Prague 1968

The Prague Spring was a movement with the potential to develop into a socialist political revolution against the Communist Party (CP) bureaucracy, possibly with far-reaching consequences. For this reason, over the last half century, the Prague Spring has been slandered by Stalinists, co-opted by liberals, and distorted by both.

Yesterday, 23rd October was the 60th anniversary of the Hungarian Revolution of 1956. That movement of the Hungarian masses signified the culmination of the growing discontent evident in Eastern Europe at the time. We republish an article originally written 20 years ago, explaining the events that took place and their significance.

The winds of revolution are once again blowing over the African continent. From Burkina Faso to South Africa, from Burundi to Nigeria, we have seen a radicalisation of the workers and the youth and the rise of mass movements that have challenged corrupt capitalist regimes in one country after another.

Today is the 42nd anniversary of the Portuguese revolution. On this occasion we recommend our readers to read or re-read the following analysis, written by Alan Woods in 1974.

This week Wellred Books publishes its latest title, China: From Permanent Revolution to Counter-Revolution by John Peter Roberts. The book is a thorough-going analysis of the revolutionary history of China – from the early 20century to the present era of crisis – aided by a wealth of research which cuts across the many historical distortions both of bourgeois academia and of the Chinese Communist Party. Here we publish the foreword by Fred Weston.

Victor Jara, a popular singer who gave expression to the revolutionary fervour of the working people of Chile was brutally beaten the day after the Pinochet coup and his hands were smashed with rifle butts. Fellow prisoners described how his torturers mockingly asked him if he could now play the guitar. In defiance, Víctor started singing the words of Venceremos (We Will Win). In this article Marzia De Luca looks at the work of Victor Jara and how it developed in line with the rising revolutionary movement of the Chilean masses.

On April 9, 1952 Bolivia witnessed one of the deepest and most proletarian revolutions in the history of the American continent. In the space of a few hours, factory workers, the population of the cities and armed miners, defeated and humiliated the bourgeois state apparatus and physically destroyed the army of the ruling class, which would take years to be re-established.

The events that unfolded towards the end of 1956 in Hungary shook all the Communist Parties of the world. The official line of the Communist Parties was that what was taking place in Hungary was a Fascist counter-revolution! Not all the ranks of the CPs were fooled. Many could see that the workers of Hungary had risen up against the bureaucratic elite in power. This could be no counter-revolution. Thus many rank and file members of the Communist Parties questioned the official party interpretation of events. In 1957 alone the Italian Communist Party lost 300,000 members as a result of the Hungarian events. In Britain the Communist Party of Great Britain was also affected. It was in order to intervene in the debates taking place in the British CP that Ted Grant wrote an open letter at the end of 1956, that we publish here below.

The world has been shaken by the Arab Revolution. From the Atlantic to the Persian Gulf, revolution is on the agenda. And once again Egypt has been at the heart of this process, as it has always played a leading role in the region, due to its size, population and economic weight.

Twenty years ago as the Berlin Wall came tumbling down the bourgeoisie in the west was euphoric, rejoicing at the “fall of communism”. Twenty years later things look very different as capitalism has entered its most severe crisis since 1929. Now a majority in former East Germany votes for the left and harks back to what was positive about the planned economy. After rejecting Stalinism, they have now had a taste of capitalism, and the conclusion drawn is that socialism is better than capitalism.

In 1949 the People’s Liberation Army, in spite of huge military aid supplied to Chiang Kai-shek’s nationalist forces, took power and within a short span of time proceeded to snuff out capitalism and landlordism. The Marxists wholeheartedly supported the revolution, but they also warned that because the working class did not play the leading role, what would emerge would be a bureaucratically deformed workers’ state.

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