Translated "Avante!"article by Pedro Guerreiro, Member of the Secretariat of the CC and Responsible of the International Department
News follow one another at an ever increasing pace.
The US Administration downplays the adoption of vital public health measures in the country; it shamelessly expresses xenophobic views and rejoices at the impact of the epidemic outbreak in China, which it deems to be positive for US economy; it seeks to get hold and secure exclusive use of a future vaccine being developed by its own allies…
In the European Union, it’s every man for himself in the neoliberal jungle. Austria criticized Germany and France for not allowing the purchase of medical material and equipment – it looks like the free circulation of goods only applies when it is convenient, after all …. While Italy received many tons of medical material and equipment urgently shipped from China, as well as a team of medical doctors, to address its dramatic situation …
In the diversity and complexity of the social, economic, political and ideological issues that it has raised, the coronavirus epidemic has exposed, first and foremost and in brutal fashion, capitalism’s inhuman nature.
The Covid-19 outbreak occurred at a time when there were growing signs of an impending recession among major capitalist powers as well as indications of a deteriorating economic outlook worldwide.
A colossal injection of billions of dollars into the financial system and a surge in exploitation and attacks on social rights were among the measures used by financial capital to respond to the 2007/2008 crisis. They led to an exponential increase in capitalist accumulation and concentration, to a violent deepening of social inequalities and to record levels of debt while stock markets went into an upward spiral of speculation. These developments highlighted both the class nature of neoliberal policies as well as their limits.
The situation was made worse by the blackmail and economic war waged by the US - particularly against China and Russia, among other countries. With such policies, the US are trying to reverse their relative economic decline and to impose their hegemonic dominion worldwide.
The economic impact of the current epidemic is having a catalyst effect, accelerating the risk of a new recession among major capitalist powers with knock-on effects on the world’s economy. The recent stock market crash was a warning and the US and EU immediately announced that they would once again flood the financial system with billions as well as provide big capital with additional rewards. Even so, warnings are being issued from inside the system cautioning against doing more of the same as it will not be enough to stop the fall into the abyss.
Ever faithful to its nature, monopoly capital seeks to profit from the situation. Not only to conceal its own responsibilities in the grave situation that the world currently faces, but also to oppose advances in workers’ demands and aspirations and to escalate attacks against their rights, while at the same time trivializing the disrespect for fundamental rights, freedoms and guarantees – i.e. for democracy.
Let us not be fooled: class struggle has not been shelved, it continues in all its many forms.