Austria

At 8pm on Monday, gunmen armed with assault rifles opened fire on the streets of Vienna. So far there are reports of four deaths and 15 wounded, of which seven are in a critical condition. Starting in Seitenstettengasse, the attackers carried out shootings at six different places in the inner district of the city. In addition to the civilian casualties, one of the attackers has been shot by police forces. An unknown number of other terrorists have, for now, managed to escape into the city. This is the first major terrorist attack in Austria in 45 years.

The protest movement sparked by the brutal police murder of George Floyd, an unarmed black man, in Minneapolis has spread around the world. In over 20 countries, workers and youth marched and demonstrated against racism, both in the USA and locally. Comrades of the IMT have been participating in these protests, raising slogans for the revolutionary overthrow of the inherently racist capitalist system.

The following article was written at the end of February and the first days of March, just before the world was hit by the crash of the stock markets on the 9 March and the full impact of the coronavirus pandemic. This sharp change in the situation obviously also changes the plans of the ruling class. But the underlying economic and political tendencies at play are still the same, although the issue of climate change obviously was pushed to the background. In the case of the Green parties, their character as parties of the ruling class is even-further confirmed in these times of crisis.

Health and safety is not the first priority of the Austrian government - despite all its solemn assertions. The government sees its primary task in ‘protecting Austria’s appeal as a business location’. This is the lesson to be drawn from the three new legislative packages that result in the revision of 85 statutes and create 7 new ones. The new sweeping laws have been passed in a split vote by a majority. Only votes against came from FPÖ and NEOS.

Europe is facing its greatest emergency since World War II. It is important that we follow the requests of the health authorities and physically isolate ourselves. We support this measure in content and practice. But we are on the side of working people. Our programme represents the practical will and the social interests of those who keep this country running, even in times of crisis. We sharply criticise the managers and bosses, who even now continue to force workers to do non-essential work.

The morning shift of a metalworking factory in Linz-Bindermichl, Linz went on coronavirus strike on 18 March, according to news website laumat.at. Strikers in Linz protested outside their factory gates on 18 March against the bosses’ irresponsible behaviour. Management refused to take any security precautions against the possibility of infection with the Coronavirus whatsoever. The workers ended their strike “under protest”, and took up tools after around two hours, when foremen and the factory committee jointly broke the strike.

Last weekend, the congress of Der Funke, the IMT in Austria, saw 100 people gather to discuss the current world situation and the perspectives of class struggle in Austria – the biggest congress in the history of Der Funke. With guests from the Czech Republic, Yugoslavia, Germany, Switzerland, Scotland and Britain, who shared their experiences with the congress, the international spirit was clearly visible.

Our comrades held a seminar from 7-10 June in the countryside in upper Austria. The motto of the seminar was: “The Internationale unites the human race – 100-year anniversary of the Communist International”. With 108 guests from Austria, Germany, Switzerland, the Czech Republic, Britain, Bosnia and, for the first time, Hungary, the event was true to this motto, and was the Austrian section’s biggest Pfingstseminar in many years.

Last Saturday, the Austrian government, made up of the main bourgeois party, ÖVP and right-wing Freedom Party (FPÖ), stepped down and announced re-elections. In a spontaneous demonstration, 10,000 people gathered in Vienna to celebrate. This is a setback for the bourgeois bloc, who have been diligently working on attacking the working class to prepare the capitalists for the next crisis.

The aggressive policies of the Austrian bourgeoisie and its government are increasingly forcing different sectors of society, including the working class, into the arena of struggle, while feeding a permanent atmosphere of racism and nationalist hysteria. After half a year of strikes, a mass demonstration and several huge protests, where do we stand now?

Last weekend, the small Austrian town of Bregenz played host to a large gathering of young socialists at the annual Karl-Marx-Seminar. The event was organised by Sozialistische Jugend Vorarlberg and Der Funke, the Austrian section of the IMT.

El sábado 13 de enero, decenas de miles se manifestaron contra el nuevo gobierno austriaco del conservador ÖVP y el nacionalista de derecha FPÖ en lo que se llamó una "bienvenida de año nuevo para el nuevo gobierno".

Last Saturday, tens-of-thousands demonstrated against the new Austrian government of the conservative ÖVP and the right-wing nationalist FPÖ in what was called a “new year reception for the new government”.

Under the heckling of 10,000 demonstrators on the morning of Monday 18 December, a new right-wing government was sworn in at Vienna, Austria. The coalition of the right-wing, Conservative Party (ÖVP) and the right-wing Freedom party (FPÖ) took two months to agree on a 182-page coalition program, which outlines the policy of the bourgeois block government for the next five years and (so they say) for the coming decade.

On Saturday 28 October, as part of a year-long campaign to defend the ideas and memory of the October Revolution, the Marxists of Der Funke invited their supporters and the general public to take part in a major event, under the title “Join the Party”.

“A red-white-red signal of hope and positive change; a red-white-red signal today goes from Austria to all the capitals of the European Union.”

By the tiny margin of 30,853 votes, the Green candidate, Alexander Van der Bellen, won the race for Presidency of the Republic of Austria. But now, the right-wing FPÖ (Freedom Party of Austria) candidate, Norbert Hofer, has claimed serious sloppiness in the election process and has asked the constitutional court to revise the electoral process. In order to fix the crisis in Social-Democracy and the government, government and Party leadership changed their personnel. A new political crisis is being prepared.

The first round of elections for President of the Republic shocked both the political caste and larger layers of society. The two candidates for parties of the current government (a social democrat-conservative “grand” coalition) together won just 23%, a huge fall when we consider that previously the combined vote for these parties had always been 80-90%. Politics in Austria is now entering a critical stage.

The discovery of a chicken meat truck containing the bodies of 71 suffocated Syrian refugees on August 27 has shocked the entire country. The lorry, found at the side of the motorway connecting Vienna with Budapest represents the biggest mass killing in Austria since the atrocities of the Nazis during the Second World War. These deaths are directly caused by the border regime of the European Union.