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Contribution to the discussion of the centenary of the Russian Revolution of 1917

Readers' Contributions

On the 11th November, the ICC is hosting a Day of Discussion on the Russian Revolution. Several comrades have been already been reflecting seriously on the importance of this all-important episode in the history of working class struggle. A comrade on our discussion board, Link, has already reposted a presentation he prepared for a previous meeting on the topic. It can be found on our discussion forum here.

The text that follows has been sent to us by a close sympathiser of the ICC. We are publishing it in the hope that as many comrades as possible will read it prior to the meeting in the hope that it will stimulate further thought and discussion.

We encourage all comrades to attend the meeting if they are able and to consider making further contributions, either in the form of texts or participating on our forum.

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The elections in Austria reveal the growing instability of the capitalist political apparatus

Situation in Austria

For the most “responsible” factions of the world bourgeoisie, the international upsurge of populism has created a succession of problems and obstacles, not least Brexit and the unpredictable reign of Trump in the USA. In the last few months we have seen some vigorous attempts to stem the populist tide, the most evident expression of which was during the French presidential election last April/May, when weighty international figures like Merkel and Obama, plus the French Socialist Party and others gave their unqualified backing to the pro-EU candidate Emmanuel Macron, widely seen as the most effective barrier to the populist, anti-EU Front National. However, the underlying social forces generating the populist tide have by no means gone away and its political expressions continue to exert a real weight in bourgeois political life. The result of the general election in Austria – coming soon after the spectacular gains made by the right-wing Alternative für Deutschland  in Germany - provides further confirmation that populism is much more than a political bubble and expresses a real dysfunction at the roots of capitalist society.

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The apocalypse of capital can still be averted

War and Ecological Crisis

Prior to capitalism, many societies had developed mythologies of the end of the world. The apocalypse anticipated by Judaism, Christianity and Islam, seen as the final destiny of this world, was understood to be the precursor of a new heaven and a new earth that would last for all eternity; whereas in the Hindu vision, new worlds and even new universes are endlessly born, dissolved and reborn in a vast cosmic cycle.

But if the idea of the apocalypse is not new, what is new in the capitalist mode of production is first, that the world inhabited by humankind for hundreds of thousands of years can be destroyed by the technologies that human beings themselves have created, rather than by supernatural beings or an inexorable fate. And second, that such a destruction would not be the prelude to a new and better world, but destruction pure and simple.

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Aung San Suu Kyi: the bourgeoisie’s icon of peace unleashes barbarism

Rohinigya Crisis

Since the end of August the army of Burma (Myanmar) has been persecuting, torturing, raping and killing thousands of inhabitants of the state of Rakhine (traditionally also called Arakan), people from the Muslim Rohingya minority. This is a particularly impoverished area to the west of Burma, a country where the great majority of the population are Buddhist. Rejected and deprived of civil rights for decades, the Rohinigya have been victims of even more extreme violence since the attack on around 30 police stations by an armed group calling itself the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA).

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British Government: division and disarray

British Situation

The 2016 UK Referendum on membership of the EU produced a result against what the central factions of the British bourgeoisie considered as their best interests. The international populist tide was amplified with the election of President Trump. And the specific political difficulties of the British government were exacerbated by the general election of June 2017. Called to increase the Conservative government’s majority and strengthen its position in negotiations over British withdrawal from the EU, the election resulted in a loss of seats and the need to form an alliance with the DUP from Northern Ireland.

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Jeremy Corbyn: a saviour for British capitalism

British Situation

The Labour Party, that last year was hopelessly divided and looking as if it might split, today presents itself as the new normal, a government in waiting. This is taking place in the context of Brexit on the one hand, and a situation where we see other left wing forces and personalities around the world, whether Sanders in the US Democratic Party, or Podemos in Spain and Melanchon in France, that have grown at the expense of the Socialist Parties. So what is the real state of the party led by Jeremy Corbyn? And who benefits from its actions, the working class or the capitalist state?

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The crisis in Venezuela: the proletariat suffers the misery, chaos and repression of capitalism

Situation in Venzuela

We are publishing here an article written by our comrades of Internacionalismo, the ICC's section in Venezuela, in which our organisation takes a position from the viewpoint of the international proletariat on the serious crisis which is hitting the country. Within this we denounce the hypocrisy of the world's bourgeoisie and its complicity with both the Chavist clique and the opposition which have plunged the proletariat and the population as a whole into the most barbaric conditions. Our comrades analyse how Chavism, a product and expression of the decomposition of the capitalist system, uses an ideological swindle of "the socialism of the twenty-first century" which is set up on the basis of an attack against the living conditions, consciousness and combativity of the proletariat. Similarly, they analyse how inter-imperialist tensions are a factor which contributes to aggravating the crisis. The article gives the perspective that the only possible outcome to the barbarity of the situation of Venezuela and the entire world continues to remain in the hands of the proletariat which, through its conscious struggle, can aim to overthrow the capitalist system which is plunging us into chaos and despair.

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The Catalan quagmire shows the deepening decomposition of capitalism

Situation in Spain

The escalation of the push towards Catalan independence and the difficulties of the Popular Party government, and more generally the whole of the state, in dealing with this problem through a framework of agreements and negotiations, represents an important political crisis for the Spanish bourgeoisie. It has thrown the “1978 consensus”up in the air (i.e. the rules of the game that the state has followed since the democratic transition in 1975). And this is a state which has already been greatly weakened by the crisis of two party rule – the tandem of the PP and the PSOE (Spanish Socialist Party)  -  and the difficulty to provide an alternative through the formation of new parties (Podemos and Ciudadanos).

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Confrontations in Catalonia: Democracy and the Nation are the reactionary past, the proletariat is the future

ICC Leaflet on the Catalonia Crisis

On the first of October the masses who had been led by the Catalan separatists to the farce of the referendum were brutally beaten by the police dispatched by the Spanish government. Both Madrid and the Catalan authorities covered themselves in the mantel of democracy in order to justify both the vote and the repression. The Catalan separatists have presented themselves as the victims of repression in order to advance their call for independence. The Rajoy government has justified its repression in the name of defending the Constitution and the democratic rights of all Spaniards. The “neutrals” (Podemos, the Party of Ada Colau,etc.) have declared that democracy is the means for containing Rajoy and “finding a solution” to the Catalan conflict.

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Day of Discussion on the Russian Revolution

Saturday 11 November 2017, May Day Rooms, 88 Fleet Street, London EC4Y 1DH, 11am to 6pm

One hundred years after the October insurrection in Russia, we will be holding a day of discussion about the relevance of the Russian revolution for the class struggle today. We will look at its historic importance as a first step towards the world revolution against capitalism, at its huge political and organizational achievements, as well as the tragic process of its degeneration and defeat.

Presentations will be given both by the ICC and the comrades of the Communist Workers Organisation. We also hope that the debate will include other groups and individuals who are trying to understand history - and what the future holds in store for us - from the standpoint of the working class.

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Anti-fascism is still a formula for confusion

Anti-fascism

The events in Charlottesville Virginia in August highlighted the revival of “classical” fascism, which has developed in numerous countries as an extremist wing of populism. The white supremacist gangs which assembled in Charlottesville have flourished in the poisonous atmosphere released by the election victory of Donald Trump, whose comments after the murder of the anti-fascist protester Heather Heyer were widely condemned as a thinly-veiled apology for the far right. In Greece, the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party has evolved a long way beyond the small groups of plotters which have usually been associated with nostalgia for Hitlerism. In Hungary, the anti-semitic, anti-gypsy and anti-Muslim Jobbik party is very close to the populist government headed by Viktor Orban. These groups can no longer be understood as merely a kind of bugbear used by the left to bolster support for democratic values, a view which had a definite validity in previous decades. Unlike the 1930s, they are not serious candidates for direct government office in the centres of world capitalism, but their closeness to the populist parties and governments means that part of their agenda is being taken into account by a number of ruling parties. More important, they act as a factor of division, intimidation and outright pogromist attacks on the street.

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Philippines’ “Culture of Killings”: expression of decomposing world capitalism

Social Decomposition

The Duterte regime has been in power for more than one year now. Since Duterte’s election more than 13,000 (mostly poor people) have been being killed by the state police in his “war on drugs”.

Despite these widespread killings, there are no massive and widespread condemnation and protests among the poor people, even by the victims’ families and relatives. Instead apathy and fear prevail. A significant portion of the population, even among the poor, felt “relieved” that these “outcasts”, “evils” of society have been eliminated. Even though it is accepted that there are many innocent victims, there is a significant acceptance among the population that this is “justified collateral damage” for the interest of a general cleansing. And the (admittedly manipulated) surveys by bourgeois institutions claim that Duterte enjoys “excellent trust ratings”.

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Statement on the war tensions around North Korea from International Communist Perspective (South Korea)

Internationalists Against Imperialism

On Sept. 7, the Moon Jae‐In government and the United States coercively deployed Terminal High Altitude Area Defence (THAAD) on Sungju-gun Sogong‐ri against most of the Korean people’s opposition including the residents. The deployment of the THAAD in South Korea does not contribute to a resolution of issues on nuclear weapon of North Korea and the peace of East Asia. It is just a hypocritical security game. It is not only a programme heightening the threat of war for the sake of US imperialist force but also a scheme to assign South Korea at the front of imperialist war.

We once again confirm that the purpose of North Korea's nuclear weapons development is a genocidal massacre against civilians, especially the working class, even though North Korea insists that the nuclear weapon is a guarantee of its regime. In addition, we never forget that the only force using the nuclear weapons which slaughtered civilians indiscriminately in the war was US imperialism. History has shown that the two systems, which are different in the Korean peninsula, are the same in terms of the exploitation of the working class and are the absolute enemy of the working class. Workers should not take either side.

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Threat of war between North Korea and the US: it is capitalism which is irrational

Imperialism on the Korean Peninsula

With the threats to attack the US Pacific island of Guam or targets on the American continent, with missiles flying over Japan, and the threat to defend itself with nuclear weapons in case of a US attack, the showdown between North Korea and the US has reached a new stage. The US threatens to respond with their whole arsenal of military, economic and political weapons: President Trump talks about visiting North Korea with “fire and fury” if the US or any of its allies are attacked by the regime.  The risk of the use of nuclear weapons puts the stakes much higher than ever before and poses a direct threat to some of the biggest metropoles of Asia – Seoul, Tokyo, etc. The recent military steps by the US and its allies South Korea and Japan (in particular the installation of the new THAAD missile systems in South Korea) have sharpened the confrontation between the US and China and pulled other countries even more into this maelstrom. 

How can we explain these events in Korea and what do they mean for humanity?

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Manifesto on the October revolution, Russia 1917

In October 1917, after three years of unspeakable carnage on the battlefields, a beacon of hope in the fog of war: the Russian workers, having overthrown the Tsar in February, now deposed the bourgeois Provisional Government which had replaced him but which insisted on carrying on with the war “until victory”. The Soviets (workers’, soldiers’ and peasants’ councils), with the Bolshevik party at the fore, called for an immediate end to the war and appealed to the workers of the world to follow their revolutionary example.

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Polemic with the PCI: Daesh, a decomposed corpse of the struggle for national liberation!

Debate with the PCI

In Le Proletaire number 519, the publication of the Parti Communiste Internationale (PCI), there's a critique of our article "Attacks in Paris, down with terrorism! Down with war! Down with capitalism!"

We want to support the PCI in making this polemic. Such polemics within the revolutionary milieu have always been the life-blood of revolutionary combat. Too infrequent today, they are nonetheless precious, notably between organisations which defend the principles of the communist left. Such attempts are indispensable for political clarification.

In that spirit, we are responding the PCI critique here.

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