April 8, 2020
Brazilian Communist Party
All over the world, the necessary actions to combat the spread of the coronavirus include the adoption, on the largest possible scale, of social isolation, which significantly reduces the economic activity of the countries. Furthermore, intense and massive health actions are needed, such as large-scale testing of people, the production and distribution of masks, gloves, alcohol in gel and various types of equipment, such as respirators, in addition to setting up hospitals for the treatment of infected people at risk and other measures.
The responses of governments have enormouslyvaried, both in admitting or not the existence of the pandemic, in the speed of adoption of the necessary measures and in their breadth. In this context, China stands out, since that country has implemented the adoption of social isolation on a very large scale, including actions from compulsory quarantine for possibly infected people, the setting up many new hospitals and health care infrastructure in great magnitude and guaranteed, through massive state financing, the payment of salaries and remuneration for all its citizens, preserving the functioning, in addition to health, of only those sectors of the economy considered essential to guarantee food supply, energy supply, public transportantion and others. The Chinese government kept the population mobilized and, after the worst moments of the pandemic, started offering support to other countries, with the offer of health professionals and various sorts of equipment.
All of this is due to the fact that, among other factors, China has a targeted, planned economy, capable of investing state resources in a fast and focused manner, a developed and comprehensive public health and social security systems, with a high standard of quality,universal public education and a developed scientific system that can be mobilized with great efficiency. As a result, China tends to gain more importance and economic and political influence on the international stage, directly and through multilateral organizations.
Developed capitalist countries like South Korea, France and Germany also acted with breathtaking measures. They’ve adopted social isolation, guaranteed the payment of workers' salaries, requested hospitals, hotels and other private resources for State use. Some governments, such as the french one, even announced the nationalization of companies, to prevent them from bankrupting. Other governments, such as those in the United Kingdom and Sweden, after a period of hesitation, followed suit. These actions, while safeguarding the fundamental interests of financial capital and large companies, put in check, at this moment, the neoliberal discourse and the set of policies that prevailed in these countries, to different degrees, exposing the deep contradictions of the capitalist system.
The problems faced by workers in the United States are immense. In addition to the long delay in making decisions to start taking action, the country does not have public health and social security systems, it has a high contingent of unemployed people and a large homeless population which is almost completely unassisted. The situation proves the perversity of liberal policies and capitalism. In addition, the US government has been showing its most aggressive imperialist face, at the international level, acting as a pirate to confiscate equipment to combat the pandemic that had been destined for other countries, by paying three or four times more than the original price, in so many cases. Trump, debilitated by the delay in taking action and by his statements that belittled the threat and the difficulties in taking effective measures, rehearses a military aggression against Venezuela, already initiated by the attempt to demonize President Maduro, now absurdly accused of being a drug dealer.
The consequences of this situation and its development point to the need for larger intervention by States in the economy and in social life, both in the present crisis period and in the post-pandemic period, when a new wave of major public investments will be necessary to rebuild economies. These investment actions may enable a new wave of growth, on different bases, in the process of capitalist accumulation, which most likely will be associated to a new liberaloffensive to deepen the withdrawal of workers' rights in favor of private companies.
Depending on the depth of the crisis and thelack of effectiveness in the social protection measures adopted, it is possible that numerous contingents of unemployed or precarious workers, homeless people and other marginalized segments come to the streets in actions of looting markets to get some food and other movements that can even lead to popular uprisings and, on the other hand, more repression angainst them by the bourgeois governments.
On the other hand, there is an increase in the building of solidarity ties between workers and pressure from society for the adoption and maintenance of social protection measures and guarantees. The liberal ideology is increasingly weakened, and the positions and proposals of the communists and the left forces, for the period of the crisis, demanding the guarantee of wages and a minimum income for all, the service to the entire population through the system of health and others, tend to gain strength within the working class. In the post-pandemic period, this group of forces should defend the need to overcome misery, to rebuild the public social security systems - health, social security and social assistance -, to guarantee decent conditions of life and employment for all. For communists, in particular, it will be the time to advance the anti-capitalist and anti-imperialist struggle and to emphasize the need for Socialism.
BRAZIL: GOVERNMENT SAVES COMPANIES AND HARMS WORKERS
In Brazil, president Bolsonaro deepens his political isolation every day and, at that moment, he is being tutored by the military. The real government has only a few ministers but has Congress and the Supreme Court as allies in the main economic issues. The recent episode of Bolsonaro's attempt to dismiss Health minister Mandetta proves that there is a harsh struggle within the government, in which, for the moment, the military sector have been gaining an advantage and, thus, through General Braga Neto, they are conducting, together with the Minister of Health, the central actions to combat the pandemic. In parallel, the ministry of the economy, Paulo Guedes,conducts the economic policy, by announcing emergency financial packages, which, in essence, maintain neoliberal principles, favoring big capital and placing the burden of the crisis on the working class.
Bolsonaro wears out more and more, losing support in the middle classes and within the workers, although he maintains his support base in extreme right groups and remains an alternative for the continuation of liberal policies for the post-pandemic period. In the popular strata, the failure to meet the needs to guarantee life and the realization, by more people, of the seriousness of the pandemic increase the dissatisfaction with Bolsonaro, what may even lead to a wave of looting and acts of violence, which seems to interest the policy developed by him of betting on social chaos, as na argument to close the political regime.
There is a clear dispute between the right, in different segments, represented by São Paulo state governor, Dória, Rio de Janeiro state governor Witzel, Congress presidente Rodrigo Maia, the main TV network Rede Globo, who do not want Bolsonaro to stay, and the extreme right, represented by Olavo de Carvalho, Bolsonaro's sons who have parliamentary mandates, militiamen, businessmen that make up the so-called lumpensinate of the bourgeoisie, some evangelical leaders and other groups. The hegemonic fractions of the bourgeoisie, however, act to implement short-term alternatives, such as Bolsonaro's immediate removal or even his forced resignation, with the rise of the vice-president, General Mourão, to the presidency. The impeachment proposal is on course, with projects already registered in Congress.
The measures adopted to guarantee the payment of wages and the provision of minimum income for the unemployed, in addition to being extremely time-consuming in the face of the urgency of facing hunger and misery, are palliative and clearly insufficient, as they do not affect all workers, mainly the informal ones and the ones who live and work under the most precarious conditions, the homeless and the workers living in low-income areas who, in many cases, do not even have access to running water and electricity. The proposals are accompanied by wage cuts (which can reach the absurd range of 70%!) and the permission for layoffs, preventing unions from representing workers, while large financial resources are passed on to banks, as denounced by the Coordination of the Classist Unit (1).
The Central Bank, which should fully cover the fight against the pandemic, as it closed the year 2019 with a positive balance, shamelessly released 1.2 trillion to bankers, despite the enormous surplus of resources in the financial system. Therefore, the R$ 45 billion proposed by the federal government and Congress, in installments of R$ 600 a month per unemployed or underemployed worker, could be increased and there would be no need to authorize suspension of any employment contract or reduction of wages.
In addition, no measures were announced to reverse the current dismantling situation of the Brazilian Unified Public Health System, SUS. Our health system has been scrapped, what, combined with serious problems such as the increase in violence, the very high rate of unemployment and underemployment, the huge housing deficit and the absurd social inequality, make the living conditions of the working people more dramatic under thepandemic. Disregarding this situation and seeming to scoff at the adversities experienced by the vast majority of the population, Minister Guedes announces his strategy of resuming the liberal path of advancing the withdrawal of workers' rights to make profits and private investments viable.
For the Brazilian Communist Party, the time has come to continue the political mobilization and the process of organizing workers with the available means, in the struggle to fully meet the needs of the population in facing the pandemic. We support the struggle of workers from sectors considered non-essential and who are still working normally, who must organize themselves, in their workplaces and with their unions, to demand the interruption of their activities, with the maintenance of their full salaries, rights and guarantees. We give all solidarity to the health workers who are at the forefront of this fight, they must be guaranteed all the necessary contribution and we mast firmly denounce the neglect of the bosses and governments who have not yet provided the individual protection equipment and the indispensable infrastructure to their workers.
It is time to deepen the denunciation of liberal policies and capitalism, to demand immediate compliance with the measures proposed in our emergency plan (2) and point to an anti-capitalist and anti-imperialist program, ainming to overcome capitalism and build the wayto Socialism!
DOWN WITH BOLSONARO AND MOURÃO!
FOR EMPLOYMENT STABILITY AND IMMEDIATE MINIMUM INCOME PAYMENT!
NO TO LAY-OFFS AND CUTSIN WAGES!
IMMEDIATE REPEAL OF MEASURES MPS 927 AND 936/2020, CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT 95 AND COMPLETE REJECTION OF CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT PEC 10/2020!
IN DEFENSE OF 100% STATE, PUBLIC, FREE AND UNIVERSAL HEALTH SYSTEM (SUS)!
FOR THE RIGHTS OF THE WORKING CLASS AND FOR THE DEMOCRATIC FREEDOMS!
FOR POPULAR POWER IN THE ROAD TO SOCIALISM!
1) A NEW BURGUESY EVIL PACKAGE. See: https://pcb.org.br/portal2/25263/um-novo-pacote-de-maldades-da-burguesia
2) LIFE ABOVE PROFITS! Check out: https://pcb.org.br/portal2/25161/a-vida-acima-dos-lucros/