Europe

Recently, Alan Woods returned from a very successful, 10-day visit to St. Petersburg and Moscow, made at the invitation of the Revolutionary Workers Party (IMT). A few months ago, the Russian section of the IMT was hugely strengthened by the adhesion of a large number of Trotskyists who, although they were formally outside our ranks, had been following our material for some years and were in complete agreement with our ideas, tactics and methods of work.

The global economy is slowing down, heading for a new world slump. A rebellion is taking place across the planet, with mass insurrectionary movements erupting onto the streets from Baghdad to Beirut to Barcelona. And in Britain, the Corbyn movement is preparing for the battle of a generation, as a general election looms.

Splits and divisions have opened up at the top of the Tory government. Given the paralysis in Parliament, they don’t know which way to turn. Depending on what extension the EU offers, they are torn between trying to push Brexit through or going for a snap pre-Christmas general election.

Two weeks after the parliamentary elections, the new Portuguese government of the PS (Socialist Party) will officially take office on 23 October. This much is certain – what is not so clear is which of the PS’s potential “allies” (Bloco de Esquerda; the Communist Party and the Greens; the petty-bourgeois environmentalist party PAN; and the smaller left-reformist “eco-socialist” party LIVRE) will support this government – and to what extent.

Yesterday's general strike marked a qualitative leap in the political situation in Catalonia. For the past four days, mass peaceful demonstrations for the release of the political prisoners have been brutally attacked by Spanish and Catalan police. On Thursday, protesters were also attacked by neo-Nazis protected by police, who brutally beat up an anti-fascist militant. The youth have retaliated setting up barricades.

Since mid-September, the Marxist Student Federation in Britain has signed up 3,193 people across the country. This is by a huge margin our best year ever. It reflects the deepening crisis of capitalism, and subsequent search for new ideas from the youth. We’ve been present in 36 universities, at the freshers fairs, putting forward the demand for a radical socialist labour government. With a General Election around the corner, people are ready to talk about politics, and the Marxist societies are bigger than ever.

Today there is a general strike planned in Catalonia and a massive mobilisation, with five columns marching throughout Catalonia to converge in Barcelona. This day of action is organised under slogans rejecting the judgement of "Procés", and calling for the freedom of the Catalan political prisoners and the right to self-determination. The International Marxist Tendency in the Spanish State, Lucha de Clases, unconditionally supports this day of struggle.

"Barcelona has seen more barricade fighting than any other city in the world", wrote Engels in 1873. Yesterday, Barcelona stood by this reputation. Various republican and democratic organisations called peaceful vigils across Catalonia to protest against the sentences faced by the political prisoners. In Barcelona, as well as in other localities, the demonstrators – including families, elderly people, and children – were attacked by Spanish and Catalan riot police, charging at them with truncheons, rubber bullets, and stun devices.

Yesterday, the Spanish Supreme Court issued sentences against twelve Catalan political prisoners involved in the October 2017 referendum, including nine former ministers, the speaker of the Catalan parliament, and two popular civil society leaders. The proceedings went on for almost two years, during which nine of them were held in pre-trial detention. As expected, the sentences were harsh: between nine and 13 years in jail for the nine held on remand, and fines and disqualification from public office for the other three.

Nine Catalan political prisoners, who have been held in remand for almost two years, have been given lengthy jail sentences of between 9 and 13 years by the Spanish Supreme Court for sedition and misuse of public funds. And what was their “crime?” The organisation of the Catalan independence referendum on 1 October 2017. This is a scandalous, undemocratic ruling that reveals the rottenness of the Spanish 1978 regime. The International Marxist Tendency rejects these outrageous sentences and calls on the labour, socialist and democratic forces of the world to mobilise against them with all their might.

At 6pm on Friday 10 October, at the Plekhanov Memorial Library in St. Petersburg, comrade Alan Woods, the editor of marxist.com and a leading member of the International Marxist Tendency, addressed an audience of about 70 people, who crowded into the small conference room. In addition to the members of the older generation associated with the library, the majority of those present were young people — students and workers — members and sympathisers of the Revolutionary Workers’ Party who had organised the event in collaboration with the Plekhanov Library. The meeting was chaired by the director of the Library, Tatyana Filimonova.

Lucha de Clases (IMT section in the Spanish state) rejects the sentencing of the “Procés” trial, issued by the supreme court, which includes jail sentences of 9-13 years and disqualification from public office for the nine Catalan political prisoners and three other defendants. These sentences again show the authoritarian character of the monarchical regime of ‘78.

The following article was written forSocialist Appeal, the British website of the International Marxist Tendency. It discusses the betrayals of the Syriza government in Greece, and explains the lessons of that experience for the British working class and youth should a Corbyn-led Labour government ever come to power.

In the coming days, the Spanish Supreme Court will issue sentences against nine Catalan politicians involved in the referendum of 1 October 2017. Seven of them have been on remand for almost two years. This includes five ministers from the previous Catalan government, as well as two prominent civil society leaders. In addition, a number of prominent politicians and activists are in exile in Belgium, the UK, and Switzerland, which have refused to extradite them.

The latest editorial from Révolution (the French publication of the IMT) argues that Macron’s attempt to introduce a ‘universal pension scheme’ (in reality, a massive attack on pensions) must be resisted by organising a general strike. An upcoming, indefinite transport workers’ strike on 5 December presents a point of convergence for all the forces of the working class, which must be mobilised over the next two months to fight, not only to defeat this pension counter-reform, but for the end of Macron’s reactionary

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In the 1930s, Leon Trotsky wrote that the ruling class were tobogganing towards disaster with their eyes closed. This seems to be an accurate description of the situation in Britain today. Tobogganing towards a no-deal Brexit, the ruling class has lost control of events.

We are four years on from the historic formation of an apparently left government in Portugal, in which the Socialist Party (PS) has relied on the support of the Bloco de Esquerda (BE) and the Communist Party (PCP) to pass measures through parliament. Between them, the three parties have commanded a considerable majority in parliament, but the PS government would have fallen without the support of the parties to its left.

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