Across the globe there is a ‘great debate’ about immigration. Mostly it consists of arguments about how to restrict it. Immigration is presented as having a harmful effect on vulnerable economies, as undermining a country’s culture, as making our lives worse.
A hundred years ago the world was plunged into the cataclysm of World War I, a vast inter-imperialist conflict in which 20 million died. During the war there were many workers’ struggles that went against the spirit of national defence. In Britain the Shop Stewards movement originally appeared as an expression of these struggles, but because they never broke from the trade union framework, they were subsequently integrated into the apparatus for controlling the working class. The article that follows was first published in WR 4 in August 1975. Written nearly forty years ago there are inevitably some formulations that we would now qualify, change or omit, but we are republishing it as it first appeared because its essential argument remains as valid as ever.
In 1936-7 the entire international revolutionary movement was faced with the necessity to affirm the absolute incompatibility between proletarian class struggle and imperialist war, since the one can only advance to the detriment of the other. The class struggle either prevents or disrupts imperialist war; the working masses can only be mobilised for imperialist war by renouncing the class struggle. As we argue in the article on anarchism and imperialist war in this issue, significant parts of the anarchist movement failed this test in 1914, and even more spectacularly over the war in Spain; and the same pattern of capitulation to capitalist war is being repeated today in relation to Ukraine and the Middle East today. But the war in Spain also precipitated a crisis in the Marxist currents which had initially tried to resist the Stalinist counter-revolution, and it was only a small minority which was able to remain loyal to internationalism during that dark period.
Changes to stamp duty, making it cheaper to buy an ordinary house but more expensive to buy one costing in excess of £2 million, provides a little cover for the cuts announced in George Osborne’s autumn statement. We should have no doubt that the proposed spending cuts are an attack first and foremost on working class living standards, and continue the policies carried out by governments of left or right since the credit crunch, and before.
Today the question of war is once again facing the world proletariat. Not a world war around already constituted blocs, but a more general, more chaotic descent into military barbarism across the planet, as exemplified by the wars in Africa, the Middle East and the Ukraine. These wars are again imperialist wars, in which the bigger capitalist states vie against their rivals through various local or national factions, and they are all expressions of capitalism’s increasing descent into self-destruction. And once again, a part of the anarchist movement is openly participating in these imperialist conflicts.
War in Ukraine has brought military conflict between opposing imperialist powers back within the frontiers of Europe.
All the media told us that the protests in Hong Kong were for "democracy". But were they really only limited to that?
The articles reproduced here were originally published in 1936 in issues 31 and 32 of Bilan, the organ of the Italian Fraction of the Communist Left. The Fraction was obliged to outline the marxist position on the Arab-Jewish conflict in Palestine following the Arab general strike against Jewish immigration, which had degenerated into a series of bloody pogroms.
Ebola is not merely a medical problem. It is foremost a social question, the product of a system that has all the technology and scientific know-how to reduce the suffering of the people in the world by epidemics to a minimum, but isn’t able to achieve this.
The Budapest bookshop Gondolkodó Autonom Antikvárium invited the ICC to hold in September 2014 a public discussion in the city, as we have already done in previous years. The debate was, as always in Budapest, very lively and animated by the seriousness of the audience. There’s nothing self-evident about attending a public discussion about the perspectives of a classless society in a country whose inhabitants suffered 40 years of so-called Socialism (1949-89) and whose present government has and for a long time been openly based on Hungarian chauvinism. Taking an interest in such a meeting under these general political circumstances requires an attitude of being “against the current”.