Americas

Early Friday morning (3 Jan 2020), in an act of supreme arrogance the Trump administration carried out the killing of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani, as well as top Iraqi paramilitary leader Abu Mahdi al-Mohandes in Baghdad airport. Yet again, US imperialism is adding to the instability in the Middle East.

Note: this dramatic development means we have postponed Alan Woods’ new year article, which will be published tomorrow.

On 4 December, the chamber of deputies approved the "anti-crime bill", presented by Justice Minister Sergio Moro. Overall, 408 congressmen voted "yes", including almost all of the PT (Workers’ Party) and three congressmen from the PSOL (Socialism and Liberty Party). This positioning from supposedly left-wing parliamentarians exposes the extent to which one can go while working within the system, demonstrating the wrong policy, ignoring the global class struggle, and showing a lack of confidence in the working class.

On 1 December, a feature article about the IMT made the main headline on the front page of one of Japan’s top daily newspapers. The Mainichi Shimbun (“The Daily Paper”) is Japan’s oldest major newspaper, founded in 1872 and published twice daily, with a circulation of 4 million. We publish below for our readers the English translation of the article, entitled The Internationale Resounds in NYC—Socialism Resonating with the Youth.

Lenin once said that “politics is a concentrated expression of economics.” For over a decade, we have been subjected to a deep and systemic crisis of capitalism. The only way out for the ruling class is to ramp up austerity and to intensify our exploitation even further. With inequality already at historic levels and relative standards of living in free fall for billions, this is a finished recipe for explosions of the class struggle. This explains why, just a quarter-century since the “end of history” was declared, the masses are again moving might and main to change their destinies.

Over 90 comrades from nine different countries on the American continent participated in the 4th Marxist Panamerican Cadre School of the International Marxist Tendency, held in Mexico on 28 November to 1 December. The meeting, taking place at a time of turbulence and mass uprisings in Latin America, was a success, being the largest Panamerican school we have ever held: revealing the advances of the IMT across the continent. For additional detail about the first day, click here.

On 28 November, the opening rally of the 4th Panamerican School of the IMT was held at the Trotsky House Museum in Mexico City (click here for a full report on the three-day event). Gabriela Pérez, director of the museum, spoke in front of an international audience and welcomed the school. Following this, Ubaldo Oropeza, leader of Izquierda Socialista (the IMT in Mexico), opened the school in front of an auditorium of around 80 attendees from different countries in North, Central, and South America, as well as some from Europe. The opening theme was The Communist International, 100 years

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The situation in Colombia is advancing very rapidly after the national strike on 21 November. What was a one-day strike became a permanent and daily protest that is already a week old. The protest did not stop, despite the curfew and militarisation decreed in the capital Bogotá (and in Cali) by the reactionary Duque government. The death of the young Dilan Cruz, who was shot by a tear gas canister directly in the head by ESMAD (Mobile Anti-Riot Squadron) has shocked the country. In response, the National Strike Committee decided to call for a new national strike on 27 November and to include among its demands the dismantling of ESMAD.

Chile is experiencing another general strike, as part of the uprising against the regime that has been going on for almost 40 days already. The government continues to intensify the repression (denounced by international organisations) and even modifies legislation by granting itself more powers to use the army “in the protection of public buildings”, without decreeing the state of emergency, while trying to bamboozle the movement through “agreements” and promises of negotiation. The conditions for bringing Piñera down are present, but what is missing?

In his latest podcast (recorded 25 November), Jorge Martin provides an update on the recent strike in Colombia, the month-long uprising in Chile, and the struggle against the coup in Bolivia.

The Fourth Panamerican Cadre School of the International Marxist Tendency will take place in Mexico from 28 November to 2 December. The school will gather comrades from all over the American continent, from Canada, to the US, Cuba, Mexico, Honduras, El Salvador, Colombia, Venezuela, Brazil and Argentina. The main theme will be the centenary of the Communist International, which will be marked with an opening rally at the Trotsky House Museum in Mexico City.

On 21 November, a powerful general strike paralysed Colombia. Originally called to reject a package of measures by the right-wing government of Ivan Duque, including a counter reform of the labour laws, a counter reform of pensions and massive cuts in education, it became the focal point for accumulated anger. The strike was the largest the country has seen since 1977 and there were mass demonstrations in every town and city. The government responded with repression and threats. This only served to escalate the situation.

We publish here a translation of an article written by Lucha de Clases, the Bolivian section of the IMT, originally published 18 November after the Sacaba massacre in which nine peasants were killed. Since then, there has been another massacre, in which eight people were killed by the army and the police as they forcibly lifted the blockade of the Senkata gas plant near the capital La Paz. Yesterday, the MAS parliamentary group made a deal with the coup government of Añez to elect a new presidency of the chamber and moved a draft law for the calling of new elections, which starts with a recognition of the legitimacy of the coup government.

One month has passed since an insurrectional movement began in Chile. The mass uprising has placed the government of Sebastián Piñera, one of the richest men on the continent, against the ropes. In the face of the movement he has proposed minimum concessions that are only a trap to demobilise the working class and youth.

To workers, left-wingers and activists. The dramatic times we are living through reveal before everybody’s eyes that Añez’s presidency can only be imposed through bloodshed and the massive use of the armed forces. That is to say: through a putsch that will cut across any democratic smokescreens. The forces that are now being released against farmers, indigenous people and coca growers from the Movement for Socialism (Movimiento al Socialismo, MAS) in several areas around the country, and against the raising of the wiphalas in El Alto, will be used to militarise society against the working class in the future.

The International Marxist Tendency held its annual NYC Marxist School on the weekend of November 9 & 10. This year it was co-sponsored by the Queens DSA Political Education Working Group, which has worked with the IMT to organize the Marx Was Right Forum. This weekend’s school was the largest IMT Marxist School yet organized in the US, with nearly 100 in attendance!

The general strike on 12 November was a huge success that put the government against the ropes. Hundreds of thousands, possibly millions marched across the country: 300,000 in Santiago, 40,000 in Valparaíso, 100,000 in Concepcion. The strike was solid in health, education, the public sector, the ports and sections of the mining industry, and had a widespread following in other industrial sectors. It revealed the strength of the working class in a capitalist country, which is able to paralyse the economy. Almost a month after beginning, the Chilean uprising continues to advance and has not been stopped by repression (with thousands of wounded and detained, more than 200 losing eyes and

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Lula’s release is a defeat for Operação Lava Jato (Operation Car Wash – the criminal investigation that aimed to clean up the rotten Brazilian state institutions before the eyes of the masses). Therefore, his release is a positive development for the struggle of the working class. Esquerda Marxista (the Brazilian section of the IMT) has been fighting against Lava Jato since the beginning and we denounced the conviction and imprisonment of José Dirceu and Lula, who were sentenced without proof in a political trial that is a

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The following is an open letter to members of PSOL by Marxist Left (the IMT in Brazil), responding to the announcement of a new resolution adopted by PSOL’s National Directory that lays the ground for alliances with bourgeois parties.

On 10 November at 4.50pm, Bolivian president Evo Morales announced his resignation. It was the culmination of a coup that had been brewing for some time. A police mutiny, sharpshooters firing on mine workers, an OAS report questioning the validity of the elections and finally the army “suggesting” he should step down were just the final acts over the weekend. We have opposed this reactionary coup from the beginning, while at the same time pointing out how the conditions for it were laid.

Mauricio Macri has been defeated at the ballot box. Undoubtedly, these elections have demonstrated the willingness of the workers, students and youth to put an end to Argentina’s structural adjustment policies.

The Bolivian general election, on 20 October, produced a victory for Evo Morales of the ruling MAS party, but on a much-reduced majority, revealing how the class collaborationist policies of his government have alienated sections of its traditional base of support. The fact that Evo avoided a second round by the smallest of margins was used by the right wing to claim fraud and start a campaign of mobilisations on the streets. While there are different elements involved in the protests, in the last few days the initiative has passed to the camp of the “civic movement”, organised by the most reactionary elements of Bolivia’s capitalist oligarchy, based in Santa Cruz. The Bolivian comrades

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In August, the expected yield for ten-year Treasury notes fell below the yield for two-year notes for the first time since 2007, with the 30-year bond yield also reaching a new low. The “yield curve” tracks the yield to investors who purchase shares in government debt to be paid back over various time horizons. The national debt accrues as the US Treasury sells Treasury securities in exchange for cash used to finance the government.

The elections last Sunday were to elect the president but, due to the conditions under which the whole process has been carried out, they were also a repeat of the 21 February 2016 constitutional referendum.

More than a million people demonstrated in Santiago de Chile on Friday 25 October, in what was called #LaMarchaMásGrandedeChile (Chile's largest march) – and certainly, it was, being larger than the NO campaign closing rally in 1988 that brought together a million people. The mobilisation on Friday was repeated in cities and communes throughout the country and took place one week after the

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After a miserable Canadian election campaign, everyone can be seen as losers. The Liberals now have a tarnished image and hold the record of forming a minority government with the weakest mandate ever. Despite Liberal weakness, Conservative austerity policies were unpopular and did not allow them to make the gains they expected. The New Democratic Party lost almost half its seats and the Greens failed to make a breakthrough. The only party that can be happy is the nationalist Bloc Quebecois. But above all it is the working class that has lost in this election. There is no enthusiasm for any of the political options currently facing Canadians.

The following is a translation of an article we received about the current insurrectional movement in Chile, which began with youth-led protests against a hike in public transport fares. From a widespread campaign of fare dodging, a mass movement has developed against the government, which was responded with brutal repression. 

Opportunism and sectarianism are two sides of the same coin. Both must be combated if the program of revolutionary Marxism is to become a mass force by connecting with the aspirations and movement of the working class, as Socialist Revolution (the IMT in the USA) explains.

After twelve days of heroic struggle by the indigenous working-class masses of Ecuador, the first victory of the movement was achieved. At a negotiation between the indigenous representatives, the UN in Ecuador, the Ecuadorian Episcopal Conference and government representatives, it was agreed to repeal Decree 883 (the IMF funded austerity package). The government has now promised to draw up a new decree, however it was not clarified what terms it would include. A commission has been set up to discuss the new decree this week.

Last week, the comrades of the US section of the IMT unveiled a new version of socialistrevolution.org. After 16 years of producing Socialist Appeal, we launched Socialist Revolution in 2017, a better name for the struggles of the post-2017 election era. Our new site was also a big step forward toward raising the IMT's profile and visibility. Since then, we have kept working on improvements to continue to enhance the user experience, especially on mobile devices.

What began as a protest against the IMF package imposed by President Lenin Moreno has become a national insurrection that poses the question of who rules the country. The enormous mass mobilisation has forced the government to flee the capital Quito and close the national assembly. It has also begun to open cracks within the armed forces. To move forward, the movement must raise the issue of power.

“Treason!” “Sedition!” “Spies!” “Bullshit!” “Fraud!” and “Civil war!” Such was the response of the presidential “stable genius” to the ongoing drama unfolding on Capitol Hill concerning impeachment proceedings against him. Trump’s hubris appears to have caught up with him at last as a sprawling investigation spills messily into the headlines. The American president is a wretched reactionary—to put it mildly—and billions worldwide are understandably delighted to see him get some form of comeuppance. But what’s behind the smoke and mirrors? Whose interests are served by this charade?

The announcement by the government of Lenín Moreno of a US$2.2bn package of economic counter-reforms on 1 October has led to mass demonstrations and strikes. The government, which fears losing control of the situation, has responded with brutal police repression and yesterday, 3 October, declared a state of emergency for 60 days.

On 3 August, a white supremacist gunman named Patrick Wood Crusius shot dozens of innocent people in El Paso, Texas. While gunning down those he deemed to be part of an “immigrant invasion,” he declared solidarity with the Christchurch, New Zealand mosque shooter from earlier this year. In the last year, synagogues in Pittsburgh and Southern California have faced similar attacks. These are just the latest in a string of incidents of fascist individual terrorism, which must be understood in the context of the crisis and decay of capitalism.

The mass movement to oust Haitian President Jovenel Moïse has intensified in recent weeks. Facing severe fuel and food shortages, and a totally inept and corrupt government, the masses have taken to the streets once again to force the president to resign and fight for a way out of the deepening economic and social crisis. Mass strikes and demonstrations have shut down the country for several weeks, with the movement intensifying this past weekend into a nationwide uprising against the Moïse government.

On Wednesday, 25 September, Ryerson students organised a historic mass meeting. This general assembly, the first organised in English Canada in decades, marks an enormous step forward in the struggle against Ontario Premier Doug Ford’s cuts to higher education. In this mass meeting of more than 200 students, the proposal for a one-day student strike on 6 November was put forward and passed with an overwhelming majority.

Nearly 50,000 members of the United Auto Workers (UAW) union have gone out on strike at GM factories, warehouses, and engineering offices in the US. The strike began at midnight on Sunday, September 15, 2019. The Teamsters union, which represents car hauliers, said it would honour the UAW picket lines and would not deliver new cars to dealers until the strike has ended. This is the first strike at GM in 12 years. It is part of a growing wave of strikes and job actions which started with the West Virginia teachers’ strike in 2018.

A series of attacks on Saudi oil installations have set sparks flying once again in the Middle East. Only months after a last-minute cancellation of a US strike on Iran – and weeks after reaching out for talks without any preconditions – US President Donald Trump is yet again filling the twittersphere with threats and intimidation. Meanwhile, oil prices shot up by 20 percent and the ripple effects are already working their way through the sensitive oil and currency markets.

The new labour minister, Rolando Castro – a former unionist – has started a crusade against the Salvadoran Institute of Social Security Workers’ Union STISSS. Using the state apparatus and with “legal” manoeuvres, he has organised a coup d'etat against the union's leadership. The leadership that was elected in a general assembly in 2018 has been dismissed and expelled from the organisation. Based on an “assembly” that never took place, and with the backing of “legal” accreditations from the Ministry of Labour, a gang of puppets commanded by Ricardo Monge (an old trade union bureaucrat) has arbitrarily taken control of the union's leadership.

Yes! It’s true! You did read that right. President Donald Trump has sacked his National Security Advisor, John Bolton, telling him his services are “no longer needed”.

“Money is the universal self-established value of all things. It has, therefore, robbed the whole world – both the world of men and nature – of its specific value.” – Karl Marx (1843)

From space, in various satellite images, you can see columns of smoke and suspended particles ascending above the most extensive and biologically diverse tropical forest in the world: the Amazon.

The fires in the Amazon and central-west regions of Brazil were felt in São Paulo. The sky darkened at 3pm and many people did not understand why. Then the news came, explaining that, besides the cold front, this was caused by the ground-clearing fires used in “slash-and-burn” agriculture. And then, a general commotion was stirred up on social media, in the newspapers, and across the international media. The environmental problem, which did not seem to be a major focus of public indignation, become a new point of expression for widespread dissatisfaction and government crisis. This issue fed the anger and resentment against the Bolsonaro government, which responded with nothing but

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The Chiquitania region of Bolivia has been on fire since early August. The wildfires started on 2 August both west and east from San José de Chiquitos in woodland areas and dry woods, reaching Roboré later on. Prime Minister Quintana accused the right-wing of provoking the fires for political and electoral purposes. Until he can prove this, we’ll have to take his statement as an assumption that the wildfires did not spread from Brazil, as the government initially claimed. Rather, the cause of this disaster is to be found inside Bolivia’s borders.