WSRC letter and MarxVentuno’s reply

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Letter from the Editorial Department of "World Socialism Studies" to the editorial staff of MarxVentuno

COVID-19 is a natural disaster, but the capitalist system not only cannot cope with such natural disasters but also is still making man-made disasters

This epidemic will profoundly change the world order, and will have impact on, and change,  people’s mind as well.

We are warriors with a shared Marxist belief and are committed to building socialism. We wish to strengthen our communication so that we will be able to shoulder the historical responsibilities and obligations entrusted to us by the times and the people and we will be able to work together to address these social problems. The people of the world will surely stamp out this epidemic. And our final goal, the International, is sure to come true.

Dear comrades and friends of the Editorial Office of Marx Ventuno Edizioni

As countries around the world are suffering from COVID-19, we sincerely wish you and your families good health and we would also like to express our highest respect for all the productive work you have done.

When the British government officially announced lockdown measures in London on March 20th, British journalist Ed Conway commented: “Normal life as we know it has been suspended in the UK. Capitalism as we know it has been suspended in the UK. What an extraordinary moment”. In fact, not only the UK but also other countries, Europe, the United States and even the whole capitalist world have taken measures similar to the UK in dealing with the epidemic and have suspended capitalism for the time being. All this shows that COVID-19 is a natural disaster, but the capitalist system not only cannot cope with such natural disasters but also is still making man-made disasters, therefore, even the staunchest supporters of capitalism have to “suspend capitalism”.

COVID-19 is a disaster for mankind, a disaster with no winners. However, it is this epidemic, this disaster, that is forcing people in the whole world to reflect deeply on the capitalist system. Just as the Black Death ravaging Europe in the Middle Ages greatly impacted on people’s faith in the Church, capitalism superstition will surely be subverted by this epidemic today, and the capitalist system may be knocked off the pedestal. In contrast, people will certainly start to observe more inclusively and positively, understand and accept socialism and the community of human destiny.

We believe that this epidemic will profoundly change the world order, and will have impact on, and change, people’s mind as well.

Dear comrades, we are warriors with a shared Marxist belief and are committed to building socialism. We wish to strengthen our communication so that we will be able to shoulder the historical responsibilities and obligations entrusted to us by the times and the people and we will be able to work together to address these social problems.

The people of the world will surely stamp out this epidemic. And our final goal, the International, is sure to come true.

The Editorial Department of World Socialism Studies

Beijing, 2 April 2020

***

Reply of MarxVentuno editorial staff to the letter of the Editorial Department of "World Socialism Studies"

 

The commitment of the Chinese Communists to foster critical awareness of capitalism and aspiration to socialism among the peoples of the world is extremely important.
The PRC was able to contain and isolate the epidemic thanks to the full active, disciplined, conscious adherence of a population of one billion and 400 million people to the directives of the Chinese government. Without this very strong bond – of mind and heart, reason and passion – between leaders and people, between the Chinese Communist Party and the masses, the virus could not have been contained. Far from being a “dictatorship” that imposed its diktats on the population – as some Western media have often said, unfortunately also in Italy – it was one of the brightest affirmations of Chinese socialist democracy.
We have found ourselves faced with two opposing world trends: on the one hand, the primacy of people’s life and health; on the other, the primacy of capitalist profit in contempt of human life. On the one hand, solidarity among peoples according to that conception of a community of shared destiny for all humanity that the Chinese Communists are widely developing and elaborating; on the other hand, closure in a narrow and petty nationalism that thinks it is acceptable to build one’s own fortunes to the detriment of other peoples.
The position of the PRC is politically, culturally and morally the right one at this time. It can concretely foster a great change of mentality for billions of people, it can bring them closer to the ideals of socialism. It is of great help to the common cause of socialism.
We feel committed to promote knowledge and study of Chinese strategy in our country. Aware of the great political and cultural contribution that the Chinese Communists give us today, we will intensify mutual exchanges and the translation and publication of articles and books on Chinese socialism.

 

Dear comrades and friends of the Editorial Department of World Socialism Studies

We are honoured and happy to receive your warm message, which is not simply kind and courteous, but has great human and political significance for us and for all the peoples of the world.

We fully agree with the historical and political essence of your message: the Covid-19 epidemic tragically throws light on the limits of the capitalist system which puts profit before people’s lives and health.

In our country, Italy, the great conquest of the National Health Service, achieved in 1978 thanks to the struggles of workers, trade unions, the Italian Communist Party, the Socialist Party and the democratic and progressive forces, has been increasingly mutilated in the thirty years following 1989-91, when the fall of the USSR and of the European socialist camp favoured the full affirmation in the West of the most unbridled political forces of capitalism and imperialism. Public health conditions worsened from year to year, hundreds of public hospitals were closed, beds, doctors and all the staff of nurses and health workers in the public sector were significantly reduced, while private healthcare was largely favoured. See, in particular, the case of the richest and most populous region of Italy, Lombardy, with its capital Milan, the region that today is suffering the greatest number of infections and deaths from Covid-19.

We find a similar situation in other European capitalist countries such as the United Kingdom, which in the thirty years after the war – under pressure by the Labour and Social Democratic parties – had also established its own welfare state. The emergence of a harder capitalism in the form of neo-liberalism has resulted in severe cuts in public health, public schools and universities, significantly worsening the condition of the population. Covid-19 hits harder and claims more victims where the public health system is weak and underdeveloped. In the key country of world imperialism, the USA, where the capitalist class managed, since the early years of the 20th century, to crush the workers’ movement and assert a violently anti-communist ideology, a public health system has never been built. Today the American population is paying a very high price to the epidemic and the US has climbed to the top of the world’s infamous ranking of the number of people infected and killed by Covid-19. A bitter record for President Trump, who has made the slogan “America first” the compass of his domestic and foreign policy.

Comrades and friends of the World Socialism Centre

We fully agree with the perspective you show. You take a good look at the turning point in world history that the Covid-19 pandemic entails. This pandemic, with the measures taken to contain it, with the temporary but radical change in the lifestyle and way of life of billions of people forced to remain in physical isolation for a few months, with almost total blockage of production and commercial activities, travel and transport, can lead to profound and rapid changes in the consciousness of the masses. As a great master of socialism, Vladimir Lenin, taught us that there are moments and situations in history in which the conscience of the masses can change in a very short period of time, as it could not happen in the previous decades in which it had remained asleep. In our country we had a similar experience in 1943, when a generation of young people who had been educated under Fascism became aware of the disaster into which the latter had brought the country and decided to join the partisan formations to fight in the anti-fascist and anti-Nazi Resistance. Today the Covid-19 may prove to be the detonator of a critical mass awareness of capitalism and incline people towards socialism.

But, as for the Italian youth educated under fascism, the active presence of anti-fascist political avant-gardes – the Communist Party in the first place – was decisive for its conversion to anti-fascism and Resistance, so, to favour an anti-capitalist and pro-Socialist awareness, the active and militant presence of the communists and the forces of socialist inspiration throughout the world is necessary.

That is why we consider your message to be of the highest value.

Your World Socialism Centre Study, with your magazine, your constant activity, the annual forums that you organize in the autumn with the presence of hundreds of scholars from all over the world on the prospects for world socialism, are an integral and organic part of the socialist system with Chinese characteristics under the guidance of the CPC, the largest Communist Party in the world, whose 100th anniversary next year we will celebrate. The commitment of the Chinese Communists to foster critical awareness of capitalism and aspiration to socialism among the peoples of the world is extremely important.

This contribution is made not only by relevant and challenging statements in world forums, congresses, academies and study centers. This contribution is made with concrete facts, the most recent and relevant of which has been the ability demonstrated by the PRC, by socialism with Chinese characteristics, by the CPC, to be able to contain and isolate the epidemic, thanks to the full active, disciplined, conscious adherence of a population of one billion and 400 million people to the directives of the Chinese government which required it to endure enormous personal, social, economic sacrifices to contain the aggression of the virus. Without this very strong bond – of mind and heart, reason and passion – between leaders and people, between the Chinese Communist Party and the masses, the virus could not have been contained. Far from being a “dictatorship” that imposed its diktats on the population – as some Western media have often said, unfortunately also in Italy – it was one of the brightest affirmations of Chinese socialist democracy. Not external coercion, the repression of a “dictatorship”, but the active and conscious participation of an entire people united in the struggle to contain the Covid-19, was the keystone of the great result obtained. A people aware that Chinese socialism puts – as President Xi Jinping rightly pointed out at the Extraordinary Virtual Leaders’ Summit on Covid-19 G20 on March 26th – people’s life and health first: “From day one of our fight against the outbreak, we have put people’s life and health first”.

The PRC, with its socialism with Chinese characters, is becoming in the eyes of many people – despite the shameful campaign of anti-Chinese slander by reactionaries and pro-imperialists, who, unable to deny the Chinese effectiveness and success in containing Covid-19, are attacking China as a “dictatorial country”, “anti-democratic”, “censoring and obscuring information” – a model, an example to follow.

In recent months, the PRC is earning the admiration and respect of many citizens of our country: for the success achieved in containing the epidemic; for the substantial aid sent: doctors, pulmonary ventilators, facial masks and medical equipment; and also for the exemplary behavior of the many Chinese citizens working in Italy, who have strictly followed the prescriptions of their government to contain the Covid-19 contagion, proving to be good Chinese patriots and respectful citizens of the host country.

But there is also and perhaps above all something else that can highlight the values of socialism in the eyes of the masses. It is the comparison between the attitude of the PRC and that of the USA and some European countries in the face of the storm of this tragic epidemic for the world. The leader of the leading country of the Western capitalist camp, Donald Trump, as well as the UK leader Boris Johnson, initially moved along the line of putting in first place not the life and health of people – as the PRC did – but profit, the economic interests of the capitalist class in their country.

Moreover, Trump – and with him some governments of the EU countries – have moved with the short-sighted and selfish view of trying to protect their country from the epidemic at the expense of other countries, they have moved not in the spirit of a “community of shared future for all humanity”, as Xi Jinping asks, not in the spirit of the solidarity of the human race – which a great Italian poet-philosopher of the 19th century, Giacomo Leopardi, called, in his last work-testament, “The Broom or The Desert Flower” (1836), reflecting on the destruction of the ancient cities of Herculaneum and Pompeii caused by the eruption of the volcano Vesuvius, the “social chain” – but in that of a narrow one-sided interest.

Thus indignation was aroused in mid-March by the news (published in the Sunday edition of the German newspaper “Die Welt”) that Trump has offered to the German biopharmaceutical company CureVac, which is carrying out advanced research on Covid-19, many millions of dollars to ensure that the potential vaccine goes “exclusively” to the U.S. Or 101,600 masks and respirators, destined from the city of Qingtian to Italy were seized by the government of the Czech Republic. These are just a few cases of a negative and reactionary trend that can take hold.

In Italy, as in other Western countries, we have thus found ourselves faced with two opposing world trends: on the one hand, the primacy of people’s life and health; on the other, the primacy of capitalist profit in contempt of human life. On the one hand, solidarity among peoples according to that conception of a community of shared destiny for all humanity that the Chinese Communists are widely developing and elaborating [we would like to be able to publish in Italian the extensive book by Xi Jinping On building a human community with a shared future, published in English last year by the Central Compilation& Translation Press]; on the other hand, closure in a narrow and petty nationalism that thinks it is acceptable to build one’s own fortunes to the detriment of other peoples. On the one hand, the socialist ideal of the International and the “Proletarians and peoples of the world unite”; on the other hand, the preaching of hatred between peoples. On the one hand, the proposal of a new world order based on the recognition of the concrete multiplicity of different “poles”, different “centers” and cooperation on a win-win basis of mutual advantage, which can have in the New Silk Road a first great realization; on the other hand, the anachronistic attempt to affirm American unipolarity, the absolute primacy of the USA, exemplified in Trump’s slogan “America first”. On the one hand, the Chinese proposal of an anti-imperialist globalization, of a world market open and free from the diktats of U.S. and big monopolies imperialism; on the other hand, an anachronistic protectionist closure, clearly stigmatized by the spokesman of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the PRC Geng Shuang, in the press conference of March 25:

In an era of globalization, the interests of all countries are closely intertwined. The formation and development of global industrial and supply chains are determined by market forces and companies’ choices. As such, it is unrealistic and insensible to try to sever them or even trumpet “shifting” or “decoupling” theories as they run counter to economic law. In the face of the pandemic, such practice will not help solve problems at home. It will only harm the interests of US businesses and people[1].

The Covid-19 pandemic has intervened in the midst of a great upheaval of the world framework, of all international relations, in which the progressive trend represented by the PRC and the countries rejecting US unipolarity, and the regressive trend aimed at maintaining the old imperialist order, the unbridled domination of capital, collide.

In the course of the pandemic, the internationalist and sympathetic position of the PRC became more and more clearly and decisively manifested. To Trump, who on repeated occasions slandered and despised the PRC, until the spread of the epidemic in the USA led him to ask for China’s help, the PRC answered with firmness and dignity, and with very concrete and important expressions of solidarity with the American people, to whom it sent substantial aid of medicines and medical supplies. China is concretely on the path towards a community of shared destiny for all humanity. Xi Jinping’s important speech at the G20 on March 26th, the Letter of one hundred Chinese scholars to the American people (published in “the Diplomat”[2]), the Open Letter of April 2nd, promoted by the CPC and shared by 230 parties in the world – including the Italian Communist Party – invite to put the life and health of people, of all people in the world, in the first place, invite global coordination and cooperation to contain and eradicate the virus and to develop health facilities that will help to prevent and combat other epidemics in the future. Xi Jinping told:

Guided by the vision of building a community with a shared future for mankind, China will be more than ready to share our good practices, conduct joint research and development of drugs and vaccines, and provide assistance where we can to countries hit by the growing outbreak[3].

The position of the PRC is politically, culturally and morally the right one at this time. It can concretely foster a great change of mentality for billions of people, it can bring them closer to the ideals of socialism. It is of great help to the common cause of socialism.

It is in the interest of all the socialist and authentically democratic forces to make it known correctly to the greatest number of people. We feel committed – albeit within the limits of our small forces of Marxists and Italian Communists – to promote knowledge and study of Chinese strategy in our country. Aware of the great political and cultural contribution that the Chinese Communists give us today, we will try to intensify mutual exchanges and the translation and publication of articles and books on Chinese socialism.

It will be good for the cause of socialism.

It will be good for the friendship between our peoples.

The Editorial Office of MARX VENTUNO EDIZIONI


[1] https://www.fmprc.gov.cn/mfa_eng/xwfw_665399/s2510_665401/t1761102.shtml

[2] https://thediplomat.com/2020/04/an-open-letter-to-the-people-of-the-united-states-from-100-chinese-scholars/

[3] Full text of Xi’s remarks at Extraordinary G20 Leaders’ Summit, Source: Xinhua| 2020-03-26


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