A New and Explosive World Situation is Developing

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03/07/2020 by socialistfight

By Dov Winter 6 June 2020

This remarkable prediction from September 2019: Pandemics pose risks not only to our health but also to our economies. Consider the estimated costs of past outbreaks: a loss of over $40 billion in productivity from the 2003 SARS epidemic; a $53 billion loss from the economic and social impact of the 2014-2016 West Africa Ebola outbreak; and a $45-55 billion cost from the 2009 H1N1 influenza pandemic.

The world situation is changing rapidly. We are in the middle of a world pandemic that kills hundred of thousands throughout the world, and millions are likely to die by the time that it will be under control. Nobody knows when it will be under control, or if it ever be under control. The experts tell us that a vaccine is at least two year from now, and that we may not be able to develop a working vaccine at all.

What is behind the Massive Daily Demonstrations

After months being in a lockdown situation, in which millions have become restless and anxious, an explosion of rebellion is taking place after the cold-blood murder of George Floyd by the police. This kind of brutal murders of black people by the police has been a routine for decades. The only difference is that now they are captured sometimes on video.

This rebellion was overdue. All it needed was a spark, that was provided by the graphic murder of George Floyd. The coronavirus, and the unbearable anxiety and fear that it created, was the background catalyst behind the massive upsurge. But the rebellion would have happened sooner or later. It brought the best in the masses, many of which are willing to risk having the covid-19 illness, as they march together, seeking justice against brutal institutional racism and police brutality. It is a mix crowd that include many black and unemployed workers, and youth. But many of the protestors are white, and a good number come from a middle-class background. This is not some kind of a “popular Front”, it is rather multi-racial demonstrators, who will keep taking the streets everyday until they see an end to police brutality. There are cases of police brutality against demonstrators, while the police chiefs lie as they talk about police accountability.

While racism exist in every capitalist country, there is no doubt that the center for it is the US. Institutional racism has been in the US for more than 200 years. It is important to note in this context, that the US, the most powerful imperialist power, has been murdering people at home and abroad. The many US interventions in the semi-colonies such as in Panama and Syria resulted in many killings, as well as brutal acts of tortures.

The Objective Conditions Become Ripe for Mass Struggles

The world situation is becoming ripe for social upheavals and revolutions not seen for decades. All the ingredients for such revolutionary explosions are developing rapidly. There has been at least a half a century since the masses took to the streets in the US in such a massive way. It is also clear that the majority of young participants, in particular black people, want to change the system from top to bottom. I have no doubts that if asked whether the entire capitalist system must go to provide Justice to black people and the oppressed, many of the young participants’ answer would be affirmative. Socialism has been popular with young people in US for the last years, and an openness for it is growing.

The Crisis of Capitalism Intensifies and So is Climate Change

The background for the upheavals is astonishing as the decay of capitalism is reaching a point of no return. The virus created massive unemployment not seen since the great depression. Despite the lies of capitalist press that tell us that we are entering only a recession, the reality is that we are in a depression. The recent manipulation of unemployment data for the US does not change this. As capitalism keeps on wrecking the natural world, human society are about to explode. Climate Change is already causing massive death and destructions via coastal flooding and heat waves that kill many when the heat reaches 35 C degree or higher (particularly when it combined with high humidity). Recently I once again raised how dire is the situation and what is at stake:

“We are beginning to see temperature rise at unprecedented speed. Every year has record temperatures that are higher than the previous year. Even in the time of the greatest extinction of life — during the Permian extinction 250 million years ago, in which 90% of life vanished — the rate of extinction was much slower than today. It took thousands of years for nature to develop the conditions for mass extinction. Now, it is taking humans merely years to accomplish mass extinction.

“But this is not over. As layers upon layers of workers realize what is at stake, they will enter the struggle, or face massive unemployment that is going to be greater than the unemployment during the great depression. Unemployment from the coronavirus is already moving fast in the direction of the great depression. The coming historical period will decide the fate of humanity and the planet: If the working class struggle against Climate Change will multiply to become an international coordinated class war against capitalism, humanity and nature could still be saved. Failure could bring the dire consequences of barbarism”

Since I wrote the above scientists have raised the alarm further:

“On June 1, 2020, NOAA recorded a daily average carbon dioxide (CO₂) level of 418.32 ppm at Mauna Loa, Hawaii.”

This is a huge rise since only recently we crossed the average carbon dioxide (CO₂) level of 400 ppm.  This means that the massive blanket of greenhouse gasses that warm the earth is getting thicker fast—in historical rates this speed never seen before. Nothing like this happened for many thousands of years. This kind of warming always followed by mass extinction. We are, indeed, in the middle of mass extinction. We are losing hundreds of species. This only undermines what is left of bio-diversity. The liberal press such as the New York Times concedes how dire is the situation:

“We are racing faster and closer toward the point of collapse than scientists previously thought, according to research published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The extinction rate among terrestrial vertebrate species is significantly higher than prior estimates, and the critical window for preventing mass losses will close much sooner than formerly assumed — in 10 to 15 years.”  (https://www.nytimes.com/2020/06/01/science/mass-extinctions-are-accelerating-scientists-report.html?algo=identity&fellback=false&imp_id=553906858&action=click&module=Science%20%20Technology&pgtype=Homepage)

Let be clear: Humans cannot survive without a stable natural world. If we have only 10 to 15 years before the collapse of bio-diversity, that means that we may have only 10 years or so for the world socialist revolution to take place and succeed. These developments are truly unprecedent in human history.

The Destruction of Nature and the Forests is the Source for the Coronavirus

The current pandemic is clearly linked to the combination of climate change and the destruction of forests and nature for profit, by transforming massive forests in the Amazon and other areas into cattle raising and the production of food such as beans by the big capitalist corporations. One thing is clear, however: Nature always wins at the end. When humans mass with nature, nature bites back with powers that only the most destructive wars can match. The coronavirus is indeed killing hundreds of thousands, and without a vaccine the numbers will rise to millions.

Deadly viruses flourish when the animals’ natural environment is disturbed. The deadly viruses, such as the coronavirus, infect animals that are disturbed by the wrecking of their environment, and thus the animals become weak. This disturbance stresses the animals to the point that they are likely to be infected by deadly viruses, that is, deadly for humans but not for the infected animals. The slaughtering of these animals in the “wet” markets creates the conditions in which the virus can jump from these animals to humans. As the massive destruction of nature continues worldwide by the capitalists for profit, it is clear that the coronavirus is not likely to be the last one to emerge and inflict the world population. We were lucky that previous attacks by similar viruses such as MERS and SARS did not kill as many people as the coronavirus. But as Climate Change intensifies, and the destruction of forests near towns and cities continues, other hidden deadly viruses in the damaged forests will emerge. There is no guarantee that a new deadly virus will not emerge after we’ll bring the corona virus under control. Capitalism has been destroying the planet and nature. But nature always has the last laugh. A growing number of Climate scientists concede, that without drastic measures to stop the abuse of nature and the escalating Climate Change, a very sick nature will destroy human society as we know it, and will force the survivors to live in pockets of survivable areas.

The Coronavirus Brought Unprecedent Economic Collapse and Political Instability

The coronavirus brought unprecedent economic collapse, followed by political instability. It should go without saying that virus produced some anxiety and fear within the broad masses. But plenty of anger as well. It also created the conditions for right-wing organizations to exploit the anger about situation, as they spread conspiracy theories that the virus is just a cold, and vaccines harm people.

The Current Crisis and the Rise of Fascism

The lack of massive response from the working class created a dangerous vacuum. It encourages the fascists. As a result, fascism and right-wing regimes are rising in a number of countries. Trump is trying to impose an autocratic regime. The liberal press is literally shitting in its pants because it is afraid that if Trump loses the election, he will not accept the results of the election, and he will impose a dictatorship, possibly with the backing of fascists.   

It is not completely true that there was no working class response. There was a response. But it was not powerful enough to make a significant difference in the relationship between the working class and the capitalists led by a fascist supporter—Trump. I am not saying that Trump built a fascist regime-not yet. But as the crisis intensifies I will not bet that he will not try.

Workers Responses and Strikes

Workers strikes are taking place, but so-far they are confined to safety issues related to Covid-19. The workers do not get the necessary things to protect them from the virus while working: such as masks and gloves.

It is important to note that just before the epidemic spread out of control, there were ongoing demonstrations and strikes against Climate Change. Millions marched in Europe and the US, and some strikes took place. Such strikes will only become more massive as Climate Change starts killing millions:

“At the end of February, thousands of cleaning workers in Minneapolis marched in what’s believed to have been the first union-authorized climate strike in the United States. The protesters, many of them immigrants and people of color who have seen their communities harmed by everything from air pollution to drought, wanted their employers to take action on climate change.” (https://www.huffpost.com/…/employee-activism-climate-change…)

This could be the beginning of the working-class response as the workers overcome the fears from getting the coronavirus, while fighting together. Huge student strikes and demonstrations against Climate Change by millions throughout the world were halted by the coronavirus crisis. Many of those who went on strikes and demonstrations know that Climate Change and the destruction of nature are the ultimate source of the coronavirus.

Can the Police be Defunded and Reformed?

As the mass mobilizations against police brutality continue, demands such as defunding and reforming the police are becoming popular. Marxists need to explain patiently that such reforms could never be implemented seriously because the police are the armed thugs of the capitalist state. As long as capitalism persists, the capitalists will use the police to defend their class privileges. The role of the police is to make sure that the working class remains exploited and oppressed. The police are the armed thugs of the state that defend the exploitation and oppression of the working class and the broad masses.  There are a lot of reformist and centrists groups who call for the community control of the police. These are utopian slogans that never can be achieved in capitalism. The cops are the armed defenders of capitalist property relations and the capitalist state. This will remain until capitalism is overthrown. The only way to change this is to build Black, Latino, and unions defend guards to protect the oppressed from police brutality. As the upsurge against police brutality goes on, it is necessary for revolutionaries to intervene with these demands. In fact, the recent police attacks against the demonstrators have shown that we need to demand that defense guards against police brutality should be created for the demonstrations. Trump mobilized the National Guards against the protestors. He also wants the cops to rough with the demonstrators. This only emphasize how much the youth and the protestors need workers Defense Guards. Fundamentally it is similar to the strikers who defend a strike against scabs and the police who try to break the strike. This demonstrates the common cause that the demonstrators have with the unions: the defense against police repression and brutality.

The working class in the US and to a lesser extend in Europe suffered big defeats in the last decades. Union membership shrunk significantly in the US.  But now the conditions are developing to reverse these defeats. It is tempting to compare today to the 1929 depression that caused massive unemployment. After the economy revived and the workers were re-hired, massive strikes developed in the 1930s that resulted in some important victories. The slogan of the labor party became popular with growing layers of workers then. But today is very different. Socialist and anti-capitalist consciousness was higher in the 1930s than today. The CP and the SWP had influence then. The Left has no such influence in the unions today. But let not forget that in the 1930s, the Stalinists channeled the anti-capitalist sentiment of the workers into the trap of supporting Roosevelt, while the Trotskyist, SWP, led the revolutionary strike of the teamsters, that its implementations include the flying strike squads. It was a great showcase of how defense guards should be built.

In conclusion we can say that objective conditions for international socialist revolution are developing rapidly. Capitalist induced Climate Change and the capitalist’s destruction of nature are propelling capitalism into a crisis that it could not overcome. This growing instability, creates a window for the socialist revolution. While I have no doubts that social upheavals and upsurge will only increase in numbers and intensities, the problem of a revolutionary leadership remained unresolved. We hope that today’s favorable conditions that is creating mass upheavals, can help resolving the problem of leadership. But this problem demands a whole article by itself.

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