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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.

In March 1934 Stalin re-criminalised homosexuality across the whole of the Soviet Union. Henceforth anyone involved in homosexual acts could be sent to prison for three to five years. In the early years of the Russian Revolution, however, homosexuality had been legalised – but this is something you will find little mention of in the literature produced by the official Communist Parties after 1934. Today’s Stalinists, who model themselves on Stalin’s regime, have a lot of explaining to do.

The Dutch Marxists have launched a new paper, Revolutie(Revolution), which has replaced the old paper, Vonk. On 24 March they held a public event to announce the name change. The change did not come from nowhere. The new name connects much better to the new objective situation in the Netherlands.

Today marks the anniversary of the defeat of the coup that attempted to remove President Hugo Chavez from power in 2002. Within 48 hours, reaction was defeated by a magnificent movemenet of the Venezuelan masses. Here we reproduce the analysis of those events written by Ted Grant and Alan Woods, originally published on 14 April 2002.

The railway workers' strike has encouraged other sections of the working class (and also the students) to mobilise. Refuse collectors, Air France workers, civil servants, lawyers, postal workers, hospital workers and care workers assisting the elderly (among others) are gearing up for action, and every day new layers are joining the fight. The ‘convergence of struggles’ is no longer just a slogan; it has become a fact.

Alan Woods, editor of In Defence of Marxism, discusses the Western response to gas attacks in Syria. Trump, Macron, and May have all been banging the war drums over the alleged use of chemical weapons by Assad. But the atrocities in Syria mask the Western imperialists' own role in propping up reactionary regimes in the region and perpetuating a never-ending humanitarian disaster in the Middle East. At the same time, their bellicose rhetoric acts as a useful distraction for these imperialist leaders, who are all facing criticism and opposition back home.

Last Sunday, Hungarians went to the polls following a campaign period the likes of which has been unseen since the fall of Stalinism. One of the functions of bourgeois democracy is to create a false sense of participation. Previous elections were generally conducted in an atmosphere of anticipation, with the public following debates between political parties in the media, and discussing developments on street corners and at work. The people felt they had some say over their destinies. In the last eight years however, there has been a fundamental change in the character of Hungary’s democratic process.

UPDATE: We have just been informed of the good news that the students have been released, but the fact they were arrested to begin with is still a scandal. Yesterday, 9 April, University of Nanterre management called two units of the CRS [Compagnies Républicaines de Sécurité: general reserve of the French National Police] to violently expel 100 students gathered in a General Assembly. Seven students were arrested. Six were remanded in custody, including our comrades Andreas Coste and Victor Mendez. It is clear that the arrests targeted student activists at the university.