The Industrial Age saw capitalism progress, squeezed profits from human labor, amassed great wealth for a few and impoverished the masses. The 20th century saw the rise of monopolies, formation of financial oligarchies, the export of capital, international combines, and a world divided and redivided by war. It was also a battleground for socialism. The working-class and oppressed peoples fought, won and suffered setbacks. Yet, history goes forward.
The reintegration of former socialist countries into the world monopoly capitalist system aggravated the systemic and periodic crises of capital accumulation under capitalism. Before the close of the last century, a paradigm shift for neoliberalism and liberal democracy ruled. The U.S.-led “War on Terror” and several regime changes failed to revitalize the economy. Fascism reared its ugly head passing the imperialist crisis on the working people and poor nations.
The financial crash of 2008 has led to worse crisis of the world capitalist system and to a far bigger fall of the financial and economic system in 2020 at a rate faster than that of the Great Depression of 1929 onwards. The neoliberal policy regime has become more bankrupt than ever resulting in unprecedented accumulation and inflation of assets of the financial oligarchy and monopoly bourgeoisie, unsustainable debts, depression of the economy as the consuming public is impoverished and the escalating contest of the fascist and anti-fascist currents throughout the world.
The current plunge of the world capitalist system coincides with the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic. The pandemic has become a greater crisis than it should be because the prevailing imperialist system and the current neoliberal economic policy has destroyed public health systems and also dictates to impose austerity on the people further enforced by the neoconservative policy of increasingly repressive and militarist measures. The accelerated enviromental crisis as well exacerbates the social, economic and health impacts of the pandemic and contributes to the emergence of new pandemics.
The number of the ailing and dying is staggering. Half of humanity is in lockdown. Desperate quarantine measures resulted in massive job and income losses. Suffering the most are workers, the unemployed, the youth, women and children, migrants, people of color, the rural poor, and those in congested jails.
Trillions of dollars, euros and yuan seek a way out of the crisis. The police and the military, the corecive powers of the state, enforce stricter lockdowns and quell dissent. The people, even at home, are restless. They want a way out of the crisis. They want a stable and sustainable future.
Over a century of imperialism, of profit-driven plunder and wars, killed millions of people and will not save humanity. The people are crying out for systems change. Use the social wealth created by the working people to guarantee jobs and incomes, provide economic relief and medical services. Redistribution of wealth, taxing the rich, is not enough. Bailouts should not be for corporations. Production and exchange should be for the people. Socialism is the only viable alternative. We must nationalise strategic sectors including banks and financial systems and put these in the hands of the workers. Now should be the era for the common good.
In line with our long-term asprirations, we assert these immediate and urgent demands:
1. Guaranteed incomes and benefits, cash grants and relief for the working people now.
2. Epidemic management upholding peoples’ rights, mass testing and adequate health services for the people.
3. Social protection for the farmers, workers and the toiling masses.
4. No bailouts for big corporations, implement bail-outs for the working class.
5. Cancellation, not simply relief, of onerous foreign debt of poor developing
6. Suspension and renegotiation of unequal trade agreements.
7. Mobilize science and technology for the people.
8. Nationalize public health systems, resist and condemn neoliberal polices.
9. Respect democratic and human rights; release all political prisoners.
10. Lift sanctions against 30 countries and territories including Cuba, Venezuela, Palestine and the DPRK.
11. Rechannel military budget to public health and social services.
We need to educate the people, expose the roots of the crisis, know the needs of the people and find ways to support them, and oppose increasing militarism and fascist measures.
Fight back imperialism and fascism! Assert people’s welfare and rights! Struggle for sovereignty, democracy and socialism!