9 April 2020

International Viewpoint

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International Viewpoint, the monthly English-language magazine of the Fourth International, is a window to radical alternatives world-wide, carrying reports, analysis and debates from all corners of the globe. Correspondents in over 50 countries report on popular struggles, and the debates that are shaping the left of tomorrow.
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Towards social crisis in Italy

02/04/2020 - 17:39

The Italian health crisis, after three weeks of lockdown, is taking on even more dramatic aspects and, so far, there are no convincing signs of limitation of the epidemic: it has now affected [as of 29 March 2020] 80,000 people and claimed more than 10,000 victims. At least, these are the official figures. On all sides, including international scientific communities, such as Nextstrain, there is the hypothesis of much higher figures. In any case, the entire national health system is no longer able to guarantee adequate care for all patients and even less to keep the other services running: one million “normal” operations have been postponed.

- IV543 - April 2020 / ,

“To fight the Coronavirus is to fight capitalism!”

02/04/2020 - 17:36

Since the announcement on 10 March, 2020 of the first case of infection and, a week later, of the first death due to Covid-19, Turkey now has 7,500 infected and 108 dead. We are thus entering the weeks when the number of cases and deaths are very likely to increase dramatically. But which will also show whether the measures taken so far have helped to contain the spread of the virus.

- IV543 - April 2020 / ,

More than 60,000 Germans have tested positive...

02/04/2020 - 08:53

More than 60,000 Germans have tested positive for the coronavirus and 577 have died from Covid-19 as of March 31. Yet, Germany has not yet suffered the terrible casualty rates seen in France, Spain, and Italy where approximately 25,000 people have died in the last few weeks. And while workers have suffered neoliberal cuts, Germany's powerful capitalist class has partially succeeded in forcing weaker states in the European Union to bear the brunt of the long-running economic crisis. But the monster is next door and Germany is not out of the woods. And even if it Germans are spared the worst, the far right is growing and the parties of government may well use this crisis to buttress surveillance powers to strengthen their hand in preparation for the deep recession that will no doubt strike at the heart of the countries manufacturing industries.

- IV543 - April 2020 / ,

José Maria Galante “Chato” - the tenacity of the rebel

01/04/2020 - 20:31

José Maria Galante was born in Madrid on 27 April 1948, died from Covid-19 during the night of 28-29 March 2020.

- In Memoriam - Obituaries and appreciations / , ,

Death of a magnificent figure of the Greek antifascist left, Manolis Glezos

01/04/2020 - 20:30

Manolis Glezos was born on 9 September 1922 in Apiranthos, Naxos and died on 30 March 2020 in Athens.

- In Memoriam - Obituaries and appreciations / ,

The Coronavirus Strikes and their Significance, So Far

01/04/2020 - 19:32

Across the United States we are seeing workers walk off the job in wildcat strikes in response to the employers' failure either to shut down the workplace or to make it safe. The strikes are too few to call them a strike wave, but we should be aware that on their own initiative workers are taking what practically is the most powerful action they can: withdrawing their labor. The strikes are taking place in both the private and public sector, in both unionized and non-union workplaces large and small.

- IV543 - April 2020 / ,

Solidarity in the red zone

01/04/2020 - 12:28

The instruction to stay at home, the closure of schools and the lack of protection for some jobs has left many in isolation. A unique trade union helpdesk [in Milan] shows that there are hands that can reach out to each other even during a pandemic...

- IV543 - April 2020 / ,

Windows, balconies and terraces for the public health service

01/04/2020 - 08:32

After the success of the popular initiative to “reunite” local neighbourhoods through singing from the windows of houses in many Italian streets and cities, the proposal arose in different networks in the Spanish state to supportively applaud health professionals, fighters in the front line against the corona virus Covid19. Immediately proposals arose to extend this to all those who work in that front and in care work, whatever their role, at the same time that slogans in support of public health and against cuts were raised. In parallel, through informal networks and by more conventional means in Portugal, a similar initiative arose that could be summarized in the motto “Todos somos SNS” (“We are all SNS” - the initials of the country's national health system, also at risk). In both countries the initiative has been a success.

- IV543 - April 2020 / ,

Household and care workers, forgotten in the Covid-19 crisis

31/03/2020 - 22:48

These days we have been able to read various articles that ask us to think about what is not always obvious: that this health and social crisis is not having the same consequences for everyone, and that, yes, coronavirus does understand social class. To this it should be added that it also understands gender and immigration status. This statement is based in the situation of domestic and care workers, a sector that is especially feminized and covered by migrants - many “without papers” - who, at this intersection of inequalities, face greater vulnerability to the health and social crisis in terms of class, gender and immigration status.

- IV542 - March 2020 / , ,

Political statement on the COVID-19 pandemic emergency

31/03/2020 - 17:32

Humanity is facing a catastrophe of planetary dimensions that currently combines the COVID-19 pandemic with an economic crisis of capitalism, all framed in the geopolitical chaos caused by inter-imperialist conflicts and the ecological crisis, whose most sinister expression is climate change.

- Covid-19 - Statements / , ,

This is a Global Pandemic – Let's Treat it as Such

31/03/2020 - 15:32

In the face of the COVID-19 tsunami, our lives are changing in ways that were inconceivable just a few short weeks ago. Not since the 2008-2009 economic collapse has the world collectively shared an experience of this kind: a single, rapidly-mutating, global crisis, structuring the rhythm of our daily lives within a complex calculus of risk and competing probabilities.

- IV542 - March 2020 /

Prophets Unarmed. Chinese Trotskyists in Revolution, War, Jail, and the Return from Limbo

31/03/2020 - 12:49

Review of Gregor Benton (ed.) Prophets Unarmed. Chinese Trotskyists in Revolution, War, Jail, and the Return from Limbo Leiden e.a., Brill, 2015. XVII, 1269 pp. (Historical Materialism Book Series. 81). – ISBN 978-90-04-26976-7.

- Reviews section / , , ,

Brazil's workers strike for the right to quarantine

31/03/2020 - 10:30

Although not yet at the top of the Covid-19 international headlines, Brazil may soon emerge as one of the disaster's epicenters. A deadly combination of social inequality, racism and sexism, vicious state repression, and a Trumpian far-right president is putting hundreds of thousands at risks. But Brazil's working-class and social movement are fighting to defend themselves, striking for the right to quarantine. Here, Brazilian socialists respond to No Borders News questions as part of our ongoing international Covid-19 coverage. [NBN, 23 March 2020.]

- IV542 - March 2020 / ,

Self-isolation and class consciousness

31/03/2020 - 03:55

The British Conservative Party (usually referred to as the Tories) have had considerable success in their decades long project of smashing up working class organisations and atomizing working class communities. Unions are not illegal but the barriers against taking industrial action keep getting bigger. Strikes are rare. The cash in hand, informal, insecure economy employs millions of workers who are difficult to organize, even for those few unions which try.

- IV542 - March 2020 / ,

How not to go crazy in lockdown

30/03/2020 - 21:34

Many of us have been confined to our homes for more than ten days. Taking out the trash, shopping, or walking the dog have become the three easiest escapes. The truth is, the Covid-19 crisis will probably make us more demanding with science fiction, but it can also make us go crazy on the way. So, I've compiled 5 tips for surviving confinement.

- IV542 - March 2020 / ,

Let's act for self-organization and against the coronavirus and the authoritarian temptations of the regime!

30/03/2020 - 06:36

This statement was released by the Parti socialiste des travailleurs (PST - Socialist Workers' Party) in Algeria on 25 March 2020.

- Covid-19 - Statements / , ,

Popular revolt, feminist mass strikes, and Covid-19 in Chile

30/03/2020 - 06:31

As is the case everywhere, the big news in Chile is the rapidly escalating coronavirus contagion. But just last October, Chile's neoliberal order was shaken to its core when a popular revolt exploded, detonating general strikes, occupations, and mass mobilizations. Pushed into a corner, the mainstream parties were forced to agree to hold a national referendum, scheduled for April 2020, to rewrite the Constitution, a holdover from the Pinochet dictatorship. And just two weeks ago, more than 1,000,000 women struck and took to the streets on March 8 and 9 on International Women's Day to demand social and economic equality. Now the coronavirus has forced this struggle into quarantine while the government's only bold action in the face of the pandemic is to postpone the Constitutional referendum. Perhaps nowhere on earth is the class struggle and the struggle against the Covid-19 crisis so intense as in Chile.

- IV542 - March 2020 / ,

Coronavirus: “We could probably have had a vaccine and/or treatment ready...”

29/03/2020 - 22:15

This interview with doctor Gérard Chaouat, immunologist, CNRS researcher was conducted by l'Anticapitaliste and published on 25 March.

- IV542 - March 2020

Epidemics, working-class self-organization and socialism

29/03/2020 - 08:17

The COVD-19 pandemic and the attendant economic crisis raise big-picture questions of great importance to socialists. Disasters, natural, human-made or a combination of both, such as wars, famines, economic depressions and epidemics, often trigger great political and social crises affecting all areas of life. This brief article offers reflections on the ways that crises have raised the question of the relationship between self-organization and socialism.

- IV542 - March 2020 / ,

2,000 dead as coronavirus ravages France

28/03/2020 - 20:55

As of March 28, France ranks fifth in global Covid-19 deaths, with 1,995 deaths (365 and 299 on Thursday and Friday respectively) and approximately 33,000 dedected coronavirus infections. As the contagion rages out of control in neighboring Italy, Spain, and Germany, French health workers have battled to treat the sick and dying. Wednesday's death of a sixteen-year-old girl has only compounded the national tragedy. President Emmanuel Macron has ordered series of belated emergency measures (yesterday calling in the military), yet non-essential businesses continue to operate placing millions of workers at risk. It is too early to tell when the Covid-19 peak will hit France and tens of thousands of lives are at risk in the coming weeks and months.

Compounding the health crisis in France, the coronavirus arrived in the midst of a massive battle over Macron's attempt raise the retirement age and impose neoliberal cuts on pensions. After large-scale strikes across France in the fall and winter, including the longest transportation strikes in the nation's history, Macron hopes to ram through his attacks under the cover of effective marshall law. He may succeed in the short-term, but Macron will struggle to suppress the anger fueling recent strikes, a growing immigrant rights movement, and the long-running Yellow Vest protests as the coronavirus crisis drags on.

- IV542 - March 2020 / ,