In the article below we show how, faced with “an accelerated deterioration and precariousness of living conditions”, students in France demonstrated on 21 January 2021, when “hundreds of students took to the streets across France to express their anger and frustration”.
After a year in which the African continent seemed to escape the worst of the pandemic, the diagnosis for 2021 is less rosy....
Marc Chirik passed away 30 years ago, in December 1990. In tribute to the precious contributions of our comrade, of this great revolutionary in the line of Marx, Engels, Lenin and Rosa Luxemburg, we are republishing the two articles from International Review 65 and 66 that were written just after his death. These two articles go over the broad lines of his life and summarise what he brought to the proletarian cause and the defence of marxism.
We are publishing here a three-part series on the question of education that first appeared in the pages of World Revolution in 2001 (numbers 243-245). While it starts with references to the UK general election of 2001, what the series says is still relevant today.
Suppression of the Kronstadt revolt by the Red Army: a tragic error
After the Russian revolution in 1917, the revolution in Germany in 1918, the creation of the Communist International in 1919, we mark the hundredth anniversary of the tragic crushing of the revolt by the workers, soldiers and sailors of Kronstadt in March 1921 with a document “The lessons of Kronstadt” from International Review, in order to indeed draw the key lessons of this event for the struggles of the future.
We publish below an article relating to the evolution of the health situation in Soviet Russia in July 1919, one year after the establishment of the Public Hygiene Commissariat. In the most difficult material conditions, including invasion by armies of the Entente and sabotage by the counter-revolutionary White Army, the method implemented by the proletariat - our method, in every way opposed to that of the bourgeoisie today confronted with the coronavirus pandemic - achieved results which, at the time, were a considerable step forward.
For more than a year now the ruling class everywhere has been gripped by the Corona virus epidemic without any end to it really coming into sight. Up to now it was the poorest and undeveloped countries which paid the heaviest tribute to sicknesses, epidemics or endemic illnesses. It is now the most developed countries which are being rocked to their foundations by the Covid-19 outbreak.
Below we are publishing substantial extracts from a letter from one of our readers, followed by our response. This letter criticises our "Report on the question of the historic course", adopted at the 23rd ICC Congress and published in International Review 164. The comrade also addresses another issue: that of the prospect, still possible, of a generalised nuclear war."My multiple readings of the report on the historic course published in the International Review number 164 have left me very perplexed and doubtful. I find it very difficult to form a precise and definitive opinion on this text. Rather than taking a position, I prefer to share with you some somewhat disjointed and disparate remarks. I hope that these remarks will help to move the debate forward, possibly in letters from the paper's readers.
The present article follows on from the ones we have already published which denounce an attempt to falsify the real origins of the communist left, emanating from a blog called Nuevo Curso (recently rebaptised Communia). This attempt is orchestrated by an adventurer, Gaizka whose aim is in no way to contribute to the defence and clarification of the positions of this current but to “make a name for himself” in the proletarian political milieu. Following our exposure, Gaizka remained totally silent: refuting the reality of the turpitudes we proved was a “mission impossible” for him. Furthermore, he received very little support; virtually the only one, and the most explicit, coming from the International Group of the Communist Left (IGCL), which before changing its name in 2014, called itself the Internal Fraction of the International Communist Current (IFICC). This is a group whose prime vocation, for the last 20 years, is to slander the ICC, and their statement of position in favour of Nuevo Curso is accompanied by a new hate-filled attack on our organisation.
Late last year the ICC held two ‘virtual’ discussion meetings with invited contacts and sympathisers in Europe and America on the theme of ‘The Pandemic and the Working Class’, examining issues in their historic and current aspects.
In the last year, the world has been shaken by two unprecedented events of extreme importance in the life of capitalism: the Covid-19 pandemic and, most recently, the assault on the Capitol in Washington after the American elections that sanctioned the defeat of Donald Trump. These two events are neither insignificant nor separate from each other. They can only be understood in a historical framework that we will present in this introduction.
We are publishing this article written by a close sympathiser, of the ICC in the US, which defends our general analysis of the significance of the events of January 6 in Washington, and points out the role of those ardent apologists of bourgeois democracy – the Trotskyists, “Democratic Socialists” etc - in helping to strengthen the repressive apparatus of the state.
Every major country has been affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, but the crisis has not had a uniform impact. The UK, with more than 100,000 deaths, has one of the highest coronavirus death rates in the world and, throughout 2020, the shadow of Brexit hung over the economy, with negotiations continuing for months until the British bourgeoisie finally broke the “shackles” of the EU at the start of 2021. The combination of pandemic and Brexit is hitting an economy that already had one of the weakest recoveries from the 2008 financial crisis.
The following article was written before the current "vaccine nationalism" row between Britain and the EU over supplies of the Oxford-AstraZeneca inoculation. But it shows “vaccine nationalism” is precisely the way that nations and companies are going because they cannot escape the laws of profitability and the sharpening tendency of “every man for himself” in international relations.
The British Conservative government's disastrously incompetent handling of the Covid-19 pandemic, its incoherent undertaking of the Brexit negotiations, its U-turns over the health crisis, the economic crisis and growing conflicts with the EU, have not been met with an oppositional onslaught by the Labour Party. The British bourgeoisie has been losing control of its political apparatus and one of Labour's historic roles is to pose as an alternative to a government that has pursued populist policies that have undermined the effective functioning of British state capitalism. It has largely failed to take up the task.
The International media always try to depict Sweden as a “paradise on earth”, a Welfare State with almost total equality among the citizens. Nothing could be further from the truth. For more than three decades, privatisations and outsourcing of schools, hospitals, GP surgeries, as well as other sectors, like the elderly care, has created a situation where the health sector has suffered from increased cuts. The corona crisis has clearly shown the cracks in this illusion. Today, the number of hospital beds in Sweden has decreased to one of the lowest levels in Europe.
Colored National Labor Union Convention, 1869
The campaign around “Black Lives Matter” (BLM) has led many people to look for references in the history of the struggle against the oppression of and violence against black people. Among the most well-known black activist are Marcus Garvey, Malcom X, and Martin Luther King. But communists do not base their political orientation on activists fighting for equal rights within capitalism.