Europe

A Marxist student comrade of the Progressive Youth Alliance, Rawal Asad, remains in jail on the charge of sedition, having had his bail hearing rejected. In addition to continued protest in Pakistan against this injustice, messages and photographs have been pouring in all week from all over the world demanding our comrade's release.

The worldwide solidarity campaign for the release of Rawal Asad, a comrade from the Progressive Youth Alliance who was arrested in Multan and scandalously charged with sedition by the Pakistani state, has forged on apace. Photographs, videos and messages of solidarity have been flooding in from all around the globe.

Last weekend, on Saturday 16 Feb, over 110 Marxists from all over Britain met in London to discuss the nature of work under capitalism, the history and role of Marxists in the labour movement, and how students can support the fight for socialism. Just one day after the historic school student climate strike, the energy and militancy amongst the youth was tangible.

An international solidarity campaign has been launched to demand the release of comrade Rawal Asad, who was arrested in Multan for the 'crime' of attending a protest. He faces a scandalous charge of sedition, which carries a sentence of 10 years to life in prison, and a judge has now officially denied his application for bail. In addition to demonstrations in Pakistan, comrades from all over the world have been protesting outside of Pakistani embassies, and sending pictures and messages of support calling

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At least 10,000 students across the UK walked out of school on Friday 15 February, marking the arrival of the international School Strike 4 Climate movement in Britain. This movement has already mobilised hundreds of thousands of students in over 40 countries, with young people around the world participating in incredibly militant strikes and marches – the aim of which is to force governmental action on climate change.

Good riddance. This will be the sentiment amongst grassroots Labour members towards today’s news that a group of seven Blairites are splitting from the party. Delight at their departure will be mixed with immense anger towards the treacherous role that these right-wingers have been allowed to play over the past few years. The task now is to kick out the rest of the saboteurs who remain at large inside the Parliamentary Labour Party. This is why we need mandatory reselection.

On Saturday, February 16, over 100 students representing Marxist Societies at over 30 universities across Britain met in London for the Marxist Student Federation national conference. One of the points of the agenda was the current ongoing Trump coup in Venezuela.

The School Strike 4 Climate movement started in August last year, when one 15-year-old Swedish student, Greta Thunberg, walked out of her school to campaign against government inaction on climate change. The demonstrations have rapidly developed into a uniquely militant, global and organised youth movement.

On 14 November 2018, the British Medical Association (BMA) uncovered a system error by Capita, an outsourcing company responsible for ‘business processes’. Capita’s negligence led to 48,000 women not receiving their letters for cervical cancer screening and follow up, potentially putting many lives at risk.

The power of the yellow vests movement never ceases to surprise – and intimidate – its adversaries. Of course, the bourgeois and their lackeys (in politics and the media) know that poverty exists. They hear about it, distantly, but they are totally disconnected from the real living conditions of the people, their suffering and their problems. Then, from their lofty position of privilege, with all their power and their fortune, they said to themselves: “a little more or a little less austerity, what difference will that make?” The answer hit them like a ton of bricks.

Each new vote in the British House of Commons only reaffirms parliament’s paralysis. Yesterday MPs voted against the prospect of a no-deal Brexit – but then voted against any alternative that would avoid this default option. A deeply divided Tory party briefly united – but only to demand the impossible of their leader. And Jeremy Corbyn, having failed to bring down the government through parliamentary means, saw his Brexit proposal (to include a customs union) rejected also. So where to go from here?

The aggressive policies of the Austrian bourgeoisie and its government are increasingly forcing different sectors of society, including the working class, into the arena of struggle, while feeding a permanent atmosphere of racism and nationalist hysteria. After half a year of strikes, a mass demonstration and several huge protests, where do we stand now?

The turbulent events in Westminster over the past week have done nothing to break the parliamentary paralysis over Brexit. May’s deal has been crushed, leaving the Prime Minister humiliated. But Tory rebels and DUP MPs have closed ranks to support this crumbling Conservative government.

A wave of deep consternation shook Poland on Sunday 13 January. A well-known, liberal politician and mayor of the major coastal city of Gdansk, Pawel Adamowicz, was stabbed on stage in front of hundreds of people. He died in hospital the following morning. Adamowicz, who had been the city’s mayor since 1998, was taking part in the biggest annual charity event, the Great Orchestra of Christmas Aid, as he was stabbed in his chest repeatedly by a raving terrorist. Many are in a state of disbelief, as this is widely considered to be the most serious political assassination since the murder of Polish President Gabriel Narutowicz in 1922.

On 13-14 January, tens of thousands of people from across Europe gathered in Berlin to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the murder of Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht. Despite the poor weather, this year’s demonstration was one of the largest and most militant events that Berlin has seen in the recent period; a clear sign of the political polarisation and class consciousness that is developing as a result of the intensifying capitalist crisis.

Today, on Thursday 17 January 2019, at half-past-twelve local time, the mortal remains of Alberto Arregui, whose sudden death we reported yesterday, were consigned to the flames at the crematory of the Cementerio Sur, Madrid. The editor of marxist.com, comrade Alan Woods, pays tribute to the memory of a man who devoted his entire life to the cause of Marxism and the socialist revolution.

Yesterday, 16 people were arrested by Spanish police in Girona (Catalonia) without a warrant. Amongst those arrested were two local mayors of the anti-capitalist pro-independence CUP, a photojournalist and several activists of the CDRs (Committees for the Defence of the Republic), ANC (Catalan National Assembly), La Forja (pro-independence youth organisation) and SEPC (Catalan Students’ Union).

Rejection of Theresa May’s Brexit deal was never in doubt. The question was always by how much. But the scale of last night’s defeat for the Prime Minister – losing by an unprecedented 230 votes – defied even the most pessimistic of expectations. With her proposal firmly spurned by parliament, Theresa May is now set to sail the country into uncharted waters.

Note: this morning the Left Party announced they are going to abstain on the vote on the government, thereby allowing the Social Democrats to form a government with the Greens. What the Left Party leader hinted at on Monday now has become policy. We remain opposed to the formation of the government on this right-wing programme, and maintain our position that the labour movement should demand new elections and the establishment of a left government on a socialist programme.

Theresa May’s decision last year to postpone the vote on her Brexit deal has done little other than provide a brief respite from her insoluble dilemma. Her negotiated package remains hated by all sides. Rather than bringing people round to her proposal, the Christmas period has hardened the resolve of Brexiteers and Remainers alike.

On 11 December, two weeks before Christmas, three middle-aged siblings – Anthony, David and Geraldine McGann – were brutally kicked out of the home that they shared on a farm in Co Roscommon, Ireland. The three were injured, as they were dragged by their ears and hair. Their assailants – a group of 20 private security personnel led by an ex-member of the British Army’s Ulster Defence Regiment – were executing an eviction order on behalf of KBC Bank. While this assault took place, the gardaí (Ireland’s police force) merely looked on.

The movement of the yellow vests is a social earthquake of exceptional power. It represents a major turning point in the class struggle in France – and is a source of inspiration for workers around the world. It will have a profound and lasting impact on the political life of the country.

In Spain, achieving the right to self determination is a revolutionary task. Any attempt to exercise it will meet the frontal opposition of a powerful imperialist state, inherited wholesale from the Francoist dictatorship. This regime will not tolerate any attempt to put into question the sacrosanct unity of Spain. Only mass, militant struggle against the state and the capitalist system on which it rests will conquer the right of national minorities (Catalans, Basques, and Galicians) to decide their future.

Yesterday, on December 25th, members of Republic of Srpska (Serb part of Bosnia and Herzegovina) riot police cracked down on a peaceful protest of the group called “Pravda za Davida” (Justice for David), in the centre of the statelets de facto capital, Banja Luka. 

Image: Flickr, War on Want

Since the beginning of the crisis of 2008, anti-immigrant parties and movements have made headway in Europe and the United States. They have even managed to win over certain layers of the working class to their programme. This has led a section of the labour movement to adapt itself to these ideas, calling for stricter border controls, justifying its position with quotations from Marx. Such short-sighted policies have nothing to do with Marx or the traditions of the First, Second or Third International, as we shall demonstrate.

Alan Woods, editor of In Defence of Marxism, discusses the magnificent gilets jaunes movement in France, which has exploded out of nowhere to land a blow against the ruling class. Ever since his election as president of France in May 2017, Emmanuel Macron has been held up as a poster boy for liberalism by the European establishment. But the massive and militant yellow vests movement has shattered this delusion, demonstrating that there is a profound anger amongst workers and youth towards the broken status quo of inequality and austerity that the 'Jupiterian' president and the gilded elite defend.

Right-wing Hungarian prime minister, Victor Orbán has received a blow as a wave of protests has spread throughout the country. The protests have been triggered by a new piece of legislation, labelled the “slave law”, which was passed on 12 December. This vicious attack on Hungarian workers will allow employers to increase the amount of overtime they can ask of workers from 250 to 400 hours per year, which equates to roughly eight hours per week. Not only this, but there can be a delay in payment for this overtime of as much as three years.

黄背心抗议民众于12月15日在法国的街道上发动了第五次周末示威行动,被称为运动的“第五幕”。这是继马克宏于12月10日公布“退让”之后所发动的示威。而过去一周我们也看到了多起学生动员,以及法国全国总工会(CGT,以下简称全总)所发动的“全国行动日”。爆发了五周之后,黄背心这个运动达到了什么阶段,它的前景是什么?

黃背心抗議民眾於12月15日在法國的街道上發動了第五次週末示威行動,被稱為運動的“第五幕”。這是繼馬克宏於12月10日公佈“退讓”之後所發動的示威。而過去一週我們也看到了多起學生動員,以及法國全國總工會(CGT,以下簡稱全總)所發動的“全國行動日”。爆發了五週之後,黃背心這個運動達到了什麼階段,它的前景是什麼?

Lithuania is being shaken by an unprecedented teachers strike, which has now entered its fourth week and is causing severe anxiety, distress and panic among the ruling class and its political representatives. Already, Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis has been forced to sack not only the hated Education Minister, Petrauskienė, but also two other Ministers: for Culture, and the Environment.

For the fifth consecutive Saturday, the yellow vest protesters took to the streets of France on 15 December in what was dubbed ‘Act V’ of the movement. This was after Macron’s announcements of “concessions” on 10 December; and in a week that saw a mobilisation of students and a national day of action, called by the CGT trade union. After five weeks, what stage has the movement reached, and what are its perspectives?

In Albania, since 4 December 2018, thousands of students have been continuously demonstrating against the degradation and injustices of the education system. The initial spark for these protests was an increase in tuition fees, cancelled by the government two days after the first demonstrations. But the demands of the students have now gone well beyond this initial grievance and target the generally poor conditions of public universities. Note: the student activist interviewed for this article is not affiliated with the IMT in any way, and we do not necessarily share all of their views.

Theresa May has survived to live another day after coming through a vote of no confidence amongst her party’s MPs with a 200-to-117 majority. But whilst the Tory leader may have won this battle, she has most certainly lost the war.

Alan Woods, editor of In Defence of Marxism, discusses the historic political crisis taking place in Britain, as the Tory Prime Minister's fate hangs in the balance. As Alan notes, the UK was once considered one of the most stable countries in the world. But now it is a source of enormous instability for world capitalism. And the crisis is not confined to Britain. May, Macron, and Merkel are all facing huge difficulties at home, as the broken status quo collapses around them. Only the call for a socialist Europe can offer a way forward.

On Monday evening, Macron gave a televised speech in an attempt to placate the yellow vest movement that now threatens his government. The following day, its contents were scrutinised and debated among all who have mobilised in recent weeks. The verdict: "smoke and mirrors". In particular, "the increase of the minimum wage by 100 euros" includes the automatic revaluation of the minimum wage scheduled for January 2019, in addition to an increase in the "activity premium" supplement, which will not cost employers one cent – and will not be taken into account when calculating pension entitlements.

上周末(12月8日),法国的黄背心运动以另一轮大规模抗议行动进入了第四幕。虽然官方报道参与抗议的人数为十三万左右,但实际人数可能达到五十万人。这一次,政府方面的反应却也更加的残暴,在法国各地动员了八万九千名员警来试图阻止黄背心参与者发起和平或其他性质的抗议,导致了两千馀人遭到逮捕。

上週末(12月8日),法國的黃背心運動以另一輪大規模抗議行動進入了第四幕。雖然官方報道參與抗議的人數為十三萬左右,但實際人數可能達到五十萬人。這一次,政府方面的反應卻也更加的殘暴,在法國各地動員了八萬九千名員警來試圖阻止黃背心參與者發起和平或其他性質的抗議,導致了兩千餘人遭到逮捕。

The yellow vest movement entered its “fourth act” this weekend, with another round of radical protests by well over the officially cited 130,000 people (possibly as many as 500,000). This time, the state response was even more brutal, with 89,000 gendarmes mobilised across France in an attempt to prevent the yellow vests from demonstrating – peacefully or otherwise – resulting in over 2,000 arrests.

Following the motion (submitted by our comrades) that passed with strong majorities at student assemblies at l'université Paul-Valéry-Montpellier and Toulouse, another extremely radical resolution has been adopted by the Paris Nanterre University. It declares the university on strike, lays out a series of demands against Macron's educational counter-reforms, states its solidarity with the yellow vests, condemns police repression, calls for Macron's resignation and puts the word out for a delegate conference of representatives from Paris universities to

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The social and political situation in France is moving at a breakneck speed. In less than a month, the ‘yellow vests’ movement has put the country on the threshold of a revolutionary crisis. In the coming days, this threshold could be crossed. What will be the decisive factor in pushing the movement forward?

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