Socialism From Below

The International Socialist Tendency (IST) is a current of revolutionary socialist organisations, based in different countries, which share a political outlook and seek to help each other by exchanging experience and practical support.

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IST statement on coronavirus pandemic

Wednesday 1st April 2020

1. The Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic is generally presented as a “natural disaster”, an “external shock” to the normal functioning of the capitalist system. But this is quite untrue. There have been various novel coronavirus and influenza outbreaks (SARS, MERS, H5N1): epidemiologists warned posed the threat of a global pandemic.. The conditions for these outbreaks have been created, as the work of Marxist biologists such as Rob Wallace have shown, by the spread of intensive factory farming and the penetration by the market and capital of remote areas where new viruses develop among wild animal and bird populations.¹ It is a good example of what Marx called the “irreparable rift in the interdependent process between social metabolism and natural metabolism” created by capitalist agriculture – and, more broadly, of the destruction of nature driving climate change. This is a thoroughly capitalist pandemic that, if not combated, would take ...

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