Down with the Campaign for Total Lockdown! To Hell with Joe Biden, the Racist Police and Private Security Murderer!


Article by Yossi Schwartz (Internationalist Socialist League, RCIT Section in Israel/Occupied Palestine), 31.12.2020, and


The propaganda of the capitalists is that we are all together in the war against the COVID19-pandemic. In the real world, under the cover of fighting coronavirus they are engaged in a war against the working class and the oppressed people all around the world. Each imperialist attack was and is an attack against the life of our brothers and sisters. The very same life that imperialists claim to protect when implementing bonapartist attacks in the name of fighting COVID.


It is very clear for example that the USA had no hesitations to kill civilians: "On Sept. 16, 2007, during the occupation of Iraq, American Blackwater guards stopped traffic in Bagdad for a U.S. diplomatic team. At 12:08 p.m. Nicholas Slatten, the team’s sniper, began firing. Over the next 20 minutes, the guards used heavy-caliber machine guns and grenades to kill 17 Iraqi civilians — including two children — and wound 17 others. It took nearly eight years for five members of this killers group to be convicted in the case and sent to prison."[1] Last Tuesday President Trump pardoned four of them, a decision that reflects the state of US military violence and again the inhuman character of the US imperialist state.


This attitude of the American killers is related to the history of the US on capital punishment. “Capital punishment” is another name for the “death penalty,” the legal execution of persons waiting in death row. The word capital comes from the Latin word for head. In ancient times, capital punishment was often carried out by beheading. This method has never been used in the USA. Today, the method of beheading is linked to barbaric groups like DAESH. But workers, poor and blacks have been put to death by shooting, hanging, electrocution, poison gas, and lethal injection – often enough crueler methods than the fast death by beheading. "In the American colonies, during the British rule legal executions took place as early as 1630. The death penalty was imposed for many crimes, such as picking pockets or stealing a loaf of bread. During the 1800's, 270 crimes were crimes punishable by death. Thousands of people sometimes attended public hangings."[2]


The aim of these cold blood killings was to terrorize the population and let them know who the rulers are and what awaits those who do not accept the tyranny of the masters.


"During the 1950s and 1960s as result of protests against capital punishment the number of executions in America gradually declined. In 1967, there were only two. No executions took place in the United States from 1968 through 1976. In the 1972 case of Furman v. Georgia, the Supreme Court declared capital punishment unconstitutional. The court said the death penalty was a violation of the Eighth Amendment prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment."[3]


This decision reflected the mass mobilization during the Vietnam War and the civil rights movement. When the capitalists were afraid of the popular classes, their courts issued legal decisions aimed at calming down the masses. However, in 1976 when the mass movement left the streets the Supreme Court in Gregg v. Georgia ruled that execution based on both mitigating and aggravating circumstances, was constitutional. "It declared unconstitutional North Carolina’s and Louisiana’s mandatory death sentences. The court said a mandatory sentence was unduly harsh and rigid and made no allowance for the particular circumstances of each case. Executions began again in 1977. In the Georgia case of McCleskey v. Kemp (1987) a study, by University of Iowa Professor David Baldus, showed that blacks who had killed whites had been sentenced to die seven times more often than whites who had killed blacks. Even after accounting for other variables, such as the viciousness of the crime, blacks had been sentenced to die more than four times as often as whites. In recent years, about 50 prisoners have been executed each year. More than 3,000 inmates wait on death rows in prisons across America."[4]


But this is only one form of cold blood murder by the imperialist state. Another common form is the police killing, especially of Black people (see Appendix for details).




Pandemic is not pressing pause on the murder of Black people




Police shootings, killing of Black people and Native Americans have not decreased during the COVID-19 epidemic; if at all the police got more power as part of the attacks on civil democratic and social rights. Fatal shootings by police officers did not appear to ease up even amid the coronavirus pandemic, and Blacks, Latinos and Native Americans continue to be disproportionately affected by deadly police shootings compared to white people, a study released Wednesday by the American Civil Liberties Union found. Such shootings are "so routine that even during a national pandemic, with far fewer people traveling outside of their homes and police departments reducing contact with the public so as not to spread the virus, police have continued to fatally shoot people at the same rate so far in 2020 as they did in the same period from 2015 to 2019," according to the report, which was based on data analysis from the University of Nebraska at Omaha”.[5]




The USA has a long history of racism against Black people from the time of slavery, lynching and Jim Crows discrimination. May the imperialist propaganda say that the United States are “the land of the free”, this “freedom” was and is based on a history of slavery and a presence of oppression, exploitation and brutal murder of numerous people. Very few events have taken place where oppressed people have gained a victory in their struggle for freedom. "Between 1525 and 1866, 12.5 million people were kidnapped from Africa and sent to the Americas through the transatlantic slave trade. Only 10.7 million survived the harrowing two month journey. Though Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863, the decree took two-and-a-half years to fully enact. June 19, 1865—the day Union Gen. Gordon Granger informed the enslaved individuals of Galveston, Texas, that they were officially free—is now known as Juneteenth".[6][7]




In 2017, Black unemployment was higher than in 1968, as was the rate of incarcerated individuals who were Black. The wealth gap had also increased, with the median White family having ten times more wealth than the median Black family. This is part of a long history of systematic racism Black people face in all areas of life. “We are re-segregating our cities and our schools, condemning millions of kids to inferior education and taking away their real possibility of getting out of poverty,” said Fred Harris, the last surviving member of the Kerner Commission, following the 2018 study’s release.[8] A study released in 2017, found that in late 1920s Chicago and Cook County, Illinois, that while African Americans constituted just 5 percent of the area’s population, they made up 30 percent of the victims of police killings".[9]


However, it is not only the police which is a threat to the lives of our Black brothers and sisters. As it was the case with the racist murder of Ahmaud Arbery last year in Georgia or the killing of the teenager Trayvon Martin in 2012, Black lives are threatened by both police officers and white civilians. This is as well rooted deeply in American history. "More than 4,400 lynchings—mob killings took place in the U.S. between the end of reconstruction and World War II. Between 1918 and the Justice for Victims of Lynching Act’s eventual passage, more than 200 anti-lynching bills failed to make it through Congress." [10]


It is not surprising that the capitalist class society is providing a racist legal frame that enables violence against Black people and oppressed. False accusations combined with harsher convictions for Black people have always been part of the US legal system. "Between the turn of the 20th century and the 1920s, multiple massacres broke out in response to false allegations that young black men had raped or otherwise assaulted white women. In August 1908, a mob terrorized African American neighborhoods across Springfield, Illinois, vandalizing black-owned businesses, setting fire to the homes of black residents, beating those unable to flee and lynching at least two people. Local authorities, argues historian Roberta Senechal, were “ineffectual at best, complicit at worst.”[11]


No wonder that opposite to the brutal treatment of Black people (likewise other oppressed like Native Americans), White people have been untouched by any legal consequences for their brutal and highly criminal behaviour. "In spring 1921, the Tulsa Race Massacre claimed the lives of an estimated 300 black Tulsans and displaced another 10,000. Mobs burned down at least 1,256 residences, churches, schools and businesses and destroyed almost 40 blocks of Greenwood. As the Sidedoor episode “Confronting the Past” notes, “No one knows how many people died, no one was ever convicted, and no one really talked about it nearly a century later.”[12]


COVID-19 in the United States reflects the deep-rooted structural inequities, where Black Americans now account for two times greater a share of deaths from the virus than they do of the population. Black people suffer from higher rates of hypertension, obesity, chronic lung disease, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease as a result of the systemic racialized inequality. Racists claim that this is a question of the genetic structure of Black people, while scientists affiliated with the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities recently observed in a JAMA “Viewpoint”[13] article, that genetic or biological factors “must be considered in the full context of systemic factors such as historical and ongoing discrimination, and chronic stress and its effect on hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis and immunologic functioning."[14]


Furthermore, it is the working class that faces a bigger danger to be infected with Corona. "A report[15] released by the city of New York outlines the demographics of the city’s essential workforce. Roughly 75 percent of essential workers are people of color, and black or Hispanic workers represent the majority in each essential job category outlined in the report. Those disproportionately burdened by COVID-19 are also those who have been mandated to work throughout the crisis, often in public-facing jobs that necessitate travel on crowded public transportation. In this context, many of those whose work is deemed “essential” during this pandemic have realized this means, instead, that they are themselves sacrificial. A second example of how structural racism drives disproportionate death rates in this period can be seen in the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Tony McDade. Black men, over the life course, have a 1 in 1000 chance of being murdered at the hands of police, and black Americans are incarcerated at five times the rate of whites."[16][17]


Lockdowns are only here to cover the capitalist crisis




COVID-19 is not the first and will not be the last pandemic. In the twenty century three influenza pandemics occurred at intervals of several decades, the most severe of which was the so-called "Spanish Flu" (caused by an A(H1N1) virus), estimated to have caused 20–50 million deaths in 1918–1919. Milder pandemics occurred subsequently in 1957–1958 (the "Asian Flu" caused by an A(H2N2) virus) and in 1968 (the "Hong Kong Flu" caused by an A(H3N2) virus), which were estimated to have caused 1–4 million deaths each.[18] These waves of pandemics reflect the decay of the capitalist system. Anyone who study history knows that plagues were associated with the decline of the former class societies.




The Antonine Plague, which may have been smallpox, laid waste to the army and may have killed over 5 million people in the Roman empire at the time of its decline. The black death of the 14th century took place in time of the decline of European feudalism.




In the epoch of decay of capitalism, the stage of imperialism, many pandemics took place. “By early 1958 it was estimated that ‘not less than 9 million people in Great Britain had … Asian influenza during the 1957 epidemic. Of these, more than 5.5 million were attended by their doctors[19]”. 




However, it is the first time that a pandemic has created such a coordinated attack by capitalist governments all around the world. This is especially remarkable as pandemics in the past have caused far more deaths than COVID. “The CDC estimates that as of May 18 this year approximately ninety thousand Americans have died of COVID-19. Adjusted for population size, that comes out to a mortality rate of 272 per million. This is (so far) less than half the mortality rate for the 1957–58 flu pandemic. In that pandemic, it is estimated that as many as 116,000 Americans died. Yet, the US population was much smaller then, totaling only 175 million. Adjusted for population size, mortality as a result of the "Asian flu" pandemic of 1957–58 was more than 660 per million.That's the equivalent of 220,000 deaths in the United States today… The 1957–58 pandemic was such a rapidly spreading disease that it became quickly apparent to U.S. health officials that efforts to stop or slow its spread were futile. Thus, no efforts were made to quarantine individuals or groups, and a deliberate decision was made not to cancel or postpone large meetings such as conferences, church gatherings, or athletic events for the purpose of reducing transmission. No attempt was made to limit travel or to otherwise screen travelers. Emphasis was placed on providing medical care to those who were afflicted and on sustaining the continued functioning of community and health services...there were no reports that major events were canceled or postponed except for high school and college football games, which were often delayed because of the number of players afflicted[20].”


The 1968 pandemic was caused by an influenza A (H3N2) virus comprised of two genes from an Avian Influenza A virus. It was first noted in the United States in September 1968. The estimated number of deaths was 1 million worldwide and about 100,000 in the United States. It is important to note that the world population at that time was about 3,5 billion people (less than half of today) and the US population was also significantly smaller with nearly 200 million people (compared to more than 330 million today). “From our current perspective, with shelter-in-place rules in much of the country, the most striking thing about the contemporaneous accounts was the absence of any discussion of lockdowns or even social distancing. I saw a few photos of nurses and office workers wearing masks, but that apparently wasn’t mandated either…Even the occasional school closings were one-offs; not a single state ordered that schools or businesses be closed en masse. The virus swept across the world, causing tens of millions of people to become sick — and killing nearly three times the number of people who have died so far of COVID-19 — and the world’s chief mitigation effort was to race to make a vaccine. By the time one was ready, the pandemic had largely fizzled out”.[21]




These figures raise the question why the capitalist used the lockdown in 1918 but not in 1958 and in 1968. Why is the lockdown used again today? The reason is simple. The years of 1958  and 1968  occurred in the period  of the economic boom. Today the capitalist system is in a deep crisis and the capitalists are once again afraid of uprisings like they have been in 1918. We should not forget the biggest fear capitalists had in 1918: The fear of a socialist revolution worldwide following the October revolution in Russia.




Betrayal of the Left against workers and oppressed in general and Black people in particular




Today, instead of fighting for a socialist revolution the centrists move to the right, some of them even disappear completely or run into the arms of the liberal bourgeoisie (see the ISO, ICL and the LRP that all their activities were articles in support of Biden). Their support for the lockdown will push them further to the right, as the concept of lockdowns by the ruling classes is obviously an attack on democratic rights and a gate to enlarge the bonapartist state apparatus.




Joe Biden (coming from the liberal but still imperialist Democratic Party) is known for his support for the police. He helped author the racist 1994 crime bill[22], still the reformists and many of the centrists in the USA called to vote for him, using the old reformist argument of the lesser evil. However, he and his party are not the lesser evil, just the more cautious evil. During his election campaign he nevertheless openly said: “What I support are the police having the opportunity to deal with the problems they face and I’m totally opposed to defunding the police offices." Later, he lauded police officers. "The vast majority of police officers are good, decent, honorable men and women," he said. "They risk their lives every day to take care of us, but there are some bad apples. And when they occur, when they find them, they have to be sorted out. They have to be held accountable.[23]


Over the summer 2020, there have been widespread calls for cities to defund and even outright abolish the police departments, resulting in daily protests, riots, and city hall encampments. While the slogan itself is limited by its reformist character it reflected a progressive and widely popular sentiment that is not echoed by Biden. He made it clear that he stands on the opposing side of this progressive movement and wants to give the police even more money and resources.


In a June op-ed for USA Today[24], Biden wrote the following: "While I do not believe federal dollars should go to police departments violating people’s rights or turning to violence as the first resort, I do not support defunding police. The better answer is to give police departments the resources they need to implement meaningful reforms, and to condition other federal dollars on completing those reforms. I’ve long been a firm believer in the power of community policing — getting cops out of their cruisers and building relationships with the people and the communities they are there to serve and protect. That’s why I’m proposing an additional $300 million to reinvigorate community policing in our country. Every single police department should have the money it needs to institute real reforms like adopting a national use of force standard, buying body cameras and recruiting more diverse police officers.”


Thus, the reformists like the Stalinists and many centrists (fake “Trotskyists”) who called to vote for Biden are standing behind the capitalists against the workers and the oppressed. At the same time many of them support the lockdown even when they understand that the capitalist policy of the lockdown serves the capitalist attacks on the democratic and social gains of the working class and the oppressed. For them the model to implement is the one that exists in the right-wing totalitarian regimes like China. Even the Wall Street Journal observed: "The oddity is that the left in most of the world has been so intensely critical of Sweden’s experiment. If this model works, it would hold out some hope that the coronavirus could be managed without putting millions of members of the left’s own blue-collar base out of work. Yet the prevailing attitude is less “let them try” and more “excommunicate the heretics.”[25]


The IMT of Allan Woods says: "All non-essential production should be immediately brought to a halt."[26]


The ISA says: "The failure to arrange a proper early response leads to the danger that later more extreme measures to deal with the outbreak need to be introduced, as is already seen in Italy with the local lock-downs and restrictions on the right to strike."[27]


Socialist Action says: "The countries that have successfully suppressed the virus to one extent or another, ranging through Australia, China, South Korea, New Zealand, Thailand and Vietnam all took similar measures of strong lockdowns (including travel bans), closed schools and non-essential workplaces, and have effective testing, tracing and isolation regimes. They learnt the lessons of China’s containment of the virus largely to Hubei province[28]."


The Socialist Equality Party says: "The Socialist Equality Party must act upon the revolutionary implications of the present crisis. Opposition to the policies of the ruling class is growing. Even as the pandemic rages out of control, the Trump administration, with the backing of the Democratic Party, is demanding a reopening of the schools in the fall, risking the lives of hundreds of thousands of teachers and students.[29]"


Solidarity says: "Why is it that a few months later there is a bipartisan consensus in opposition to another round of lockdowns when we know that it would drastically slow the transmission and death rates?[30]


This is the same policy of the Stalinists and centrists in Britain (The Morning Star, Cliffite SWP/IST, “Red Flag”- the British section of the L5I, the “League for the 5th International”). As the RCIT has observed, those centrists praise models for a lockdown strategy from countries mostly ruled by right-wing governments or countries with a strong tradition of authoritarian regimes. The “Zero-COVID” campaign even argues openly: “There is a simple alternative to this chaotic policy of ‘living with the virus’, with its on-off lockdowns, ineffectual testing programme and constant economic insecurity. The alternative is the strategy currently in place in Australia, China, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan and Vietnam, who have almost entirely eliminated the virus and whose citizens enjoy life without the need for draconian lockdown restrictions. This means full lockdown and safe working conditions in essential workplaces until community transmission is near to zero, then suppression of small outbreaks via local public sector. Find, Test, Trace, Isolate and Support, and 100% protection of livelihoods.” [31]



Never stop the revolutionary struggle



We in the RCIT have pointed out time and time again that there were other pandemics which have never resulted in mass curfews and total surveillance for the total population like the severe influenza waves in 1957-58, or HIV/AIDS in the 1970s. The capitalist tactic of creating panic is motivated by the deep economic crisis and the counter revolutionary strategy to cover the true cause for the crisis.


That fact is that the lockdown restrictions have long-term and devastating consequences for the society – isolation and atomizing of people with devastating consequences for mental health, massive setbacks for education of future generations, destructive effects for popular culture, and violence against women.


COVID-19 must be taken seriously. But it is not such a danger which justifies mass curfews and endless lockdowns! What is needed is the expansion of the public health sector, improvement of the conditions in the care sector for old and disabled people and comprehensive safety measures in the society under control of workers and popular organizations so that they cannot be misused by those in power.




The centrist argument is likely to denounce opposition to lockdown as something only right-wing activists and businessmen demand in order to open the capitalist economy. Yet their argument supports the attacks on the democratic and social gains of the workers and the oppressed, falls into complete oblivion of the class reality that is not paused during lockdowns and forces the masses into complete passivity. If nothing else, then at least the ongoing killing of our Black brothers and sisters should be reason enough to put down the rose-colored glasses of a lockdown utopia in which only reformists and centrists can see a ceasefire in class struggle.  




* Down with the reactionary policy of lockdowns! Those are only attacks to decrease democratic freedoms and criminalize social behavior!




* Expansion of the public health sector and improvement of the general living standard! Such measures are numerous times more effective than any lockdown can be!




* Safety and hygiene measures must all be implemented under control of workers and popular organizations! Special attention must be brought to the health of our Black brothers and sisters who face numerous threats on their well-being!




* Organize self-defense unites under the control of workers and oppressed! Black people and all other oppressed face numerous threats on their lives beyond the pandemic. It is urgent to unite all workers and oppressed in order to fight back effectively against racist attacks be it by police forces, far-right organizations or individuals!




* Build a workers’ party in the USA! Revolutionaries have to fight for a socialist revolutionary program!














According to a report in BBC,[32] since 2014 the following black people were murdered by the police:




"17 July 2014: Eric Garner. He was wrestled to the ground by a New York police officer on suspicion of illegally selling cigarettes. While in a choke hold, Mr Garner uttered the words "I can't breathe" 11 times.The incident - filmed by a bystander - led to protests across the country. The police officer involved was later fired, but was never prosecuted.




9 August 2014: Michael Brown, 18 years old was killed by a police officer, in Ferguson, Missouri, who - had stolen a box of cigars. The officer involved later resigned from the police , but was not prosecuted. The incident led to waves of protests and civil unrest in Ferguson, boosting the Black Lives Matter movement.




22 November 2014: Tamir Rice, a boy of 12, was shot dead in Cleveland, The police claimed he was pointing a gun at them. The police confirmed that the gun was a toy after Rice had been shot dead. There were no prosecutions after this case. The police officer involved was sacked three years later for lying on his job application form




4 April 2015: Walter Scott was shot in the back five times by a white police officer, who was later fired and eventually sentenced to 20 years in prison. Scott had been pulled over for having a defective light on his car in North Charleston, South Carolina, and ran away from the police. The killing sparked protests in North Charleston, with chants of "No justice, no peace".




5 July 2016: Alton Sterling from Baton Rouge, Louisiana. He was killed after police responded to reports of a disturbance outside a shop.




6 July 2016: Philando Castile who was killed while out driving with his girlfriend in St Paul, Minnesota He was pulled over by the police during a routine check, and told them he was licensed to carry a weapon, and had one in his possession.


He was shot as he was reaching for his license, The officer involved was cleared of murder charges.




18 March 2018: Stephon Clark was shot at least seven times in Sacramento, California, by police who were investigating a break-in. The district attorney said that the police had not committed a crime, as the officers said they feared for their lives believing Clark was armed.Only a mobile phone was found at the scene. The release of a police video of the incident sparked major protests in the city.




13 March 2020: Breonna Taylor, a 26-year-old emergency medical technician was shot eight times when officers raided her apartment in Louisville, Kentucky. The police were executing a search warrant as part of a drugs raid, but no drugs were found. Louisville police said they returned fire after one officer was shot and wounded in the incident. Of the three offices who discharged their weapons, one has been dismissed from the force and the other two put on administrative duties.




25 May 2020: George Floyd who died after being arrested in Minneapolis, and held down by police officers, one of whom had his knee on Floyd's neck.


He pleaded that he couldn't breathe .Protests broke out in cities across the US, and there were demonstrations in other parts of the world.




May 27 2020 McDade. According to the Tallahassee Police Department, McDade, a trans man, was approached by police as a suspect in a stabbing that had taken place earlier in the day on May 27. Police Chief Lawrence Revelle reported that “the suspect was in possession of a handgun, and a bloody knife was found at the scene.” Yet Facebook videos taken by witnesses at the Leon Arms apartment complex appear to dispute this."






Other publications of the RCIT on the COVID-19:




COVID-19: The Current and Historical Roots of Bourgeois Lockdown “Socialism”


Pamphlet by Michael Pröbsting, International Secretary of the RCIT




How the Ruling Class Prepared for COVID-19


Essay by Michael Pröbsting, International Secretary of the RCIT,






[1] Trump Pardon of Security Contractors Sparks Outrage in Iraq, By Nabih Bulos, Chris Megerian and Tracy Wilkinson, The Los Angeles Times, 24 Dec 2020,

[4] ibid

[5]Erik Ortiz Coronavirus Pandemic Didn't Curb Fatal Police Shootings, ACLU Report Findsnbc Newsaug. 19, 2020


[8] Ibid

[9] Ibid

[11] IBid

[12] Ibid

[14] Sandra Soo-Jin Lee, Michael Bentz and Emily Vasquez COVID-19 and America’s Racial Violence are Inextricable Health Affair Blog JUNE 26, 2020


[16] Ibid

[19] British Journal of general practice, 2009, Aug 1; 59(565): 622–623.

[22] The 1994 crime law passed by Congress and signed by President Bill Clinton, which was meant to reverse decades of rising crime, was one of the key contributors to mass incarceration in the 1990s. It led to more prison sentences, more prison cells, and more aggressive policing — especially hurting Black and brown Americans.


[31] COVID-19: Zero Socialism in the “Zero COVID“ campaign”, By Michael Pröbsting, International Secretary of the Revolutionary Communist International Tendency (RCIT), 22 December 2020,