face the barbarism that threatens us and to forge a socialist future.