This dossier contains all the articles on the present COVID19 health crisis.
Because of the Covid-19 and the lock-down, it is not possible to distribute a paper version of World Revolution at the moment. But we have produced a PDF of WR 386 in A4 which makes it easier for readers to print off copies for their own use. Subscriptions to the paper press will be held in suspense until the next paper is produced, although subscribers to the International Review should now be receiving International Review 164 in the mail, containing the reports and resolutions from the 23rd ICC Congress.
This coronavirus pandemic has shown up the inadequacies and failures of all health services under the capitalist system. Despite the very real differences in their resources, or lack of resources, the degree of organisation by the state and the degree of involvement of private firms, they are all based on two essential aspects of capitalism: the nation state and the need to extract as much value from those who work in the sector for as little money as they can get away with.
We are publishing this international statement of the ICC on the current Covid-19 crisis in the form of a "digital leaflet" because under the conditions of the lock-down it is clearly not possible to distribute a printed version in large numbers. We are asking all our readers to use all the means at their disposal to disseminate this text - social media, internet forums, and so on - and to write to us with information about any of the reactions and discussions that this provokes, and of course with their own views on the article. It is more than ever necessary for all who fight for the proletarian revolution to express their solidarity with each other and maintain their connections. While we have to isolate ourselves physically for the time being, we can still come together politically!
New York Amazon workers on strike against lack of safety procedues
After the promising signs of a new mood of resistance in the working class, exemplified by the strikes in France in December-January, the Covid-19 pandemic and the global lock-down have created enormous difficulties for the class struggle. But what is in some ways remarkable is the fact that, despite the omnipresent fear of contagion, despite the apparent omnipotence of the capitalist state, the signs of class combativity that we saw in the winter have not simply evaporated but, in an initial phase and faced with the shocking negligence and unpreparedness of the bourgeoisie, we have seen very widespread defensive movements of the working class.
A debate with a group of comrades in Alicante, Spain, about the significance of the present pandemic.
Imperialism in the Arctic
Capitalism is responsible for the looming ecological disaster it has created in the Arctic - and now seeks to exploit the melting of the ice caps for its own strategic and economic interests
The Covid-19 crisis and the lockdown have not made the class struggle disappear: we have already referred to workers’ strikes demanding proper safety equipment and working conditions in a number of countries, and we will be coming back to this in future articles. There is no denying however that the lock-down creates particularly difficult conditions for the development of the open, massive struggle. But we also know that we are going to be faced with unprecedented attacks on our living standards, and we have to prepare our response. This necessarily entails drawing the lessons of previous struggles, and this is the aim of the article we publish here, written by our section in France, which examines the important strikes of railway workers, health workers and others last autumn and winter.
We are publishing this article because of the paramount importance of gaining a deeper understanding of the rise of Chinese capitalism in the last three decades, and more specifically of the aims of its “New Silk Road” project. It should be noted that it was written some time before the current Covid-19 pandemic, which will certainly have a significant impact on the global imperialist pecking order. It also puts forward a number of elements – such as the sections on the “Mackinder Doctrine” and on the development of the “credit economy” in Stalinist regimes – which are currently under discussion in the ICC. We therefore offer it as the contribution of an individual comrade.
A close sympathiser of the ICC responds to an attack on our organisation by the so-called "International Group of the Communist Left"
Anyone who claims to belong to the communist left has the responsibility to know and to make known the history of this component of the workers’ movement, its origins in reaction to the degeneration of the parties of the Communist International, and the different branches which compose it (the Italian left, the German-Dutch left etc). It is above all important to draw out very precisely the historic contours of the communist left and the differences which separate it from other left currents of the past, notably the Trotskyist current. This is the object of the present article.
Working Class History
150 years ago, in the early 1860s, the workers’ movement internationally was still in its infancy, and its different components had not yet acquired much experience in setting up and defending political organisations. At the same time the working class in Germany was going to be faced with one of the most difficult political challenges, that of confronting the activities of political adventurers, as the following article explains.
ICC Leaflet on French strikes
After years of weakness, the social movement against pension reform shows a re-awakening of the combativity of the proletariat in France. Despite all its difficulties the working class has begun to raise its head.
Local militias, supported by regional and international imperialist powers, have turned Libya into a chaotic war zone and a veritable slave market for refugees
greatest lie in history: Stalinism equals communism
Thirty years ago, the fall of the Berlin Wall demonstrated the bankruptcy of the reviled Stalinist regimes. Lyingly labelled ‘the death of communism’, this event was in reality the symbol of the implosion of the Eastern Bloc, a pivotal moment in the decomposition of capitalism. But its thirtieth anniversary has seen the bourgeoisie regurgitate the same lies today as yesterday. The working class has to permanently reject and fight back against this ideological assault.
Protesters wave the national flag in Lebanon
We are currently seeing a wave of popular movements against the endless sacrifices demanded by capitalism and implemented by governments which are often gangrened by corruption, discredited and hated by the population. Such movements have taken place in Chile, Ecuador, Haiti, Iraq, Iran, Algeria and Lebanon. But while the working class is present in these "popular revolts", it's never as an antagonistic class to capital but one drowned within the population. Far from favouring a future riposte from the working class and, with it, the only viable perspective of a struggle against the capitalist system, these popular, inter-classist revolts serve to reinforce the idea of "no future", which can only obscure such a perspective. They strengthen the difficulties experienced by the working class in mounting its own response to the more and more intolerable conditions that are the result of the bankruptcy of capitalism.
Today, if you walk the streets of the towns and cities of Britain it seems that a permanent feature of city centres are desperate people, young and old, squatting in shop doorways begging for change...
This statement by the Korea-based group Internationalist Communist Perspective was written before the elections in South Korea, which took place on 15 April 2020 and ended in a landslide victory for the current president Moon Jae-in, to a large extent because of the country’s relatively effective response to the Covid-19 outbreak. According to the comrades this text was the only voice raised against participating in the elections.
The communist programme in the phase of capitalist decomposition
This new volume in the series on communism will look at the some of the major problems posed to the revolutionary project of the working class by capitalism's entry into the last stage of its decadence, the phase of decomposition: social atomisation and loss of class identity, uncontrolled urbanisation and destruction of the natural environment, and so on. In doing so it will revisit some of the questions posed in the past about the social and economic measures needed to carry through a communist transformation.
Defence of the proletarian milieu
The proletariat will only be able to free humanity from the increasingly suffocating chains of world capitalism if its struggle is inspired and fertilised by the critical historical continuity of its communist organisations, that thread that runs from the Communist League in 1848 to the current organisations that identify with the tradition of the communist left. Deprived of this compass, the workers’ reaction against the barbarity and misery imposed by capitalism will be condemned to blind, desperate actions, which may lead to a definitive chain of defeats....
Refugees from the war in Syria are being used as pawns by the rival imperialist powers responsible for the slaughter.
Strikes in France
What was the significance of the recent strike movement in France, principally involving railway workers, health workers and other parts of the public sector? This was a movement which was undoubtedly a response to a direct attack on workers’ living conditions – the so-called “Pension Reforms” demanded by the Macron government. It was centred on the workplaces where the working class is most obviously a living social force, but at the same time, there was a very strong push towards solidarity between the different sectors.
Behind the space race between the USA and the USSR lay the military rivalry between the two imperialist blocs. In today's period of "every man for himself", there is no let up in the militarisation of space.
The movement against pension reform in France was from start to finish under the control of the unions. They called the strike, they chose and organised the days of action, they led the rare general assemblies. And it was the unions who led the movement to defeat. And for two years the unions worked together with the government ... to prepare and manage to pass this reform!
Work of the 23rd ICC Congress
We are publishing a number of documents emanating from the 23rd ICC Congress: reports that were discussed and ratified (or extracts from them) and resolutions that were adopted. This now includes an article on the overall work of the Congress and the report on the historic course with a short introduction. We add to this collection a report aimed at updating our analysis of decomposition which was ratified by the 22nd ICC Congress and which provides a framework for some of the reports to the 23rd Congress.
Communism is on the agenda of history
Militants of the GCF, Paris 1945: left to right, Chirik, Bricanier, Mousso and Evrard
This article, continuing our long-running series on the communist goals of the workers' movement, looks at the contribution of Marc Chirik, a comrade of the Italian Fraction , the Gauche Communiste de France and the ICC, to the debate on the post-revolutionary state and the problems of the period of transition from capitalism to communism.
An underlying problem with anarchism is its lack of a class analysis - a kind of original sin of anarchism, which has always tended to express the standpoint of the petty bourgeoisie or other intermediate strata rather than that of the working class. Extinction Rebellion – like the trade unions or the Labour party – is a bourgeois organisation, linked directly to the capitalist state, and thus incapable of being “transformed” into something that serves the class struggle. Its function – like the New Green Deal or the Youth for Climate campaign - is to recuperate genuine concerns about the future of the planet and to steer them away from questioning capitalism.
Supplement on Ecology
The following article forms part of a Supplement on Ecology with other articles appearing elsewhere on this site. The Supplement itself can be read in full by downloading the attached file or by clicking on the Supplement on Ecology issue in the right hand Latest Issues column. If you agree with the content, you can actively contribute to its dissemination by distributing the Supplement at demonstrations and meetings.
The Green New Deal proposes to save jobs and the environment. This is impossible within capitalism.
'Handing yourself over to the police'
For a serious critique of the theory and practice of Extinction Rebellion (XR) it is necessary to use the tools of marxism, understanding social phenomena in the context of capitalist society, in the clash of interests between the ruling capitalist class and the working class - a class that is exploited, but has the capacity to overthrow capitalism. We aim to show that despite its claim to be opposed to reformism and even capitalism itself, XR is an obstacle to a real fight against the capitalist system.
No solution to the ecological catastrophe without the emancipation of labour from capitalist exploitation
It is not enough to examine the mounting threat to life on this planet through the lens of ecology, or the natural sciences, alone. To understand the underlying causes of ecological devastation, and the possibility of reversing it, we have to understand their connection to the existing social relations, to the economic system that governs the earth: capitalism. And for us that means using the only really scientific approach to understanding the structure and dynamics of human society – the method of marxism. One excellent point of departure here is Engels’ 1876 essay ‘The part played by labour in the transition from ape to man’, an unfinished movement that has been included within a broader unfinished symphony, The Dialectics of Nature".
There is no question that the present system is dragging humanity towards an environmental catastrophe. The wave of protests organised by Youth for Climate, Extinction Rebellion, the Green parties and the parties of the left are presented as a way forward. But those who are currently following their lead should ask themselves: why are these protests being so widely supported by those who manage and defend the present system? Why is Greta invited to speak to parliaments, governments, the United Nations?
We are publishing a contribution from a sympathizer in the US which aims at exposing the empty but dangerous ideology about ‘the elite’ which is being used more and more by different factions of the capitalist class today.