Aotearoa: a Covid Election in a Dying World in the Age of Rotten Capitalism

Yes, this is a Covid election in a dying world. A pandemic caused by capitalism in its old age destroying habitats and forcing species to jump. Made worse by the economic collapse after wrecking health systems or failing to provide them. Then in desperation trying to isolate the masses from the mansions by locking down people without jobs or food in the poorer countries. Yet its banks and corporates, and even SMEs, got bailed out by central banks. In a word: capitalism is rotten.

So, let’s call out those who lie that the virus that is to blame for the looming global bust. No, capitalism is the cause not the virus. The virus is merely a messenger from mother nature to the arrogant Capitocene that our time is up. The bourgeois have killed off many hundreds of thousands of species in their time including over 80% of all mammals. The kill rate is hitting 200 a day right now. We are on death row ourselves but nature cannot wait until we top ourselves. It sends a harbinger of our fate – a clever little virus that has an IQ above that of the flat-Earthers.

So keeping the borders shut will not save the human race. We will wipe each other out instead. There will be more pandemics, more wars, drought and floods. Washing your hands continuously will not remove the guilt. Joining the Trump cult of morons will end in more fascist genocides. Being born again will not get you to planet B. Few have the bucks for a bed on Peter Beck’s spaced-out ships heading to Venus. They will join Jim Jones in the annals of death cults. These are all delusions against doom.

Covid is a tiny taste of the historical justice meted out to the humans who have the hubris to put themselves outside and above nature and who cannot face the truth. We are doomed unless we can restore nature and ourselves as part of it. Marxists since the days of Rosa Luxemburg have spoken of the fate of humanity being torn between socialism and barbarism. Many of us have preached salvation in the form of scientific socialism but this is widely perceived as just another cult. We are well down the road to barbarism so how do we change tack to socialism?

Yes, it’s a Covid Election

Let’s put this question into the frame of the Covid Election. The pandemic is the immediate threat to our public health system which struggles after 40 years on starvation rations. The way we fight Covid teaches us that we must fight the climate emergency at the same time. And it teaches us that rotten capitalism cannot save the dying world, and that socialism is the only alternative.

The Labour Party is not socialist, nor its leader communist. It is a centrist social democratic/liberal party that believes in the classless society of the “team of 5 million”. And its leader believes in a “third way” between capitalism and socialism  – (Tony) “Blairism”. Yet in the space of months it has got on top of the pandemic more than any other country in the world. Its classless ideology has worked to rally most of the nation behind the ‘elimination’ strategy. Its deficit spending of around $50 Billion to bail out profits and jobs reinforces the illusion that Aotearoa is a classless team of ‘5 million’.

So Labour’s centrist ideology masks or minimises the widening gap between owners of capital and workers to keep alive belief in the sustainability of capitalism. It follows that the elimination strategy to save lives cannot arrive at a classless equal society. It may rescue capitalism temporarily, but cannot stop the crash accelerating climate change and creating more pandemics. It therefore lacks any vision that capital is to blame for all the crises we face. It rejects the urgent need for socialism to replace capitalism and its manifold destruction of life. But in the short run it does keep more of us alive to fight for the future which is not something we can say for the opposition parties.  

The National opposition and its ally the ACT Party, are the champions of naked rip, shit and bust capitalism. Like the extreme capitalist regimes of Trump, Bolsonaro and Modi, it will stop at nothing to keep capitalism alive by sacrificing workers. National’s fight to save rotten capitalism is to put profit before people at the cost of destroying nature.  Collins and Brownlee are staking the survival of the National Party on playing to people’s fears to discredit the Government’s elimination strategy in the interest of business as usual.

That makes the Covid election a critical junction

The right fork leads to doom; the left fork leads to survival. How should class conscious workers vote come October 17th?

As Marx famously said:

“The Communists are distinguished from the other working-class parties by this only: 1. In the national struggles of the proletarians of the different countries, they point out and bring to the front the common interests of the entire proletariat, independently of all nationality. 2. In the various stages of development which the struggle of the working class against the bourgeoisie has to pass through, they always and everywhere represent the interests of the movement as a whole.”

In the context of the upcoming election in Aotearoa, this means that the proletariat “as a whole” is exploited by its own bourgeoisie and by international finance capitalists. It is in the common interest of that proletariat to fight as an independent class towards the end of capitalist social relations. At this stage the struggle of the working class in Aotearoa has to pass through parliament in order break from it.

The Labour Party never allowed workers to organise independently because it would challenge the ideology of class compromise and unleash class struggle. So to break workers from this ideology,  class conscious workers should give critical support to the Labour Party and those unions that still support it. We should demand inside those unions and wider social movements that it delivers on its 2017 promises to “transform” Aotearoa/ NZ and act urgently on climate change as “the nuclear free” moment of our age.

We need Labour to be re-elected to parliament as a majority government so that it is not able to blame the petty bourgeois NZ First or the Green Party for any failure to deliver on its promises. We should demand that it continues the Covid elimination strategy, provides a fully funded public health system to avoid unnecessary lockdowns, jobs for all and living wage, and embarks on an immediate economic plan for sustainable development of the economy to avoid the climate crisis and economic meltdown.

Meanwhile, Marxists know that ruling class will never allow any bourgeois government to enact such a program. If as a result of this election we take the left fork on the road to survival we will accompany the working class as a whole in the further development of its “struggle against the bourgeoisie”. Along this road we will learn through experience that we need our own independent workers party, workers’ councils and militias, and a program that guides us through the struggle to make the socialist revolution and create a Workers’ and small Farmers’ Government.

First published on The Daily Blog