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 the workers and the oppressed against capitalist governments backlash; the capitalists who want to place the burden on the back of the working class through hunger, poverty and now with our lives.
We present this program for the study and open debate with all the fighters and organizers as a tool to develop the struggle against this true 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 biggest world recession since 1929.
Workers are suffering the biggest attacks in a century. The social effects are similar to those of huge 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 barbarism 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 mankind 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 class struggle rising up and revolutionary processes, like in Chile, Colombia, Hong Kong, Iraq, and Lebanon.
In the midst of the pandemic, a revolt broke out in the USA, becoming the center of attention worldwide. This is the 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 radicalized 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 true 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. This demoralizes politically and ideologically capitalism and sparks mass struggles around the world.
It is likely that we are entering a new world situation, with a strong polarization 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 wars may occur.
The disjunctive socialism or barbarism is once again strongly 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 historic 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 do not 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 neighborhoods, 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, privatized hospitals. The virus hit humanity completely unprotected in the 21st century. 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, there is no safe treatment. After months of the most serious pandemic in recent history, humanity remains helpless.
Under pressure from companies, the governments in the world have even abandoned partial quarantines. They are exposing workers to a new round of the pandemic. In some countries, the reopening takes place at its height. Governments protect upscale neighborhoods and as soon as they consider the pandemic controlled in the wealthiest sectors of society, they leave the poor peripheries abandoned to its effects.
According to scientists, in no country, even in the most affected, has the stage of “herd immunity” been reached, which ensures the control of the pandemic. All countries are threatened by the continuation of the current wave or a new wave before an effective vaccine or treatment is achieved.
It is necessary to halt production in companies with infected workers. There is an urgent need to advance the self-organization of workers to demand medical care in neighborhoods 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.
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 simple and inexpensive mechanical ventilators, as well as masks, alcohol gels, and other essential materials to fight the pandemic. Health workers must be given 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 neighborhoods. Against the isolation of poor neighborhoods 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 huge 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 serious 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 “globalization” of the economy.
The bourgeoisie that rules dependent countries are submissive to imperialism. They may have partial conflicts but in general, they reflect this economic subordination 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. Now, once again, the combination of the pandemic with the economic crisis demonstrates 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 was announced 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. What was announced as a 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 labor 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 further concentrate ownership in their hands. 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 labor.
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 fulfill 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 generalized precariousness of labor 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 neighborhoods. For the self-organization 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.
Organize the unemployed into committees in popular neighborhoods. Unite the employed and unemployed workers at workplaces and neighborhoods.
It is necessary to prohibit retroactive dismissals since the beginning of the pandemic. It is necessary 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 needed 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 old people to hunger. Reduction of retirement age: rest for those who have worked all their lives to give an opportunity for young people who are now starting to work.
In defense of workers’ strikes so that workers can impose their demands against the economic crisis!
Immediate reversal of all neoliberal plans! Guarantee of jobs with labor 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 completely 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 are recalling historical experiences that clearly 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 on a daily basis 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 bureaucratized, 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.
This brings up the second necessary comparison. When the world sank into the 1929 depression, with many countries falling between 20% and 30% in annual GDP, the USSR was developing 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 parasitizing the workers’ states, these same bureaucracies commanded the restoration of capitalism. This occurred both 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. So, the capitalist restoration was performed by the bureaucracies themselves. 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 mass-weight revolutionary leadership, it was bourgeois leaders who commanded these processes. New bourgeois sectors, many born out of the old bureaucracies, ruled these states.
This has not yet occurred in China and Cuba. There, capitalism was restored, but bourgeois Stalinist dictatorships hold 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 publicize “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 causes the destruction of 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 necessary to plan and rationalize 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 world class struggle. It is not simply 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 polarization 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 huge military superiority. But its decay was shown live and in color, as it became the world center 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 radicality and massiveness of these struggles feed on the consequences of the pandemic and the economic crisis. The white youth would have not joined the black people’s actions to fight racial oppression if it was not fermented by such a brutal social situation.
The Democratic Party, which has always brought the union movement in the United States in tow, once again tries to direct all the uprising and opposition to the government to the November presidential elections. However, it also had to directly suppress the struggles to try to maintain control.
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
Europe has already shown clear signs of decay at the beginning of the year, 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 polarization of the class struggle.
The OECD forecast for European GDP is a drop between 9 and 11.5%. This 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 serious 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. This is more strong 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 great bourgeoisie and the workers. These governments essentially 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. This directly exposes 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 important mobilizations against the government, inspired by the American example.
Important partial mobilizations 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 serious social-economic crisis. These sectors blame immigrants for unemployment and call for xenophobic nationalism. To face the imperialist imposition of the European Union, our alternative 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 true Europe of the workers and the peoples.
8- China in the face of the crisis
Since the capitalist restoration, China has entered into the world division of labor 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 labor 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 for 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 labor. This is the fundamental basis for the US-China trade war, which is expressed in struggles such as the 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. Apparently, 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. This 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 it is possible that there is an explosion of mobilizations. 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 semicolonial countries
The Covid epicenter shifted from Chine to Europe and then the US. But the pandemic’s peak is concentrated in Latin America, Asia and Africa’s semicolonial 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 should see a drop of 1,6%, with way 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 terrible hospital structure, with a considerable part of the population without water or sewage are being swept by the pandemic. Hunger is weighting on the streets of poor neighborhoods of Latin American and of black Africa in a brutal manner.
The bourgeois governments vary in posture in front of the pandemic. Some have a negationist position, underestimating the disease, refusing to take minimal isolation measures, such as Bolsonaro (Brazil), Ortega (Nicaragua), Lopes Obrador (Mexico), Magufuli (Tanzania)
Other governments have the politics of seemingly fighting Covid and calling for national unity, such as Fernandez (Argentina). The latter gained more political support from the masses in the first months of the desease.
All of them, however, are guided by the pursuit of guaranteeing corporations’ profits and the payment of 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 polarization in class struggle, with a sharper confrontation between revolution and counterrevolution, 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 minoritarian masses 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 had 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 the economic crisis. The low in the oil prices was strongly brought down on the entire region. It particularly weakened two columns of the regions’ counterrevolution. 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 in support of Assad from Syria.
In Palestine, in the midst of that situation, the US government and the new Netanyahu government proceed with the colonial expansion and 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, should 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 begging in Lebanon and Iraq, still smaller, but more radicalized. A new wave of heavy polarization between revolution and counterrevolution may be spawning in the Middle East.
In India, the far right repressive government (Modi) had been facing great struggles against an anti-Muslim law in the beginning of the year. It is one of the biggest proletariats of the world, with brutal over-exploitation. The government had been upholding itself in basis of a new economic growth of 7% the last years, which is bow 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 stimuluses for a possible eruption of the giant Indian proletariat.
It may be that we are advancing towards a new polarization of class struggle between revolution and counterrevolution in semicolonial countries, with new revolutionary explosions to a superior level than in the beginning of the year.
In all of these processes, it will be necessary to directly confront imperialist domination and the associated national bourgeoisies.
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 imposed 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 radicalization 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.
In order to fight against oppression, it is necessary to fight against capitalism, that utilizes the oppressions to maintain domination and over-exploit the oppressed. In order to do that it is necessary to also fight against reformist leaderships that defend capitalist strategies. On one hand, they place their bets on empowerment 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 worldwide example to be followed.
It is necessary to defend the end of police repression and of the assassination of black people! Dissolution of the police! Roerganizing the police with democratic criteria, with elections for all official posts!
Igual pay for equal work! Men and women, back and white must have the same salary for the same work. For the immigrants’ right to legalization and asylum with no restrictions and to equal salary of that of native workers, as well as retirement. For the right to healthcare, housing and food for all migrants. For an end to deportations and restrictive migratory legislations. For the right to nationality according to birthplace, so no one is an immigrant in their own country. Documentation and subsidy to all unemployed immigrants.
11- Against the violence against women! In defense of LGBT rights!
There were already signals in the past years and a great 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 big, in some cases the majority.
The pandemic and quarantine measures brought the increase in sexist violence in homes, just as in the assassination of women and in the 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. Labor quotas and employment opportunities for the entire LGBTI community.
Dismantling of the networks of sexual enslavement of women and prison to all traffickers! Against the police persecution of prostitutes.
The quarantine must not increase women’s daily journey. Reduction of work hours without a reduction of wages to all working women with children, including the ones working in home office.
Increase of the budgets to female protection politics, 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 LGBTphobia. For the immediate and universal right to identity.
12- Reformism is the bourgeoisie’s right arm in the mass movement
Reformist parties and organizations – social democracy, Stalinism, the PT, Syriza, etc. – tend to fulfill a central role in the current crisis.
Because of the crisis of governments and regimes, the bourgeoisie must look to utilizing 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 “humanized capitalism”. Bernie Sanders, who was supported by a great part of the worldwide reformist left, openly engages in the imperialist bourgeois electoral alternative, Biden.
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 democracy 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 the role of reformism’s assistants. They manage to have an ideological basis and a world view that allow them to incorporate important sectors of the youth, generally betting on 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 revolutionary processes’ defeats. 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 in the control of state apparatus. It was as such in Nicaragua with the Ortega family, as well as in Venezuela with Chavism and in Syria with Assad.
In China and Cuba, there processes were different, because they lived socialist revolutions in the past. Nevertheless, the Stalinist bureaucracies commanded the restoration of capitalism, acting as the foundation to gestate new bourgeoisies, also from within the state apparatus.
In all of these countries, there are bourgeois dictatorships, corrupt and repressive. 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 assuming part of the responsibility on this crime against humanity. Supporting Maduro’s dictatorship in Venezuela – which lives through na 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 basis 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 there still is socialism, as is said by so many of the defenders of the great bourgeoisie as well as the supported 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, capitalizing on the decay of reformist organizations 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 bet on the workers organization. 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 organizing local or cooperative associations. Other than that, they are direct enemies of the necessity of revolutionary parties.
Today they are one more face of reformism, with an appearance of 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 defense of proletarian control
The workers are the ones who build the country and know how to guarantee production. In a moment of a sharp capitalist crisis like the current one, the defense or proletarian control is even more important.
Only imposing the wants of the workers from the basis 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 basis who must assume control over the situation. The healthcare workers may fulfill a role that the governments do not assume. The residents of popular neighborhoods must inform the reality and control the means of combating the pandemic.
The workers are the ones who must know the countability 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-defense committees!
Police violence is present all over the world. The generalized outrage of the North American masses against the murder of George Floyd brough to light the rage accumulated against the police actions around the world.
Governments appeal to repression to stifle the generalized discontentment. The hatred against repression transforms into a strong nourishment 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 politics meant to 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 utilize every opportunity to develop the workers’ self-defense. That must occur from the starting point of the defense of the struggle, as well as the defense of worker neighborhoods against police invasions. Self-defense in the neighborhoods is also the only real manner of protecting against the groups related to the trafficking of narcotics.
17- The unions and self-organization
Trotsky said that in the imperialist era the unions would be each day more attached to the bourgeois state. In a situation such as the one we are living through in the pandemic and recession, the pressure towards that doubled. The union bureaucracies are the instrument for the sterilization of the organisms which should be in 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, many times the reorganization processes still do not generate new organisms. The result is a disorganization of the workers, which limits the potential of the struggles.
The call for a united front of the workers organizations, 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 soils us. It is also important in order to unmask the bureaucracies that do not assume that struggle.
The call to unity is for advancing in the 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, many times it is not possible to guarantee neither proletarian democracy nor the struggles.
In other places, there is the need for a self-organization process for the construction of new organisms, be it in the workers neighborhoods, be it in their companies.
18 – In defense of the democratic liberties
The bourgeois states, both the ones organized 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 neighborhoods, the assassination of popular leaders, the criminalization of movements, censorship on the press, vigilance and control over each step of the population are on a high 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 these governments’ genocide.
Many times, the governments legitimized such measures as “guarantee of the quarantine” and for this gain the support of even sectors of the left. They are states of exception, states of emergency, curfews, etc. In reality, they are preventing against the social convulsions that are being incubated from the bases.
It is necessary to defend the democratic liberties so that the workers and the youth can organize and fight.
19- Combat the far-right
The class struggle polarization 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 organizations, in order to justify their allegiance with “democratic” bourgeois organizations, 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 organizations.
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, as in leaning on the white proletariat against the black, and white workers against immigrants or natives, on men against women, etc.
There are minoritarian directly fascist sectors emerging in the shadows of these processes. They are ultra-minoritarian, because the bourgeoisie do not feel a need for them. However, there is a tendency towards their growth in the shadows of the bourgeois democracy crisis, protected by institutional far-right.
It is necessary to engage in a heavy 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 organize self-defense 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 labor relations made most young people into people without a future. The damage done to public health and education reduce 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 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 radicalized youth at the front.
Not by accident, the youth of the popular sectors is at the vanguard of the struggles of the revolutionary processes that happen in many parts of the world. The feeling that there is nothing to lose move 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 neighborhoods 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 has an extremely important development on the internet and social media. During the isolation caused by the pandemic, that became even more omnipresent.
However, far from meaning a democratization 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 socialize internet access, with simple and gratuitous computers and mobile phones and public and generalized 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 being applied are often the same whether the “situation” or “opposition” win.
The democracy of the rich is in crisis. The farse of the “state for everyone” is increasingly recognized 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 bureaucratization. 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 planification of the economy will allow for a new society, which will attend to the workers’ needs instead of guaranteeing the bosses’ profits.
Only by advancing towards socialism can we avoid barbarism. Only 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 counterrevolution 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, molded after 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.