Americas

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.

This article was written on 10 May, prior to Andres Manuel LopezObrado (AMLO)'s election as President of Mexico. However, we think it is still relevant after the Mexican elections as it reveals the brewing conflict between AMLOand the Mexican ruling class.

It was not supposed to happen. Incumbent New York Congressman Joe Crowley—the head of the Queens County Democratic Party machine, slated to replace Nancy Pelosi as Speaker of the House, should the Democrats retake the majority—was soundly defeated by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a 28-year-old activist who identifies as a socialist and is a member of DSA.

Yesterday, on 2 July, there was massive participation in the Mexican general elections, in which there were 18,229 public positions at stake. However, by far the most important was the presidency. With more than 89 million voters registered, the level of participation – according to the available data – was one of the highest in the history of Mexico.

Lenin once wrote an article entitled Combustible Material in World Politics. But the amount of combustible material in the present world situation dwarfs anything the Bolshevik leader might have had in mind. Everywhere one looks there is instability, turbulence and convulsion: the conflict between Russia and Ukraine; the bloody Civil War in Syria; the conflict between Iran, Israel and Saudi Arabia; the unresolved question of Palestine; and the long-drawn-out and equally unresolved war in Afghanistan.

Earlier this year, the Trump administration laid out its proposed 2019 budget. Although it sets out increased spending to address the national opioid epidemic, it includes drastic cuts to national public assistance programs such as SNAP (food stamps), Medicaid, and Section 8 public housing. This will strike a major blow at millions of families whose main source of security is through Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) and other forms of public assistance. Given the stricter eligibility guidelines and $213bn in cuts over the next ten years—30 percent of current levels—some four million Americans will immediately lose access to SNAP benefits.

The second round of the presidential election in Colombia on 17 June delivered a victory for the right-wing, reactionary candidate, Ivan Duque (backed from behind-the-scenes by former-president, Alvaro Uribe), who received 54 percent of the vote (10m votes). However this was the first time in history that a candidate attacked by the ruling class as a dangerous “Communist”, Gustavo Petro, made it to the second round, and he received a very respectable 42 percent (8m votes).

On the 1 July, Mexicans will go to the polls in a crucial election. All opinion polls show that a victory for the candidate of Morena(Movement for National Renewal), Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (AMLO) is quite likely. However, nothing is certain in Mexico. The ruling class has already used election fraud to cheat AMLO out of winning the elections twice and will certainly try a third time. In this article, the comrades from the Mexican section of the IMT – La Izquierda Socialista – explain why they advocate a critical vote for Lopez Obrador, address the limitations of his programme and assert the need to organise to struggle against capitalism (read the ...

The Venezuelan elections on 20 May were merely an episode in a long saga of imperialist aggression, economic crisis and the deterioration of living conditions for the working class and poor. The reelected Maduro government has continued its policy of making concessions and appeals to the capitalists. If it wasn’t for the escape valves provided by subsidised food parcels, migration and the dollar-based economy, the situation would have led to a social explosion already. The mood of the chavista rank-and-file is increasingly angry and critical of the leadership.

John Wight of Sputnik Newsinterviewed Jorge Martin, secretary of the Hands Off Venezuela campaign, to discuss the significance of President Maduro's re-election, given the crisis afflicting the Bolivarian Revolution and the nefarious influence of western imperialism.

The Doug Ford Conservatives have won the 2018 Ontario election. This represents a victory for right-wing populist reaction in Canada’s largest province. It also represents class polarization and the collapse of the “middle”. The Kathleen Wynne’s Liberal government has been demolished, and has lost official party status. On the left, the New Democratic party, historically based on the trade unions, won its second best result in history. A period of intense class struggle opens up and there is no time for complacency.

Three months of strike by lecturers and teaching assistants at York University has created a deep crisis at the institution. Most classes during the winter term were not in session, and now the summer term has been shortened and course offerings heavily cut down. This is no surprise as most of the teaching at the university is done by striking members of CUPE 3903.