THE NEWS LINE Editorial Board sends its May Day greetings to the working class and the poor of the world who are confronting a bankrupt capitalist system gripped by the greatest economic crisis in its history.
May Day 2021 is historic – it is taking place under conditions where the world economic crisis of capitalism is driving the international working class, youth and masses forward to world revolution.
We send our warmest May Day greetings to the Palestinian people who recently marked the 73rd anniversary of Nakba Day (the Day of Catastrophe) – the day in 1948 when hundreds of thousands of Palestinians were driven from their homes and land by Zionist troops.
In the 73 years since Nakba, the Palestinians have never ceased their struggle for their right to an independent homeland despite all the atrocities committed against them by the racist state of Israel supported to the hilt by US and British imperialism.
Far from defeating the Palestinian struggle, it is the Zionist state that is being ripped apart by political crisis.
Unable to form a government and led by a prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, in court facing corruption charges, Israel has faced months of demonstrations from Israeli workers and youth as the political crisis sends shock waves through the country.
At the same time Israel is being brought before the International Criminal Court over its war crimes against Palestinians.
The News Line Editorial Board sends greetings and salutes the heroic fight being waged by the workers and youth in Myanmar to bring down the brutal military dictatorship.
When the Myanmar generals launched their coup in February, they were met with a revolutionary uprising that rapidly developed from peaceful protest into mass strikes and demonstrations.
Over 740 people have been confirmed killed by the military so far but this has not intimidated the workers and youth or deterred them from the fight to smash the military junta.
The general strikes have closed down the economy of the country while increasingly the masses are turning to armed insurrection to bring down the generals, raising the call for a ‘people’s army’ and gaining the unity and support of armed ethnic groups who have been fighting the army for decades in the fight for independent homelands.
This armed uprising is showing the way forward for the workers and masses in Myanmar – the fight to overthrow the military dictatorship means the masses will seize power and go forward to a workers’ and small farmers’ government and socialism.
It is showing the way for all workers and oppressed people throughout the world that peaceful protest cannot resolve this crisis, only the struggle to smash the capitalist state and advance to a workers state.
2021 is the year when all the contradictions of world capitalism have reached the point of exploding as every capitalist country is drowning under a sea of debt and with no way out except to pile on even more debt.
The debt taken on by the leading capitalist nations is staggering.
The US debt is $28.1 trillion; the UK debt is £2.13 trillion, while the total French government debt stands at £2.3 trillion.
All this debt has been used to prop up bankrupt companies and provide fortunes for the financial speculators who have used debt and ultra-cheap loans to accumulate fortunes betting on the stock markets.
It has led to the rise of so-called zombie companies throughout the world – companies that produce no profit but exist entirely through debt.
In the US, the number of zombie companies, firms that are in debt to the point of needing bailouts to survive, have skyrocketed, creating more than 600 zombie corporations (out of 3,000 large companies) with $2.6 trillion in debt.
These are not small firms but include giants such as the four major US airlines, ExxonMobil Oil Company and the Boeing aircraft company to name just a few.
The same situation exists across Europe, where zombie companies are multiplying like never before.
In Germany, considered to be one of the stronger EU economies, an estimated 550,000 firms are classified as ‘zombies’ according to the credit ratings agencies.
In Britain, 720,000 companies are classified as ‘zombies’ and on the verge of collapse once the Tories end all the financial support by September.
10 million jobs in the UK are at risk, creating mass unemployment on a scale greater than that of the Great Depression of the 1930s.
Every capitalist government and central bank is caught in a deadly dilemma.
If they carry on piling up debt and simply printing trillions of dollars, pounds and euros to hand out to the banks and corporations they are following the same path as the German Weimar government in the 1920s.
Then, financing government spending by printing worthless amounts of paper money led inevitably to the currency losing all its value and hyper-inflation which devastated the lives of every German worker.
On the other hand, if they end money printing and bail-outs to companies, the entire economy collapses into recession and mass unemployment.
These are the only two options open to capitalism and both have the most acute revolutionary implications.
The working class throughout the US, EU and Britain are already on the move and will not accept having their lives destroyed to keep capitalism from collapse.
In the US over the last year, there has been wave after wave of strikes over pay and conditions alongside the uprising of young people over the burning Black Lives Matter issue.
In France, President Macron, who came to power pledging to smash up all the hard-won rights of French workers to benefit the employers, has failed miserably in the face of massive opposition from the working class.
The economic crisis and the anger of workers and youth over Macron’s refusal to implement lockdown measures and vaccination roll-out to deal with coronavirus have created an explosive situation in France.
This week, 20 retired army generals wrote an open letter demanding Macron halt the ‘disintegration’ of France and avert a civil war.
The generals wrote failure to act now could see ‘an explosion and then intervention by our comrades on active service in the dangerous mission of protecting our civilised values and the safety of our compatriots’.
Macron’s government dismissed this as a diatribe from a bunch of military pensioners who ‘only represent themselves’.
In fact, these generals represent the huge fear of a terrified French ruling class that feels the hot breath of revolution on its neck.
In Britain, the Tory chancellor Rishi Sunak is determined to ‘balance the books’ by ending the financial support to companies and is preparing to let mass unemployment rip through the country.
Workers are already taking strike action across industry and transport sectors in the fight against the employer onslaught on wages in the form of fire and rehire.
The sacking of 500 gas workers who refused to sign new wage-cutting contracts has been a signal that this is a fight to the finish for the entire working class.
The pressure from workers is building up on the leadership of the trade unions who have refused to mount any real fight against fire and rehire.
Recently, the powerful Unite union was forced by this pressure to announce it was launching a national campaign of coordinated strikes and actions to end fire and rehire which they admit is ‘ripping through our workforce’.
Workers will quickly demand that this limited action, designed to put pressure on the Tories to make fire and rehire illegal, is stepped up and transformed into a general strike to bring down the Tories and go forward to a workers government that will carry out a socialist programme to expropriate the banks and big business and put an end to fire and rehire for good.
This struggle will take on a real urgency as mass unemployment, along with wage-cutting, becomes the burning issue of the day.
The reformist trade union leaders are incapable of leading this struggle and they must be removed and a new revolutionary leadership built in the unions and working class.
The working class of Britain, America and Europe along with workers and the poor of the world are rising up against a capitalist system that is in its final death agony and which deserves to perish through socialist revolution.
Workers are conscious that under capitalism their lives count for nothing compared to the insatiable drive for profit.
Nothing has demonstrated this more than the experience of the coronavirus pandemic where, along with accumulating massive national debts, capitalism has desperately attempted to keep the profits coming in by fighting tooth and nail to keep industry and companies open, placing the lives of millions of workers and their families at risk.
Whether UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson actually said ‘no more lockdowns – let the bodies pile high in their thousands’ is beside the point.
By their actions, the ruling class and their political parties have demonstrated this has always been their only policy and that every lockdown has been forced on them by the refusal of workers to lay down their lives for capitalist profits.
These words express exactly the outlook of a ruling capitalist class that has presided over a global death toll that stands at over three million people.
It is no accident that the most ‘advanced’ capitalist nations have recorded the greatest number of deaths from the Covid-19 virus over the past 15 months.
The US has to date recorded 586,611 deaths, Britain 127,434, France 102,858, and Italy 119,539 while in Germany the deaths this week stood at 82,344.
These countries have carried out a policy of reckless reopening to boost their collapsing economies with the predictable loss of life by workers forced by the threat of unemployment to remain at work.
Workers will contrast this death toll with that of China which with a population of 1.4 billion has recorded just 4,636 deaths in total since the pandemic first broke.
The method of the deformed workers’ state has scientifically been proven a success.
Enforcing total lockdown, with the full support of the working class, and with trained professionals in hazmat suits systematically moving from community to community, vigorously and methodically testing everyone, removing and isolating the infected, and treating them in specially built state hospitals, has won the war.
The drive by world capitalism was exactly the opposite – to keep the factories and industry open, piling high profits as well as the bodies of workers forced to work in dangerous environments where Covid thrived.
The mass vaccination programme operating in the US, Britain and Europe is now being promoted by the bourgeoisie as the start of a grand reopening of the economy, completely ignoring the brutal ongoing pandemic that is killing hundreds of thousands in India, Brazil, Africa and other countries that have been denied access to all the vaccine supplies hoarded by the wealthier nations.
While the pandemic rages internationally the threat of new waves caused by new mutations of the Covid virus threatens the entire world.
What is clear is that profit driven capitalism is incapable of defeating the pandemic.
The coronavirus pandemic did not cause capitalism’s massive debt crisis but it has tipped the capitalist financial system, its banks and its governments over the edge of bankruptcy.
At the same time, the pandemic has driven forward the revolutionary uprising of workers, youth and the poor of the world against a system that is waging a brutal class war at home to dump its crisis on the backs of the working class.
The time is more than ripe for the workers of the world, and their allies amongst the masses, to go forward to put this bankrupt capitalist system out of its misery by overthrowing it with socialist revolutions.
This May Day our message is that there is not a minute to lose in building revolutionary parties of the International Committee of the Fourth International in every country to lead the struggle for the working class to seize power and for the victory of the world socialist revolution.