International workers’ day (May Day) this year is exceptional, and not only because we have to celebrate it virtually. The working class is facing an unprecedented catastrophe. The epidemic is keeping people indoors and away from each other. At the same time the epidemic has caused worldwide recession that threatens capitalism everywhere with huge scale collapse. This pandemic has proven that capitalism is completely incompatible in providing even the most necessary needs of life. The disease is not responsible for the crisis of capitalism; the unemployment, bankruptcies, fall in oil price, or other blights. The virus is merely a catalyst that accelerates the decaying processes of the system. There is no escape from this dead end in view within the capitalist system. The only doctor able to cure the society of its death throes is the world’s socialist revolution.
We cannot live in “Corona Capitalism” for long. It is only an intermediate phase that will eventually pass, despite of whether a viable vaccine will be found to suppress the disease or not. All over the world people are becoming annoyed and even angry. By the the end of the year we will see some of the largest attacks in history on working-class rights and standard of living. More and more experts are assuring that the decline will be deeper than the 1930’s crisis. Since mid-February Wall Street has lost nearly 30 per cent of its value, and in Germany the situation is the same. By mid-March Germany had lost approximately 18,000 billion, worth approximately five years’ GNP! Until now the governments and central banks have fed thousands of billions of dollars to national economies. This however, has not stopped the system from sinking deeper every day. The historical collapse of capitalism cannot only be seen on financial level, but also in means of production. It is not only that the epidemic is working as a catalyst to the recession: there has been a qualitative change in the manner of production and capitalist production will completely stall. At the same time when production has stalled, there will be irreparable failure of the global chains of import. The rate of increase in unemployment is now 20 times faster than after the collapse of 2008. Few weeks after the pandemic had broken out, 36 million people joined the forces of the unemployed.
Both the USA and Europe are now in the epicentre of the disaster. It has been forecast that by summer the USA GNP will have fallen by 30 per cent. The percentage of unemployment will probably reach over 20 per cent. The USA already has nearly 30 million unemployed. In Europe Italy and Spain are in chaos and in France 4.5 million people have lost their job. From these centres the economic decay will break out into the periphery like pandemic; Greece, Turkey, the Middle East savaged by wars, and Africa. Many countries have curfews and understaffed and under-equipped hospitals from the era of neoliberalism. When the Greek doctors and nurses went to demonstrate against the miserable conditions in hospitals, the government sent the riot police to beat them up for breaking the curfew. The catastrophe we are experiencing is only beginning. Half of the population on Earth are living in cramped conditions and have no means of washing their hands, as they have been denied the access to running water. In India, with the population of 1.3 billion, the disaster is only beginning. Apart from Nigeria and South-Africa, the infiltration of Corona virus to Africa has only starting now. Also South America is suffering. Brazil is suffering the most, but Iran, Cuba and Venezuela must also face new sanctions in addition to the disease. Gaza was forced under quarantine by Zionism even before the virus. The refugees and other immigrants are the most tragic victims of capitalism.
A catastrophe of incomprehensible dimensions is looming on Earth. In Finland the proposal of 100 Euro raise to small pensions got the bourgeois to recoil. It would have meant more debt, of which the national economy apparently could not have coped with. When the current crisis broke out, the businesses started demanding subsidies of billions of Euros. The government subsidies package will be reaching 20 billion. The raise in pensions would have cost 2.5 per cent of what has now been promised to the markets. Finland’s debt is one of the lowest in Europe and fits in the framework of Maastricht agreement. Finland will be taking out over 25 billion Euro loan in order to set the private sector economy wheels turning. At the same time when Finland’s debt is increasing by about 30 billion Euros, the state is planning the largest arms deals in history without giving a thought to sustainability gap etc. One middleman in focus here are the lobbyists. Lobbyists are giving away the money offered by Business Finland and the ELY Centres (Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment), and selling Hornets and other devices of mass destruction to be bought with money from the Finnish people. The Lindberg scandal got Minister of Defence Kaikkonen to withdraw and say that “It is necessary to refrain from all connections with consultants and consultant companies”. The former generals of the Finnish Defence Forces have been consulting the fighter companies, including the former Minister of Defence Enestam. Few years ago, similar situation caused an uproar, but that was quickly hushed. Now the scandal has resurfaced. Apart from the F35 fighter deals, lobbying is based on gradual closing of NATO relationship and Finland’s committing to USA strategic plans; preparing for the coming great war.
According to the statistics of the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, there were 142,000 full time furloughed employees till couple of weeks ago. There has been average of 6,000 new furloughed employees every day. As long as the quarantine continues, the number of jobs is declining by 30 per cent compared to last year. The cuts and privatisation of the few past years are responsible of the growing income inequality. The responsibility of social matters, such as national security, has been surrendered to the private sector. Only five years ago Finland had a profitable (frankly, a money-spinner) protective equipment factory, that is no more. Areal differences and income inequality have driven Finland to the 1990’s situation in regards of unemployment rates and income inequality. The Finnish economy will decrease by 5.5 per cent this year and the number of unemployed will be increasing notably. The unemployment rate will increase from last year’s 6.7 per cent to 8 per cent during 2020. According to the Ministry of Finance forecast the public finance deficit will increase by 14 billion Euro to total of 16.6 billion, i.e. to 7.2 per cent of GNP.
We must act before capitalism will bury humans and civilisation under its destructive activity or inactivity. When the quarantine is over, people will come to streets to claim their lost lives back. Many see that should the quarantine be prolonged, people will do this anyway despite the risk of infection, as they will not have anything to lose. We should now claim back our lives immediately. We invite all parties, trade unions and popular movements acting on behalf of the working class to act together in order to create a united front fighting against the two fronts; capitalism and the pandemic. Let us make this Labour Day the Labour Day of solidarity! we should take matters into our own hands at workplaces where the employer is taking advantage of the possibilities given by Corona virus to run down worker rights. The workplace must be seized, and the employer stripped of their right to decide about existence of others.
No subsidies to large companies. Should a capitalist not be able to run their company, they must step down and let the workers to take over.
Subsidies must be ran through employee committee to decide whether subsidies will pay off.
All companies supplying medical equipment and medical companies must be nationalised and surrendered to work under their workers’ control.
Suppressing the pandemic requires funds. Therefore all the banks must be nationalised.
All private hospitals and medical companies must also be nationalised.
Disgraceful fighter deals must be voided immediately!
All tax haven funds must be nationalised.
Debts of the poor countries must be voided. Projects to ensure clean water and sufficient nutrition must be planned.
Marxist Workers’ League