IMAGE: PROLETARIANS STANDING IN LINE DURING THE DEPRESSION IN THE 1930s.
Written by a commentator to Tjen Folket Media
The Coronavirus and the handling of it overshadow the economic crisis in the media. It is also portrayed as if the crisis has come as a result of the virus. This is a lie that the rulers are using to acquit capitalism and to implement capitalist austerity and cuts.
Marxists and many bourgeois economists have warned against this crisis for a long time. It has been mounting, just as the crisis of capitalism always has been mounting, through the cycle of capitalism. The cycle lasts for about 8 to 12 years. It has been like this for 200 years, and with a gap of 8 to 12 years, the capitalist economy leaps into crises of overproduction.
Crisis of Overproduction
Karl Marx revealed that these crises, no matter how they first appear, are crises of overproduction. The capitalists produce more than they are able to sell. They always want to sell more, to gain more profits. They compete with each other. The most effective ones can sell much and make profit. The others make do for a while, but not in the long run.
Under capitalism the capitalists will do everything to increase turnover, they will increase the efficiency of production and produce more and more. On the other hand, they will at the same time do what they can to lower expenses, and especially keep wages down. The contradiction between the capitalists wanting to sell more, which they depend on to have a surplus, and that they themselfes hold down the purchase power of the masses, facilitates the crises of overproduction.
This contradiction leads constantly to new crises, where companies must go bankrupt and capital must be destroyed so the cycle can start anew. It is a contradiction that cannot be solved within capitalism. It is embedded in the capitalist economy.
Politicians are either liars or ignorant
When the crisis hits the airlines hard, it is not primarily due to the virus, but due to the competition for air travels having been immense for a long time and that the profit margins are so low that companies can’t even survive a few weeks without normal sales. 12 years ago we saw the same within banks in the US. 20 years ago it was the tech industry that got the biggest and first hit.
Politicians who say this is a by-passing situation which is only about a virus, are liars – or they are ignorant populists who say what they think people want to hear. This is the cyclical crisis of capitalism, and it will be followed by a protracted economic depression.
The tendency after the second world war is that the crises have become deeper and deeper each time. The so-called “financial crisis” was the worst crisis of capitalism since the great crisis and depression during the 1930s. Today’s crisis will probably be even deeper than the previous one. Stock markets in Europe experienced last week the largest fall ever in history!
Crisis Packages Only Dampen the Initial Blow
The government is now focused on crisis packages and many let themselves be temporarily soothed by the Norwegian governments increase of social security and unemployment benefits. Those who get the most help are the largest companies, and then the small and middle companies. Last comes those who are now losing their jobs or are being laid off.
First of all, it must be stated that Norway is in a special position among the imperialist countries. Few countries have as many means available for crisis packages such as these. Secondly, it is only an emergency measure to dampen the blow on short term. The slight increase of sick-pay and other benefits will help a little in the short term, but it is a meagre comfort if one is going into a long period of unemployment.
In other countries, the politicians also open the moneybags, but here it is financed with huge loans and government bonds. This is no solution to the crisis. On the contrary, it will prolong it and make it even deeper long term. More debt and more interference from the state only help in the short term. Most will understand that taking up big loans is seldom a good solution to economical problems.
The crisis will lead to bankruptcies. The crisis will lead to increased unemployment. And the consequence of the crisis does in no way disappear in July or August.
Misuse of the pandemic for capitalist measures
Further, the state now use the virus pandemic in all sorts of ways for political gain. There are calls for national volunteering, so that that the masses are made to pay the bills for the large companies and the state. As per usual, the view of the capitalists and their politicians is that workers and oppressed should carry the burden of the crisis. This happens in a society where privatisation, centralisation and cuts have made the health care services far worse equipped to handle problems caused by new viruses.
The pandemic is also used to crack down heavily on political organising and protests. Of course, it is necessary to fight the virus with large campaigns and measures. Here politicians of the current system have completely failed. But the virus provides police and authorities at the same time an opportunity to crack down on the struggle and resistance of the masses. They can forbid and dissolve protests and meetings. This is, of course, convenient for the old states and governments around the world, after 2019 being a year that has been characterised by massive popular protests. When the French President Macron places the entire people in house arrest, we must see this in the light of the yellow vests who has been a headache for him for over a year.
Yes to fighting against the virus, yes to the proletarian revolution
To fight the virus with a number of healthcare measures is necessary and correct. The virus is no conspiracy, like certain internet warriors like to imagine. But the betrayal of the authorities must be exposed, not concealed. The hoax that the crisis of capitalism is a “corona crisis” must be dispelled in favour of understanding it as a cyclical crisis of overproduction. The revolutionary struggle must be intensified, not set on pause.
The Proletarian World Revolution is the only solutions for the crises of capitalism, and the planned economy in the communist society is also the solution to meeting pandemics with the required ability to act and with enough resources.