COVID-19: For an International Workers’ Survey
Throughout the world – though under different forms – the workers and their organisations are faced with questions regarding the pandemic, its consequences, the governments’ policies and the stance taken by the labour movement.
We do not hide the fact that we intend, starting from facts, to back up what we have kept saying in every IWC document: the capitalist regime – founded on the private ownership of the means of production – leads the whole society into an abyss. The positive solution to the unprecedented crisis humankind goes through is in the hands of the working class.
This highlights the question of the independence of the labour movement with regard to the capitalist class and the governments at its service.
The results of this survey will provide material to prepare the second International Conference against War and Exploitation, for a Workers International (which we will hold in accordance with our commitments, when travelling and meeting conditions are back to normal).
In order to facilitate the circulation of these documents (in English, French and Spanish) among the organizations, groups and activists from 53 countries and all backgrounds who have issued a call for the conference, will you please limit your contributions to 10,000 or 20,000 characters (2000 to 4000 words)?
The international conference against War and Exploitation, for the Workers International will be held in 2021
2 October 2020
To all the correspondents of the International Workers Committee against War and Exploitation, for the Workers International,
To the labour activists of all political backgrounds throughout the world
The Committee, which was formed at the end of the International Conference Against War, Exploitation and Precarious Labour held in Mumbai in November 2016, met on 2 October 2020.
As you know, we had launched an appeal for a new International Conference against War and Exploitation, for a Workers International to be held in Paris on the 5th and 6th of November 2020.
When we launched that appeal, we stated that, “the class struggle remains the motor force of history. We affirm that the progress of human civilisation, of peace and democracy, depends first and foremost on the ability of the exploited and the oppressed throughout the world to preserve the independence of their organisations.”
Since that appeal was launched, more than 300 trade union members and working-class activists from the five continents have endorsed it. Today, the need for such a conference is stronger than ever.
The impotence of all the capitalist governments confronted with the COVID-19 pandemic has clearly exposed the incapacity of the capitalist system worldwide and in every country to preserve the most elementary requirements of civilisation. The way the pandemic has spread all over the world, causing hundreds of thousands of deaths, hitting the working-class majority of humankind fiercely – especially its most vulnerable sections — is a terrible indictment against that system.
Everywhere, the exploiting classes, instead of using the technical capacities available to fight the pandemic, have, on the contrary used them to intensify their attacks against the standards of living of the majority of the population, have developed unemployment at an unprecedented scale and are fiercely attempting to destroy all the working-class gains, their organisations and their rights. At the same time, the threat of generalised war is higher than it was at the time we launched our appeal. But, precisely, the consequences of the pandemic, because of the needs of the capitalist system, have created a situation where each continent – and to a large extent each country – is isolated, and where the relations between working people are in fact locked down. These conditions make it impossible to hold a genuine open World Conference against War and Exploitation for a Workers International at the date which was at first set.
Such a conference is too important to take the risk of having it become a rump conference, in which those who could attend would be selected in fact by decisions of the various governments.
Therefore, we have no choice but to postpone this conference to a date to be set later, sometime in 2021.
We propose – even if it is impossible now to set a precise new date for the international conference – that the preparation of the conference enters immediately into a more active phase.
We propose to you to organise a large-scale fact-finding survey at the international level. It will enable us to collect the facts that show the responsibility of the failing capitalist regime and it will be a call to fight for the independence of the labour movement, to do away with the society of exploitation.
Follow-up committee of the International Workers Committee against war and exploitation, for a workers International set up at the Mumbai Conference (November 2016).