In the last year, the world has been shaken by two unprecedented events of extreme importance in the life of capitalism: the Covid-19 pandemic and, most recently, the assault on the Capitol in Washington after the American elections that sanctioned the defeat of Donald Trump. These two events are neither insignificant nor separate from each other. They can only be understood in a historical framework that we will present in this introduction.
We are publishing this article written by a close sympathiser, of the ICC in the US, which defends our general analysis of the significance of the events of January 6 in Washington, and points out the role of those ardent apologists of bourgeois democracy – the Trotskyists, “Democratic Socialists” etc - in helping to strengthen the repressive apparatus of the state.
Every major country has been affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, but the crisis has not had a uniform impact. The UK, with more than 100,000 deaths, has one of the highest coronavirus death rates in the world and, throughout 2020, the shadow of Brexit hung over the economy, with negotiations continuing for months until the British bourgeoisie finally broke the “shackles” of the EU at the start of 2021. The combination of pandemic and Brexit is hitting an economy that already had one of the weakest recoveries from the 2008 financial crisis.
The following article was written before the current "vaccine nationalism" row between Britain and the EU over supplies of the Oxford-AstraZeneca inoculation. But it shows “vaccine nationalism” is precisely the way that nations and companies are going because they cannot escape the laws of profitability and the sharpening tendency of “every man for himself” in international relations.
The British Conservative government's disastrously incompetent handling of the Covid-19 pandemic, its incoherent undertaking of the Brexit negotiations, its U-turns over the health crisis, the economic crisis and growing conflicts with the EU, have not been met with an oppositional onslaught by the Labour Party. The British bourgeoisie has been losing control of its political apparatus and one of Labour's historic roles is to pose as an alternative to a government that has pursued populist policies that have undermined the effective functioning of British state capitalism. It has largely failed to take up the task.
The International media always try to depict Sweden as a “paradise on earth”, a Welfare State with almost total equality among the citizens. Nothing could be further from the truth. For more than three decades, privatisations and outsourcing of schools, hospitals, GP surgeries, as well as other sectors, like the elderly care, has created a situation where the health sector has suffered from increased cuts. The corona crisis has clearly shown the cracks in this illusion. Today, the number of hospital beds in Sweden has decreased to one of the lowest levels in Europe.
Colored National Labor Union Convention, 1869
The campaign around “Black Lives Matter” (BLM) has led many people to look for references in the history of the struggle against the oppression of and violence against black people. Among the most well-known black activist are Marcus Garvey, Malcom X, and Martin Luther King. But communists do not base their political orientation on activists fighting for equal rights within capitalism.
The past year has been marked, once again, by a series of disasters, including a global pandemic that has so far claimed more than 2 million lives and has meant a significant deepening of the economic crisis of capitalism, plunging millions of people into misery and precariousness. The year 2021 has only just begun, but it was immediately marked by a new event of historic significance: the assault on the Capitol by fanatical Trumpist hordes. These two events are not separated from each other.
As 2020 draws to a close, the health crisis continues inexorably. As we have already affirmed, our organisation continues its intervention towards the proletariat and its most politicised minorities. Indeed, we must fight against the isolation and atomisation imposed on us by the bourgeoisie with lockdown measures and curfews. We therefore held an online meeting on 21 November 2020, following on from an earlier one that took place on 17 October. There were fourteen people present at the earlier meeting, who were very keen for the discussion to continue.
“This is how election results are disputed in a banana republic”. This declaration followed the January 5 invasion of the Capitol by several hundred Donald Trump partisans, who had come to interrupt the certification of Joe Biden’s victory. You might think that such a severe judgement of the political situation in the US might come from someone who is viscerally hostile to America, or from an American “leftist”. Not at all: this was from ex-president George W Bush, a member of the same party as Trump. This tells us a lot about the gravity of what happened in Washington that day.
St Louis USA, 1918: The 'Spanish Flu' was the first pandemic of decadent capitalism.
The link between the development of an infection on one hand, and the organisation and state of society on the other, doesn't only concern the Spanish Flu outbreak of 1918-20. This article explores how the decadence of capitalism - like that of class societies preceding it - fosters plague and poses the necessity of a revolution in social relations.
It is astonishing how countries with the most advanced technologies are unable to control and contain the spread of the Covid-19 virus. Supporters of conspiracy theories say that there must be something behind this and indeed there is something behind it, but not a conspiracy. It's the decline of the capitalist method of production that's the cause and it is increasingly hindering not only the development of the forces of social production but also threatening the very survival of mankind.
We publish here the third of the reports on the world situation written for the Congress of our section in France. This one focuses on the situation of the international working class prior to and during the global pandemic.
We are publishing a letter from a sympathiser who took part in a recent online discussion meeting and raises some questions about our approach towards ant-racism and “identity politics”. Our response follows.
The number of people infected with the Covid-19 virus has been rising sharply in recent weeks in many parts of the world, especially in Europe, which has once more become one of the epicentres of the pandemic. The “possibility of a second wave” announced several months ago by epidemiologists is now a reality and it is highly likely that it will be much more virulent than the previous one.
The fragile cease-fire coming from the "accords" between Armenia and Azerbaijan permits no illusions about a "peaceful settlement" of the conflict. It is the product of a situation which can only sanction a precarious "order" and a relation of forces imposed by both Russia and Turkey. It settles nothing. On the contrary it represents another stage in the exacerbation of military tensions and feeds the chaos in this imperialist fault-line which risks reigniting the flames of war later on.
The Covid-19 pandemic is seriously aggravating the world economic crisis which was already resurfacing after the anaemic post-2008 "recovery". The working class all over the world will feel the impact: unemployment, increased rates of exploitation, poverty and insecurity...This report, written for the recent congress of our section in France, analyses the manner in which a product of social decomposition is rebounding onto the economic sphere.