Week #2, May 2020
1. Communist Party of Greece (KKE):
Statement by General Secretary Dimitris Koutsoumbas on the 72nd anniversary of Nakba.
2. Communist Party of Britain (CPB):
An Open Letter to all working people.
3. Portuguese Communist Party (PCP):
Statement by General Secretary Jerónimo de Sousa: Fight the virus and defend the rights of the retirees, pensioners and elderly.
4. Communist Party of India (CPI):
CPI expresses dissapointment over government's package announced by FM.
5. Communist Party of Turkey (TKP):
TKP protests high utility expenses in country, calls people to strengthen struggle.
6. Party of Labour of Austria (PdA):
Covid-19 and capitalist crisis.
7. Cuba - Ministry of Foreign Affairs:
Attack on Cuban embassy in Washington brings complicit silence from U.S. government.
8. Communist Party of Australia (CPA):
What sort of world do we want when the pandemic is over? By Vinnie Molina.
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COMMUNIST PARTY OF GREECE (KKE)
The Communist Party of Greece expresses its full support for the tormented people of Palestine, who have been waging a just, long-lasting and heroic struggle for 72 years, in an extremely unfavorable correlation of forces.
The communists of Greece denounce the crimes committed against the Palestinian people by Israel, with the methodological and timeless support of the USA and the EU. With this attitude, the US and EU imperialism contributes to the escalation of the criminal aggression of the Israeli state in Palestine and in the wider region.
The KKE also denounced the new US plan, stressing that it maintains and shields Israeli occupation, cedes Jerusalem to the state of Israel, which proceeds to annexing the Jordan Valley, and maintains settlements.
We would like once again to express the KKE's firm solidarity with the Palestinian people's struggle to bring an end to the Israeli occupation. This just struggle can be justified by continuing the unrelenting struggle against imperialist interventions and the plans of the bourgeoisie in the region, while at the same time strengthening internationalist solidarity and action.
To end Israeli occupation and its consequences.
To create a united independent Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital within the 1967 borders, with the people being master of their own land.
For the right of all Palestinian refugees to return to their homes, based on relevant UN resolutions.
For the immediate release of all Palestinian and other political prisoners held in Israeli jails.
Freedom for Palestine!
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COMMUNIST PARTY OF BRITAIN (CPB)
Dear comrade, sister or brother,
The Communist Party is writing to you as one of the millions of people whose work keeps our society going in good times and bad.
The COVID-19 pandemic has shown the value of all those workers who have continued to provide the goods and services that we all need to survive.
Despite their efforts, the virus has claimed more than 32,000 lives in Britain so far. We have a death rate per head of population FIVE times higher than Germany, TWICE as high as the US, higher than every major European country except Belgium, Italy and Spain – and 150 TIMES higher than China.
That’s the price being paid for decades of under-investment and privatisation in the NHS and social care in England, Scotland and Wales.
We have some of the biggest drug companies in the world – but they spend far more on advertising than on researching and developing new vaccines and cures for deadly diseases.
Financial and property services have come to dominate our economy, while our manufacturing base has been shrunk.
We no longer have the capacity to manufacture the personal protective equipment (PPE), testing kits and ventilators on the scale necessary in a pandemic emergency. Instead, Britain has to go shopping cap-in-hand to Turkey and China.
Who is to blame?
Tory and LibDem coalition governments cannot escape a major share of the blame for past failures. They ignored and covered up the findings of ‘Exercise Cygnus’ in 2016. Carried out across the NHS and social services, it warned that we had nothing like the levels of staff, PPE, beds, machines and medicines needed to deal with a severe pandemic.
Despite reports of a deadly new virus in China from January 2020, and the World Health Organisation naming COVID-19 as a ‘very grave threat for the rest of the world’ on February 11, no serious emergency measures were taken in Britain until mid-March.
More fundamentally, the British economy is one which puts shareholders’ profits before the needs of our society and people. Big companies and ‘market forces’ – those who have the most to spend – decide what is produced. There is no overall planning.
What should be done?
Early in this crisis, the Communist Party proposed:
PPE AND SPECIALIST TRAINING urgently for all medical and frontline staff, including those in supermarkets, prisons and welfare establishments.
National and regional FORUMS of central and local government, health and medical bodies and trade unions and employers’ organisations to coordinate anti-crisis measures.
Close INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION with China and Cuba where effective action was being taken.
Direction of the PHARMACEUTICAL INDUSTRY to meet the needs of the people during and immediately after the current crisis.
FINANCIAL HELP for all workers, small business, the self-employed, tenants, students and benefit claimants in need as a result of emergency anti-pandemic measures.
Who’s going to pay?
After the 2008 financial crash, the £1 trillion bill for bailing out the bankers and City speculators was dumped on us, the people. We had a decade of public service cuts, wage freezes, higher taxes, and devalued pensions and benefits.
The Tory government and big business intend to do the same again as the COVID-19 crisis passes.
That’s why, last weekend, the Communist Party called for a £150bn ‘Trident Dividend’, cancelling the renewal of Britain’s nuclear weapons system. This money should go into our health, social and emergency services and into productive industry. Invest in Weapons of Manufacturing Production – not Weapons of Mass Destruction!
Such a programme would only be possible across the English regions, Scotland and Wales when we are free from EU rules on state aid, competitive tendering and the free movement of capital. That means no extension of the Brexit ‘transition period’ after December this year.
All attempts to make working people and their families pay for the coronavirus crisis must be resisted. The British ruling class is still one of the wealthiest in the world. It’s time to end the tax haven status of British overseas territories, open up the books and make the super-rich pay a modest Wealth Tax.
Saving more lives and protecting people at work must be the top priorities. That means no reckless rush into ending the lock-down.
There must be no return to unsafe working conditions and practices.
Now is the time for workers to join and strengthen trade unions in the workplace. Together, you have the strength to stop the job where your health and safety is at risk.
Government and employers have had no choice but to talk and listen to the unions in this crisis. Let’s build on these advances and win respect and dignity for all workers in future.
How? For a start, let’s end the category of ‘low-paid workers’. The COVID crisis has shown how much we all depend on those who clean the hospitals, care for the elderly, staff the shops, deliver the food and so much else. And there are no ‘low-paid bosses’.
Trade union representatives should be discussing and planning NOW to defend and improve workers’ pay and conditions during and after a mass return to work.
Facing the future
There will be future pandemics of this kind. We need to campaign in our unions, local trades unions councils, community organisations and political parties for government action to prepare for them.
You can help make that happen. There should be local meetings and national conferences to review the past and plan for the future. The British, Scottish, Welsh and regional TUCs and the People’s Assembly should call demonstrations thanking all front-line workers and demanding an end to low pay, investment in our emergency services and no more NHS privatisation.
Britain’s Road to Socialism
The Communist Party makes no apology for always supporting and fighting for the interests of working people and their families. That’s why the powerful and wealthy minority who own and run Britain oppose us and what we stand for.
During this crisis, our membership has grown by 13 per cent. This reflects the contribution made by the party and its members – especially those in frontline jobs and unions – to debate and action at every level.
This pandemic has shown how capitalism is a system designed to enrich the few, not to protect the many. There must be a better way of organising our society and its economy.
In the midst of this crisis, we have seen the values that could govern a socialist society – the courage, the unselfishness, the solidarity. And why shouldn’t those who create the wealth – workers like you – enjoy much more of the fruits of their labour?
The Communist Party exists to help bring about revolutionary change. Find out more about us and our programme Britain’s Road to Socialism, and on Facebook.
Why not join Britain’s Communists and shape a better future for all!
Yours in comradeship,
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PORTUGUESE COMMUNIST PARTY (PCP)
Statement by General Secretary Jerónimo de Sousa: Fight the virus and defend the rights of the retirees, pensioners and elderly
The last few months have been marked by an exceptional situation, as a result of the outbreak of COVID -19 and the sanitary measures to prevent and fight it, in which the National Health Service and its professionals have played an irreplaceable role.
We have entered a new period of resuming life in the country, a path towards the normalisation of economic activity and the life of the Portuguese aware of the need to comply with the basic rules of health protection, individual and collective.
The step by step return to work has to be accompanied by the need to strengthen the protection of all those who dynamize the economic activity of the country, starting with the creation of conditions that safeguard the protection of those who have to travel in public transport every day to work.
Those who find themselves without a job with cuts in wages and those who survive on low pensions have increased difficulties in getting masks, gloves and disinfectant solution due to prices incompatible with their income level.
An unacceptable situation that shows that the epidemic outbreak has been bolstered by capital and multinational companies as an opportunity to increase their profits, by increasing labour exploitation and by speculating the prices of these products and other essential goods for life.
Meanwhile, I would like to note the misunderstanding that has been created in society, between the "duty of special attention to citizens over 70 years" and their mandatory lockdown, without any legal base for it.
It is understandable that families want to do everything they can to protect their parents, grandparents and even their neighbours or acquaintances.
What is unacceptable is that, based on this fair concern, one tries to segregate the elderly and curtail their rights and freedoms.
It is necessary to contradict conceptions such as those put forward by the President of the European Commission, when she defended that the contacts of the elderly with other people would have to be limited until the end of the year.
Such a perspective cannot be separated from its essence by those who have transformed aging into a “social burden”.
In this Session addressed to the retirees, pensioners and elderly, the PCP reaffirms that preventing and fighting the epidemic outbreak for all citizens, namely for those over 70 years, must be accompanied by the appreciation of the role they played as workers, the value of their social, political and cultural participation in this stage of their life and for the contribution to society of their experience and knowledge.
We do not underestimate the risks of contagion among themselves and the additional care for the most vulnerable people, elderly or not, but we must reject the stigma on the elderly!
It is not the elderly who carry the risk of contagion, among themselves and the other citizens. Being elderly is not synonymous with dependence, lack of social autonomy or lack of ability to make informed and responsible decisions, whether in the field of virus prevention or in all areas of their life.
Feeding such stigma would mean feeding the feelings that are “weigh on” the family and society; making the lives of those living in care homes a nightmare; reducing the right of the vast majority to freedom and the right to decide their lives and act in defence of their rights.
Complacency with such a path would have very damaging consequences on their physical and emotional health.
A word to the elderly who live in care homes. Everything has to be done to ensure the special protection of these elderly people and workers, but also to ensure the quality of the services provided, which guarantee their safety, their well-being and the carrying out of activities that mitigate the consequences of their social and family isolation.
It is worth remembering that the retirees, pensioners and elderly are a heterogeneous social group that involves citizens over 65 years, with a strong emphasis on «the young elderly», the elderly and the very elderly. Most have expectations, a strong motivation to live this stage of their life, with pleasure, with the possibility of carrying out activities that they could not carry out when they were workers and a strong appetite for associative forms linked to social, recreational, cultural or sports activities. .
The lives of the elderly cannot remain suspended in the face of the epidemic outbreak. Compliance with the safety standards that are due and required for all cannot be associated with the perverse idea that nothing will be as before, in the present and in the future.
Fear should not paralyse everyone's life, fear of being infected and of contagion should not deprive the elderly of gratifying emotional and social relationships. Just as the relentless fight against social inequalities and poverty among the elderly cannot be suspended, there is as well the need to create a Public Network of Equipment and Services to meet the specific needs of the elderly, without prejudice to the complementary role, no less valuable, of private institutions of social solidarity.
Without forgetting the necessary support for the associations of the retirees, pensioners and elderly, as an important associative expression of this social group, it should include their home support activities, as well as their day care and social centres to resume these activities when the conditions are created.
The current context cannot make the resolution of the problems that affect most retirees and pensioners a secondary issue, and continue to move in combating low pension values and situations of poverty, and in implementing their right to decent pensions and living conditions.
We therefore valorise the implementation in this month of May, of the extra increase in pensions that covers one million and eight hundred thousand retirees and pensioners, which was made possible for the fourth consecutive year due to the determination of the PCP and the struggle of the retirees and their specific organisations for better pensions and decent living conditions.
Due to the initiative of the PCP, an increase of 10 and 6 euros was achieved in 2020.
Let us look at two examples, of the importance of this increase for social security pensions:
A pension of 450 euros in January 2020 had an increase of 3.15 euros. In May, there will be an increase of 6.85 euros more, thus totalling 10 euros. The social old-age pension, which in 2019 was 210.32 euros, increased in January 2020 by 1.58 euros. In May there will be an increase of 4.82 euros, thus totalling 6 euros.
This extra increase in 2020, added to those of 2019, 2018 and 2017 means that a significant portion of the retirees, pensioners and elderly has, in these 4 years, an increase in the value of their pension of 40 or 24 euros per month.
These extra increases mitigate the consequences of the pension freeze, between 2011 and 2015, imposed by the PSD/CDS government and the insufficient yearly increases that the mere application of the pension update mechanism advocated by the PS would materialise.
They were only possible because the PCP did not give up. But we are aware that this extra increase fell short of the objectives and the scope recommended by its proposal: 10 euros for all pensions, starting in January, whose percentage value would be higher for the lowest and lower for the rest, ensuring everybody a restoration of their purchasing power.
The priority given to the valorisation of pensions requires the valorisation of wages and social security payments, as a central feature to interrupt the spiral of low pensions for generations of workers who retire, but it also imposes a change to the unfair mechanism of pension updating, created by a PS government in 2006, and the creation of new minimum pension brackets in the social security system that valorise the longest contributory careers.
Fighting the virus cannot mean fewer rights for the retirees, pensioners and elderly. We will continue to fight in defence of the central role of the Public Social Security System in guaranteeing the right to a decent pension, nor will we collude with the right-wing policy solutions, based on the weakening of the Public Social Security System, facilitating the dilapidation of revenues which are due to the social security system, taking for granted that nothing can be done to prevent such a path.
We will do all we can to ensure everyone's rights to healthcare within the framework of the National Health Service, as well as other public services. Because they are all essential to guarantee the right to grow old with rights and enable to live more years with health and well-being.
The widely trumpeted active aging, when it comes to imposing solutions of the right-wing policy of prolonging the professional activity of the elderly, cannot be associated with keeping the elderly confined and without perspective, accepting that everything will irreparably worse.
It is necessary to give confidence that it is necessary to resume their lives naturally, making the necessary adaptations that compel everyone, given the exceptional nature of the times we live with respect for their freedoms and rights.
I therefore welcome the action of the retirees, pensioners and elderly and their specific associative movement and their role in the struggle to raise their living conditions and rights and for their political, social, cultural and sports participation.
The epidemic outbreak confirms the need to implement an alternative, patriotic and left-wing policy that materialises a national strategy on the issues of aging based on policies that uphold the deepening of the rights of the retirees, pensioners and elderly, ensuring that living longer means having quality of life, with economic and social autonomy, physical and psychological well-being and preventing and combating the risks of poverty among the elderly and promoting adequate protection against illness and dependency.
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COMMUNIST PARTY OF INDIA
The National Secretariat of the Communist Party of India expresses its disappointment over the package announced by the Union Finance Minister on May 13, 2020 as it neglects the plight of migrant labourers in particular and problems of labourers in general. Similarly, the absence of help to state governments to address the critical situation at this time of crisis will have adverse impact on the states’ ability to revive the economy and help the people. The principle of federalism should be followed to combat the crisis.
In this challenging times, demand and supply chains are both affected and hence the package should have taken care of the both. But the present package neglects the demand side hoping that boosting the supply side will take care of the demands by increasing employment.
Eventhough concessions, stimulus and certain other measures have been announced for MSME sector, due to the changes in the definition of the MSMEs only the top echelon and corporates would be benefited.
Emphasis on improving the role of public sector in health, housing and infrastructure is lacking. The talk of self-reliance should not be an empty rhetoric. The Party demands more help to the labourers and agriculture sector to tide over the grave situation.
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COMMUNIST PARTY OF TURKEY (TKP)
Protesting the high utility expenses and the recent price hikes in the country, Turkey's communists started a campaign saying "We do not accept these utility bills. All debts should be written off!".
Communist Party of Turkey (TKP) called on the public to take a screenshot of the bill information received and to share it on social media. Emphasizing that the reactions against the high utility bills can be grown only by acting together, TKP announced that distribution companies that do not respond to objections will be disclosed and necessary legal steps will be taken.
The consumption of electricity, water, and natural gas inevitably increases in conditions where people had to stay in their homes due to the epidemic. The demand for these services to be free becomes even more legitimate, TKP says, while the working people of Turkey started to be laid off or forced to get unpaid leave, leading them to have difficulties in meeting their minimum living needs.
Since the beginning of the epidemic, the ruling AKP government has announced many measures to protect natural gas and electricity distribution companies, while no measure was taken to ensure the minimum needs of citizens.
As a result of the privatization policies accelerated by the AKP, all of the distribution and sales of electricity and imported natural gas are carried out through private distribution companies. In Turkey, at least two companies profit from natural gas bills and at least three companies profit from electricity bills.
These distribution companies cut services if bills are not paid, and demand an opening and closing price. It is also reported that even when the companies do not actually cut, they charge the users with opening and closing fees if the bills are not paid.
TKP demands all resources be used for the public in order not to make even a single citizen living without electricity, water, gas. Calling to strengthen the protest, TKP says, all utility bills issued during the epidemic should be canceled and debts should be written off. Moreover, cutting water, electricity, and natural gas of the households because of unpaid bills should be prohibited, TKP adds.
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PARTY OF LABOUR OF AUSTRIA (PdA)
Contribution of the Party of Labour of Austria at the teleconference of the European Communist Initiative on the issue: “The struggle of the communist and workers’ parties in the conditions of the pandemic and the new capitalist crisis”, 10 May 2020
From the beginning of the epidemic in Austria, the Party of Labour insisted that both the health of the people and the labour and social rights of the working class are under threat and must be protected. It was clear that capital and its government would use this situation not only to pass the costs of the crisis onto the backs of the working class and the people, but even to push forward their anti-workers agenda such as flexibilization of working time and relations, reduction of labour costs, financial support to monopoly capital by the tax money of the working people.
The successive governments of capital and all the parties represented in parliament have been demolishing the health and welfare system for decades to achieve deficit goals and to open these areas to capitalist profiteering. Not only the conservative People’s Party, but also Social Democracy was in the lead: for a long time it placed the Federal Chancellor in charge and pursued a capital-friendly policy against the interests of the working class - with social cuts, privatisation, liberalisation, cuts in benefits, percentage excesses, site closures, underfunding, staff cuts and the promotion of precarious employment.
Even though the situation in Austria is still better than that in other countries, it is a fact that the Austrian health care system was structurally not prepared to deal with an epidemic like the current one. The capacities are not sufficient. It has become apparent that there are not enough hospital beds, not enough medical staff, not enough materials and equipment, not enough financial resources. These problems are systematic ones, they were consciously accepted in the past and therefore cannot be solved in the short term.
The fact that the spread of the virus seems – for the time being – under control does not refute those assessments. On the contrary, the measures taken by the Austrian government with regard to the epidemic are equal to a confession of the structural deficiencies of the system. Fully aware that the hospitals and not least the intensive care units would be overstretched and overburdened, sick people - almost 90% - were to be accommodated at home. Only in the case of a severe course of the disease hospital beds were and are available. In fact, all that was till now being attempted was to slow down the increase in the number of ill people relatively and to postpone the peak.
Now, the government has already began easing the lockdown. In our opinion, this decision was hardly based on scientific data regarding the actual danger to the public health, but rather on considerations regarding the capitalist economy and pressures coming from specific segments of capital. So, the new narrative wants the economic cost for protecting public health to have been too high and as a result the people are confronted with an ostensible dilemma between health protection and jobs, between their lives and their livelihoods.
Currently, there are more than a half a million people unemployed and well over a million people in short-time work in Austria and these numbers are expected to rise. Unsurprisingly, the epidemic or rather the measures to combat it are presented as an exogenous factor that solely caused what seems to be the biggest economic crisis for almost hundred years. In reality, the current capitalist crisis is not the product of the epidemic, which only accelerated the process and aggravated the situation. Crises lawfully occur by the natural function of capitalist economy and have their causes in the falling rate of profit and the overaccumulation of capital. It is up to the working people, to change the conditions, and this will only be possible by seizing power and by overthrowing the existing capitalist relations of production. Only a socialist society under workers’ and people’s power will be able to guarantee social security, fairly paid work, dignified housing, comprehensive care and the best possible health for all people in the future.
The Party of Labour of Austria focusses its efforts on the struggle for the satisfaction of the immediate needs of the working class, the poor self-employed in town and country by highlighting at the same time the necessity of overcoming capitalism. From the beginning of this crisis, the Party of Labour unmasked the false national unity of which the bourgeois class tried to persuade the people and indicated at the actual unity of the bourgeois class and its parties in the anti-workers policies imposed. In our propaganda we underline the need to prepare to confront the massive offensive of the capitalist class against the rights of the working class. Only an effective workers’ front organized on a class basis will be able to repulse the attacks and to pass into the counteroffensive.
Adapting to the new conditions, our party recently tried to improve its online presence. Most notably, it launched its new online newspaper with very positive first results. Of course, this is not sufficient. The centre of the struggle must and will be in the working places and the unions. Under the circumstances, our party members are even more compelled to find ways to reach the wider masses of the working class, effectively intervene in the unions currently under the control of social-democracy in order to break with so-called “social partnership” and make them once again weapons in the hands of the working class.
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CUBA - MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS
Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla, during an online press conference, yesterday May 12, to discuss the April 30 terrorist attack on the Cuban embassy in the United States, stated: "Here is an attacker, an AK-47 rifle, 32 shell casings, 32 bullet holes and a statement - by the perpetrator - of his intention to attack and kill.”
From the U.S. government we have received only silence, a silence that we know well, one that has accompanied violence against Cuba by groups based in U.S. territory for years. Every wave of terror was preceded by rabid campaigns of hate, rancor, threats, and attempts to discredit Cuba's work in the international arena, alongside tightening of the economic siege.
The deaths number 3,478, with 2,099 Cubans disabled, in addition to incalculable economic damage. Terrorism has cost the country, carried out with or without the support of the U.S. government, but always with its blessing, following CIA directives. Hundreds of terrorists groups have been created, financed and trained by the CIA, organizations that had in their ranks notorious killers like Orlando Bosch, Luis Posada Carriles, Guillermo and Ignacio Novo Sampol, among others.
The Coordination of United Revolutionary Organizations (CORU), created in 1976, meant the integration of an international terrorist network, the first in history. "War on the roads of the world," as they called it, did not respect borders or international law, and Cuban embassies were the preferred target.
More than 370 terrorist operations were carried out in those years; the atrocious bombing of a Cuban civilian airplane in mid-flight was the ultimate expression of this hatred, aggravated and protected by silence from the White House.
The perpetuator of the most recent attack on our embassy in Washington, Alexander Alazo Baró met with persons of known hostile behavior toward the Cuban Revolution, at a church called the Doral Jesus Worship Center. One of his "friends" at the religious center, Pastor Frank Lopez, maintains close relations with none other than Marco Rubio, Congressman Diaz-Balart and other persons with recognized extremist positions.
His behavior prior to the attack could not have been more obvious; he did not hide his hatred for the nation of his birth, or his delusions, be they real or fictitious; he was short of money, without a steady job, as his wife stated to several sources. Days earlier he had surveyed the site, planned every step of what he would do, all in the middle of Washington DC, just a few blocks from the White House, in a heavily guarded area. Ready for anything, at zero hour he drove miles with an AK-47, and fired on his target.
Cuba has every reason to demand an exhaustive investigation of the facts from the U.S. government, and that the necessary measures be adopted to prevent a return to times of spilled innocent blood, to put an end to the country’s hostile policy, verbal attacks, and actions that encourage such behavior.
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COMMUNIST PARTY OF AUSTRALIA (CPA)
Published in Guardian, the Workers' Weekly.
Comrades from the Port Jackson branch invited me to address a great question at their “Tuesday’s Talks” initiative: What sort of world do we want after the pandemic is over?
This is an extremely relevant question that has generated a lot of discussion among comrades and other people in Australia and around the world.
Some believe that we are currently in a revolutionary situation, that we’ll end up with socialism in twelve or twenty-four months after the pandemic. I think those are very nice and optimistic thoughts and we must continue to be positive that a better world is possible.
However, when I look at what governments around the world are doing to save the capitalist system at the expense of workers and the people in general, I see that the struggle for socialism has to be invigorated.
After the pandemic is over in twelve or twenty-four months, the new normal will be fewer rights for workers to organise. The Morrison government has already introduced regulations further undermining the right to organise, the participation of workers in their workplaces, wages, and conditions.
Far from socialism, we, unfortunately, will return to a world of the old normal of homelessness, 200 million of them children — also, millions of them dying of famine and curable diseases before they reach five years of age.
I’m reminded of the words of Cuban leader Fidel Castro when he said that none of those children are Cuban. Furthermore, the words of Fidel and the work that Cuba has done in building a socialist society gives hope that a better world is possible and necessary.
It gives me hope, though, to see how socialist countries have been able to work cooperatively putting people first not just in their own countries but globally where the help is needed. This is happening despite the crushing economic pressures from criminal, inhumane blockades that imperialism has chosen to strengthen at this time.
In the Capitalist countries, we will go back to the old normal of an asphyxiating foreign debt that has stolen the future of generations of people living in third world countries.
In Australia, the Business Council of Australia and the Morrison government are already planning to return to “normal.” What they mean is that they need the creators of wealth to go back to work. What they are perhaps really saying is that they will return to a “new normal” but not one the people, especially workers, would want. They have chosen to use this time to form legislation and regulations that support their draconian agenda. The only way they can continue to make profits is by having workers returning to work under legislation that makes it easier for bosses to reduce wages and conditions.
Even more workers will go into the precarious employment of casualisation, labour-hire, and the gig economy. Many workers who lost their employment will have difficulty finding jobs again.
Many small and medium-sized businesses have gone under, and workers left at the mercy of the market.
Unions have done a great job during the pandemic fighting for workers’ wages in the way of subsidies such as Jobkeeper, increases to Newstart (now called Jobseeker), free access to childcare including other measures to keep people at home and somehow employed by the billions invested in bailouts to save the system.
The government estimates that every week of shut down has cost the economy $4 billion per week, adding up to $50 billion since the pandemic started. This could be easily recovered by targeted public sector investment, for example, in green energy and cuts to the bloated military war budget.
The pandemic has really exposed the failures of capitalism. The Party has issued a number of statements of what was needed putting people first rather than profits.
The CPA demanded no worker should be left behind and a guaranteed income for all workers, including the protection of those 2 million workers on temporary visa programs, and the wellbeing of the community as a whole.
The Party leadership issued statements about Party activity during the time of the COVID-19 and urged every member to be active. A plan has been developed for campaigns over the next twelve months. Branches must ensure the collective discussion of the plan and its practical implementation.
If we really want social change, we must build a strong Communist Party, and that starts with educating our existing members and giving them the tools to strengthen their political and ideological understanding of capitalism and the necessity for socialism.
WHAT SORT OF WORLD SHOULD WE FIGHT FOR?
There are two tasks that the Party leadership want us to develop during this time. One is the practical implementation of activating the party membership through the Health, Workers’ Rights, and Socialism campaign, the May Day selfie campaign, and other activities are for comrades to get involved in on the ground raising much-needed awareness of the problems and the solution with the people.
The other is to use the conditions the pandemic has created to call for a strong public sector and the need to nationalise the health and education systems and other strategic sectors such as transport, banks and insurance, mines and energy. Public housing programs would provide affordable housing for the many homeless and jobs for the unemployed.
Finally, the Party leadership calls on the membership and supporters now to also help register “The Communists” as an electoral expression to be able to stand Communists in Federal elections. I take this opportunity to ask readers to help us in this effort and add their names by registering online here: cpaforms.wufoo.com/forms/join-the-communists
We need to find ways to build support for a new type of government with more left, progressive and democratic forces capable of implementing electoral and other reforms that could allow the working class to play a protagonist role in social change.
The struggle for socialism and communism in our country must not only continue but must be ramped up. This needs to be accompanied by a strong mass movement with the demand that workers will not pay for the crisis.
We envisage socialism as a real alternative against rapacious capitalism.
Australia must nationalise key sectors of the economy such as the resource sector, energy, build infrastructure and bring back the manufacture and industrial sectors. Transport, including shipping and airlines, must be in public hands.
The wealth to deliver nationalisation has always been there, and the billions in bailouts used to save the capitalist system have shown this. Billions more can be saved by cutting the military budget to one per cent of GDP or about fifty per cent of the current spending. Fighting for peace is also a fight for a new world free of exploitation and for socialism.
I urge comrades to double their efforts in this challenge. We all must work harder to build a strong working-class Party capable of leading the struggle for social change and eventually socialism.
Let’s not get distracted with the government propaganda that we are all together in this. We are together in this only when we come together as a class: the class that has the historical task of destroying the capitalist state and the enormous challenge of building a better society for all.
Finally, I recommend comrades to read and collectively discuss the recent articles that have been published in the Guardian. Those articles are food for thought and more ideas and initiatives can be developed with the wisdom of the collective assisting the Party leadership in the practical implementation of the recent plans for Party activity.
Long live socialism!
Workers won’t pay for the crisis!