November 15, 2021
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Comments on an interesting interview with a German liberal historian

An Essay by Almedina Gunić and Michael Pröbsting, Revolutionary Communist International Tendency (RCIT), 14 November 2021, www.thecommunists.net

A few days ago, SPIEGEL – a German-language weekly journal – published a highly interesting interview with the liberal historian Malte Thießen. [1] In this interview, Thießen discusses the current pandemic, the governments’ policy, and their consequences for the society from a historical point of view.

Actually, the interview is not of much interest by what it says. But it is highly interesting by what it reflects. Let us explain. SPIEGEL is the most important and influential liberal journal in the German-language world, and it is also highly respected by the bourgeois mainstream in other Western imperialist countries. Malte Thießen is a German university professor and a renown expert in the history of pandemics. Both SPIEGEL as well as the professor are strong supporters of the official pandemic policy of the ruling class.

In other words, both are completely above suspicion of advocating any fundamental criticism of the official policy concerning the pandemic. They could hardly be more afar from the Marxist analysis of the official pandemic control which the RCIT calls COVID Counterrevolution. However, the interview is interesting exactly because it has been published in a highly respected journal of the liberal bourgeoisie and because it authentically reflects the views of proponents of the COVID Counterrevolution. It is for these reasons that the interview can help Marxists to better understand some features of the ideological accompaniment of the COVID Counterrevolution.

As this is not the place to repeat the RCIT’s analysis of this historic attack on social and democratic rights in detail, we limit ourselves to summarize its essence in one sentence. We recognize the governments’ policy since spring 2020 as driven not by health concerns but rather by political and economic interests in order to expand the repressive power of the ruling class state apparatus as well as to increase the profits of capitalist monopolies. [2]

“What is the most important difference between Corona and previous pandemics?”

But let us go in medias res. The first interesting aspect of the interview is how the historian explains the draconic Lockdown policy in response to the pandemic. We reproduce the relevant parts of the interview in full:

SPIEGEL: What is the most important difference between Corona and previous pandemics?

Thießen: There has been no pandemic before in which the whole society has been paused and where a relatively broad consensus existed for very massive restrictions.

SPIEGEL: Why did we accept Lockdowns, closure of schools, curfews at the beginning more or less without complaint?

Thießen: Because we have a different sensibility for risks, a very different concern for the old and sick compared to, for example, the Hong Kong fever at the end of the 1960s. A press release of the federal health agency [in Germany, Ed.] reassured at that time that there is no reason to worry. The pandemic would seriously affect only old and sick people, diabetics, asthmatics, pregnant women and so on. Only five decades ago one accepted masses of death as collateral damage. Incredible but true.

SPIEGEL: The economy rated higher in importance than health?

Thießen: It was exactly like this in every pandemic since the ancient world. Corona is the first pandemic where the pendulum between economy and health swings in favor of health. We have accepted economic losses which would have been unthinkable before – also because we could afford such. I am not sure if we would have acted similarly during the height of the banking crisis in 2008. However, we entered the pandemic on a relatively solid economic fundament where the state could afford to pay massive subsidies.

Of course, this statement is highly questionable. Thießen repeats the classic bourgeois point of view which denies the division of the capitalist society in different classes. For him (as well as the SPIEGEL interviewers), there exists only an all-classes-encompassing “we”.

Likewise, his analysis of the world economy is laughable. No serious economist would have claimed in the past decade that the economy would rest “on a strong basis”. In fact, as the RCIT and other Marxists (as well as various serious bourgeois economists) have demonstrated, the decade following the Great Recession in 2008/09 experienced the lowest growth rates ever – at least since the 1930s. Capitalism as a world system is in deep and irreversible decay. [3]

Furthermore, Thießen is also wrong (or at least very one-sided) in claiming that “we” have massive economic losses. As we did show in various documents, the period since the beginning of the pandemic has been extremely profitable for the largest capitalist corporations and the billionaires. [4] In fact, the monopolies in the IT sector, Big Pharma, the military-industrial complex etc. are among the primary pushers of the COVID counterrevolution exactly because it allows them to cash-in extraordinary high profits.

And, finally, it is also highly questionable – to put it mildly – if the current methods of pandemic control are more successful than it was the case with the so-called “Asian flu” and the “Hong Kong flu” in the 1950s and 1960s.

Deep crisis and new technologies

However, since Mr. Thießen is neither a Marxist nor an economist there is not much point in debating his views on these issues. What is far more interesting is that this historian of pandemic does not see the difference between the current and past pandemics in that the current health crisis would be qualitatively worse than those which existed in the past. He rather sees the difference in that the current policy response of the ruling class to the COVID-19 pandemic is completely different from all past responses in the history of humanity. Or, to put it in the words of Mr. Thießen who said at another point in this interview: “Social conditions and social values differ from those in previous pandemics.

This is an important confirmation of the analysis of the RCIT and very few other progressive forces. We have resolutely rejected since the beginning the dominant narrative which has been propagated by nearly all bourgeois governments, parties, media, and other institutions and which asserted that the authoritarian policy would be a natural, logical response to an unprecedented threat to humanity. In contrast to this ideological smoke screen, we Marxists have always emphasized

a) that the current pandemic is not “unprecedented” at all and

b) that it is the policy response by the ruling class which is indeed unprecedented.

Of course, the difference in the response of the ruling class to the current pandemic, compared with past similar events, can not be explained by different moral motives (or “social values” as Mr. Thießen puts it). Ruling classes in the past have been not less reactionary or power greedy. No, the main reasons for the altered policy are that they must and that they can react differently. This means that the basic difference to the conditions in which past pandemics took place is the combination of two factors:

a) The ruling class must act differently because of the above-mentioned decay of the capitalist system.

b) And the ruling class can act differently because of massive changes in technologies.

The latest developments in information technology, artificial intelligence, biotechnology etc. allow the expansion of the police and surveillance state, comprehensive control of public health, methods of vaccination, etc. to an extent as it never existed before.

The combination of these two developments make it both possible as well as necessary to approach the current in a much more authoritarian way (we have called this phenomena chauvinist state bonapartism) as well as in a much more commercialized way than it has ever been before in the history of humanity.

The bourgeois historian Thießen confirms – of course, in his own way and with very different conclusions – the thesis of the RCIT about the different nature of the current pandemic response compared with past similar events.

Does a ruling class facing deep crisis really put “people before profit”?

Mr. Thießen’s above-quoted statement is also interesting as it reflects the official narrative of the bourgeoisie that its whole pandemic policy would be driven by humanitarian concerns which puts the interests of health before those of the economy. Of course, as already said this is complete nonsense and makes the bosses of the IT-Pharma-Security Complex laugh a lot. However, this ideological myth is a crucial element of the current pandemic policy. It is very important to understand the uncritical support which it has received from the liberal middle class, the intelligentsia (and would-be-intelligentsia), the labor bureaucracy and the opportunist left. It allows them to support a shift towards totalitarianism … in the name of liberal humanism.

As we have shown in various works about the opportunist left which supports the COVID Counterrevolution, these people parrot the ideology about “the worst pandemic ever” [5] and naively repeat the idea that the policy of Lockdowns, enforced vaccinations and Green Pass would represent an approach based on the principles of “people before profit” or “health before economy”. [6]

We can not accuse the bourgeois historian Thießen of lacking the critical method of historical materialism. However, we can ask the self-proclaimed “socialists” – which can be called the Lockdown Left – the following: Which realistic explanation can you provide for your proposition that the bourgeoise would implement in the current period of severe crisis – for the first time in history – a policy based on the principle “health before economy”?! Does it make any sense to imagine that the ruling class refused a “health before economy” policy in the 1950s and 1960s but implements such a policy now – in 2020/21?! Half a century ago, the capitalist world economy experienced unprecedented growth, the profits were high, hardly any unemployment existed in the imperialist countries, an expanding social security and public health service existed, and the ruling class was safe like never before. In contrast, the last decades were characterized by neoliberal attacks, destruction of public health and social security, privatization of each and everything, deep economic crisis, global trade wars, mass protests. etc. And exactly in such a period the ruling class should do something which it did never before (as Mr. Thießen recognizes) and should put “health before economy”?!

For every Marxists, in fact for everyone who keeps his or her senses, it is an axiom that the ruling class does not become more “humanitarian” in the period of crisis but rather less! Everyone with some basic understanding of history knows that the ruing class in periods of decay acts more aggressive and reactionary, pushes for wars and for the creation of authoritarian regimes. From a Marxist point of view, it is obvious that the explanation of the Lockdown policy by the liberal and left intellectuals is nothing but bizarre!

The elite wants to live forever

Let us reproduce some more interesting quotes from the interview with Mr. Thießen. The SPIEGEL journalists ask him: “There seems to exist [now, Ed.] a different approach to general risks of life compared to the 1960s. It is no longer easily accepted that people die if they are ill.” Mr. Thießen replies: “Today we can live differently and longer if we have pre-existing diseases. We take optimal medical care and high age as a matter of course.

This statement reflects features of the dominant bourgeois ideology in the rich imperialist countries. Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels emphasized in the Communist Manifesto. “The ruling ideas of each age have ever been the ideas of its ruling class.[7]

Today, with the advanced information and biological technologies, it has become possible for the rich elite to substantially extend their lifetime. In the past, the emperors and other representatives of the ruling class had a strong desire to become immortal. This was reflected in their self-declaration as “gods” or “gods-like” (e.g. various Roman emperors, Sapa Inca [the Emperor of the Inca Empire], or Japan’s Tennō until 1945), by their desire to find a mysterious elixir which could allow them to live forever (e.g. China’s first emperor, Qin Shi Huang, and various others after him) or by their desperate search for the Holy Grail in the Middle Age.

Today, the decadent rich – sensing the decay of their class system – are increasingly desperate to find ways to extend their lifetime. They invest huge sums in biotech research, in space programs to look for other places to live, etc.

As we have pointed out in other works, the ruling elite – which is usually in high ages – fears the SARS-CoV-2 virus since high age groups are particularly vulnerable. In order to extend their lifetime, the ruling class is ready to do everything in their power. Extending the lifetime of the old in the imperialist countries is more important for them than the death of hundreds of thousands babies as a result of the lockdown policy [8], the pre-mature death of many because they can not access doctors and hospitals as a result of the official pandemic policy, or the massive increase of depression to more than double levels observed pre-crisis (particularly among the youth) which will also reduce their lifetime. [9] Add to this the dramatic consequences of the gigantic long-term damage for education, income as well as lifetime and quality caused by the reactionary Lockdown policy!

Hence, we see that the official phrases about “the society” which cares more about health and life than it did in the past are nothing but cynical phrases – phrases which are willingly parroted by the liberal (but not very intelligent) intelligentsia and the opportunist left. No, the COVID policy of the ruling class is about expanding the lifetime of the rich and the upper middle class in the imperialist countries – at the cost of the lower strata of the working class and mass of the oppressed people in the Global South. This policy reflects the desperate attempt of the decadent imperialist civilization to avoid its inevitable fate as a decaying system and to control the class to which belongs the future – the workers and the oppressed people in the world!

Since the interests of the rich and powerful determine the dominant ideology, it is hardly surprising that such an approach to lengthen the lifetime by any means necessary influences the middle class, the labor bureaucracy and the petty-bourgeois left. Consciously or unconsciously, they also hope to massively lengthen their lifetime and to find their own Holy Grail! This is why they see no problem in supporting the COVID Counterrevolution. Consequently, they link their fate to the doomed imperialist civilization instead of siding with the vital barbarian peoples storming the gates of Rome.

Humans as “social beings”: Marxism versus bourgeois individualism

For us as Marxists, the decisive issue is not to expand the lifetime by any means necessary. Death should be accepted as natural part of life. It is not in the interest of humanity that wealthy people in the rich countries can expand their lifetime by any means possible – irrespective of the consequences for youth, for the mass of population and for the people in the South. No, from the point of view of socialism and the future interests of humanity, the goal is that all people can improve the quality of their live. Live must become better, copious, and meaningful … not necessarily much longer!

This relates also to a more fundamental aspect which is part of the ideological superstructure of the COVID Counterrevolution. Basically, it promotes the image of human life in a thoroughly bourgeois individualist way. The primary goal – here we talk only about the level of ideology (and not the material interests of the ruling class) – is to lengthen life of human beings only in a physical and individual way.

Hence, life is seen primarily in terms of how many years does the heart beat in a human body. Basically, the ideology of the COVID Counterrevolution measures the value of life by the number of years of physical existence and not by the quality of life, characterized by active participation and interaction with others.

However, for socialists, it is more important if human beings can have a life of high quality, if they can live and act as part of the society, if their life is (relatively) free of deprivations and pain, if they can develop their personality and contribute to the well-being of the collective.

Such an approach is based on the Marxist worldview which see a human not as an isolated individual but as a social being, a zoon politikon as Marx wrote (using a category developed by Platon). Humans can only exist, can only speak, can only produce because they are part of a collective of humans, because they interact with other humans. A human being does not exist as an isolated individual (if we leave aside the sad fate of a lonely sailor stranded at the coast of an island).

Marx noted in the Grundrisse (the first version of Capital): “Man is a ζῶον πολιτιχόν (zoon politikon or social being, Ed.) in the most literal sense: he is not only a social animal, but an animal that can isolate itself only within society. Production by an isolated individual outside society- something rare, which might occur when a civilised person already dynamically in possession of the social forces is accidentally cast into the wilderness-is just as preposterous as the development of language without individuals who live together and speak to one another.[10]

Marx’ approach is based on one of his earliest works, his famous Theses on Feuerbach which he wrote in 1845. In this short but groundbreaking document he characterized the human essence as follows: “Feuerbach resolves the religious essence into the human essence. But the human essence is no abstraction inherent in each single individual. In its reality it is the ensemble of the social relations. (…) All social life is essentially practical. All mysteries which lead theory to mysticism find their rational solution in human practice and in the comprehension of this practice.[11]

In fact, in the course of history of humanity, the essence of humans as “social beings” develops more and more, humans become more and more social beings. The reason for this is that the development of the productive forces makes a closer, more intense cooperation of humans necessary. Marx pointed this out in his letter to Pavel Annenkov: „The simple fact that every succeeding generation finds productive forces acquired by the preceding generation and which serve it as the raw material of further production, engenders a relatedness in the history of man, engenders a history of mankind, which is all the more a history of mankind as man’s productive forces, and hence his social relations, have expanded. From this it can only be concluded that the social history of man is never anything else than the history of his individual development, whether he is conscious of this or not. His material relations form the basis of all his relations. These material relations are but the necessary forms in which his material and individual activity is realised.[12]

These fundamentals philosophical insights of Marxism allow us to draw some important conclusions. From the social character of humans follows that life is rich if it is social, i.e. if it is part of a collective (and not an isolated existence). From the practical character of humans’ existence follows that life is rich if it is active, i.e. if humans interact with others – hence, again, if they are part of a collective (and not isolated individuals).

Hence, the whole logic of the COVID Counterrevolution which aims at restricting social life of the popular masses is thoroughly reactionary. It is regressive in a social and historical sense and tries to roll back the achievements of humanity in terms of closer social and global interactions.

The reactionary character of the social restrictions under the cover of the pandemic is all the more evident if one takes into account the virus is dangerous mostly for those above the age of 65 year as well as for those with pre-existing diseases. A recently published study by the World Bank about COVID-19 deaths reports: “on average across high-income countries, just 11 percent of deaths were among those under age 65.[13] In OECD countries, extra mortality in 2020 was, in average, only +0.17% among those in the age group of 0-44 years and +2.6% among the age group of 45-64 years (and +7.8% among those above the age of 65 years). [14]

A socialist society would put the well-being of the collective as a whole in the first place. In case of a pandemic like the current one, it would offer safety measures for those who wish (e.g. possibilities to isolate themselves if they like while ensuring their supply). It would mobilize resources to expand the public health sector and invest in research to combat such a pandemic (e.g. with drugs, vaccination). However, atomizing a society, isolating large parts of the population, destroying education and social life would be no option!

The bourgeois individualist worldview advocated by the ideologists of the COVID Counterrevolution is the complete opposite. It (wrongly) claims to put the interests of old people first by (supposedly) lengthening their lifetime. Of course, this often means only a physical lengthening of their lifetime which however is not a high-quality lifetime if it takes place under (relative) isolation and without the possibility to actively participate in social life. The ideologists of the COVID Counterrevolution argue that it is legitimate, in order to achieve such a “progress” for old people, to destroy social life for the mass of the population, to massively reduce the quality of life for youth, to massively reduce the education of youth etc.

Such bourgeois individualism views humans, in fact, not as “social beings” but rather as “social-distanced beings”! This ideology is completely contrary to a future-orientated socialist conception of wellbeing of humanity! Hence, Marxists resolutely combat such an ideology.

Unintended consequences?

Involuntarily, the SPIEGEL interviewers and Mr. Thießen himself draw attention to the hypocritical character of the official ideology of the COVID Counterrevolution.

SPIEGEL: In your social history of the Corona time [this refers to a book which Mr. Thießen has just published, Ed.] you praise the social solidarity during the pandemic, the protection of the old and the pre-diseased. But if one keeps the issue in perspective, do we not have to say that solidarity existed only in some parts of the society but not with children and youth?

Thießen: This is true. Youth was primarily feared as superspreader and as a threat, their needs have been ignored much too long. Also, the needs of women were not taken into account for a long time.

SPIEGEL: Have you, as a historian, been surprised by the social problems which emerged during the pandemic?

Thießen: I was shocked by the degree [of these social problems, Ed.]. I was shocked particularly because it is an ancient wisdom that pandemics have always provoked huge social inequality. The poor and social deprived have not only a higher risk of infection but also suffer more from the restriction measures. It is not easy to afford home schooling. It is evidence of incompetence [of governments, Ed.] that the official policy did not take this into account.

Again, this quote reflects the fact that Mr. Thießen is a bourgeois historian who is incapable to understand the class mechanism at work in the governments’ policy. His statement betrays huge naivety as he believes that the capitalist governments simple “do not think” about the consequences of their policy for the poor and the youth. Sure, there are idiots among the representatives of the ruling class – just remember the caricature of a clown living in the White House until January 2021! But it is nonsense to imagine that all bourgeois leaders are idiots. If that would be case the working class and the oppressed masses would have overthrown them long time ago! No, usually, these people know what they do. They just don’t care about the interests of the popular masses as they are representatives of the capitalist class – a class which can only reproduce itself by increasing the exploitation and oppression of the workers and poor!

But, we repeat, the task of this essay is not to wage a polemic against this historian. At this point it is sufficient to state that even a supporter of the official COVID policy has to admit that it had dramatic negative consequences for the lower strata of the working class and the youth.

But which excuses has the Lockdown Left which is incapable to understand the character of the COVID Counterrevolution and to denounce it?! Do they imagine that suddenly the ruling class does not implement their class interests but rather serve the interests of “civilization”?! Does it not make them think twice that the originator of the bonapartist COVID policy with Lockdowns, expansion of the police and surveillance state, Green Pass, etc. is the Stalinist-capitalist dictatorship in China – a regime with a long record of brutal suppression of the popular masses (e.g. the Tiananmen Square massacre in June 1989, the terror against the Muslim Uyghur people today)? Evidently not! In fact, many of them look full of admiration to China’s “socialist” rulers which impose the notoriously Zero-COVID policy. No doubt, such “left-wing” people have joined the camp of the capitalist class enemy!

Our task is to create a new revolutionary vanguard which can provide a program for the upcoming mass struggles against the COVID Counterrevolution. Such a political force – a Revolutionary World Party – can only be constructed in constant struggle against all opportunist currents among the left which support the reactionary offensive of the ruling class. The RCIT and all authentic revolutionaries dedicate their forces to this task!

Conclusions

Let us summarize our findings of our analysis of this interview with a liberal historian of pandemics.

1) Mr. Thießen views the difference between the current and past pandemics not in that the current health crisis would be qualitatively worse than those which existed in the past. He rather views the difference in that the current policy response of the ruling class to the COVID-19 pandemic is completely different from all past responses in the history of humanity.

2) The difference to past responses to pandemic is characterized by a much more authoritarian approach by the governments or, to put it in the words of the historian, by imposing much more restrictions for the whole population.

3) The main reasons for the changed policy are a) the decay of the capitalist system and b) the changes in technologies, i.e. new possibilities in IT, biotechnology etc.

4) The interview reflects the ideology that the ruling class supposedly would have put the interests of health above those of the economy. This ideology has no basis in reality but is crucial for the support for the COVID Counterrevolution by the middle class and the opportunist left.

5) An important feature of the ideology behind the official pandemic policy is the wish of the ruling class (and those layers which are close to it) to extend their lifetime. In order to achieve this, they impose a policy which worsen the quality of life for the popular masses.

6) A key characteristic of the ideology of the COVID Counterrevolution is bourgeois individualism. It views humans not as social beings which can exist only as part of a collective of humans but rather as “social-distanced beings”. It views the value of life by the number of years of physical existence and not by the quality of life, characterized by active participation and interaction with others. It (wrongly) claims to put the interests of old people first by (supposedly) lengthening their lifetime and uses this as justification to attack and reduce lifetime as well as quality of life for the mass of the population.

7) Mr. Thießen also readily admits that the government’s policy did “forget” the interests of the youth and the poor layers. While it is, of course, nonsense to imagine that the government did not think about the consequences of its policy, it is interesting so see that even a defender of the official policy is forced to admit these facts.

8) Shamefully, the Lockdown Left shares many of the ideological features of the COVID Counterrevolution. They cling to the decaying imperialist civilization. This helps them to justify their support for such a reactionary policy.

9) Demasking and attacking the ideology fundament of the COVID Counterrevolution is an important part of the Marxists’ struggle to defend the interests of the popular masses. The RCIT and other authentic revolutionaries have resolutely opposed this counterrevolutionary attack of historic proportions from the very beginning and will continue to do so!


[1] Historiker zieht Seuchenbilanz »Corona ist für die Geschichtsschreibung ein absoluter Glücksfall«. Ein Interview von Katja Iken und Eva-Maria Schnurr mit Malte Thießen, 03.11.2021, https://www.spiegel.de/geschichte/corona-bilanz-von-historiker-malte-thiessen-corona-ist-fuer-die-geschichtsschreibung-ein-absoluter-gluecksfall-a-82d34d6a-01a3-43fd-a536-3de1e9d41eae?utm_source=pocket-newtab-global-de-DE. All translations are ours.

[2] The RCIT has analysed the COVID-19 counterrevolution extensively since its beginning. Starting from 2 February 2020 we have published about 100 pamphlets, essays, articles and statements plus a book which are all compiled at a special sub-page on our website: https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/global/collection-of-articles-on-the-2019-corona-virus/. In particular we refer readers to two RCIT Manifestos: COVID-19: A Cover for a Major Global Counterrevolutionary Offensive. We are at a turning point in the world situation as the ruling classes provoke a war-like atmosphere in order to legitimize the build-up of chauvinist state-bonapartist regimes, 21 March 2020, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/global/covid-19-a-cover-for-a-major-global-counterrevolutionary-offensive/; “Green Pass” & Compulsory Vaccinations: A New Stage in the COVID Counterrevolution. Down with the chauvinist-bonapartist police & surveillance state – defend democratic rights! No to health policy in the service of the capitalist monopolies – expand the public health sector under workers and popular control! 29 July 2021, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/global/green-pass-compulsory-vaccinations-a-new-stage-in-the-covid-counterrevolution/; In addition, we draw attention to our book by Michael Pröbsting: The COVID-19 Global Counterrevolution: What It Is and How to Fight It. A Marxist analysis and strategy for the revolutionary struggle, RCIT Books, April 2020, Chapter V, https://www.thecommunists.net/theory/the-covid-19-global-counterrevolution/. See also our very first article on this issue by Almedina Gunić: Coronavirus: „I am not a Virus“… but WE will be the Cure! The chauvinist campaign behind the “Wuhan Coronavirus” hysteria and the revolutionary answer, 2 February 2020, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/global/wuhan-virus/. See also a number of Spanish-language articles of our Argentinean comrades: Juan Giglio: La izquierda de la „Big Pharma“, dejó de defender las libertades, 1.10.2021, https://convergenciadecombate.blogspot.com/2021/10/la-izquierda-de-la-big-pharma-dejo-de.html; Juan Giglio: ¿Por qué la izquierda no cuestiona las políticas de la OMS? 8.9.2021, https://convergenciadecombate.blogspot.com/2021/09/por-que-la-izquierda-no-cuestiona-las.html

[3] See on this e.g. Michael Pröbsting: Anti-Imperialism in the Age of Great Power Rivalry. The Factors behind the Accelerating Rivalry between the U.S., China, Russia, EU and Japan. A Critique of the Left’s Analysis and an Outline of the Marxist Perspective, RCIT Books, Vienna 2019, Chapter I, https://www.thecommunists.net/theory/anti-imperialism-in-the-age-of-great-power-rivalry/; by the same author: The Catastrophic Failure of the Theory of “Catastrophism”. On the Marxist Theory of Capitalist Breakdown and its Misinterpretation by the Partido Obrero (Argentina) and its “Coordinating Committee for the Refoundation of the Fourth International”, RCIT Pamphlet, May 2018, https://www.thecommunists.net/theory/the-catastrophic-failure-of-the-theory-of-catastrophism/; World Perspectives 2018: A World Pregnant with Wars and Popular Uprisings. Theses on the World Situation, the Perspectives for Class Struggle and the Tasks of Revolutionaries, RCIT Books, Vienna 2018, https://www.thecommunists.net/theory/world-perspectives-2018/; The Great Robbery of the South. Continuity and Changes in the Super-Exploitation of the Semi-Colonial World by Monopoly Capital. Consequences for the Marxist Theory of Imperialism, RCIT Books, Vienna 2013, https://www.thecommunists.net/theory/great-robbery-of-the-south/; World economy – heading to a new upswing? (2009), in: Fifth International, Volume 3, No. 3, Autumn 2009, https://www.thecommunists.net/theory/world-economy-crisis-2009/; Imperialism, Globalization and the Decline of Capitalism (2008), in: Richard Brenner, Michael Pröbsting, Keith Spencer: The Credit Crunch – A Marxist Analysis, London 2008, https://www.thecommunists.net/theory/imperialism-and-globalization/; RCIT: Advancing Counterrevolution and Acceleration of Class Contradictions Mark the Opening of a New Political Phase. Theses on the World Situation, the Perspectives for Class Struggle and the Tasks of Revolutionaries (January 2016), Chapter II and III, in: Revolutionary Communism No. 46, http://www.thecommunists.net/theory/world-perspectives-2016/.

[4] See on this e.g. Michael Pröbsting: Mass Vaccination Can Make You Rich… at least if you own a pharmaceutical corporation! 22 June 2021, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/global/mass-vaccination-can-make-you-rich/; see by the same author: COVID-19: “A Market of up to 23 Billion US-Dollar”. The big corporations in the pharmaceutical industry expect gigantic profits by the vaccine business, 12 February 2021, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/global/covid-19-a-market-of-up-to-23-billion-us-dollar/; see also by the same author: COVID-19: An Opportunity Too Good to Be Missed by the Lords of Wealth and Money (Part 1). An “official” confirmation of the Marxist analysis that the ruling class utilizes the pandemic for expanding the bonapartist state, 18 January 2021, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/global/covid-19-an-opportunity-to-good-to-be-missed-by-the-lords-of-wealth-and-money-part-1/; COVID-19: An Opportunity Too Good to Be Missed by the Lords of Wealth and Money (Part 2). A few examples of how the monopoly capitalists rob the workers under the cover of the anti-democratic Lockdown policy, 11 February 2021, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/global/covid-19-an-opportunity-too-good-to-be-missed-by-the-lords-of-wealth-and-money-part-2/; COVID-19: That Was A Damn Good Year … for the Billionaires in West and East who massively gained from the anti-democratic Lockdown policy, 5 January 2021, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/global/covid-19-that-was-a-damn-good-year-for-the-billionaires-in-west-and-east/

[5] See on this e.g. Michael Pröbsting: COVID-19: Sweden’s Total Mortality in 2020. Once again, the figures demonstrate that this is a serious but not unprecedented pandemic, 23 January 2021, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/global/covid-19-sweden-s-total-mortality-in-2020-compared-with-past-years/; by the same author: COVID-19: A Comparison of Historical Data. An analysis of the COVID-19 death figures and those of past pandemics and climate disasters based on data from the World Bank, 19 January 2021, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/global/covid-19-a-comparison-of-historical-data/

[6] For our critique of the Lockdown Left see e.g. chapter V of our above-mentioned book by Michael Pröbsting: The COVID-19 Global Counterrevolution: What It Is and How to Fight It; see also by the same author the last chapters in the essay: The Second Wave of the COVID-19 Counterrevolution. On the ruling class strategy in the current conjuncture, its inner contradictions and the perspectives of the workers and popular resistance, 20 July 2020, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/global/the-second-wave-of-the-covid-19-counterrevolution/; Why Do Some Socialists Refuse to Support the Mass Struggle against the “Green Pass”? PTS/FT, PSTU/LIT, IMT and PCL in the face of the latest stage of the COVID Counterrevolution, 15 October 2021, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/global/why-do-some-socialists-refuse-to-support-the-mass-struggle-against-the-green-pass/; COVID-19 and the Lockdown Left: The Example of PODEMOS and Stalinism in Spain, 24 March 2020, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/global/covid-19-lockdown-left-podemos-and-stalinism-in-spain/; Social-Bonapartism in Argentina. The Partido Obrero (Tendencia) of Jorge Altamira supports the State of Emergency, 29 April 2020, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/latin-america/social-bonapartism-in-argentina/; When Ultra-Leftism marries Social-Bonapartism and Gives Birth to “Post-Marxist” Obscurantism. A reply to the CWG/ILTT, 5 May 2020, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/global/covid-19-when-ultra-leftism-marries-social-bonapartism/; Brazil: Social-Bonapartism of the Lockdown Left in Practice. How the leaderships of the trade unions, PT, PCdoB, the pseudo-Trotskyist PSTU and PSOL sabotage the struggle against the Bolsonaro government, 10 June 2020, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/latin-america/brazil-social-bonapartism-of-the-lockdown-left-in-practice/; Lockdown Left says: “Cops Need to Enforce Laws”. The ex-revolutionary L5I as another example for shameful social-bonapartism in the era of the COVID-19 counterrevolution, 24 July 2020, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/global/lockdown-left-l5i-says-cops-need-to-enforce-laws/; COVID-19: Zero Socialism in the “ZeroCOVID“ campaign. Following the model of China and Australia, some British Stalinists and “Trotskyists” call for a “total and indefinite lockdown”, 22 December 2020, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/global/covid-19-zero-socialism-in-the-zerocovid-campaign/; COVID-19: The Current and Historical Roots of Bourgeois Lockdown “Socialism”. Police State and Universal Basic Income are key elements of the new version of reformist “War Socialism” of 1914, 19 December 2020, https://www.thecommunists.net/theory/covid-19-the-current-and-historical-roots-of-bourgeois-lockdown-socialism/

[7] Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels: Manifesto of the Communist Party (1848), in: MECW Vol. 6, p. 503

[8] See on this e.g. Michael Pröbsting: COVID-19: The Capitalist Anti-Pandemic Policy Kills More People than the Pandemic Itself. A UN report on South Asia demonstrates the devastating consequences of the Lockdown policy, 3 July 2021, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/global/covid-19-the-capitalist-anti-pandemic-policy-kills-more-people-than-the-pandemic-itself/

[9] OECD (2021), Health at a Glance 2021: OECD Indicators, OECD Publishing, Paris, https://doi.org/10.1787/ae3016b9-en, p. 55

[10] Karl Marx: Grundrisse der Kritik der politischen Ökonomie [Economic Manuscripts of 1857-58]; in: MECW Vol. 28, p. 18

[11] Karl Marx: Theses on Feuerbach (1845), in: MECW Vol. 5, p. 5, https://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1845/theses/theses.htm

[12] Karl Marx: Letter to Pavel Vasilyevich Annenkov (28 December 1846), in: MECW Vol. 38, 96

[13] Gabriel Demombynes, Damien de Walque, Paul Gubbins, Beatriz Piedad Urdinola, Jeremy Veillard: COVID-19 Age-Mortality Curves for 2020 Are Flatter in Developing Countries Using Both Official Death Counts and Excess Deaths, World Bank Group, Policy Research Working Paper, 9807, October 2021, p. 5

[14] See the Exel files for the two graphs on p. 85 in: OECD (2021), Health at a Glance 2021

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