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In Spain, achieving the right to self determination is a revolutionary task. Any attempt to exercise it will meet the frontal opposition of a powerful imperialist state, inherited wholesale from the Francoist dictatorship. This regime will not tolerate any attempt to put into question the sacrosanct unity of Spain. Only mass, militant struggle against the state and the capitalist system on which it rests will conquer the right of national minorities (Catalans, Basques, and Galicians) to decide their future.

Yesterday, on December 25th, members of Republic of Srpska (Serb part of Bosnia and Herzegovina) riot police cracked down on a peaceful protest of the group called “Pravda za Davida” (Justice for David), in the centre of the statelets de facto capital, Banja Luka. 

The following is an introductionto the latest publication by Marxist Books,The Revolutionary Philosophy of Marxism, by the editor of In Defence of Marxism, Alan Woods. This new selection of writings on dialectical materialism is now available for purchase at a special launch price on MarxistBooks.com.

Image: Flickr, War on Want

Since the beginning of the crisis of 2008, anti-immigrant parties and movements have made headway in Europe and the United States. They have even managed to win over certain layers of the working class to their programme. This has led a section of the labour movement to adapt itself to these ideas, calling for stricter border controls, justifying its position with quotations from Marx. Such short-sighted policies have nothing to do with Marx or the traditions of the First, Second or Third International, as we shall demonstrate.

The victory of the CAQ (Coalition Avenir Québec, or Coalition for the Future of Quebec) in the 1 October elections in Quebec marked the end of an epoch in the province. The Liberal Party and the Parti Québécois (PQ) who had held power interchangeably for nearly half a century were pummeled at the polls, receiving their worst electoral results in history. The political landscape in Quebec is increasingly polarised on the left with Québec solidaire and on the right with the CAQ, while the establishment parties in the “centre” have been punished.

The marvellous national convention of the Progressive Youth Alliance was held in Lahore on 15 December, with the main demands of free education for all and restoration of student unions. Revolutionary students and unemployed youth from across the country gathered to discuss problems faced by the youth and how to organise to overcome them.

On Monday, 26 November 2018 Canada’s post-war social contract finally died, after a long period of ill health. At her bedside were two who were present at her birth, Oshawa auto workers and striking postal workers. Her passing was due to systematic abuse and abandonment by corporations and government. She is survived by a labour relations regime of naked class war. In lieu of flowers, bring picket signs and burn barrels.

Alan Woods, editor of In Defence of Marxism, discusses the magnificent gilets jaunes movement in France, which has exploded out of nowhere to land a blow against the ruling class. Ever since his election as president of France in May 2017, Emmanuel Macron has been held up as a poster boy for liberalism by the European establishment. But the massive and militant yellow vests movement has shattered this delusion, demonstrating that there is a profound anger amongst workers and youth towards the broken status quo of inequality and austerity that the 'Jupiterian' president and the gilded elite defend.

Right-wing Hungarian prime minister, Victor Orbán has received a blow as a wave of protests has spread throughout the country. The protests have been triggered by a new piece of legislation, labelled the “slave law”, which was passed on 12 December. This vicious attack on Hungarian workers will allow employers to increase the amount of overtime they can ask of workers from 250 to 400 hours per year, which equates to roughly eight hours per week. Not only this, but there can be a delay in payment for this overtime of as much as three years.

Lithuania is being shaken by an unprecedented teachers strike, which has now entered its fourth week and is causing severe anxiety, distress and panic among the ruling class and its political representatives. Already, Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis has been forced to sack not only the hated Education Minister, Petrauskienė, but also two other Ministers: for Culture, and the Environment.

Today is the 140th birthday of Ioseb Jughashvili, also known as Koba, but best known as Joseph Stalin: figurehead of the Soviet bureaucracy that seized control of Russia following the degeneration of the Bolshevik regime. We publish here a review (first released on John Riddell's blog) of the new, updated edition of Trotsky's biography of Stalin, originally published in 2016 and available from WellRed Books at a reduced price for a limited time: the perfect holiday gift for any revolutionary! In his review, John explains how the expanded and revised edition

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For the fifth consecutive Saturday, the yellow vest protesters took to the streets of France on 15 December in what was dubbed ‘Act V’ of the movement. This was after Macron’s announcements of “concessions” on 10 December; and in a week that saw a mobilisation of students and a national day of action, called by the CGT trade union. After five weeks, what stage has the movement reached, and what are its perspectives?

In Albania, since 4 December 2018, thousands of students have been continuously demonstrating against the degradation and injustices of the education system. The initial spark for these protests was an increase in tuition fees, cancelled by the government two days after the first demonstrations. But the demands of the students have now gone well beyond this initial grievance and target the generally poor conditions of public universities. Note: the student activist interviewed for this article is not affiliated with the IMT in any way, and we do not necessarily share all of their views.

In Taiwan, the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) suffered a severe defeat in the recent midterm municipal elections, forcing the party leader and current President of Taiwan, Tsai Ing-wen, to resign as party chair, as well as top officials such as Premier William Lai and Secretary-General to President Chen Chu. The concurrently held referendum on a number of social issues saw a mobilisation of conservative votes. However, beneath the surface of this seemingly expected swing back to the opposition Kuomintang (KMT), the ongoing capitalist crisis of Taiwan is preparing a new phase of class struggle.

Theresa May has survived to live another day after coming through a vote of no confidence amongst her party’s MPs with a 200-to-117 majority. But whilst the Tory leader may have won this battle, she has most certainly lost the war.

In the vicinity of Ercilla, in the Araucanía region in southern Chile, 24-year-old indigenous Mapuche, Camilo Catrillanca, was murdered by members of the so-called Comando Jungla of the Chilean national police. The young man, a nephew of the local Mapuche chief of Temucuicui, leaves behind his pregnant wife and a daughter of six. Camilo was driving a tractor and was accompanied by a 15-year-old minor when they were showered by bullets, one of which found its way to the back of his head. This is just one more case in the brutal history of police assassinations against the Mapuche people. The lives of dozens of youth and minors are being taken. Meanwhile, the authorities are quick to deem

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Alan Woods, editor of In Defence of Marxism, discusses the historic political crisis taking place in Britain, as the Tory Prime Minister's fate hangs in the balance. As Alan notes, the UK was once considered one of the most stable countries in the world. But now it is a source of enormous instability for world capitalism. And the crisis is not confined to Britain. May, Macron, and Merkel are all facing huge difficulties at home, as the broken status quo collapses around them. Only the call for a socialist Europe can offer a way forward.

On Monday evening, Macron gave a televised speech in an attempt to placate the yellow vest movement that now threatens his government. The following day, its contents were scrutinised and debated among all who have mobilised in recent weeks. The verdict: "smoke and mirrors". In particular, "the increase of the minimum wage by 100 euros" includes the automatic revaluation of the minimum wage scheduled for January 2019, in addition to an increase in the "activity premium" supplement, which will not cost employers one cent – and will not be taken into account when calculating pension entitlements.

The yellow vest movement entered its “fourth act” this weekend, with another round of radical protests by well over the officially cited 130,000 people (possibly as many as 500,000). This time, the state response was even more brutal, with 89,000 gendarmes mobilised across France in an attempt to prevent the yellow vests from demonstrating – peacefully or otherwise – resulting in over 2,000 arrests.

Following the motion (submitted by our comrades) that passed with strong majorities at student assemblies at l'université Paul-Valéry-Montpellier and Toulouse, another extremely radical resolution has been adopted by the Paris Nanterre University. It declares the university on strike, lays out a series of demands against Macron's educational counter-reforms, states its solidarity with the yellow vests, condemns police repression, calls for Macron's resignation and puts the word out for a delegate conference of representatives from Paris universities to

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The social and political situation in France is moving at a breakneck speed. In less than a month, the ‘yellow vests’ movement has put the country on the threshold of a revolutionary crisis. In the coming days, this threshold could be crossed. What will be the decisive factor in pushing the movement forward?

Karl Marx once remarked to Friedrich Engels, his lifelong friend and collaborator, that there were sometimes uneventful decades in which years passed as though they were just days. But, he added, “these may be again succeeded by days into which years are compressed”. The current period in Britain is like the latter. Events are moving at a blistering pace.

The strategists of British capitalism are getting jittery. Even the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond, is worried. Capitalism is having a bad time of it. Conservatives, he said, should continue to make the case for the market economy — a model which had evolved “down the ages”. “This mission is urgent,” he stated recently. But why the urgency?

The following motion has been passed by student members of Révolution (the IMT in France) at a general assembly at l'université Paul-Valéry-Montpellier. It has also be raised at a student assembly in Toulouse (to be voted on today), and will be raised in Nanterre and Lyon. It states support for the yellow vest movement, and calls for a campaign of strikes to overthrow the hated Macron government.

40 years ago today, the Spanish Constitution was approved after decades of brutal dictatorship under Franco. But as Alan Woods (himself a witness to these historic events) explains, the so-called Transition to Democracy was a colossal betrayal cooked up by the leaders of the Spanish working-class, which left the main pillars of the reactionary old order intact.

On the weekend of 16 November 2018, the International Marxist Tendency (IMT) held its second Francophone school in Geneva. During those two days, more than 70 activists and sympathisers participated in the school, coming from Switzerland, Belgium, and France; as well as Quebec, England and Germany.

Ever since 1 December, the latest day of mass protest in France, the French media have relentlessly broadcast the scenes of conflict between “yellow vest” protesters and riot police that overtook Paris. Journalists and politicians alike are running a 24/7 relay-race to “condemn all violence” – with the notable exception of violence by the riot police, which has so far resulted in the death of at least one protester, and injured many peaceful demonstrators.

The Gilets Jaunes (yellow vests) movement in France is at a turning point. In the face of building radicalism, which now threatens the very survival of his government, Macron has changed his defiant tone and promised to “suspend” the fuel tax hike that provoked the movement. This retreat came after street battles over the weekend between thousands of protesters and the police that have left over 200 injured in Paris alone and resulted in at least one fatality.

Thousands of people marched through the streets of Malaga, Seville and Granada last night in response to the results of the Andalusia elections, which saw the far-right party VOX enter the regional parliament with 12 deputies. The demonstrations, which had been called through social media, were overwhelmingly made up of youth, with many carrying red and Republican flags, as well as the Andalusian green and white flag.

On 20 October 2018, the White House published a document, entitled ‘The Opportunity Costs of Socialism’, which recognises the rising popularity of socialism in the United States (particularly amongst the young) and attempts to provide a scientific rebuttal in favour of capitalism. Alan Woods replies to this document’s slanders, and investigates why socialist ideas are gaining ground in the United States of America.

Just over 25 years after its foundation, the European Union looks like it could be falling apart under the weight of its own contradictions. Everywhere you look, the major parties are coming under increased pressure due to the heightening of the class struggle as a result of 10 years of crisis. This has meant that, in one country after another, the ruling class can no longer rule in the old way.

In the final installment of Alan Woods' reply to the White House's slanders against socialism, he discusses the terrible financial and human cost of American capitalist imperialism. He points to the clear superiority of a planned economy, and explains that a transition to socialism in America (given its vast productive forces) would be far easier than in backward countries like Russia in 1917, and would be a colossal advance towards the goal of world socialism.

In France, hundreds of thousands of people have participated since mid-November in the yellow vests movement to protest against the rise in fuel taxes and, in general, against the ever-increasing cost of living. This movement is the inevitable result of a palpable economic crisis, and the brutal austerity imposed by the current government.

A forensic report by investigators appointed by the South African Reserve Bank into the collapse of the Limpopo-based VBS Bank has confirmed “one of the biggest bank frauds that we’ve seen in South Africa”. Over a period of three years, nearly 2 billion rand of poor people’s money was stolen. The report has identified at least 53 individuals who, through various schemes, benefited from a combined 1.89 billion rand between 2015 and 2018.

Recently, the bourgeois media, particularly in Europe, has been delighting in the “miraculous” turnaround of Portugal’s fortunes. Just seven years ago, the Portuguese economy was teetering on the brink. The country was heading for the kind of social upheaval that caused a pre-revolutionary situation in Greece, and led to an enormous mass movement in neighbouring Spain.

On 8 November, the student council of the Free University of Brussels (Vrije Universiteit Brussel, VUB) refused to recognise a student Marxist society, set up by the IMT in Brussels (Vonk – Marxistische jongeren), on the grounds that our organisation is… anti-sexist, anti-racist and anti-fascist! We reiterate: this was a decision taken by the majority of the student council, not the university bosses.

Late on the night of Sunday, 25 November, rumours began to trickle out about the impending closure of the Oshawa General Motors plant. The following morning the terrible news was confirmed to be true. In response, workers of Unifor Local 222 staged a spontaneous wildcat walkout. The closure is a massive blow to the working class of the city and the province which cannot be allowed to stand. The capitalists have shown themselves to be incapable of providing decent employment. It is up to the workers to take action to defend their jobs and union.

On 22 November, at the Leon Trotsky House Museum in Mexico City, Alan Woods began his talk on the English Revolution by saying that, while postmodernists claim there are no laws in history and that it is impossible to understand, there are recurrent processes and even familiar characters across the centuries. Similar material conditions provoke historical phenomena with certain similarities.

On 15 November, the Sri Lankan parliament erupted in a brawl over a no-confidence motion passed against the newly appointed prime minister, Mahinda Rajapaksa. Punches were exchanged in a factional fight between opposition parties that supported the no-confidence vote and Rajapaksa's supporters.

On Monday, dozens of young people and workers assembled in the auditorium of the Leon Trotsky House Museum to listen to a speech by Alan Woods, leader of the International Marxist Tendency. The event was about the ideas of Karl Marx, 200 years since his birth. The day (November 20), could not be more appropriate, as it also marked the anniversary of the beginning of the Mexican Revolution.

In the third part of Alan Woods’ reply to Trump’s advisers’ so-called empirical critique of socialism, he addresses their gross mischaracterisation of the Nordic economies, Venezuela and the USSR. Alan also refutes the accusation that socialism will inevitably lead to food shortages and economic ruin; and responds to the falsehood that socialists want to “nationalise everything”.

It’s been a turbulent time for the aviation industry recently. And now another airline looks unlikely to weather the storm. Flybe is up for sale, with the regional air carrier calling in accountants from KPMG in an attempt to save itself from collapse. Half-year profits have plunged and the company’s auditor, PwC, warned of “significant doubt” over its future. KPMG's involvement should have instantly set alarm bells ringing, as they were also the administrator of Monarch Airlines last year.

The mobilisation of the gilets jaunes (“yellow vests”) protest movement marks an important step in the development of the class struggle in France. With no party, no union, and no pre-existing organisation, hundreds of thousands of people have participated in this movement against a tax increase on diesel and petrol, sweeping aside the pseudo-concessions and threats of the government. They are supported by a large majority of the population.

Rob Sewell, editor of Socialist Appeal(British paper of the IMT) spoke at the Revolution Festival in London about the 2008 financial crisis, 10 years after the fact. He explains that we are living through perhaps the greatest ever organic crisis of capitalism, from which there has been no meaningful recovery; and that all attempts to deal with the fallout of 2008 (from quantitative easing to austerity) have now disrupted the social and political situation.

Upwards of a trillion-and-a-half Danish kroner in “dirty money” (an amount that corresponds to about 60 percent of the Danish GDP) appears to have passed through the Danish financial giant Danske Bank. This case is just one in a long series of scandals, which show that the bourgeois rule of law is an illusion.

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