The Covid-19 pandemic continues to rage with the rapid spread of the Omicron variant around the world. No one knows at present what will happen tomorrow, so chaotic, contradictory and ultimately irresponsible are the policies of all states in the face of the contagion.
Two years ago, when the Covid-19 lock-downs began, hopes were pinned on the development of a vaccine. According to the entire bourgeoisie, a race was on to produce a vaccine capable of stopping this devastating virus on a global scale. By December 2020, the scientific community was mobilised, with more than 200 candidate vaccines under development, leading to the approval of a number of them, such as the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, the first to be validated by the WHO. The WHO's Assistant Director-General for Access to Medicines welcomed this:
“This is very good news for global access to vaccines (...) global efforts must be intensified (...) to meet the needs of priority populations around the world (...) It is essential that we secure the essential supply for all countries in the world to contain the pandemic.” The bourgeoisie has been telling us for months that vaccination will put an end to the pandemic and relieve hospital overcrowding once and for all.
One year later, the pandemic has officially killed over 5.5 million people worldwide. The WHO estimates that the death toll from the pandemic, taking into account excess mortality, could be two to three times higher, i.e. 10 to 15 million! These figures, hardly imaginable a year ago, are nevertheless the sad reality of today.
Capitalism is responsible for the worsening of the pandemic!
Is such a figure the result of the failure to develop vaccines, of the failure of all scientific mobilisation around the world? Of course not! Because although the vaccination campaigns have resulted in gigantic vaccination rates, with nearly 8 billion doses administered worldwide, they have been carried out primarily in the western, industrialised world. But in the peripheral countries of the capitalist world, only 2% of the population has so far received a full vaccination schedule! With such a disparity, the hypocrisy and negligence of the global bourgeoisie in the face of the evolution of the pandemic is obvious: the mutations of the virus continue because the non- (or insufficiently) vaccinated areas of the world constitute a fertile ground for their propagation and contaminations are now exploding in many countries.
As the new Omicron variant spreads at breakneck speed, can lead to more hospitalisations and deaths in absolute terms, the bourgeoisie tries to clear its name by stating the obvious: “rich countries are piling up vaccines at the expense of poorer states”. But this falsely indignant opposition between “rich countries” and “poor countries” is an evasion aimed at hiding the responsibility of capitalism as a whole and the market logic on which it is based. Vaccines are not exempt from the law of supply and demand and therefore from the fierce competition between different states to appropriate them. Contrary to all the nonsense propagated lately by the bourgeoisie, in the capitalist world, the vaccine can never be a “common good”. It is condemned to remain a commodity like any other, which only the highest bidders can get hold of. Therefore, the calls of the great democracies for access to vaccines in the poorest areas of the world were nothing but fine promises and crude decoys.
The global vaccination campaign is a caricatured example of the almost total absence of cohesion and cooperation between capitalist states. The “management” of the pandemic has brought to light the reign of every man for himself and the total disorganisation of capitalist society, aggravated by the increasing negligence of each bourgeois state and their inability to contain the devastating effects of the historical crisis of capitalism. Hence the deafening cacophony: here, a total lock-down; there, everything is left open to the point of implementing, as in South Africa, a despicable policy of letting the virus spread freely on the pretext that the Omicron variant is less deadly than the original strain. In several European countries (UK, France...), although less openly, the bourgeoisie is also letting the Omicron variant spread. And so much the worse for the thousands of deaths among the exploited and the most fragile layers of society!
In these conditions, the bourgeoisies of the central countries fear that a new “wave” will disorganise all the strategic sectors of the national economies and further weaken the social climate and disrupt the productive apparatus: food distribution, security, transport, communications and of course health, a sector already on the brink.
In order to hide the responsibility of the capitalist mode of production, all the national bourgeoisies peddle justifications that amount to no more and no less than putting the responsibility for this umpteenth wave of Covid on a part of the population: the unvaccinated who clog up the intensive care units, the Western populations who want to have the first shot at vaccination in order to preserve the “quality” of their way of life...
Another aspect that the bourgeoisie tries to carefully hide is the inexorable deterioration of the health and social protection systems in the same logic of “savings” and the “profitability” of capitalism in many countries, including the most “developed”. This affects and alters both the growing shortage of material resources used to cope with the worsening situation, and the quality of care. Both the deterioration in the living and working conditions of medical staff and the growing inability to respond to the needs of patients reflect, in fact, the impasse and chaos into which capitalism is pushing humanity.
The working class is not resigned despite the difficulties
But at this stage, the very real economic disorder is likely to turn into social disorder and stir up anger at all these states, sorcerer's apprentices who boast about the "general interest" and act like vulgar shopkeepers.
Faced with this grim picture, how is the working class reacting? For a few months now, struggles have been emerging all over the world, like in the United States this autumn, in Spain in Cadiz recently, mobilising hundreds, thousands of workers from all sectors who are finally trying to get their heads above water. But the bourgeoisie is quick to mobilise its trade union and leftist watchdogs to divide the struggle, to bring it to a dead end, to sterilise it and of course to conceal its existence from all the other proletarians in the world!
In other countries, the anger of health workers and other sectors at critical working conditions has been expressed through demonstrations and days of action. But these reactions are also sterilised by the unions, easily fostering division and isolation. In addition, a huge amount of anger has been diverted to the rotten ground of opposing the vaccine pass (or even of anti-vax movements) in the name of “fundamental freedoms”, as we have seen in the Netherlands, Austria or, recently, in Guadeloupe.
It is therefore the perspective of the autonomous struggle of the working class, its confidence in its own forces to lead a large-scale struggle around its own demands that is being sabotaged, trampled underfoot, by all the social firemen at the orders of the bourgeois state. In order to try to thwart the multiple traps set by the ruling class, the working class must revive the methods of struggle that have constituted its strength and have allowed, at certain moments in its history, to shake the bourgeoisie and its system:
- the search for support and solidarity beyond “your” company, sector, city, region, or country;
- the widest possible discussion of the needs of the struggle, regardless of the company, the sector or the country;
- the autonomous organisation of the struggle, through general assemblies, without leaving control in the hands of the unions and other bourgeoisie organs.
Only the development of class of unity and solidarity on an international scale can enable the working class to arm itself for the struggles of tomorrow.
Stopio, 30 December 2021
 See: above all: The Covid crisis shows the dead end of capitalism, ICConline, December 2021.
 Metalworkers' strike in Cadiz: our strength is to fight as a class, ICConline, December 2021.
 Manifestation pour "la défense de l’hôpital public": le prolétariat doit lutter contre l’enfermement corporatiste, Révolution Internationale n° 491 (January-February 2022).
ICConline, November 2021.