Europe

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.

With Marxist Labour councillors in the leadership, a mass movement involving the entire labour movement and working class communities was built up in Liverpool in the 80s, in order to oppose cuts and fight for socialist policies.

Julian Assange has been arrested in London today at the Ecuadorian Embassy on a US extradition warrant. The London Metropolitan Police have arrested Assange in line with this warrant and for failing to surrender to the UK court for a bail issue. Theresa May confirmed this morning, in her House of Commons address, that Julian Assange was “arrested in relation to an extradition request from the United States’ authorities.”

The Prime Minister has bought herself some time with another Brexit deadline extension. But workers and youth cannot afford to suffer any more of this chaos. We need a general election and a socialist Labour government now! According to Tory Brexiteers, Britain was supposed to be riding the waves of sovereignty and independence, having freed itself from the leviathan of the European Union. Instead, Theresa May and her ragtag government find themselves lost at sea - and with no hope on the horizon.

A new scandal has emerged in Spain, concerning a group of high-ranking police officers who worked in cahoots with the former PP Minister of the Interior, Jorge Fernández Díaz, and the Rajoy government to pursue “opponents of the State" (such as the Catalan separatists and Podemos), and sabotage the investigation of major corruption cases. This so-called "cesspit of the state” is yet further confirmation of what is already common knowledge: the state and so-called “free press” are rotten to the core.

Xenophobia is perhaps the most consistent thread through British PM, Theresa May’s political career. Long before she became known as the Brexit prime minister – indeed, when she was still an ardent supporter of EU membership – she was the primary orchestrator of the Tory anti-migrant agenda. The Immigration Bill currently working its way through parliament will prove to be the crowning achievement of this divisive and cruel agenda.

The President of Ecuador, Lenín Moreno, is threatening to expel whistleblower and WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange from the Ecuadorian embassy in London, where he has been for the last nine years, “within hours or days”. Moreno has accused Assange of leaking photos of the president and his family, along with intercepted private calls and correspondences. Moreno claimed on national radio that there were even “photos of my bedroom”, but has provided no evidence to substantiate his claims. This threat of expulsion is an assault on freedom of expression and should be

...

From 29-31 March, over 80 workers and youth gathered in Gothenburg to discuss the national and global political developments erupting across the world. Quantitatively, this was the largest congress for the Swedish section of the IMT; and qualitatively, this was a milestone for the section. Political discussions were sharp and thorough, and a high level of enthusiasm to build the forces of Marxism in Sweden was evident during the entire weekend.

The spectre of a national strike of teachers has been looming over Poland for some time now. But despite the lukewarm attempts by the right-wing PiS government to alleviate the situation with half-hearted concessions, the strike date has been set for 8 April. This day will definitely go down as an important event in the history of the National Teachers’ Union (ZNP, formed in the course of the 1905 revolution), and perhaps of the Polish working class as a whole.

In modern-day Croatia, sectors such as the garment, shoe and leather industries are marked by hard labour for minimum wages, coupled with non-existent workers’ rights and constant pressures from management. The trade union for textiles, garments, leather and rubber (TOKG) is making sure that things get even worse. This article, originally published at Radnički Portal, describes five cases in which TOKG served as management’s right-hand, and was an ally in the destruction of companies, ramping up exploitation and undermining workers.

British left-wing organisation Momentum has launched a national campaign calling on banks to divest from fossil fuel corporations. And the Labour Party has launched its own call for a Green New Deal. This highlights the need for public ownership of the monopolies.

The Mother of Parliaments is now home to the mother of all crises. Brexit has tested the UK’s institutions and unwritten constitution to their limits. We are in uncharted waters – and in Theresa May’s case, in a rapidly sinking boat without a life vest.

Brexit is turning into an absolute car crash. Theresa May has gone down in history as having racked up the biggest and the fourth biggest defeats in parliamentary history. Yesterday, weary MPs rubbed salt in the Tory leader’s wounds by voting to “take back control”, giving themselves a say in how to resolve the parliamentary paralysis (if this is even possible).

The British comrades of Socialist Appeal received the following letter from a former member of the CWI's British section, the Socialist Party, explaining why the explosive events in the Labour Party under Jeremy Corbyn's leadership led him to abandon the sectarian route pursued by the SP and leave the organisation. He calls on his former comrades to do the same.

On 15-17 March, around 180 workers and students met in London for the annual national conference of supporters of Socialist Appeal, British section of the IMT. The meeting was, without a doubt, the best in the history of Socialist Appeal, as evidenced by the record attendance, the extremely enthusiastic mood, and the impressively high political level of the discussions.

It has been a year since the murder of David Dragičević, a student from Banja Luka, which shook the Republic of Srpska to its core. Dejan Prodanović, a member of Banja Luka’s branch of the Marxist organisation, Reds, explores the causes for and the dynamics behind the Justice for David movement, which rattled the reactionary regime of Milorad Dodik. This article, apart from giving a detailed description of the protests and the actions of certain figures within it, also gives an insight into the class character of Dodik’s rule.

Several organisations, including the Yugoslav IMT Marxist Organisation ‘Reds’, have mobilised together in a united front as the ‘Left Bloc’ for several weeks as part of mass protests in Belgrade, Novi Sad and Zrenjanin. The Bloc put forward social demands in the demonstrations, instead of the merely civil and democratic demands presented by the organisers from the opposition.

The yellow vests movement strikes fear into its opponents, which incurs their aggression. In addition to violent repression (2,000 people have been wounded, 18 blinded and five have had their hands torn off), the government has responded with an unprecedented intensity of judicial repression.

With her precious Brexit deal thoroughly defeated in parliament for a second-time, Theresa May seems to have finally run out of road. Commentators on all sides are imploring the war-weary prime minister to stop flogging a dead horse and move on. But where can she go from here? The Tory government is in office but not in power. One disaster follows another in a never-ending circle. May looks (and sounds) like a dead-woman walking.

For the second consecutive year, International Working Women’s Day (8 March) was a momentous occasion in the recent history of the Spanish State. The official data show even greater participation in the demonstrations, strike action and work stoppages than in 2018, which in some places increased dramatically. As we have been saying repeatedly, there are plenty of reasons for this great mobilisation.

The years that followed the collapse of the USSR saw some of the worst peacetime declines in living standards in history, and the brunt was endured by the working class throughout the former Soviet Republics. The five years that followed the Euromaidan coup and the civil war in Donbas have brought even deeper lows to Ukrainians, from attacks on healthcare and pensions by the government, to failing infrastructure, to new calamities arising from the civil war and the rise of neo-Nazi gangs throughout the country. This article will discuss the current developments in Ukraine and the perspectives going forward.

A ferocious civil war is going on inside the Labour Party – one that will determine its future. The party's right wing, largely confined to the Parliamentary Labour Party (PLP), have unleashed a torrent of lies, abuse and misinformation. They are backed up to the hilt by the hyenas in the capitalist media, creating a climate of McCarthyite fear and intolerance over allegations of anti-semitism.

8 March (International Working Women's Day) will be a day of struggle and mobilisation in Italy and beyond. Thousands will hit the streets to fight against continuous attacks to women's rights by alternating Italian governments. The economic crisis has worsened economic and social conditions, especially of working women; and social welfare cuts have pushed back the emancipation conquered over decades of struggle.

For International Working Women’s Day on 8 March, the unions have once again obtained legal notice for the general strike called by the feminist movement. For several months, preparations have been underway in all parts of the Spanish State for what is to be an even more successful protest than that in 2018.

The solidarity campaign for Rawal Asad (who has been held in custody since February on the scandalous charge of sedition after attending a peaceful protest in Multan, Pakistan) shows no sign of slowing down. On 4 March, comrades and supporters of the International Marxist Tendency coordinated a day of pressure against the Pakistani state by picketing, protesting and telephoning Pakistan's embassies all over the world, so the regime knows the world is watching, and we will not stop until our comrade is released. 

The Finnish Revolution is a proud chapter in the history of the international working class. Tragically, despite the tremendous energy expended by the masses, their leaders vacillated and betrayed the revolution. The forces of counterrevolution unleashed a bloodbath, which physically annihilated the flower of the working class, contributing to the encirclement and isolation of the Russian Revolution.

On 30 January, nurses and midwives across Ireland staged their first walkout in 20 years over the question of patient safety and pay. Of more than 40,000 nurses organised in the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO), 95 percent voted in favour of strike action. They were joined by the Psychiatric Nurses Association (PNA).

Image: Òmnium

On 12 February, the trial of the 12 Catalan political prisoners began, with the state prosecutor asking for sentences of between 11 and 25 years. The body in charge of passing judgment is the supreme court, which will consider the accusations presented by the prosecutor's office of rebellion, sedition and embezzlement. Their crime: having organised the 1 October 2017 referendum on Catalan independence.

Jeremy Corbyn has promised the possibility of a second referendum in an attempt to pacify the Blairites. But such compromises will only embolden the Labour right wing. These careerists must instead be shown the door.Brexit is beginning to take its toll on Britain’s political parties. Both Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn are desperately attempting to hold their parties together in the face of irreconcilable divisions. But neither leader will be able to appease their rebels. Splits and shocks are the order of the day.

Comrades and supporters from around the world are continuing to put pressure on the Pakistani state to release the Marxist student activist, Rawal Asad, who is still being held on the scandalous charge of sedition and has been denied bail. Meanwhile, protests are ongoing in Pakistan, where comrades, students and workers are demanding that Rawal be immediately released.

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.

Join us!

Help build the forces of Marxism worldwide!

Join the IMT!