An account of the discussions at our public meetings on the "Yellow Vests" movement in France. The issues raised in these meetings have a wider significance than this particular movement, since the working class today is being called on to participate in a whole series of protests which are either of an interclassist character, like that of the "Yellow Vests", or which are posed on a directly bourgeois terrain, like the "democratic" protests in Hong Kong or the Black Lives Matter demonstrations.
Racial tensions in the United States are related to the role played by the slave system in the development of primitive accumulation in that country. Slavery existed throughout the Americas and the Caribbean (Brazil, Spanish colonies, the Caribbean islands) but in no other developed country has this system conditioned social relations and the obstacles to working class unity as much as in the US. At another level of development and importance, the case of South Africa has some similarities.
Since we wrote about the elements that were to found the Anarchist Communist Group (ACG) in February 2018, this organisation has gone through a process of defining its course and determining its programme. Its main objective was to turn away from the domination of identity politics, as had developed in the Anarchist Federation and in the anarchist milieu in general, and to return to the class struggle as the fundamental basis of its activities. After the group was founded it made some steps, as it said, “to break with the swamp of traditional anarchism” and in the direction of class positions. This article shows the limitations of that break.
A close sympathiser of the ICC makes an appeal to the organisations of the proletarian political milieu to take up their responsibility in response to the dangerous manoeuvres of an adventurer.
The aim of this polemic is to stimulate a debate in the proletarian political milieu. We hope that the criticisms we make of other groups will give rise to responses because the communist left can only be strengthened through an open confrontation of our differences.
We are publishing an article written by our comrades in France which shows that the bourgeoisie’s negligent and irresponsible response to the Covid-19 pandemic is not limited to populist government’s like those in Britain and the US. It is followed by an article that highlights the similarity of government action on both sides of the Channel. This article was written by a sympathiser but is fully in line with our position on this question.
"It is not the consciousness of men that determines their being, but, on the contrary, their social being that determines their consciousness” as Marx famously said. Today, the reality of most people’s ‘being’ across the globe is deteriorating in a dangerous and bewildering manner: wars, economic hardship; environmental degradation, enforced migration and this year, in addition, a new virus. These material conditions of growing chaos and confusion – plus the apparent absence of a credible alternative – are the soil nourishing the proliferation of ‘conspiracy theories’.
Syrian mercenaries, backed by Turkey, arrive in war-torn Libya
After the "Arab Spring" was over in Libya, where a part of the population rose up against the bloody and corrupt regime of Gaddifi, the western powers (in the name of the "humanitarian protection of the civilian population" that the ex-dictator had brutally repressed) declared war on the Libyan leader. After massacring numerous civilians under a barrage of bombs and liquidating Gaddafi, they left the country in the hand of multiple bloody groups who are still fighting over control of the moribund Libyan state.
Police take the knee - but still beat-up demonstrators
The anger at the cold-blooded police murder of George Floyd is real, and it has been shared by white people as well as black, by Latinos, Asians, and among the young in particular. But we live in a society which is dominated materially and ideologically by a ruling class, the bourgeoisie or capitalist class. And anger in itself, however justified, is not enough to challenge the system that lies behind police violence, or to avoid the many traps laid by the bourgeoisie. The protests were not started by the ruling class. But it has already succeeded in pulling them onto its own bourgeois political terrain.
This dossier contains all the articles on the present COVID19 health crisis.
Because of the Covid-19 and the lock-down, it is not possible to distribute a paper version of World Revolution at the moment. But we have produced a PDF of WR 386 in A4 which makes it easier for readers to print off copies for their own use. Subscriptions to the paper press will be held in suspense until the next paper is produced, although subscribers to the International Review should now be receiving International Review 164 in the mail, containing the reports and resolutions from the 23rd ICC Congress.
This coronavirus pandemic has shown up the inadequacies and failures of all health services under the capitalist system. Despite the very real differences in their resources, or lack of resources, the degree of organisation by the state and the degree of involvement of private firms, they are all based on two essential aspects of capitalism: the nation state and the need to extract as much value from those who work in the sector for as little money as they can get away with.
In this article, our section in Peru denounces the ravages of the pandemic, but above all the cynicism and negligence of the democratic state, which has no other concern than profit and the accumulation of capital, abandoning and sacrificing both health workers and the sick. Health workers in Lima and other cities tried to organise sit-ins and demonstrations, demanding protection and resources. The state has responded with police repression and arrests!
This article was written by a close sympathiser in the US. We welcome this initiative and encourage others to follow the example. And of course we also welcome the fact that workers in the US have been reacting against the severe dangers they are facing. As we have argued in our article on the class struggle internationally (see above), it is important to recognise that the working class is not willing to submit to everything that capitalism is trying to impose on it at the moment, even though the objective conditions of the pandemic and the lock-down are a real obstacle to the development of the open, mass struggle.
New York Amazon workers on strike against lack of safety procedues
After the promising signs of a new mood of resistance in the working class, exemplified by the strikes in France in December-January, the Covid-19 pandemic and the global lock-down have created enormous difficulties for the class struggle. But what is in some ways remarkable is the fact that, despite the omnipresent fear of contagion, despite the apparent omnipotence of the capitalist state, the signs of class combativity that we saw in the winter have not simply evaporated but, in an initial phase and faced with the shocking negligence and unpreparedness of the bourgeoisie, we have seen very widespread defensive movements of the working class.
Trump’s absurd pronouncements and responses to Covid-19 pandemic are well documented, but in the end they are only a fairground mirror reflection of the absurdity of the whole system.
The Covid-19 crisis and the lockdown have not made the class struggle disappear: we have already referred to workers’ strikes demanding proper safety equipment and working conditions in a number of countries, and we will be coming back to this in future articles. There is no denying however that the lock-down creates particularly difficult conditions for the development of the open, massive struggle. But we also know that we are going to be faced with unprecedented attacks on our living standards, and we have to prepare our response. This necessarily entails drawing the lessons of previous struggles, and this is the aim of the article we publish here, written by our section in France, which examines the important strikes of railway workers, health workers and others last autumn and winter.
A close sympathiser examines the way the British bourgeoisie used the ideology of "Herd Immunity" to cover up its own negligence, while also revealing its ruthless attitude to the most vulnerable members of society.
A debate with a group of comrades in Alicante, Spain, about the significance of the present pandemic.