Americas

During the 11th to the 13th of June the downbeat 5th Congress of the PT (Partido Trabalhador – the “Workers Party”) took place. This was a congress marked by disinterest in the plenary speeches, by booing from its participants, by pessimism about the political situation, demonstrating a crisis in the Party that deepens every day. This situation is set to continue as this Congress reaffirmed the political line that caused all this, a line promoted by the interests of a corrupted leadership.

The momentum and élan that was built up amongst students and organized workers for a showdown with the Liberal government heading into the spring of 2015 in Quebec has dissipated. Workers and youth who were excited with the possibility of fighting back will have to wait until the fall. A feeling of disappointment hangs in the air as everyone is asking “what happened to the Quebecois spring?”

9 months ago, a group of Ayotzinapa teacher students were attacked by local police in the town of Iguala, Guerrero, and 43 were disappeared against their will. Now, new evidence has now come to light proving the involvement of the Mexican Army in the events of September 26, 2014.

Midterm elections were held in Mexico with an abstention rate of over 55%. Election day was diverse and contradictory. We saw a struggle for an open boycott in states like Oaxaca, Guerrero, Chiapas and Michoacan. An independent candidate in Nuevo Leon won. As well, different expressions of local discontent were revealed as the advance of Morena in Mexico City and the retreat of the PRD, which has ruled the capital since 1997, has shown. The general characteristic of this election is that it reflects a growing criticism of the regime and the need for change. Contrary to official statements, what we saw was not the strengthening of democracy, but rather an increased questioning of all

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One response against the robbery by the capitalists and the cartels has been the arming of the people, above all in the rural areas. In Michoacán, the exactions by the Knights Templar cartel have become as unbearable as the overall violence, with the entrance on the scene of these narco-thug groups, many of them deserters from the state armed forces. One of the things making this situation unbearable has been the onset of the practice of entering people's homes in order to rape women, pushing popular tolerance over the edge.

Over the past couple of years Peña Nieto's government in Mexico has taken giant steps in carrying out reforms which the big bourgeoisie for a long time could only dream of. It presented itself as an unstoppable government which the workers' movement could not confront in a serious manner. But decades of such attacks and struggles have led to a build-up of pressure below the surface that constitutes a great challenge to the system and the regime that supports it. A feeling that things are not going well and that we must act to radically transform the system is taking root in Mexican society.

The 2015 provincial election in Alberta was truly historic. Not only have the people of Alberta elected the first NDP government in the history of the province, but also the 44-year reign of the provincial Progressive Conservatives has - finally - come to an end. This represents a historic and seismic shift in the history of the province, and marks a new stage in the class struggle both provincially and nationally.

News of the death of comrade Camilo Cahis came as a brutal shock to all who knew him.

With the heinous murder of Freddie Gray, the #BlackLivesMatter movement came roaring back to life. Tens of thousands of people again flooded streets across the country to protest against racism and police brutality. These once-routine and largely unrecognized murders are now churning up powerful forces long dormant in the womb of society.

These perspectives, authored by our late comrade Camilo Cahis, are featured in a special commemorative edition of Fightback magazine. This will be available at both the funeral for Camilo and the revolutionary celebration of his life and ideas. We believe that the best way to memorialize the life of our dear comrade  is to learn from his ideas and to build the movement of revolutionary Marxism.

On April 20 and 21, Esquerda Marxista held its "Chico Lessa" National Conference in the city of Praia Grande, near São Paulo. There were more than 100 participants from different states of the country, including delegates from the different regions. The delegates were elected following political discussions over the Central Committees report on the situation in Brazil. The Conference took place after the successful National Cadre School, an educational meeting held between April 17 and 19 in the  same area as the Conference.

More than 200 people are reported to have been injured as a teachers protest was violently attacked by special force police in the Brazilian city of Curitiba. The activists of the Esquerda Marxista [Marxist Left], the Brazilian section of the IMT, were present on the front line of the demonstration. Besides tear gas, which was thrown from police helicopters, the Police attacked the crowds with thousands of rubber bullets, pepper gas, water canons and attack dogs. At the same time 17 police

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The movement has lost a great fighter. Camilo Cahis, succumbed to mental illness on the night of Saturday 25th April, 2015. We, his comrades, are forever in his debt.

The death of Freddie Gray in Baltimore, Maryland is just the latest in a string of police killings of black men to hit national headlines. But it seems that it may mark the end of a national ebb in the #BlackLivesMatter movement. As things heat up in the coming months, an important question must be asked: what is the way forward for the movement?

Camilo Cahis's last article before his tragic death proved to be his most popular, read by tens of thousands of people. It is even more remarkable in the light of the electoral earthquake which took place in Alberta yesterday reflecting the class contradictions which Camilo explained in his article.

The mandate for the two-week student strike is coming to a close this week, and ASSÉ’s weekend congress will be dominated by debates over the way forward. Much controversy has arisen over the fact that the ASSÉ executive has put forward a proposition to end the strike and wait for possible strike action on the part of the unions in the fall.

On March 21st, thousands of students took to the streets of Montreal to protest austerity. The demonstration was part of the “Spring 2015” anti-austerity movement, organized by various student associations. On Monday March 23rd the student strike was officially kicked off with over 50,000 students commencing strike action which will continue for the next two weeks leading up to a big demonstration on April 2nd. Another 150,000 students will vote for strike actions in the coming days. Many people believe this is the beginning of another “Maple Spring” as was seen during 2012 with hundreds of thousands on the street for several months.

In a world bleak with news of ISIS, Boko Haram, and the never-ending murders of unarmed black men by the police, Europe offers more than a glimmer of excitement and genuine hope. The election of Syriza in Greece has electrified the world. Podemos in Spain is shaking up politics as usual in the eurozone’s fourth-largest economy. By taking the global struggle against austerity to the next level, Greek and Spanish workers are showing the way forward. However, these political parties didn’t arise in a vacuum. They are the result of a protracted process of crisis and class struggle, of wave after wave of strikes and social movements, the testing of traditional leaders and organizations, of

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The statement by president Obama that Venezuela represents an “unusual and extraordinary threat” to US “national security” represents an important escalation in imperialist meddling against the Bolivarian revolution.

Some people never die; they live on in the legacy they leave behind. This was the feeling of those who filled the chamber of the City Council of Joinville on March 5 to pay tribute to Comrade Francisco Lessa. Old and new comrades in arms, family and friends, from various cities and states, gathered to remember this great man, a convinced Communist, who died holding an unshakable faith in the future of humanity. His lifelong partner, our comrade Cynthia, and his daughter Petra Lessa, were present and joined the others who stood up to sing the Internationale at the end of the ceremony.

The Central Committee of Esquerda Marxist (the Marxist Left) notes with deep regret the death of our comrade Chico Lessa, which occurred on Saturday morning (28/02). We offer all our sympathy to the family and friends of Comrade Chico.

On 26 February the 2015, the Ninth International day of Action for Ayotzinapa took place. Thousands of people, mainly students, took to the streets of Mexico City in order to demand the return of the 43 students that went missing on 26 September 2014 in Iguala, Guerrero. Five months have passed and the versions of the events, told by the Mexican federal government have all shown to fall apart under scrutiny.

On February 1, 3,800 workers walked out of 9 oil producing facilities in the US. In the past three weeks, the strike has spread to 6 additional plants, including the Motiva Enterprises refinery in Port Arthur, Texas, which has a crude capacity of 600,000 barrels a day, the largest of its kind in the country. The strike now involves 6,550 workers, at plants accounting for 20% of the country’s refining capacity. This is the largest walkout since 1980, and there is the possibility of it spreading to more workplaces.

After many months of work, the Workers International League is proud to unveil our brand new website! We hope the new functionality and ease of use will make it even easier for workers and young people to learn more about Marxism and the ideas and work of the IMT in the USA. Check it out and join the struggle for a better world!

Over 80 people registered to participate in the annual Marxist Winter School on the weekend of February 15-16 in icy Montreal. This year’s school, held at Concordia University, broke the record for the highest attendance in the event’s history, and saw revolutionary activists visiting from Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, Boston, New York, New Jersey, Philadelphia, and California.

Overshadowed by Obama's request to Congress for formal authorization to use military force against ISIS, comes news of the grisly murders of three young Muslim students in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Throughout Tuesday evening and into Wednesday morning, coverage of the murders was notably absent from the major news outlets—CNN's top story was an op-ed piece about whether or not another Spiderman movie reboot was necessary. Late into the night, the valley of the news giants was filled with the sounds of peaceful snoozing. Trying to find additional information about what had happened proved fruitless and frustrating for the thousands on social media demanding—through tweets, status

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Prison populations are rapidly increasing, far outstripping the capacity of the provincial and federal prison systems in Canada. The Ontario Ministry of Community Safety and Corrections revealed that Ontario prisons had reached 98.5% capacity, representing a six-year high. This meant that on any typical day during 2012 about half of Ontario’s 25 prisons were overcrowded (at over 100% capacity).

The vicious cycle of state and individual terror continues unabated. Now France has been pulled violently into the maelstrom. The Marxists have long explained that imperialism and Islamic fundamentalism are two aspects of the same reactionary phenomenon—the decay and decline of capitalism—which threatens to take the whole of humanity down with it.

The Conservative government has been touting their new income splitting plan, billed as the “Family Tax Cut”, across Canadian airwaves. The advertisement, brought to you by the Government of Canada, informs us that Canadian families have been working hard and deserve a break. The Family Tax Cut allegedly gives families this break by allowing one parent to transfer up to $50,000 to the other parent’s income in order to fit into a lower tax bracket and therefore pay less taxes. But, do all families really get a break with the Tories’ plan?

The bankruptcy of the capitalist system was recently laid bare by Bank of Canada governor Stephen Poloz’s advice to unemployed youth who continue to struggle to find jobs in the stagnant economy. Rather than be discouraged, Poloz suggested that young workers “might as well go out and do something for free” until the economy improves. Youth and working people were rightfully insulted by his crass remark, which suggested they should not only bear the brunt of the bosses’ economic crisis, but be prepared to give up their labour for nothing! 

On Wednesday December 17, the United States admitted that its attempt to bully Cuba into submission had failed. This should be seen as a victory for the Cuban Revolution and its resilience against the relentless onslaught of the most powerful imperialist power on earth only 90 miles away from its shores. However, US imperialism has not given up on its aims: the restoration of the rule of private property and the destruction of the gains of the revolution. It has just changed the means to achieve the same result.

A grassroots upsurge has swept the US over the past few weeks, its sudden eruption marked by huge weekend marches on the East Coast and by smaller, broadly based protests across the length and breadth of the country.

The ugly face of Obama's “hope we can believe in” has been starkly revealed. The extrajudicial killings of Michael Brown, Eric Garner, and 12-year-old Tamir Rice, all unarmed black males killed by white police officers, have set off an emotional firestorm of protests and outrage on a scale not seen in the US in many years. Even more than the deaths

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America is number one . . . in its prison population. In the “land of the free,” several million humans languish in cages in the name of law and order. Since its exponential growth in the past four decades, there is not another nation on this planet that comes near America’s incarceration rate. Instead of being given the help they need most, the workers and youth who are hardest hit by the poverty, unemployment, and social decay endemic to capitalism are brutalized by the police and traumatized by hellish prison conditions until they no longer become a problem to the system. Furthermore the expansion of the prison system is used as a battering ram by the bosses against any resistance

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First came Chelsea Manning and Julian Assange, with sickening revelations of US war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan, and of the cynical conduct of US diplomacy. Then Edward Snowden exposed the full extent of NSA information gathering: anything and everything you have read, written, or spoken on the phone or internet in the last decade or more has been recorded and archived and can be retrieved at will. Branded as enemies of the state, traitors, and threatened with the death penalty, all three of them are either in prison or

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Millions of US immigrants, their families, co-workers, friends, and supporters had their hopes for relief from their difficult conditions built up by advance hype for President Obama’s November 20 speech on immigration policy reform. All such hopes were cruelly shattered once the outlines of his policy shift became more clear—an outline with an ...

With each passing day, the stage is being set for a big showdown between workers and Quebec’s Liberal government. Since the government announced that they would attack municipal workers’ pensions (which effectively means a wage cut), tens of thousands of workers have been taking to the streets, participating in various actions and mobilizations across Quebec. The attack on pensions is also just a part of a much wider austerity package which is targeting childcare services, health care, and a myriad of other social services, all of which are part of the general social wage in Quebec won by the labour movement over decades of struggle. 

Over 130 people packed packed into a small classroom at Montreal’s Concordia University on Nov. 19, to discuss the kidnapping of 43 students in Ayotzinapa and developing mass movement in Mexico. The event was organized by Fightback/La Riposte in cooperation with SOSporMexico (Montreal); discussions took place in English and French, with consecutive translations. The discussion was very animated and passionate, with many people bringing forward many important points and contributions. 

The violent abduction and disappearance of 43 students in the state of Guerrero in September has plunged Mexico into a deep social and political crisis. The case of the Ayotzinapa students has brought the masses onto the streets and convulsed the presidency of Enrique Peña Nieto.

It is now seven weeks since the police attacked students from the Ayotzinapa teacher training college and then kidnapped 43 of the survivors and handed them over to a drug cartel. The brutal incident in the town of Iguala, Guerrero, acted as the proverbial last straw, opening up a wave of mass protests which continues to grow and spread.

Private ownership of the means of production has hit a dead end on a world scale. The system is dying on its feet, and this inevitably has profound political and social consequences in the country par excellence of capitalism. Francis Fukuyama, who, upon the fall of the USSR, famously declared “the end of history,” now says that America “suffers from the problem of political decay in a more acute form than other democratic political systems.” In plain English: capitalism and its institutions are in big trouble.

More than a month after the killing of Michael Brown, an unarmed 18-year-old black youth, Darren Wilson, the police officer who shot him multiple times despite Brown having raised his arms in surrender, remains free and safely in hiding. The St. Louis region is tense in anticipation of the grand jury's ruling on whether or not to file charges against Wilson. Brown's shooting has drawn attention to the chilling fact that an average of two black men are killed by police every week in the United States. Michael Brown's killing, however, is not just another repetition of this tragic cycle. In many ways, it was "the straw that broke the camel's back," opening up a new stage in the changing

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What if they held an election and nobody came? In some ways, the 2014 midterm election was very much like this. Just 36.6 percent voted, only 13% of them under age 30, and as many as 70 million eligible voters are not even registered. The main capitalist parties—the Democrats and Republicans—do not deal with real issues related to the lives of the overwhelming majority of the population. This is true bourgeois democracy. That is, democracy for the top 1% or 2%, but not for the rest of us!