The COVID-19 Counterrevolution and the Betrayal of the Lockdown Left


Joint Statement of Colectivo Emancipacion Proletaria and the Revolutionary Communist International Tendency, 29 June 2020,




1.             The great popular uprising in the U.S. which has inspired mass movements all over the world demonstrates that the workers and oppressed, in contrast to the Lockdown left, do not accept the bonapartist attacks on democratic rights. The mass protests in Lebanon, Iraq and Hong Kong as well as various food riots are other example for the popular rejection of the Lockdown regime. The masses have spontaneously defeated the state of siege and quarantine and marched on the streets despite all the bans on demonstrations and public assemblies. The Colectivo Emancipacion Proletaria (CEP) and the Revolutionary Communist International Tendency (RCIT) strongly welcome these popular uprisings. They show once more that the vanguard of the workers and oppressed is far more progressive and politically conscious than the social-bonapartist left. We must follow the path indicated by the workers and the poor popular masses in the US! Pull down the quarantine! Abolish the police and jails!


2.             Since a few months the international working class and the popular masses are under attack by the COVID-19 Counterrevolution. Under the cover of the Corona Virus pandemic the imperialist bourgeoisie all over the world has imposed a draconic regime of warfare, wide-ranging surveillance methods and a state of siege. People – in particular the most impoverished sectors of the working class – are made prisoners in their own home, they are suffering from hunger and depression and, more generally, social and economic life is severely damaged. CEP and RCIT the strongly denounce this attack and call the vanguard of the workers and oppressed to organize for the fightback.


3.             The bourgeoisie and their ideologists claim that the Lockdown is a necessary instrument against the COVID-19 pandemic. This is simply a lie. Of course, SARS-CoV-2 is not a “hoax” as the clownesque idiots like Trump and Bolsonaro have claimed. It is a real pandemic and it is dangerous. However, what is a lie is that this would be a pandemic “worse than anything else in the past decades”. There exist various diseases which unfortunately result in the death of hundreds of thousands or millions of people every year (e.g. HIV/AIDS, respiratory infections, some influenza epidemics). What is a lie is that the Lockdown would be the most effective instrument to fight against this pandemic. As a matter of fact, the countries with the highest numbers of death per capita in the world are all countries which have imposed a Lockdown from early on (Belgium, UK, Spain, Italy).


4.             The biggest lie is that the ruling class is imposing the Lockdown because they would care about the people’s health. If they would do so, they would undertake massive investments in the public health sector, they would provide protective equipment to the people for free, and they would undertake wide-ranging and free testing. But, as everyone knows, the capitalist governments are not doing this. The reason is that the objective role of the Lockdown is not primarily to fight the pandemic but rather to advance the political and economic interests of the bourgeoisie.


5.             CEP and RCIT state that, in fact, the COVID-19 pandemic serves as a pretext for the ruling class to massively attack the democratic rights and to expand the bonapartist state machinery with its police and surveillance apparatus. For example, in the semi-colonies and colonies, they managed to impose with the state of siege and quarantine a brutal increase in the cost of living and labor reform, with layoffs, suspensions, lower wages and factory closings. This is particularly urgent for the bourgeoisie since the capitalist world economy has entered a period of depression in autumn last year – the worst since 1929. In addition and related to this, a global wave of popular uprisings all over the world started in the second half of 2019. From Hong Kong to Iraq, from Lebanon to Chile, from France to Ecuador and from India to Catalunya – the workers and oppressed have been fighting in the streets for democratic rights and against austerity attacks. In addition, the Corona Virus has served as an excuse for the bourgeoisie to “explain” the economic slump of the capitalist world economy. Finally, it is evident that the pandemic – and the fear created about it – serves as an excellent business opportunity for various imperialist monopolies to make extra-profits (e.g. in the pharmaceutical industry, the whole IT and AI sector, the whole military-technology sector, etc.)


6.             The bourgeoisie and its ideologists claim that this is an “unprecedented pandemic”. As a matter of fact, what is unprecedented is the massive, sudden and globally uniform bonapartist attack on the working class and popular masses. With one stroke, literally billions of people have been locked up and terrified with fear that they could die at every moment. In that regard, we can characterize the COVID-19 Counterrevolution as a historic event. To a certain degree, this event is comparable to the beginning of World War I with its catastrophic militarism and the unstoppable wave of reactionary chauvinism in all countries.


7.             In itself, it is not surprising that the imperialist bourgeoisie attacks the interests of the workers and oppressed in times of its worst economic and political crisis and that it utilizes every possible pretext for such. What is far more extraordinary and outrageous is the fact that the labor bureaucracy and nearly the whole spectrum of reformist and bureaucratized centrist organizations have joined the bandwagon and cheer the Lockdown regime without shame. If they have a criticism of the governments it is that they have not imposed the lockdown even earlier, even harsher and even longer! In other words, these “leftist” forces criticize the bonapartist bourgeoisie that it is not enough bonapartist! CEP and RCIT sharply denounce these reformists and bureaucratized centrists as “social-bonapartist”, i.e. they are supporters of capitalist bonapartism under the disguise of “socialist” phrases.


8.             If the COVID-19 Counterrevolution has been a historic event, we can say without doubt that it is a test which most reformist and bureaucratized centrist organizations have pathetically failed. Refusing to defend the most basic democratic rights against a reactionary bonapartist ruling class, this Lockdown Left has outrageously betrayed the working class and the poor. Spring 2020 has been another “4th August” of the reformist and bureaucratized centrist camp – fully comparable with the betrayal of social democracy in 1914. This political collapse demonstrates once more that most of these opportunist “leftists” are inextricably connected with the liberal middle class, the labor aristocracy and the trade union bureaucracy which all support enthusiastically the bonapartist lockdown policy. On the other hand, this events shows the Lockdown Left is voluntarily practicing “social distancing” from the lower and middle layer of the working class and oppressed since many years, i.e. they hardly have any connections with these popular strata. The petty-bourgeois left wholeheartedly supports the Lockdown because for the educated middle class, “home office” and “staying at home” in their comfortable houses is no problem at all. In contrast, for the broad masses of the proletariat and the popular masses, “staying at home” means hunger, misery, domestic violence and mental pressure. Furthermore, a large part of the proletariat – today popularly referred to as “essential workers” – is also continuing working even in times of full Lockdowns. Millions of workers are put under so-called “short-work” with the bourgeoisie cutting the wages. What the majority of the workers and oppressed experience during the Lockdowns is not only a massive attack on democratic rights but also a massive increase of exploitation and a wave of layoffs. At the same time the labor bureaucracy and nearly all bureaucratized centrist forces, living in their alternate universe far away from the oppressed masses, argue for mass struggles on the streets only after the pandemic is over. Some of them have even the impudence to suggest that that a Lockdown should last until a vaccine is found (while in the meantime the workers provide the middle classes, of course, with everything necessary and comfortable).


9.             Authentic revolutionaries have to break with the opportunist left and orientate towards the militant vanguard of the workers and oppressed. They must redouble their efforts to fight against the corrupting influence of these petty-bourgeois forces within the workers and popular organizations. Instead of cheering the reactionary Lockdown policy, revolutionaries fight for a program of action which is based on the consistent struggle for democratic rights and against all bonapartist attacks, for economic demands against poverty and unemployment which must include public employment programs and the nationalization of the corporations and banks without compensation and under workers control as well as a program against the pandemic with demands like free testing and distribution of protective equipment, quarantine for those infected with free provisions, free hospitalization of severely infected and the expansion and nationalization of the whole health sector under workers and popular control. Such demands have to be part of a comprehensive transitional program orientated to the formation of a workers and poor peasant government and the struggle for international socialist revolution.


10.          CEP and RCIT call all authentic revolutionaries to join us in a fighting bloc against the lockdown policy and capitalist bonapartism which will have the immediate task of calling and preparing an International Revolutionary Conference. The COVID-19 counterrevolution demonstrates once more the desperate crisis of revolutionary leadership. The official “left” is useless, in the best case, and more often an outright obstacle in the revolutionary struggle. In order to fight against the reactionary offensive of the ruling class and the outrageous betrayal of the reformist and bureaucratized centrist left, we must advance the struggle for building a new World Party of Socialist Revolution, based on the tradition and the method of founding program of the Fourth International. Without such a party, humanity faces a dark future of barbarism. Armed with such a party, humanity will march towards international socialist revolution and the liberation of all exploitation, misery and oppression!




Colectivo Emancipacion Proletaria (Argentina, Chile). We refer readers to ¡¡Abajo el estado de sitio!! ¡¡La única pandemia es el capitalismo imperialista!!, 27 March 2020,


Revolutionary Communist International Tendency (Brazil, Mexico, Pakistan, Kashmir, Sri Lanka, South Korea, Israel/Occupied Palestine, Yemen, Nigeria, Kenya, Russia, Britain, Germany and Austria). All documents of the RCIT on the COVID-19 crisis are collected at a special sub-page in its website: In particular we refer readers to the 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,