Europe

A sharpening of tensions between Greece and Turkey reflects both the ruling classes of these nations attempting to get a bigger share of the oil and gas under the Eastern Mediterranean and the changed balance of power between the two countries. The labour movement of Greece and Turkey need to stand firmly against any warmongering or nationalist division and engage in united struggle for a socialist transformation of society!

In a scandalous miscarriage of justice, a group of young left-wing activists in Russia have been given hefty jail sentences for spurious terror charges, following confessions under torture. The Russian state is trying to intimidate dissenters, but they will not succeed. Solidarity with political prisoners!

The shock result of the Irish general elections, which put Sinn Féin on top in terms of votes, has sent the Irish ruling class into a panic. No matter what road they take, the next period will be one of great political turbulence.

The bourgeois media never tire of repeating it: the French left is in crisis. Gone are the days in which the Socialist Party (PS) and the Communist Party (PCF), between them, held a clear majority of the electorate. And when it comes to France Insoumise (FI), they haven’t consolidated the success of the 2017 presidential elections, when Mélenchon got 20 percent in the first round, as we saw in the European elections last year.

The mobilisation that began on 5 December is now at a crossroads. The indefinite strike called by French rail workers is at an ebb, after over 40 days of exemplary struggle. This ebb fits perfectly into the government’s scheme. Since the month of November we have emphasised that: “If the rail workers’ strike remains isolated, the government will have one of two options: either it can make concessions contained to the isolated sections of workers on strike, or it can count on their exhaustion. In either case, the masses in general would lose.”

Despite Boris Johnson’s “Bung a Bob” crowdfunding appeal, Big Ben will not “bong for Brexit” at 11pm on 31st January. The Parliamentary Standards Committee has put its foot down and blocked the idea. Instead, the Tory government will project a countdown clock onto the wall of 10 Downing Street. So much for taking back control.

The election victory for Boris Johnson opens up a new, convulsive chapter in Britain. Rather than stabilise the situation, as the capitalist commentators believe, it will further intensify this epoch of instability. We are in a period of sharp and sudden changes, which is a reflection of the deep crisis of capitalism today.

Antonio Gramsci died in 1937, after spending nearly ten years in prison under Mussolini’s fascist regime. All these years later, his ideas and legacy are still being debated and reinterpreted. Who was Gramsci? All manner of weird and wonderful answers have been given to this question, with plenty of distortions, if not outright historical falsifications, from petit-bourgeois academics and intellectuals, to revisionists in the labour movement.

In recent months the monarchy has been thrown into crisis, a symptom of the crisis of capitalism. First we had the proroguing of parliament, then Prince Andrew's train crash interview and now the crisis of "Megxit." Overthrow this feudal relic!

We spoke with Leonid Shaidurov: a 17-year-old activist who has played a leading role in the School Strikes for Climate movement in Russia. He has helped organise students in schools and is a member of both the coordination council for Fridays for Future internationally and the organisational committee in Russia. He agreed to be interviewed in order to give advice to school students hoping to build on the movement around climate change.

The battle in France over Macron’s reactionary pension reform passed its 40th day on 13 January. A fourth interprofessional strike last Thursday and follow-up protests on the weekend brought hundreds of thousands onto the streets yet again, and further days of action have been declared up until 16 January.

The National Executive Committee (NEC) of the Labour Party have fired the starter pistol for the race to succeed Jeremy Corbyn. The main contestants have bolted out of the gates, with six candidates already announcing their intention to stand for the top job. But it is clear that the battle for the leadership position is a two-horse race.

At the time of writing these lines, the outcome of the struggle that began on 5 December is still uncertain. The government has made clear that it will not back down on the key elements of its “reform” (a counter-reform, in reality). Faced with this, the striking workers have demonstrated exemplary courage and militancy.

The focus of coverage of the 12 December general election has naturally been on the gains made by the Tories, particularly in the Midlands and the North of England. Less attention has been given to the seismic shift that took place in the North of Ireland. In an election marked by sectarianism, electoral alliances, Brexit and the border, the DUP received a hammering. Their fall from the position of kingmakers at Westminster two years ago has been dramatic.

The "sardines" took to the squares of Emilia in big numbers, and in the wake of their success, became a national movement in a matter of days. The first mobilisation was triggered in the capital of Bologna on 14 November, due to the presence of Salvini, who is doing a rally tour of the region with an eye on the 26 January elections.

Alan Woods, (editor of marxist.com) analyses last week's UK election results, answering the lies of the establishment media and the Blairites, who have falsely attempted to place all the blame for Labour's election loss on Jeremy Corbyn.

For the third consecutive week, French workers from dozens of professions (train drivers, teachers, doctors, nurses, firefighters, factory workers – even opera singers!) downed tools and hit the streets, alongside hundreds of thousands of supporters, to oppose the reactionary Macron regime. While the government has been downplaying the turnout, claiming only 600,000 took part, the protests were at least as big as on 5 December. The CGT union federation claims they were even bigger, citing a figure of 1,800,000 demonstrators, which would be hands down the biggest mobilisation since 1995.

The dust has barely settled on last week’s shock election result, but already the Blairites are carrying out a ferocious attack on the Labour left.

“The idea that all Britain’s Labour party needs to do to win is offer true socialism has been tested to destruction.” (Financial Times) 

News of the British election result was greeted by jubilation on the stock markets of the world. The pound sterling soared, and Donald J. Trump tweeted: “Congratulations to Boris Johnson on his great WIN!”

But all history shows that a rise in the stock market does not necessarily signify anything positive for the working class. Rather, the opposite is the truth. And what pleases the present occupant of the White House will not necessarily be to the liking of the working people of Britain.

All the reactionaries are crowing. Donald Trump expressed particular delight at the result. “Congratulations to Boris Johnson on his great WIN!” the US President wrote on Twitter. “Johnson secures crushing UK election victory,” exuded the Financial Times, as the pound rose on foreign exchange markets.

Today is the day. British workers and youth have one last opportunity to mobilise for a Labour win. The Tories are in a panic. The wind is in our sails. We have every chance of success. Let's get out there and fight! All out for a Corbyn victory!

The British general election has entered its denouement. The following article was published by the British Marxists at Socialist Appeal on the eve of polling day, reflecting on the last stretch of Labour's hard-fought campaign, in which thousands of activists have been pitted against the smears and lies of the Tory Party electoral machine. 

The speech delivered by Edouard Philippe (the Prime Minister) yesterday concluded over 18 months of “talks” and “consultations” with the leaders of the trade unions. Hundreds of hours of negotiation meetings culminated in this enlightening result: the government presented exactly the same reform that they would have put forward if none of the “talks” and “consultations” had taken place.

Speaking on the eve of the most important general election of a generation, Alan Woods (editor of marxist.com) discusses how the Tories and the capitalist establishment are resorting to a torrent of lies and smears in order to prevent a Labour victory. But an unprecendented mass political movement of workers and youth has mobilised to combat the attacks and carry Corbyn into Number 10. Vote for Corbyn! Fight for socialism!

Yesterday’s interprofessional strike against Macron’s pension reform brought between 800,000 and 1,000,000 workers and youth onto the streets of France, according to the CGT. While this is a drop from the mobilisation last Thursday (which was possibly the biggest since 1995), the turnout was still high, with strong participation by transport workers, teachers, health workers and students.

The most important election of a generation is almost upon us. Boris Johnson, the Tories, and their friends in the capitalist press are doing their best to thwart Corbyn’s chances of making it into Number 10. But with a mass movement taking to the streets and onto social media, everything is up for grabs.

With under a week to go, Labour is taking its campaign up a gear. Activists are being bussed into marginals to bolster local doorknocking efforts. Money is being raised from grassroots donations in order to reach young voters in key seats. And the party’s mass membership is being mobilised to flood the streets over the next few days.

On Monday 25 November, all ships stayed in port, the buses stood still and the airplanes were grounded at Helsinki-Vantaa International airport. Finnish trade unions went on strike in support of the postal workers, who had decided to fight back against an attempt to force them to accept a worse collective bargaining agreement. After two and a half weeks of strikes, the postal workers won a crucial victory for the entire Finnish workers’ movement – but more battles lie ahead.

The 5 December strike mobilised a number of demonstrators not seen in France since the struggles of autumn 2010 (against the Sarkozy government’s pension reform). While we do not know the exact number of striking workers, it is likely that no interprofessional strike has had such a big impact on France’s economy since December 1995.

Yesterday’s general strike against Macron’s pension reform saw a “convergence of struggles” from across French society. According to the CGT (the trade union federation at the head of the strike), 1.5 million people took part in the demonstrations, which would make this the biggest movement since the battle against Alain Juppé’s package of attacks in 1995. The spirit of the gilets jaunes can be felt on the streets, where (despite the limitations of their leadership) the workers are directing their fury, not just against the pension reform, but the government as a whole.

Last weekend, the congress of Der Funke, the IMT in Austria, saw 100 people gather to discuss the current world situation and the perspectives of class struggle in Austria – the biggest congress in the history of Der Funke. With guests from the Czech Republic, Yugoslavia, Germany, Switzerland, Scotland and Britain, who shared their experiences with the congress, the international spirit was clearly visible.

As the temperature rises in this general election, the battle lines have become ever clearer. On one side is the mass Corbyn movement of workers and youth. And on the other, the rich and powerful have assembled firmly behind their party, the Conservatives.

In an explosive move, Corbyn and the Labour Party revealed over 400 pages of previously redacted documents lifting the lid on the UK–US trade talks. The content of these documents cuts right through Boris Johnson’s neverending web of lies.

The Orthodox Chief Rabbi of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Ephraim Mirvis, has launched a vicious attack against Labour, claiming the party is not doing enough to root out alleged anti-Jewish racism. In an article in the Times newspaper, the Chief Rabbi claims "the overwhelming majority of British Jews are gripped by anxiety" at the prospect of a Labour victory in the general election.

The first congress of the Marxist Organisation Crveni (Reds), the Yugoslav IMT, took place on 16-17 November. At the congress, we discussed, amended and voted on our organisational and financial documents, as well as on the Yugoslav Perspectives (with a particular focus on the situation in Serbia, Bosnia Herzegovina and Macedonia), and we expanded our Programmatic Foundations. The congress also voted to apply for full membership in the IMT. The 21 delegates present at the Congress, from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, and Macedonia, also elected a new Central Committee of the organisation. A representative of the IMT was present, along with several guest contacts and friends of the

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