Austria

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.

In Austria parties are usually referred to by their colours. The so-called “red-blue coalition” in the Austrian state of Burgenland a coalition of the social democratic SPÖ with the racist, populist, neoliberal FPÖ  has sent shock waves through the political landscape of the country. How could this happen and what can we do about it?

The political conditions in Austria have begun to move. We are witnessing a move towards the right. This is a natural development based on the leadership of the workers movement not resisting the decline of living standards for our class. On the contrary, they are participating in the management of the collapse. But resistance is forming.

On January 24 thousands took to the streets of Vienna to protest and take action against an international dinner-dance organised by right-wing academic fraternities, who are renowned for their extremely reactionary and fascist views. The protests were very successful and indicate a radical mood developing among the youth in Austria.

On December 12th thousands of school students all over Austria went on strike. This is the biggest student movement for years. We publish below a report from Rebellion- the Marxist school student organisation in Austria.

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