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Is COVID-19 a "communist disease"?

UCLyon (Communist United Lyon), France, 04/11/2020


While the pandemic’s final human toll is still unknown, those who have perished from the outbreak must be included in the global count of 100 million deaths at the hands of Communism,


The Victims Of Communism Memorial Foundation, an American foundation designed to commemorate the victims of communism, today declared an important and significant fact. It will now include coronavirus deaths in its accounting of "communist crimes".


This statement may come as a surprise. The foundation justifies it on the grounds that China and its government have lied about the extent of the disease and have knowingly put the world at risk. In the eyes of its editors, this therefore makes it an inherently communist-related crime.


For the Communist Unity of Lyon, this declaration, which resembles a first of April farce, is illustrative of a certain conception of things.

  • The foundation is a dispensary that reflects the positions of a part of the US bourgeoisie, the most reactionary fringe. It uses real suffering to support imperialist political projects. One of them is the economic war between the US and China, which predates COVID-19.

  • In fact, respect for the "victims of communism" is an instrumentalization of tragedies for cynical purposes. The foundation regularly produces press releases that support the demands of fascist reactionaries. These range from nostalgic Ukrainian nostalgics of Stepan Bandera to support for the Latvian SS. They are also promoters of the thesis of intentionality in the Soviet famines, taking up the idea of a "class genocide" or holodomor. These theses, however, fell into disuse when the archives were opened.

  • It is part of a strategy of attack, which underlies the European resolution adopted in the summer of 20191. The aim of this resolution was to provoke Putin's Russia, an anti-communist Russia for that matter, by forcing it to endorse a vision of the past that put it on the same level as the Third Reich. It is, moreover, possible to retrieve our analyses on this issue, both in summary and in2 much more detail.3


It is possible to take a critical look at the history of socialist states. It has not been a history of calm and rest. It has been a struggle. We do not deny that this fight, this struggle, has sometimes caused terrible damage, has sometimes claimed the lives of innocent people, has sometimes been stained with blood. But the mental construction which seeks to consider that these were the primary objective, the goal of these states and their directions, is a shaky construction, based on wind.


We have always tried to understand and explain the most difficult times. Explanation is not justification, so we consider that we must recognize deep and dramatic errors. We are sorry that they may have caused victims. We understand that this can lead to reactions of rejection.

Understanding and explaining, on the other hand, are not at all what the Victims Of Communism Memorial Foundation is looking for. It doesn't care about the dead, it doesn't care about the reasons, it doesn't care about the causes. It is interested in instrumentalizing pain, in feeding on the dead, in using them as a stepping stone for its own purposes. Cynical goals.


This is a classic method of amalgamation, it is a matter of confusing responsibilities and making a block of them.


We do not analyse China as a socialist state or as promoting communism. If there are socialist aspects in the Chinese economy, these are not predominant. Above all, socialism can only be thought of as a transition towards one goal: communism. Above all, it cannot be thought outside the question of which class is in power.


In China, to say that the proletariat exercises power is a false vision.

Since Xi Jinping has been in power, moreover, the trend is more towards the right than towards the left. Before, when Hu Jintao, a much more social-democratic leader, was in power, there was still a space for the new left to4express itself. He was more interested in compromise in social conflicts. This is no longer the case today.

Finally, what about China's international strategy and the fact that it exports capital everywhere and makes usurious loans to its allies before getting its hands on key sectors of their economy?


But let's play devil's advocate.


Let us consider China as a liar and failing in its management of the crisis. It is possible that the human toll will be much higher than that announced. This is also the suspicion that hangs over most states.



  • The ways in which the epidemic has spread are the ways of globalization, not a Beijing-controlled operation. These same paths of globalization are precisely the ones that are unanimously welcomed by the Liberals.

  • The states that are most affected today are among the most powerful states in the world. They have treated this Chinese epidemic with morality and contempt, treating it as a Third World disease, and have taken belated action - particularly in the USA, to limit it.

  • From the point of view of all those who have returned from Asia, the general attitude of the Western States has been a shock: lack of prophylactic measures, lack of prevention....

  • Even super-capitalists like Bill Gates worked hard to warn of the risk of a global pandemic. It was predictable. Nothing was done.

  • Mortality related to hospital overcrowding and hospital staff burnout is the responsibility of States alone. Contrary to "rumours" there is no supranational agency dictating its orders to France or the USA, it was a deliberate choice. Neither the EU (which, in its Constitution, is neutral on the ownership of the means of production, see its Article 3455) nor the WTO agreements (which France blithely transgresses on other points) obliged these privatisations. It was a political choice for which the parties in power are fully responsible. And the PS, EELV, LR all followed this line.

  • The fact that the USA is now the first in terms of deaths is revealing. Revealing of the complete bankruptcy of their health care system and social rights. Moreover, economically, their situation is approaching disaster. And the political transcription of this crisis will most certainly be made by a brutal hardening of the attitude of the governments of these same countries. As an illustration of the superiority of capitalism, it is difficult to be less convincing.

  • It is possible to blame China for some aspects, but overall it has played the game by giving early warning and indeed demonstrating its strength in building field hospitals in record time. The accusation that China is drowning out the WHO is an accusation whose veracity has not been proven.


This type of amalgamation made by the Foundation joins those made on the history of communism and its 100,000,000 deaths. They blame the existence of antagonistic forces for everything that can happen in the world that is harmful.

Thus, in the past, this type of tour de force could be observed on several occasions.

  • For the fascinating historian Ernst Nolte, Nazi crimes were the answer to communist crimes, and therefore the Shoah was, in the first place, caused by communism. While Nolte used this to covertly rehabilitate fascism, others, such as François Furet, were satisfied with a simple equivalence.

  • For people like Stéphane Courtois, director of the Black Book of Communism and the leading "historian" of the bourgeoisie, there is an obsession. Obsession to find the 100 million dead, even if it means mixing everything up. Thus, he does not hesitate to integrate the 27 million dead of the invasion of the USSR by Nazi Germany. The civilians murdered, the Jews killed are therefore "deaths of communism". Moreover, Courtois also includes among the dead the "lost souls", i.e. the birth rate deficit. It is a spittle on these tragic deaths, swallowed up by imperialism.

  • For many political actors, colonial crimes are justified by protecting the world from communist infection. This justified both the exactions committed by the British in Greece and Malaysia, the assassinations in Germany, the implementation of dictatorships in South America, the French crimes in Algeria, Africa, Indochina... It also justifies apartheid and segregation regimes. The deaths of these crimes are also blamed on communism by some extremists.


This statement is part of a fundamental campaign against communism and against progressive and revolutionary forces. It is also part of a cynical and contemptuous geopolitics. In a sense, it is a prelude to a general policy on the part of the Western states for the post-communist period: a desire to divert the popular masses from the overthrow of capitalism by criminalizing its only truly viable alternative. It is also a will to mobilize minds for the geopolitical world of tomorrow: a world fragmented into enemy groups.


The ridicule of the approach, however, tends to harm the anti-communist cause. By amalgamating everything and anything, these fanatics show that their ability to analyze things is reduced to tricks. Their rhetoric saves them time, only time. Because the health crisis is not slowing down the wheel of history, on the contrary. It accelerates the decomposition of the most vulnerable imperialisms.


We have defended, and still defend, the greatest transparency, the rejection of amalgam, the desire to make a scientific statement on our history.6The reductio ad absurbum that they themselves make of their own vision of the world shows that this is not the case with our opponents. However, we must recognize that the NGO Memorial and all the gangrene it represents has, for a time, won the ideological battle.


The majority or median opinion, in fact, assimilated, in France and in many countries at least, the criminalization of communism, which was itself intended to conjure up the very idea of revolution and to serve the "There is no alternative" of capitalism.


Unfortunately, it is not surprising that the ideology of the ruling class, the bourgeoisie, is itself the dominant ideology in society, at least as long as bourgeois domination holds firm. Marx in his time had analysed this fact well.


However, the criminalisation of communism has left a bitter taste in many people's mouths. The very idea of progress, the idea that humanity can strive for something better, is being called into question. Pessimism is at its height, and it has moreover found its paroxysm in the popularity of "collapsology", so fashionable, called the theory of collapse. The human being has no more perspective.


The philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre, a companion of the communists, without being one himself, had sensed this. He had said that without communism, humanity would not be much different from termites, that is to say, without self-awareness, without a collective perspective, without a horizon other than day-to-day survival.


As if to echo this, the German philosopher Ernst Bloch said that the worst socialist regime would always be better than the best capitalist regime, because it maintains the "principle of hope".


Today, the coronavirus is testing every society in the capitalist world, exposing its weaknesses. The fact that, having understood nothing of what is happening, the NGO Memorial can thus cover itself with ridicule by coming up with mouldy old refrains that are totally out of step with society's expectations is highly revealing.


We're not cutting history. In Marx's theory, there is also a form of "Marxist unconscious" (which is not necessarily contradictory with the Freudian unconscious). According to their position in class society and the function they occupy, individuals can, without being aware of it, realize tendencies which are the expression of the laws of history, and of the class struggle. In other words, with or without a clear conscience, communism remains relevant, perhaps more than ever.


In fact, it is a fact that through various fundamental movements in society, whether it be the "1%" challenge and austerity plans, growing ecological movements, the rise of patriarchal protest, the demand for a "1%", or the demand for a "1%", the "1%" and the "1%" of the population, the "1%" has become a democracy and in many other ways, a growing number of people, while refusing to endorse communism, tend, each in their own way, to a project of society that is basically close to the fundamentals of the communist program.


Activists trained in the fundamentals of Marxism continue to have a role to play, a responsibility. It is not easy to live up to it, given the immensity of the task. The situation will probably continue to take unexpected turns. It is up to us to think strategically, to be ambitious, to bring what we have learned to life with initiative, flexibility and creativity in the face of this multitude of situations, and to think as actors (and not as spectators) of the story that is being written.


We denounce these anti-communist fanatics of the NGO for what they are: enemies of the liberation of peoples, enemies of the liberation of classes. We reject their insulting, insulting analyses. If the imperialists, the reactionaries, the fascists, want to take stock of the coronavirus, the diseases, the wars, the famines, we will gladly help them not to forget any of them. For their responsibilities are overwhelming in this crisis. And their appetite for sacrifice too.

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4 By new left we mean what is sometimes referred to in China as "neo-maoism". It is a movement that draws on the legacy of the Cultural Revolution. It is present in social struggles, workers' strikes, peasant movements, brings together intellectuals and different militant groups, many of them underground, and defends the return of China to the path of authentic socialism. This movement is by far the main force of protest in China. Its activists are victims of a much stronger repression than the so-called Western-sponsored "human rights activists" we see in the Western media. We have reported some of their struggles:

5 "The Treaties in no way prejudice the system of property ownership in the Member States. »

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