The International Workers’ Day is usually an occasion for proletarians of all countries to gather together, storm the city centres of the metropolises and carry out combative actions against the exploiting classes. This year, in Quebec and Canada – as in many other places in the world – conditions do not allow the working masses to gather and take to the streets. As everyone knows, a monstrous pandemic is raging. Proletarians are confined to their homes to limit the spread of the virus. As a result, the flags and banners of the workers’ movement and socialist revolution have not been unfurled. But the class struggle has not stopped. Above all, the aspiration of the proletariat for a new society, free from the exploitation and chaos created by bourgeois private property did not vanish, quite the contrary.
Capitalism is chaos!
The devastation caused by the uncontrolled spread of the new coronavirus throughout the world reveals the inability of the imperialist bourgeoisie to meet the needs of the majority of humanity and to organize the production and distribution of goods in a rational manner. The pandemic has only just begun, but already the contradictions of capitalism have worsened to the point of significantly altering the functioning of the bourgeois states and leading to a profound degradation of the living conditions of the popular masses. Everywhere, the ruling classes have shown themselves incapable of implementing preventive measures, controlling the spread of the virus and providing the population with what it needs. In the heart of the imperialist citadels of Europe and North America, where the virus has hit hard in recent weeks, health systems are saturated and corpses are piling up – a situation which would have been absolutely unthinkable just a few months ago. In these countries, everything is missing: screening kits, masks and protective equipment, artificial respirators, medicines, medical staff. Health workers are sent to the front lines without equipment and in insufficient numbers. In addition, the cessation of a large part of productive activity, ordered by the bourgeoisie in several countries to limit the spread of the virus, has plunged millions of proletarians into a catastrophic economic situation. In several countries, the number of unemployed is reaching proportions that have not been seen for decades. In Canada, more than 7 million people have had to turn to government emergency assistance, more than one-third of the “working population”. Workers everywhere are becoming brutally impoverished. And this is only the beginning. It can already be foreseen that the coming months and years will be marked by violent attacks on the working masses as the bourgeois states seek to pay back to their extremely wealthy creditors the hundreds of billions of dollars they have spent to deal with the pandemic. As it has always done, the bourgeoisie will shift the entire burden of the crisis onto the backs of the proletarians and workers.
In the countries dominated by imperialism, where health infrastructures are much less developed than in rich countries – in some cases practically non-existent – the pandemic is likely to cause a hecatomb. Notably, in the countries of the African continent, where 56% of the urban population live in slums and only 34% of households have access to simple means of washing their hands (according to figures made public by the imperialists themselves), the spread of the virus could lead to millions of deaths. Moreover, while imperialism is already officially leading 21,000 people in the world to starve to death every day in normal times, the economic crisis accompanying the pandemic – which once again reveals the inability of capitalism to rationally distribute resources and the products of human labour – could expose even more people to starvation in the most vulnerable countries. According to the UN, the number of “severely hungry” people in the world could even double as a result of the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The completely deficient response of the ruling classes to the pandemic shows, in the eyes of proletarians of all countries, the historical limits of capitalism – a form of social organisation based on private ownership of the means of production, on competition and on the search for maximum profit. Inter-imperialist competition between the bourgeoisies of the great world powers has prevented the adoption of preventive measures to deal with the virus (massive production and purchase of medical equipment, large-scale screening operations, investment in health networks, training of medical personnel, etc.) and has dangerously delayed the implementation of the measures needed to limit its spread (closing of schools, halting a large part of economic activity, limiting non-essential gatherings and movements, confinement, etc.). This same competition is now pushing the various capitalist governments to loosen the confinement measures and to relaunch the exploitation of workers and proletarians, and this at a time when the virus is still there, when it is still dangerous, when the vast majority of the population is not yet immunized and when no vaccine is yet available. Furthermore, the race between the big capitalist companies to produce and sell masks and medical protection equipment at the highest price, as well as the irrational and anarchic competition between the various bourgeois states to obtain supplies from these private companies, constitute overwhelming proof of the absurdity of the laws of capitalism. This large-scale robbery is nothing less than a crime against humanity. While the world’s resources should be distributed according to people’s needs, it is the richest (or most rapacious) states that monopolize them and deprive others of them. As a result, the race for profit that characterises the capitalist mode of production is delaying the process of developing a vaccine against the virus – the only way to end the pandemic without a large proportion of the world’s population being infected and without countless people dying. Since the pursuit of profit is the driving force behind bourgeois production, capitalists only invest in areas that promise to be profitable. For example, research to develop a vaccine against SARS-CoV-1 was abandoned when the epidemic outbreak of 2002 to 2004 subsided, since there was no more money to be made. Yet, if this scientific work had continued, research to produce a vaccine against the new coronavirus (which is similar in some ways to SARS-CoV-1) would not have had to start so far away. Moreover, the current confrontation between the large pharmaceutical monopolies and between the various capitalist nations to develop the vaccine before the others is complete nonsense. This absurd confrontation makes the process much less effective than it could be if the resources and knowledge available to humanity were pooled and if production was rationally planned on a global scale to serve the entire world population. In sum, bourgeois private property and the division of humanity into competing nations limit the ability of human beings to solve the problems they face and prevent the satisfaction of the needs of the broad masses. Capitalism will undoubtedly succeed in defeating the pandemic, but it will do so by barbaric methods and at the cost of totally unnecessary human losses.
Let us continue the struggle to rebuild the camp of the proletarian revolution!
In all countries, the current crisis is generating an explosive situation. The contradictions of capitalism are exacerbated. While the living conditions of the working masses are deteriorating dramatically all over the planet, they are becoming aware of the destructive character of capitalism and imperialism. As the impoverishment of the proletariat worsens and attacks on the working class multiply, the anger of the masses will grow and become more and more intense. Despair and frustration over capitalist anarchy will lead the workers to revolt. All over the world – in imperialist countries as well as in dominated countries – the crisis will generate violent popular uprisings against the bourgeois states. The capitalist governments are already preparing to face such revolt movements by putting in place unprecedented repressive measures (police controls, patrols, surveillance, curfews, bans on gatherings, etc.) and by deploying vast propaganda campaigns to convince the masses to support the bourgeois state. Everywhere, the ruling classes blow the horn of patriotism to get the proletarians to rally behind the national flag. But bourgeois propaganda is not all-powerful. Moreover, it has never succeeded in preventing the workers from rising up to fight the exploitation to which the capitalists subject them. Nor has it succeeded in preventing the victory of the great proletarian revolutionary movements of the 20th century – the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917 and the Chinese Revolution of 1949. Conscious proletarians know that their interest does not lie in supporting “their” national bourgeoisie, but in the unity with the workers of all countries and in the struggle against world imperialism.
The last twelve months had been marked by the development of major popular revolt movements in several places around the world – in Chile, Ecuador, Haiti, Iraq, Iran, Algeria, Lebanon, France, etc. In each of these countries, the working masses have taken to the streets in their thousands to protest against the governments, to denounce their miserable living conditions and to fight the ruling classes. These movements have been extremely encouraging because they have proved to everyone the actuality and universality of the class struggle and the fight of the exploited against the bourgeoisie and the reactionary classes. In many parts of the world, May Day 2020 was expected to be a particularly effervescent day. But the objective conditions have changed. Today, nearly half of humanity is in confinement. In many places, working men and women cannot take to the streets. But the same conditions that have hindered the movements of the past few months will soon produce a new global wave of popular revolts, even more widespread and more powerful than the previous one!
This new wave of revolts will be an opportunity to give a new impulse, in all countries, to the work to rebuild the camp of the world proletarian revolution. Communists must prepare themselves to take an active part in the popular movements that will develop everywhere. When the movements will emerge, they must be visible and make their program known to the proletarians by fighting alongside them. They will have to take inspiration from the forms of struggle developed by the people and systematize them. They will have to lead fights and play a vanguard role in the struggle of the masses. They will have to forge, in the heart of the popular revolt, the revolutionary organization in order to arm the proletariat for its struggle against the bourgeoisie. If the people do not have all the necessary tools to defeat the ruling class, future revolt movements will be crushed by reaction or will fade away after a while. This is why it is necessary to continue the battle to strengthen the camp of the people and to rebuild, in every country where it no longer exists, the proletarian vanguard party. In Canada, the struggle to rebuild this party is the struggle to develop the Revolutionary Communist Party. And in the present conditions, the first step to contribute to this struggle is to widely propagate its program as well as the analyses published by its online newspaper, ISKRA!
Let’s not sit back and wait for the situation to change by itself. Instead, let us prepare enthusiastically for the coming uprisings. Already, we must arm ourselves theoretically by developing an accurate understanding of recent events. We need to be attentive to what is happening in all countries and to the particular situation in which our class brothers and sisters find themselves all over the world. We must protest right now against the attacks that the bourgeoisie is making on us and fight for our legitimate demands. Above all, we must prepare ourselves for the struggles to come by remaining guided by proletarian internationalism and having as our perspective the complete and definitive overthrow of capitalism on the entire globe!
Let us arm ourselves with revolutionary theory in preparation for the next worldwide wave of popular revolts!
Let us continue the struggle to rebuild the camp of the communist revolution!
Long live the struggle of the international working class and the popular masses all over the world!
Long live International Workers’ Day!