Europe

We publish here a statement of the International Marxist Tendency on the crisis in Spain. The Catalan independence referendum challenges Spanish 1978 regime. It has been met with heavy state repression on the part of the Spanish state. The IMT supports the Catalan people's right to self-determination. For a Catalan Socialist Republic as a spark for the Iberian revolution!

Yesterday morning  (Friday, 22nd September) thousands of students from the University of Barcelona, whose staff and students are staging an indefinite general strike, occupied the institution's historic building in the city centre in opposition to repression and in defence of the referendum.

Italy in the 1970s had two traditional mass parties of the working class, the Communist Party and the Socialist Party, but to their left were several sizeable ultra-left groups, with tens of thousands of members and a group of MPs. The question has to be asked: why did these groups fail to offer an alternative when the PCI leaders entered into a pact with the Christian Democracy in 1976 and supported an austerity programme? And why did they subsequently collapse?

Marxist Students kicked off the autumn in more areas than ever before. For the first time we held meetings in Lund and Helsingborg, amongst others, but also at Södertörn University in Stockholm. There is an enormous and growing interest for revolutionary ideas among an important section of the youth which will be obvious from the following reports from all over Sweden.

Neighborhood defence committee

The situation in Catalonia keeps accelerating. This morning [yesterday, Thursday, September 21st], students and staff at the universities walked out and staged a rally attended by 5,000, and at many schools classes have been cancelled. University staff and student unions have declared for an indefinite general strike.

On 11 September, Norway held a parliamentary elections. These were the first elections since the collapse of the oil prices, which led to Norway’s first austerity programme since the 2007 crisis. But in spite of the attacks that it had carried out against the working class, the right-wing government was re-elected after the main party of the left failed to provide a credible political alternative.

The decision of the Catalan Parliament to convene an independence referendum on October 1st has been received with repressive measures by the Spanish state. These measures are increasing in intensity as the days go by, and reveal the profoundly undemocratic nature of the 1978 Constitution which was imposed in an agreement between the old Franco regime and the leaders of the workers’ parties in order to bring to an end the revolutionary crisis engulfing the country.

11 September, the national holiday of Catalonia, saw a round of mass protests and rallies for the right to self-determination of Catalonia and against the banning of the referendum by the central government. In the morning, there were several gatherings by various political parties. In the afternoon, there was a huge pro-independence demonstration, which according to the police, was attended by one million people. In the evening, a mass rally was held by the radical left, pro-independence Popular Unity Candidacy (CUP), under the slogan of “self-determination: independence, socialism, feminism”.

Despite Labour riding high in the polls, Corbyn’s critics are desperate to appease big business and the banks by remaining in the European Union and maintaining the status quo. As a result of vocal outrage from the right-wing of the party, Labour have made a U-turn on the question of Brexit. Corbyn and the Left should be fighting for a socialist alternative.

Since being elected Macron - the poster-boy of European liberalism and the self-described Jupiterian president - has seen his popularity steadily decline as his electoral facade crumbles away. A majority of French voters (57%) are now “dissatisfied” with the President's performance, making these approval ratings the lowest for any incoming president, after four months, since 1995.

20 years ago today, on 31st August 1997, Diana, Princess of Wales, died as a result of injuries sustained in a car crash in Paris. In the following weeks, a spontaneous mass outburst of grief and emotion swept across the country, catching the Royal Family and the whole Establishment by surprise.

Rob Sewell, editor of Socialist Appeal, replies to sectarian slanders and points the way forward for the unions in the fight to reclaim the Labour Party, defend Jeremy Corbyn, and fight for socialist policies.

Spain never saw a genuine bourgeois revolution, and today important democratic tasks are still pending: the abolition of the monarchy, the separation between church and state, the cleansing of the state apparatus of Francoist residues… But undoubtedly the most pressing issue is the national question.

At the recent annual general meeting of the RMT, the rail union, the question of affiliation to the Labour Party was discussed, after being rejected last year. At a packed conference fringe meeting John McDonnell, the shadow Labour chancellor, made a personal appeal for the union to “come home” to Labour.

Nigh on ten years from the initial announcement of the building of two aircraft carriers, the first behemoth, HMS Queen Elizabeth, inched towards the sea under the Forth Bridge on its way to its first sea trials.

Protest for trade union rights at AELIA

In today's episode from the "One rule for the rich, another rule for the workers" series, a well-known journalist, trade union activist and socialist, Piotr Nowak, was faced with a choice of either spending 20 days in prison or paying a 1000 Zloty fine. The “crime” stated was the organisation of a small protest outside of the Fryderyk Chopin airport in Warsaw back in 2014.

As the election results came in after the polls closed in June, expressions of shock were to be seen not only on the faces of the Tories and press commentators (who had all expected a large Tory win), but also on the faces of the Labour right wing. They had spent months arguing that Jeremy Corbyn and the ideas he stood for were huge vote losers and that a thrashing for Labour was on the cards come a general election. How wrong they all were.

Photo: Socialist Appeal

The mood was jubilant and euphoric in central London on Saturday 1st July, as chants of “Oh Jer-e-my Cor-byn!” rang out through the streets of Whitehall and Westminster.

Federica Montseny speaks at the historical meeting of the CNT in Barcelona on 1977, the first one after 36 years of dictatorship in Spain. Manel Armengol

Este año se cumple el 40º aniversario del que fue, sin duda, el año decisivo de la llamada Transición. En el año 1977 tuvieron lugar los asesinatos de Atocha, que elevaron la temperatura revolucionaria de la sociedad a su grado máximo, la legalización de los sindicatos y de los partidos de izquierda, entre ellos el PCE; la celebración de las elecciones semidemocráticas del 15 de junio, así como la firma de los infames Pactos de la Moncloa, que sellarían la traición a las expectativas populares despertadas a la muerte del dictador.

Kragujevac workers walk out

The Kragujevac FIAT-Chrysler's strike in Serbia continues, having entered its seventh day. Of the more than 2,400 workers, at least two thousand have downed tools since June 26th. Only 250 "white collar" workers have decided for now not to take part in the strike.

TDs and Senators support #JobstownNotGuilty

Shortly after midday on 29th June, an eleven person jury delivered 6 unanimous verdicts of “not guilty” to spontaneous cheers in the courtroom at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court. The verdict brings to its conclusion a trial by means of which the Irish ruling class sought to bring an end to the fundamental democratic right to peaceful protest.

Tory-DUP coalition

After a thin Queen’s Speech and long negotiations, Theresa May and DUP leader Arlene Foster finally appeared outside Downing Street earlier this week to shake hands on the deal that will keep May in power - for now.

57,4 % des inscrits ne se sont pas rendus aux urnes, hier, pour le deuxième tour des élections législatives (contre 51,3 % au premier tour). Ce n'est pas surprenant : dans bon nombre de circonscriptions, les électeurs n'avaient plus le choix qu'entre « bonnet blanc » et « blanc bonnet », sous diverses étiquettes (LREM, LR ou même PS).

“In developments of such magnitude twenty years are more than a day - though later on days may come again in which twenty years are embedded.” (Karl Marx, 9 April 1863)

With the rise of Corbyn, the SNP government needed to move to the left. Given the actual rise of a Frankenstein Tory right in Scotland, we were hardly risking anything. Besides, this morning we might have been celebrating a Corbyn government backed by the votes of nearly 59 SNP MPs.” - SNP MP, George Kerevan

The criminal disaster of the Grenfell Tower fire has brought to the surface all the horror, injustice, and inequality of Tory Britain. All the anger and discontent within working class communities has now exploded into plain view, with a series of militant protests taking place in the last week.

Britain’s political turmoil has become entrenched. Ever since the general election – a mere week ago - Theresa May has been desperately fighting for her political survival. With each passing day, her political authority is being relentlessly drained away. In the last throw of the dice, she has turned to the sectarian DUP, a reactionary outfit, to haggle for support and a parliamentary lifeline.

Poco antes de la 1 de la madrugada del miércoles se producía un incendio en el segundo piso de la torre Grenfell, un edificio de viviendas del distrito londinense de Kensington y Chelsea. El incendio alcanzó proporciones descomunales, que acabó devorando las 24 plantas del edificio. El departamento de bomberos desplazó al lugar unos 200 efectivos en 40 camiones, que tardaron más de siete horas en extinguir el fuego.

London and the whole of the UK are in a state of shock and visceral anger at the tragedy and crime that is the Grenfell fire. All the accumulated rage within the local working class community has exploded to the surface, as more and more details emerge showing how the Tories and profiteering management companies are culpable for the murder of the tower's residents.

The imperialist military interventions in Iraq, Syria and Libya were portrayed by Western leaders as “humanitarian” operations to restore democracy and human rights. But what has instead occurred is the exact opposite with the rise of different degrees of barbarism in all three countries. Just like in Syria and Iraq, we are now also witnessing the rise of slave-like conditions in Libya on a systematic level.

“The Blair era truly ended on June 8th.”

“Corbyn’s triumph was the final nail in New Labour’s coffin.”

These are the words, not of any socialist or Momentum member, but of some of Jeremy Corbyn’s harshest critics - in these cases,

...

Shortly before 1am this morning, a fire broke out on the second floor of Grenfell Tower, a block of council flats in the London Borough of Kensington & Chelsea. The blaze rapidly became a towering inferno as it engulfed all 24 floors of the block, taking 200 firefighters and 40 fire engines more than seven hours to extinguish.

Il primo turno delle elezioni legislative si è contraddistinto per un nuovo record d’astensionismo: 51,3 % dell’elettorato (nel 2012 arrivò al 42,8 %). L’ “ondata” della coalizione En Marche/Modem deve dunque essere considerata nella sua giusta dimensione, in quanto gli astenuti sono molto più numerosi degli elettori della “maggioranza presidenziale”.

Il 22 maggio, in una piacevole serata erano in migliaia, principalmente adolescenti, ad un concerto pop nell’Arena di Manchester. Ma ciò che doveva essere un’occasione di divertimento, si è trasformato in un bagno di sangue quando un attentatore suicida solitario ha fatto esplodere un dispositivo esplosivo a frammentazione improvvisato nell’ingresso dell’Arena, affollato di genitori che stavano aspettando i propri figli.

The shock result of the June 8th election, called by Theresa May with the intention of strengthening her position, has left the Tories without a majority and May’s political career in tatters. Like a drowning woman, she is now clutching at straws in a desperate bid to cobble together a government. The result is likely to be a deal with Northern Ireland's Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), with the leaders of both parties meeting today to discuss the terms of a Westminster alliance.

Nach dem Brexit-Schock hat Großbritannien bei den Unterhauswahlen an 8. Juni 2017 ein weiteres politisches Erdbeben erlebt. Theresa May steht vor einem Abgrund. Die durch sie ausgerufenen Neuwahlen mündeten für die Konservativen Tories in einem Desaster. Der erwartete politische Erdrutschsieg für die Tories, der in Jahrzehnte konservativer Herrschaft hätte führen sollen, hat sich als Märchen erwiesen. Stattdessen konnten wir beobachten, wie die Regierungsmehrheit der Tories von einer wiedererstarkten Labour-Partei unter Jeremy Corbyn zerstört wurde.

“As ideias do marxismo nunca foram mais relevantes. Enquanto enfrentamos a maior crise do capitalismo desde a Grande Depressão, as ideias de Marx, que desvelam as contradições insolúveis do capitalismo, oferecem o único caminho a seguir”.

Le premier tour des législatives a marqué un nouveau record d'abstention à cette élection : 51,3 % (contre 42,8 % en 2012). La « vague » de la coalition En Marche/Modem doit donc être ramenée à sa juste dimension : les abstentionnistes ont été beaucoup plus nombreux que les électeurs de la « majorité présidentielle ».

Yesterday’s first round of the French parliamentary elections marked a new record level of abstentions, 51.3% - compared to 42.8% in 2012. Therefore the so-called "surge" of the Marche/Modem coalition must be viewed for what it really is: those abstaining were far more numerous than those who actually voted for the "Presidential majority".

Following the shock of Brexit, Britain has suffered another political earthquake. Theresa May is facing oblivion. A snap election has turned into a Tory disaster. The expected Tory landslide, which was supposed to usher in decades of Conservative rule, turned out to be a myth. Instead, we have seen the government’s majority wiped out by a resurgent Labour Party under Jeremy Corbyn.

On a bright, sunny evening on May 22nd thousands, mainly young teenagers, gathered at a pop concert in the Manchester Arena. But what was intended as a joyous occasion was turned into a bloodbath when a lone suicide bomber detonated an improvised explosive device packed with shrapnel in a crowded foyer where parents were waiting for their children.

"The ideas of Marxism have never been more relevant. As we face the greatest crisis of capitalism since the Great Depression, the ideas of Marx, which reveal the insoluble contradictions of capitalism, offer the only real way forward."

On a rainy Monday evening, on the muddy banks of the Tyne, 10,000 people gathered to hear Jeremy Corbyn speak. The mood was optimistic and jubilant just three days ahead of the General Election, and a sense of the historic opportunity that lies ahead of us was not missed on the crowd.

A terrorist attack in London left seven people dead last night, after three terrorists drove a van at high speed onto pedestrians in the south side of London Bridge, and then proceeded to stab multiple people before they were killed by armed police. National campaigning for the election on June 8 has been suspended today, and there have been some calls for the election itself to be postponed. We wholeheartedly condemn this attack, which as well as killing innocents only serves to fuel racism and provide a justification for imperialist adventures and attacks on civil liberties.

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