Last Tuesday, a wave of student protests erupted in Turkey's biggest city, Istanbul. Students from the Boğaziçi University protested against the new rector of the university and former wannabe parliamentary candidate for President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s AKP-party, Melih Bulu, who was appointed to the university post on 2 January by Erdogan’s decree.
Results from the general secretary election for Unison (Britain's biggest trade union) show the enormous potential strength of the left, if united. The left wing must now look ahead and fight for a majority on the union NEC – a key step in transforming the labour movement.
Alan Woods, editor of marxist.com, looks at the tumultuous state of the world at the dawn of 2021. Capitalism is in a profound crisis. While a handful of billionaires enrich themselves, the vast majority are trapped between the coronavirus pandemic and poverty. But Marxists remain optimists. The working class and youth are beginning to stretch their muscles in preparation for the battles to come.
The political, economic and social crisis triggered by the pandemic has affected all countries across the globe. It is yet another nail in the coffin of the old order, which is being questioned by the masses everywhere. In this context, we are calling on our comrades and supporters to donate generously and help us build the forces of Marxism! Join us in the fight!
2021 has kicked off with a bang. If anyone had any remaining doubts, yesterday's events exposed the depth of the crisis of US capitalism—and it is only the beginning. Even in the turbulent years before and after the US Civil War, we have never seen the US Capitol building breached by protesters—and encouraged by the sitting president! Anti-terrorist attack emergency protocols were activated as tear gas wafted through the corridors, and at least one person was shot and killed. As former president GW Bush put it, these are the scenes one would expect in a “banana republic"—not in the bastion of world imperialism.
Recently, it was brought to the attention of the In Defence of Marxism Editorial Board that some individuals have been interacting with others on the Chinese internet in the name of the International Marxist Tendency (IMT), even soliciting translations and articles in the name of our organisation and promising fees in return. We wish to make it absolutely clear here to all our readers that our organisation has never accepted any contributions from such individuals, nor do we pay for articles or translations.
With the Oxford/AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine recently approved for use in the UK; and products by Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna and others already being administered around the world, one would think we are approaching the end of this pandemic. However, pharmaceutical profiteers and political representatives of the ruling class are bungling the rollout in some of the worst-affected countries. In their haste to return to ‘normal’ and get the economy moving again, they are ignoring the science, cutting corners and putting lives at risk.
Since the start of the pandemic, the Tories have ignored teachers regarding making schools safe, instead pushing to open schools in the interests of the bosses’ profits. Now the teachers have forced a Tory retreat, thanks to mass militant action.
On Monday, it was announced at the Old Bailey that Julian Assange would not be extradited to the US to face charges of endangering the lives of informants in Afghanistan, and for collusion with Chelsea Manning to hack US government computers. This news has rightly been greeted with enormous relief from Assange’s supporters. Yet there is a caveat. The British court’s ruling was based on concerns that the US prison system would be incapable of preventing Assange from taking his own life. In fact, the court ruled in favour of the prosecution, stating that Assange should be extradited to the US. The message is clear: the British judicial system is subservient to the whims of US imperialism.
Johnson and the Tories have attempted to blame a new variant of the virus for the catastrophe that is unfolding. But it is their recklessness that has landed us in this situation. We need a bold socialist response to the pandemic.
Amar Fayaz, the Pakistani comrade of the IMT who was recently returned by the state authorities following his abduction on 8 November 2020, has recorded this message of thanks for the solidarity he received from comrades and supporters all over the world, which was instrumental in ensuring his release.
Boris Johnson has announced his Brexit deal to great fanfare, promising a bright future of prosperity and freedom. But dark clouds are gathering for British capitalism, which faces a perfect storm. This rotten Tory government must go.
We have just received the great news that comrade Amar Fayaz has been released today, the security agencies dropped him at his village. Amar’s release was made possible through the immense and successful international campaign organised by students, youth and workers from all around the world. We will update our supporters as we get more details on Amar’s release.
What does 25 December have to do with the birth of Jesus Christ? As it turns out, nothing. But the official early history of Christianity has always contained more fiction than fact. At a meeting in London, Alan Woods offers a historical materialist analysis of the origins of Christianity, demonstrating how a revolutionary movement was eventually co-opted and corrupted by the ruling class of its day, and turned into an instrument of reaction. As Marxists, we are fighting for a better life and goodwill between all men: not in heaven, but here on earth. This can only be accomplished through revolution. We apologise for the first few minutes of this talk being cut off.
To mark the holiday period, we republish the following introduction by Alan Woods to a German edition of Karl Kautsky's excellent text, The Foundations of Christianity. Originally published 23 September 2011, Alan outlines the significance of this work, and gives an overview of Kautsky's historical materialist account of the origins of the Christian faith.
The COVID-19 vaccines slowly entering circulation offer a glimmer of hope for millions of ordinary people who have spent the best part of a year trapped in the seemingly endless nightmare of this pandemic. For the pharmaceutical capitalists, these essential resources (whose development has been funded largely by public money) are a goldmine to be plundered. Meanwhile, stockpiling by the imperialist powers, and Big Pharma’s bottom line put a working vaccine out of reach for the poorest parts of the world.
On 19 December 2020, the Progressive Youth Alliance (PYA), a revolutionary organisation struggling for the rights of students and youth in Pakistan, organised a nationwide protest, entitled “Students Day of Action” (covered by Pakistan's oldest English-language newspaper): for free education and the restoration of student unions; and against sexual harassment of women, state abductions and unemployment. Participants in all cities also raised slogans for the release of comrade Amar Fayaz, who was abducted by the state authorities last month. Still, his whereabouts are unknown.
Argentina’s approval of a one-off wealth tax has been presented as a model by some on the left in Britain, as well as in other Latin American countries – where the idea is very popular. What is its real content, however, and is it a useful proposal to deal with the crisis of capitalism and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic?
The Tories claim they are spending all their time and energy ‘dealing’ with the pandemic. However, much like Health Secretary Matt Hancock’s forced tears on the television, this is a smokescreen for what is going on behind the scenes.