Facebook Instagram Twitter YouTube

Imperialism: The Global South’s Pre-Existing Condition

The coronavirus pandemic presents an unprecedented crisis that has already had damaging effects on the global working class. It will hit countries already ravaged by imperialism even harder. We must demand an end to imperialist austerity measures in order for these countries to effectively combat the crisis.

Carmin Maffea

March 24, 2020
Facebook Twitter Share
Lagos, Nigeria [George Osodi/Bloomberg]

In the wake of the COVID-19 global pandemic, the contradictions of capitalism within healthcare are on full display. Scarcity is becoming a clear reality for many working class and oppressed people. The stock market has seen record plummets. In addition, there are massive shortages of medical supplies (such as test kits and ventilators), sick people are being turned away from hospitals, and employers continue to withhold sick leave and fail to provide proper safety equipment for workers in dangerous positions. If bold action isn’t taken by the working class, the results can soon become catastrophic. 

The conditions look even more dire for imperialized nations. For example, in Ghana imperialist tools like the IMF have had damaging effects. As one Ghanian resident says, “We won’t go to the IMF again; Ghana will no longer be troubled by the conditionalities of the IMF.” High interest rates on national debt have kept Ghana’s economy strictly under the IMF’s thumb. 

Similarly to other countries burdened with IMF loans, Ghana implemented large-scale austerity measures and redirected national funds to pay off the debt, leading to the privatization of social services. This economic burden has played a major role in Ghana’s economic depreciation. Ghana experienced little relief when payments were renegotiated. As a result, the country isn’t nearly equipped to deal with the coronavirus pandemic, especially while imperialist presence is still very much extant. 

The coronavirus is rapidly spreading across Latin America and extreme measures are already being taken. With 301 cases in Argentina as I write this, the country has completely closed its borders as of March 15th and imposed a nationwide lockdown enforced by the police as of March 20th. But measures like these won’t stop the spread of the virus alone. Even now, during the state-imposed quarantine, many sectors of the working class (such as call center workers) are forced to continue working. In order to effectively contain the pandemic, the government must expand medical infrastructure, give workers paid time off so as to limit social interactions, and place a moratorium on rents, mortgages, credit card payments, and other expenses.  

However, decades of neoliberal austerity measures have torn apart the economies of Latin America and inhibit these countries from responding effectively. Countries like Argentina are crippled by the debt to the IMF and private contractors. Austerity measures that target the working working class are put in place to pay off the debt. For example, there was an increase on the retirement age for public sector workers and a tripling in the cost of bus fares. These austerity measures are being implemented in order to redirect funds to imperialist centers like the U.S. making it impossible to coordinate a response to fight the outbreak. 

Scarcity of medical supplies and infrastructure in Latin American countries will only become more evident as the virus spreads in the region. Although Argentina has a public healthcare system, the hospitals are already strained. Stairs are filled with bags of biohazardous waste and sections of hospitals are already at capacity. 

Furthermore, U.S. sanctions are severely hurting countries such as Venezuela, Iran, and Cuba. These sanctions implement blockades that bar vital medical supplies and food from entering these countries. Scarcity of food and medical supplies as a result of sanctions and imperialist austerity measures are only making this daunting health crisis even more deadly. 

In a most recent case, Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro requested an IMF loan of $5 billion to fight the coronavirus. Long-standing sanctions imposed by the U.S. have decimated Venezuela’s health sector over the past five years, most notably leading to inadequate infrastructure and medical supply shortages. Unsurprisingly, the U.S.-dominated IMF rejected the request as a political maneuver –  the U.S. and its allies recognize Juan Guaido as interim president of Venezuela and want to install him as its leader. 

Moreover, the U.S. even continues to bomb Iraq during this time! At a time where a coordinated international response is necessary, the U.S., the center of capital, still prioritizes imperialist plunder.

Neoliberal imperialism has severely under-equipped the international working class to face the health crisis. As the pandemic worsens for the precarious U.S. working class due to capitalist exploitation, the situation will become even worse in countries facing imperialist austerity. In these unprecedented times, international solidarity of the working class is of utmost importance. All movements against the state to face the crisis from here on out must have an internationalist perspective.

We must demand that the IMF immediately cancel all debt repayments, for the U.S. to end all military occupations, and for all sanctions to be lifted in order for these countries to redirect all national funds towards facing the healthcare crisis and obtain the medical supplies needed to effectively combat the pandemic.

Facebook Twitter Share

Carmin Maffea

Carmin is a revolutionary socialist from New York.

Latin America

Indigenous demonstrators gather around burning road blockades while marching towards the capital Quito after a week of protests against the economic and social policies of President Guillermo Lasso, in Machachi, Ecuador June 20, 2022.

Ecuador’s Indigenous People Are Fighting Neoliberal Austerity in the Streets

The indigenous protests in Ecuador are bringing thousands of people to the streets to protest austerity.

Margarita Valencia

June 23, 2022

AMLO’s Dilemma and the Limits of the Pink Tide

It is essential to establish a clear definition of class character to understand AMLO’s government, taking into consideration the particular characteristics of its “progressivism” in its relationship with the mass movement and capital. Otherwise, one could lose one’s way in implementing socialist and revolutionary politics that genuinely express the historical interest of the oppressed and exploited.

Pablo Oprinari

June 21, 2022
Former rebel Gustavo Petro and his running mate Francia Marquez, celebrate before supporters after winning a runoff presidential election in Bogota, Colombia, Sunday, June 19, 2022.

Historic Defeat of the Right in Colombia’s Presidential Elections: What Are the Implications of Gustavo Petro’s Win?

The center-left candidate Gustavo Petro has defeated right-wing Rodolfo Hernández in Colombia’s presidential elections. The outcome of the election reflects the people’s hatred of the right, but Petro has little to offer the working classes of Colombia.

Milton D'León

June 20, 2022
Stretches of secondary fencing are topped with spirals of concertina wire along the U.S.-Mexico border near the San Ysidro Port of Entry in San Diego on Aug. 16, 2017.

Texas Governor Gregg Abbott Sent Miles of Razor Wire to Help Mexico Stop Immigrants from Reaching the U.S.

Republican Governor of Texas Greg Abbot sent barbed wire to Mexico to be used in Coahuila with the intention of stopping migration. This is just the latest attack in Mexico and the Untied States' coordinated war on immigrants

MOST RECENT

Over 50 Migrants Found Dead in Texas. Biden Has Blood on His Hands.

The Biden Administration has maintained virtually all of Trump’s draconian and murderous immigration policies. Dozens have died in a trailer in Texas as a result.

Robert Belano

June 29, 2022

Feminists and Socialists across the World Mobilize in Solidarity with the Fight for Abortion Rights in the U.S.

Feminist and socialist organizations in France and Argentina staged protests over the weekend in solidarity with demonstrations in the United States against the overturn of Roe v. Wade and the attacks on bodily autonomy by the Right.

Left Voice

June 29, 2022

Teachers in NYC Pay Out of Pocket for Abortion. Healthcare Must be Accessible to All

The following is a speech by a public school teacher in NYC against the overturn of Roe v. Wade and in favor of abortion rights for all.

Ali

June 28, 2022

Thousands Protest against G7 Summit in Germany

The leaders of the seven most powerful imperialist countries are meeting in the Alps. These seven men stand for environmental destruction and militarism like no one else. That’s why protests were guaranteed.

Nathaniel Flakin

June 28, 2022