The arguments by both sides in the UK’s Referendum on membership of the European Unions are limited. They make outlandish claims on the benefits of Leaving or Remaining while warning of the dangers of their opponent’s policy in a perpetual pantomime of “Oh no it isn’t! Oh, yes it is!”
It is 40 years since the events that took place in the city of Vitoria, where, in 1976, in the context of falling wages due to the economic crisis there were important workers’ movements throughout the country, and in Vitoria there were increasingly massive General Assemblies which elected a committee of revocable delegates. It was when a General Assembly was taking place in the Church of San Francisco that police unleashed repression against the workers gathered there. The then government minister, Señor Fraga Iribarne, founder and president of the Partido Popular (the People’s Party) until his death, and honoured ‘democrat’, ordered the police to fire upon the workers, causing five deaths with many injured.
If we are to believe the media bombardment that has been assaulting us in recent months, we are on the eve of an earthquake that will shake to the core the traditional scenario of the last thirty years, in which the People’s Party of the right (PP) and the Socialist Party (PSOE) have succeeded each other alternately in power without anyone finding anything to complain about. This political chessboard is disturbed today by the eruption of ‘emergent forces’, and in particular by the most recent: Podemos. But Podemos represents nothing new.
On hearing of a strike by nurses demanding better staffing levels at Europe’s largest hospital, Charité, in Berlin last July a junior doctor in London said “They should do that here”. Now the junior doctors are striking here in England in a dispute over a contract that involves both a pay cut and problems of staffing levels. The government claim that they have offered a pay rise, but it’s one which will leave doctors thousands of pounds worse off due to a cut in out of hours pay. The claim that this is about 7 day working is equally outrageous, when the junior doctors have always covered nights and weekends, and rightly fear that increasing the weekend workload without increasing the number of staff would put patients at risk. In February secretary of state for Health, Jeremy Hunt, announced that the new contract would be imposed from August as negotiations had broken down.
It may be that the recent terrorist attacks in France and Belgium are an expression of the difficulties facing “Islamic State” in the ground war in Iraq and Syria, but sudden murderous attacks on the population of the central countries of capitalism are fast becoming a fact of life, just as they have been for many years in Syria, Iraq, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Turkey, Libya, Nigeria, Somalia, Sudan and numerous other countries caught up in today’s expanding war zone.
We publish here a second letter to the Tampa Communist League, in response to DP's reply on TCL's website to our previous letter. For us the last two questions – the relationship between activity and period, and the principal lessons of the Russian revolution regarding party and power – are probably the most important ones for further debate.
By starting a new heading of ‘Readers’ Contributions’ on our website, and occasionally in our paper, we hope to encourage our readers and sympathisers to write texts and articles which can go into greater depth than is possible in our discussion forum, and so stimulate a longer term reflection. These articles, while being broadly based on proletarian politics, need not fully represent the positions of the ICC, or may deal with issues on which the ICC does not have a collective view. The question of art is clearly such an issue, and we welcome Boxer’s effort to deepen our understanding of the marxist approach to humanity’s creative productions.
This third part in our history of the workers movement in Japan deals with the attempt to create a Communist Party affiliated to the Third International, and its Stalinisation following the defeat of the revolution world wide.
This article was written in 1978. One hundred years after the Dublin Easter Rising it still stands as an answer to all those who would hijack the memory of James Connolly, an Irish revolutionary socialist shot down by the British army, for the cause of Irish nationalism.
The following article is a contribution on the question of refugees as it is posed today in Germany. Certain aspects are not easily transferable to other countries of Europe. For example the demographic problem treated in the article doesn’t exist in countries such as France, Spain or Italy, given that a high youth unemployment rate exists in these countries despite a low birth rate. However, because of the economic and political weight of Germany in the EU and in the world this article has an importance that goes beyond its national borders.