Europe

600 people occupied the Pantheon in Paris last Friday (12 July) in protest at the repression of undocumented migrants, who face racism, terrible living and working conditions; and the constant spectre of detention centres and deportation. These activists of the “gilets noirs” (black vests) were demanding (among other things) that Prime Minister Édouard Phillipe grant them documents to legally live and work in France.

The 12 July celebrations, 'The Twelfth', are the height of the marching season in Ireland. It's a day for Protestants and Unionists in Ireland to celebrate the defeat of the Jacobite forces by the Williamites in 1690. The parade was used politically by the Orange Order and reactionary loyalist forces to show their dominance in the North, especially in Belfast, often invoking sectarian riots and violence, which plague the Twelfth. In 1913, James Connolly, Irish revolutionary, explained his thoughts on this day, its real historical basis, and what it means to the people of Ireland.

13 June 2019 will go down in history as the date when Poland, eventually, joined the coterie of authoritarian states. States that deprive their citizens of fundamental democratic rights like freedom of speech, thought and scientific inquiry, and penalise them for their views. On that day, the Polish Lower House of Parliament (Sejm) passed the bill updating the Penal Code, changing the wording of Article 256 – which now includes a prohibition on propagandising communist ideas. This is now punishable by prison.

The results of the Greek general elections of 7 July highlighted two dominant elements: major class polarisation, and consolidation of the phenomenon of widespread voter abstention. The expression of class polarisation (despite acquiring a distorted character due to the SYRIZA leadership’s complete political submission to capitalism) was evident in the large increase of the votes for N.D. (New Democracy) and SYRIZA compared to the European elections of 26 May. The European elections were just 42 days ago, and saw the same level of participation by the electoral body.

The Conservative and Unionist Party is in the midst of a monumental crisis. This is more than raised voices and red wine on the sofa – this is an existential crisis that threatens to tear the party apart.

An announcement from the Communist Tendency (Greek section of the IMT) on the 7th July elections.

The only possible way to stop the advance of the ND is a mass class vote for KKE: A mandate to fight for power!

In July, Wellred Books will release Spain's Revolution Against Franco: The Great Betrayal (available for pre-order now!) The author, Alan Woods, was a participant in the last phase of the struggle against Franco. He explains how a revolutionary movement of the working class defeated the regime – and could have gone further but for the betrayals of the workers’ leadership. The following article by Alan provides a general overview of the events discussed in far greater detail in the book.

In the last period, the Czech Republic seemed to be a relatively politically stable country in the eyes of the global ruling class; with sufficient economic growth, very low unemployment, and even rising wages. This relative stability, sustained mainly by strong German investments, propped up the support for oligarch prime minister and second-richest Czech, Andrej Babiš, and his Berlusconi-style party ANO 2011. But things have changed, and the masses are moving.

The crisis unfolding within the Committee for a Workers’ International (CWI) is reaching a critical phase, and a deep split is now imminent. The Spanish group of the CWI, Izquierda Revolucionaria, which only joined the CWI in 2017, has already split away and what remains of the Mexican and Venezuelan groups have followed suit. The Portuguese group has also left. To help readers understand what is happening, we take this opportunity to publish two opposition documents from 1991 and 1992, when a heated dispute took place within the Militant Tendency

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On 12 June, the UK Home Secretary Sajid Javid certified the request from the US to extradite Julian Assange for allegations of hacking and sharing classified American government documents. We wholeheartedly oppose his extradition and defend Assange’s freedom of speech.

When Theresa May made a tearful resignation announcement in front of Downing Street recently, many posts on social media went viral speaking about the lack of tears from the Prime Minister over Grenfell. In any case, Grenfell families wouldn’t have been comforted by any tears then, and they certainly won’t be now. They want justice.

Our comrades held a seminar from 7-10 June in the countryside in upper Austria. The motto of the seminar was: “The Internationale unites the human race – 100-year anniversary of the Communist International”. With 108 guests from Austria, Germany, Switzerland, the Czech Republic, Britain, Bosnia and, for the first time, Hungary, the event was true to this motto, and was the Austrian section’s biggest Pfingstseminar in many years.

In Britain, all eyes are currently on the Tory leadership contest. But another – far less publicised – race is currently taking place at the same time: that to replace Vince Cable as leader of the Liberal Democrats, who are enjoying something of a revival.

The Labour right wing were fully expecting and hoping for the party to lose a key by-election in Peterborough last week. This constituency voted strongly to leave the European Union, and the press had hyped up Nigel Farage's right-wing Brexit Party, which everybody expected to win the seat. This would've given a boost to the Blairite plotters and Farage's hard-Brexiteer outfit. But on the day, Labour defied expectations and won with an increased majority. Originally published at Socialist Appeal on 7 June.

Alan Woods, editor of In Defence of Marxism, comments on President Trump's recent state visit to Britain. With Theresa May stepping down, Tory leadership contenders have made a lot of noise about how Britain will 'reclaim sovereignty' and 'take back control' after Brexit. But the events surrounding Trump's visit expose this as a complete charade. Far from achieving a favourable trade deal with the USA, the Tory government is preparing the ground for American big business to sweep in and pick at whatever scraps are left of the British economy after Brexit.

A panel dedicated to International Workers’ Day, under the title ‘Workers’ Struggles in the Balkans’, took place in Banja Luka, organised by the Marxist Organisation, Reds: the Yugoslav section of the International Marxist Tendency. For two years, the corrupt trade union leadership in Bosnia and Herzegovina, pressured by the ruling criminal political elites, have refused to even take part in the symbolic Workers’ Day action. We decided that this date was a good occasion to talk about the position of the working class, which is being subject to increased exploitation thanks to the anti-worker labour regulations and corrupt unions.

On 28 May, dockers working the port at the Gulf of Fos in Marseille refused to load the Saudi cargo ship, Bahri Tabük, which was intended to carry French arms to Saudi Arabia, whose regime is waging a barbaric war in Yemen.

In France, only one-out-of-two voters went to the polls for the European elections. This is 8 percent more than in 2014 (42 percent), but it still marks a massive rejection of the EU and the political system in general.

The municipal, regional and European elections of 26 May (26M) in Spain have once again confirmed the victory of the left in the general elections of 28 April (28A). In the municipal elections, the most relevant of the three, the left (both the Spanish as well as Basque and Catalan nationalists) got 48.7 percent, while the right (again, the Spanish as well as Basque and Catalan nationalists) received 42 percent.

"A week is a long time in politics”, or so the saying goes. 10 years in the political wilderness must have seemed a lifetime to the Green Party, those lackeys of Irish capitalism who so faithfully served Fianna Fáil as coalition “partners” in the Dáil of 2007-2011. There still exists intense, bitter feeling across much of Ireland toward that government for its criminal decadence and corruption, despite the suffering of ordinary Irish workers in the wake of the financial crash.

As expected, the European elections saw a huge victory for the Brexit Party, which took 32 percent of the vote in Britain. This clearly reflects the frustrations of many people about the paralysis in Parliament and the failure of politicians to agree on a path for Britain’s departure from the EU.

After three years of can kicking, Theresa May has finally run out of road. Giving a teary-eyed speech in front of Number 10 this morning, the Prime Minister announced that she would step down on 7 June. The race to succeed her will begin the following week. Then the fireworks will really begin.

The Saudi ship Bahri Yanbu, which was docked at the port of Genoa to load military equipment to be used in the Yemen conflict, has left Italy without its intended cargo. This represents a great victory for the Genoese dockers, who refused to load the ship, which will now head to Alexandria, Egypt. At the Genoa port, a banner is still waving: "Stop arms trafficking, war on war."

The following is the perspectives document approved by the national congress of Revolutionære Socialister ("Revolutionary Socialists") in March 2019. It lays out the comrades’ analysis of the political situation in Denmark, and offers their predictions about where the class struggle in the country is heading.

Last Saturday, the Austrian government, made up of the main bourgeois party, ÖVP and right-wing Freedom Party (FPÖ), stepped down and announced re-elections. In a spontaneous demonstration, 10,000 people gathered in Vienna to celebrate. This is a setback for the bourgeois bloc, who have been diligently working on attacking the working class to prepare the capitalists for the next crisis.

Things are getting desperate, even excruciating. The Tory agony seems to have no end. Theresa May is clinging to office by her finger tips, hoping to last out until the end of October, or maybe even longer. However, the longer she bunkers down, the greater the disaster for the Tory Party.

On the 1 May demonstration in Warsaw, the presence of the Czerwony Front (Red Front) was marked by our banner, slogans and red flags. On that same day, we also released our first booklet, Marxism and Anarchism by Alan Woods. The reception was enthusiastic, as proven by the sale of our whole stock during the first hour of the demonstration. This confirms that, in Poland as in the rest of the world, there is a thirst for the only ideas that are able to guide the working class to victory: the ideas of Marxism.

It has been a shaky start for Change UK – the Independent Group, in Britain. Impressive early polling figures for the new "centre ground" party suggested it would take 15 percentage points and a few seats off Labour, thereby robbing Corbyn of a general election victory. But despite this strong initial push, it all seems to have gone horribly wrong. This should come as no surprise. Change UK represents the failed politics of the past.

On Thursday 25 April, celebrations took place all over Portugal to mark the 45th anniversary of the day the hated Estado Novo dictatorship was felled. In Lisbon, around 20,000 people marched in the annual parade of workers’ and youth organisations, while thousands more lined the pavements of Avenida da Liberdade to join in the festivities. We publish here a report of the event by our Portuguese comrades, along with the text of pamphlet they produced for the occasion. You can find more detailed analyses of the revolution here and ...

Local elections took place in Britain on 2 May, in which nearly 9,000 seats across over 250 councils were being contested. They told a story of anger, apathy, and disillusionment. The Tories are clearly in crisis. The unholy alliance of the media and the Blairites have used the opportunity to further their campaign to sabotage the chances of Labour coming to power. Corbyn has tried to bring the focus away from Brexit and towards class issues. This is the best way forward.

Julian Assange has been sentenced to 50 weeks in jail for breaching the UK Bail Act. One year is the maximum sentence permitted for bail evasions. He will serve out his time in Belmarsh maximum security prison.

The disastrous presidency of Petro Poroshenko has resulted in him losing the presidential election to comedian Volodymyr Zelenskiy, by 73 percent to 24 percent. The almost-50 percent margin of victory was the most-lopsided second round in Ukrainian history. The only Ukrainian province where Poroshenko won was the nationalist bastion of Lviv.

Alan Woods discusses the battle in the Labour Party over the question of a second referendum on Britain's EU membership. The Tories are torn apart over Brexit, yet rather than uniting behind their party leader, right-wing Labour MPs are putting their energies into attacking Jeremy Corbyn. Sooner or later, judgement day will come for Theresa May, and the opportunity for Corbyn’s Labour to form a government will present itself. But how will Corbyn deal with the wreckers in his ranks, and the question of the EU?

President Emmanuel Macron made a televised address to the nation last week on 25 April, following a two-month-long nationwide “grand debate” at town-hall-style meetings all over France. Macron wants to “show he is listening” after 23 weeks of protest by the yellow vests against his government of the rich. But his speech was more of a slap in the face than an olive branch.

The right has been thoroughly defeated in the Spanish general elections, which took place yesterday. The masses mobilised to the polling stations: voter turnout was at an impressive high of 75.8 percent – a nine percentage points increase on the 2016 elections. Voters mobilised in such a huge way in order to block the right-wing parties from forming a government.

“From Saturday 27th of April, the ZNP (Teachers’ Union) suspends the national strike. It suspends it, but it does not end it! I shall add: Starting today, we are entering a new, much more important period.” With these words, Sławomir Broniarz, the leader of the ZNP, has bent to the pressures of bourgeois public opinion and put a lid on the cauldron of struggle that has been developing over the past three weeks. For this, the government representatives in the dispute, led by ex-PM Ewa Kopacz, thanked him warmly.

“We all f***ing hate her. But there is nothing we can do. She has totally f***ed us.” These are the pearls of wisdom from a Tory MP recently describing the collective hatred with the Conservative Party towards British Prime Minister Theresa May.

The arrest of Julian Assange is a vicious assault on basic democratic rights. Through WikiLeaks, Assange has exposed the hair-raising crimes of US imperialism and its allies, including the UK. While war criminals like Bush and Blair walk free, Assange now faces the prospect of spending the rest of his life in a US prison. A defence of Assange is a defence of the right to freedom of expression and the right to information, against imperialist aggression.

The fire that partly destroyed Notre Dame is a tragedy for anyone who cherishes the cultural, artistic and architectural achievements of humanity. Capitalism is undermining its own past achievements and those of previous societies, and this emerges very clearly when one takes a closer look at what happened in Paris on Monday 15 April.

The Polish teachers’ strike, which started on 8 April, marks a fundamental change in the situation in Poland, once hailed as the success story for the transition to capitalism after the collapse of the Stalinist regime in 1989. The class struggle is back on the agenda. Now the greatest teachers’ strike in Polish history has entered its second week and is becoming the catalyst for the pent-up anger of youth and workers.

Provincial elections in a small country such as the Netherlands would normally be considered a rather boring event and not worth mentioning. However, the recent elections of 20 March led to the rise of the right-wing Forum voor Democratie (FvD) party, and the Rutte government lost its majority in the senate. This represents a turning point after a few years of relative stability.

On the weekend of 22-24 March, Revolutionary Socialists (RS) – the Danish section of the International Marxist Tendency – held their annual congress. It was held at a Scout hut in the countryside of Sealand. In the months leading up to the event, all of the comrades had focused heavily on ensuring the political, as well as the practical success of the congress. This work ensured that the 2019 congress was the best in the history of the organisation.

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