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Call for a communist response to the pandemic

UCLyon Unité Communiste Lyon (Communist United Lyon), France, March 2020


The coronavirus is hitting the world.
At the time of writing, the 300,000 cases detected have passed the 300,000 mark and 12,570 people have died.  900 million people are living in a more or less strict regime of containment. The pandemic continues to spread and takes a more chaotic turn every day.

The first act of the health tragedy has come to an end. It had involved the Asia-Pacific region. Despite the fears, it was quickly resolved.
The second act, involving Europe and the USA, is taking place as we speak. It is devastating, especially on the elderly and vulnerable.
The third act, which will involve Africa, Latin America and India, is taking place. It will probably be even more costly in human terms.

This pandemic is a shock wave that is shaking the entire Earth. It is propelling a large number of countries into a hitherto unknown situation.
The scale of this health crisis is caused by the greed and avarice of the bourgeoisie. It has consciously endangered and continues to endanger workers in order to limit its financial losses.
While the pandemic is gradually spreading around the world, not all social classes are equal before it. Bourgeois men and women confine themselves to their villas, control their activities remotely, own the rights of entry to their clinics. On the other hand, the popular masses, who have seen their social rights diminish overall, have to make do with it. They are the plaything of contradictory political decisions, which, to the very end, have tried to make the interests of the bourgeoisie and the economy coincide with the fight against the Coronavirus. They have to make do with overcrowded hospitals, they have to confine themselves to narrow, unhealthy housing, they have to give up all their leisure time and devote themselves only to surviving and working. Women, especially, sometimes find themselves trapped in a world of domestic violence and double exploitation.

In this crisis, the medical staff - as well as all those who keep the hospitals running (maintenance, administration, logistics) - are heroic. Heroic but sacrificed, without sufficient protective equipment. What will it be like when they get sick? Unable to continue his duties? The same is true for the staff of retirement homes, which sometimes turn into a death trap.

Other professions are particularly vulnerable, as delivery men and women and distribution workers are in constant contact with potentially infected people. They are the invisible victims.

This crisis has hit the economy hard. Stock markets have plummeted. The capitalist and imperialist countries have turned into war economies. They have temporarily renounced the market economy in order to rely on massive state intervention and even nationalisations. The EU and the USA have announced huge measures to support the economy. But these debts will be paid sooner or later. They herald difficult times.

It is clear that the bourgeoisie intends to make the proletarians and the working classes pay for the recession. It is already preparing, in several states, to attack social rights head-on. To do so, it relies on a fascinating rhetoric of "sacrifice" demanded by the circumstances.
In France, for example, it is preparing to abolish paid holidays, to lift the limits on working time and even evokes the possibility of a "temporary" abolition of weekly rest.

Behind this economic degradation is mechanically woven a political and geopolitical degradation. Perhaps this crisis, particularly strong in Europe and potentially devastating in the USA, will contribute to reshuffle the international balance of power, leading to a new division of the world. Russia and China, among other states, are intervening to help Italy or France. But this aid is a sign of their ambitions.

Within the States themselves, it is clear that the current episode will accentuate political unrest. The frightened bourgeoisie will try to do all it can to compensate for its losses. It will counterattack on the field of social rights. Part of the petty bourgeoisie, vulnerable, knows that it will lose everything in this crisis. It can support the popular demands as well as turn to fascism and the most brutal reaction. There is a slippery, potentially dangerous terrain.
It is only through activism and political action that we can avert this risk and achieve social and political victories!

 As long as containment exists, we are atomised, with no real capacity to act. But as soon as it is lifted, we must be able to defend social and political rights. We need a unified response from the communists.
Both internationally, around the International Anti-Imperialist and Antifascist United Front, led by the ICOR and the ILPS. At the same time in the continents concerned: the MLPD has launched, for example, a campaign of mutual aid and solidarity.
But also in every state, especially in those where the communist movement is fragmented. We call for the possibility to take common positions a minima on the defence of social rights, working conditions, and on the denunciation of the irresponsibility of the bourgeoisie in this pandemic.

We therefore call :
    - To organize solidarity wherever possible.
    - To continue internal and external work despite the disorganization caused by the pandemic crisis.
    - To denounce the attitude of the bourgeoisie and its policy of liquidation of hospitals and health systems.
    - To unite our forces to defend our rights and to respond to the perfidious attempts of the bourgeoisie to pay for the pandemic with the sweat and blood of the workers.

Let's join forces.

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