The RCIT on COVID-19: One Year Ago

The first anniversary of the beginning of the Marxists’ struggle against the capitalist counterrevolution taking place under the cover of the pandemic

 

by Michael Pröbsting, International Secretary of the Revolutionary Communist International Tendency (RCIT), 2 February 2021, www.thecommunists.net

 

 

Exactly one year ago, the RCIT published its very first article about the COVID-19 pandemic and the following global counterrevolutionary offensive of the ruling class. In this article – called “The chauvinist campaign behind the “Wuhan Coronavirus” hysteria and the revolutionary answer” – Almedina Gunić analysed, based on the knowledge at that time, the nature of the pandemic and elaborated several key aspects of its political consequences. [1] Since then, we have published on this issue more than 70 pamphlets, essays, articles, and statements as well as a book of which a number have been translated into other languages. [2]

 

Today everyone recognizes the historic significance of the political consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic. It is one of these events which cause historians to say that they changed the world forever. However, one year ago, hardly anyone was aware of this. Even now, most of the so-called “left“ – social democrats, Stalinists, Bolivarians, Trotsko-Revisionists – have not the foggiest notion about the counterrevolutionary nature of the capitalist state policy which is going on under the cover of the pandemic. Worse, many of them continue to criminally support the Lockdown policy which objectively means support nothing but an expansion of the police and surveillance state. [3] And the most reactionary forces amongst the Lockdown Left – like the notorious ZeroCOVID campaign – even criticize the capitalist governments for not imposing more, harder and longer Lockdowns. [4]

 

 

 

Our “ability to foretell

 

 

 

Trotsky once noted that "the strength of Marxism lies in its ability to foretell.[5] We are proud that the RCIT – in contrast to the clueless saps and the social-bonapartist servants of the counterrevolution among the left – has been able to comprehend and to analyze the political essence of the developments in the past 12 months. We are even more proud of the fact that have done so from the very beginning of this development which we have characterized as the COVID-19 Counterrevolution!

 

Already in the above-mentioned article by Almedina Gunić we warned about the possibility that this pandemic could be exploited to cause public hysteria. The 2019-nCoV (short for: 2019 novel Coronavirus) dominates the news since more than two weeks now, broadly labeled as the “Wuhan Coronavirus” respectively “Wuhan Virus”. (…) Revolutionaries, however, need to distance themselves from the sensational hype and take a sober look at this phenomenon.”

 

Despite the very limited knowledge about the virus at that time we tried to make a scientific assessment of its nature and concluded. “Therefore we only estimate that the virus is less deadly than SARS–CoV and MERS-CoV but more deadly than Influenza (the flu) compared to the overall contact it gets.” This assessment has been turned out as accurately as we did show in a number of documents in the last few months. [6]

 

Already at that time, on 2 February 2020, we warned that the major threat is the ruling class trying to exploit the pandemic for a massive chauvinist and bonapartist attack. “The virus itself may or may not become a severe threat to mankind, a danger always looming on the medical horizon. However, the way the bourgeoisie and its media deal with the virus is quite exceptional. One of the most chauvinist examples of bourgeois media coverage on 2019 -nCoV is the French paper “Courrier picard”. (The article then goes on and provides several examples, Ed.) The major threat is not 2019-nCov, it is the potential for chauvinism and bonapartism. The major threats are the steps that have been and will be taken by the ruling classes against the workers and oppressed under the pretext of security. China has already forced the people of Wuhan into quarantine, allowing only minimum interaction between the citizens.

 

 

 

Early elaboration of the key elements of our programmatic answer

 

 

 

The conclusions which we elaborated one year ago already contained the key elements of our programmatic answer to the COVID-19 Counterrevolution. “First, revolutionaries have to oppose any form of chauvinism that occurs against people from Asia (or any other part of the world).

 

We opposed the policy of Lockdown and called for a response based on public health policy. “Therefore revolutionaries should even oppose general travel bans and forced quarantine. This doesn't mean to ignore the necessity of protection against 2019-nCoV and other diseases. However, the answer is to implement health screens for all travelers and to offer immediate health care for free if any case of infection is detected. Second, revolutionaries should demand that both cure and preventive vaccination must be developed as soon as possible. This means that experts and medical staff all around the world have to collaborate in order to fulfill these tasks in short time. All developments in this field must be accessible for the global public and have to be monitored and controlled by the international workers movement. Health care facilities and hospitals must be built in the same tempo as it was the case with the Huoshenshan Hospital in order to offer sufficient treatment. Third, the general quarantine for all people in Wuhan and other places has to be lifted and replaced by systematic and complete health screening of all people who might have had contact with the virus.

 

We also emphasized the necessity for an anti-capitalist approach on this issue. “The costs of all measures must be financed by the multinational corporations, especially the pharmaceutical industry which needs to be nationalized under workers control.

 

We concluded: “2019-nCoV is a virus and its cure has to be developed by medical experts. However, we as the working class are the class which leads mankind into a future of freedom and health. We are the ones to fight against the ruling classes, against capitalism and imperialism. We are the ones to fight for a revolutionary uprising, a world revolution against this class system. A system which is responsible for the unnecessary dead of billions of people in so many forms! Let us make sure that no brother or sister must die in misery anymore!

 

Three days later, on 5 February 2020, the RCIT elaborated this analysis further and emphasized the political nature of the COVID-19 policy of the ruling class:

 

There can be no doubt: the reason for the global hysteria of the ruling classes does not lie in health precautions but rather in political calculations. The RCIT emphasizes that the hysteria around the 2019 Corona Virus objectively serves the following objectives:

 

a) The ruling classes in China as well as in many other countries exploit the hysteria in order to justify the vast expansion of surveillance and control of its population.

 

b) They also utilize this hysteria in order to wipe up patriotism and suspicion against “foreigners”, people “from outside” or simple “others”.

 

c) China’s regime utilizes the hysteria also in order to create a climate of fear so that anxious people put all their hopes in the state forces.

 

d) The ruling classes in other imperialist states utilize the global hysteria in order to wipe up anti-Chinese chauvinism and to advance their stakes in the ongoing rivalry between the Great Powers. US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross cynically suggested that the outbreak of the 2019 Corona Virus is an opportunity for the US.

 

e) Likewise, reactionary forces outside China exploit the crisis in order to foster suspicion and hatred against Chinese or, more generally, against Asian migrants.

 

f) The ruling class will exploit the 2019 Corona Virus (and subsequently China) in order to find a culprit for the Great Recession which has recently begun. In fact, while the global measures to supposedly contain the spreading of the virus deepen the slump, the capitalist world economy has entered a recession already in the second half of 2019. The truth is that the reasons for this Great Recession are the same like those for all the others in the past: the frantic drive for profit of the capitalist corporations provokes again and again in economic crashes of the world economy.”

 

Trotsky pointed out that the strength of the methods of a Marxist organization lies in this, that its program and prognoses are capable of withstanding the test of great events. [7] The COVID-19 Counterrevolution has been without doubt such a test – in similar fashion like the past two World Wars. In 1914-18 and 1939-45 nearly all organizations of the official workers movement capitulated to the pressure of imperialist chauvinism. Only small  forces – the Bolsheviks and the Zimmerwald Left (in World War I) respectively the Fourth International (in World War II) – defended the principles of authentic Marxism.

 

It is no different today. The RCIT was one of the very few forces who recognized the reactionary nature of the capitalist COVID-19 policy and its chauvinist-bonapartist Lockdown policy from the very beginning. Fighting against the ideological war of the world bourgeoisie as well as against the social-bonapartist capitulation of nearly the whole “left”, the RCIT has been able to create a revolutionary tradition. This historical record of authentic Marxism – created under the most difficult conditions of political darkness – will provide a valuable basis for the future work of building a World Party of Socialist Revolution! We call all activists fighting for a democratic and socialist future to join us!

 

 

 



[1] 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/

[2] 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 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/. In addition, we draw attention to our book by 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/. See also our very first article on this issue by 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 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/; by the same author: 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/.

[3] For our critique of the Lockdown Left see e.g. chapter V of our above-mentioned book by Michael Pröbsting: The COVID-19 Global Counterrevolution: What It Is and How to Fight It; see also by the same author the last chapters in the above mentioned essay: The Second Wave of the COVID-19 Counterrevolution; 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/; 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/; 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/; 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/; 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/

[4] See on this e.g. Michael Pröbsting: 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/

[5] 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

[6] See on this our numerous articles on the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic for total mortality: Michael Pröbsting: COVID-19: A Comparison of Historical Data. An analysis of the COVID-19 death figures and those of past pandemics and climate disasters based on data from the World Bank, 19 January 2021, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/global/covid-19-a-comparison-of-historical-data/; by the same author: COVID-19: Sweden's Total Mortality in 2020 Compared with Past Years, 23 January 2021, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/global/covid-19-sweden-s-total-mortality-in-2020-compared-with-past-years/; COVID-19: Some Interesting Facts (Which Governments & Media Conceal) Some Calculations about Total Mortality in Europe in 2020 compared with 2016 and 2018, 23 December 2020, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/global/covid-19-and-total-mortality-in-europe/; COVID-19: How Severe is the Pandemic in Sweden Really? Once again, a comparison demonstrates that the mortality rate in 2020 is barely larger than in 2018, 8 December 2020, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/global/covid-19-how-severe-is-the-pandemic-in-sweden-really/; COVID-19: Revealing Figures from Sweden. A comparison of the mortality rates of the first 9 months in 2020 with previous years confirm that this is a serious but not unprecedented pandemic, 23 November 2020, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/global/covid-19-revealing-figures-from-sweden/; see also the chapter “Telling figures for Europe, Sweden and Ischgl” in the above-mentioned essay “The Second Wave of the COVID-19 Counterrevolution”.

[7] The power of the Fourth International lies in this, that its program is capable of withstanding the test of great events.” (Fourth International: Imperialist War And The Proletarian World Revolution, Adopted by the Emergency Conference of the Fourth International, May 19-26, 1940; in: Documents of the Fourth International, The Formative Years (1933-40), Pathfinder Press, New York 1973, p. 323, http://www.marxists.org/history/etol/document/fi/1938-1949/emergconf/fi-emerg02.htm)