ON THE CURRENT CRISIS OF CAPITALISM AND THE COVID PANDEMIC
In the so called Industrial age which was well underway in the 1800s, capitalism “progressed”, making profits from human labor and amassing great wealth for a handful of capitalists at the expense of the impoverishment of the masses. The turn of the century saw the rise of huge monopolies, the formation of financial trusts and oligarchies, the beginning of the export of capital and even bigger international combines.
Capitalism had well and truly developed to its imperialist stage by the early 1900s, and this led to a world divided and re-divided by war between, and on behalf of, the major Imperialist powers (Britain, Germany, Japan, Italy, U.S.A. etc.)
The 20th century also saw the development of revolutionary movements and the establishment of socialism (beginning in Russia in 1917), to replace capitalism in over a third of the world, and the development of movements of the people in many countries for independence and liberation from the dominating big capitalist powers. Vietnam is a case in point where the Vietnamese people defeated French Colonialism and then later on, U.S. Imperialism, in a war for Vietnamese liberation.
Later in the 20th century, after socialism was sabotaged and overthrown by capitalist forces inside and outside those socialist countries, the reintegration of the former socialist countries into the world monopoly capitalist system aggravated the systematic and periodic crisis of capitalism. From the middle of the 1800s alone, capitalism has created disaster after massive disaster for the workers and other toiling people of the world.
Looking at the pandemics, the depressions and recessions, the two world wars and countless ongoing more localized wars, the growth of fascism out of capitalist Germany, capitalist Italy, and capitalist Japan, the continuing growth in the wealth gap between the tiny number of the rich and the rest of the world, and the current regrowth of fascism in many parts of the world supported by U.S. capitalism, it can be seen that capitalism has done so much damage in the world that the people of the world are living in fear– of more war, of insecure lives, of poverty, of pandemics, of loss of livelihood, and of more of the same crisis that capitalism has given them for over 200 years.
There is no one to blame but capitalism. They can’t blame socialism or communism for all this. After all, the world’s people who lived under socialism for a short time between 1917 and for some, into the 1970’s, were well on their way to resolving some of the massive problems left in their countries by capitalism even in that short time. For example, there have been no depressions and recessions, no unemployment, no withdrawing from and opposing capitalist wars; instead, there is a continuous growth in workers and other toilers’ incomes. The massive effort by the Soviet Union which played such a vital role in defeating German-led fascism.
To nail one of the lies and distortions which capitalist authorities peddle, we need to look at the issue of the regular criticism of the so-called ”Chinese Communist system” and the treatment of the conflicts between China and the USA (and others) as conflicts between Communism and Capitalism.
The fact is that there is no such thing as a Chinese Communist system. China has been a predominantly capitalist system since the late 1970s, after overthrowing capitalism and beginning the building of socialism in China in 1949. They have a ruling party which calls itself a “communist party” and maintains that title in order to try to continue to deceive the Chinese people and others into believing that China is still on the socialist road. Part of the deception is to describe their system as ”socialism with Chinese characteristics”, because the socialist system established by the Chinese Communist Party from 1949 until 1976 had enormous prestige and support from the Chinese People and other peoples in the world, and rightly so.
From 1976, after the death of Mao Tse Tung, the supporters of capitalism in China and in the Communist Party took control and began to roll back socialism and restore capitalism, and became rich in their own right. They have continued on that path to this day.
The system in China today is a capitalist system run by the wealthy for profit. It no longer remains a socialist system for the common good of the working class and other toiling people.
The current conflicts between China and the USA are conflicts between two capitalist powers maneuvering to remain or become the dominant capitalist power in the world.
Many lies and distortions about socialism have been and are continuing because the capitalist rulers throughout the world cannot allow the truth to be embraced for fear of losing their wealth and power to the working class and other toilers who are embracing socialism in growing numbers.
In the latter half of the last century, capitalism, led by U.S. capital, attempted to use what is known as neoliberalism to try to resolve its desperate and ongoing economic crisis. Neoliberalism is a policy program which includes privatization, reduced spending on people’s services, trade deals which favor the needs of big business or in some countries, even going to the extent of imposing military zones and security forces to safeguard the needs of big businesses, imposition of reduced pay, and creation of unfair conditions for workers and other toiling people, evicting them from their land and thus creating worse hunger and oppression.
Because of the ever worsening crisis and the mass struggles of the worlds’ working class and other toiling people against the impacts of the crisis, the capitalist rulers are more and more turning to fascism and fascist movements to try to hang on to their wealth and power by crushing the working class and other toilers, as they did in the 20th century.
The financial crash of 2008 has continued to develop into a worsening economic crisis, and combined with the pandemic, it could be a crisis which surpasses the 1929 capitalist depression. The disastrous neoliberal program has led to unsustainable debt, widespread overproduction, poverty, reduced purchasing power, worse condition of life for the masses, and growing monopolization and wealth in the hands of the ruling class.
The pandemic has become an even greater crisis than it should be because neoliberalism has undermined the health and other social systems and dictated “austerity” for the people, leading to greater poverty, homelessness, and want.
The number of ailing and dying is staggering. Half of humanity is in lock down. Desperate quarantine measures have resulted in massive job and income loss. Suffering the most are workers, the unemployed, the youth, women and children, migrants, colored people, the rural poor, and those in congested jails.
Trillions of dollars are being spent by capitalism to seek a way out of the crisis because they hope this will enable them to get back as quickly as possible to their pre-pandemic exploitation of the working class and other toilers to ramp up their profit making.
Over a century of imperialism, of profit-driven plunder and wars, killing millions of people and still the capitalist system goes into deeper and deeper crisis. The people are crying out for a system change so that the wealth created by the workers can be used for the peoples’ needs and not to increase the wealth of a tiny handful of capitalists.
Use the social wealth created by the working people to guarantee jobs and incomes, provide economic relief and medical services. Production, distribution and exchange should be controlled by the working people who create the products and wealth. The state should control the key sectors such as the banks, the financial system and the ports, etc. Now should be the era for the common good. Socialism is the only viable alternative for the people.