Europe

Despite Boris Johnson’s “Bung a Bob” crowdfunding appeal, Big Ben will not “bong for Brexit” at 11pm on 31st January. The Parliamentary Standards Committee has put its foot down and blocked the idea. Instead, the Tory government will project a countdown clock onto the wall of 10 Downing Street. So much for taking back control.

The election victory for Boris Johnson opens up a new, convulsive chapter in Britain. Rather than stabilise the situation, as the capitalist commentators believe, it will further intensify this epoch of instability. We are in a period of sharp and sudden changes, which is a reflection of the deep crisis of capitalism today.

Antonio Gramsci died in 1937, after spending nearly ten years in prison under Mussolini’s fascist regime. All these years later, his ideas and legacy are still being debated and reinterpreted. Who was Gramsci? All manner of weird and wonderful answers have been given to this question, with plenty of distortions, if not outright historical falsifications, from petit-bourgeois academics and intellectuals, to revisionists in the labour movement.

In recent months the monarchy has been thrown into crisis, a symptom of the crisis of capitalism. First we had the proroguing of parliament, then Prince Andrew's train crash interview and now the crisis of "Megxit." Overthrow this feudal relic!

We spoke with Leonid Shaidurov: a 17-year-old activist who has played a leading role in the School Strikes for Climate movement in Russia. He has helped organise students in schools and is a member of both the coordination council for Fridays for Future internationally and the organisational committee in Russia. He agreed to be interviewed in order to give advice to school students hoping to build on the movement around climate change.

The battle in France over Macron’s reactionary pension reform passed its 40th day on 13 January. A fourth interprofessional strike last Thursday and follow-up protests on the weekend brought hundreds of thousands onto the streets yet again, and further days of action have been declared up until 16 January.

The National Executive Committee (NEC) of the Labour Party have fired the starter pistol for the race to succeed Jeremy Corbyn. The main contestants have bolted out of the gates, with six candidates already announcing their intention to stand for the top job. But it is clear that the battle for the leadership position is a two-horse race.

At the time of writing these lines, the outcome of the struggle that began on 5 December is still uncertain. The government has made clear that it will not back down on the key elements of its “reform” (a counter-reform, in reality). Faced with this, the striking workers have demonstrated exemplary courage and militancy.

The focus of coverage of the 12 December general election has naturally been on the gains made by the Tories, particularly in the Midlands and the North of England. Less attention has been given to the seismic shift that took place in the North of Ireland. In an election marked by sectarianism, electoral alliances, Brexit and the border, the DUP received a hammering. Their fall from the position of kingmakers at Westminster two years ago has been dramatic.

The "sardines" took to the squares of Emilia in big numbers, and in the wake of their success, became a national movement in a matter of days. The first mobilisation was triggered in the capital of Bologna on 14 November, due to the presence of Salvini, who is doing a rally tour of the region with an eye on the 26 January elections.