As the Greek government – almost immediately after the victory of the ‘No vote’ which it had campaigned for - agreed to the intensification of austerity measures, there was genuine sympathy from workers internationally for their Greek comrades. The extent of the attacks on jobs, incomes, pensions and a whole range of essential services has struck a chord because this is not something restricted to the workers in Greece. But at the same time every part of the bourgeoisie’s political spectrum felt confident to use the situation for its own benefit, and against the consciousness of the working class, above all by distorting the real meaning of class solidarity.
Seventy years ago in Hiorshima,on August 6 1945, more than a hundred thousand of its inhabitants were atrociously pulverised, being used as a target in a grand demonstration of the new US nuclear force. According to official figures, close to 70,000 perished in the initial explosion and thousands of others suffered the same fate in the days that followed. Three days later on August 9, a second bomb exploded above Nagasaki killing a similarly terrifying number of victims. The barbarity and suffering inflicted on so many people is hardly conceivable.
The ICC has contributed to the first Korean edition of Rosa Luxemburg’s Junius Pamphlet, written 100 years ago in response to the carnage of the First World War. We are publishing the introduction written for the new edition here. In its 100 year ‘commemorations’ of the war, the ruling class and its propaganda machine offers us so many forms of apology for the massacre; revolutionaries on the other hand can take pride in celebrating the moral and intellectual courage of those internationalists who stood against the war and for the proletarian revolution.
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 following article is a good example of what we mean: as an attempt to explore the historical origins of Islam and to situate the actions of the current ‘Islamic State’ against this background, it raises questions which are of general concern to marxists but which can also give rise to a fruitful confrontation of ideas.
The British economy is growing. The latest GDP growth was 2.9% with a predicted growth of 2.4% for 2015 (The Economist, 4.7.15). At the same time average pay has increased faster than inflation in the year to March, in other words the fall in real wages has been halted. However, this does not tell the whole story and the economy in both the UK and the world, despite having emerged from the deep recession of 2008, remains fragile.
Tory Chancellor George Osborne is set in the July Budget to announce details of the new phase of the Spending Review which will undoubtedly continue the vicious attacks on benefits which have continued to hit the very poorest sectors of the working class under Labour and Coalition governments.
What is the significance, for the working class, of the first Tory majority government in 18 years? It is certainly going to mean even more draconian cuts in benefits, as we show elsewhere in this issue. On a wider scale the results of the election have reinforced the state’s offensive against the proletariat at the ideological level. This is as important as its actions at the economic level. The new political line up of the British state’s democratic facade has the aim of deepening the sense of disorientation within the working class in order to weaken its ability to develop its struggle, and above all its capacity to offer an alternative perspective to the hell of decaying capitalism. Thus the proletariat can expect a whole array of ideological attacks to be launched against it.
When the Greek government decided at short notice to call a referendum it was clear that the differences between the Syriza-led coalition and the IMF/ECB/EC Troika were minimal. When it came to the referendum campaign the differences between No and Yes sides, despite much melodramatic language, were, therefore, also limited.
Over the last 40 years, the ICC in Britain has maintained a regular analysis of the situation in Britain – economic crisis, political manoeuvres of the bourgeoisie, the UK’s imperialist role, and in particular the class struggle and the history of the workers’ movement. We are republishing here one of our first efforts to develop an overall understanding of the class struggle in the country where capitalism initially had its most impetuous development (from World Revolution No7, July 1976).
70 years after ‘Victory in Europe’ day, we are republishing an article that first appeared in Révolution Internationale no. 15, in 1975.
This anniversary is always celebrated by the bourgeoisie and its media with an intense barrage of propaganda, aimed at preserving nationalist feelings and travestying what the Second World War really was: not a struggle between democratic humanity and fascist barbarism but a struggle between capitalist nations who, in the defence of their sordid interests, were quite ready to shed the blood of millions of proletarians, to whip up hatred and commit the worst kind of atrocities.
This is what is pointed out by this short text written by our comrade Marc Chirik, a militant of the communist left who, during the war, firmly defended the principle of proletarian internationalism, producing leaflets calling for the fraternisation of the workers of all countries.