After the push from the extreme right in Austria and Holland, the Brexit vote in the Uk and the victory of Donald Trump in the USA, France could be the next big power to see a populist movement at the gates of power, or at least to seriously shake up the electoral machine. While the more lucid factions of the bourgeoisie, both right and left, are not at all just folding their arms faced with this objective threat to the state and the ruling class, the scenario of a victory by marine Le pen at the next presidential election is taken sufficiently seriously to mobilise the European governments and send shivers through the financial markets. Such an event, at the heart of the European motor, would pose a major danger to the EU, much greater than Brexit. It would be a disaster for Germany and all the pro-European governments, potentially menacing the imperialist balance of power at the historic centre of capitalism.
This article, written by a close contact of the ICC in the US, is a contribution to our effort to follow the evolution of the situation in the US following the election of Trump. Events are moving very fast – since this article was written we have had the official announcement by the FBI that it will investigate links between Trump and the Russian state in the election campaign, and the highly significant defeat of Trump’s healthcare proposals in Congress. We will certainly continue to write about such events, but our aim is not “reporting” on a day-by-day basis but rather to develop a Marxist analysis of the underlying meaning of these developments.
We are publishing an interview with Marc Chirik in which he talks in some detail about the revolutionary movement during the Second World War. Marc, a founding member of the ICC, had also been one of that small handful of revolutionaries who stood up to the enormous ideological and physical pressures of the “war against fascism” and who throughout the conflict remained loyal to the fundamental principles of internationalism, defended by Lenin, Luxemburg and others during the “war to end wars” of 1914-18.
The first part of our reply to Link’s ICC forum posts was on the ICC’s 40 year balance sheet of its existence. This second part concentrates on the problem of the Fraction and the article in the International Review ‘The ICC as a Fraction’.
Date: Saturday 15 April 2017, 2pm-6pm
Place: Lucas Arms, 245A Grays Inn Rd, Kings Cross, London WC1X 8QY
In the face of the decline of the US, and also of growing class, racial, religious and ethnic divisions, Trump wants to unite the capitalist nation behind its ruling class in the name of a new Americanism. The United States, according to Trump, has become the main victim of the rest of the world. He claims that, while the US has been exhausting itself and its resources maintaining world order, all the rest have been profiting from this order at the expense of “God’s own country”. The Trumpistas are thinking here not only of the Europeans or the East Asians who have been flooding the American market with their products. One of the main “exploiters” of the United States, according to Trump, is Mexico, which he accuses of exporting its surplus population into the American social welfare system, while at the same time developing its own industry to such an extent that its automobile production is overtaking that of its northern neighbour.
This amounts to a new and virulent form of nationalism, reminiscent of “underdog” German nationalism after World War I and the Treaty of Versailles. The orientation of this form of nationalism is no longer to justify the imposing of a world order by America. Its orientation is to itself put in question the existing world order ...
“During the lifetime of great revolutionaries, the oppressing classes constantly hounded them, received their theories with the most savage malice, the most furious hatred and the most unscrupulous campaigns of lies and slander. After their death, attempts are made to convert them into harmless icons, to canonize them, so to say, and to hallow their names to a certain extent for the “consolation” of the oppressed classes and with the object of duping the latter, while at the same time robbing the revolutionary theory of its substance, blunting its revolutionary edge and vulgarizing it.” (Lenin).
Of no revolutionary has this been more true than of Rosa Luxemburg. The heirs of her assassins – the social-democrats of every hue – would like to turn her into an icon of democracy against the dictatorial Bolsheviks. This, the first chapter of her work on the Russian Revolution, is a scathing rebuttal to such attempts to rewrite history: as she says in her conclusion, "All the revolutionary honor and capacity which western Social-Democracy lacked was represented by the Bolsheviks"
What can the world expect from the new Trump Administration in the USA? Instead of joining in with this crystal ball gazing about the near future of American state policy, we will try here first of all to analyse why Trump was elected president, although the traditional established political elites did not want him.
Today everyone wants to talk about the working class. At the last UK general election Cameron claimed to speak in the name of “hard working people” and Theresa May has gone one better in wanting to represent the working class, while UKIP claims to be able to speak for – and take the votes of – the workers who have become disillusioned with the Labour Party which imposed austerity on them for the 13 years of the Blair and Brown governments.
The ruling class in Britain was not prepared for the Brexit result. That there was no plan in place has become evident in the subsequent months. The Cameron government had no measures prepared. Those who campaigned to Leave the EU have gone back on slogans such as ‘£350 million a week to be spent on the NHS’ but not suggested anything in their place. The British bourgeoisie had partly lost control of its political apparatus and was looking for strategies to limit the damage to the economy, to stabilise a situation in which, especially after the advent of President Trump in the USA, instability and uncertainty are rapidly spreading.
We continue our series on the class struggle in South Africa, with a study of the period between the outbreak of the mass resistance movements in Soweto in 1976, and arrival in power of Mandela's ANC in 1993. In particular, we will look here at the way the new radical trades unions were used to break the back of the resistance, and drive the black working class into the arms of the nationalist ANC.