Pandemic and rapid deterioration of the crisis: Capitalism and governments, incapable and dangerous alike – our struggle is the only way out!
Announcement from OKDE (Greece)
CORONA VIRUS PANDEMIC – RAPID DETERIORATION OF THE CRISIS
Capitalism and its representative governments, like New Democracy (ND), are incapable and perilous in their reactions
The only way out is collective organization and action, workers and youth struggle:
The coronavirus pandemic has created a state of emergency. The crisis is getting worse quickly. The health of the population is being driven to a limit, with the imminent risk of more lives being lost. Economy-wise, the crisis has started inflating unemployment and a wave of anti-labor attacks. As in every other great crisis of capitalism, the working and lower-class masses suffer the most.
The labor movement organizations and militants must intervene and make a decisive contribution to counterstrike the fear and panic, that only paralyze and disrupt the vivid forces of society. By helping everywhere, through our social and political organizations, with the development of self-organization of the masses. Directing and / or imposing, if necessary, a collective, calm, rational treatment of the situation and the correct application of the necessary protective measures. By highlighting the causes of the crisis and the only way out: a combative intervention of the masses, to take control of a situation that is evolving menacingly. Because the biggest threat is not some natural curse, but the fact that its management is in the incapable, dangerous hands of the capitalist system and the bourgeois state, the imperialists (US, EU), the blind forces of the "free market", the neoliberal governments, the bureaucrats and parties, and those of the private media. Worse than a pandemic, there is a threat to the working class and the popular strata - that we must avert at all costs.
WHO IS TO BLAME?
The reason for crises like the present one (whatever the unforeseen factors may be) is no "biblical apocalypse" but the very crisis of the capitalist system, of the capitalist (dis)organization of society, which is revealed as chaotic and completely ineffective. The environmental disaster, the wars, the refugees, all of these are spreading the most miserable living conditions. The dismantling of health systems and public social services by decades of exercising neoliberal policies (privatization, staff shortages, flexible labor, etc.). That's why such crises (public health, environmental, etc.) have become so dense. It is still the arrogance, blindness, impotence of bourgeois governments, staffs and of the elite. Barricaded inside their glass towers, they treat the working and poor masses as sub-human beings. That is why, especially in the US and EU, they did not have any timely and effective preparation for COVID-19. Like any other religionist, they left everything to the "invisible hand of the market" and "healthy private initiative", then went on to sow panic as the crisis progressed. On Thursday night to Friday, as people are under stress and suffering, the US launched rocket attacks on pro-Iranian forces in northern Iraq! This is today’s capitalism, bourgeoisie and "leadership", who want us to trust them & stand "all together"! Corrupted, incapable, perilous, murderous.
Nowadays everyone understands that: a) The risk would be drastically lower if from the beginning there were enough ICUs within functioning public health systems. b) All bourgeois governments, from the US to the EU, downplayed the issue from the outset, if not being completely indifferent and deceiving the population. c) Especially with today's progresses in technology and science, such crises could be overcome at the least possible social and human costs, if there was a social organization based on cooperation, collegiality and solidarity, in the care for basic goods and services for all; focusing on the human and his/her needs. But this becomes impossible and the crises erupt, as cannibalistic policies of neoliberalism, "market" and profit prevail.
Coronavirus is not the cause. Imminent threat of sweeping attacks against workers.
The bourgeois staff and neo-liberals are trying to hide the causes of the financial crisis behind the coronavirus, as they always do, blaming some 'force majeure'. In order to acquit the capitalist system and neoliberal policies. In order to incriminate the working class, to find reasons for even more severe attacks and to continue the outrageous enrichment of the elites! The coronavirus triggered or accelerated the financial crisis but did not give birth to it. The international economic situation has already been steadily deteriorating (declining growth and recession, restricting trade and investment, stock market crashes, debt boom, etc.), as is particularly evident in the burst of social inequality. That is why all competition and conflicts are constantly spreading and becoming more rabid.
Root cause is the is the crisis of the capitalist system itself. The 2008 "Great Recession" was fixed by the trillions that were given away from bourgeois states and central banks to bankers and speculators, capital and the rich (with “quantitative easing” etc.). These piles of money went, once again, only to the “bubble” economy, to the stock markets, to all kinds of speculation and parasitism (derivatives, government and corporate bonds, etc.). Although they have failed to heal the crisis, their class interest dictates to continue in the same manner and worse, even today. For example, the ECB has initiated bond markets, i.e. buying rotten "red" loans from banks, multinational companies, large corporations and international loansharks to save them from direct bankruptcies. European imperialists, while promising additional tens of billions in aid to the banks, are blabbering and longing for "flexibility" in the Stability Pact, which – let there be no illusions – has no purpose in favor of workers. Their sacred law is classless, simple, indestructible: everything is expendable to save capital and the rich - we will loot again the workers! Still, the explosion of competition is exacerbating the problem, canceling out any concerted international effort. This is demonstrated by the closure of borders and the rise of international isolation between countries and between governments.
Capitalists and governments had already begun to show their teeth before the pandemic, with layoffs, wage cuts, abolition of rights and constant anti-labor measures. The measures they are now taking (interest rate cuts, capital strengthening packages, etc.) have been reused and have exhausted their effectiveness. They are unlikely to mitigate the economic crisis. Even if the pandemic begins to shrink, the bill on the working class will be even pricier. They will try to load the trillions of dollars in stock markets losses and the bourgeoisie damages on our backs. There is no "distribution" of the crisis, either "national" or among classes. With each passing day things will get much worse and the bosses attacks towards the working class, fiercer.
“NEW DEMOCRACY” GOVERNMENT: UNFIT AND DANGEROUS TO HANDLE THE SITUATION
The dangerous propaganda of “individual responsibility”
Greek capitalism is completely worn-out, something that had already begun to appear and is now prominent. The impact on tourism shows only a small part of the dead-end of neoliberal / memorandum austerity "development", which only leads to the predatory enrichment of the elite. The inevitable delay or decrease in government revenue will sink the carnivorous surplus-centric state fiscal management. Way faster than with the already extreme neoliberal policies that the government is opting for, we will be led to new bankruptcy and new memoranda. We are only at the beginning and already the capitalists are going through even bigger layoffs, deregulations of workhours, abolition of rights, etc. Entire strata of the working class and society are in danger of disintegration. We must prepare for resistance until the end.
At the same time in Greece, the outbreak of the pandemic is now manifesting, which exacerbates the dangers for workers, the masses, the youth. Especially dangerous is the situation in the concentration camps and areas where racists from the Greek governments and the EU have brutally stacked thousands of displaced refugees.
Media, government mechanisms, government propaganda (along with the ousted trade unionist group of Panagopoulos, who first said the problem is "not class") are trying to inflate the image of Mitsotakis and his government (Kikilias (minister of health), Kerameos (minister of education etc.), as a robust, responsible, effective leader. Nothing could be more misleading! The ND measures (even those that would or should be objectively necessary) came late, after days of "let’s see how it plays-out" - and most of all they are fake, class-dividing and therefore ineffective. So, with the Mitsotakis announcement, the Acts of Legislative Content, etc., so far alone (14/3) we have indicatively: 1) No obligation is laid down for employers (e.g. to disinfect of premises at their own risk and expense, to comply with hygiene and safety measures, etc.). This has already led to criminal-level attitudes of the employers to impose continuous labor, even in cases of perceived danger! 2) There is no authoritative measurement of production, of the market and of price control against speculation to ensure that basic medical or nutritional needs are met. 3) Excessive facilitations are again given to capitalists (levy reliefs, etc.), which will be expensed to the state and ultimately to the workers. 4) They seize part of the regular employee leave (with the "special purpose permit / vacation"). 5) State and employers are given the power to unilaterally impose whatever they want on the time, length and place of work, thus moving towards forms of forced labor. E.g. overly "flexible" working hours in the public sector, fully deregulated "remote work" (which burdens workers with the responsibility to work alongside caring for children and the elderly), unilateral employer decision and "director’s right" on which employees or departments work normally and how that work is taking place. This has opened the way to generalization of layoffs and reductions in staffing, forced holidays, part-time and flexible work, wage reductions, even greater abolition of collective agreements and rights, etc. Employees, who were already suffering from unemployment, part-time / flexible work, meagre salaries, debts, housing auctions and evictions, are now in despair.
The measures in Health and Education reveal how wrecked but also dangerous is the ND government. The vice president of the government and ex-minister of Health, Adonis Georgiades, dares to point out that speculation on antiseptics and masks is a smooth operation in a “free market”! Kikilias, the current Health minister boasts about securing the overtime pay for hospital staff(!), but does not dare to say that as many full-time permanent recruitments as possible will take place, in the sake of not agitating the budgetary discipline. Rather than massively scrutinizing private / privatized health infrastructure right here and now, he calls for job applications of "two years contracts" in a dilapidated public Health system. Staff at Attico and Rio hospitals have revealed part of this tragic situation. Kerameos, minister of Education, tolerates and reproduces religious bigotries (such as shared utensils during church mass) rather than closing churches. PM Mitsotakis mumbles about "fiscal space", not to protect society, but to have billions to give away to businessmen and the bourgeoisie, in forms of equipment and repression. All these people, who have disrupted and keep disrupting public health and education on a daily basis, now appear "paternally" to direct us to creative employment and care for children and the elderly!
RED ALERT FOR DEMOCRATIC FREEDOMS
They have unleashed a huge, dark propaganda about "staying home", not to protect but to intimidate the population beyond any necessary restrictive measures. For "individual responsibility", to conceal and quietly impose the dismantling of our social services and collective rights. The emphasis on "individual responsibility" and the quote “forbid” is forbidden for the capital are the two sides of the same coin." But they are becoming even more aggressive and threatening: blame the people who are uneducated, lazy, irresponsible ... and above all not disciplined, do not follow the instructions of the enlightened state and government authorities! So they want to take advantage of the pandemic and the crisis, to take major steps towards abolishing democratic freedoms, such as prohibition of demonstrations (a prohibition which is well-prepared), draconian restrictions on social and political organizations of the labor movement, militarization and policing of public life (emergency establishment of special police "operation centers" with amplified powers, etc.).
We need to put up a decisive block in these plans! The Working Class, the Poor, the Youth, we are neither the culprits for all these plagues, nor the monsters of antisocial behavior and irresponsibility, as they try to portray us. We are the only ones who really care about society, unlike the governments, corrupt government officials, employers, or the rich. We are the only ones who, with democratic debate, in whatever way we can, can decide how and to what extent we will use all the tools of our labor movement and struggles. But also we are the first and only ones to not hesitate in front of any mobilization and struggle required to save our rights, our own lives, as the crisis gets worse! This road is the only one that can truly protect, to the fullest extent possible, workers and society!
LET’S TRUST ONLY OUR POWERS
The workers, the poor social layers, the youth have to unite, to mobilize, to fight. There is no solution in the paralysis of "individual responsibility", or in the fear of "discipline to the authorities". We must bring up an Emergency Program with radical and effective demands such as: Immediately abolishing the Stability Pact and the "surpluses". Stopping of debt payments. Freezing and crossing off debts for workers and the public. - Mass public health funding to meet all needs. Recruitment in all key sectors (hospitals, supply chain, etc.) with stable working relationships. - Emergency taxation on the rich. - Nationalization of all private health structures. - Price controls, especially on all critical commodities, nationalization of major retailers and chains, as well as imports / exports, exemplary punishment for any speculator. - Penalties for every priest or worshiper who acts irresponsibly. Compulsory measures and lockdowns against the irresponsibility of the Church. - For public and private sector workers: oblige employers to strictly comply with hygiene regulations, at their own expense; heavy penalties for non-compliance. Days-off on employers’ expense. - Prohibition of layoffs. No reductions in work rights (working hours, working conditions, etc.) - Not in the dictatorial "managerial right" of the state and the employers. Workers’ control with employee committees on any decisions regarding work regulation and the protection of workplaces and employees.
These solutions must be enforced, that is, we must strive for the handling of the emergency to pass from the incapacitated hands of the bourgeois neo-liberal staff to the workers. Today's pandemic shows the limits and failure of all the mechanisms and ideologies of the "free market". As the crisis gets worse, so will the need for a radical break in the murderous bedlam of capitalism; the only real solution, a workers' government and a socialist way out. The militants of our organization will do everything in this direction, calling and taking initiatives to all the forces of the labor movement.
ΟRGANIZATION OF COMMUNISTS INTERNATIONALISTS, GREECE