Hundreds of thousands of dead, tens of millions infected with the coronavirus. Hundreds of millions unemployed by the global recession. The workers are currently suffering one of the greatest attacks in history.
by IWL-FI IEC
This is not by chance nor does it come from nature. It is capitalism that kills through COVID-19. Capitalism destroys nature, brings famine, misery, and unemployment with its economic crises.
The situation in the slums resembles the consequences of war. Death silently haunts workers’ houses. Famine is quickly spreading in popular neighborhoods. A brutal genocide is being imposed.
May Day has never been a day for fraternization between workers and the bourgeoisie. It has always been a day of struggle, part of the world’s working-class memory of the death of workers in a strike in the United States in 1886. On this May Day, it will not be possible to carry out demonstrations in the streets, due to the risk of contagion. This is not why our battle cry against capital will be unheard: we want to call on workers around the world to a rebellion against capitalism.
Pandemic kills workers much more
The world is semi-paralyzed by a virus. For large companies, it was not in the interest of investing in the necessary vaccines and medicines, because it would not bring them profits. In capitalism health is a commodity, and only what makes a profit is manufactured.
The bourgeois governments implemented neoliberal plans that destroyed public health worldwide. Privatizing hospitals, reducing budgets. The pandemic reached a world without a minimal public health structure to deal with it.
Capitalism reduced workers’ wages, made labor relations precarious. Most have to work today only to eat tomorrow.
This pandemic is the most serious in history, since the Spanish flu in 1918. But it has an uneven effect.
The wealthy can quarantine in luxurious homes, having their food and comfort in confinement guaranteed. They are cared for in private hospitals. The poor do not have wages nor decent houses, or the necessary medical assistance. Many will not get beds in intensive care and will be sentenced to death.
Famine affects the people
The global recession began. The figures point to the possibility of an economic depression similar to that of 1929, the most serious in the history of capitalism.
Unemployment is counted in the tens of millions in the countries. A good portion of small businesses is going bankrupt.
The consequences are dramatic. Hunger is the worst of them. Families can’t feed their children. Many are going to starve in the 21st century, on the outskirts of big cities around the world.
Capitalist barbarism spreads.
The virus does not distinguish social classes … but governments do
The governments’ reactions were different in different countries. That ranges from rogue negotiators like president Bolsonaro and Trump to those who appear to be taking steps to combat the pandemic.
But, the fundamental concern of all governments is to save the big business. The multi-million dollar plans presented have five, ten, twenty times more money for companies than for workers. Their goal is to save the profits of a few thousand bourgeois, not the lives of millions of workers.
No government is guaranteeing the quarantine that would be necessary for workers. They all keep factories running to ensure their profits. They deny even the most basic security conditions to front-line workers in this fight, such as health workers and in other essential services.
They speak of quarantine, but they do not assure any condition for a real quarantine. Workers cannot stop working without wages. They do not have decent houses to shelter.
Their masks will crack. As the pandemic and economic crisis advance, the class character of these governments will emerge more precisely. Capitalism rarely appears with its cruel and merciless face as it does now.
For the bourgeois, everything! For the workers, repression!
With the farce of fighting the pandemic, governments increase control and repression. The bourgeoisie fears the possibility of rebellions in various parts of the world.
Revolutionary processes already existed in Chile, in Iraq, in Hong Kong, and in other countries. Now, the bourgeoisie is afraid of other revolutionary processes taking place.
For this reason, the repressive and vigilance measures against the workers were hugely increased. Orbán in Hungary imposed an authoritarian, dictatorial regime. Trump cracks down on immigrants. Fernández in Argentina and Duque in Colombia strongly repress poor neighborhoods protests.
We want to denounce especially Piñera’s government in Chile, which decreed a “state of calamity” to justify even greater repression. Piñera refuses to release 2,500 political prisoners so that they die in prisons due to the pandemic.
Do not die of the pandemic or starving
For an anti-capitalist emergency plan
Let’s build a working-class and socialist solution to the crisis
There is no way out inside capitalism. The current crisis more urgently poses the central dilemma of all humanity: socialism or barbarism.
Reformists around the world insist on Keynesian plans of state intervention to save capitalism. Neither the PT (Brazil), nor Unidas Podemos (Spain), nor the Frente Ampla (Broad Front – Chile), nor Syriza, nor the PCs and PSs of the world are actual alternatives because all reformism propose and implement in the countries they rule fall short of overthrowing capitalism and bourgeois regimes. They also defend the bailout of large companies!
Capitalists only present us with the choice of either starvation or dying of the COVID-19. This is the true meaning of “life or economics”.
We, on the contrary, want to bring down capitalist domination.
Would it be possible to face the deaths of the pandemic? Would it be possible to end famine and unemployment?
It would! But for that, an Anti-capitalist Emergency Plan is needed.
It is possible to face the pandemic, guaranteeing a real quarantine, keeping at work only those who produce food, medicines, and whatever is necessary to save the poor population.
That includes ensuring an average wage for all workers in formal and gig economy, employed and unemployed. It is necessary to expropriate hotels and empty houses to shelter the homeless and poor population.
It would be necessary to expropriate private hospitals and build those needed to care for workers. It would be necessary to expropriate the pharmaceutical companies to ensure free medicines and tests for all. And to compel the manufacturers to produce ventilators, medicines, PPEs, and pharmaceutical supplies.
In order to face famine, it is necessary to expropriate food production and distribution companies. Ensure that food reaches the table of the poor immediately in all neighborhoods, with emergency distribution operations.
To face unemployment, it is necessary to create an inclusive public works plan based on social and environmental criteria after the end of the pandemic. It is necessary to expropriate all the companies that fire their staff and to ensure wages for all workers. Strategic companies must be nationalized without compensation instead of giving money to private companies to save their profits.
The coronavirus crisis exacerbated the oppression of millions of women. They are the vanguard fighting the pandemic. They constitute the majority of people employed in health and social services: they are 70% in 104 countries surveyed by the WHO (World Health Organization). However, in addition to the precariousness and misery, they still have the risk of dying in confinement at the hands of their sexist aggressors. No one less for staying home! It is necessary to demand that all governments fund the necessary resources for the prevention, care, and protection against all sexist violence.
In addition, black and immigrant workers, refugees, indigenous peoples, LGBT sectors who, being among the poorest, are the most affected by the pandemic. Either because they do not have access to health care, either because they do not have minimum housing conditions to guarantee quarantine, or because they are left without medicines, they are forced to expose themselves to the risk of contagion struggling for survival.
Young students from the poorest families suffer more frequently in this situation of discrimination. The lack of real conditions and measures for their education push millions of young people to school failure denying them a fundamental right such as education. The pandemic can’t leave any student behind! Working-class children must be granted access to higher education! Free, secular, and egalitarian quality public education!
Many will say that there is no money to guarantee that but they lie! The money is there but it is being wasted in saving big business.
We defend a tax on big fortunes. Banks must be nationalized to fund these plans. Do not pay domestic and foreign public debts!
The imperialist states loot health equipment and protection supplies to face the pandemic, leaving the semi-colonial countries without the means to have them. For the global distribution of these products, reconverting for that the world productive manufacturing.
It is possible to turn the economy around to save workers from pandemic, hunger, and unemployment. Either a planned economy serving social needs and fighting the pandemic or a market economy to guarantee the profits of a minority of capitalists. This is the dilemma today.
We call on workers around the world to revolt against bourgeois governments. Only the proletariat at the forefront of the struggles will be able to carry out this program.
We proudly raise our red flags on this May Day. May our battle cry be heard throughout the world.
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CAPITALISM KILLS! DEATH TO CAPITALISM!
SOCIALISM OR BARBARISM!