Theory History

In the bourgeois media today, Afghanistan is portrayed only in relation to Islamic fundamentalism, jihad, warlords and drug cartels. While these ills are a sad fact of life in Afghanistan today, that was not always the case. 40 years ago, a revolution almost shook the country out of its backwardness, only to be thrown back after the imperialist-backed, fundamentalist counter-revolution. To understand the current situation in the Middle East, as well as the rise of the reactionary forces, it is necessary to understand the rise and fall of the Saur revolution in Afghanistan in 1978.

The October Revolution radically changed the situation for homosexuals in Russia, as it did for women. In 1922 the first criminal code of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic (RSFSR) was passed as law. In 1918 all the old Tsarist laws were suspended and when finally, after a few years of debate, the new constitution was adopted, homosexuality or “sodomy” as it was called, was decriminalised. This was an enormous advance for homosexuals, who under the Tsar could be arrested and sentenced to years of imprisonment or sent to labour camps.

50 years ago, on 4 April 1968, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. – the leader of the civil rights movement in America – was shot dead in cold blood. On that day, Dr. King was in Memphis, Tennessee, to lead a demonstration and rally in support of a three-month-long fight for trade union recognition by 1,300 local refuse collectors.

Wellred Books proudly presents the new edition of Leon Trotsky’s My Life.Since this book was first published, it has been regarded as a unique political and literary document. Written in the first year of Trotsky’s exile in Turkey, it contains the earliest authoritative account of the rise of Stalinism and the expulsion of the Left Opposition, who heroically fought for the ideas and traditions of Lenin.

We publish here a collected series of articles on the 1837-1838 Rebellions of Upper and Lower Canada (original available at Fightback). It is important that Marxists understand the place of these important events in the history of the class struggle in Canada and Quebec.

On 21 August 1940, Leon Trotsky, the great revolutionary leader of the October Revolution, died in Mexico, murdered by a Stalinist agent. We publish his autobiography with forewords by In Defence of Marxism editor, Alan Woods, and Trotsky's grandson, Esteban Volkov.

Mahatma Gandhi, the defining figure of the Indian nationalist campaign against British colonial rule in India, is known by most as an anti-imperialist, whose peaceful non-violent methods helped to overthrow British rule. This myth has been perpetuated by many. The truth, however, is that he betrayed as many as he inspired in the independence campaign, stood wholeheartedly with British imperialist interests, consolidated existing inequalities including caste, racial, and gender discrimination, and ultimately his role helped lead to the calamitous disaster of partition.

Forty-five years ago, the largest and most important strike movement in the history of Quebec took place. During this historic episode, the workers of the province stormed onto the political arena to fight against the bourgeoisie. At its peak, workers occupied the factories and mines, and the general strike movement brought the economy of the province to a halt.

Federica Montseny speaks at the historical meeting of the CNT in Barcelona on 1977, the first one after 36 years of dictatorship in Spain. Manel Armengol

Este año se cumple el 40º aniversario del que fue, sin duda, el año decisivo de la llamada Transición. En el año 1977 tuvieron lugar los asesinatos de Atocha, que elevaron la temperatura revolucionaria de la sociedad a su grado máximo, la legalización de los sindicatos y de los partidos de izquierda, entre ellos el PCE; la celebración de las elecciones semidemocráticas del 15 de junio, así como la firma de los infames Pactos de la Moncloa, que sellarían la traición a las expectativas populares despertadas a la muerte del dictador.

April 2017 marks the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge. Fought as part of the larger British-led Battle of Arras during the First World War, the battle was the first instance in which all four divisions of the Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF) fought together. The success of the unified Canadian Corps in capturing the ridge from German troops, after failed efforts to do so by British and French forces, has steadily grown in significance in recent decades to attain the status of a founding myth, in which Vimy represented Canada’s birth as a nation. This mythologized narrative obscures the true nature of an imperialist war that led to the death of millions, while furthering

...

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.

Twenty years ago what was once a mighty Communist Party of nearly two million members, the Italian PCI, was dissolved and was transformed into the Democratic Party of the Left, later to become the Democratic Party. In the process the party split in two, with those opposing this change setting up the Party of Communist Refoundation. This article by Roberto Sarti of the Editorial Board of Falcemartello looks at how this came about and draws some lessons for today’s communists.

May 1968 was the greatest revolutionary general strike in history. This mighty movement took place at the height of the post-war economic upswing in capitalism. Then, as now, the bourgeois and their apologists were congratulating themselves that revolutions and class struggle were things of the past. Then came the French events of 1968, which seemed to drop like a thunderbolt from a clear blue sky. They took most of the Left completely by surprise, because, they had all written off the European working class as a revolutionary force.