We republish this article, originally written in November 2018 by the Italian Marxists of Rivoluzione, to expose the hypocrisy of the official celebrations for the centenary of the end of the First World War. The pageantry of so-called National Unity and Armed Forces Day on 4 November is intended to distort the real reasons Italy entered the imperialist slaughterhouse, which had everything to do with the imperialist interests of Italian capitalism.
In the midst of the COVID-19 catastrophe, some parts of the economy are booming. Speculative investments are continuing in a frenzied fashion. The latest celebrity-driven fads, NFTs and SPACs, are among the insane expressions of this whirlpool of speculation.
I have just received the sad news of the death of my old comrade and friend, Hans-Gerd Öfinger. It was a great shock and the last thing I expected to hear. Only a couple of weeks ago I had sent him an email when I discovered that both he and his daughter Rosa had contracted COVID-19. He wrote back to say that he was recovering well and was impatient to get back to his revolutionary work.
As the COVID-19 pandemic drags into its second year, it continues to expose and intensify the contradictions of world capitalism. The madness of vaccine nationalism clearly demonstrates that a system based on private property, and the division of the world into antagonistic nation-states, is not equipped to deal with a viral threat that has no respect for borders, profit margins, or narrow nationalist interests.
The first national strike of Amazon workers in Italy took place on Monday 22 March, after Amazon's management walked away from the negotiating table. Although it is difficult to measure the exact level of participation, the strike was a resounding success.
In this talk from Revolution Festival 2019, Hamid Alizadeh – editor of In Defence of Marxism – discusses the fight against imperialism and colonialism. The post-war period saw a wave of revolutions in the colonial world, bringing down many imperialist regimes. Liberals would have us believe that ended ‘imperialism’ and the oppression of the so-called ‘Third World’. But the legacy of colonialism lives on today, with just as great a chasm between a handful of powerful capitalist states, and the impoverished ex-colonial countries.
During Britain’s first national builders’ strike in the 1970s, trade union activists spread the strike by travelling from sites in North Wales and Chester to Shrewsbury, in so-called flying pickets. 24 workers were later arrested and convicted on spurious counts of intimidation, violence and conspiracy, following a crooked trial, at the urging of construction bosses and the Tory-led government of Edward Heath. Several of these workers served jail time. Following a decades-long campaign, the Shrewsbury 24 have had their convictions overturned. Though this provides some vindication, it is not true justice. We must honour the sacrifices of these class fighters by continuing their legacy of struggle.
Today is the birthday of Julio Antonio Mella: a Cuban revolutionary and founder of the Cuban Communist Party, who was assassinated in 1929. We celebrate the legacy of this outstanding young Marxist, who embodied the best traditions of the communist movement, and gave his life in service of the working-class of Latin America and the whole world. The following text was first presented at the first International Seminar on the Life and Ideas of Leon Trotsky in Havana, Cuba, in May 2019.
On Tuesday, March 16, eight people, including six women of East Asian descent, were shot and killed at three separate spas in the Atlanta, Georgia area. The suspect, Robert Aaron Long, is a white man who had a history of frequenting Asian massage parlors, including the site of his first attack, to obtain sexual services. Although Georgia law enforcement and the FBI are reluctant to label this atrocity as a hate crime, these attacks highlight how racism, sexism, and all the ills of capitalism have intensified during the COVID-19 pandemic.
On 10 April, the Marxist tendency in Britain, Socialist Appeal, will host a day-long event on the revolutionary philosophy of Marxism. The day will feature talks on ‘Materialism and Knowledge: Can we understand the world as it really is?’ with Alan Woods; ‘Marxism v Postmodernism: Is progress possible?’ with Hamid Alizadeh; and ‘Is Marxism Fatalistic?’, with Daniel Morley. All are welcome: register for free here!
On Wednesday 17 March, the Netherlands went to the polls. The sitting prime minister, Mark Rutte, and his right-wing liberal party, VVD, won by a large margin. Together with the other liberal party, D66, he will now begin the process of forming his fourth government. The resounding defeat of the ‘left’ parties shows an urgent need for a class alternative to Rutte.
Today marks the one-year anniversary since Britain first entered into lockdown. One year on, and tens-of-thousands of lives have been lost because of the Tories’ crimes. To gain justice, workers must organise to kick out this rotten government.
A new law being proposed by the Tories – that would give police unprecedented repressive powers – has led to a wave of anger and demonstrations. In Bristol last weekend, police provoked a peaceful protest of 5,000 into a furious riot. This anger towards the police came on the back of their brutal suppression of a peaceful vigil in London, in memory of Sarah Everard, allegedly killed by a police officer two weeks ago.
On 11 March 2021, the Leon Trotsky House Museum held an online event to celebrate the 95th birthday of Esteban Volkov, grandson of Leon Trotsky, and lifelong defender of the historical truth of the life and work of the great revolutionary. We provide our readers with a recording of the tribute to Esteban Volkov by Alan Woods, editor of In Defence of Marxism, at that event including English subtitles.
The pandemic is out of control in Brazil. According to official data, at the time of writing (21 March) there have already been more than 294,000 people killed by COVID-19. Approximately 2,000 new deaths are registered on average every day. When underreporting is taken into account, these figures are likely to be significantly higher.
A number of countries in Europe halted use of the AstraZeneca/Oxford University vaccine over the past two weeks, due to an unproven (and unlikely) association with blood clots. Following a review by the European Medical Agency, they have now resumed, but this politically driven decision has seriously dented public confidence in the vaccine, which was already low.
On 18 March, the 150th anniversary of the beginning of the Paris Commune, Wellred Books launched its latest title: The Civil War in France by Karl Marx. With over 350 people from 37 countries registering, over 150 people attended our first online book launch, which was simultaneously live-streamed to YouTube and Facebook.
It has been an explosive couple of weeks at Holyrood (the devolved Scottish Parliament), as Nicola Sturgeon and Alex Salmond testified before a special parliamentary inquiry, pitting current and former Scottish National Party (SNP) First Ministers against one another. Representing rival factions of the party’s upper echelons, the personal break between Sturgeon and Salmond over the latter’s inappropriate conduct has had deep political implications.
The following is an introduction to Wellred Books’ new republication of The Civil War in France by Karl Marx. This excellent overview explains the main events and political processes of this inspirational watershed in the history of working-class struggle. The Communards' heroic, triumphant, but ultimately tragic efforts to build the first workers' government are filled with lessons for revolutionaries today.
Wellred Books is proud to launch a new edition of The Civil War in France by Karl Marx (pre-order now), to coincide with the 150th anniversary of that great chapter in working-class history: the Paris Commune. Our edition features a new introduction providing the historical background to the Paris Commune, as well as Engels' 1891 introduction and articles by Lenin and Trotsky. Register to attend our free book launch event today, and claim your special discount!