Americas

Late on the night of Sunday, 25 November, rumours began to trickle out about the impending closure of the Oshawa General Motors plant. The following morning the terrible news was confirmed to be true. In response, workers of Unifor Local 222 staged a spontaneous wildcat walkout. The closure is a massive blow to the working class of the city and the province which cannot be allowed to stand. The capitalists have shown themselves to be incapable of providing decent employment. It is up to the workers to take action to defend their jobs and union.

On 22 November, at the Leon Trotsky House Museum in Mexico City, Alan Woods began his talk on the English Revolution by saying that, while postmodernists claim there are no laws in history and that it is impossible to understand, there are recurrent processes and even familiar characters across the centuries. Similar material conditions provoke historical phenomena with certain similarities.

50,000 members of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW) have been on rotating strike since 22 October. The Trudeau Liberal government has tabled so-called “back-to-work” legislation, that will make this work stoppage illegal. Increasingly, the right to strike in Canada is not worth the paper it is written on. As soon as a strike becomes effective, it is declared illegal. However, the postal workers are angry and there is a real opportunity that they will defy the legislation. Solidarity is urgently needed to let the CUPW workers know they are not alone, and that workers in Canada and internationally support their fight.

On Monday, dozens of young people and workers assembled in the auditorium of the Leon Trotsky House Museum to listen to a speech by Alan Woods, leader of the International Marxist Tendency. The event was about the ideas of Karl Marx, 200 years since his birth. The day (November 20), could not be more appropriate, as it also marked the anniversary of the beginning of the Mexican Revolution.

In the third part of Alan Woods’ reply to Trump’s advisers’ so-called empirical critique of socialism, he addresses their gross mischaracterisation of the Nordic economies, Venezuela and the USSR. Alan also refutes the accusation that socialism will inevitably lead to food shortages and economic ruin; and responds to the falsehood that socialists want to “nationalise everything”.

On 27 October, Robert Gregory Bowers, a far-right activist, gunned down 11 people at the Tree of Life Congregation Synagogue in Pittsburgh while yelling "All Jews must die!" This was the deadliest attack on the Jewish community in US history. A few days before the Pittsburgh attack, pipe bombs were mailed to prominent critics of US president Donald Trump, including Hillary Clinton, George Soros and members of CNN’s New York bureau. While these events are shocking, they should not surprise anyone. This is just the most recent on a growing list of atrocities committed by the far-right

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On 4 April 1968, Martin Luther King Jnr. was assassinated: shot in cold blood whilst standing on the balcony of his hotel room in Memphis, Tennessee. 50 years on, speaking at the recent Revolution Festival in London, Fred Weston looks at Martin Luther King's life and ideas, and discusses the way forward today in the fight against racism and for liberation.

On the weekend of 10-11 November, the NYC comrades of the International Marxist Tendency hosted the 2018 Northeast Regional Marxist School. There was record turnout for an IMT event in the USA, with nearly 90 registered attendees from Boston, Philadelphia, New York, New Jersey, Pittsburgh, Washington, DC, Minneapolis, Toronto, Montreal – and London!

In the second part of his reply to the White House’s slanders against socialism, Alan Woods addresses the reality of life for American workers under capitalism. Since 2008 they have seen inequality skyrocket, endured long hours in multiple jobs, and faced cuts to essential services – all while the parasitic bankers receive state handouts. The ‘American dream’ is dead – and socialism is reaching a bigger audience.

The 2018 US midterms have come and gone and there were no major surprises. Both Democrats and Republicans worked to mobilise millions and opened their pocketbooks to do so—to the tune of $4 billion. This and the polarisation in society led to a huge rise in turnout, with a record 113 million voting, and over 30 million getting their votes in early, compared to 83 million who voted in 2014.

Venezuelan Communist Party leader, Luís Fajardo, was killed on the evening of Wednesday 31 October, as he was returning home with his brother-in-law, Javier Aldana, who was also killed in the attack. Both men were riding a motorbike at 9pm when they were struck by a burst of gunfire from a moving vehicle. They were peasant activists and communist militants involved in the struggle for agrarian reform in the South of the Maracaibo Lake region and had already asked for protection as they had received death threats.

Donald J. Trump has recently been an extremely busy man. While striving with might and main to make America great again, he has been obliged to fight on a number of different fronts against sinister forces that are hellbent on undermining him, and thereby preventing America from being great.

The following is a statement by Esquerda Marxista (Marxist Left): the Brazilian section of the IMT, after the victory of far-right candidate Jair Bolsonaro in the Brazilian elections. The comrades explain the tasks ahead for the Brazilian left, who must immediately begin building a resistance against the reactionary and repressive policies of a Bolsonaro government.

Jorge Martin, editor of América Socialista and writer for In Defence of Marxism, discusses the results of Sunday's presidential elections in Brazil, where the far-right candidate, Jair Bolsonaro, won with 55 percent of the vote. The blame for this lies at the feet of the Workers' Party (PT), who have been thoroughly discredited through years of carrying out austerity and attacks on the working class whilst in government.

Bolsonaro won the second round of the Brazilian presidential election with 55 percent of the vote, defeating Haddad – the Workers’ Party (PT) candidate – who received 45 percent. Any hopes of a last-minute rally were dashed. This result is a setback for the working class and the poor. We need to understand what it means, what led to this situation and what strategy the workers’ movement should follow, faced with this reactionary government.

We publish here a statement by an IMT comrade in Pittsburgh on the barbaric killing of 11 Jews as they prayed in the Tree of Life synagogue. The frequency of anti-semitic attacks has increased in the recent period, as have racist attacks in general. In times of capitalist crisis, the ruling class foments division and hatred and Trump has contributed to creating an environment favourable to such events. So long as capitalism survives it will continue to produce such barbarism. The answer is to remove the cause and overthrow capitalism once and for all.

Once the first round of the presidential elections was finished, Haddad and the PT (workers’ party) took off the red shirts they had used to revive melancholic PT supporters. Now they wear respectable suits with white shirts; they have changed their campaign symbols for the colours of the Brazilian flag (green, yellow and blue); removed Lula from campaign photographs; and hidden any hint of red.

We publish here a joint solidarity statement from the comrades of Bloque Popular Juvenil (El Salvador), Izquierda Marxista (Honduras) and La Izquierda Socialista (Mexico) to the thousands-strong migrant caravan travelling from Central America to the United States. The migrants have been met with prejudice, attacks by the media and state repression – their plight expresses the suffering of a whole region, plagued by the policies of American imperialism and oligarchical rule.