Theses on Lockdowns and Political Tasks for Socialists

Adopted by the Workers League  29-12-2020

1.After almost a year of lockdowns imposed by the ruling classes of the West, it is becoming more and more clear to many workers that the lies used to justify brutal totalitarian measures will continue throughout 2021. It is no longer credible, if it ever was, that the world is faced with a deadly plague which threatens humanity. This was never about a virus. Rather, “Covid-19” is part of a civil war launched by finance capital against workers and oppressed people.

  1. This attack, which may well have been planned and premeditated, is primarily aimed at lowering the cost of labour power. That is, it is a method used to increase capital returns of the largest private corporations at the expense of working class. This is carried out through massive job cuts and the deliberate shutting down of whole sectors of capitalist economies. While the operators of small and medium sized capital are also dramatically affected or driven out of business, this is another brazen assault on workers employed in these industries.
  1. The vast increase in unemployment is used to frighten and cower workers still employed into playing along with the false coronavirus narrative. Unemployment incorrectly attributed to “Covid-19” takes the focus away from the real culprits – the collusion between big capital and the politicians and governments who serve them. The creation of poverty through the intentional shutdown of whole sections of the for-profit economies is used to prevent the remaining employed workers from demanding decent wages and conditions – which had been under siege for the last 30 years through the “normal” functioning of capitalism in any case.
  1. The unprecedented assault on workers’ jobs, wages and working and living conditions under the guise of a “pandemic” requires the virtual elimination of elementary and basic bourgeois democratic rights. Freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, freedom of movement as well as written and unwritten constitutional rights have in many cases been ignored or abolished. In some states, entire parliaments and elections were suspended. The right to invite friends and/or family into your own home is now subject to governmental approval. The right to go to a pub/tavern, to a restaurant or to a church is often prohibited or likewise subjected to a dictate. Lockdowns and other restrictions are enforced by the capitalist state – either by the police or military, or both. This is a new and particular form of fascism.
  1. Even if lockdown measures are temporarily lifted or suspended, the imperialist states can re-apply them at any time. Tracking and tracing, and a litany of ever changing and illogical rules are imposed on all apart from the wealthy elite, trashing any semblance of civil liberties. Scientifically groundless social-distancing and facemask rules are enforced and are used as another threat against working people. Workers are also being threatened with a “Covid” vaccine, “Covid” passports and national and state border closures which have no medical or scientific justification whatsoever.
  1. The main political reason for lockdowns, social-distancing, the shut-down of venues, “health” directives, the prevention of physical and social human interaction, the prevention of gatherings of any kind etc., is to prevent working people from resisting the tyrannical onslaught of big capital. The imposition of draconian dictates backed by pseudo-science has removed some political and protest movements which provided some level of systemic challenge from the streets almost entirely, e.g. the Yellow Vest movement in France. In some cases, lockdowns and other “health” restrictions have been found to be illegal and unconstitutional even by judges interpreting bourgeois law. Political parties and workers’ Unions cannot effectively operate if they are prevented from gathering by the capitalist state – arguably one of the express intentions of the ruling elite. The capitalist ruling classes want workers to become accustomed to no longer enjoying the fragments of democratic rights they enjoyed in the 20th
  1. The Union bureaucracy – largely overpaid officials – have betrayed workers on a scale which has no precedent. We do not know of any Union officials who have opposed capitalist politicians or any part of the mainstream media on the irrationality of lockdowns. In fact, Union officials have been the most ardent enforcers of the ideology and physical dictates of the capitalist state. They, above all, are aware that capitalism in crisis today requires extraordinarily repressive measures such as lockdowns – and so they are more than happy to enforce them. Due to this, Union members are split: some Union members follow the ultra-conservative leadership, while others are dissatisfied and/or confused as to why their Union leadership is openly siding with the authorities.
  1. Almost all ostensibly “socialist” parties have carried out a betrayal of workers on Covid which arguably surpasses that of August 4, 1914. At that time, socialist parties the world over – apart from the Bolsheviks – automatically backed “their own” ruling class as it led the charge into the slaughter of World War I. Today, almost all so-called left parties virtually in unison have signed up enthusiastically with “their own” capitalist governments and the entirety of world imperialism, to aid the driving of workers into the dust through brutal lockdowns and mass unemployment. They accept the bourgeois ideology of lockdowns, social-distancing, facemasks and forced vaccines without question, and act as police auxiliaries by doing everything they can to prevent workers from questioning the suppression measures. The “lockdown left” join with the Union officials in openly serving billionaire capital.
  1. The betrayal of workers by the Union officials and the lockdown left is more than matched by the conservative and nationalist political leaderships of the deformed workers’ states. The partially “communist” and “workers” parties which have usurped political power from the proletariat in the People’s Republic of China (PRC), the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), the Socialist Republic of Vietnam (SRV), the Lao People’s Democratic Republic (LPDR) and the Republic of Cuba (RoC) have not hesitated to assist US/EU (European Union) imperialism implement near worldwide lockdowns. They have not apologised for politically aiding the same US/EU led imperialism which seeks to overthrow and destroy them, in a classical example of the betrayal of “peaceful coexistence” and “socialism in one country”. These distorters and vulgarisers of Marxism have not even blinked while assisting the ruling classes of the West implement a savage attack on “their” workers. While they have not fully imposed the same attack on the proletariat domestically, they have played up to a scientific and medical fantasy to deceive and mislead working people within their borders.
  1. With a few exceptions (e.g., Belarus), the governments of the non-imperialist states have also betrayed their own workers by allying directly with US/EU imperialism on the fake coronavirus narrative. The governments of the Russian Federation and the Islamic Republic of Iran have entertained lockdowns, facemasks and even vaccines in the same way as US/EU imperialism has spun the deception. While operating on a different political basis to the deformed workers’ states, the political leaderships of Russia and Iran have played a role which is just as treacherous as that of the allegedly “Marxist-Leninist” administrations of the five remaining deformed workers’ states.
  1. The attempt by the government of the deformed workers’ states and the non-imperialist states to mollify and appease US/EU imperialism by proclaiming and implementing the same coronavirus lies has increased, not decreased, the extreme danger of imperialist war being launched against them. Imperialism will strike no permanent bargains or permanent deals with any state and will continue to seek to destroy non-imperialist states until and unless it is overthrown by the workers of the world. While there may be some minor disagreements amongst the ruling classes of the US and the EU, they still seek “regime change” in Russia, China, Iran, Syria, Venezuela etc. – and are prepared to risk world war to do so.
  1. The “election” of Joe Biden/Kamala Harris and the Democrats in the US – through monumental fraud – has likewise vastly increased the danger of imperialist war being launched by the Pentagon. This may be a continuation of the regime change war against Syria, or a new regime change war against a smaller non-imperialist state, or it could be a global confrontation with Russia and/or China. Liberal pillars of imperialism such as the key leaders and organisers of the lockdown left, Black Lives Matter, Antifa and the officials of the conservative Union bureaucracy are extremely likely to defend the instigation and prosecution of these wars on behalf of US imperialism, even while claiming to be “progressive” and “left-wing”.
  1. To indulge the ideology of a “pandemic”, or facemasks, or social-distancing, or tracking and tracing, forced vaccines or any Covid restriction, is the ultimate betrayal of the working class. To attempt to ensure that other workers “follow the rules” is to assist billionaire capital maintain its death grip on the world’s workers and oppressed. For alleged socialists to capitulate in any way to the fictitious Covid narrative is an open and irrevocable rupture with the basic tenets of Marxism. No socialist can claim to be left-wing in any sense while doing the bidding of the imperialist ruling classes, their politicians and the corporate media.
  1. Therefore, the position of anti-lockdown versus pro-lockdown is the class line between labour and capital. Moreover, given the dire circumstances of world capitalism, the anti-lockdown movement can be characterised as anti-fascist, while the pro-lockdown position can be characterised as pro-fascist. This remains the case irrespective of the appearance of the anti-lockdown movement largely consisting of the “right-wing” and “conspiracy theorists”, while the irrational pro-lockdown fanatics are predominantly composed of “left-wing” and liberal elements. In reality, pro-lockdown fanatics are not in any way left-wing or progressive. They have simply found themselves in a position of being more right-wing than the “right” due to liberalism politically moving to the right over the last 20 years.
  1. This is why Marxists have the perspective of building the anti-lockdown movement as deeply and as broadly as possible. Despite appearances, the vanguard of the insurgent working class is currently contained within those forces who are prepared to go to great risk to publicly defy the entirety of the ideology and politics of lockdown fascism. This is even despite large sections taking up politically misguided notions such as nationalism, spiritualism, “globalism”, and “anti-socialism/anti-communism”. Despite the prevalence of these and similar ideas, the political direction of the anti-lockdown movement directly and powerfully confronts the political and ideological decay of capitalism as it descends into lockdown fascism.
  1. Hence, the Workers League urges the building of the anti-lockdown movement as a united front. That is, we advise workers to energetically assist and participate in all meetings, demonstrations and mobilisations of the anti-lockdown movement shoulder to shoulder with all those opposed to lockdowns, forced facemasks, forced vaccines, nonsensical restrictions, economic shutdowns, border closures, state surveillance and so on. Within this united front, all political and semi-political organisations and parties should have the right to distribute their material and win others to their viewpoint and perspective. However, by no means should socialists or any other tendency subordinate their politics to any other grouping within the bloc. The united front is built for the achievement of common aims, not the political perspective of component groups or individuals.
  1. At the same time, Marxists within the anti-lockdown movement have the task of seeking out and winning over the most class aware elements to socialism. This is difficult, and must be carried out with tact, given the unfortunate fact that many workers confuse socialism with Stalinism and/or confuse globalism with socialism. The United Nations (UN), the World Economic Forum (WEF), the World Health Organisation (WHO) and so on, are multi-national capitalist institutions, and do not have one iota of pro-working class content. The Stalinist political apparatuses of the deformed workers’ states – principally the PRC – distort socialism beyond recognition even if they partially defend their socialist economies at home. It is vital to impress upon anti-lockdown proponents that socialism does not in any way mean political repression (a la Stalinism), but in fact means the liberation of the working class from tyranny.
  1. No united front is permanent, and socialists should not view the anti-lockdown movement as permanent either. At each stage, Marxists need to assess and evaluate its political direction and political achievements. If, at any moment, the anti-lockdown movement adopts radically anti-working class positions (overt racism, overt anti-Union views, overt anti-China or anti-socialist positions), then socialists should confer and decide on whether to combat the development of such views within the movement, or to leave the movement altogether.
  1. Currently, there are no significant indicators of the anti-lockdown movement developing in an anti-working class direction. Most participants come from varied political backgrounds and are motivated by anti-war and peace issues, civil liberties and democratic rights, freedom of medical choice issues, for the restoration of common law rights, for freedom of movement and so on. However, there is a possibility that the anti-lockdown movement could at a certain stage split into left and right (or more than two) wings under the impact of political developments or through repression from the capitalist state. If this were to occur, again socialists should assess the political reasons for such a split and proceed from there.
  1. For working people, there will be no permanent escape from lockdowns, or “The Great Reset” or “The New Normal” without the overthrow of capitalism in the imperialist centres, combined with proletarian political revolutions in the deformed workers’ states. At the very least, this will require the establishment of democratic workers’ councils. After a year of hammer blows from a declining and thus lawless and dangerous capitalism, there is a dire need for a working class offensive.  A vital task to help provide working class leadership now and for the coming period is the forging of internationally linked Leninist vanguard parties, sworn to uphold Permanent Revolution. To help form a bridge to workers’ councils, the Workers League will continue to propagate three demands:

(i) A six-hour work day
(ii) Public ownership of energy, infrastructure, banks
(iii) A workers’ government.

WORKERS  LEAGUE
www.redfireonline.com
E: workersleague@redfireonline.com

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