“The overall judgment we made of this tendency in recent issues of Internationalisme, however severe it might have been, was absolutely well-founded. We must however make a correction concerning its definitive character. The Chaulieu tendency was not liquidated, as we presented it, but found the strength, albeit after a very long delay, to break with the Trotskyist organisation and form itself into an autonomous group. Despite the heavy weight of this heritage on the group, this fact represents a new element that opens the possibility of its later evolution. The future alone will tell us to what extent it constitutes a gain in the formation of a new revolutionary movement. But right now we must say to them that they won’t be able to carry out this task unless they rid themselves completely and as quickly as possible of the scars they have inherited from Trotskyism and which can still be felt in the first issue of their review”.
The election of Donald Trump as president of the USA, which closely followed the unexpected result of the EU referendum in the UK, has created a wave of unease, fear, but also questioning across the world. How could our rulers, those who are supposedly in charge of the present world order, allow such things to happen – turns of events that seem to go against the “rational” interests of the capitalist class? How did it come about that a chancer, a narcissist thug and hustler is now at the head of the world’s most powerful state? And more important: what does this tell us about where the entire world is headed.
On the 11th November, the ICC is hosting a Day of Discussion on the Russian Revolution. Several comrades have been already been reflecting seriously on the importance of this all-important episode in the history of working class struggle. A comrade on our discussion board, Link, has already reposted a presentation he prepared for a previous meeting on the topic. It can be found on our discussion forum here.
The text that follows has been sent to us by a close sympathiser of the ICC. We are publishing it in the hope that as many comrades as possible will read it prior to the meeting in the hope that it will stimulate further thought and discussion.
We encourage all comrades to attend the meeting if they are able and to consider making further contributions, either in the form of texts or participating on our forum.
For the most “responsible” factions of the world bourgeoisie, the international upsurge of populism has created a succession of problems and obstacles, not least Brexit and the unpredictable reign of Trump in the USA. In the last few months we have seen some vigorous attempts to stem the populist tide, the most evident expression of which was during the French presidential election last April/May, when weighty international figures like Merkel and Obama, plus the French Socialist Party and others gave their unqualified backing to the pro-EU candidate Emmanuel Macron, widely seen as the most effective barrier to the populist, anti-EU Front National. However, the underlying social forces generating the populist tide have by no means gone away and its political expressions continue to exert a real weight in bourgeois political life. The result of the general election in Austria – coming soon after the spectacular gains made by the right-wing Alternative für Deutschland in Germany - provides further confirmation that populism is much more than a political bubble and expresses a real dysfunction at the roots of capitalist society.
Prior to capitalism, many societies had developed mythologies of the end of the world. The apocalypse anticipated by Judaism, Christianity and Islam, seen as the final destiny of this world, was understood to be the precursor of a new heaven and a new earth that would last for all eternity; whereas in the Hindu vision, new worlds and even new universes are endlessly born, dissolved and reborn in a vast cosmic cycle.
But if the idea of the apocalypse is not new, what is new in the capitalist mode of production is first, that the world inhabited by humankind for hundreds of thousands of years can be destroyed by the technologies that human beings themselves have created, rather than by supernatural beings or an inexorable fate. And second, that such a destruction would not be the prelude to a new and better world, but destruction pure and simple.
Since the end of August the army of Burma (Myanmar) has been persecuting, torturing, raping and killing thousands of inhabitants of the state of Rakhine (traditionally also called Arakan), people from the Muslim Rohingya minority. This is a particularly impoverished area to the west of Burma, a country where the great majority of the population are Buddhist. Rejected and deprived of civil rights for decades, the Rohinigya have been victims of even more extreme violence since the attack on around 30 police stations by an armed group calling itself the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA).
The 2016 UK Referendum on membership of the EU produced a result against what the central factions of the British bourgeoisie considered as their best interests. The international populist tide was amplified with the election of President Trump. And the specific political difficulties of the British government were exacerbated by the general election of June 2017. Called to increase the Conservative government’s majority and strengthen its position in negotiations over British withdrawal from the EU, the election resulted in a loss of seats and the need to form an alliance with the DUP from Northern Ireland.
The Labour Party, that last year was hopelessly divided and looking as if it might split, today presents itself as the new normal, a government in waiting. This is taking place in the context of Brexit on the one hand, and a situation where we see other left wing forces and personalities around the world, whether Sanders in the US Democratic Party, or Podemos in Spain and Melanchon in France, that have grown at the expense of the Socialist Parties. So what is the real state of the party led by Jeremy Corbyn? And who benefits from its actions, the working class or the capitalist state?
We are publishing here an article written by our comrades of Internacionalismo, the ICC's section in Venezuela, in which our organisation takes a position from the viewpoint of the international proletariat on the serious crisis which is hitting the country. Within this we denounce the hypocrisy of the world's bourgeoisie and its complicity with both the Chavist clique and the opposition which have plunged the proletariat and the population as a whole into the most barbaric conditions. Our comrades analyse how Chavism, a product and expression of the decomposition of the capitalist system, uses an ideological swindle of "the socialism of the twenty-first century" which is set up on the basis of an attack against the living conditions, consciousness and combativity of the proletariat. Similarly, they analyse how inter-imperialist tensions are a factor which contributes to aggravating the crisis. The article gives the perspective that the only possible outcome to the barbarity of the situation of Venezuela and the entire world continues to remain in the hands of the proletariat which, through its conscious struggle, can aim to overthrow the capitalist system which is plunging us into chaos and despair.
The escalation of the push towards Catalan independence and the difficulties of the Popular Party government, and more generally the whole of the state, in dealing with this problem through a framework of agreements and negotiations, represents an important political crisis for the Spanish bourgeoisie. It has thrown the “1978 consensus”up in the air (i.e. the rules of the game that the state has followed since the democratic transition in 1975). And this is a state which has already been greatly weakened by the crisis of two party rule – the tandem of the PP and the PSOE (Spanish Socialist Party) - and the difficulty to provide an alternative through the formation of new parties (Podemos and Ciudadanos).