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A wave of mass protests has spread across Spain in response to yet another display of crass sexism by the Spanish state. In an unambiguous case of brutal gang rape, the so-called La Manadaaffair, a Spanish court has delivered a verdict of “sexual abuse”, not rape. One of the three members of the jury even called for the acquittal of the accused. As a result, the defendants have received shockingly lenient sentences.

As reported yesterday, all of our abducted comrades have now been released from custody in Karachi, following pressure from our international solidarity campaign. Leading comrade of the Red Workers' Front, Aftab Ashraf, has recorded a video statement after being released by the Rangers. We publish it here. Lal Salaam!

It has been confirmed that the last of our abducted Pakistani comrades have been released by the Rangers. We are relieved to have them back safely and grateful to all of our comrades and supporters who participated in our solidarity campaign, which was instrumental in securing the abductees. We publish the following message from the Progressive Youth Alliance, celebrating the safe return of our comrades, and the victory of our international campaign.

In the bourgeois media today, Afghanistan is portrayed only in relation to Islamic fundamentalism, jihad, warlords and drug cartels. While these ills are a sad fact of life in Afghanistan today, that was not always the case. 40 years ago, a revolution almost shook the country out of its backwardness, only to be thrown back after the imperialist-backed, fundamentalist counter-revolution. To understand the current situation in the Middle East, as well as the rise of the reactionary forces, it is necessary to understand the rise and fall of the Saur revolution in Afghanistan in 1978.

SAFTU’s general strike on Wednesday was a serious warning to the government and the capitalist class. It was part of a sharp intensification of industrial action by workers in big sectors of the economy. The attacks on the working class are preparing a backlash and an upsurge of the class struggle.

The international campaign demanding the release of our comrades, who were abducted by the Rangers in Karachi on 22 April, continues to build. There have been demonstrations at Pakistani embassies all over the world, and our official petition has acquired thousands of signatories, including from some prominent figures from the political left and trade union movement. Here, we provide an update on the solidarity campaign's latest activities.

Yesterday, we had a fantastic response from comrades around the world, protesting the abductions in Pakistan. The good news is that three of our comrades were released today: Aftab Ashraf, Karim Parhar and Zain ul Abidin. However, the Rangers are refusing to release the other three comrades, who remain in custody in their headquarters in Karachi. Comrades must step up the campaign of protest for Bilawal Baloch, Umer Riaz and Mohammed Gulbaz. We demand the immediate release of all of our comrades.

Pakistan is a country of over 200m people, but at least 40 percent live in poverty. Life expectancy is low, at an average of 66 years and infant mortality is high, with about about 64.2 deaths per 1,000 live births. For a large part of the population life is a living hell. But on top of this there is also the impact of imperialist intervention in Afghanistan, the effects of which have spilled across the border, and the repressive operations of the state security forces.

At 1:30 in the afternoon of Monday, April 23, a man deliberately drove a rental van into pedestrians in the Yonge and Finch area of Toronto. At the time of writing 10 people are dead, while 15 are in hospital, some in serious condition. The injured and dead are men, women, possibly children, out walking in what is known as Toronto’s “north downtown”, a busy retail area. How can we understand such violence and hate?

We publish here an in-depth analysis of the political situation in Britain, which was discussed at the recent conference of Socialist Appeal supporters. Although originally drafted in December, the processes and contradictions that this document outlines still lie at the heart of British politics. In this first part, we look at the long-term crisis of British capitalism, the implications of Brexit, the movement on the industrial plane, and the ever-growing anger towards the elite.

Today, protests were held in Lahore, Peshawar, Quetta, Rawlakot and other cities to demand the release of comrades abducted in Karachi by the army and Sindh Rangers. They were disappeared because they joined a protest in front of the Karachi Press Club that was called by the Pashtun Tahafuz Movement (PTM). Nobody has been informed of their whereabouts so far and no case has been registered against them. Their family members are experiencing extreme shock and worry, but still don’t know the location of their loved ones.

Comrade Bilawal Baloch from Quetta is suspected to have been abducted by the armed forces of Pakistan. He attended the protest held yesterday in front of the Karachi Press Club, which was called by the Pashtun Tahafuz Movement (PTM), and was heading back from there to his home in Quetta. But his mobile phone is permanently off and nobody has been able to contact him.

Six comrades of the IMT were abducted today in Karachi by the Army and Sindh Rangers, a paramilitary state department notorious for extra-judicial killings. We need to raise this in the labour and student movements around the world. We need messages of protest and of solidarity. Act now!

On 25 January, 2018 a lecture was held in the Al Hamra Hall, a well-known cultural center in Lahore, Pakistan on the topic of “Marxism and Literature”, by the editor of In Defence of Marxism, Alan Woods. The event was organized by the Progressive Youth Alliance. We share this video of Alan's lecture, in which he speaks about the development of language and literature across the history of class society, and how it was shaped by revolutionary events. 

Hundreds of people of Caribbean origin, who migrated to Britain as part of the ‘Windrush generation’ (named after a ship that famously brought a large number of West Indian immigrants to London in 1948) are having their citizenship called into question by the state. Despite having lived and worked in the country for most of their lives, many such people (largely of retirement age) are now facing severe problems with their immigration status – seemingly out of the blue.

Teachers are on the move around the United States. By shutting down schools in every county in the state of West Virginia—even defying anti-strike laws that prohibit public sector employees from taking such action—teachers and other education workers have provided an exemplary lesson in class struggle for the labour movement to follow. Their inspiring victory has now set off similar actions in Kentucky, Oklahoma, Arizona and other parts of the country.

The October Revolution radically changed the situation for homosexuals in Russia, as it did for women. In 1922 the first criminal code of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic (RSFSR) was passed as law. In 1918 all the old Tsarist laws were suspended and when finally, after a few years of debate, the new constitution was adopted, homosexuality or “sodomy” as it was called, was decriminalised. This was an enormous advance for homosexuals, who under the Tsar could be arrested and sentenced to years of imprisonment or sent to labour camps.

Across the country, workers are mobilising for a mass general strike on 25 April. Although all sectors of the economy are likely to be affected, the strike is expected to hit municipal services, transport, manufacturing, mining, construction and the public sector particularly hard. The government’s determination to continue with the legislative process on proposed changes to the labour law is preparing the ground for a confrontation with the unions.

In Canada, the revolutionary socialists of Fightback and the International Marxist Tendency are leading the way and giving a Marxist perspective on current politics. More and more youth and workers are adopting a Marxist analysis of the capitalist crisis. We present Fightback's 2018 Perspectives: the need for a militant workers’ movement as a discussion document for all those who aim to link revolutionary theory with the real life movement of workers, youth, and the oppressed.

Hundreds-of-thousands took to the streets of Barcelona once again on Sunday 15 April to reject Spanish state repression. A key demand was freedom for Catalan political prisoners – the demonstrators marched under the slogan “Us Volem a Casa” (“We want you home”). This came at the end of a week in which the state attempted (and failed) to charge members of the Committees for the Defence of the Republic (CDRs) with terrorism. The massive demonstration revealed the resilience of the movement, despite a leadership that is failing to show the way forward.

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