We have just celebrated the 60th anniversary of the end of the Second World War and the liberation from fascism. Exactly 60 years ago the leadership of the German Wehrmacht signed the capitulation. Yesterday in the former concentration camp (KZ) of Mauthausen and in Vienna thousands of people showed their opposition to war and to fascism.

Some of our readers will perhaps remember the inauguration of the right-wing coalition government in Austria in February 2000. For the first time since 1970 the Social Democratic Party was not part of the federal government. The new government was formed by Wolfgang Schüssel of the conservative Peoples’ Party and Jörg Haider, the leader of the Freedom Party. This led to a big movement of Austrian “civil society” and a wave of international protests starting with the tops of the EU. Many on the left saw the threat of fascism because of the participation of the Freedom Party in this new bourgeois government.

On October 3rd Austria was shaken by a political earthquake. After decades of "social partnership", after 13 years of a 'Grand Coalition' between the Social Democrat Party (SP) and the conservative Peoples Party (VP) characterised by enormous stability these parliamentary elections mark a turning point in Austria's post-war history. Especially the big success of the extreme right-wing party of Jörg Haider, the FP÷, was not only a shock to a lot of people in Austria, but also internationally.

Since 1945 Austrian politics were characterised by coalition governments with the participation of the Socialist Party. But on Friday January 21st the pressure from the trade unions forced the break-down of coalition talks between the SP and the conservative PP. Gernot Trausmuth, Editorial board of the Austrian Marxist magazine 'Der Funke' , looks at the implications of this for the future of the class struggle in Austria. January 2000.

Railworkers took the initiative in launching demonstrations against the entry of the extreme right wing Freedom Party of Haider in the new government on the third of February. Since that day, students and other young people have not stopped hitting the streets of Vienna and other towns in Austria. This country has definitely broken with its smooth and consensual past. Today class struggle in its different forms is again on the order of the day. We spoke with Herbert Bartik, activist of the Vienna Socialist Youth and of the Marxist paper Der Funke about the sudden upheaval.

"Widerstand! Widerstand!" - "Resistance! Resistance!" - that is the main slogan of the protest wave which has been shaking Austria for more than three weeks. When it became clear that the conservative Peoples Party (ÖVP) was to form a coalition with the extreme right-wing Freedom Party of Jörg Haider, this sharp political turn sparked a spontaneous movement never seen before in Austria.

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