Displaying items by tag: pandemic

TRFI Statement

The World Situation and the Tasks of Revolutionaries

We are within a historical period characterized by a tendency to the decomposition of imperialism and a process of capitalist assimilation of the former worker states. The crisis of the nation-states, of Bonapartism as a historical process and the relation with social revolution are part of our analysis to understand the contradictions of the period.

The imperialist policy, even in its weakness, proposes an idea of a new deal between capital and labor, within the historical conflict between social productive forces and relations of production of capitalism; aiming at breaking up the post-war pacts and the institutions created during the previous period and defining a new class balance within the states, in view of the level of the world crisis. This political intervention of imperialism, in the development of the laws of capital, unfailingly produces effects on the social relations of production.

The worsening of the crisis has produced a rupture in the inter-state balances, increasing their economic antagonisms, generating a greater trade war between the US and China, the fall of oil prices, conflicts between countries within the EU and fierce competition for health inputs in the midst of the pandemic. If an armed confrontation develops between China and India, an international conflict would open up and change the world situation.

The coronavirus pandemic exposed the capitalist system and its forms of domination. It reveals the consequences of the advance of capitalism on nature in an anarchic way. The pandemic sharpens and accelerates the trends of the 2008 crisis, leading for sure to a recession with tendencies to a world depression. It is important to understand that, although it is a continuity of the crisis of the last decade, this continuity is not necessarily linear; there can be quality jumps in the general state of imperialist capitalism, which consequences will be seen in the medium and long term.

The global crisis process would no longer be a stage of stagnation (relationship between short booms and crises), but rather a trend towards a decline in productive forces. The relationship of rupture - restoration in the definition of equilibrium is mediated by class struggle. If the proletariat does not intervene in a revolutionary way, capitalism will seek to restore itself by unloading the crisis onto the workers. That is why every step towards the reconstruction of equilibrium means an increase in the exploitation of our class. Every effort by the bourgeoisie to restore the balance of production, distribution and finances of the state fatally compromises the unstable class balance.

In the face of the pandemic, we can say that we are witnessing a reactionary rehearsal of the capitalist system, in the midst of a broader historical process of decomposition. It is a great experiment of class conciliation, of patrioterism. In the face of an anarchic leadership, such as the capitalist system, which depends on its armed states to guarantee the reproduction of capital, we fight for a conscious collective leadership, which prepares the stages of the dictatorship of the proletariat, since the current system generates the material conditions and social forms for the economic reconstruction of society.

State centralization can only be reactionary. Quarantine as a state policy is to save capital. We could say that quarantine is a preventive policy to protect great capitalists and their class, disorganizing our class with the complicity of union bureaucracy, to preserve their decomposing states, strengthening the military bureaucratic apparatus to discipline the masses.

The crisis of US imperialism

The radicalized processes that took place in the USA after George Floyd's murder by the police, and which expressed a political crisis in the heart of imperialism, have not been yet resolved. Unlike other processes seeking justice in general, the movement after the murder focused on the role of police forces, forcing both Republicans and Democrats to come up with a series of reforms to try to contain the movement. One very important element is that Trump was unable to stop the process by means of repression and even when he proposed the deployment of the Army, high commands refused, further weakening Trump's authority.

The debate that opened up around the auxiliary forces of Bonapartism, which are the armed forces, in this case the police, calls into question the whole structure of a bourgeois state. Because of the crisis, an ideological discussion was already developing, which was accelerated by the pandemic, regarding the very foundations of the capitalist system and its supposed freedom, and an internal debate in the US between union or federation of states regarding how to act in the face of this pandemic. There are emblematic cases such as Seattle, where a sector of the city is considered to be a police-free zone.

The labor movement had been carrying out isolated actions, such as wildcat strikes in the midst of the attack during the pandemic, and acted in a diluted manner in the first moments of the protests after the assassination. But we must point out that the dockworkers' strike on June 19, the date that commemorates the end of slavery, was a very strong strike. This shows that a combative sector of the American working class with a lot of history has begun to break through in an organized way. It is very important that sectors of the industrial movement come out to the struggle, because the US has entered an industrial crisis due to the stop of exports in the face of the pandemic and the trade war with China.

The political and economic crisis opened in the US forces revolutionaries to make their best efforts in order to try to intervene in this conjuncture, in which the imperialist country par excellence is going through a process of acute class struggle, where we Trotskyists have to deploy our transitional program to unite the American proletariat and the world proletariat in the fight for socialism.

The negro question was a great debate in the ranks of Trotskyism. Trotsky posed not only the discussion of self-determination, but we had to fight to show the white proletariat that the US was not our state and thus seek unity with the black proletariat.

The dissolution of the police force is a very important debate within the workers' movement and those who struggle. Is vital the political struggle against reformist visions and against centrism, that consider that the police should organize in unions. In the US, some of those who mobilized, raised the slogan that the police unions in the AFL CIO should be disbanded. Conlutas in Brazil affiliated them and the CTA in Argentina, too. From the TRFI we say: get the police unions out of the central unions! Just as we fight for the non-payment of the foreign debt, as an anti-imperialist measure.

In this scenario of world crisis, pandemic and political crisis in the main imperialist powers, we call for the reorganization of the forces of Trotskyism that still maintain the need for the dictatorship of the proletariat, in order to develop a vanguard within our class and help the ongoing struggles to succeed, in the perspective of the reconstruction of the Fourth International.

From TRFI we had been supporting the need for a Latin American Conference, in the midst of the class struggle processes that were taking place in the region. The acceleration of the crisis imposes the call for an International Conference that aims to address the crisis of revolutionary leadership in the heat of the convulsive world situation.


Published in TRCI
Tuesday, 21 April 2020 10:49

Workers' methods and the quarantine

As the government prepares to extend the quarantine, we want to make some considerations about the situation and how, in our view, we revolutionaries should intervene.

Alberto Fernandez with his group of notables, that is Paolo Rocca (CEO of metal holding Techint, TN), Acevedo, from the UIA (Argentine Industrial Union, leading industrial employer syndicate in the country, TN), and the greatest of businessmen, define the destinies of workers in the name of the health of their businesses. Alberto is carrying out the motto of one of his teachers, Néstor Kirchner, who said "don't give importance to what I say, but to what I do". He calls the businessmen "miserable" , but endorses dismissals in Techint; he says price control, but endorses overpricing in food purchases and he says with actions: between the banks and the  pensioners, I choose... the banks.

It is striking that much of the left is calling for the quarantine to continue and trying to change the content of this state measure. We must be clear, the quarantine is a measure recommended by the World Health Organization, an institution created in the post-war period as part of the new world order after the Second World War. It is clear that any policy that comes from such an imperialist organization, which is responsible for the destruction of health and therefore responsible for the impoverishment of our living conditions, will not be to the benefit of our class.

Therefore, if our conditions of exploitation are at stake, our exploiters will not offer us a favorable outcome. It is with the workers' methods, which are part of our history, such as stoppages, sit-down strikes, strikes, in other words, paralyzing production by imposing a program that confronts the State, that we the workers will be able to face this crisis.

Quarantine is the method that the bourgeoisie has, not to stop the virus, but to guarantee its form of domination in the face of the crisis and to prevent its systems, centrally that of healthcare,  from collapse. The workers' methods, as part of transitional measures are interventions of the proletarian state-power that consciously limit the right of capitalists to dispose of their assets and their desire for profit.

We could say that the quarantine is a preventive state policy, to protect big capitalists and their class, that disorganizes our class with the collusion of union’s bureaucracy, to preserve a semi-state in decomposition, strengthening the military bureaucratic apparatus to discipline the masses. To impose this policy, it uses the monopoly of state forces, with the police, the gendarmerie, even cyber-spying and the army to guarantee this line. If we were the ones to paralyze everything, we would not only be facing the virus, but we would be organized to face the attacks.

We must open a central debate within our class, mainly in the industrial workers' movement,  against official propaganda about the importance of the State in this crisis, its social and control functions. It is imperative to clarify the class content of the concept of State. The class nature of the State is bourgeois, it defends a class that is antagonistic to our own, so we must prepare the material conditions for its destruction.

To allow the government to continue imposing a reactionary centrality with the quarantine, which means a brutal attack on the workers, with suspensions, salary reductions, layoffs and removal of conquests, is - at the very least - to give ourselves up without a fight.

We workers can organize the tasks to face the consequences of the pandemic, stop the attacks and disrupt the bourgeoisie in its base of support, production. By imposing workers' control of the most important industries of the economy, the sliding scale of working hours and wages, the expropriation of private banks, the opening of the ledgers of big companies, are some programmatic points that can show the masses as a whole the domination of the workers in the administration of things. To intervene independently and with our methods in this crisis is the task before us. There are many examples in the world of how to face this crisis, accelerated by the coronavirus. Sectors of workers went on strike against the attacks. Perhaps the most important case is the general strike in Italy, where workers stopped against the government's quarantine decree. In the U.S., the main imperialist power, workers are also striking at their workplaces.

Trusting our own strength is the only way out for us workers.


First published in Spanish 4/9/2020 at www.cor-digital.org

Published in COR - Argentina
Thursday, 26 March 2020 20:41

Reactionary general rehearsal

Statement of the RTFI

Reactionary general rehearsal

The corona virus pandemic lays bare the capitalist system and its forms of domination. It shows the consequences of the advance of the capitalist system over nature in an anarchic way.

This global crisis forces imperialist powers, before the high level of losses in their wealth, to accelerate their attacks over the working class at a global level, since, being conscious of the weakness of their domination, they must appeal to a more direct attack.

Imperialist bourgeoisie comes across a problem that is not merely epidemiological, but political-strategical, that has begun as a matter of “public health”, which was at first underestimated. In all cases, they tried to frame it within the trade dispute between USA and China, but in short it brought out the weakness of imperialist States; of the States in process of assimilation -like China- and the state of destruction of the institutions/services (relics) of the welfare State. Let us remember that the welfare State was first conceived to “compete” (after the great defeats that were WWII and the postwar pacts for the working class and its organizations) to the communist bloc, in the aspirations of labor aristocracy and their union representatives. It was a determined way in which one of Trotsky’s forecasts became true, as regards the results of the war: take social contradictions back to the States, speeding up their decomposition.

The pandemic sharpens and speeds up the trends of the 2008 crisis, leading for sure to a global recession. But it is important to understand that, although it is the continuation of the past decade’s crisis, this continuity is not necessarily linear; there can be quality leaps in the general state of imperialist capitalism, which consequences will be seen at the middle and long term.

For the time being, the bourgeoisie is taking advantage of the conjuncture to “clean up” economy and see if can create countertendencies that allow the establishment of new trade blocs and deal with the huge accumulated capital. The competition among bourgeois States to see which deals better with the effects of the pandemic and its general consequences (socio-economic, in particular) has nothing to do with the cynical statements on “saving lives”, but with taking positions before the processes of class struggle that have been developing -like in Latin America- and before the antagonisms among States that are posed. They try to preserve productive forces and better subjugate “their” proletariat to prepare for this confrontation. 

Por ahora la burguesía está aprovechando la coyuntura para “sanear” la economía y ver si puede lograr generar contratendencias que le permitan establecer nuevos bloques comerciales y lidiar con el enorme capital acumulado. La competencia entre los Estados burgueses por ver cuál lidia mejor con los efectos de la pandemia y sus consecuencias generales (económico-sociales en particular) no tienen nada que ver con las declaraciones cínicas de “salvar vidas”, sino con posicionarse ante los procesos de lucha de clases que se preanuncian y los que se han estado desarrollando como en América Latina, y ante los antagonismos entre Estados que están planteados. Buscan conservar las fuerzas productivas y someter mejor a “sus” proletariados para preparar ese enfrentamiento.

Bonapartist tendencies reinforced

We must analyze that the speeding up of global crisis, with the pandemic as an important element, has led bourgeois States to take action by reinforcing the state control elements over social relations of production. It is important to point out this aspect, since Centrism is basing its policy of adaptation to statism on the demand of “State centralization” to better manage this crisis.

This centralization cannot be but reactionary. The quarantine as State policy is to save capital. On the other hand, the methods of the working class, like cessation of activity and strikes towards a general strike, are measures that allow the preservation of our work force in an organized way, by means of unions, to confront the centralized attack of the bourgeoisie and the strong destructive trends of capitalist economy in crisis. This is why we cannot be for a quarantine imposed by the State, because it is not a “sanitary” measure, but an imperialist policy to preserve industries of production, by lowering the value of work force.

We may say that we are witnessing a reactionary general rehearsal of the capitalist system, amid a historical process of decomposition. It is a rehearsal of class conciliation, of chauvinism. Before an anarchic leadership as that of the capitalist system, that depends on their armed Joint Chiefs of Staff to guarantee the reproduction of capital, we fight for a collective conscious leadership, because the current system generates the material conditions and the social forms for the economic reconstruction of society.

The reactionary policy is to discipline by means of repressive forces; more dismissals; wage cut-outs; greater flexibility and labor precarization; attack on union organization in the work place and gains cut-off wherever they can. They try to clean up global economy amid a phenomenal crisis and to establish a new deal between capital and labor; with the difference that now they must do it quickly, in face of the deepening of the crisis. It is not discarded that imperialist countries nationalize industries of economy and reinforce their Bonapartism with greater statism.

For a workers’ wayout

To every state policy we must contest with the programmatic foundations of the workers’ State inherence in capitalist society, that does not stop within the small framework of national borders. We must combat against the fiction of an already deceased bureaucratic-military apparatus, that has under its control what happens within its territory. Only the working class can lead internationally coordinated measures. We advance workers’ control over the main industries of economy, before the disorganization of economy, and we take stance for the destruction of the bourgeois State by means of revolution, since it is impossible that a bourgeois State gives response to our demands.

It is essential that we are not disorganized. Centrism has already helped to demobilize us, by calling off street actions, such as the March 24th demonstration in Argentina. We cannot afford, given the centralization of the attack, to take isolated actions, even less to let individual resolutions prevail.

We must defend the functioning of deliberative organisms of the working class, such as unions, enterprise workers’ representation, shop stewards’ bodies, in order to prepare ourselves against the effects of this crisis and be able to confront union bureaucracy, governments and imperialism.

The workers must intervene in this crisis in an independent way, preparing the conditions for the upsurge of a revolutionary leadership in the need to reconstruct the IV International.

LOI – Brasil

COR – Chile

COR - Argentina

Published in TRCI
Wednesday, 25 March 2020 19:04

The global crisis and the pandemic

The global crisis and the pandemic

The development of the crisis opened in 2008 has provided new chapters, showing that capitalism has not been able yet to find a way out to its effects. This has been demonstrated by the coronavirus pandemic, that has exposed and accelerated the processes of the crisis -which have been accumulating over the last years. We must add to this scene the oil crisis, that had begun before the COVID 19 crisis, as a result of the slowdown of global economy, which was heading to a recession with very low growth levels. This is why the pandemic shows how weak the capitalist system and its institution are, amid a scene of imperialist decomposition. Although imperialist powers try to make us believe the fallacy that global economy was doing well and that the proliferation of the virus was the cause of all evil, the epidemic is just a secondary factor within a deeper global crisis.

This does not mean that imperialism will not try to take advantage of this crisis to make the whole of the workers and poor people put up with the effects of it. This is shown in the increasing interference of the State in the control of social relations, not to avoid the propagation of the virus, but to protect the State healthcare systems and their economies from a possible collapse; to reinforce the reactionary centralism of bourgeois States -given their historical weakness- and to avoid -in the worse of possibilities- the contagion of the virus of class struggle.

In the 2008 crisis, the policy of the imperialist powers was to flood the market with more cash flow by central banks, to save big corporation and offer them credit in order to – in a future time- let global economy recover by increasing labor productivity and achieving a more stable growth. A headlong flight that did not reach the expected goals and, even worse, today there is a crisis with similar characteristics and they cannot put into practice the same recipes they used in 2008.

USA and its healthcare system showed the real face of capitalism. Now, the USA are debating if they cut taxes, not only as a measure for enterprises, but also for workers, so they can poor that money in consumption; or to get money into the pockets of the population by increasing unemployment fonds or subsidies to wages, in face of an imminent close down of plants and life shortage. This is statism, performed by the main imperialist power.

In the EU, with epicenter in Italy and Spain, we can see a great crisis in their healthcare systems. For some nostalgic, the cause is the dismantling of the welfare State and a product of the defeat of the workers after the postwar period. It is very important to follow closely the so far incipient strike processes that are taking place, especially in Italy, in many factories and health workers’ sectors.

Any way out to the crisis -that has speeded up- will be reactionary. Global bourgeoisie is aware of its weakness, but also of its counterrevolutionary historical role. That is why, those who believe that capitalism is showing its humanitarian face in the crisis of the coronavirus, because of their demagogic speeches, should know that those are only provocations to our class, that due to its crisis of revolutionary leadership cannot respond in a centralized way; but we will be forced to give that response given the deepness of the crisis. We must support ourselves in the different processes of class struggle opened at global scale. At a regional scale, there are many countries in Latin America where these processes are going on; the most radicalized is Chile.

The anarchy of capital can be seen in all its dimensions. Before the disorganization of economy, revolutionaries must advance -not a demand on bourgeois State and its institutions like the Congress, but- the need to organize economy over new foundations. For this transition it is vital the workers’ control of the most important industries, to show the force of the international working class at the administration of things. We must deploy a transitional program to develop a vanguard within our class.

These are urgent historical tasks.


Published in COR - Argentina