News from the last week that were not covered by the TV news yet will change our lives

10 December, 2020

1Germany. With 590 deaths in the last 24 hours and 20,000 new cases, Merkel and various lander presidents are calling for a hard lockdown. German capital is increasingly distressed: Lufthansa alone will lay off more than 29,000 workers by the end of the year. Increasingly fearful of the increase in unemployment and the crisis, families are saving as much as they can, thus worsening the sales forecasts of the companies.

As if that were not enough, the imperialist panorama is not flattering either. In the global, German capital increasingly fears China. And within the EU, the German presidency seems doomed to failure: Poland and Hungary are turning a deaf ear to the ultimatums, Schengen remains de facto suspended, and the Brexit negotiations are dragging on in agony, with partial agreements on important issues such as the Irish border that cannot, however, convince anyone that a global agreement is going to succeed. Basically, Britain wants to be able to sell to the EU without seeing its sovereignty undermined in order to impose worse working conditions and looser environmental and health regulations. Brussels fears dumping. The Brexit negotiations are in the end a game of bets and wagers on who will destroy the living conditions of the workers first so that they may sell cheaper and with a higher margin to each other.

2The launch of the European Green Deal and the expectation of Biden’s a href=”https://en.communia.blog/how-will-bidens-green-new-deal-affect-workers/” data-type=”post” data-id=”21595″>Green New Deal have turned the financial press into an orgy of billion-dollar announcements. Just this morning, an international alliance of six major companies announced the creation of a consortium to produce green hydrogen that will lead them to collect $110 billion in investments. The echo in Spain has been immediate: an alliance of IBEX companies announced the creation of a hub to share technologies for producing green hydrogen. That is, if the crisis is driving the concentration of capital, the green deal reinforces the trend by encouraging the centralization and monopolization of technologies and markets.

Something else is political management. The whole secret of the magic effect everyone expects from the Green Deal lies in its ability to bring about a massive transfer of workers’ incomes to capital. That’s why it came about through a global doomsday campaign. Without the argument of a supposed imminent catastrophe there would be no possibility of peddling a sacred climate union, and without this union the obscenity of a mass impoverishment of the workers in absolute terms would be hardly acceptable. But with a slaughter underway, opinion polls reveal that the majority of the EU population is not as sensitive to climate anxiety. And the German power is worried and the press is alarmed: we are alone, Greta’s successes are fading away.

The German restlessness is all the more striking because the opinion polls do not speak of a conscious resistance. 64% of the Spanish population supports spending EU recovery funds on the green transition. And in France, it would seem that Macron went too far: the famous climate convention, made up of 150 French people taken at random, a focus group, already intended to ban 5G, airport extensions and restrict commercial flights… and had nuclear power in its sights. Macron has moved ahead and today launched a campaign singing the glories of nuclear power as the backbone of the ecological transition.

3France, beyond the disruption of investments, without nuclear power could not sustain its atomic arsenal -its ultimate argument for maintaining European leadership and winning the naval hegemony in the Mediterranean to which it seems to aspire more and more openly. In the background, the confrontation with Turkey that is leading it domestically to an offensive against the Muslim Brotherhood synchronized with Egypt and to approve a polemic gag lawunder the pretext of anti-terrorist security. Externally, the same strategy is materializing in an increasingly deep military alliance not only with Greece and Cyprus, but also with Egypt and Israel.

A secondary consequence of this: Spain regained relations with Israel… if only to loosen the Greek attack against Borrell and the accusations of representing the Turkish fifth column in the EU.

4Brazil is once again at the crossroads between imperialism and the green deal. Suffering increasing pressure from Europe and with Biden making statements undermining Brazilian sovereignty over the Amazon, the government offered yesterday to move forward with its climate goals… if the countries that are pushing it donate 10 billion a year to the Brazilian public coffers starting in 2021. Beyond the propagandistic boutade, the reality is that Bolsonaro has handed over the process of land regulation to the local chieftains. Thus comes a new onslaught of deforestation, a feast for agro-industry, a strengthening of the descendants of those mythical colonels who dominated the plantation economy and prolonged slavery, and a new wave of repression against day laborers and poor peasants. They will not be the only sector of the working class under attack. International capital funds are already saying they are worried about public debt. Translation: transfers to the poorest and most precarious workers will not make it to the elections.

There is no possible territorialization of pensions, which in itself would be terribly regressive, without an Austrian backpack. Therefore, in the internal balances of government positions, it is especially striking that the Ministry of Labor, which falls to Podemos, is stripped of its competencies in Social Security and pensions. Sánchez is protecting rather than controlling Iglesias and his ministers. It seems that Sánchez will swim between trying to peddle the complementary character of the backpack, scoring the goal before the banks and the EU and blaming the PNV and the regional right wing parties for the most regressive parts of the reform.

The new social agreement under the Sánchez government“, January 2020

5In Spain we also see how the green deal does not exclude at all the strategies to revive capital by attacking pensions, wages and working conditions. In spite of the celebration of green investment announcements, industrial production continues to plummet, 700,000 workers will arrive at New Year’s Eve under temporary layoffs and even electrical power demand makes the recovery of the production figures from a year ago a chimera. As if that were not enough, it is possible that the Biden effect, may cause some new frights to some retreating Spanish imperialist interests in South America. Spanish capital is not going to let go of any opportunity.

So the scope of the Minimum Vital Income is reduced and according to the minister himself it will not even reach the 850,000 people who need it most urgently. Pensions are slashed without even a public announcement, and more and more voices in the ruling class are hurrying the government. But the government moderates the spirits and asserts that labor reform is not so pressing, that what is important is social peace. The message is: the living and working conditions of virtually all workers cannot be attacked on so many fronts at once. Under the script of the EU, blessed by the whole political apparatus and the editorial pieces of the big media, pensions come first. El País calls for a return to the Austrian backpack. And the next day it reminds us that privatization via complementary funds and territorialization already has a successful trial in the Basque Country. In other words, we return to Sánchez’s roadmap for attacking pensions as it had begun to be openly stated when the pandemic began.

6Without the militarist rise we could not complete the map: the USA congress has just approved an additional 741 billion for its armies, Japan announces new billion-dollar investments in its anti-missile shield, Russia places missile targets on islands in dispute with Japan, Israel massively arms the United Emirates, Taiwan announces the construction of new submarines, in Germany, the missile competition to American candidates is cancelled so that the development of military knowledge remains in German companies, China continues to bet on a technological change in its armaments and carries out a new successful mission on the moon. All this in the last two weeks. And it has not been an exceptional week. States are arming themselves at an astonishing speed and discussing a revolution of military technologies that everyone longs for and yet could be the trigger for a direct war between powers.

7The pandemic and its consequences on investments keep accelerating and exacerbating all the system’s contradictions. Since the last imperialist world war, these contradictions have never crushed and sacrificed so many lives and imposed so much misery. But never either have there been such broad material bases for overcoming capitalist society and organizing society into abundance and freedom. Between the material possibility and the historical realization there is only one subjective element: the development of the struggle and the consciousness of the working class. No previous era faced such a huge challenge nor potentially such a liberating one. Never has it been so necessary to rally to push forward the response and organization of our class.