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.
On 1 May 2019, IMT comrades in El Salvador were very proud to commemorate the 10th anniversary of Militante - BPJ, the paper of the revolutionaries of the BPJ (Popular Youth Bloc). The enormous amount of work that has maintained our publication on a more-or-less regular basis over these past 10 years would not have been possible without the invaluable collaboration of sellers, writers, designers, correspondents, but above all, the help of all our readers. We can say proudly, and without exaggeration, that they are spread all over the country.
The Salvadoran section of the International Marxist Tendency, Bloque Popular Juvenil, has marked 10 years of publication of its paper BPJ – Militante. From a modest first issue in February 2009, when it was a quarterly three-page tabloid, the paper has improved into a regular monthly paper with a print run of 600 copies, which doubles for the May Day edition.
Numerous land grabbings have taken place in Burma. More than 50 percent of these have been carried out by the military and governmental departments. The rest have been committed by their lackeys and the foreign capitalists. Numerous peasant struggles have been taking place in Burma for their farmland, communal land and roads, and communal forests. Among those cases, the recent peasant protest in Aung Thbyae village in the Patheingyi township, Mandalay Region, deserves special mention.
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.
Recently, a debate has opened up regarding the denunciation by the former Minister Elías Jaua of the arrest of 10 communards, who had occupied and reclaimed the social ownership of the state company, Arroz del Alba, in the Portuguesa state in west Venezuela. Arroz del Alba's assets had been turned over to be managed by the private company Agroinlaca.
Today, In Defence of Marxism is proud to publish for the first time a number of articles in the Burmese language. They have been sent to us by the Social Democratic United Front (SDUF) in Myanmar (formerly Burma), an organisation that took an active part in the student protests against the military dictatorship, together with the Burma Federation of Student Unions.
The massive, marvellous and militant demonstrations on 15 May all over Brazil struck a blow against the already unstable Bolsonaro government. Protests took place in over 200 cities across the country and more than 1.5 million young people and workers took to the streets.
15 May saw a tsunami of demonstrators come out against education cuts and counter-reforms to pensions in Brazil. More than 1.5 million hit the streets of over 200 cities across the country during the national education strike against the latest measures of the Bolsonaro government, which include a 30 percent cut to university budgets. Despite its bravado, the government is weak and divided. The slogan “Fora Bolsonaro” (Bolsonaro Out) resonated widely. Certainly, Brazil is not in the throes of fascism. Far from it. It is now time to prepare a general strike to bring this government down.
Like a zombie returning from the dead, Nigel Farage is back to haunt the British establishment. Within weeks of its formation, his new Brexit Party has topped the opinion polls for the European elections on 23 May, most notably denting the support for the Conservatives.
After Donald Trump came into office, Washington’s position on the Cuban Revolution has become ever-more belligerent, in a radical change of policy from that followed by President Obama. Although the ultimate objective of both administrations was the same – the destruction of the Cuban Revolution – Obama recognised that the politics of direct aggression had failed, and so pursued the same goal in the economic sphere instead. The objective was to restore capitalism through the penetration of the market into the Cuban economy. Trump, it seems, has decided to return to the policy of open aggression and has taken a series of concrete measures reflecting this.
Despite a great many difficulties, an international seminar on Leon Trotsky was held in Cuba on 6-8 May. The event was convened by the Institute of Philosophy and with the participation of the Leon Trotsky House Museum in Mexico. The International Marxist Tendency’s presence was felt through the Carlos Marx Socialist Studies Centre and a message from Alan Woods.
Election results can provide an important barometer of the mood in society. The results of the Sixth National and Provincial elections on 8 May confirm that there is a deep ferment in South African society. The sharp drop in voter turnout, together with the high abstention from the election process, especially by the youth, meant that, for the first time ever, a minority of the voting-age population voted in the elections. This is highly significant in a country where the working class conquered the right to vote from the ruling class only 25 years ago.
At the recent meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos, the rich and powerful gathered to discuss a strategy for the defence of their system. In the past, the mood of this gathering has been one of confidence and determination. This year, however, it reeked of desperation. The ruling class has gone from victory celebrations to staring into the abyss within the space of just 25 years.
This article was originally published on the Venezuelan website of the IMT, Lucha de Clases, on 5 April, before the abortive coup attempt on 30 April. The article’s general analysis of the waning coup is still valid, and was indeed confirmed by the complete failure of Guaidó’s ‘military uprising’ last month.
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.
We publish here a second round of May Day reports, from Pakistan, Indonesia, El Salvador and Nigeria. In all these countries, the on-going capitalist crisis has led to great exploitation and injustice, and workers are engaged in struggles on several fronts for decent wages and living conditions. Many are drawing radical conclusions, and responded very well to our comrades’ message of revolutionary class struggle!
On 3-4 May 2019, the Thirteenth Congress of the Revolutionary Workers' Party was held in Russia. Dozens of congress delegates voted to unify with the Russian section of the International Marxist Tendency, and the unified organisation voted to join the IMT!
“The most critical moment for bad governments is the one which witnesses their first steps toward reform” – Alexis de Tocqueville.
On Sunday 21 April, and in the following week, Kazakhstani society observed with anger and indignation the shameful trial of a group of young activists who unfurled a banner along the route of the Almaty marathon with the words: “You can’t run away from the truth”, “#ihaveachoice” [in Russian] and “#ADILSAILAYUSHIN” [meaning “for free elections” in Kazakh].
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.