Americas

According to director Michael Moore, the film Bowling for Columbine paints a portrait of the United States, “a nation that seems hell-bent on killing first and asking questions later” at the beginning of the 21st century. Appealing to the likes of us, we thought, and this proved to be no false expectation. Apart from a film that grabs the spectator by the scruff of the neck, at times being tragic by the bare facts alone, Bowling for Columbine is above all a very humorous and enjoyable documentary about the American weapons industry, but also about the latter’s link with US foreign policy.

One year ago, shortly before Christmas, the world was shaken by reports of a popular uprising in Argentina. In extraordinary scenes, recalling the fall of Saigon, President De la Rua had to escape in a helicopter from the roof of his Presidential palace, fleeing from his own people. In less than two weeks Argentina had four presidents. In this important article Alan Woods who has just returned from Buenos Aires draws a balance sheet of the stormy events that have shaken Argentina since the uprising one year ago, and points the way forward.

After the ILWU dockworkers' struggle in the USA, we now have the struggle of the New York transit workers to improve their conditions of life. This is only the latest in a series of important battles which have been fought on the trade union front in recent months. It highlights the real situation facing American workers and also exposes the real nature of the so-called "democratic" state. John Peterson provides an overview of the Marxist theory of the state starting from the class interests in this and other labour conflicts.

The reports from Venezuela indicate a sharpening of the struggle between the contending forces.The revolutionary camp must be on its guard against provocateurs who have undoubtedly infiltrated themselves into the mass movement, with a view to causing disorder and panic. Their aim is to drag the mass movement into futile armed conflicts that can end with a large number of casualties. This is the main aim of the counterrevolutionaries. That is why the ideas of "foquism" and individual terrorism are so harmful to the movement. The groups that advocate such tactics are very easily infiltrated by the police and secret services and manipulated for sinister purposes. It is necessary to firmly

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As Alan Woods had just finished writing this article, we received a letter from a Venezuelan Marxist commenting on yesterday's article by Emilia Lucena and we are publishing extracts from it relating to the present situation, followed by comments by Alan Woods.

At 6 am on Sunday, November 24, police forces took over the Brukman textile factory, which had been occupied by its workforce since December 20 last year, in the middle of the "Argentinazo" uprising. The police came together with the old owners, foremen and supervisors of the company with a court order to take away all machinery.

Once again the Venezuelan bourgeoisie is trying to put an end to the revolutionary process which has opened up in Venezuela. After the failure of the coup on April 13, a new coup is being openly and shamelessly prepared by the oligarchy with the backing of US imperialism. They have now called for an indefinite bosses' lock out until Chavez and his government resign.The working class must go on the offensive! Against the bosses' lock-out, workers' control of the factories!

This is the final part of Alan Woods' 4 part article on Marxism and the United States where he looks at the situation in the USA today, with immense polarisation of wealth between the extremely rich and the extremely poor. The years of boom have come to an end. Unemployment is rising. In spite of its immense power US capitalism has entered a phase of terminal decline, together with the rest of the world. And this is reflected in a questioning on the part of many ordinary working Americans of the society they live in. Marxism can explain why all this is and also offer a way out to the American workers.

This is part 3 of Alan Woods' 4 part article on Marxism and the United States. In the USA in the nineteenth century there was an unprecedented development of the productive forces and this brought into being a mighty working class with its labour organisations, starting with the Knights of Labor in 1869. The list of working class martyrs of American Labor is endless, the most celebrated being the Chicago martyrs of 1886 - as a result of which the American working class gave May Day to the rest of the world. This was followed by the IWW, the AFL and later the CIO. There is a rich history of working class struggles in the United States that we can draw lessons from.

This is part 2 of Alan Woods' 4 part article on Marxism and the United States. In this part Alan concentrates on the 'Second American Revolution' more commonly known as the Civil War. Like every other serious conflict, at bottom the American Civil War was a class struggle. The Northern manufacturers necessarily had to come into conflict with the Southern landowning classes. The conflict of interest between the two lasted for sixty years and finally ended in civil war. However, the mutual hatred between the northern capitalists and the slave owners of the South, grounded in economics, was only half the story. There was a genuine sense of moral outrage among sections of the northern working...

The final results of the Ecuadorian elections have meant the victory of the left-supported candidate Lucio Gutierrez. As was the case with Hugo Chavez in Venezuela, Gutierrez has come to power pushed by the most oppressed and exploited sections of society in Ecuador. The new government will, from the very beginning, be subjected to the pressure of the masses and of imperialism and the Ecuadorian ruling class. It is completely impossible to conciliate these two sets of opposite interests and this will necessarily lead to a new heightening of the class struggle.

Part of the intention of this article is to combat the kind of senseless anti-Americanism that one encounters all too frequently in left circles. Marxists are internationalists and do not take up a negative stance in relation to the people of any country. We stand for the unity of all working people against oppression and exploitation. What we oppose is not Americans, but American capitalism and American imperialism. The American people and above all the American working class have a great revolutionary tradition. On the basis of great historical events they are destined to rediscover these traditions and to stand once more in the front line of the revolution, as they did in 1776 and...

As the Republicans celebrate their mid-term election victory, the drums of war are growing ever louder, and the bourgeois economists insist that a sustained recovery is just around the corner. We are told that the passing of the Homeland Security bill will mean greater safety, stability, and that the "war on terror" is being successfully waged in the interest of all Americans. However, the new bill means only more restrictions on the "freedom", and the economic situation for hundreds of thousands will continue to deteriorate. Billions have been spent on "defense", and still we are told that the threat of attacks is as high as it was before September 11.

As the results of the mid-term elections come in - an apparent sweeping victory for President Bush's Republican Party - many questions must be answered. How and why did this happen? What will it mean for working people and activists on the left? Does this mean Americans actually like George Bush and his policies?

To scenes of wild rejoicing on the streets, the people of Brazil celebrated the landslide victory of Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, the president of the Workers’ Party (PT). This was undoubtedly a heavy blow struck by the masses against the corrupt and degenerate oligarchy that has ruled Brazil for decades. It has caused shock waves that will reverberate throughout the whole of Latin America and beyond. Now however a period opens up in which the PT government will come under enormous pressure from two sides, the bourgeoisie and the workers and poor. Alan Woods outlines the tasks facing the Brazilian working class.