Featured

This article was written on 10 May, prior to Andres Manuel LopezObrado (AMLO)'s election as President of Mexico. However, we think it is still relevant after the Mexican elections as it reveals the brewing conflict between AMLOand the Mexican ruling class.

It wasn’t long ago that Germany was considered one of the few countries with a stable political situation. On the surface at least, with high economic growth and a dominant position within Europe, everything seemed to be going well for the German ruling class. However, this stability is turning into its opposite.

It was not supposed to happen. Incumbent New York Congressman Joe Crowley—the head of the Queens County Democratic Party machine, slated to replace Nancy Pelosi as Speaker of the House, should the Democrats retake the majority—was soundly defeated by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a 28-year-old activist who identifies as a socialist and is a member of DSA.

Yesterday, on 2 July, there was massive participation in the Mexican general elections, in which there were 18,229 public positions at stake. However, by far the most important was the presidency. With more than 89 million voters registered, the level of participation – according to the available data – was one of the highest in the history of Mexico.

Italy’s public debt stands at a staggering €2.3tn, or 132 percent of GDP: the third largest in the world after Japan and Greece. Furthermore, Italy’s banks hold the largest share of Europe's non-performing loans, totalling €224bn. Unlike Greece, which is a relatively small player in Europe, Italy has the third-largest economy in the Eurozone, contributing more than 15 percent of its overall GDP. Italy has now become a huge risk to the financial stability of the whole of the European Union.

The British National Health Service (NHS) turns 70-years-old this year, on 5 July. Festivities are planned across the country to celebrate perhaps the greatest achievement of the 1945 post-war Labour government. And rightly so. The NHS continues to provide care free at the point of delivery. It is, in essence, the embodiment of a socialist approach to healthcare: free and universal.

In the latest episode of IMTV – the International Marxist Television channel, hosted by our British section, Socialist Appeal– our guests look back over a busy year for student and labour activists on UK campuses. Earlier this year we saw the largest ever strike by academic staff in the University and Colleges Union (UCU), who took action over cuts to pensions.

The current crisis of capitalism has had huge consequences for ordinary people, with dramatic falls in living standards, increased job losses and severe welfare cuts. Working-class women are being particularly hard hit by this crisis, facing stagnating wages in already low-paid jobs and often having to bear the brunt of austerity cuts to public services and welfare. Since 2010, 86 percent of Tory cuts in Britain have been targeted at jobs and services that are dominated by women.

Earlier this year, the Trump administration laid out its proposed 2019 budget. Although it sets out increased spending to address the national opioid epidemic, it includes drastic cuts to national public assistance programs such as SNAP (food stamps), Medicaid, and Section 8 public housing. This will strike a major blow at millions of families whose main source of security is through Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) and other forms of public assistance. Given the stricter eligibility guidelines and $213bn in cuts over the next ten years—30 percent of current levels—some four million Americans will immediately lose access to SNAP benefits.

After days of fraught negotiations, Theresa May survived a crunch Brexit vote in the House of Commons on 20 June, which had threatened to bring the simmering civil war in her party to a head. But this most recent compromise will only prepare an even deeper political crisis in future.

Over the past weekend, nearly 2,000 people arrived in Spain by sea, most travelling in totally inadequate boats for the journey, risking their lives in the process. The vessel Aquarius drew media attention after the newly installed president, Pedro Sánchez, decided to allow its passengers in after Italy refused to let them shore up. The ship was carrying 629 people, 123 of them under 18, who were mainly travelling on their own.

The second round of the presidential election in Colombia on 17 June delivered a victory for the right-wing, reactionary candidate, Ivan Duque (backed from behind-the-scenes by former-president, Alvaro Uribe), who received 54 percent of the vote (10m votes). However this was the first time in history that a candidate attacked by the ruling class as a dangerous “Communist”, Gustavo Petro, made it to the second round, and he received a very respectable 42 percent (8m votes).

As the Chinese Communist Party acts more confidently on the international stage than ever before, the Chinese working class is starting to chafe against the harsh realities of capitalism. Since May, there have been three high-profile, cross-country strikes started by crane operators, fast food delivery workers, and most recently truckers. Although the strikes were small in relation to the general working class, the workers’ ability to organize across several major cities indicates that a layer of the Chinese working class is being pushed into struggle.

20 years ago, a regime that seemed unmoveable, that had ruled for decades, while standing on the bones of millions of people massacred between 1965-66 and with its police and soldiers present at every corner, collapsed in the blink of an eye. On 21 May 1998, all over Indonesia, on TV and radio, a voice familiar to the ears of 200 million people proclaimed: “I have decided to declare that I have ceased to be the president of the Republic of Indonesia.” The people cheered and a new chapter in the modern history of Indonesia opened.

On 14 June 2018, a fire at the Grenfell Tower block of council flats in the London Borough of Kensington & Chelsea claimed the lives of 72 people. The avoidable catastophe was the result of years of neglect by the Tory government, the Conservative-led council and the managing association responsible for the tower's upkeep – who cut corners on safety to maintain profits. Written to coincide with the opening of the Grenfell fire inquiry, Andrew O’Hagan presents The Tower. In this 60,000 word essay, O’Hagan

...

On the 1 July, Mexicans will go to the polls in a crucial election. All opinion polls show that a victory for the candidate of Morena(Movement for National Renewal), Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (AMLO) is quite likely. However, nothing is certain in Mexico. The ruling class has already used election fraud to cheat AMLO out of winning the elections twice and will certainly try a third time. In this article, the comrades from the Mexican section of the IMT – La Izquierda Socialista – explain why they advocate a critical vote for Lopez Obrador, address the limitations of his programme and assert the need to organise to struggle against capitalism (read the ...

On 14 June 2017, disaster struck in Britain as the Grenfell tower in west London was engulfed in flames. 72 people died in the fire, according to official reports. But the real number could be even higher. One year on, and the inquiry into the Grenfell fire is underway.

We publish Rob Sewell's introduction to Lenin's 1902 pamphlet,What is to be Done? Rob (editor ofSocialist Appeal, the IMT's British paper) explains the importance of this text, in which Lenin rebuked reformist and opportunist trends in the Russian Social Democracy, and argued for building a committed party of professional revolutionaries to lead the working class to power. It bears huge relevance for Marxists striving for revolution today.

In May, far-right former leader of the English Defence League (EDL), Tommy Robinson, was jailed for 13 months for contempt of court. The sentence followed his filming and revealing details of a child grooming trial at Leeds Crown Court. The stunt was clearly aimed at getting himself arrested and turning himself into a martyr for “free speech”, victimised by a “politically correct establishment” protecting “Muslim grooming gangs”.