Three highlights of this week: Covid is still around and the “reopenings” are proving to be more dangerous than what they told us; the alleged return to “business as usual” is a disaster pushing towards ever more serious conflicts between national capitals; and strikes and struggles are spreading and gaining strength as the only counterweight to the anti-human and warmongering tendencies of global capital.
Covid is not gone, reopening was rushed
The “reopening” is proving that, as long as there is no vaccine, imposing the principle of “saving investments” over that of “saving lives” by premature de-confinement is short-sighted and ends up gauging its impact in dead bodies.
In the United States, 12 states have “paused” their re-opening in view of the enormity of the numbers; in Argentina lockdown has been extended until July 17 because the numbers escalated again and the comparison with the surrounding countries was chilling: in Brazil there are already more than 1 million three hundred thousand infected and there have already been 57,000 deaths.
Europe is not doing any better either. Both the WHO and the “European Center for Disease Control” were warning of a “second wave” of Covid. And indeed, there is a rise in case numbers affecting Portugal which has forced the government to reimplement strict confinement in 19 districts; and in Spain infection spread continues to grow at a rate of two hundred a day and the main political parties are reducing tensions in the face of a serious outbreak in September.
There is no “business as usual”, there is a progression of imperialist conflicts
But the needs of capital dictate. Even in China, where the epidemic seems to have been controlled earlier, industrial profits fell by 19.3% in the first four months. The immediate result is a strenuous effort to revive the “Belt and Road Initiative”, the new silk road with which the Chinese bureaucracy wanted to articulate in a global plan the interests of Chinese imperialism outside its borders. But Africa is also suffering from the pandemic… and the “urges” of Chinese capital only keep increasing tensions. This is a general phenomenon leaving a global trail of war seeds.
For India, its “decoupling” from China may be more expensive than planned and may even generate new tensions with and within its neighbors Pakistan and Nepal, which is already on the verge of a state crisis.
Russia and the U.S. are flashing their teeth at the Arctic border while Russian military intelligence’s sinister games in Afghanistan make it difficult for the US to leave and the Islamist allies of Turkey in the Tripoli government are trying to use the growing rivalry between the Russian and the US to secure their positions in Libya.
An underground missile factory near Tehran blows up while Saudi Arabia opens fire on Iranian patrols off its coast and Israel bombs Iranian Revolutionary Guard trained militias on the Syrian-Iraqi border.
Even in the “quiet” EU, Polish elections are read in terms of the correlation of forces between Germany and the US; and Merkel displays a certain pessimism about the capacity of Germany and France to articulate the three “blocs” of the Union: North, South and Visegrad.
This is “business as usual”: there is no week without the inter-imperialist conflicts taking a step forward at all levels and on all continents. As we saw this week in the Spanish case, even the internal tax measures, pushed by the recession, end up opening new fronts and feeding the trade war.
But are not playing alone
One of the most difficult things to convey in these weekly reports in which we try to follow the evolution of conflicts and upheavals among and within national capitals on the global stage is that they “are not playing alone”. Beneath the struggles between them and the states that represent them there is only one conflict that cuts across all of them: the class struggle of the workers. If we follow the pulse of the former on a daily basis in the ‘@nuevocurso’ channel we follow the latter in the ‘@huelga’ channel.
And as we have been emphasizing, what we see in this second axis is the emergence of the largest and most synchronous wave of global struggles in decades. Even in the United States, where the ideological bombardment that accompanied the protests that followed the killing of George Floyd temporarily paralyzed the strike movement that began on the periphery, the combativeness of the workers is beginning to assert itself across racial divides, reappearing in the countryside and healthcare but also in industrial centers such as the Detroit car industries. The recession is an undeniable factor: while the petty bourgeoisie can waste as much time as it wants reveling in its ridiculous iconoclasm, the daily lives of the workers are increasingly dependent on food banks and on informal solidarity networks.
There is no corner of the world where we don’t see an upward trend in the struggles. In Vietnam alone between January and May there were 91 non-union strikes , 25 strikes more than during the same period last year. Repression is also on the rise from the periphery to the world capitalist center: brutal in Russia or increasingly militarized in the Maghreb, in all cases it reflects the outline of protests and struggles aiming at mass self-organization. The sending of Dutch troops to Curaçao today, off the Venezuelan coast, to “pacify” the situation on the island after violent days of demanding unpaid wages, shows that recourse to armed force is not going to be the “last” but the first resort of the ruling class with increasing frequency.
And this, exactly this, the path of self-organization, is the only path that can stop the degradation of living conditions and the tensions of war at the same time.