The coronavirus crisis in Italy has brought out the real nature of the capitalist system that is now evident to millions of working people. Profit is being placed before lives, but the working class is reacting with militant strike action. What lessons can be drawn from this experience for the workers of other countries? Fred Weston explains.
The Chancellor’s recent pledge for the state to cover workers’ wages shows the desperate situation facing the ruling class. The labour movement leaders must go further and demand nationalisation and democratic economic control.
With the ongoing coravirus crisis sparking a global economic crisis, there has never been a better time to study Marxist theory. Given this, Wellred Books, the publishing house and bookshop of the International Marxist Tendency, are running discounts on all books and eBooks.
Ludwig van Beethoven died today in 1827. If any composer deserves to be called a revolutionary, it is Beethoven. He carried through what was probably the greatest single revolution in modern music and changed the way music was composed and listened to. This is music that does not calm, but shocks and disturbs. Writing in 2006, Alan Woods describes how the world into which Beethoven was born was a world in turmoil, a world in transition, a world of wars, revolution and counter-revolution: a world like our own world.
The Portuguese comrades of Colectivo Marxista express their firm solidarity with the strike of call-centre workers in Portugal. The strike has been ongoing since 24 March and will continue until at least 5 April.
In order to understand what is to come it is necessary to understand what came before. In January and February 2020 the Fightback editorial board drafted the following perspectives document. This piece outlined the general processes in Canadian politics and economy in order to orient the activity of revolutionaries. Most notably it detailed the coming economic crash that would impact Canada especially hard. We said that all this crash needed was a spark to set it off, but we didn’t know what that spark would be or exactly when it would strike. Now we know that the spark was the COVID-19 pandemic.
With the epicentre of the coronavirus pandemic shifting to Europe, the region now faces its most serious crisis since the Second World War. All of the pillars of so-called European integration are buckling under the pressure.
Tonight at 6pm (GMT), we will hold our second livestream with Claudio Bellotti, editor of the Italian Marxist newspaper Rivoluzione on our YouTube channel. We will discuss the ongoing political crisis and strike wave in Italy, where the working-class are showing the world how to fight the bosses’ attempts to make them shoulder the burden of the coronavirus pandemic.
As of midnight 23 March, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has declared a UK-wide lockdown. All non-essential businesses are being closed to contain the coronavirus outbreak. It is clear that this is too little too late from a big business government that places profits ahead of human lives.
A perfect storm of private sector profiteering, reckless production practices, environmental destruction and underinvestment in medical research has made global pandemics more common, and undermined our capacity to deal with them. Capitalism not only gave rise to this invisible and deadly enemy – it is the biggest obstacle in our fight against it.
Back in 2007, the activist author Naomi Klein wrote a book called The Shock Doctrine. In it, she described ‘disaster capitalism’: a political approach to natural and man-made disasters that seeks to maximise private profit in their aftermath. As the scale of the COVID-19 crisis becomes clear, Klein and others are sounding the alarm that the shock doctrine is about to strike again.
Following Labour’s election defeat, a massive battle has opened up to determine the future direction of the party. With the right-wing seeking to regain control, all sorts of ideas are being put forward, sowing confusion on the left. So not to be left out, the so-called left journalist Paul Mason, already discredited amongst a wide layer of activists, offers his contribution in a 21-page pamphlet: “After Corbynism, Where next for Labour?” His answer, unsurprisingly, is a shift to the right!
The prospects for the world economy are growing grimmer by the day. Governments are throwing everything they have at the situation. But they have run out of ammo fighting the last crisis. There is no way out under capitalism.
In the latest episode of Marxist Voice, a series of livestreams created by the British Marxists at Socialist Appeal, Rob Sewell (editor of Socialist Appeal) discusses the global economic crisis that has been triggered by the coronavirus pandemic.
The following statement by trade union activists in Italy explains how neither the governments’ response, nor the passivity of the Italian mass organisations, have been equal to the task of fighting this public health emergency. The workers will not die on the altar of profit!
This article was originally published on 14 March. The situation in Brazil has developed since, and more updates will be forthcoming, but it shows how the Bolsonaro government’s first move was to protect profits and continue attacks on the working class rather than protect public health.
The Trade Union Block of the Social Unity in Chile has demanded that the government introduces an immediate preventative quarantine to fight the spread of Covid-19, otherwise, it will call a “humanitarian general strike” in order to shut down all economic activity “which is not essential for the maintenance of health and life”. Meanwhile the hated Piñera government is attempting to use the health emergency to put an end to the five month old uprising.
The coronavirus crisis has had immense impacts on the airline industry, which is now on its knees. Billionaires like Richard Branson are calling for government handouts to keep their companies afloat. We say: nationalise without compensation!
The following statement by the International Marxist Tendency explains how capitalism has utterly failed to deal with the coronavirus crisis, and is putting the lives of millions of people at risk. In such a situation, half measures and tinkering with the system are futile. Only drastic measures will suffice to avert the impending disaster.