Europe

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.

The power of the yellow vests movement never ceases to surprise – and intimidate – its adversaries. Of course, the bourgeois and their lackeys (in politics and the media) know that poverty exists. They hear about it, distantly, but they are totally disconnected from the real living conditions of the people, their suffering and their problems. Then, from their lofty position of privilege, with all their power and their fortune, they said to themselves: “a little more or a little less austerity, what difference will that make?” The answer hit them like a ton of bricks.

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 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?

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.

A wave of deep consternation shook Poland on Sunday 13 January. A well-known, liberal politician and mayor of the major coastal city of Gdansk, Pawel Adamowicz, was stabbed on stage in front of hundreds of people. He died in hospital the following morning. Adamowicz, who had been the city’s mayor since 1998, was taking part in the biggest annual charity event, the Great Orchestra of Christmas Aid, as he was stabbed in his chest repeatedly by a raving terrorist. Many are in a state of disbelief, as this is widely considered to be the most serious political assassination since the murder of Polish President Gabriel Narutowicz in 1922.

On 13-14 January, tens of thousands of people from across Europe gathered in Berlin to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the murder of Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht. Despite the poor weather, this year’s demonstration was one of the largest and most militant events that Berlin has seen in the recent period; a clear sign of the political polarisation and class consciousness that is developing as a result of the intensifying capitalist crisis.

Today, on Thursday 17 January 2019, at half-past-twelve local time, the mortal remains of Alberto Arregui, whose sudden death we reported yesterday, were consigned to the flames at the crematory of the Cementerio Sur, Madrid. The editor of marxist.com, comrade Alan Woods, pays tribute to the memory of a man who devoted his entire life to the cause of Marxism and the socialist revolution.

Yesterday, 16 people were arrested by Spanish police in Girona (Catalonia) without a warrant. Amongst those arrested were two local mayors of the anti-capitalist pro-independence CUP, a photojournalist and several activists of the CDRs (Committees for the Defence of the Republic), ANC (Catalan National Assembly), La Forja (pro-independence youth organisation) and SEPC (Catalan Students’ Union).

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.

Note: this morning the Left Party announced they are going to abstain on the vote on the government, thereby allowing the Social Democrats to form a government with the Greens. What the Left Party leader hinted at on Monday now has become policy. We remain opposed to the formation of the government on this right-wing programme, and maintain our position that the labour movement should demand new elections and the establishment of a left government on a socialist programme.

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.

On 11 December, two weeks before Christmas, three middle-aged siblings – Anthony, David and Geraldine McGann – were brutally kicked out of the home that they shared on a farm in Co Roscommon, Ireland. The three were injured, as they were dragged by their ears and hair. Their assailants – a group of 20 private security personnel led by an ex-member of the British Army’s Ulster Defence Regiment – were executing an eviction order on behalf of KBC Bank. While this assault took place, the gardaí (Ireland’s police force) merely looked on.

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