This year’s Pfingstseminar, the annual seminar of the Austrian section of the International Marxist Tendency (IMT), was the largest ever, with over 200 participants. It was a truly internationalist seminar with many comrades from Germany, Switzerland, Czechia, Hungary, Britain and Yugoslavia, and it was a great success.
This year’s seminar took place from 26-29 May in the idyllic countryside of Upper Austria. The slogan of the event was “without revolutionary theory, there is no revolutionary practice”. The first plenary session on the perspectives for world revolution was held by Niklas Albin Svensson from London. It made clear that the deep crisis of capitalism in all spheres of society leads to an increased radicalisation, especially among the youth. Socialism in our lifetime is achievable – but in order to make this possibility a reality, we need revolutionary leadership. This is the task that the IMT sets itself.
The enthusiasm and mood of solidarity was visible throughout the weekend. Everyone – whether they were attending for the first or tenth time – helped to make this fully self-financed and self-organised seminar a success. The thirst for theory was also shown in the literature sales, which raised €2,250. The launch of our summer collection also brought pledges of €35,000 to build the IMT.
Across 15 workshops, we deepened our understanding of the capitalist crisis in all its aspects. Topics included: “The End of Globalisation”, “Imperialism from Lenin to today”, “Dialectics of Nature”, “Man, nature and the climate catastrophe” and “Marxism and Feminism”. As well as this, we discussed the question of how we can actually overthrow capitalism with talks including: “The Russian Revolution and the Bolsheviks”, “Reformism versus Revolution”, “The lessons of the Corbyn movement and the role of the Marxists”, and many more.
Another plenary session was dedicated to the political perspectives for Austria, introduced by Emanuel Tomaselli. The crisis of capitalism and of bourgeois democracy has also led to a crisis of reformism and of Social Democracy. The leadership of the workers’ movement is a huge obstacle for the development of class struggle, but any apparent hopelessness is being undermined by events. Last year, we saw the highest number of strikes in 20 years in Austria. The Social Democratic Party (SPÖ) is in a full-blown crisis, which the bureaucracy is struggling to contain. The candidacy of left-winger Andi Babler for the leadership of the SPÖ, as well as the significant victories of the Communist Party in two regional elections, have led to a broad, public debate (and bourgeois hysteria) about Marxism and Communism. This is an excellent situation to strengthen the forces of revolutionary Marxism!
On Saturday evening, there was a school student meeting with about 30 participants. Students exchanged experiences and discussed how the growing number of young people that are interested in communism and revolution can be convinced of the need for a Marxist organisation.
With the Funke-Football-Tournament, the singing of workers’ songs and the barbecue, there was also plenty of fun to be had. We used the opportunity to have deep political debates and exchange experiences with comrades from other countries and regions.
After this successful seminar, we are returning to the work of building the IMT with renewed enthusiasm. Help us build the forces of Marxism! For socialism in our lifetime!