Popular resistance against the anti-democratic Lockdown policy is growing throughout Europe
Statement of the Revolutionary Communist International Tendency (RCIT), 27 January 2021, www.thecommunists.net
1. Netherlands is rocked by a spontaneous youth rebellion which has lasted for several consecutive nights. Across the entire country – including in all major cities like Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague, Nijmegen, and Haarlem – youths took to the streets “seeking a confrontation with police.” (Rotterdam police). Police, including military police, reacted with full force and deployed water cannon and officers on horseback. More than 470 people have been arrested during three days of unrest. In response, youth threw stones, built barricades, and set some cars on fire.
2. These spontaneous youth protests are a reaction to the imposition of a curfew by the parliament. Beginning last Saturday, it lasts from 9 p.m. to 4:30 a.m. It is a historic watershed moment for the Netherlands as it is the first curfew since World War Two. Like in many other countries, the government uses the COVID-19 pandemic as an excuse to attack fundamental democratic rights.
3. Unsurprisingly, parties, police and media hysterically denounce the youth rebellion. Prime Minister Mark Rutte said: “This has nothing to do with protest, this is criminal violence and we will treat it as such.” The Rotterdam Mayor called the protestors “shameless thieves”. The notorious right-wing politician Geert Wilders, a Islamophobic provocateur who advocates the publication of racist caricatures about the Prophet Mohammed, even called on the government to send in the army to quell the protests.
4. Public anger about this anti-democratic assault has been doubled by a disgusting child welfare scandal which forced the ruling government coalition led by the bourgeois-liberal Prime Minister Mark Rutte to resign a few days ago. As an official investigating committee has established, more than 20,000 working class families were wrongly pursued for fraud before the courts, ordered to repay child support benefits and denied the right to appeal over several years from 2012. Some were pushed close to bankruptcy or forced to move house by unjust claims for tens of thousands of euros when the alleged fraud amounted to an incorrectly filled-out form or a missing signature. This shameful anti-poor attack had also a strong racist character as 11,000 of those families were migrants.
5. This scandalous robbery of poor working class and migrant families has not been the act of one person or one party but involved all levels of the capitalist state apparatus. It confirms once more the Marxist thesis of the thoroughly reactionary class character of the bourgeois state. Even the official investigating committee had to admit that “government ministers, MPs, civil servants and court judges all bore their share of responsibility.”
6. The Revolutionary Communist International Tendency (RCIT) strongly rejects the hypocritical denunciations of the youth uprising by the capitalist establishment and right-wing provocateurs like Geert Wilders. We say that this is a just rebellion against the anti-democratic Lockdown policy! The official claim that the curfew is aimed at containing the pandemic is an obvious lie. Since nearly one year, Europe’s governments have imposed Lockdowns and curfews without much success in fighting the pandemic. In fact, countries like Sweden – which have not imposed any Lockdown – don’t have higher excess mortality rates than countries imposing hard lockdowns (e.g. France, Spain, UK). This has also been confirmed by a recently published study of the Stanford University. Furthermore, if the capitalist governments would be seriously concerned about the pandemic, why do they not invest massively in expanding the public health sector?!
7. The RCIT has explained in numerous documents that the ruling classes all over the world are expanding the police and surveillance state because their system faces a dramatic decay. Since late 2019, the capitalist world economy has entered a period called the Greater Depression, the imperialist world order is shattered by the acceleration of Great Power rivalry (above all the Cold War between the U.S. and China), and many governments fear the global wave of popular uprisings. In such a situation, the ruling class exploits the pandemic as a pretext to attack fundamental democratic rights and to advance the formation of a chauvinist bonapartist state. Of course, this does not mean that COVID-19 is “fake” – as Trumpian idiots claim. However, as critical scientists and forces like ourselves have shown in various studies, while COVID-19 is severe it is neither unprecedented nor more dangerous than other pandemics in past decades.
8. We do not deny that such riots also include some misdirected acts of vandalism. Likewise, it is quite possible that some reactionary hooligans joined the riots. However, these are not the main characteristics of the rebellion. The youth uprising has been provoked by the imposition of an anti-popular curfew. The government responsible for this attack is a discredited coalition of bourgeois parties (VVD, CDA, D66 and CU). The rebellion is obviously of spontaneous nature as it spread like fire all over the country within hours. And even the police must recognize that the protesters mainly target the uniformed representatives of the state.
9. It is shamefully as well as characteristically that the misnamed “Socialist Party” supports the anti-popular curfew which dramatically increases the powers of the repressive state apparatus. (https://international.sp.nl/nieuws/2021/01/parliament-supports-sp-tackle-companies-that-break-the-corona-measures) This ex-Maoist party has transformed into a left-reformist force long ago. It hopes to be able to join a government coalition in the near future. At the last elections it received 9.1% of the votes and 14 seats in parliament. Its support for the anti-democratic Lockdown policy is in line with the policy of nearly all social democratic, Stalinist and pseudo-Trotskyist forces. In Spain, a government coalition of such forces has imposed draconic Lockdowns with special powers to police and army since nearly one year. Since some time, such “left-wing” forces are calling in Europe for a “ZeroCOVID” strategy which would mean a total shutdown of all social and economic activities, i.e. a 24-hour curfew like in Wuhan. (Not accidentally, the advocates of “ZeroCOVID” call China as a model!) This would mean nothing but an overall dictatorship under control of the bourgeois state – a regime which naturally would stay in power as long as possible. Any sincere socialist, any consistent democrat must strongly oppose such “ZeroSocialist” policy and break with the Lockdown Left!
10. The RCIT calls all authentic revolutionaries, all youth willing to fight for freedom, to join forces. Down with the new Leviathan – the Capitalist State Monster! The people are right to rebel – in the Netherlands, in Europe and globally!
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The RCIT has analysed the COVID-19 counterrevolution extensively since its beginning. Starting from 2 February we have published more than 70 pamphlets, essays, articles and statements plus a book which are all compiled at a special sub-page on our website: https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/global/collection-of-articles-on-the-2019-corona-virus/.
In particular we refer readers to the following documents:
RCIT Manifesto: COVID-19: A Cover for a Major Global Counterrevolutionary Offensive. We are at a turning point in the world situation as the ruling classes provoke a war-like atmosphere in order to legitimize the build-up of chauvinist state-bonapartist regimes, 21 March 2020, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/global/covid-19-a-cover-for-a-major-global-counterrevolutionary-offensive/.
Almedina Gunić: Coronavirus: "I am not a Virus"... but WE will be the Cure! The chauvinist campaign behind the “Wuhan Coronavirus” hysteria and the revolutionary answer, 2 February 2020, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/global/wuhan-virus/
Michael Pröbsting: The COVID-19 Global Counterrevolution: What It Is and How to Fight It. A Marxist analysis and strategy for the revolutionary struggle, RCIT Books, April 2020, https://www.thecommunists.net/theory/the-covid-19-global-counterrevolution/. By the same author: 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/; The Police and Surveillance State in the Post-Lockdown Phase. A global review of the ruling class’s plans of expanding the bonapartist state machinery amidst the COVID-19 crisis, 21 May 2020, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/global/police-and-surveillance-state-in-post-lockdown-phase/; COVID-19: The Great Barrington Declaration is indeed Great! Numerous medical scientists protest against the reactionary lockdown policy, 11 October 2020, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/global/covid-19-the-great-barrington-declaration-is-indeed-great/. 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/