A quick summary of the day’s news to avoid being disconnected from reality by the media.
The pandemic is becoming increasingly widespread. The cases registered are doubling every six weeks. In Africa alone, one million infections and 200,000 deaths have been recorded. In the USA a new phase has been announced as contagion spreads in rural areas. Manila and Melburne are already confined cities today. In Argentina, there are more than 200,000 cases and restrictions are increasing. Brazil continues at a rate of more than 500 deaths per day with 24,746 infected in the last 24 hours. In the Spain of the so-called new normality, infections have increased fourfold in the last month and the second pandemic wave is so apparent that instead of taking advantage of August for new lockdowns the military emergency units are reinforced and a specific state apparatus is created to manage them.
The crisis deepens. Again and again, the de-confinement of labor is carried out way too early in order to save investments instead of lives. And in the end neither one nor the other is saved. HSBC, the bank that has spearheaded British capital in Asia, reduced its profits by 65% and sees waves of bad debts and loans coming ahead.
Entire countries, once regional models, like Lebanon are in free fall. In Argentina, uncertainty restricts consumption even more, deepening the recession while the government tries to come to an agonizing agreement with the IMF and the large creditor funds.
In Spain, where the news of the day is the drop in tourist arrivals by 97.7% during June, the recession has already left more than 1,148.000 households with all their members unemployed, the demand for food relief increased fivefold and more than 32,000 people died while waiting for disability relief. A good example of how far the PSOE-Podemos government will not leave anyone behind.
Because what’s coming is even worse and they don’t bother to hide it or sweeten it. The governor of the Bank of Spain is constantly calling for new precarity-inducing reforms while he is launching messages in preparation for a possible new rescue of the banks, probably disguised as mergers and privatizations of at least part of the pension system.
Plunder between capitals and a spirit of war on the rise. After Trump’s threat to ban the Chinese app TikTok, Microsoft saw the opportunity to buy the most popular app among teenagers at a dumping price. The move is a model of the re-nationalization of capital placements in the style of Trump. Interestingly, Microsoft’s offer is not limited to the US, but extends to Canada, Australia and New Zealand, i.e. to four of the five eyes of the emerging Anglo-Saxon block.
If only it were limited to apps. The competition between capitals is taking more and more violent forms and threatens to bring disaster to new scenarios. China and the US are competing more and more fiercely for Afghanistan, suddenly becoming a key geostrategic piece for the outflow of Chinese exports. In Indonesia the same competition is taking increasingly violent forms between the government and the stalinist insurgency. In the Indo-Chinese peninsula, the U.S. is urging governments and peasants to fight the Chinese dams it blames for the droughts in the Mekong Delta. China, for its part, will immediately launch a series of army and navy manoeuvres to simulate the seizing of a number of disputed islands now held by Taiwan.
In Europe, conflict is not far away either. The German government is taking an increasingly clear anti-China discourse, using Hong Kong and accusing China of subverting its control over the EU. In Brussels, a Borrell turned into Mr CFSP, takes on an increasingly bellicose tone. And Britain is attempting US support to develop new nuclear warheads for Trident missiles.
The sterility and reactionary inhumanity of the petty bourgeois revolt does not miss a single day to demonstrate itself. In France the petty agrarian bourgeoisie and the big landowners are fighting with each other to determine how much of the champagne grape harvest they are going to destroy this year. These are the champagne wars and it seems that for the first time since the 1940s the time of the grape harvest will be reached without agreement. Both sides want to destroy production in order to raise prices and increase margins. But the cost structures and capitalization are far from identical and hence this war where, once again, both sides fight over who is more reactionary by destroying more product of the social effort to fatten up their capital a little more.
But it is surely in Germany that the reactionary spirit of the petty bourgeoisie was most clearly visible this weekend. Demonstrations against the compulsory wearing of masks brought together anarchists and right-wing extremists in a real rallying success in Berlin. As the crisis progresses, this social class is becoming more radical in its denial of reality and in demonstrations of civil disobedience which are absolutely barren politically but which provide for hours and hours of TV commentary. In the end, as in Germany itself, they face no other horizon than their instrumentalization by imperialist rivals of the national bourgeoisie, as in Bulgaria, or their recycling into ultra-nationalist expansionism as in China.
The alternative lies in another social class, with a different perspective and very different methods of struggle. And it is in a still developing… but promising phase.