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Following huge protests against counter-reform of the pensions system in Argentina in December, the right-wing Macri government has launched an offensive of repression and criminalisation against left-wing organisations and activists. Two members of the Partido Obrero (Workers’ Party) have been arrested, and several activists from other organisations (including members of parliament) have been indicted. The International Marxist Tendency expresses its solidarity with the comrades, demands the end to all repression and calls on working-class and solidarity activists internationally to show their support.

As was expected, Venezuela’s municipal elections on December 10 produced a landslide victory for the ruling United Socialist Party (PSUV). It won 308 out of 335 local councils winning in 23 out 25 state capitals. The opposition, which stood divided and largely boycotted the election, only managed to win two significant local councils, those of San Cristobal, the capital of Táchira and Libertador, the capital of Mérida.

The factional fights in the ANC have left its 54th National conference in deadlock. It confirmed what we have known all along – that the organisation is in terminal crisis. It also revealed that the ANC is divided straight down the middle. In the end the leadership tried to come to some sort of agreement. But the effect of this has only led to paralysis. The process could end up in court with the ANC even weaker as a result.

The Catalan elections on 21 December represent a slap in the face for the strategy of the Spanish government: of introducing direct rule to smash the independence movement. The Spanish ruling party has been reduced to 3 seats in Catalonia and the pro-independence bloc has once again won an overall majority in the Catalan Parliament.

One phone call from Arlene Foster to the British Prime Minister Theresa May was enough to halt a deal between the European Union and British government, already agreed on Monday 4 December. Arlene Foster is the leader of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) in Northern Ireland: a right-wing party with its roots in the anti-Catholicism of its former leader Ian Paisley. It is also pro-life, anti-gay and deeply reactionary.

Under the heckling of 10,000 demonstrators on the morning of Monday 18 December, a new right-wing government was sworn in at Vienna, Austria. The coalition of the right-wing, Conservative Party (ÖVP) and the right-wing Freedom party (FPÖ) took two months to agree on a 182-page coalition program, which outlines the policy of the bourgeois block government for the next five years and (so they say) for the coming decade.

Salvador Nasralla, the opposition candidate, travelled to Washington on Monday, 18 December, to meet with representatives of the OAS, the State Department and human rights organisations, to look for a solution to the post-electoral conflict in Honduras. In another clumsy move, the Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE), on Sunday afternoon, 17 December, declared right-wing candidate Juan Orlando Hernández (JOH) of the National Party (and current president) as the winner. Clearly this has been a fraudulent election.

The Catalan elections of 21 December take place in exceptional conditions of repression and limitation of democratic rights. The elections have become a battleground to legitimise (or not) a coup by the 1978 regime, in which article 155 of the Spanish constitution was used to dismiss the Catalan government and disband the Catalan parliament. With two days to go, the result of the elections is hard to predict.

As millions in the US are looking for a way out of the impasse of the capitalist system, rooting ourselves in the sound foundations of Marxist theory has never been more important. Ten years ago, few Americans considered themselves socialists, and even fewer were open about it. But life teaches, and conditions determine consciousness. A decade of crisis, the Bernie Sanders campaign, and Trump’s election have led millions to look to socialism for a way out. The skyrocketing growth of Democratic Socialists of America after the 2016 elections is just one example of the dramatic changes in consciousness unfolding around us, a process that is still in its infancy.

The African National Congress (ANC) is holding its 54th National conference - at the Nasrec Expo Centre near Gold Reef City from 16 to 20 December - more divided than ever before. Tottering on the brink, the party has never been in such a lamentable state, not even in the days of the underground and in exile.

On Monday 4 December, it was finally announced that a deal on phase one of the Brexit negotiations was about to be struck. The Financial Times lauded the Brexiteers' “surprising realism” in a negotiation described by one former head of the Treasury as more like a “drive-by shooting” than a negotiation.

2017 has been rich in political earthquakes and we have yet another to add to the list. Doug Jones has become the first Democrat in 25 years to win a US Senate seat for Alabama, a traditionally safe Republican seat with a predominantly white, religious and conservative electorate. Alabama will now have a Democrat in the US Senate. This is an outcome that would have seemed all-but-impossible a year ago and still seemed unlikely even as voters headed to the polls on Tuesday, given the flaccid and unispiring campaign waged by the Democrats, who have learned nothing from 2016 and have shifted even further to the right.

The following statement was produced by comrades from the Catalan section of the International Marxist Tendency, REVOLUCIÓ. It outlines comrades’ support for the CUP in the “illegitimate and imposed” 21 December Catalan regional election, to undermine the ‘78 regime, and also outlines the tasks for the movement for a Catalan Republic.

The 'old guard' of the left have celebrated the 100th anniversary of the October Revolution by distancing themselves from it. Perhaps to justify the defeat of their generation. But their it-can-never-be-achieved attitude should not discourage the youth of today from rebellion.

The first ever public meeting held by the IMT in Kathmandu Nepal was a great success. Despite being in the middle of the election campaign, the meeting on the lessons of the October Revolution attracted 100 communist activists, including leading members of the Maoist party and the Young Communists. The meeting was also attended by comrade Gopal Kriti, who is a working-class veteran activist and member of the Executive Committee of the Maoist party: a mass party in Nepal. The meeting was held in the meeting hall of the Law College in Kathmandu and was addressed by comrade Yug Pathak, a communist journalist; and author and comrade Rob Sewell from the IMT.

The news of heavy fraud and corruption in two of South Africa’s biggest monopolies has thrown the big capitalists into turmoil. The scandals, which broke out almost simultaneously, involve two global behemoths, Naspers and Steinhof, and implicate some of the very biggest tycoons in the country, such as Christo Wiese, Markus Jooste and Koos Bekker.

Events in Catalonia in the last two months represent the biggest challenge ever faced by the Spanish regime since its establishment in 1978. The explosion of the masses on to the scene has acquired at points insurrectionary features. Where does this movement come from? What is its character and how can it move forward in the face of Spanish state repression?

Investment banking giant Morgan Stanley recently published a report that warned its clients about the possibility of a general election in 2018 and - in turn - of a Corbyn-led Labour victory. Such an outcome, the bankers described, would be a “worse threat to business than Brexit”.

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