The corona virus pandemic, with the measures of social isolation, is forcing many mobilization processes to take a break in their forms of mobilization against their despotic governments. This occurs in: Hong Kong, France, Algeria, Sudan or Chile, to name a few examples. But those who think that these processes have died are mistaken.

By Asdrubal Barbosa

This because the causes that generated these processes did not end, on the contrary, these bourgeois governments remain despotic and overexploited the working class. In fact, they are taking advantage of the pandemic to trigger more attacks in terms of the living conditions of the most impoverished sectors of the population and take advantage of this interval to attack and repress the movement.

That is why it is essential that mobilizations remain, using all possible forms of struggle, as well as seeking to defend and preserve themselves.

Through social networks, criticizing and explaining the capitalist and pro-employer policies of these governments; with criticisms of the government’s initial inaction and then to incompetent management, capitalists and liars that have been made, and its harmful effects: spreading hunger and death across the planet. Already preparing for the return of the mobilizations when the contamination has cooled.

But it is also taking measures to ensure the safety and physical and moral integrity of its activists and militants.

The protests peaked when squares and streets in several cities were full, when they faced repression and workers carrying out strikes and demonstrations. It was the protesters and young people from the “First Line”, in Chile; the Yellow Vests and the strikers in France; the Lebanese against the government sectarian order; the Algerians against Buteflika’s dictatorial pouvoir (power) and his minions; young people from Hong Kong and Barcelona; the Iranians, the Palestinians and everyone else.

The French have not forgotten

According to a French activist, social confinement “It works like a spring that is compressed and tensions are already breaking out in the neighborhoods. And the exposed workers, see that they are not considered. Are the workers in the front line, mostly women and informal workers who have a knife in their throat “. A generalized social explosion is likely to come after the “deflation”, enhanced by inflation and the worsening of living conditions in the most impoverished sectors, “Increasing the rejection of the Macron government”. The great contradiction is that despite the weight that the unions gained, union leaders do not want to confront the government and continue to leave exit doors that allow them to continue their policy.

In this sense, the Intelligence Services of France carried out a study in which they conclude that after the mandatory confinement there must be more radicalized protests. [1] They warn that some collectives that appeared in the last protests, are already calling for mobilizations. According to the confidential notes of this service «Confinement does not allow demonstrations, but society’s anger is not weakened and crisis management (…), fuels protests».

It could not be otherwise since in France, workers have been facing each other systematically, with general strikes and street mobilizations, against this government that currently accumulates almost 20,000 deaths. Research shows that most French people believe government hides information, who has not acted in time, is not providing the necessary means for health, nor does it give the correct uniforms on the evolution of the crisis. Health professionals complain about the lack of masks and virus detection tests.

In addition, containment measures, started in March 17, are clearly insufficient. Like in Italy or Spain, the French continue to work in factories and non-essential services. The regions most affected by the pandemic are Gran Este, and the Paris regions where there is a high population density, many immigrants, with the lowest wages, deteriorating public services and a growing social exclusion. Informal workers are also being severely affected by isolation. and those who cannot afford to telework and are therefore unpaid with the confinement. In the suburbs of Paris there are clashes with the police already, now, during social isolation.

The hated French police use confinement to harass, watch over, humiliate and even murder those who identify as their greatest dangers: immigrants from poor areas. In these regions, comments are made: “The police pose a greater threat than the virus”.

 

Hong Kong repression continues

Almost a year ago protests against the extradition law began, that allowed to deliver suspicious political enemies to the government of China, which was withdrawn in October, in one of the largest mobilization processes, since the former British colony.

In Hong Kong there was also a “breick” in the demonstrations, but the hatred of government officials remains intact and they want the overthrow of the head of government, Carrie Lam. Polls indicate that the majority is in favor of the demonstrations for democracy, with universal suffrage, and the creation of an independent commission that investigates the police’s brutal action during the demonstrations. Therefore, it is to be expected that soon “the masks against the virus will be replaced by masks to fight against tear gas”.

Many Hong Kong protesters have opted for virtual demonstrations, using Nintendo video games, censored by the Chinese government on the continent, decorating their spaces with political references.

For its part, the repression of the Chinese state has not abated. Three teenagers, accused of throwing “molotov cocktails” against a police station during the demonstrations were recently arrested, as well as several activists and political leaders, accused of having participated in “illegal assemblies” held during the mobilizations. The police are conducting various procedures, investigations and preventive arrests.

Algeria repression in full quarantine

In Algeria, the Hirak (the Arab name for the protest movement against the dictatorship), in existence for over a year. The activists had to agree on a “health truce”.

But the repression has given no respite. According to the National Committee for the Liberation of Detainees, there are 173 political prisoners in the country at the moment, among them Karim Tabú and Abdelouahab Fersaoui.[2]

It goes without saying that there is a great deal of mistrust of the information released, by the dictatorship, of Covid-19 in the midst of the health crisis. All indications are that Hirak should return with doubled strength after the compulsory isolation, even with all the arrests and persecutions being carried out by the Algerian dictatorship.

Piñera tries to stifle the revolution

The pandemic gave a break to the street demonstrations of the Chilean revolutionary process, as well as postponing the plebiscite which was scheduled for April 26. But he didn’t close it.

Political and social contradictions continue to exist and deepen in a country that has its health system privatized, in the style of the United States, which with the pandemic will further harm the poorest and most precarious workers.

That’s why the Piñera government wants to take advantage of this interval to stifle the revolution, keeps more than 2,500 young activists as political prisoners in pre-trial detention, with poor prison conditions, without hygienic conditions, in a totally arbitrary way. What was qualified by the State Auditor General, Lya Cabello, after a recent inspection of the prison system, as a “time bomb” because “it cannot be guaranteed that prisons comply with the requirements to avoid contagion”.

Many of them are minors, adolescents detained, and placed in “precautionary measure of provisional confinement”.

There is a deliberate policy to eliminate one of the best sectors in the vanguard of this struggle, presented on the “First Line”. Carried out by one of the largest repressive apparatus in Latin America, who has murdered more than 30 boxers and mutilated more than 400, in addition to the rapes and sexual abuses committed by his troops. So much so that when Judge Daniel Urrutia released 13 trade activists to house arrest for the Covid-19 pandemic, the Court of Appeals left this measure ineffective, suspended the judge and opened an investigation against him.

Thousands of families, activists and militants are mobilizing against this situation through various organizations, while most organizations claiming to be “left-wing”, such as Frente Amplia, have shamefully forgotten these political prisoners. Defending the lives of these activists and combatants is defending a political capital fundamental to the Chilean Revolution. In this sense the heroic work that the People’s Ombudsman’s Office and the lawyer Maria Rivera are doing, and achieving, the liberation of these activists (even if individually) is a task of first order for self-defense of the movement.

 

Prepare for future battles

Even in times of pandemic, bourgeois governments give no truce to working class organizations, and increase their attacks.

That is why workers should only believe in their own strengths, organizing themselves during the pandemic and building a self-protection mechanism against the attacks they are receiving. Because only by its self-organization will it be able to alleviate the catastrophe that is preparing itself against our class and to organize itself for the battles to come.