Americas

After 12 years of upheavals, war, carnage and betrayals, the revolution which broke open in 1791 in Saint-Domingue finally succeeded in abolishing slavery and achieved independence in Haiti. This revolution was the consequence and the prolongation of the French Revolution. Its successive stages, marked by numerous shocks and turnarounds, was largely determined by the flux and reflux of the French Revolution.

A look at what Bush’s “mandate” will mean for the workers of the U.S. and the world. From issue number 15 of the US Socialist Appeal.

The need for a mass party of labor based on the unions is more acute than ever. We must start building such a party now. From issue number 15 of the US Socialist Appeal.

The Buenos Aires underground workers are fighting for the same demands as other Argentinian workers: fair wages to allow us to live with dignity, to work in safe and hygienic conditions and respect for our rights as workers. Please send your solidarity messages.

Some American Republicans are calling for the resignation of Kofi Annan as UN general secretary. The alleged reasons are accusations of corruption. As always the real reason lies elsewhere. It is part of the onging conflict between the major powers over the war in Iraq.

As the drums of war grow louder and louder from Washington, (finding their echo in the usual venues of London and the UN Security Council), the anti-war movement has gained steam over the past few months. Mobilizations around the world have been organized to protest the actions of American capitalism - a million in Florence in November, tens and hundreds of thousands in Spain, Salzburg, Genoa, and elsewhere. The workers and youth of the world have repeatedly voiced their opposition to this war, and are not buying the flimsy pretenses of Bush and his cronies. Yet, although Bush is aware of the fact that he he's painted himself into a corner and that the UN inspectors have turned up empty

...

The explosion of two bombs in his car took the life of 38-year old State Prosecutor Danilo Anderson, late on Thursday night in Caracas, Venezuela. The terrorist attack took place at 11.50 pm in Los Chaguaramos, in south east Caracas, where Danilo Anderson was coming away from evening classes he was attending at the University.

Henry Ford had a mythical reputation as a “people's capitalist”, a man who was smart enough to design a car that ordinary workers could afford, and a boss who paid his workers enough to buy Ford cars. Nothing could be further from the truth! The great lesson of labour relations at Ford's from its beginning is that every improvement for the workers was gained through bitter and unremitting struggle. By Mick Brooks (November 1978)

America’s presidential election is over and George Bush won. The result has caused a lot of disappointment, or even despair, both in the USA and on a world scale. On the face of it, the situation seems to justify the most pessimistic interpretation. In reality, however, the basis of this vote is extremely fragile and unstable. It will evaporate like hot water off a stove in the heat of the events that are being prepared nationally and internationally.

A new leaflet from the WIL. The pre-election period has made millions of Americans much more politically aware and active. But the fact remains: working people do not yet have a party they can call their own. We need a mass party of labor based on the unions that can represent the interests of working people! Download the leadlet as a PDF file.

Eight months after the overthrow of Jean Bertrand Aristide and the occupation of Haiti by UN troops, the puppet regime of Gerard Latortue has shown its true colours. The mass media claim that gangs of Aristide supporters from the slums are attacking the Haitian police and UN forces. In reality these “terrorists” are the poor and working class supporters of former president Aristide who are fighting back against mounting repression and reprisals from the coup-installed government.

The U.S. Presidential Election of 2004 marks yet another turning point in the rapidly changing consciousness of the American working class. The result, which should come as no real surprise to readers of Marxist.com, dashed the hopes of millions who sincerely thought they could get rid of Bush by voting for a “lesser evil”. The main lesson to be drawn from the 2004 election is that working people cannot rely on the representatives of another class to fight our battles for us. We can rely only on our own forces and organizations, and must build a mass party of labor that can truly defend our interests.

The news that Kerry has conceded defeat has just come through. We will publish a full analysis of the US election results tomorrow. In the meantime we are publishing this article which looks at the state of the US economy and traces its long term decline. Whether Bush or Kerry had won it would not have made a fundamental difference. They both defend US imperialism. They could not come out with fundamentally different policies for they are tied to the same basic economic interests. In fact the extreme similarity between the two explains why Kerry could not defeat Bush. Any policy based on the US economy as it is today means one thing: an attack on the living standards of American workers....

Partial results of this weekend’s local elections in Venezuela indicate a dramatic turnaround in many states. Former opposition strongholds have been won by Bolivarian candidates. This confirms the solid support for Chavez that was clear to all in the August 15 recall referendum. Capitalism could be overthrown very easily in these conditions, but decisive action needs to be taken now.

On Sunday, October 31, millions of Venezuelans will go to the polls to elect governors of the country’s 24 states and mayors for 337 municipal councils. Coming after the massive victory of the Bolivarian movement in defeating the presidential recall referendum on August 15, this election offers the possibility for the Bolivarian movement to take control of some key states and local councils.

The war in Iraq drags on and on, and the situation for working people here in the US continues to worsen, or at best stagnate. Working people and the youth are beginning to see through the lies of the capitalist class which could care less that entire families now live on the streets, or that 1.7 million people slid into poverty in 2002.

Bolivia is living through a revolutionary situation. There is a popular insurrection, led by the working class, which has formed a workers' militia and is clashing with the army. The government has responded by unleashing a white terror. The supporters of Marxist.com in Latin America and all over the world will do all in their power to aid the Bolivian revolution. But we need your help!
We have produced a model solidarity message. We invite you to use this as the basis for messages of solidarity to the Bolivian working people, and protests to the Bolivian authorities.

Five Cuban security agents were involved in uncovering terrorist activities against Cuba. These activities were being organised by anti-Cuban Miami mafia elements based in the USA. Instead of arresting the terrorists the US authorities have arrested and handed down severe jail sentences on the security agents. This shows the double standards of Bush and his so-called war on terror!

We’ve changed his name, but other than that 100% accurate. Not a socialist, but an honest man, “all-American” sort of guy – short hair, goes to Church, works out at the YMCA. But his whole world has been turned upside down in the last few years – from a confident, satisfied kind of guy, to one totally disillusioned with the system.

The workers in the Venepal paper mill in Morón, Carabobo (Venezuela) are demanding that the government nationalises the company and puts it under workers’ control and management. This is an extremely important struggle which could be crucial for the future of the labour movement and the Bolivarian revolution in Venezuela.

After decades of relative prosperity, peace and stability, the world of the American worker has been turned upside down. The depth of the distrust felt by millions of Americans was revealed in a Reuters/DecisionQuest poll according to which, fully 61 percent of Americans have lost faith in their leaders and institutions over the past four years. At the top of the list contributing to this feeling was the war on Iraq, followed by the 2000 presidential election fiasco, the numerous financial scandals, and terrorism. John Peterson looks at the meaning of these findings.

"You need to get out of here now or these people will kill you." This was the earnest and forceful advice given my friends and I about three minutes after we arrived at Montreal's Venezuelan consulate on August 15, referendum day in Venezuela. There were only three of us – my roommate Albert with his camera, Macdonald, a pro-Chavez activist, and I – waiting to be joined by a group of others who shared our views on events in Venezuela. Our intention was to demonstrate support for pro-Chavez voters, signs in hand.

After the manoeuvre of the so-called referendum on the privatisation of gas, in August transport workers and community organisations organised protests against the rise in the price of gas. They were joined by the Landless Peasant Movement (MST). But the most striking development is what has become known as the "University Revolution" at Oruro.

Immediately after the fall of the Soviet Union, there was a spirit of optimism in the United States. We had "won" so to speak, and in the words of our then president George Bush, we could look forward to a New World Order of peace, freedom, full employment, and the crushing domination of the US in world affairs and trade. This fresh outlook, coupled with one of the most powerful economic booms in history, led many to believe ever more strongly in the system. Yet there are chinks in the armor. To look at the stock market, the economy is still healthy. But corporate profits are at their lowest level in nearly a decade (in spite of the billions of dollars handed to them in corporate

...

The repercussions of the terrorist attacks in the US will be much wider than anyone could have imagined. Now that the shattering impact of these events is beginning to seep into people's minds, the far-ranging implications for the world economy, the class struggle, national and international politics and world relations are becoming more and more clear. We explained on numerous occasions that we have entered the most unstable period in history since World War II - a period of wars, revolutions, and counter-revolutions. We predicted that economically, politically and socially, the world would be turned upside down. But nothing could have prepared us for the suddenness and trauma of these

...

Three years on the world is no safer after Bush's so-called "war on terror". What is becoming ever clearer is that the war in Iraq is not about fighting terrorism, but about the economic, military and strategic interests of US imperialism.

We publish a resolution, written by the editor of Marxist.com Alan Woods, which was defended by Celia Hart in the seminar entitled "The Utopia We Need", held in Havana on Friday September 10, 2004. The conference took place in the Hispano-American Centre in Malecón.

Last week, the Republican National Convention met in New York City, but while inside the delegates were busy worshipping Bush, oustide massive protests – the largest in the history of U.S. political conventions – took place with an estimated 200,000 to 500,000 participating throughout the day. The mood was one of anger against Bush, but there was also a growing realisation that the Democrats are not much different.

The Marxists in Canada are launching a new website – www.marxist.ca, and a new publication – Fightback. We support their call for all Canadians who read In Defence of Marxism and agree with the ideas of the International Marxist Tendency to contact them and join their fight. We welcome Fightback and www.marxist.ca as new comrades in the struggle, and we are confident that they will become the key organisers for revolutionaries in Canada. We are publishing three articles from issue #1 of Fightback.

Venezuela's National Electoral Council released the result of yesterday's recall referendum on the government of President Hugo Chávez Frias. It was revealed that the opposition failed to obtain more votes than those who wanted Chavez to stay on as President. Even so, the opposition has refused to recognize the result and has charged that the "no" victory was based on electoral fraud. But does the result mean the opposition has suffered a decisive defeat? The internal and external enemies of the Venezuelan revolution cannot be reconciled by elections, referendums and negotiations. They will only be satisfied when the revolution is defeated.

Celia Hart comes from a family of veteran Cuban revolutionaries who fought against the Batista dictatorship together with Fidel Castro. Celia Hart has been an outspoken defender of the political and revolutionary heritage of Leon Trotsky. Her recent articles on this subject have been published by the Spanish Marxist website El Militante and also on Marxist.com and have provoked an intense debate on the question of Trotsky internationally. Here she describes her political evolution.

Genuine Marxists oppose the attempts of the Venezuelan oligarchy, backed by imperialism, to overthrow President Chavez. Why do we take this position? Because a defeat for Chavez in the referendum would be a heavy blow against the workers and peasants of all Latin America. It would be a victory for imperialism and the forces of reaction everywhere. The barricades have been drawn in this class war and it is necessary to take sides clearly and unambiguously.

The fraudulent nature of the recent gas referendum in Bolivia has become even clearer to the Bolivian masses. Within just a few days Mesa was selling off even more of Bolivia's natural gas resources to the multinationals. The response of the masses has been to mobilise once more.

The attitude to revolution is the acid test for revolutionaries. Yet surprisingly many of those who call themselves Marxists have proved organically incapable of understanding the Venezuelan revolution or intervening in it. Two years ago, when the attempted coup against the Chavez government was defeated by the revolutionary movement of the masses, the response of most of the Left internationally was a deafening silence. Now the ultra-left have suddenly been getting hot under the collar - not about the Venezuelan revolution, but about the apparent opportunism of the Marxist tendency, gathered around this web site. Alan Woods points out a few elementary points that to any serious Marxist

...

The recent referendum was called by the Mesa government as a legal cover for what it has laready gone ahead with - the privatisation of Bolivian gas. The questions were not simply posed as yes or no to privatisation. The masses sensed this and in many parts of the country took part in a boycott. This is the priced the movement is having to pay for the compromise reached back in October.

As this document was drafted in April of 2004, many of the specific facts and figures have changed. However, the fundamental processes and trends remain accurate to this day, and many of the predictions are already coming to pass. The economic recovery has still not conclusively taken off or slipped back into recession, but the factors that allowed some breathing room for the economy are rapidly disappearing. The effects of Alan Greenspan’s recent interest rate rise - in an effort to counter inflation - cannot yet be predicted. With energy prices cutting into consumer spending, the industrial sector is once again shedding jobs, and the economy is producing less than the bare 150,000

...

All attention is now centred on the forthcoming August 15th recall referendum. The "opposition" has all kinds of tricks it can play, but one thing is sure: the masses are gearing up to defend the revolution. Unfortunately there are elements within the leadership of the movement who are trying to hold back the masses. Jorge Martin and William Sanabria, in Caracas, report on what is happening and look at the possible developments.

As predicted, Canada now has a minority Liberal government. The results were: Liberals 135, Conservative 99, Bloc Québécois 54, and NDP 19. This puts the Liberals 20 seats short of a majority government. With the NDP unable to prop up the Liberals it is likely Canadians will head back to the polls within a year. Workers and youth who look to the NDP need answers so that the poor showing will not be repeated in the next election.

Seven months ago, Ontario voters were promised the moon by the Liberal Party of Ontario. Dalton McGuinty and the Liberals vowed to end the attacks that marked nine years of Tory rule. Indeed, the entire Liberal campaign focused on the slogan of "Choose Change." Sadly, the Liberals' new budget shows that there has been no change in Ontario, and that McGunity and his cronies are intent on continuing the assault on Ontario's working class.

The 2004 Canadian federal election is looking to be the closest race since the 1970s. The Liberals hold a narrow lead over the Conservative Party, with the New Democrats looking to make gains and the Bloc Quebecois optimistic that it will retain much of the Quebec vote. For the first time in over a decade, the Liberals are in a position where they could fail to win a majority government.

Supporters of John Kerry and the Democratic party continue to call for "anybody but Bush" in 2004, while the majority of Americans are ready to resign themselves to accepting a "lesser evil" for president. Yet, Kerry's platform is set to be "more Bush than Bush"; and his intentions for dealing with the biggest issues facing Americans are "just as evil" as the methods of GW! John Peterson examines the three most important subjects of American foreign policy, and exposes the merging of Bush and Kerry's positions on them.

Interview with Diego Escobar, a Colombian Trade Unionist, a local representative of ASONAL-Judicial. Diego knows very well what it means to be persecuted by the vicious Colombian ruling class. We interviewed him while he was attending the UNISON Delegate Conference 2004.

Former US president Ronald Reagan passed away on June 5. The state funeral, which was little more than a crude exercise in propaganda on the part of the Bush administration, was held the following weekend. The historical revision at the ceremony was astonishing. The working class of the United States and the world must know and understand the real legacy and meaning of the Reagan years in order to understand the lessons of the past and lead the struggle against capitalism and imperialism today.

The myth of an American military mission to build a democracy and liberate an oppressed people has been shattered to pieces. The photographs from Abu Ghraib depict scenes of physical brutality, sadist sexual abuse, and monstrous acts by American soldiers. The Bush administration and the military command in Iraq continue to deny knowledge and involvement, even while a flood of information from eyewitnesses provides proof to the contrary. However, the calls demanding justice from a domestic or international court are misleading; history shows us that only the working-class can end the war and bring the guilty to justice.

In spite of the blatant fraud of the opposition, the decision has been taken to go ahead with the recall referendum in Venezuela. This has disappointed some layers of the Bolivarian movement and enraged others. Many have gone along with it out of their loyalty to Chavez. The decision is a serious mistake. Jorge Martin looks at the what the movement should do now.