Europe

Rail workers have voted overwhelmingly to strike over jobs and safety. The Tories, meanwhile, are gearing up for a showdown, with moves to escalate anti-union laws. The whole trade union movement must respond with militant, united struggle.

Despite all the damning evidence of his crimes and misdemeanours, Boris Johnson is refusing to go. 'Operation Save Big Dog', as Johnson himself christened his bid to save his political career, seems to have succeeded – for now. Neither the Gray report into illegal Downing Street parties, nor Tory backbenchers will force him to step down. Instead, workers and youth must mobilise to kick out the whole lot.

The NUPES (New Ecological and Social Popular Union) list, led by La France Insoumise (FI), is seen by left-wing workers and youth as the best vehicle to strike blows against the right in June’s legislative elections. The French Marxists critically support voting for NUPES candidates. But we must say that this alliance with discredited, right-wing reformist parties risks demobilising FI’s support base, and will undermine their ability to carry out social reforms in government, in the event of an NUPES majority.

The French Revolution initiated a decades-long phase of bourgeois revolutions across Europe and beyond that raised the flags of democracy, national liberation, and civil rights against the injustices of the feudal system. These political convulsions prepared the ground for the international ascendancy of the capitalist system in the nineteenth century. Yet in most countries, the democratic promises of the bourgeois revolution remained largely unfulfilled. The Greek war of independence that began over 200 years ago was no exception.

US imperialism is the strongest force on the planet behind continued capitalist exploitation, poverty and misery. Now, the Swedish government has decided that it is in the interests of Swedish imperialism to join the US-led war alliance, NATO. We say: Fight NATO, fight imperialism – long live international working-class solidarity!

“We’re not just at war to support the Ukrainians. We’re fundamentally at war, although somewhat through a proxy, with Russia, and it’s important that we win,” said US representative Seth Moulton during a Fox News appearance. He was perhaps being more frank than others, but the message has been coming loud and clear from official representatives of Biden’s administration. Asked what the US would consider success in the war, Biden’s Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin said “we want to see Russia weakened”.

The latest forecasts from the Bank of England for the year ahead are for inflation to surge and the economy to contract: a dangerous double-whammy of ‘stagflation’. Workers must organise and fight back with militant action and socialist policies.

Sinn Féin has emerged as the first party in the Northern Ireland Assembly elections. With a remarkable 29% of the first preference votes to the DUP’s 21.3%, the gap was even wider than predicted. Within hours of the polls closing, #UnitedIreland was trending on Twitter. This is another devastating blow to the prestige of British imperialism and another tear in the fraying fabric of the so-called ‘United Kingdom’.

13 April 2022 marked 80 years since the Dutch revolutionary socialist Henk Sneevliet, along with six of his comrades, were executed by the Nazi German occupiers. Sneevliet devoted his whole life to fighting for the interests of the working class of the Netherlands, as well as the oppressed in Indonesia and China.

On 9 April, a group called Stand With Ukraine held a small demonstration in London. Despite receiving support from a number of trade unions, only a few hundred people took part. In true Orwellian fashion, this so-called anti-war solidarity demonstration was filled with hair-raising, warmongering rhetoric. Slogans included: “arm, arm, arm Ukraine!”, and participants were reportedly inviting NATO to “call Putin’s bluff”, i.e. to launch a full-blown military intervention and spark World War III.

In a shock announcement, Russia’s foreign minister Sergei Lavrov has told Russian state media: “NATO, in essence, is engaged in a war with Russia through a proxy and is arming that proxy.” In an uncharacteristically angry tone, he accused NATO of fighting a proxy war by supplying military aid to Ukraine, just at a time when western defence ministers have gathered in Germany for US-hosted talks on supporting Ukraine through what one US general called a “very critical” few weeks.

Quel spectacle! What a show we had yesterday as the exit polls indicated that Macron had won the presidential elections. He walked through the streets of Paris hand in hand with his wife, and accompanied by a group of young people, apparently an indication of the generations that will support him in the future. And in his speech, he announced that he was no longer “le candidat” but the “President of all the French”. How hollow all this must sound to the huge majority of French workers and youth who did not vote for him and hate him with a passion.

The re-election of Emmanuel Macron marks a new stage in the crisis of French capitalism. In the second round, taking into account abstentions and blank or invalid ballots, the ‘Jupitarian President’ won the votes of only 38.5 percent of registered voters. That's 5 percent and 2 million fewer votes than in 2017. Moreover, almost half of his 18.8 million voters have absolutely no confidence in him. All in all, Macron won amidst a sea of bitterness, mistrust and hatred. It is these conditions of social tension and class hatred that give rise to revolutions.

The final round of the French presidential elections will be held on Sunday 24 April. The French electorate will be called upon to chose between Emmanuel Macron or Marine Le Pen – two sides of the same pro-boss, viciously anti-worker and reactionary capitalist coin! While the so-called leaders of the French left and trade union bureaucrats have capitulated to bourgeois pressure, calling for workers and youth to form a ‘Republican Front’ behind Macron to beat Le Pen, we say: neither one, nor the other!