The COVID-19 Global Counterrevolution: What It Is and How to Fight It

 

A Marxist analysis and strategy for the revolutionary struggle

 

by Michael Pröbsting, International Secretary of the Revolutionary Communist International Tendency (RCIT), April 2020
 

 

Download
BOOK COVID-19 Global Counterrevolution_W
Adobe Acrobat Document 1.0 MB

 

 

Contents

 

 

Introduction

 

 

I. The peculiar character of the current crisis: a Triple Catastrophe

 

How severe is this pandemic?

 

A dangerous moment for the bourgeoisie: The Third Great Depression begins simultaneously with a global wave of class struggles

 

How did the ruling classes arrive to their decision for a mass lockdown?

 

The ultimate end of the era of Globalization

 

A new stage of rivalry between the Great Powers after the end of U.S. hegemony

 

 

II. On the nature of the COVID-19 global counterrevolution

 

Monopolization and state capitalism after neo-liberalism

 

China as a model?

 

A decisive shift towards chauvinist state bonapartism

 

What will be the “new normality”?

 

A Preventive Counter-Revolution

 

Do we overestimate the relevance of the counterrevolutionary offensive?

 

 

III. Fundamental principles of revolutionary strategy in the new Leviathan Era

 

A political counterrevolution requires a political strategy by the Marxists

 

The policy of class truce in times of pandemic weakens our struggle in defense of public health

 

Adventurism or systematic preparation?

 

Breaking up the chauvinist bonapartist state machinery

 

The revolutionary democratic struggle: a key element of the Marxist strategy in the new era

 

Excurse: the relevance of the strategy of permanent revolution

 

No revolutionary strategy without internationalism in theory and practice!

 

 

IV. Revolutionary tactics and slogans for the class struggles ahead

 

The current situation and its consequences for the class struggle

 

The main slogan: Conversion of the State of Emergency into a Popular Uprising

 

Famine and epidemics: some lessons from Lenin and the Bolsheviks

 

Reactionary opponents of the lockdown

 

Allies and opponents in future mass struggles

 

 

V. The Lockdown Left: A Critique

 

Stalinist and left-reformist executors of the state-bonapartist lockdown policy

 

“Trotskyist” cheerleaders of the bonapartist state of emergency

 

Excurse: Revisionist misunderstanding of the nature of the capitalist state

 

“Speech is silver, silence is golden.” Not in revolutionary politics!

 

“Workers control” over state bonapartist Lockdown?

 

Social-Bonapartism: an offspring of economism and Menshevism

 

Spontaneous mass actions against the lockdown conditions: a litmus test for the left

 

 

 

VI. Concluding words

 

 

 

Appendix:

 

RCIT Manifesto: COVID-19: A Cover for a Major Global Counterrevolutionary Offensive  (21 March 2020)

 

RCIT: A Revolutionary Action Program to fight COVID-19! (April 2020)

 

RCIT: Open Letter: Act Now because History is Happening Now! (26 March 2020)

 

RCIT: 2019 Corona Virus: Oppose the Global Wave of Chauvinist Hysteria! (5 February 2020)

 

Almedina Gunić: Coronavirus: "I am not a Virus"... but WE will be the Cure! (2 February 2020)

 

 

 

List of Tables and Diagram

 

Table 1. Global Industrial Production, 2017-19 (in Volume)

 

Table 2. Manufacturing in the U.S. 2017-19 (in percent)

 

Table 3. World Merchandise Trade, Percentage Changes

 

Table 4. List of Top 10 Countries with most Global 500 Companies

 

Table 5. National Composition of the World’s 2000 Largest Corporations, 2003 and 2017 (Forbes Global 2000 List)

 

Diagram: Practical Consequences of the Differences between Marxists and Social-Bonapartists in the COVID-19 Crisis

 

 

 

Bibliography

 

 

 

About the Author

 

 

 Preface for the Spanish Translation of “The COVID-19 Global Counterrevolution

 

By Michael Pröbsting, 28 April 2021

 

 

 

It has been an excellent initiative of our Argentinean comrades in Convergencia Socialista to organize a print edition of the Spanish translation of this book! This is already the fifth language in which this book has been published (after English, Portuguese, French and Korean).

 

It is not difficult to see the reason for the widespread interest in this work as it deals with a key question of current world politics: the COVID-19 Global Counterrevolution. In fact, as we have elaborated in this book as well as in many other works, this event does not only reflect a shift in world politics but, more fundamentally, a new stage in recent history.

 

As the reader can see, this book has been published exactly one year ago, i.e. in the early phase of the pandemic and the efforts of the ruling class to exploit it as a pretext for its counterrevolutionary offensive. It is therefore only natural that various figures about the number of deaths, about the depth of the depression of the capitalist world economy, etc. are outdated.

 

However, the value of the book, among others, lies exactly in the very fact that it has been written at the beginning of the COVID-19 Counterrevolution. Trotsky once noted that „the strength of Marxism lies in its ability to foretell.[1] As the work in hand demonstrates, the RCIT has been able to comprehend and to analyze the political essence of the reactionary offensive of the ruling class from the very beginning. It is certainly no exaggeration to state that 99% of the so-called left – from Stalinists, left-populists, Bolivarians, Maoists to pseudo-Trotskyists – has capitulated to the hysterical campaign and supports the bourgeois policy of mass curfews and banning of assemblies! Only the small forces of authentic Marxists have withstood this political tornado of chauvinist state bonapartism and “national unity”!

 

Hence, this historic event has not only opened a new era of capitalist offensive; it also created a gulf between those remaining loyal to the banner of proletarian liberation struggle and those capitulating to the gigantic wave of top-down incited public hysteria and anti-democratic Lockdown bonapartism.

 

In this book we have compared the COVID-19 Counterrevolution with historic events like the beginning of World War I in 1914. We have drawn this analogy not only because of the historic meaning of this development but also because, once again, we see a dramatic wave of capitulation of nearly all so-called left-wing parties. More than one century ago, on the 4 August 1914, German social democracy – the strongest party of the Second International – voted for war credits and thereby expressed its support for the imperialist war.

 

Today, similarly to this event, the opportunists again support the counterrevolutionary offensive of the ruling class. Once more, they rally to the banner of “national unity” and call the working class to “stay at home” and to support the state of emergency, in other words, to give up the class struggle against the bourgeoise. Such a historic betrayal means that these “leftist” parties and groups have become social-bonapartists – socialists in words and supporters of capitalist bonapartism in deeds.

 

Latin American “Trotskyism” has been not different from the rest of the global opportunist left. Argentina is a prime example for the policy of social-bonapartist betrayal as it is the country with the largest “Trotskyist” forces in the world – most prominently the alliance called “Frente de Izquierda – Unidad” (FIT-U) which has deputies in national and regional parliaments. As a matter of fact, all parties of FIT-U (and their respective international affiliates) – PTS/FT, PO/CRCI, IS/UIT and MST/LIS – have raised slogans like “¡Exigimos cuarentena sin hambre, despidos, ni rebaja salarial!” (We demand quarantine without hunger, layoffs, or a salary cut!) since the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis. The Brazil PSTU – the leading section of the LIT – raised very similar slogans. [2]

 

In other words, all these “Trotskyists” call for mass curfews – of course, “without losses”! This is a cynical slogan which deceives and disorientates the vanguard and the masses! As everyone knows, it is impossible to put pressure on the capitalists to make them pay wages and refrain from lay-offs, when workers are forced to stay at home, i.e. when they can't fights because they are isolated from each other! This is like an army which lays down one’s arms … and calls its enemy to capitulate!

 

Our comrades of Convergencia Socialista have been among the extremely small minority of authentic Marxists in the world who have strongly opposed such social-bonapartist capitulation! Make no mistake: only those forces are upholding the banner of unmudded socialism which advocate the policy of revolutionary struggle against the capitalist Lockdown policy! In contrast, the Lockdown Left – a bunch of clueless saps and social-bonapartist servants of counterrevolution – have tainted the name of Marxism with opportunist disgrace!

 

In the early days of the COVID-19 Counterrevolution, in March 2020, the RCIT has published an Open Letter in which we called likeminded revolutionaries who withstand the counterrevolutionary wave to join forces. We concluded this document with the following words: “Comrades, brothers and sisters! This is a crucial historic turning point in world politics. The time has come to join forces on the basis of a program of struggle! Do not hesitate, act now because history is happening now![3]

 

We are glad to have encountered like-minded revolutionaries like the comrades of Convergencia Socialista and to fight with them shoulder on shoulder against Lockdown capitalism and social-bonapartist betrayal. We call others, who share our intransigent line of class struggle against chauvinist state bonapartism, to join us in building a new Revolutionary World Party!

 

I want to conclude this brief preface by expressing, once again, my deep gratitude to comrade Rubén Jaramilllo who has completed the translation of this book in a very short period. As always, he has approached this project with tenacity, patience, and a high degree of professionalism!

 



[1] Leon Trotsky: The Third International After Lenin. The Draft Program of the Communist International: A Criticism of Fundamentals (1928), Pathfinder Press, New York 1970, p. 198

[2] For our critique of the major forces of Latin American “Trotskyism” see e.g. the last chapters of the pamphlet by Michael Pröbsting: The Second Wave of the COVID-19 Counterrevolution. On the ruling class strategy in the current conjuncture, its inner contradictions and the perspectives of the workers and popular resistance, 20 July 2020, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/global/the-second-wave-of-the-covid-19-counterrevolution/; see also by the same author: Social-Bonapartism in Argentina. The Partido Obrero (Tendencia) of Jorge Altamira supports the State of Emergency, 29 April 2020, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/latin-america/social-bonapartism-in-argentina/; Brazil: Social-Bonapartism of the Lockdown Left in Practice. How the leaderships of the trade unions, PT, PCdoB, the pseudo-Trotskyist PSTU and PSOL sabotage the struggle against the Bolsonaro government, 10 June 2020, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/latin-america/brazil-social-bonapartism-of-the-lockdown-left-in-practice/. For a critique of the Lockdown Left in other parts of the world see, in addition to chapter V in the book at hand, the following articles by Michael Pröbsting: COVID-19 and the Lockdown Left: The Example of PODEMOS and Stalinism in Spain, 24 March 2020, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/global/covid-19-lockdown-left-podemos-and-stalinism-in-spain/; When Ultra-Leftism marries Social-Bonapartism and Gives Birth to “Post-Marxist” Obscurantism. A reply to the CWG/ILTT, 5 May 2020, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/global/covid-19-when-ultra-leftism-marries-social-bonapartism/; Lockdown Left says: “Cops Need to Enforce Laws”. The ex-revolutionary L5I as another example for shameful social-bonapartism in the era of the COVID-19 counterrevolution, 24 July 2020, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/global/lockdown-left-l5i-says-cops-need-to-enforce-laws/; COVID-19: Zero Socialism in the “ZeroCOVID“ campaign. Following the model of China and Australia, some British Stalinists and “Trotskyists” call for a “total and indefinite lockdown”, 22 December 2020, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/global/covid-19-zero-socialism-in-the-zerocovid-campaign/; COVID-19: The Current and Historical Roots of Bourgeois Lockdown “Socialism”. Police State and Universal Basic Income are key elements of the new version of reformist “War Socialism” of 1914, 19 December 2020, https://www.thecommunists.net/theory/covid-19-the-current-and-historical-roots-of-bourgeois-lockdown-socialism/; “ZeroCOVID” Left Calls for the Authoritarian State – A Practical Example. A revealing article shows that the Lockdown Left calls for the expansion of the police and surveillance state, 8 April 2021, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/global/zerocovid-left-calls-for-the-authoritarian-state-a-practical-example/

[3] RCIT: Act Now because History is Happening Now! A call to all revolutionary organizations and activists to join forces against the global counter-revolutionary offensive under the cover of COVID-19, 26 March 2020, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/global/open-letter-act-now-because-history-is-happening-now/