On 13-14 January, tens of thousands of people from across Europe gathered in Berlin to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the murder of Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht. Despite the poor weather, this year’s demonstration was one of the largest and most militant events that Berlin has seen in the recent period; a clear sign of the political polarisation and class consciousness that is developing as a result of the intensifying capitalist crisis.
The glory days of American capitalism are over. Long gone are its youthfulness, enthusiasm, and idealism. The signs of extreme decay and senility are everywhere as the divisions within the ruling class are put on public display. The longest partial government shutdown in US history is just the latest example.
Zimbabwe is again moving in the direction of a social explosion. Over the last few days, mass protests against new austerity measures have spontaneously grown over into a general strike against the government. The strike was formally announced to last for 72 hours – from Monday to Wednesday – but as we write these lines, it is in effect still ongoing.
Today, on Thursday 17 January 2019, at half-past-twelve local time, the mortal remains of Alberto Arregui, whose sudden death we reported yesterday, were consigned to the flames at the crematory of the Cementerio Sur, Madrid. The editor of marxist.com, comrade Alan Woods, pays tribute to the memory of a man who devoted his entire life to the cause of Marxism and the socialist revolution.
The Hungarian working class is awakening and radical students are paving the way for nationwide protests. Since mid-December, a protest movement has been rolling across the country against the extension of working hours. Prime Minister Victor Orbán is under pressure for the first time.
Yesterday, 16 people were arrested by Spanish police in Girona (Catalonia) without a warrant. Amongst those arrested were two local mayors of the anti-capitalist pro-independence CUP, a photojournalist and several activists of the CDRs (Committees for the Defence of the Republic), ANC (Catalan National Assembly), La Forja (pro-independence youth organisation) and SEPC (Catalan Students’ Union).
Rejection of Theresa May’s Brexit deal was never in doubt. The question was always by how much. But the scale of last night’s defeat for the Prime Minister – losing by an unprecedented 230 votes – defied even the most pessimistic of expectations. With her proposal firmly spurned by parliament, Theresa May is now set to sail the country into uncharted waters.
Note: this morning the Left Party announced they are going to abstain on the vote on the government, thereby allowing the Social Democrats to form a government with the Greens. What the Left Party leader hinted at on Monday now has become policy. We remain opposed to the formation of the government on this right-wing programme, and maintain our position that the labour movement should demand new elections and the establishment of a left government on a socialist programme.
To commemorate the 100th anniversary of the death of Rosa Luxemburg, we share this article by Marie Frederiksen, author of The Revolutionary Heritage of Rosa Luxemburg (available for pre-order in Danish from Forlaget Marx). Marie explains how the Spartacist Uprising of 1919 was defeated due to the weakness and mistakes of the young German Communist Party, ultimately resulting in Luxemburg’s execution. These events are also explored in Germany 1918-1933: Socialism or Barbarism, available now from WellRed Books.
This morning we were informed of the shocking news of the sudden death of comrade Alberto Arregui, a leading Spanish Marxist whom I first met during the underground struggle against the Spanish dictatorship in 1970s. He was then known by his party name, Manu, and many of us still used to call him by that name. Old habits die hard.
When the Abacha dictatorship in Nigeria (1993-98) was facing collapse, the Nigerian elite, backed and advised by imperialism, prepared the ground for a transition to a bourgeois democratic regime. The various presidents, from Obasanjo to Buhari today, have run corrupt regimes, doing nothing to alleviate the suffering of the Nigerian masses, while enriching themselves and their cronies in the process. Oil accounts for about 90 per cent of the value of Nigerian exports, but more than 80 per cent of the money generated by those exports ends up in the hands of a mere one per cent of the population.
An imperialist coup d'état attempt is underway in Venezuela. On 10 January, President Maduro was sworn in for a new term of office. He had won the election on May 20. At that time, one section of the opposition decided to participate and another to boycott the elections. On 11 January, Juan Guaidó, the president of the opposition National Assembly (in contempt since 2015), refused to recognise President Maduro and declared himself willing to assume the presidency “with the support of the armed forces, the people and the international community.”
On 8-9 January, around 200 million workers went on a two-day strike across India, bringing the country to a grinding halt. The strike was called by 10 central trade unions of India against the anti-labour policies of the Modi government. BMS, affiliated with RSS-BJP, was the only central trade union that was against the strike and tried to sabotage it. All others supported the strike and made huge efforts to make it successful.
To commemorate 100 years since the Spartacist Uprising, watch Rob Sewell, editor of Socialist Appeal, speaking in Gothenburg in November 2018 at the annual, national school of 'Revolution': the Swedish section of the International Marxist Tendency. Rob was launching his new book: Germany 1918–1933 – Socialism or Barbarism.
Based in Britain? Join the Marxist Student Federation on Saturday 16 February at the Institute of Education in central London to discuss the current political situation in Britain, the struggle of workers under capitalism today, and the lessons from our revolutionary history that can guide the way forward.
Zhu Meixue is the current Secretary General of Taiwan’s China Airlines Employees’ Union (CAEU). In 2018, he ran for mayor of Taoyuan as an independent against the candidates of both the KMT and the DPP, the two major bourgeois parties of Taiwan. In his campaign he called for the political independence of the working class from the two parties of the bosses, proposing policies from a working class perspective, with slogans such as “Workers don’t vote for the KMT or DPP!,” “The laboring millions come forward!,” and “Vote for yourselves!”
A wave of protests is sweeping Iraq, with the latest taking place on 21 December in Basra. About 250 people gathered outside the temporary headquarters of the provincial council throughout the afternoon to protest against corruption, and demand jobs and better public services. A few weeks before, on the 6 December, 100 protesters were seen mimicking the recent French mass protest movement by wearing yellow high-visibility vests, when they gathered in front of the Basra’s council building and in Baghdad at Tahrir Square.
Theresa May’s decision last year to postpone the vote on her Brexit deal has done little other than provide a brief respite from her insoluble dilemma. Her negotiated package remains hated by all sides. Rather than bringing people round to her proposal, the Christmas period has hardened the resolve of Brexiteers and Remainers alike.
Marxists recognise the enormous achievements of the 1949 Chinese Revolution. Unsurprisingly, many slogans by Mao Zedong found an echo across the world as an alternative to the bureaucratised USSR after the Sino-Soviet split. However, there are significant political differences between the ideas of genuine Marxism and those of Maoism, which should be clarified.
On 11 December, two weeks before Christmas, three middle-aged siblings – Anthony, David and Geraldine McGann – were brutally kicked out of the home that they shared on a farm in Co Roscommon, Ireland. The three were injured, as they were dragged by their ears and hair. Their assailants – a group of 20 private security personnel led by an ex-member of the British Army’s Ulster Defence Regiment – were executing an eviction order on behalf of KBC Bank. While this assault took place, the gardaí (Ireland’s police force) merely looked on.