I did not believe that it was possible for the low esteem in which I hold modern academics in general, and bourgeois historians in particular, to sink any lower than it already was. But that belief was misplaced. I have just had the misfortune to watch a three-part series put out by BBC Channel Four with the title: ‘Charles I, Downfall of a King’. I now hold the intellectual qualities of our modern historians at a slightly lower level than those of Mr Bean. At least Mr Bean can be mildly amusing at times, but our self-appointed intellectuals lack even that redeeming virtue.
Today marks the tenth consecutive day of protests calling for the resignation of Puerto Rico’s Governor, Ricardo Rosselló. Hundreds of thousands have filled the streets of San Juan and surrounded La Fortaleza, the governor’s mansion. The spark for the protests was a leaked Telegram chat that revealed large-scale government corruption as well as the most abhorrent language and disgusting jokes, revealing the complete disdain of the government towards the people of Puerto Rico.
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 pharmaceutical industry is a very profitable business, particularly if you lack a moral compass. Jazz Pharmaceuticals 15-folded its value in seven years on the back of one drug, for which it charged through the roof.
“Labour was on the brink of civil war last night as Brexit and anti-Semitism threatened to split the party,” bellowed the Tory Daily Mail last week. “Jeremy Corbyn has been rocked by fierce and high-level infighting on both issues ahead of a nightmare week.”
Alan Woods introduces his new book, Spain's Revolution Against Franco: The Great Betrayal (coming soon from Wellred Books). This is an account of the so-called Spanish transition to democracy, which was actually a revolution – one that is unfortunately little known or understood. Click here to pre-order your copy now!
In recent months, we have witnessed a noticeable deceleration of inflation. In February and March, we saw the prices of many goods and services remaining relatively stagnant, or even falling briefly. The behaviour of prices in June has been similar, coinciding with a seasonal period where several items (such as cheese, various vegetables, and some fruits) tend to be produced in greater quantity than during the rest of the year.
This is the second half of our analysis of the 7 July Greek elections, which saw the right-wing New Democracy party come to power, following four years of betrayal and austerity under the SYRIZA government. Click here for part one.
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 Jacobin 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.
Alan Woods, editor of In Defence of Marxism, discusses the current contest between Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt to succeed Theresa May as leader of the Conservative Party.
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.
Sheltered in the darkness of the night, in the early hours of 28 June 2009, hundreds of soldiers entered the presidential residence and captured José Manuel Zelaya Rosales, the legitimately elected president of Honduras. While still in his pyjamas, he was forcibly exiled to Costa Rica. A letter by Zelaya was issued, in which he resigned the presidency in order to avoid further bloodshed. The ousted president denied the letter was his.
Last night, a power sharing agreement was reached between the Transitional Military Council (TMC), the military junta currently in power, and the Forces for Freedom and Change (FFC), which includes the main leaders of the revolutionary movement that erupted last December.
The agreement sets up a ‘sovereign council’ composed of 11 people, five military, five civilians and one “compromise” member agreed by both sides. Initially the last compromise member was presented as a civilian, but it has since been revealed that this “civilian” is a retired military officer. Thus the majority on the council will be loyal to the TMC and all members of the old regime of the now deposed dictator, Omar Bashir.
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!
On the weekend of June 29-30, Fightback held its first-ever Marxist Summer School in Edmonton, Alberta. Mirroring our annual Marxist Winter School in Montreal, close to 60 people attended the school, making this the largest Marxist gathering in Alberta in recent memory. People attended not just from Alberta, but many came all the way from Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia, British Columbia, and the United States. The resounding success of this inaugural Marxist school proves that there’s a genuine thirst for revolutionary ideas in Alberta.
As the capitalist system lurches from one crisis to the next, old contradictions are re-emerging. Instability, polarisation and huge political shifts are taking place all over the world. As part of this process, unsolved national questions are erupting once more with renewed force around the globe - from Catalonia to Kurdistan to Ireland.
And it is not just on the national question that these giant shifts are taking place. The emergence of new political movements and formations, from Sanders to Corbyn to Podemos, reflect the impasse of the system and the fact that the masses - deprived of a party with a clear, revolutionary programme - are searching for a way out.
On Monday, the Chilean teacher's strike entered its fifth week. More than 70 percent of the teachers voted to reject the latest government offer and want to continue the national strike indefinitely. The strike has involved hundreds of thousands throughout the country, with particularly active participation in the regions. For her part, the education minister Marcela Cubillos has shown great arrogance, and only last week agreed to dialogue amidst controversy over police brutality. After large marches of tens of thousands in the past weeks marked a milestone in the teacher’s movement, the high point was the cacerolazo (banging on pots and pans as a political protest) of the patipelados (destitute people) on 26 June, which galvanised the support and solidarity of the public in the streets.
The mayoral election in Istanbul on 23 June 2019 represents a significant blow to the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP). The opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) won with almost 55 percent of the vote, bringing an end to the AKP’s dominance of the city, which lasted over 20 years. Despite being a local election, it has been become a rallying point for anti-AKP sentiments and ultimately a damning referendum on the current leadership of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.