Morenoite Izquierda Diario silent on Spanish ruling against COVID-19 lockdowns

The Morenoite Workers’ Revolutionary Current (CRT) has reacted with utter indifference to the reactionary ruling of Spain’s Constitutional Court that COVID-19 lockdown measures imposed in spring 2020 were unconstitutional. Its online daily Izquierda Diario has said absolutely nothing.

Last month, the Constitutional Court ruled that the restrictions implemented to halt the spread of the coronavirus exceeded the remit of the state of alarm, the juridical mechanism used to impose social distancing measures such as lockdowns. The appeal was lodged by far-right Vox.

People wearing face masks to protect against the spread of coronavirus walk along a commercial street in downtown Madrid, Spain, Saturday, June 5, 2021. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)

The WSWS has noted the significance of this ruling. We wrote: “The ruling in Spain represents an escalation of the ‘herd immunity’ policy pursued by the entire European bourgeoisie. This policy of keeping nonessential workers at work, letting the virus spread so as to avoid any slowdown in the flow of corporate profits, will lead to thousands more COVID-19 deaths. This was most crudely expressed by UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who allegedly demanded last year in a leaked private cabinet meeting: ‘No more f…ing lockdowns—let the bodies pile high in their thousands.’”

The signal of the ruling class is clear: There will be no measure limiting the spread of the virus which would jeopardize the accumulation of profits.

Days after the ruling, a number of limited measures reintroduced at the regional level to stop the spread of the virus have been suspended. The Superior Court of Justice of the Canary Islands, a region attracting mass European tourism, suspended the regional government’s measure forcing restaurants, hotels and gyms to demand COVID-19 certificates to enter. On Sunday, the Superior Court of Justice of Asturias rejected the curfew between 1:00 a.m. and 6:00 a.m. in various cities and towns in Asturias, where the virus is running rampant.

Both regions are at extreme risk of contagion, having exceeded 350 cases per 100,000 inhabitants for seven consecutive days as hospitals are increasingly crowded.

The fifth wave has so far infected 500,000 people, mostly those aged between 12 and 29, causing the unnecessary deaths of nearly 500 people. Last week, 98 people died from the virus. This is practically double the 50 weekly deaths reported the week before and triple the 32 deaths of three weeks ago. This is expected to increase in the coming days.

The Morenoite CRT—which was utterly indifferent last April when the Socialist Party (PSOE)-Podemos government announced it was ending all social distancing restrictions, which has now provoked the current wave of infections—has remained completely silent on the latest ruling.

Its last article on the COVID-19 situation, published on July 16, “New wave of infections in the face of exhausted public health care,” said nothing about the reactionary ruling of the Constitutional Court announced two days before. This article, remarkably, was written almost three weeks ago.

As usual, CRT blames the spread of the virus purely on the failure of regional and federal governments to invest enough in the public health care system. It wrote, “The situation [of the fifth wave] was not unpredictable either. As in the four previous waves, the rebound began to be noticed in Primary Care and Public Health services. … However, neither the PSOE and Podemos government nor the regional governments have strengthened the public health care system.”

Another reason for the spread of the virus, according to the CRT, is the “refusal of governments to release patents on vaccines,” which it claims allowed “the pandemic to develop new variants that increase the infectivity of the virus, which in turn have disrupted government vaccination plans.”

Mass vaccination and strengthening of the public health care systems are clearly vital, as the WSWS has insisted. However, they represent only one component of what must be a global effort to eradicate the virus, along with other measures like masking, social distancing and mass testing.

CRT’s omissions of social distancing and lockdowns as a necessary scientific policy against the virus and its silence on the Constitutional Court’s ruling are not accidental. During the pandemic, the Morenoites consistently opposed social distancing measures, reacting ambivalently to the suffering and death inflicted primarily on the working class due to the ruling elite’s criminal handling of the pandemic. While posing as a critic of the policies of the capitalist PSOE-Podemos government, in reality their position aligns with that of the ruling class in all its fundamentals.

In fact, if CRT were to be honest, they would say that they are in agreement with the appeal of the far-right Vox party and the ruling of the Constitutional Court. Last January, the CRT escalated its agitation against social distancing. Izquierda Diario carried an article, sarcastically titled “More restrictions, the recipe for confronting the third wave,” denouncing critical public health measures, such as lockdowns and social distancing, as “authoritarian and palliative.”

“As if it were a tap,” the Morenoites declared, “they [the PSOE-Podemos government] are limiting our liberties and movements at will.” Such language echoed that of Vox, which attacked lockdowns as the “biggest infringement on rights in history.”

This came after the CRT defended the reopening of schools. Last September, as Madrid decided to reopen schools even if it meant rapidly spreading the virus, CRT called for a “safe” return to schools, while acknowledging that the safety of teachers and students “cannot be guaranteed.”

In May, as the PSOE-Podemos government ended the state of alarm—the juridical mechanism now repudiated by the Constitutional Court as a mechanism allowing regional governments to impose health measures, such as lockdowns, curfews and mobility restrictions—the CRT made no criticism of this reckless endangerment of the lives of millions of workers in Spain. Instead, they refused to make any warnings of the serious danger still posed by COVID-19. Nor did they demand continued efforts to combat the pandemic.

Now, amid the fifth wave, the CRT’s most significant intervention has been to launch a politically criminal campaign of encouraging youth to pour back into nightclubs and bars. Despite the obvious health risks posed by the reopening of these facilities, it actively called for them to remain open and encouraged attendance, asserting, “Young people have the right to enjoy themselves.” One of its articles declared, “It’s time to demand a safe return of social, cultural and educational life.”

A youth representative of CRT was invited on prime time public television in Catalonia to agitate for “antigen tests and measures to resume the necessary safe socialization.”

The CRT’s silence on the court ruling reflects the material class interests upon which this tendency is based. It speaks for well-off layers of the upper middle class and union bureaucrats, whose positions and lifestyles depend on the upward movement of stock markets and the exploitation of workers. These interests are aligned with the demands of the Constitutional Court, Vox and PSOE-Podemos government against public health measures.

Against the reactionary, anti-scientific policies of the CRT and other pseudo-left organisations, the International Committee of the Fourth International has consistently fought for mass vaccination, as part of a global struggle to eradicate the virus, through masking, social distancing, mass testing and the shutdown of non-essential production until the world’s entire population has been made safe.

Such an effort, as the statement of the WSWS Editorial Board posted on July 29 demanded, must be paid for by the trillions accumulated by the superrich. Such a struggle can only be waged through a political break with all the representatives of the pseudo-left, as part of an independent struggle by workers and youth for socialism in Spain and internationally.