Americas

The victory of the CAQ (Coalition Avenir Québec, or Coalition for the Future of Quebec) in the 1 October elections in Quebec marked the end of an epoch in the province. The Liberal Party and the Parti Québécois (PQ) who had held power interchangeably for nearly half a century were pummeled at the polls, receiving their worst electoral results in history. The political landscape in Quebec is increasingly polarised on the left with Québec solidaire and on the right with the CAQ, while the establishment parties in the “centre” have been punished.

On Monday, 26 November 2018 Canada’s post-war social contract finally died, after a long period of ill health. At her bedside were two who were present at her birth, Oshawa auto workers and striking postal workers. Her passing was due to systematic abuse and abandonment by corporations and government. She is survived by a labour relations regime of naked class war. In lieu of flowers, bring picket signs and burn barrels.

In the vicinity of Ercilla, in the Araucanía region in southern Chile, 24-year-old indigenous Mapuche, Camilo Catrillanca, was murdered by members of the so-called Comando Jungla of the Chilean national police. The young man, a nephew of the local Mapuche chief of Temucuicui, leaves behind his pregnant wife and a daughter of six. Camilo was driving a tractor and was accompanied by a 15-year-old minor when they were showered by bullets, one of which found its way to the back of his head. This is just one more case in the brutal history of police assassinations against the Mapuche people. The lives of dozens of youth and minors are being taken. Meanwhile, the authorities are quick to deem

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On 20 October 2018, the White House published a document, entitled ‘The Opportunity Costs of Socialism’, which recognises the rising popularity of socialism in the United States (particularly amongst the young) and attempts to provide a scientific rebuttal in favour of capitalism. Alan Woods replies to this document’s slanders, and investigates why socialist ideas are gaining ground in the United States of America.

In the final installment of Alan Woods' reply to the White House's slanders against socialism, he discusses the terrible financial and human cost of American capitalist imperialism. He points to the clear superiority of a planned economy, and explains that a transition to socialism in America (given its vast productive forces) would be far easier than in backward countries like Russia in 1917, and would be a colossal advance towards the goal of world socialism.

Late on the night of Sunday, 25 November, rumours began to trickle out about the impending closure of the Oshawa General Motors plant. The following morning the terrible news was confirmed to be true. In response, workers of Unifor Local 222 staged a spontaneous wildcat walkout. The closure is a massive blow to the working class of the city and the province which cannot be allowed to stand. The capitalists have shown themselves to be incapable of providing decent employment. It is up to the workers to take action to defend their jobs and union.

On 22 November, at the Leon Trotsky House Museum in Mexico City, Alan Woods began his talk on the English Revolution by saying that, while postmodernists claim there are no laws in history and that it is impossible to understand, there are recurrent processes and even familiar characters across the centuries. Similar material conditions provoke historical phenomena with certain similarities.

50,000 members of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW) have been on rotating strike since 22 October. The Trudeau Liberal government has tabled so-called “back-to-work” legislation, that will make this work stoppage illegal. Increasingly, the right to strike in Canada is not worth the paper it is written on. As soon as a strike becomes effective, it is declared illegal. However, the postal workers are angry and there is a real opportunity that they will defy the legislation. Solidarity is urgently needed to let the CUPW workers know they are not alone, and that workers in Canada and internationally support their fight.

On Monday, dozens of young people and workers assembled in the auditorium of the Leon Trotsky House Museum to listen to a speech by Alan Woods, leader of the International Marxist Tendency. The event was about the ideas of Karl Marx, 200 years since his birth. The day (November 20), could not be more appropriate, as it also marked the anniversary of the beginning of the Mexican Revolution.

In the third part of Alan Woods’ reply to Trump’s advisers’ so-called empirical critique of socialism, he addresses their gross mischaracterisation of the Nordic economies, Venezuela and the USSR. Alan also refutes the accusation that socialism will inevitably lead to food shortages and economic ruin; and responds to the falsehood that socialists want to “nationalise everything”.

On 27 October, Robert Gregory Bowers, a far-right activist, gunned down 11 people at the Tree of Life Congregation Synagogue in Pittsburgh while yelling "All Jews must die!" This was the deadliest attack on the Jewish community in US history. A few days before the Pittsburgh attack, pipe bombs were mailed to prominent critics of US president Donald Trump, including Hillary Clinton, George Soros and members of CNN’s New York bureau. While these events are shocking, they should not surprise anyone. This is just the most recent on a growing list of atrocities committed by the far-right

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On 4 April 1968, Martin Luther King Jnr. was assassinated: shot in cold blood whilst standing on the balcony of his hotel room in Memphis, Tennessee. 50 years on, speaking at the recent Revolution Festival in London, Fred Weston looks at Martin Luther King's life and ideas, and discusses the way forward today in the fight against racism and for liberation.

On the weekend of 10-11 November, the NYC comrades of the International Marxist Tendency hosted the 2018 Northeast Regional Marxist School. There was record turnout for an IMT event in the USA, with nearly 90 registered attendees from Boston, Philadelphia, New York, New Jersey, Pittsburgh, Washington, DC, Minneapolis, Toronto, Montreal – and London!

In the second part of his reply to the White House’s slanders against socialism, Alan Woods addresses the reality of life for American workers under capitalism. Since 2008 they have seen inequality skyrocket, endured long hours in multiple jobs, and faced cuts to essential services – all while the parasitic bankers receive state handouts. The ‘American dream’ is dead – and socialism is reaching a bigger audience.

The 2018 US midterms have come and gone and there were no major surprises. Both Democrats and Republicans worked to mobilise millions and opened their pocketbooks to do so—to the tune of $4 billion. This and the polarisation in society led to a huge rise in turnout, with a record 113 million voting, and over 30 million getting their votes in early, compared to 83 million who voted in 2014.

Venezuelan Communist Party leader, Luís Fajardo, was killed on the evening of Wednesday 31 October, as he was returning home with his brother-in-law, Javier Aldana, who was also killed in the attack. Both men were riding a motorbike at 9pm when they were struck by a burst of gunfire from a moving vehicle. They were peasant activists and communist militants involved in the struggle for agrarian reform in the South of the Maracaibo Lake region and had already asked for protection as they had received death threats.

Donald J. Trump has recently been an extremely busy man. While striving with might and main to make America great again, he has been obliged to fight on a number of different fronts against sinister forces that are hellbent on undermining him, and thereby preventing America from being great.

The following is a statement by Esquerda Marxista (Marxist Left): the Brazilian section of the IMT, after the victory of far-right candidate Jair Bolsonaro in the Brazilian elections. The comrades explain the tasks ahead for the Brazilian left, who must immediately begin building a resistance against the reactionary and repressive policies of a Bolsonaro government.

Jorge Martin, editor of América Socialista and writer for In Defence of Marxism, discusses the results of Sunday's presidential elections in Brazil, where the far-right candidate, Jair Bolsonaro, won with 55 percent of the vote. The blame for this lies at the feet of the Workers' Party (PT), who have been thoroughly discredited through years of carrying out austerity and attacks on the working class whilst in government.

Bolsonaro won the second round of the Brazilian presidential election with 55 percent of the vote, defeating Haddad – the Workers’ Party (PT) candidate – who received 45 percent. Any hopes of a last-minute rally were dashed. This result is a setback for the working class and the poor. We need to understand what it means, what led to this situation and what strategy the workers’ movement should follow, faced with this reactionary government.

We publish here a statement by an IMT comrade in Pittsburgh on the barbaric killing of 11 Jews as they prayed in the Tree of Life synagogue. The frequency of anti-semitic attacks has increased in the recent period, as have racist attacks in general. In times of capitalist crisis, the ruling class foments division and hatred and Trump has contributed to creating an environment favourable to such events. So long as capitalism survives it will continue to produce such barbarism. The answer is to remove the cause and overthrow capitalism once and for all.

Once the first round of the presidential elections was finished, Haddad and the PT (workers’ party) took off the red shirts they had used to revive melancholic PT supporters. Now they wear respectable suits with white shirts; they have changed their campaign symbols for the colours of the Brazilian flag (green, yellow and blue); removed Lula from campaign photographs; and hidden any hint of red.

We publish here a joint solidarity statement from the comrades of Bloque Popular Juvenil (El Salvador), Izquierda Marxista (Honduras) and La Izquierda Socialista (Mexico) to the thousands-strong migrant caravan travelling from Central America to the United States. The migrants have been met with prejudice, attacks by the media and state repression – their plight expresses the suffering of a whole region, plagued by the policies of American imperialism and oligarchical rule.

This autumn, the forces of Marxism have spread across Canadian campuses as never before. In the face of economic crisis, youth are questioning capitalism and are searching for answers that only revolutionary Marxism can provide. Since the start of September, Socialist Fightback Students (SFS) has collected well over a thousand emails, sold hundreds of papers, and started dozens of revolutionary reading groups across Canada, thus enrolling a new wave of youth in the fight against capitalism.

On 2 October, Jamal Khashoggi walked into the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, to complete some paperwork so he could marry his Turkish fiancé. He was greeted at the door by a smiling Saudi official. He never came out again. Turkish officials insist they have evidence from inside the Saudi consulate that confirms that Khashoggi was tortured and killed there, his body dismembered and secretly disposed of.

 On 30 August, Ontario Premier Doug Ford announced he would be forcing universities to adopt an Orwellian “free speech” policy. Under these new rules, student clubs may be dissolved and individual students may face expulsion for simply protesting far-right speakers on campus.

On 7 October, thousands of people gathered in downtown Montréal to march against racism and the newly elected CAQ government. The demonstration brought out a large number of immigrant families, grandparents and children included, all of whom were shocked by the election of the anti-immigrant government. La Riposte socialiste organised the socialist contingent of over 60 activists on the march.

The US midterms are upon us and the 2020 elections just around the corner. Seen by many as a referendum on Trump and a preview of the next presidential elections, 2018 will also be a referendum on the political system as a whole. While it’s possible there will be an anti-Trump bump, tens of millions will simply sit it out, instinctively understanding that whether the Democrats or Republicans control Congress, no fundamental change will be forthcoming.

Bolsonaro won in the first round of the Brazilian general elections and could possibly be the next president of the republic. He received support from about 33 percent of the 147 million voters. Haddad (the PT candidate) received support from about 21 percent of voters. Of the total voters, 27.32 percent (more than 40m) decided not to vote for any candidate. This is an expression of the feeling that runs through the streets.

Two weeks ago, Trump announced tariffs on another $200bn worth of imports from China. The announcement was met with protests from the Chinese, as well as big business in the US. China responded with tariffs on another $60bn of imports from the US. This trade war reveals the frictions that have been developing for some time between the imperialist powers, and threatens to plunge the world into a new recession.

The Brazilian general elections begin on 7 October. Far-right presidential candidate, Jair Messias Bolsonaro of the PSL, is leading in the polls, which has provoked a huge reaction from the left in Brazil, with some (including the PT) calling him a fascist, or fearing he will attempt to restore the military dictatorship. Lucy Dias of Marxist Left explains what Bolsonaro stands for, and how to fight him.

The bourgeois press is doing everything possible to bury the anti-Bolsonaro protests on September 29 and the readiness to fight they displayed. It makes comparisons with the pro-Bolsonaro mobilisations of the next day – which were dozens of times smaller – and omits facts like the spontaneous manifestations on public transport before and after the demonstrations.

The tremendous protests on 29 September all across Brazil were yet another demonstration of the building fightback against the far-right presidential candidate, Bolsonaro. These manifestations were initially called and organised by the Facebook group "United Women Against Bolsonaro", but word spread through the internet and the turn-out was greatly expanded.

The Quebec election this past Monday marked the end of an era. Support for the establishment parties, the PQ and the Liberals, collapsed to its lowest point on record. The main benefactor is the right-wing CAQ, which swept a dozens ridings and will now form a majority government. But the vote was also polarised to the left, with Quebec solidaire more than doubling their vote share and going from three seats to 10. This unprecedented situation opens up a new period of class struggle against the CAQ government.

2 October marks 50 years since the 1968 massacre in Tlatelolco, Mexico, when the army was used to mow down student protesters on the eve of the Olympics. We publish this detailed article by Ubaldo Oropeza, editor of La Izquierda Socialista, about the movement, its origins, development and aftermath, as well as the main lessons that can be drawn from it.

On 25 September, a general strike paralysed the Argentinian economy. In a demonstration of the enormous power of the working class, public transport came to a standstill, schools and universities were shut, public institutions and banks closed and private industry ceased to function. Meanwhile, president Macri was in the US making further concessions to the IMF in a desperate attempt to get a larger bailout.

New waves of student protest have been erupting in the universities and colleges of Mexico City. Students in all the major universities in the capital have come out en masse in solidarity after 14 students at UNAM (National Autonomous University of Mexico) were injured by porros(semi-fascist shock groups) earlier this month.

The current wave of electoral campaigns associating themselves with socialism to one degree or another is an indication of the dramatic shift that has taken place in the consciousness of the US working class. This was never predicted by bourgeois political analysts and just a few years ago would have seemed impossible.

At 5.41pm, 4 August, a powerful explosion was heard near the rostrum from which Venezuelan president Nicolás Maduro was addressing a parade at Bolivar Avenue in Caracas to mark the 81st anniversary of the Bolivarian National Guard. President Maduro was unharmed, but seven members of the National Guard were injured.

Trump and Putin’s meeting in Finland made headlines worldwide. Just like in other places, Trump’s visit was met with street protests in which thousands of workers and youth expressed their anger. This was despite the best efforts of the liberal organisers to water down the main protest’s message and create confusion about its time and location.

The aggravation of the economic crisis is making life unbearable for working people in Venezuela. The destruction of the purchasing power of wages has been combined with the collapse of all basic infrastructure (water, electricity and public transport). Workers in different sectors have started to organise and protest, demanding higher wages; while peasants in the countryside are fighting attempts to destroy Chavez's agrarian revolution.

“Our relationship has never been worse than it is now. However, that changed as of about four hours ago. I really believe that.” The judgement of President Donald J. Trump delivered from the heights of Helsinki followed hard on the heels of his first summit meeting with President Vladimir V. Putin. If anything, it was even more bizarre than his visits to the NATO summit and the United Kingdoma few days ago. And it made even bigger waves.

Donald Trump’s visit to Britain could not have come at a worse time for Theresa May. In the days before he landed, May was busy facing down a rebellion over her Brexit plan, with Boris Johnson and David Davis – two senior cabinet members – having resigned. Threatened with a leadership challenge if she didn’t change course, May was desperately trying to patch up the split in the Tory Party.

In London, on the inauspicious date of Friday the 13th, Donald Trump was met by one of the largest demonstrations seen in the UK since the days of the 2003 Iraq war: hundreds-of-thousands strong. The enormous size of this protest is an indication of the real mood of anger and rebellion that exists within British society at the present time.

Calling to mind the Mad Hatter from Alice in Wonderland,US President Donald Trump tweets no fewer than six impossible things before breakfast. But what we are living through is not impossible, and it is not a dream. This is the living reality of capitalism a century after it became an absolute fetter on human progress. Trump is merely the personification of this chaos and instability.

Mass protests erupted last Friday (6 July) across Haiti to oppose the government’s plan to cut fuel subsidies. President Jovenel Moïse at first appeared prepared to push ahead regardless of the protests, but with the demonstrations growing in size and scope, the government backed down on Saturday and announced a temporary suspension of the price hike.