Americas

A series of attacks on Saudi oil installations have set sparks flying once again in the Middle East. Only months after a last-minute cancellation of a US strike on Iran – and weeks after reaching out for talks without any preconditions – US President Donald Trump is yet again filling the twittersphere with threats and intimidation. Meanwhile, oil prices shot up by 20 percent and the ripple effects are already working their way through the sensitive oil and currency markets.

The new labour minister, Rolando Castro – a former unionist – has started a crusade against the Salvadoran Institute of Social Security Workers’ Union STISSS. Using the state apparatus and with “legal” manoeuvres, he has organised a coup d'etat against the union's leadership. The leadership that was elected in a general assembly in 2018 has been dismissed and expelled from the organisation. Based on an “assembly” that never took place, and with the backing of “legal” accreditations from the Ministry of Labour, a gang of puppets commanded by Ricardo Monge (an old trade union bureaucrat) has arbitrarily taken control of the union's leadership.

Yes! It’s true! You did read that right. President Donald Trump has sacked his National Security Advisor, John Bolton, telling him his services are “no longer needed”.

“Money is the universal self-established value of all things. It has, therefore, robbed the whole world – both the world of men and nature – of its specific value.” – Karl Marx (1843)

From space, in various satellite images, you can see columns of smoke and suspended particles ascending above the most extensive and biologically diverse tropical forest in the world: the Amazon.

The fires in the Amazon and central-west regions of Brazil were felt in São Paulo. The sky darkened at 3pm and many people did not understand why. Then the news came, explaining that, besides the cold front, this was caused by the ground-clearing fires used in “slash-and-burn” agriculture. And then, a general commotion was stirred up on social media, in the newspapers, and across the international media. The environmental problem, which did not seem to be a major focus of public indignation, become a new point of expression for widespread dissatisfaction and government crisis. This issue fed the anger and resentment against the Bolsonaro government, which responded with nothing but

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The Chiquitania region of Bolivia has been on fire since early August. The wildfires started on 2 August both west and east from San José de Chiquitos in woodland areas and dry woods, reaching Roboré later on. Prime Minister Quintana accused the right-wing of provoking the fires for political and electoral purposes. Until he can prove this, we’ll have to take his statement as an assumption that the wildfires did not spread from Brazil, as the government initially claimed. Rather, the cause of this disaster is to be found inside Bolivia’s borders.

Stock markets have experienced a roller-coaster ride over the past two months, as Trump’s erratic trade policy has brought the world economy to the brink of recession. In the latest move, Trump yet again partially postponed the introduction of new tariffs, which he announced two weeks ago. This temporary reprieve will do little to solve the conflict.

People around the world have once again been shocked by a wave of shootings perpetrated by far-right extremists. The shootings in Gilroy, California and El Paso, Texas, were carried out by individuals who shared fascist manifestos, detailing their beliefs prior to the attacks, which claimed the lives of 25 people. You would have to

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On 5 August, the Trump administration took yet another step in escalating imperialist aggression against Venezuela by imposing an economic embargo. The current regime change offensive against President Maduro has so far failed miserably. Incapable of using direct military means to remove the Venezuelan government and impose one of its liking, Washington has decided to further tighten the economic screws on a nation already suffering a catastrophic economic crisis, which previous sanctions have only aggravated. We fully reject this new act of outrageous imperialist meddling.

On 6 August, several leftist organisations gathered in Plaza Morelos in Caracas, Venezuela to support the peasants’ claim for land that is rightly theirs. More than 300 people, many from the interior of the country, gathered together to march to Miraflores Palace and demand the fulfilment of the agreements signed with the president a year ago.

The American labour movement has had a rough few decades. After peaking at 34.8 percent in 1954, just 10.5 percent of US workers are in a union today and only 7.2 percent of private sector workers. With corporate profits, capital accumulation, market indices, and wealth inequality reaching mind-boggling levels, many shortsighted individuals gave up the ghost and conceded defeat to the capitalists. The best we could do, in their view, was roll over and beg for a few crumbs off their table. But “the darkest hour is before the dawn.” The US working class has not gone down for the count—not by a long shot—and we’re coming for the crumbs, the pie, and the table.

After ten days of stormy mass protests and a general strike that brought the whole island to a standstill, the hated Puerto Rico governor Roselló was forced to resign. As the slogans on the streets are saying: “No renunció el pueblo lo sacó” (“he didn’t resign, the people kicked him out”). This is a first and very significant victory of the mass movement, which now wants to overthrow La Junta itself.

Today marks the tenth consecutive day of protests calling for the resignation of Puerto Rico’s Governor, Ricardo Rosselló. Hundreds of thousands have filled the streets of San Juan and surrounded La Fortaleza, the governor’s mansion. The spark for the protests was a leaked Telegram chat that revealed large-scale government corruption as well as the most abhorrent language and disgusting jokes, revealing the complete disdain of the government towards the people of Puerto Rico.

In recent months, we have witnessed a noticeable deceleration of inflation. In February and March, we saw the prices of many goods and services remaining relatively stagnant, or even falling briefly. The behaviour of prices in June has been similar, coinciding with a seasonal period where several items (such as cheese, various vegetables, and some fruits) tend to be produced in greater quantity than during the rest of the year.

Sheltered in the darkness of the night, in the early hours of 28 June 2009, hundreds of soldiers entered the presidential residence and captured José Manuel Zelaya Rosales, the legitimately elected president of Honduras. While still in his pyjamas, he was forcibly exiled to Costa Rica. A letter by Zelaya was issued, in which he resigned the presidency in order to avoid further bloodshed. The ousted president denied the letter was his.

On the weekend of June 29-30, Fightback held its first-ever Marxist Summer School in Edmonton, Alberta. Mirroring our annual Marxist Winter School in Montreal, close to 60 people attended the school, making this the largest Marxist gathering in Alberta in recent memory. People attended not just from Alberta, but many came all the way from Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia, British Columbia, and the United States. The resounding success of this inaugural Marxist school proves that there’s a genuine thirst for revolutionary ideas in Alberta.

On Monday, the Chilean teacher's strike entered its fifth week. More than 70 percent of the teachers voted to reject the latest government offer and want to continue the national strike indefinitely. The strike has involved hundreds of thousands throughout the country, with particularly active participation in the regions. For her part, the education minister Marcela Cubillos has shown great arrogance, and only last week agreed to dialogue amidst controversy over police brutality. After large marches of tens of thousands in the past weeks marked a milestone in the teacher’s movement, the high point was the cacerolazo (banging on pots and pans as a political protest) of the patipelados

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The military has entered the National Autonomous University of Honduras (UNAH) to brutally repress students who protested against the illegitimate government of Juan Orlando Hernández (JOH). At least eight students have been injured. This attack comes a few days after a group of US Marines entered the Central American country, evidencing the support of US imperialism for this coup government. The authorities of the university, similarly, have been accomplices of the coup government, but the repression has taken shape in such a brutal way that even the University Council has had to condemn it.

The class struggle is intensifying in Honduras as the dictatorship increases the level of repression. Just yesterday, our comrades on the ground were witnesses to an attack on the main university campus of UNAH (National Autonomous University of Honduras) in the capital of Tegucigalpa. Since the armed police have refused to repress the people, the military was sent into the university and fired live rounds on unarmed students, injuring four. As the comrades state, this is a clear violation of “the university’s autonomy and an attempt against the lives of the

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In Honduras, a mass movement is reaching insurrectionary proportions and threatens to bring down the illegitimate government of Juan Orlando Hernández (JOH). Protests against planned privatisation of public healthcare and education, which began at the end of May, have recently been escalating. The past week in Honduras has seen a significant broadening of the protest movement out from the health professionals’ and teachers’ trade unions to the wider public.

In a video recorded yesterday (20 June), Hamid Alizadeh, writer for In Defence of Marxism, discusses the rising tensions between the USA and Iran, with Washington accusing the Tehran regime (amongst other things) of attacking two oil tankers. It is clear that the bellicose Trump administration, along with their reactionary allies in the Middle East, are looking to thwart the power and influence of Iran in the region, in order to assert their own imperialist interests.

The general strike of 14 June saw the participation of important sectors of the working class that have a tradition of organisation, such as metallurgical workers, chemical workers, oil workers, bank employees, public servants, etc. But the strike could have been stronger, with even larger demonstrations, if the union leadership had actually mobilised their base.

Millions participated in the general strike in Brazil on 14 June, with demonstrations in 380 cities across the country. The strike had been called to reject the proposed counter-reform of the pension system by the Bolsonaro government, but also reflected opposition to education cuts, which had already brought millions onto the streets on 15 and 30 May.

On 12 June, the UK Home Secretary Sajid Javid certified the request from the US to extradite Julian Assange for allegations of hacking and sharing classified American government documents. We wholeheartedly oppose his extradition and defend Assange’s freedom of speech.

Yesterday, The Intercept Brazil news site published a number of correspondences between former judge Sergio Moro, and the Lava Jato (“Car Wash”) prosecutors, led by Federal Public Ministry of Brazil attorney, Deltan Dallagnol. The Operation Car Wash corruption case led to the arrest and imprisonment of (among others) former PT president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (“Lula”), who was convicted without evidence. These correspondences reveal the political objectives behind this operation, which included action to organise fraud in the 2018 elections.

The vast expanse of the United States makes it difficult for any group to organise national events. But long drives and expensive flights could not deter nearly 100 comrades and contacts from attending this year’s National School, the US IMT’s largest event to date. Comrades from 18 US states, a delegation from Edmonton, Canada, and Fred Weston from the UK met in Pittsburgh to celebrate the 100-year anniversary of the Third (Communist) International, the most impressive revolutionary organisation humanity has ever known.

Alan Woods, editor of In Defence of Marxism, comments on President Trump's recent state visit to Britain. With Theresa May stepping down, Tory leadership contenders have made a lot of noise about how Britain will 'reclaim sovereignty' and 'take back control' after Brexit. But the events surrounding Trump's visit expose this as a complete charade. Far from achieving a favourable trade deal with the USA, the Tory government is preparing the ground for American big business to sweep in and pick at whatever scraps are left of the British economy after Brexit.

We have now reached and exceeded the $1,300 target of our campaign to raise money for the El Salvadoran comrades. In total, we raised $2,700. This, together with the fundraising effort the comrades have made themselves, will mean that they will be able to purchase the duplicator they need. It will be an important step forward for the work of spreading Marxism in El Salvador in the coming years.

From May to August of 1934, Minneapolis was rocked by a strike that would forever change the course of U.S. labour history. This was the strike of Teamsters Local 574, a union led by Trotskyists. Many of the best techniques used by organised labour today find their origins in the Minneapolis Strike, in particular the flying picket. However, the strike's greatest conquest was in laying the foundations for industrial unionism in North America, leading to the formation of the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO) in the following years. Above all, the Minneapolis Strike demonstrated the role played by the young forces of American Trotskyism in obtaining gains for workers.

This article, first published in Socialist Revolution (US magazine of the IMT), argues that the historical pendulum is swinging towards an eventual resurgence of the labour movement. What needs to be in place for a future revolution to succeed? What kind of organisation and programme can lead the working class to victory?

More than 160 revolutionaries gathered in Toronto, May 18-20 for the 19th congress of Fightback and La Riposte Socialiste, the supporters of the International Marxist Tendency in Canada. The three-day congress brought attendees from Toronto, Montreal, Edmonton, Victoria, Waterloo, Hamilton, Ottawa, Oshawa, as well as international guests from Britain, Sweden and the United States.

The following editorial from Issue 15 of Socialist Revolution, the US magazine of the International Marxist Tendency, was published on 8 May 2019. The stage is clearly set for another convulsive economic disruption. The coming crisis will bring to the surface all the accumulated doubts and frustrations of the so-called boom years.

This statement was produced by the Marxist Left, Brazilian section of the International Marxist Tendency, after the mass demonstrations against cuts to education and the pension counter-reform in Brazil last week. It analyses the meaning of that outburst of anger, the splits within the government and the way forward for the movement.

On 1 May 2019, IMT comrades in El Salvador were very proud to commemorate the 10th anniversary of Militante - BPJ, the paper of the revolutionaries of the BPJ (Popular Youth Bloc). The enormous amount of work that has maintained our publication on a more-or-less regular basis over these past 10 years would not have been possible without the invaluable collaboration of sellers, writers, designers, correspondents, but above all, the help of all our readers. We can say proudly, and without exaggeration, that they are spread all over the country.

The Salvadoran section of the International Marxist Tendency, Bloque Popular Juvenil, has marked 10 years of publication of its paper BPJ – Militante. From a modest first issue in February 2009, when it was a quarterly three-page tabloid, the paper has improved into a regular monthly paper with a print run of 600 copies, which doubles for the May Day edition.

Recently, a debate has opened up regarding the denunciation by the former Minister Elías Jaua of the arrest of 10 communards, who had occupied and reclaimed the social ownership of the state company, Arroz del Alba, in the Portuguesa state in west Venezuela. Arroz del Alba's assets had been turned over to be managed by the private company Agroinlaca.

The massive, marvellous and militant demonstrations on 15 May all over Brazil struck a blow against the already unstable Bolsonaro government. Protests took place in over 200 cities across the country and more than 1.5 million young people and workers took to the streets.

15 May saw a tsunami of demonstrators come out against education cuts and counter-reforms to pensions in Brazil. More than 1.5 million hit the streets of over 200 cities across the country during the national education strike against the latest measures of the Bolsonaro government, which include a 30 percent cut to university budgets. Despite its bravado, the government is weak and divided. The slogan “Fora Bolsonaro” (Bolsonaro Out) resonated widely. Certainly, Brazil is not in the throes of fascism. Far from it. It is now time to prepare a general strike to bring this government down.

After Donald Trump came into office, Washington’s position on the Cuban Revolution has become ever-more belligerent, in a radical change of policy from that followed by President Obama. Although the ultimate objective of both administrations was the same – the destruction of the Cuban Revolution – Obama recognised that the politics of direct aggression had failed, and so pursued the same goal in the economic sphere instead. The objective was to restore capitalism through the penetration of the market into the Cuban economy. Trump, it

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Despite a great many difficulties, an international seminar on Leon Trotsky was held in Cuba on 6-8 May. The event was convened by the Institute of Philosophy and with the participation of the Leon Trotsky House Museum in Mexico. The International Marxist Tendency’s presence was felt through the Carlos Marx Socialist Studies Centre and a message from Alan Woods.

We publish here a second round of May Day reports, from Pakistan, Indonesia, El Salvador and Nigeria. In all these countries, the on-going capitalist crisis has led to great exploitation and injustice, and workers are engaged in struggles on several fronts for decent wages and living conditions. Many are drawing radical conclusions, and responded very well to our comrades’ message of revolutionary class struggle!

On 6-8 May, Cuba will host for the first time an international event on the life and ideas of Russian revolutionary, Leon Trotsky. The academic event reflects the growing interest in the ideas of Trotsky on the island since the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Just before dawn on 30 April, the Venezuelan opposition launched yet another attempt at a military coup. By the end of the day, the botched coup attempt seemed to have failed, with one of its leaders seeking refuge in the Spanish embassy, 25 of the soldiers involved requesting asylum at the Brazilian embassy and Juan Guaidó in hiding or on the run.