In Sunday’s elections in Russia Putin won a “landslide victory”. No one was surprised at this. It was a foregone conclusion, as it was not really an election but a plebiscite in the tried and tested tradition of all Bonapartists. Putin had tried to eliminate all opposition parties. The only opposition party, however, that managed to muster a sizeable vote was the Communist Party. Fred Weston looks at the implications of this.

We are publishing two articles from the Italian Marxist journal Falcemartello which give a clear indication of the level of militancy that is developing among the workers in Italy. Both the FIAT Melfi and the Alitalia disputes highlight the growing contradiction between the will to struggle on the part of the workers and the constant striving to hold down the movement on the part of the union leaders. This cannot last for ever.

The vote for the German SPD in the recent European elections revealed a disastrous collapse. It is the price the party pays for pushing a Blairite agenda of cuts and attacks on the welfare state. The German workers do not want this. Large numbers abstained, rather than vote for the Christian Democrats, who also lost votes. On the left, the PDS recovered from its bad showing in 1999.