Vojtěch Filip, Chairman of the Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia (KSČM), was the guest in transform! europe's webinar series “Meeting the Left”.
Click here to watch the full interview.
The KSČM views the current crisis as partly related to the cyclical crises of capitalism, as a global crisis based on over prodution. In such a crisis, the KSČM sees a role for the state in the protection of ‚national‘ companies and advocates the renationalisation of companies operating in the public sector, for instance, the agencies administering the water supply.
The irreplaceable role of the state, the institutions controlled by it and the public sector as such in managing crisis situations and mitigating the economic and social impact of the pandemic has been clearly demonstrated. Thanks to this intervention, the Czech Republic, at least in the first wave of the pandemic, has ranked among the countries with the best results in the fight against Covid-19, especially in terms of the number of victims of this insidious disease and their timely and effective identification. When there was a general shortage of necessary medical protective equipment, necessary quantities of it were provided , not only through import from abroad, especially from China and Vietnam, but also by their self-organised production in Czech households.
In addition, the solidarity of citizens and their discipline in respecting various government regulations and epidemiologists for preventing the spread of the virus have also played an important role in minimising damage during the pandemic. The commitment, professionalism, and dedication of medical staff in hospitals and social facilities was manifest. The developed system of healthcare and its accessibility to the citizens of the Czech Republic also deserves a great deal of credit for the difference it made in managing the crisis situation.
However, the economic and social effects of the pandemic, as a result of the so-called 3-month economic shutdown and border closure, are undeniable and will affect millions of people. The big question is how steep the unemployment curve and the decline in GDP will be, how great the export dependency of the Czech economy will be, as well as other negative phenomena, the actual extent of which will be measurable at the end of the year. For the time being, government measures are in place to mitigate the effects on the most affected entities, such as ‘kurzarbeit’, various forms of subsidies, tax deferrals, loan repayments by the state, and more, which are needed in the current situation but only postpone the problem at the cost of large budget deficits and increasing the country’s debt burden. Without these measures, social peace could be jeopardised.
The EU has failed to play its role in the crisis. On the contrary, the irreplaceable role of nation states in protecting the health and safety of their citizens has been demonstrated. The confidence of Czech citizens in the European institutions has further diminished.
Social and economic disparities between EU Members States will continue to widen, both along the South-North and East-West axes. This is due, on the one hand, to the unequally playing rules of mutual cooperation and the ruthless capitalist system of economic management, focused on making profits at all costs. The result, however, this be a strengthening of centrifugal tendencies in the EU and a further increase in social tensions and destabilisation.
‘The KSČM’, Filip said, ‘must work both politically and theoretically to support citizens and unite them against capital.’