France will reimburse mental health appointments; in Spain a law is being prepared pledging to establish and equip a care system that today offers little more than waiting lists and drugs in the midst of an epidemic causing more than 200 suicide attempts daily and in a context in which 2 million people are on daily anxiolytics. But no law is going to stop the grinder into which living and working conditions have turned. Only collective organization and struggle can achieve that.
Month: September 2021
In Britain, the shortage of drivers at the wages offered by companies is already affecting 30% of British petrol stations and the government is starting to mobilize military drivers. It is a striking case because of how it reveals the chaos created by this productive system, but it is far from being unique: the entire American and European press complains about an alleged labor shortage. But the British experience and the behavior of the unions throughout this speaks volumes and says a lot about workers, their ethos/morality and the alternatives we face.
The 2021 German elections tested Merkel’s strategy to revamp the political apparatus, to contain the revolt of the angry petty bourgeoisie which had uplifted the far-right (AfD) but also to prepare the apparatus to promote the Green Deal and a strengthened EU centralized around the interests of German capital.
Supply crisis in Britain, closed gas stations, empty shelves, electricity sector bankruptcies, meat sector on the brink of collapse. Waste and unnecessary shortages are rampant everywhere as the contradictions of capital become exacerbated.
After the pandemic confinements and the sharp rise in unemployment throughout 2020, the rebound in U.S. hires was accompanied for workers by inflation above wage hikes and reductions in working hours. Meanwhile, the corporate petty bourgeoisie was reluctant to move back to the office and less than 20% of the corporate bourgeoisie was considering a return to business as usual. Now they are dumping on us a “new” moral discourse on work: they tell us that the former discourse wasn’t so important after all, that the centrality of work was a reactionary illusion.
The European Commission misses no chance to stress that the New European Bauhaus is “the soul” and “the dream” of the European Green Deal. It has just approved an additional 85 million euros to “create a new, inclusive and affordable lifestyle with less CO2”. But what is the New European Bauhaus? Where do they want us to live? Wooden skyscrapers? Prefabricated houses that can be assembled in 24 hours? Cardboard cabins?
The electricity companies, the CEOE employers’ association, the banks… the corporate bourgeoisie is radicalizing, at least apparently: it is charging against the lukewarm palliative measures on electricity prices, against a rise in the minimum wage below inflation and even against the distribution of the recovery funds being decided by the government. What is happening? Why is the ruling class threatening to abandon Sánchez and take the wheel itself?
Elections in Russia are held with unemployment on the rise and the Covid in full force -to the point of surrounding Putin. Predictable and contested results which, although deformed by fraud and the very nature of electoral processes in general, show the erosion of the political apparatus of the Russian bourgeoisie. What the European and Anglo-Saxon press does not tell openly is that the system lives in permanent and brutal war against the workers and that the economic bases of Russian capitalism see their expectations improving thanks to an unexpected ally: the USA.
Australia breaking its naval contract with France as part of the birth of AUKUS, is just “the tip of the iceberg” according to a senior British Foreign Office official. It is the culmination of President Obama’s “pivot to Asia,” as asserted by the US, recalling that “no matter how much one pretends otherwise it is impossible to pivot to Asia without turning away from other places.” The European ruling classes translate this as the end of a historical period in which they could rely – not without contradictions – on the US to defend their own imperialist interests. The future of Europe is changing.
The “US, Australia and UK make a deal against China” headlines in the official European media warned without sparing details about the danger of the AUKUS agreement and how it would signal the entry into a new stage of nuclear proliferation. True, it is a step closer to war, but the only reason it draws a line is because the European powers have been excluded by the U.S. from the ancillary weapons business they had been counting on until Wednesday. However, the organization of AUKUS as an “Anglophone bloc” is neither new nor limited to weaponry. It is the core of a bloc for trade and for war.
Yesterday the European Parliament held the State of the Union 2021 debate. In her speech, Ursula von der Leyen skipped central issues and tensions between countries in order to emphasize the constituent tone with which the Commission tries to curtail the memory of the many social disasters it drives and coordinates: from its infamous border and migration policy to the vaccination campaign via the impact of the Green Deal on the electricity bill.
A week after the publication of the law establishing the new vocational training, the public news media promise us that “for the first time in history vocational training will no longer be the poor relative” and the government hypocritically repeats that the new training will create jobs. This is not true. But they leave workers no other option. The new vocational training transforms the entire labor market and no worker is going to be able to stay out of it. That is why enrollment applications have grown by 51% and it is already clear that in many autonomous communities there will not be enough places this year. Not by miscalculation, but by design. And that is just the tip of the iceberg.
Mercosur is living its final moments. The trademark may be recovered at some point, but the rupture of the former tariff union is a fact. Uruguay is going to sign a free trade agreement with China outside the founding agreement and the institution cannot follow it: one of the members, Paraguay, still recognizes the government of Taiwan as the only legitimate representative of China as a whole. The end of the bloc that never was tells us a lot about the nature of South American national capitals and states and what the future of the region will look like.
It has been 20 years since the 9/11 attacks of 2001. TV channels and the press are devoting thousands of pages today to what is already today a hazy memory for most. Understanding 9/11 in the perspective of these two decades requires putting it in the context of the global imperialist game and the evolution of the struggles and balances between classes in the Arab-Islamic world.
Britain is militarizing the Falklands/Malvinas at full speed. Argentina is building its largest military base in Ushuaia and its senate is preparing to create a new crime of opinion: doubting or belittling Argentina’s claims to sovereignty over the islands. And in case the increase in tension was not enough, Chile is unilaterally extending its southern borders, calling into question the already tense balance in the control of the Mar de Hoces/Drake Passage that separates South America from Antarctica. Why are this dance of positions and this apparently gratuitous increase in tension as well as the most crass nationalism happening right now?
The news are warning about the alleged imminence of a self-coup d’état in Brazil. The reality is even more complex and dangerous. The rift within the Brazilian ruling class is reaching a critical point where even a breakup of the army into rival factions cannot be ruled out.
In an interview on TVE this Monday, Spanish Economy Minister Nadia Calviño guaranteed that the minimum wage increase in 2021 will be approved this October and will not have retroactive effects. Yesterday, Tuesday, newspapers opened with the angry complaints of the doctrinaire petty bourgeoisie who, together with the employers’ association flatly refuse any rise in the lowest wages given the lower profitability of their own capital. Meanwhile, the labor minister promised that she would “bring employers and unions together” during September. What lies beneath the fuss, and what real impact will it have on wages?
The Anglo-Saxon press keeps the origin of Covid’s virus -SARS-CoV-2- as an open question. Scientists however realized long ago that the theory of “escape from the laboratory” has no material basis. The theory of animal origin, defended in the WHO report, strengthens and, far from excusing Chinese capitalism, reveals its most anti-human contradictions… and those of capitalism in general.
This year marks the 100th anniversary of the discovery and purification of insulin, a natural hormone crucial for treating the growing epidemic of diabetes and on which, in theory, there has been no patent attached for decades. However, the world’s insulin production is still monopolized by a handful of companies in Europe and the U.S., which sell it at astronomical prices. The WHO has described this situation as a “catastrophic moral failure” and it certainly is, but how did this happen, and more importantly, how do we get out of it?
We are publishing a new booklet in our School of Marxism on collectivities and collectivizations in the Spanish Revolution.
The signs of the end of the cold war between Morocco and Spain did not turn out to be such good news. The Moroccan overture involved more than just the dismissal of the Spanish foreign minister. Just a few days later, Algeria formally broke diplomatic relations with the Makhzen. With warlike rhetoric, Algerian diplomacy blamed Morocco for aggressions, threats and terrorist attacks. Since 1963, when the two countries went to war over Tindouf and Colomb Bechar, the situation has never been as tense as now. What are the bases of the imperialist conflict between Morocco and Algeria? What has triggered it now? Could there be another war?