Britain

The worldwide solidarity campaign for the release of Rawal Asad, a comrade from the Progressive Youth Alliance who was arrested in Multan and scandalously charged with sedition by the Pakistani state, has forged on apace. Photographs, videos and messages of solidarity have been flooding in from all around the globe.

Last weekend, on Saturday 16 Feb, over 110 Marxists from all over Britain met in London to discuss the nature of work under capitalism, the history and role of Marxists in the labour movement, and how students can support the fight for socialism. Just one day after the historic school student climate strike, the energy and militancy amongst the youth was tangible.

An international solidarity campaign has been launched to demand the release of comrade Rawal Asad, who was arrested in Multan for the 'crime' of attending a protest. He faces a scandalous charge of sedition, which carries a sentence of 10 years to life in prison, and a judge has now officially denied his application for bail. In addition to demonstrations in Pakistan, comrades from all over the world have been protesting outside of Pakistani embassies, and sending pictures and messages of support calling

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At least 10,000 students across the UK walked out of school on Friday 15 February, marking the arrival of the international School Strike 4 Climate movement in Britain. This movement has already mobilised hundreds of thousands of students in over 40 countries, with young people around the world participating in incredibly militant strikes and marches – the aim of which is to force governmental action on climate change.

Good riddance. This will be the sentiment amongst grassroots Labour members towards today’s news that a group of seven Blairites are splitting from the party. Delight at their departure will be mixed with immense anger towards the treacherous role that these right-wingers have been allowed to play over the past few years. The task now is to kick out the rest of the saboteurs who remain at large inside the Parliamentary Labour Party. This is why we need mandatory reselection.

On Saturday, February 16, over 100 students representing Marxist Societies at over 30 universities across Britain met in London for the Marxist Student Federation national conference. One of the points of the agenda was the current ongoing Trump coup in Venezuela.

The School Strike 4 Climate movement started in August last year, when one 15-year-old Swedish student, Greta Thunberg, walked out of her school to campaign against government inaction on climate change. The demonstrations have rapidly developed into a uniquely militant, global and organised youth movement.

On 14 November 2018, the British Medical Association (BMA) uncovered a system error by Capita, an outsourcing company responsible for ‘business processes’. Capita’s negligence led to 48,000 women not receiving their letters for cervical cancer screening and follow up, potentially putting many lives at risk.

Each new vote in the British House of Commons only reaffirms parliament’s paralysis. Yesterday MPs voted against the prospect of a no-deal Brexit – but then voted against any alternative that would avoid this default option. A deeply divided Tory party briefly united – but only to demand the impossible of their leader. And Jeremy Corbyn, having failed to bring down the government through parliamentary means, saw his Brexit proposal (to include a customs union) rejected also. So where to go from here?

The turbulent events in Westminster over the past week have done nothing to break the parliamentary paralysis over Brexit. May’s deal has been crushed, leaving the Prime Minister humiliated. But Tory rebels and DUP MPs have closed ranks to support this crumbling Conservative government.

Rejection of Theresa May’s Brexit deal was never in doubt. The question was always by how much. But the scale of last night’s defeat for the Prime Minister – losing by an unprecedented 230 votes – defied even the most pessimistic of expectations. With her proposal firmly spurned by parliament, Theresa May is now set to sail the country into uncharted waters.

Theresa May’s decision last year to postpone the vote on her Brexit deal has done little other than provide a brief respite from her insoluble dilemma. Her negotiated package remains hated by all sides. Rather than bringing people round to her proposal, the Christmas period has hardened the resolve of Brexiteers and Remainers alike.

Image: Flickr, War on Want

Since the beginning of the crisis of 2008, anti-immigrant parties and movements have made headway in Europe and the United States. They have even managed to win over certain layers of the working class to their programme. This has led a section of the labour movement to adapt itself to these ideas, calling for stricter border controls, justifying its position with quotations from Marx. Such short-sighted policies have nothing to do with Marx or the traditions of the First, Second or Third International, as we shall demonstrate.

Theresa May has survived to live another day after coming through a vote of no confidence amongst her party’s MPs with a 200-to-117 majority. But whilst the Tory leader may have won this battle, she has most certainly lost the war.

Alan Woods, editor of In Defence of Marxism, discusses the historic political crisis taking place in Britain, as the Tory Prime Minister's fate hangs in the balance. As Alan notes, the UK was once considered one of the most stable countries in the world. But now it is a source of enormous instability for world capitalism. And the crisis is not confined to Britain. May, Macron, and Merkel are all facing huge difficulties at home, as the broken status quo collapses around them. Only the call for a socialist Europe can offer a way forward.