There must be no return to neoliberal ‘big business as usual’ after the COVID-19 crisis, the Communist Party declared at the weekend. Addressing an online meeting of the party’s executive, international secretary John Foster said that the pandemic had massively intensified a gathering crisis of the international capitalist system. High levels of corporate debt, loan default and inflation in regions such as Latin America, the Greater Middle East and Asia Minor were already depriving US, British and Western European monopoly capital of super-profits.
‘The recovery from this latest coronavirus is therefore likely to be grossly uneven, far more severe than after the 2008 financial crash and recession and to the benefit of the capitalist monopolies at the expense of small and medium sized businesses’, Mr Foster warned.
The pandemic had also exposed the real priorities of the Tory government and the deep structural weaknesses of British monopoly capitalism. ‘We have far fewer hospital beds and far higher COVID death rates than socialist Cuba, China or Vietnam – but without the capacity to manufacture ventilators, Personal Protective Equipment and testing kits on anything like the scale needed’, Mr Foster pointed out.
He proposed that a £150bn ‘Trident Dividend’ from cancelling the renewal of Britain’s nuclear weapons system should be invested instead in health, social and emergency services and in productive industry in the English regions, Scotland and Wales. For such a programme, he insisted, Britain must be free from EU rules on state aid, competitive tendering and the free movement of capital by the end of the year, with no extension of the Brexit ‘transition period’.
Reminding the executive meeting on Soviet Victory Day that capitalist crisis can lead to fascism, Mr Foster urged trade unions, trades councils, People’s Assembly, CND and other campaigning groups to build a ‘Popular Front’ alliance against Tory policies that would put the interests of monopoly capital above those of working people and their families.
Unity could be developed around a left-wing programme for public ownership, democratic economic planning and progressive taxation. It was also essential to halt rent evictions and extend the pay furlough, Universal Credit or tax credits to all workers, claimants and students in need.
During the present pandemic, Britain’s Communists said workers should take collective action to refuse to accept unsafe practices or conditions during this pandemic and take every opportunity to strengthen workplace trade unionism.
In a detailed organisational report, assistant secretary for membership Alex Gordon revealed that more than 60 people had applied to join the Communist Party in April, taking recruitment to the highest level since the 2003 Iraq War.