This article is contributed by a close sympathiser who has participated in a number of recent online debates about the question of capitalist decadence.
Despite it being anticipated in all the preceding polls, there were still many expressions of ‘surprise’ at the election of Jeremy Corbyn to the leadership of the Labour Party. Previous leaders Kinnock, Blair and Brown had all warned that the election of Corbyn would mean that Labour would lose the 2020 general election and could be out of power for a generation. After Corbyn’s speech to the Labour Party Conference he was accused of only speaking to the ‘activists’ and it was widely claimed that, under his leadership, Labour would only be a party of protest.
Refugees and other migrants wanting to come to Britain congregate in the ‘Jungle’, a shanty town near Calais. For over a decade several thousand people have been living there, or prior to that in the official Sangatte camp that was destroyed in 2002 at the request of the UK. They are there in the hope of being able to get into the UK through the Channel Tunnel. This is where Britain, like so many other countries, has built a barbed wire fence to protect its borders and keep out refugees, except that it only needs to defend the entrance to the Eurotunnel and not a land border. The refugees around Calais returned to the news over the summer when striking French ferry workers blocked the entrance to the Eurotunnel, causing queues of cars and lorries that people desperate to get to the Britain tried to climb onto.
We are publishing an appreciation of the recent telephone technicians' struggle at Movistar. This arose out of a widespread discussion amongst comrades close to the ICC. This debate was started with the contribution of one comrade; this provided the bones for this article, and others added contributions and they were incorporated into the final draft.
On the 10th October, 2015, the ICC is organising a day-long public meeting in London. In order to facilitate discussion, we are publishing the article that will form the basis of the afternoon presentation. We hope this will give a flavour of the topic of the meeting and also give participants the opportunity to prepare comments and counter-arguments in advance.
Borders as a demarcation of the ownership of land are as old as the existence of property itself. There simply is no existence of property without the demarcation and defence of it. With the advent of major empires such as the Rome or China, gigantic fortified borders were set up: Hadrian’s Wall, Limes, the Great Wall of China. So the existence of such borders to defend an empire against the invasion of rivals is nothing new.
A few facts are enough to show the horror of the situation facing the migrants:
- On 27 August, in Austria near the Hungarian border, 71 bodies (including 8 women and 4 children) were discovered in an advanced state of decomposition, locked into a lorry abandoned by the roadway;
- A few days later, the body of a little boy of three, drowned at the same time as his mother and brother, was washed up on a beach at Bodrum in Turkey.
These were both cases of migrants from Syria fleeing the nightmare of four years of war. This phenomenon of refugees has now been globalised on an unprecedented, going well beyond the exoduses of the worst years of the 20th century.
The main purpose of this article is to bring the work of Max Raphael into the field of contemporary marxist attention and discussion where it belongs. The bourgeoisie calls many of its intellectuals “marxist”, which not only serves to give them a sheen of credibility but usually helps to debase genuine marxist contributions. Many learned individuals have important things to say around the various ideological spheres that have grown up around society and this is to be expected. But unlike the bourgeois “marxists” who pronounce on the ideologies of the ruling class, the views of Max Raphael are very clear on the necessity of the revolutionary overthrow of a corrupt and destructive capitalism by independent working class action, and this fact alone leads us to express an interest in trying to understand his works. Raphael wrote dozens of books and many more papers on art, mostly in French and German with a few in English. He said that if one wanted to understand his views on art then all of them should be read. We can’t do that or even approach it, but we can draw out some elements in order to give us a deeper perspective on art within a framework of the workers’ movement.
On August 12th, at 22.50 (China local time), there was a warning of a small fire in one of the industrial warehouses in the district of Bihai, in the port city of Tianjin, China. Some firemen rushed to the scene. Some 40 minutes later, there was a tremendous explosion equivalent to 3 tons of TNT, and some seconds after that another brutal explosion, equivalent to 21 tons of TNT, which could be seen even via satellites surrounding the earth.
After four years of the war in Syria and around a year since the establishment of the “Caliphate” of the Islamic State, a new turn by Turkey, fully backed by the forces of NAT0, sees it enter the war, dumping its previous jihadi allies and turning its fire on its Kurdish “partners in peace”. A number of questions are raised by Turkey’s new front: why this turn now by Turkey? What does this mean for the Turkish/Kurdish “peace process” and its two-year old “cease-fire”? Are there any elements within the forces of Kurdish nationalism that represent the interests of the working class in any way? Will this move lead to any sort of halt or alleviation in the descent of the whole region into instability and war?