Pandemic and lockout

Translated by Petr Yakovlev

A pandemic of COVID-19 infection caused by the hitherto unknown SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus was raging in the country and the world. Experts say that COVID-19 will become a new seasonal disease, like flu.

So far, the severity of the purely epidemiological consequences of the pandemic is escalated by the media, and the ferocity of COVID-19 is due to purely economic, largely man-made consequences.

Bourgeois governments, international organizations, and private media suspiciously perform in unison. Even more suspicious that the fight against the pandemic is supported by oligarchs. It is difficult even for a person not experienced in politics to believe that the world oligarchy, the „business captains“ of the regional spill, and the top officials of the imperialist states, who have no place who have no place for branding them as criminals, were really worried about public health issues. Of course, if it was a question of COVID-19 mowing millions of people, thereby undermining the subject of exploitation of the bourgeoisie – labour force, then the struggle of these entities with a pandemic would look logical, and in the current conditions – not at all.

It is unlikely that the Russian government, which, in 2018, referring to the excess of old people in the country, cheekily raised its retirement age, in 2020, was concerned about the high mortality rate of the so-called pre-retirement persons and retirees.

We should find such a factor that has normally created the condition for the emergence, most likely, of a verbally inconsistent, but in essence a unified position of the world bourgeoisie, its national governments in combating the pandemic and inflating mass hysteria (which are just what the performances of Merkel, Johnson and Trump are worth).

The first thing that comes to mind is the raging protest riots in many bourgeois countries at the beginning of 2020. Quarantine measures are a great way to quench mass activity, at least temporarily.

The second is a sharp aggravation of conflicts in the international arena. In particular, the painful expulsion of the United States from the Middle East, which of course the US would like to suspend or postpone, and which the pandemic can contribute to.

Thirdly, the strengthening of rich countries due to the consequences of a pandemic in poor countries. For example, Italy and Spain will largely lose their weight concerning Germany, which is likely to lead to the final collapse of the EU and the formation of a less democratic European bloc with a more pronounced central role of Germany. Or, for example, as Lukashenko quite rightly noted, the fact that world quarantine hits those countries of the former USSR that are poor in natural resources, and they can finally lose their independence.

And finally, the fourth — the appearance of COVID-19 in China is clearly at the mercy of world imperialism, especially the United States — an additional reason for anti-Chinese, anti-Communist hysteria and the imposition of new sanctions.

However, these factors are private, each affects only some bourgeois countries. Here, rather, we can talk about how different governments take advantage of the pandemic and their own restrictions on this issue.

In turn, the only thing common for the whole world of capitalism that could create such a strikingly uniform policy of combating COVID-19 is another cyclical crisis of overproduction.

Marx has already proved that a market economy operates only in a mode of changing cycles of upturns and recessions, and the period of crisis does not necessarily follow the period of prosperity, it can also begin after a period of depression or some recovery of the economy. In our case, after the end of the 2008 crisis, there was a long period of depression and some economic recovery, rather than prosperity, which culminated in a new crisis in 2020. Its cause was not the COVID-19 pandemic, but the anarchy of capitalist production, that is, an immeasurable and talentless thirst for profit from scattered private owners.

The capitalists, for their short history by the standards of mankind, found, as you know, one instrument of struggle and two ways of exit from any crisis. And these are not exits in the sense of doors leading to prosperity and prosperity, but it is such a form of crisis state of society that has reached extreme severity, which is resolved only by a man-made disaster. And if there is no alternative to capitalism in society, then economic recovery begins, activity and possible upturn, after which the crisis looms again.

Thus, the found instrument of struggle is the accumulation of gigantic funds in the hands of the bourgeois state, which, during the crisis period, are generously showered above all with the banking system. From the point of view of good judgement, it looks as if the talentless, thieving, greedy oligarchs receive billions of subsidies from the state for their economic atrocities at the expense of narrow-minded taxpayers. From the point of view of Marxism, the capitalist class is the collective owner of the budget of its state, in which it saves part of its wealth, knowing about the onset of the crisis because of its irrepressible greed and desire to rise above all of humanity. There is only one reason for such foresight — the fear of the collapse of capitalism due to the aggravation of the class struggle in connection with the social disasters that follow crises. However, this tool is auxiliary in nature and is effective not during periods of the crisis itself, but during periods of depression and recovery. It has not the ability to get the capitalists out of their troubles and rid capitalism of crises.

Further. The first „found“ way out is the most radical — this is war. War always destroys a huge mass of excess value both in the form of production and in the form of „soap bubbles“. The war bankrupts medium and small capitalists. War turns a mass of proletarians into soldiers, destroys infrastructure, people, and so on. Gradually, imbalances are aligned and the economy comes to life. True, today a small war will not fulfill its functions, and starting a large war is not so simple step. Firstly, the nuclear armament of many countries serves as a deterrent. Secondly, a pampered western petty person will not go to war en masse, and it’s impossible to wage a big war only with mercenaries because even fools go to die for money only to a certain measure of losses. So, here we need a serious, long-term public opinion processing.

Which, incidentally, takes place in the United States in the 21st century, but how this work is successful time will tell. If the capitalists were not afraid of the enlightenment of the masses, they would have waged wars between countries continuously, observing the outcome as players in computer strategy.

The second way out is less radical — a lockout, i.e., a halt to production. A lockout also destroys a mass of value, bursts „bubbles“, bankrupts the middle and petty bourgeoisie. The lockout also shifts the whole burden of the crisis onto the shoulders of the working people, and the most unprotected layers of the proletariat.

Of course, both options for overcoming the crisis are a deliberate decision of the stratum of the commanding oligarchy.

Consequently, the anti-epidemic quarantine (or „self-isolation“) from the point of view of the motive for its institution by bourgeois governments is a disguised lockout to endure the collapse phase of the overproduction crisis.

For these reasons, Putin proclaimed April as a non-working month. Then there will be the May holidays. This is almost one and a half month lockout. Consequently, actions against the COVID-19 pandemic are becoming a kind of poultice to the cyclical capitalist crisis of overproduction.

However, in this case, of course, not all capitalists agree with such measures. The decisions of the bourgeois government are decisions primarily in the interests of the oligarchs, i.e., the monopolist magnates — the upper class of the bourgeois class. Many medium and small capitalists, conscious of their fate to become expropriated (bankrupt), ignored the decision about non-working days.

Up to 65% of the proletarians continued to work involuntarily on the announced days off. Moreover, Putin’s commentator Peskov immediately after a television address to the nation stated at all that „those people who have worked distantly so far will continue to do their work as they did it previously“. I.e., according to the law they have days off, but in fact — „work distantly“.

From the way the capitalists impudently ignore the prohibitions of their own bourgeois state, it is clear what the strength of actual, rather than formal legal authority is. And the funniest thing is that the state can do little with these violations. Putin said about the days off, but Peskov began already apologetically „explaining“ that those days are only for workers, but for the rest is the distant work.

In general, the capitalists, of course, have already begun to delay wages, massively dismiss people, and so on, by all the rules of the genre. The bourgeois state cannot stop this process by any repressions, even if it wishes.

Not only workers but first of all, the vast masses of proletarians from the sphere of service, especially those who worked for the petty bourgeois, find themselves on the street as a result of a lockout.

About the proletarians from the provinces, Putin’s government, generally speaking, don’t give a hoot. The President announced that the problems of the regions will be dealt with by the heads of the regions, not Moscow. The three governors immediately self-isolated themselves from their seats. The Putin government is worried about the proletarians at its side, in Moscow. Therefore, they came up with the idea of ​​giving out almost 20 thousand rubles to all those who lost their jobs. True, this measure, either according to the Jesuit plan or simple-mindedness, will only anger the masses and deepen social polarization.

The right to receive this subsidy will be received only by those who officially reside in the capital, i.e., have a so-called „propiska“ („Moscow residence authorization“). Thus, the millions of the most crushed, destitute workers of the very bottom of Moscow, the severity of the crisis and the lockout which are unbearable anyway, will literally face lessors and space food prices. A layer of indigenous Muscovites, usually apartment owners, will receive 20 thousand per month of support. It is difficult to predict the consequences of such a situation, but one thing is certain — the capitalist class, by bribing Muscovites with benefits and subsidies, seeks to find support for its power.

How the country goes through the crisis, time will show. It is important for us to work within the framework of the developed strategy — to strengthen the propaganda of Marxism and personnel operations. We will optimistically expect that enlightenment through shocks will bring to life the desire to know the laws of the development of society and to know the communist alternative to capitalism, which means to read real Marxist literature and organize in a political party.

As for the whole world, here China has actually won a historic victory over imperialism. In the interests of the people, the PRC, as befits a Сommunist state, defeated a pandemic in a couple of months with the most rapid social mobilization. And now, against the backdrop of the global economic crisis, China will increase its influence and take a leading position in the global economy. Perhaps a period when the world will have one superstate with the Communist Party in power awaits us. True, the imperialists will not be asleep, so we shall wait for the non-joking hot fires of class battles.

A. Redin

Pandemic and lockout: Один комментарий

  1. Agree with a lot of this article but not totally.

    I work in a biological research lab so my point of view is a bit different. I see that there is legitimate public health concern with regards to COVID19. I don’t agree that the pandemic lockout is being «deliberately» used to stop production. However, I agree that, no matter the intention, especially the intentions of the petite-bourgeoisie, the effect of wars and lockout ARE, in fact, stopping production & destroying value which work against the crisis of overproduction. Obviously, lockout and small wars are not enough avert the crisis as the article says. I think that the most important point is that capitalism is simply not equipped to deal with any crises without the dearest sacrifice of proletarians. The bourgeoisie get richer no matter what. The pandemic has given the bourgeoisie huge increase in wealth according to even bourgeois sources here in the US.

    Lockdown, death of proletarians due to COVID19, and wars are all ways to dampen the crisis of overproduction. None of them will be adequate. I think that is clear.

    In the USA, we have a huge distrust of public officials and even scientists because of our endless two-party demagoguery. Our intellectuals have consistently left proletarians behind or even cooperate with capital to rob them. Such is my observation but it is NOT a problem I’d like to solve in any way for the bourgeoisie. The crisis of trust is also a crisis arising out of capitalism and the democracy shell game as Lenin called it. Unlike the petite-bourgeoisie or the liberal intelligentsia. who can only think lopsidedly, who are joined at the hip with the bourgeoisie, who see a problem of distrust of government officials as strictly negative, I do not see distrust of government as a bad development in the main.

    The first point is that we have to realize COVID19 is dangerous and measures like lockdown is correct. However, the second point is that, under capitalism, every measure becomes death sentence. You go to work, get COVID19, give COVID19 to grandmother, she dies. If you don’t go to work because of lockdown, you fall behind financially, you get evicted from your apartment. That’s also terrible. The proletarian always loses, but the bourgeoisie always win.

    Here in the USA, some states like California are handing out money to people to pay rent. Once I got the massive relief, I handed to the landlord, so the final calculation is just our bourgeois government paying off the landlords. I read that people in USSR used to pay 4 percent of their paycheck for rent. Here in 2022, we still cannot solve housing problem. I think that’s the «efficiency» of capitalism that my professors talk about.

    I agree with the last part of the article. China has been able to beat the pandemic through social mobilization and lockdown. China has demonstrated the superiority of scientific planning to the market and to prayers.

    -Tom from USA.


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