Socialist Fight: The World Situation in the wake of the Coup Attempt on Capitol Hill

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21/01/2021 by socialistfight

WASHINGTON D.C., USA – JANUARY 6: US President Donald Trumps supporters gather outside the Capitol building in Washington D.C., United States on January 06, 2021. Pro-Trump rioters stormed the US Capitol as lawmakers were set to sign off Wednesday on President-elect Joe Biden’s electoral victory in what was supposed to be a routine process headed to Inauguration Day. (Photo by Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Dramatic events are vibrating throughout the world. The human race is in the middle of a horrific crisis created by the capitalist system: The worst pandemic in the last hundred years, combined with the rapid rise of fascism that has culminated in an attempted coup by Trump supporters, grips the US.

The coup attempt by Trump and his supporters stunned the world. But without millions, or at least many thousands of fascists, attempting to take power throughout the US, there was no chance that the coup would have been successful. Yet it is a dire warning to the American working class, or anybody who cares about minimum liberty: this is only attempt coup number one. There are likely to be others in the coming years. The capitalist state is prepared to stop the assault of the fascists by bringing in an unprecedented number of troops and police to stop the fascist mob. The US has never been in a situation in which the fascists attempt to seize power in a coordinated way. To counter this, the unions and the organizations of the oppressed should mobilize to stop the nationwide fascist coup. We cannot rely on the state apparatus to do their job. They failed on Jan 6 because many of the cops who defended the Capitol were fascist sympathizers.

And The Guardian reported on January 16 that the Washington Post had revealed on January 15 that the plans of the coup plotters almost succeeded:

“New details about the Capitol riot emerged on Friday, demonstrating just how close the violent mob got to the vice-president, who was overseeing the electoral vote certification of Biden’s victory when the building was breached. Pence was not evacuated from the Senate chamber for about 14 minutes after rioters entered the Capitol. Many shouted that Pence was a “traitor” as they made their way towards his location, according to the Washington Post. Pence was moved to a room off the chamber just moments before rioters entered the chamber.

“Federal prosecutors in Arizona this week described how the rioters involved in the 6 January attack on the Capitol had intended “to capture and assassinate elected officials”. The disclosure in a court filing came as prosecutors pushed for the detention of Jacob Chansley, the QAnon conspiracy theorist who was photographed wearing horns in the US Senate chamber and standing at Pence’s desk.

“Strong evidence, including Chansley’s own words and actions at the Capitol, supports that the intent of the Capitol rioters was to capture and assassinate elected officials in the United States government,” prosecutors alleged. The charges against Chansley “involve active participation in an insurrection attempting to violently overthrow the United States government”; prosecutors also warned in their detention memo that “the insurrection is still in progress”.” [1]

Munich Beer Hall Putsch, 9 November 1923. Hitler, surrounded by members of the fledgling Nazi Party, clutching their Blutfahne (Blood Standard).

Some compare the Trump’s coup attempt to the attempt to take power by the fascists in Munich, Germany in 1923:

“This was Munich, Nov. 8, 1923. The instigators did not come to Munich to support a president who was voted out of office. They did not gather in front of the nation’s seat of power, but rather started their rally in a beer cellar where a young Adolf Hitler seized control after silencing the politicians and the crowd assembled there with a pistol shot to the ceiling.” [2]

The circumstances today are different than they were in Germany 1923. But 2020-1 and 1923 have one critical thing in common. In 1923 Germany, and as in the 2021 US, fascism is gaining strength and momentum. It is not simply that Trump received more than 74 million votes. If he has not completely messed up the response to the pandemic, he would have likely been elected again. In this case a chance of the successful fascist uprising would have been much higher.

Reactionary and fascistic movements are accompanied by backward and outright reactionary ideologies. The attempted coup was not possible without the evolution of backward reactionary ideologies. In last few years the world, and the US in particular, has been overwhelmed by QAnon, a reactionary conspiracy theory. It grips millions of people, including people in Congress:

“Late last month, NPR and Ipsos published the disturbing results of a poll assessing QAnon’s hold on the nation. People who responded to the survey were asked whether it was true or false that “a group of Satan-worshiping elites who run a child sex ring are trying to control our politics and media,” QAnon’s central lie. Seventeen percent said “true,” and 37 percent more said they didn’t know. In other words, a majority of Americans think it is at least possible that QAnon’s nuttiest theory might be fact. A third of respondents also said that voter fraud had helped Biden win.” [3]

When these kinds of theories, so backward and reactionary, gain the supports of many millions of people, you know that the forces of reaction are marching fast, and they are carried by a growing number of fascists. In fact, the great majority of the fascists that assaulted Capitol Hill, are supporters of QAnon.

A Biden administration will, at best, just delay the inevitable. Biden cannot reverse the decline of US imperialism; the US is in a depression as are many other countries. Hunger is rising to severe levels in the US as thousands of cars line up in many states to receive food. Biden cannot control the contradictions of the US economy; neither has he offered a Roosevelt solution. Trillions of dollars have been already spent attempting to “revive” the economy, but with little effects. Unemployment figures are still at a depression level.

The Response from the Unions

Yet the response from organized labor is weak and contradictory. It is easy to condemn the coup attempt. But the unions’ bureaucracy does not urge militant actions that show the strength of the working class. Even a one-day general strike, while far from adequate, would have brought the workers into the fray, and would have shown the strength of the working class, as a force to reckon with. But the bureaucracy counts on a Biden administration and the Democratic Party, not on the power of the working class.

No union called for massive strikes or other mass actions after Trump’s attempted coup, with one exception, unions at McDonald’s and Starbucks are asking for $15 minimum wages. They went on strike on May 6 against the risks of Covid’s infection in the workplace, and they are planning to strike fora $15 minimum wage. But the vast majority of the unions only issued toothless denunciation of the coup without offering any working class response. Alphabet employees, a newly formed union, for example, released the following statement:

“We warned our executives about this danger [of the attempt coup], only to be ignored or given token concessions, and the results have been suicides, mass murders, violence around the world, and now an attempted coup at the Capitol of the United States.” [4] [5]

This union (the Alphabet Workers Union) did not announce any union action against “suicides, mass murders, violence around the world”, and now an attempted coup at the Capitol of the United States”, neither did the rest of the unions. They are waiting for Biden and the Democrats to fix the “mass murders, violence around the world”, courtesy of world capitalism.

The struggle against the dead hand of the trade union bureaucracy in the US and everywhere else can only be advanced by building rank and file bodies WITHIN the unions. As Trotsky outlines in the Transitional Programme:

“Therefore, the sections of the Fourth International should always strive not only to renew the top leadership of the trade unions, boldly and resolutely in critical moments advancing new militant leaders in place of routine functionaries and careerists, but also to create in all possible instances independent militant organizations corresponding more closely to the tasks of mass struggle against bourgeois society; and, if necessary, not flinching even in the face of a direct break with the conservative apparatus of the trade unions. If it be criminal to turn one’s back on mass organizations for the sake of fostering sectarian factions, it is no less so passively to tolerate subordination of the revolutionary mass movement to the control of openly reactionary or disguised conservative (“progressive”) bureaucratic cliques. Trade unions are not ends in themselves; they are but means along the road to proletarian revolution.” [6]

Building rank and file bodies OUTSIDE the trade unions, as the WSWS/SEP propose on the basis that the trade unions are no longer working class organisations but haver morphed into becoming merely arms of the corporatist capitalist state is “fostering sectarian factions” as Trotsky observes above. And of course, the United Front, the Transitional Programme, its method and demands are all junked as well; no point because there are no other workers’ leaders on whom to place these demands and there are no other leftists apart from themselves to unite with against the state in defence of democratic rights, as all the rest are only “pseudo-lefts”. If it is true that trade unions have all been incorporated into the capitalist states, then fascism has triumphed globally. The WSWS/SEP would itself been outlawed along with all workers’ organisations, which obviously has not happened yet.

In the US we are for a Labor party as a demand on the trade union bureaucracy of the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (ALF/CIO) to fight the fascists. What type of a Labor party? As Trotsky elaborates in a debate with SWP leaders in 1938 and in this reply to Max Shachtman:

“Shachtman: Now with the imminence of the outbreak of war, the labor party can become a trap. And I still can’t understand how the labor party can be different from a reformist, purely parliamentary party.

“Trotsky: You put the question too abstractly; naturally it can crystalize into a reformist party, and one that will exclude us. But we must be part of the movement. We must say to the Stalinists, Lovestoneites, etc.: “We are in favor of a revolutionary party. You are doing everything to make it reformist.” But we always point to our program. And we propose our program of transitional demands.” [7]

Break with the Democrats; no reliance on them to fight the fascists

Entry into the DSA in this period of extreme ideological conflict and confusion should certainly be practiced by the small forces of Trotskyism in the US.

But the Biden administration will do better than the Trump administration mainly because they will likely have vaccines for mass distribution. The Biden administration, like other times when the Democrats were in power, will not fulfil its promises. Therefore, a demagogue like Trump could manipulate disappointed illusions in the Democratic Party and attempt to take power. But this will not be simple because the Republican Party is splitting.

It is a three-way split; 1. Trump has his core supporters. Even if his faction remains in the Republican Party, it will function as the fascist sector of the Republican Party. A split is inevitable sooner rather than later. 2. Then there is the “mainstream”, the usual right-wing elements within the Republican Party, who supported Trump all along, but could not continue to support him after the coup attempt. 3. And the last faction is the “moderate” Republicans, who could no longer support the current Republican Party; many of them have joined or are about to join the Democratic Party.

The key for this is that a strong portion of the Republican Party under Trump is becoming fascist. This is huge and its importance is underestimated by too many in the Left. There never has been a fascist party with such massive support in the US. Those who ransacked the Capitol are just a tiny fraction of the fascistic wing of the Republican Party. The emergence of a mass fascist organization, ready to roll, with a Hitler-like Fuhrer, is unprecedented in the US. The Ku Klux Klan (KKK) and their ilk were never mass parties capable of attempting to take power. [8] The lessons from the coup attempt in Germany 1923 must be taken very seriously. In fact, the fascist attempt to take over Capitol Hill was much more successful than the 1923 coup attempt. And it is far from over.

The threatened coup attempt around Biden inauguration on January 20 did not materialise. The fascists intended to stop the inauguration and attack the 50 state capitals.  But the massive mobilizations of the National Guards and police to confront them meant they faced mass arrests and prosecutions. The state prepared a huge fortress around the Congress, making an approach impossible without having a mighty army. The situation was extremely tense, but the FBI vetted the National Guard for fascist sympathisers and the inauguration went off without any serious confrontation. The failure of the coup attempt on January set them back; they fascists are not as yet organised enough to attempt a full coup again, but they will continue to regroup and build a leadership for the next confrontation.

While revolutionaries do not form any ‘united front’ or ‘military bloc’ with the moderate and liberal factions of the bourgeoisie (this is a popular front, in fact), it is correct to call on the working class, the oppressed and the unions, to defend democracy, regardless of its limitations, against the fascists’ attempt to annihilate it. We don’t defend it because we have illusions in it. But because we can function much better under bourgeois democracy where we still have certain important democratic rights, albeit under constant attack, and we can use this for our advantage, as Lenin argued against the infantile Left.

TOPSHOT – Supporters of US President Donald Trump protest in the US Capitol Rotunda on January 6, 2021, in Washington, DC. – Demonstrators breeched security and entered the Capitol as Congress debated the a 2020 presidential election Electoral Vote Certification. (Photo by SAUL LOEB / AFP) (Photo by SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images)

We have written several times that fascism is the last resort of Capital when capitalism cannot control the working class with the usual means of repression and deception. Even the massive response of the workers, youth of all colors, and the oppressed to George Floyd’s murder, was not enough to instigate a fascist uprising. At the time, if the fascists had tried to seize Capitol Hill, the massive movement that demonstrated daily, would have without a doubt confronted the fascists. But every mass movement goes through highs and lows. Without clear anti-capitalist program and a central leadership, the mass Anti-Trump movement just faded away.

So far, we have not seen many street demonstrations against the attempted coup. There are several reasons for this. The main reason is that the movement was to some extent a spontaneous reaction to Trump and his botching response to the virus. But while the coup attempt boosted the confidence of the fascists and Trump’s supporters, we don’t think that silence from the working class and the progressive movement will last for a long time. As the fascists are emboldened by the coup attempt, the anti-fascists and the oppressed must react. They will return to the streets, as the fascists will try to take the streets and attempt another coup.

The International Growth of Fascism

The growth of fascism is not confined to the US. It is an international phenomenon. Countries such as Poland and Hungary have semi-fascist regimes. Today, Hungary under prime minister Viktor Orbán and his Fidesz government, has achieved a somewhat similar prominence as the fascists in the US. Orbán is a fascist like Trump. And like Trump he cannot completely destroy bourgeois democracy without a massive number of brown shirts starting an insurrection and attempting to take power. 

A similar situation exists in Poland. The right-wing government in Poland of Law and Justice (PiS), has a similar fascistic drive as that of Viktor Orbán and his Fidesz government. Hungary and Poland do not have open fascist regimes yet. But any excuse could be used to mobilize a massive fascist mob to establish an open fascist regime. Attempt to seize parliaments, or similar bodies, is not new. It has happened recently in Europe several times:

“Just last year mostly far-right anti-vaccine protesters tried to storm the Reichstag, the German parliament, also facing remarkably weak police resistance. And in the Netherlands, angry farmers, often led by the far-right Farmers Defence Force, have been destroying government offices and threatening politicians since 2019. Even further back, in 2006, far-right mobs stormed the Hungarian parliament and battled the police for weeks in the streets of Budapest – in many ways the start of the radicalization and return to power of current prime minister Viktor Orbán.” [9]

Fascism is gaining momentum throughout Europe. Poland and Hungary are just the most advanced manifestation of this. A call for a united front against the fascists must be raised throughout Europe. Failure by Stalinists and Social Democrats to build and participate in such a united front must be denounced. We cannot wait until the fascists are too big and strong to beat. The lessons from the 1930s in France and Spain must be fully understood where the Stalinist popular fronts and the rejection of a revolutionary perspective to garner favor with the ‘democratic imperialists’ ensured the defeats of those two very militant working classes. Passivity will only bring terrible defeats to the European working class.

The Absence of a Massive International Working Class Response and the Rise of Fascism Worldwide

For almost a century Marxists have been warning that a leadership to take the working class to power has collapsed after the degeneration of the Russian revolution and the rise of Stalinism. Trotsky’s understanding that the labor movement’s division into three major factions: 1. reformists, which include most of the Stalinists, 2. centrists, which includes some of the ‘third period’ Stalinists and their international affiliates, often rebellious, and 3. Consistent Marxists, Revolutionary socialists, Trotskyists, is still correct. But all the above factions are weaker these days than what they were in the 1930s. Some centrist formations could claim thousands of members in the 1960s and 1970s. This included the Militant (now the Socialist Party of England and Wales (SPEW), Workers Revolutionary Party (WRP, Healy) and Socialist Workers Party, (SWP, Cliff) in England, and the SWP (Cannon) and International Socialist Organization (ISO) in the US, and the Movimento al Socialismo (MAS, Moreno) in Argentina, the Ligue communiste révolutionnaire (LCR, Mandel Alain Krivine), Courant/Parti Communiste Internationaliste (CCI, PCI Lambert), and the Lutte Ouvrièr (LO, Barcia, alias Hardy) in France. These forces have collapsed or at least dwindled significantly.

These centrist organizations rarely had sufficient hold within the working class with the authority to call for mass actions, such as general strikes. Stalinism and Social Democracy, while still having deep influence within some sectors of the unions, were also in decline before the election of Jeremy Corbyn as British Labour leader in September 2015. [10] Of course, Jeremy Corbyn’s capitulation to Zionism and his defence of his worst enemies in Labour and throwing his strongest supporters under the bus opened the door for the current witchhunt. This allowed the capitalists successfully to damage the unions internationally and reduce their influence, and bring more alien forces into the Labour party, to the point that Labour party bureaucrats feel they must capitulate to Zionism and carry out witchhunts against anti-Zionist, pro-Palestinian activists within the Labour party; the whole of the Left in Labour. Who would have thought only twenty years ago, in the days of Militant, Ted Knight and Ken Livingstone, that such dramatic witchhunts in coordination with Zionism could take place in the Labour Party?

WASHINGTON, DC – JANUARY 06: A protester sits in the Senate Chamber on January 06, 2021 in Washington, DC. Congress held a joint session today to ratify President-elect Joe Biden’s 306-232 Electoral College win over President Donald Trump. Pro-Trump protesters have entered the U.S. Capitol building after mass demonstrations in the nation’s capital. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

The various defeats of unions’ and workers’ struggles weakened working class very significantly on the eve of the pandemic. It is, of course, difficult to engage in massive struggles in the middle of a pandemic. But is it just the pandemic that inhibits massive class struggle for fear of infections? Or is a low level of class consciousness also a factor? The 1918 revolution in Germany gives us a good clue. The 1918 uprising that ends with the murder of Rosa Luxemburg, and Carl Liebknecht by the Social Democrats, took place when the influenza pandemic was raging in Europe, killing millions. Thus, a lower level of class consciousness is certainly a factor in the so-far weak response from the collective working class.

The world is gripped by a political and economic crisis

The world situation is beset by two key crises: A pandemic that kills hundreds of thousands and is still out of control; and a growing tension among imperialist powers, with the potential of military conflicts looming. The pandemic has been devastating, with staggering unemployment. Here is how a bourgeois outfit, Global Finance, describes the situation of the world unemployment:

“. . .taking into account the many reservations about the accuracy of workforce tracking methods—how many jobs have been lost globally since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic? The IMF tries to answer this question by referencing estimates by the UN’s International Labour Organization (ILO). Assuming a 48-hour working week, the reduction in work hours in the second quarter of 2020 was equivalent to the loss of 495 million full-time jobs, which added to the equivalent of 160 million full-time jobs lost in the first quarter. The ILO expects the losses to pile up as the year nears to the end, with a decline in working hours in the third quarter equal to 345 million full-time positions—19.8% of which in the Americas, 12.4% in the Arab states, 11.6% in Europe and Central Asia, followed by Africa at 11.5% and the Asia-Pacific region at 10.7%. Looking further ahead, in a baseline scenario, an estimated equivalent of 245 million full-time jobs could be lost in the fourth quarter (whereas the pessimistic view projects a loss corresponding to 515 million posts, and the “optimistic” view to 160 million). Gone in the blink of an eye, many of these work hours will take months or years to come back while others might not even exist anymore once the pandemic is behind us.” [11]

This is a very bleak description. Unemployment is double digits in many places around the world. In the US, the richest country in the world for the privileged, scenes from the great depression have returned. You can see thousands of cars lining up to receive a bag with food. This is so because real unemployment is much higher than the official figures. We are living in an era in which millions of people in the US do not have enough to eat. And when a job offer is coming, the workers know that these days working alongside other workers could mean infection from Covid. This is not unique for the US. In the rest of the world factory workers, and other workers who work in proximity to each other face the same dilemma. In the semi-colonies, where most factories exist, workers’ risks of Covid infection are very high. On the other hand, their leadership, the aristocracy of the working class, the trade union bureaucracy, can work from home and they are not subjected to such high risks from Covid.

In general, we are witnessing a sharp degeneration in the conditions of the working class and the poor throughout the world. About one fifth of the children in the world live in war zones. This is a rise of almost 30 million since 2016. [12]

Global inequality has never been greater both within advanced metropolitan countries and between imperialist and semi-colonial nations. The obscene rise in the wealth of the world’s billionaires is shocking.

“On Thursday (December 31) it finally happened. The electric-automaker’s shares surged 7.9%, boosting (Elon) Musk past Amazon.com Inc. founder Jeff Bezos on the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, a ranking of the world’s 500 wealthiest people. Musk is worth $194.8 billion, or $9.5 billion more than Bezos, whose Blue Origin is a rival to Musk’s Space Exploration Technologies Ltd., or SpaceX, in the private space race.” [13]

How fares the rest?

“The total net worth of the nation’s (USA) 651 billionaires rose from $2.95 trillion on March 18 (2020)—the rough start of the pandemic shutdowns—to $4.01 trillion on Dec. 7, a leap of 36%, based on an analysis of Forbes magazines’ research on billionaires.” [14]

But you will be pleased to hear Bezos has again outstripped Musk in the latest rich list. And the 778 Chinese billionaires, all socialists with Chinese characteristics!, have enormously increased their wealth during the pandemic and appalling job losses and impoverishment of the mass of humanity:

“In China, the world’s fastest growing nursery for the super-rich, 257 people became billionaires this year. The country’s established tycoons were no less fortunate. Jack Ma, founder of commerce platform Alibaba, increased his net worth by 45 per cent over the past 10 months. He is now worth $58.8bn, according to the Hurun Report, the benchmark monitor for the fortunes of China’s oligopoly. In the 22 years the report has been compiled, there has never been a year in which the wealth of those on it has grown so much.” [15]

The Role of Climate Change in All of This

The crisis in the US plays against the background of a pandemic that kills hundreds of thousands. This pandemic evolved because of Climate Change, and the savage destruction of nature by capitalism and imperialism in particular. Capitalism has destroyed many forests. The forests that remain, in the Amazon for example, are weakened by imperialism in collaboration with the local bourgeoisie, as the forests are destroyed to make room for agriculture and cattle raising. These weakened forests stress the animals in the forests. These weakened animals and birds can more easily catch deadly viruses and transmit them to humans, who live nearby, and their domestic animals. This is what happened in China. Scientists think that domestic animals, such as pigs, got the virus from bats, and the pigs or other animals, in the “wet markets” like Wuhan, transmit the virus to humans. But we may never know for sure how and what exactly took place.

It is not an accident that this took place after decades of degradation of nature and the forests in particular, a process in which Climate Change has played a prime role. Millions of trees died in California alone from insects that are attracted to weakened trees. Yet we need to bear in mind that Climate Change barely has begun to accelerate. The massive fires in California and Australia that the world has never seen before, were just a stage in the escalating Climate Change. The Artic has temperatures in some areas in the summer that are compatible with temperatures in Africa! In some areas they reach 100 F degrees. Who would have thought that there would be fires near the north pole?

This shows the amount of ice gained or lost by Antarctica between 2003 and 2019. Dark reds and purples show large average rates of ice loss near the coasts, while blues show smaller rates of ice gain in the interior. The ice lost near the coasts, especially West Antarctica and the Antarctic Peninsula, vastly outweigh gains in the interior. Thwaites and Crosson ice shelves (seen just below the peninsula) have thinned the most. The two ice shelves have lost five meters (16 feet) and three meters (10 feet) of ice per year, respectively, between 2003 and 2019. The circle in the middle is over the South Pole where the instrument does not collect data. Credit: Smith et al./Science

Climate Change is not academic. It kills many thousands and destroy the lives of millions. And disproportionally affecting poor countries worse than imperialist countries: 

“Climate change and environmental shocks disproportionately impact the world’s most vulnerable populations. The number of climate-related disasters, including extreme heat, droughts, floods, and storms, has doubled since the early 1990s. Severe weather has decreased crop yields, creating shortfalls in food availability and hiking food prices—one of the key factors in predicting political instability. Humanitarian needs and displacement have spiked in the past decade, which further speaks to the impact of climate, as well as the ongoing impact of protracted conflicts. More people are displaced from their homes today—over 70 million—than at any point since World War II, and 167.6 million people need humanitarian assistance and protection.” [16]

Antarctica and Greenland are melting rapidly, dramatically faster than expected. Even conservative scientists are beginning to admit that a massive amount of land and oceans throughout the world is getting effected by the melting and fires. The oceans becoming more polluted, and they are also becoming acidic. Research shows that the oceans played a decisive role in the greatest mass extinction, about 250 million years ago.

These developments will eventually ruin the life of billions, not just hundreds of millions as it is the case now. The escalation of Climate Change is becoming very grim development. It is estimated that the huge melting of the mountain glaziers in Asia alone could leave hundreds of thousands of people without water. And the heat waves that Climate Change causes has already killed thousands of people because it causes temperatures that the human body cannot tolerate. 

The Struggle for the rights of Women, LGBT and Transgender people.

Before the Black Lives Matter international uprising against the police murder of George Floyd, there was international outrage against the serial rapist and sexual abuser Harvey Weinstein, as women joined in the #MeToo movement. When the liberal icon Zionist Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who was not so liberal when it came to the Palestinians, died Trump’s replacement was Amy Coney Barrett, who was justly described as ‘unashamedly pro-life’. She dodged most question from Senators on Trump pardoning himself and Obamacare and we know that reactionary judgements are impending from this ultra-reactionary body.

The defence of all the specially oppressed is central to the tasks of Marxists. We must not forget that the February 1917 Revolution was sparked by women who demonstrated on International Women’s day (March 8, but February 23 in the old style Julian calendar), initiated by Clara Zetkin, the great German revolutionary woman. 

Below we record these vital struggles which are preparing the mass movement in which inevitably the most oppressed will be led by Black, women and LGBTI revolutionaries. We recall Lenin’s approach to this from What is to Be Done?:

“For the secretary of any, say English, trade union always helps the workers to carry on the economic struggle, he helps them to expose factory abuses, explains the injustice of the laws and of measures that hamper the freedom to strike and to picket (i. e., to warn all and sundry that a strike is proceeding at a certain factory), explains the partiality of arbitration court judges who belong to the bourgeois classes, etc., etc. In a word, every trade union secretary conducts and helps to conduct “the economic struggle against the employers and the government.” It cannot be too strongly maintained that this is still not Social-Democracy, that the Social-Democrat’s ideal should not be the trade union secretary, but the tribune of the people, who is able to react to every manifestation of tyranny and oppression, no matter where it appears, no matter what stratum or class of the people it affects; who is able to generalise all these manifestations and produce a single picture of police violence and capitalist exploitation; who is able to take advantage of every event, however small, in order to set forth before all his socialist convictions and his democratic demands, in order to clarify for all and everyone the world-historic significance of the struggle for the emancipation of the proletariat.” (our emphasis) [17]

A law banning most abortions set off Poland’s biggest demonstrations since the fall of communism. Although the law is delayed indefinitely, that hasn’t satisfied protesters.

The first extract highlighting the fight of militant women internationally is from the struggle in Poland against the vicious fascistic PiS-dominated government: 

“On 22 October, Poland’s constitutional court ruled to ban abortions in cases of congenital foetal defects, even if the foetus has no chance of survival. The decision by the court’s 15 pro-ruling party judges, many of them appointed unlawfully, would allow terminations only in instances of rape, incest and when the mother’s life is at risk – a tiny fraction of cases. Women’s groups estimate that an additional 200,000 Polish women have abortions either illegally or abroad each year – Poland has some of Europe’s strictest abortion laws. The ruling sparked an immediate reaction. Across the country, hundreds of thousands of demonstrators, mainly women and young people, took to the streets in the largest protest movement in the three decades since the fall of communism.” [18]

In Argentina on January 10, 2021, the lower house legalised abortion. It sparked wild celebrations in this most Catholic of countries (but not as ‘Catholic’ as Poland!), the homeland of the Pope:

“Argentina has become the largest Latin American country to legalise abortion after its senate approved the historic law change by 38 votes in favour to 29 against, with one abstention. Elated pro-choice campaigners who had been keeping vigil outside Buenos Aires’s neoclassical congressional palace erupted in celebration as the result was announced at just after 4 am on Wednesday. Women screamed with delight, sweeping their friends into tight hugs and jumping in ecstasy. Many wept tears of joy. Victory music kicked in and green smoke filled the air. A triumphant message flashed up on a big screen above the joyful crowd: “We did it!” it said. “ES LEY!” (IT’S LAW!).” [19]

The struggle for abortion rights in Ireland as recounted in this 2016 article was successful two years later in the south of Ireland and three years later in the north, whilst the Assembly was prorogued on Labour MP Stella Creasy’ Act of October 2019 from Westminster, against opposition from the Unionists and some others:

“The case of Savita Halappanavar (an Indian woman) who died in the Republic of Ireland in 2012 when complications from a septic miscarriage should have been treated with a termination and were not. Instead, a moral approach to this woman took over from a medical one, and she was told by a doctor at the time that ‘this is a Christian country’. It was the case of a medically necessary abortion not being performed and costing the potential mother her life. A foetus was seen as more important and with more right to life than that of an adult human, but more importantly seen as worth more than a woman. America and the Republic of Ireland are shockingly backward in their punitive approach to this woman’s health issue, but now we know the courts in Northern Ireland are willing to hand down sentences to women for inducing their own abortions also. This must be resisted because for a woman to have to undergo any medical procedure alone is unacceptable, but for her then to be punished for it is nothing short of shameful. [20]

Two years after abortion became legal in Ireland (December 2018) problems are still encounter from the right to life bigots, still largely funded by the US anti-abortion thugs: [21]

“Before abortion was legalised in the republic, up to nine Irish women and girls travelled abroad for terminations every day. While the figure has dropped since abortion was legalised, there are still women being forced to make these journeys. In Kilkenny this year, all four obstetricians in the local hospital – including the consultant, Trevor Hayes, an active anti-abortion campaigner, signed a letter opposing the provision of abortion. The only health centre reported to be providing medical abortions in Kilkenny has been picketed by anti-abortion campaigners. While the law states that individual doctors have the right to conscientious objection, they must refer a patient on. But anti-abortion groups want doctors to be able to refuse to make referrals.” [22]

A woman whose unborn baby died after she was shot in the stomach following an argument has been charged with manslaughter, whilst the shooter walked free, prompting mass outrage.
Marshae Jones, a 27-year-old woman from Birmingham, Alabama, was indicted by a Jefferson County grand jury on a manslaughter charge, AL.com reports.
Police initially charged 23-year-old Ebony Jemison with manslaughter, however that was later dismissed after a grand jury failed to indict her.

And the struggle for abortion rights in the US is recounted here as Trump sought to repeal the Roe v. Wade, January 1973 landmark decision of the U.S. Supreme Court which ruled in favor of woman’s liberty to choose to have an abortion without excessive government restriction: 

“On 18 December 2018 a fight began between two young working class black women, Marshae Jones and Ebony Jemison, over a man, in Pleasant Grove, Alabama, outside a store where the three worked. The police allege that Marshae, then 27, who was five months pregnant, began the conflict and was winning until Ebony pulled a gun and shot her in the stomach five times, killing the foetus but not Marshae. Mark White, a lawyer who defended Marshae, said that investigators working with his law firm had found a cellphone video of the fight, which showed Marshae backing away at the time Jemison fired the gun. On the spot judgement was delivered by the policemen Lt Danny Reid who said: “The investigation showed that the only true victim in this was the unborn baby, it was the mother of the child who initiated and continued the fight which resulted in the death of her own unborn baby”.

On 26 June Marshae was indicted by a Jefferson County grand jury for manslaughter and imprisoned in Jefferson County jail on a $50,000 bail bond, which was quickly raised due to the outcry over the case. The grand jury was convened by District Attorney Lynneice Washington (Democrat!), the first black female District Attorney in Alabama’s history. They allowed the shooter to walk free, saying she had acted in self-defence but indicted Marshae for manslaughter for “initiating a fight knowing she was five months pregnant.” Zoe Williams, writing in The Guardian on 2 July commented: “A confluence of Alabama’s bizarre “stand your ground” gun laws and the ideological push to grant the foetus legal personhood has resulted in an indictment that looks – to outside eyes – like something directly from Gilead. [23] Its implications for the criminalisation of pregnancy are amplified by the precariousness of Roe v Wade under Trump’s conservative supreme court.” [24]

And in June 2020, the US Supreme Court outlawed discrimination against transgender people:

“In a landmark decision in a case brought by a transgender Michigan woman who died last month, the U.S. Supreme Court held Monday that federal law prohibits firing someone for simply being homosexual or transgender. Aimee Stephens, who was fired from her job at R.G. & G.R. Harris Funeral Home in Garden City in 2013 after she said she would begin dressing as a woman at work, had brought the case, arguing that she was protected under Title VII of the federal Civil Rights Act of 1964. The funeral homeowner argued that since he would have required everyone to dress according to the gender they had been biologically assigned at birth, he hadn’t discriminated against her. Justice Neil Gorsuch, writing for a 6-3 majority of the Supreme Court, upheld a lower court’s decision in favor of Stephens, saying the federal law protects employees from being fired based on their sexual or gender orientation because that cannot be separated from discrimination based on sexual stereotypes.” [25]

All these victories are viciously challenged by the forces of reaction still, and all these defeats are also challenged by the forces of human equality and liberation, in what is very clearly an essential part of the global class struggle. If fascism triumphs in a major imperialist power, and it looms closer in the US than any other, then human liberation struggles represented here will have suffered a major historic defeat.

Women’s Oppression Intensifies

Working class women bear most of the exploitation, oppression and abuse:

“Far too many women and girls, especially those from the most impoverished families, still face discrimination and exclusion concerning primary education, child marriage, early pregnancy, sexual violence, and unrecognized domestic work. An estimated 1.4 billion women and girls, or nearly 40% of all women and girls globally, live in countries with ‘very poor’ scores on gender equality, with another 1.4 billion living in countries with ‘poor’ scores.” [26]

This means that 2.8 billion women are extra oppressed and exploited. This is happening despite some gains for women’s rights in the last 50 years. It is clear that capitalism is totally incapable of stopping women’s oppression.

The Trump administration has shown its total contempt for workers’ and women’s rights. The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) does not only stop undocumented workers from entering the US. ICE’s agents subject women to hysterectomies against their will. [27] This is beyond disgusting. The billionaires who support Trump are willing to tolerate the treatment of undocumented workers and women like treating dogs and cats who are “fixed”, (neutered, splayed!)

 But while women bear the main oppression and exploitation, they are in the front line defending the oppressed. We should all remember how working class women linked arms last summer, to defend the protesters who demonstrated against police brutality and the racist murder of George Floyd.


The Increasing Tension Among the Imperialist Powers

Trump with his “Make America Great Again” reflects the rise of right wing nationalism and ultimately the rise of American fascism. But it is a mistake to assume that the tension between the US and Europe is just Trump’s doing. NATO is not only in crisis because Trump has chosen to cut ties with Europe. We are seeing increasing tension between the European powers, to some extent, because the umbilical cord to US imperialism was cut, and Europe was left to fend for itself and so were forced to orientate to Russia and China led by Germany.

The main economic and military tension is manifested between the US and China. China’s economy has grown substantially in the last 20 year. It is now announced that China’s economy is about to become bigger than the US economy. The increased tension between the US and China reflects this. The US has sent warships to the South China Sea, which China sees as its backyard. Over the last few years China has become brazen in harassing the American warships. Recently the Chinese have been successfully chasing off American warships. This raises the question whether China is only a semi-colony. How can a semi-colony have the biggest economy in the world? And how can a semi-colony chase the warships of the biggest imperialist power without fear?

China has made massive investment in the semi-colonies in the last 20 years. Many of these investments came with significant strings attached and, in reality, were loans are used as a leverage to guarantee Chinese future investment. But whether we recognize China as imperialist power or not, the increasing conflict between China and the US plays an important role in the world situation. We are seeing the classic tariff war between the US and China escalate, as each country levies higher tariff against the other. This is not just the bellying by Trump. The Biden administration is expected to follow the same course.

Climate Change is relentless to the point of affecting imperialist rivalry. The reason for this is simple. Climate Change increasingly dwindles the natural resources the imperialist powers need to prevail against each other. A good illustration of this is the rivalry between Britain and Europe over fishing rights in the English Channel. For the first time since Second-World-War, we see French warships facing British warships in the English Channel. This is purely posturing for now. But as Marxists we understand that the objective reality always determines the subjective response of the imperialist powers. As Climate Change worsens, it is likely to make the fishing disputes a lot more serious in the coming years, as further declines of the fish in the acidic warming oceans is inevitable. In the future we may not see just posturing. 

The Situation in the Semi-Colonies

US imperialism must at all costs protect its semi-colonies mainly against the incursions of China and its global ambitions. The Chinese method of investing overseas is different from the classic imperialist method. China sends its own workers to build factories and other projects. While in the short term this may seem benign, it allows China to stop resistance to direct investment in the future. The US, is, of course, the undisputed imperialist power that dominates overseas investments. The US uses the usual method of carrot and stick. In the case of Venezuela the stick is the only way to overcome the Left-Center Bonapartist regime of Nicolás Maduro. The United States has constantly threatened the Venezuelan regime since the ascension to power of Hugo Chavez in 1999. The US have sent warships and troops to the Caribbean like a nose around Venezuela. And on March 26, the United States charged the Venezuelan President and his close officials with drug trafficking. All this is taking place during a blockade and economic stringent economic sanctions.

The increasing tension between the imperialist powers is reflected in the semi-colonies. In the Caribbean French imperialism has announced the redeployment of warships to the Indian Ocean and the Caribbean. This counters US positions in the Caribbean. And why would there be armies of two imperialist powers unless they were competing for dominance in the Caribbean?

The following describes how the decline of US imperialism encourages its competitors:

“As the U.S. turned its focus inward, a global leadership vacuum opened, with China and Russia filling the gap. When the U.S. military partially withdrew from Syria in October 2019, Russia stepped in, running patrols to split warring factions and projecting itself as a global leader. Meanwhile, China continues to expand its influence by building railroads, roads, ports, and bridges throughout Africa and redeveloping much of the Asian economy through its Belt and Road Initiative.” [28]

The increasing rivalries among the imperialist powers takes place against the increasing oppression in the semi-colonies, and increasing right-wing regimes, like the case of the Bolsonaro’s regime in Brazil, for example. The devastation from Climate Change in Africa comes on top of Africa having the most oppressed and exploited sections of the working class:

“Nearly a quarter of the population in sub-Saharan Africa is undernourished, 42% of people are without a basic water supply, 72% are without basic sanitation, and 58% of all youth between the ages of 15-17 in the region do not go to school.” [29]

In the last decade, a record number of refugees have escaped the semi-colonies to reach Europe. Many referees died in the journey. And other boats were stuck near European ports, as the imperialist governments resisted sanctuary to the oppressed people. Some boats sank and thousands of refugees drowned. The poorer the country the more desperate are the refugees: “In 2018, sub-Saharan Africa hosted more than 26% of the world’s refugee population and 14.5 million internally displaced people (IDPs)”. [30]

“In 2020, it was estimated that 979 migrants died while crossings the Mediterranean Sea. In 2019, the number of deaths amounted to 1.9 thousand. However, the accurate number of deaths recorded in the Mediterranean Sea cannot ascertained. Between 2014 and 2018, for instance, about 12 thousand people who drowned were never found.

“Worldwide, it was estimated that eight thousand people died in the attempt of fleeing their country. According to estimations, over five thousand refugees lost their lives in the attempt to reach the European shores in 2016. Therefore, the Mediterranean Sea was the deadliest migration route. Indeed, over the last couple of years, the Mediterranean Sea held the largest number of casualties and missing people.

According to migration studies, the Mediterranean Sea is crossed by a Western, a Central, and an Eastern route. Out of these routes, the Central Mediterranean route was the deadliest. In 2016, roughly 4.6 thousand people lost their lives while pursuing this route. Sadly, the identification of bodies is challenging due to the sea. In 2019, for instance, the vast majority of refugees who drowned in the Mediterranean Sea were not identified and their country of origin untraceable.” [31]

As expected, the semi-colonies bear a major portion of Covid cases, they also bear the lion’s share of devastation from Climate Change. Africa still contains the most oppressed and impoverished proletariat. It also contains the flimsier infrastructure, and it is most vulnerable to fierce storms magnified by Climate Change: “In Southern Africa, recent cyclones led to severe flooding that damaged homes and critical infrastructure. These cyclones were linked to outbreaks of cholera as sanitation services quickly became overwhelmed.” [32]

Covid worsens the super-exploitation and oppression in the semi-colonies. Just a poor infrastructure makes the semi-colonies more vulnerable to diseases like Covid, and hunger in times of a long and severe droughts which are an integral part of Climate Change. In recent years a drought has a severely affected the lives of millions in Africa:

“Failed rains across eastern Africa, southern Africa, and the Horn of Africa are seeing another dire season for farmers, increasing food prices and driving up the aid needs of tens of millions of already vulnerable people across the three regions. All told, more than 45 million people will struggle to find enough food across 14 countries in 2019, many feeling the compounded effects of years of drought.” [33]

The Middle East

Socialist Fight’s Gerry Downing debated on George Galloway’s Kalima Horra: In the Memory of the Assassination of Major General Qasem Soleimani and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, posted on January 4 2021. The debate was on the global significance and consequences of the assassination. He did not agree with George Galloway that the assassination had backfired, he tried to explain that Iran would not seriously retaliate against Israel because that would mean war, which they would lose. Iran would wait for Biden, with whom they hope to compromise. They will be disappointed, Biden will not pull the US Embassy out of East Jerusalem nor will he prevent the annexation of vast regions of the West Bank and the Golan Heights. He will just use sugary words to soften the blows. Allies in Russia and China would not support Iran in any war, but Israel would use it as an excuse to bomb in alliance with the US. [34]

More recently on January 13:

“Israeli warplanes targeted the arms depots of Iranian-backed fighters in the region. The report stated that a senior US intelligence official later confirmed the attack with The Associated Press and said Israel acted based on intelligence provided by the United States. Israel reportedly targeted several warehouses that were being used to house and move Iranian weapons throughout the region and that the warehouses contained components Iran uses for its nuclear program. According to a statement from SANA, which is Syria’s state news agency, the strikes struck targets near the towns along the Iraq border, including Boukamal, Deir el Zour, and Mayadeen killing at least 23 people and wounding 28.” [35]

These war crimes, the constant bombing of Syria, the assassinations of Qasem Soleimani and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis in January 2020 and the Iran scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh on November 27, were all executed by Israel in alliance with and on the instructions of US imperialism. Israel could not continue to exist without the huge subsidies given it by the US. It is the aircraft carrier for the US in the region, although it influences through its powerful lobbies it does not control US or any other imperialist power, it is still little more than “a little loyal Jewish Ulster”, in the words of Sir Ronald Storrs, the first British governor of Jerusalem. Here are the details of the US foreign aid to Israel:

“Israel is the largest cumulative recipient of U.S. foreign assistance since World War II. Successive Administrations, working with Congress, have provided Israel with significant assistance … To date, the United States has provided Israel $146 billion (current, or noninflation-adjusted, dollars) in bilateral assistance and missile defense funding. At present, almost all U.S. bilateral aid to Israel is in the form of military assistance, although from 1971 to 2007, Israel also received significant economic assistance.” [36]

That Israel was the client of European imperialism, Britain and France, before she became the client of the US in 1967, does not mean she has any significant independence from global imperialism; the tail does not wag the dog.

Latin America

In 2019–2020 Chile was shaken by massive demonstrations, known as The Social Outbreak. Nothing of this magnitude has taken place since the upheavals of 1973 that ended with Pinochet’s fascists taking power. The demands of the Chilean workers were reformist but critically supportable. They include reversal of public transport fares, reforms in education, healthcare, and pension systems, better wages, minimum wage increase, the resignation of President Sebastián Piñera, draft a new constitution, and the formation of a new government. Chile just manifests the readiness of the workers to fight back throughout South America:

“South America is no stranger to unrest. But from the Caribbean coast to Patagonia, the outbreak of popular uprisings this year is already the region’s strongest and most widespread in decades.” [37]

In Ecuador, indigenous groups and left-leaning students pressured their government to restore gasoline subsidies. And in Argentina protests erupted against an economic crisis that erodes the workers’ standard of living with a raging inflation and food prices. The workers’ protests are on top of the historic victory for abortion rights referred to above. [38]

In Colombia, there were also massive protests and strikes culminated in a national strike, with many demands. For the third time in two weeks, Colombians went on a national strike, demanding the government of President Ivan Duque to accept a wide-ranging list of popular demands. It is easy to argue this is nothing more than liberal/reformist demands. But all revolutions start with reformist demands. It is up to revolutionaries to raise the masses consciousness by fighting for transitional demands that lead to workers’ power. 

Let not forget that just before the pandemic hit hard, there were massive demonstrations with strikes against Climate Change, that include universities and high schools throughout the world. Any revolution needs working class youth to succeed. The youth has shown that it is ready to put fight against the freighting future for young workers. When young workers and youth are on the street, they are open to revolutionary ideas.

We cannot close our eyes to the fact that the pandemic has slowed down the class struggle internationally. What we are seeing at the present is a lull, and only a temporary lull in the class struggle. It took one spark: the murder of George Floyd, to unleash massive demonstrations against racism in the US, to an extent not seen since the 1960s. Underneath the surface the discontent of the masses is seething. The fascists will not take control of the streets without a massive opposition from the working class, the unions, and the oppressed. Biden will not change any of this. The class struggle will erupt because all the condition are ripe for this. And as Trotsky wrote, if anything, the conditions are overripe. 

The Prospect of Barbarism or the Socialist Revolution

The inability of the working class to overthrow capitalism brings the prospect of Barbarism. Just Climate Change alone could cause havoc that could bring a decisive decline of “civilization”. The general prospect of barbarism without a working class revolution was clearly understood by Trotsky, who wrote that:

“The objective prerequisites for the proletarian revolution have not only ‘ripened’; they have begun to get somewhat rotten. Without a socialist revolution, in the next historical period at that, a catastrophe threatens the whole culture of mankind. The turn is now to the proletariat, i.e., chiefly to its revolutionary vanguard. The historical crisis of mankind is reduced to the crisis of the revolutionary leadership.” [39]

Just Covid alone points to “a catastrophe [that] threatens the whole culture of mankind”. Scientists admit that it is likely to be a Covid No 2 without a fundamental change in the way that humanity treats nature and the planet. This, combined with inter-imperialist conflicts aggravated by declining resources, could raise the spectre of a world war again. Many think that a threat of inter imperialist war, or a war between any nations that carried nuclear weapons cannot take place, because it is suicidal. But the continuous decline of US imperialism will inevitably result in such a devastating war. China, considered by some Marxists to be a deformed workers’ state or a semi-colony, have shown that it is not afraid of a declining imperialist power. As the US navy deliberately harass Chinese warships, the Chinese warships did not hesitate to stand up to the US warships, chasing them in the South China Sea. It is certainly displaying features of an imperialist power there.

Ultimately the rise of Trump and the rise of a big fascist movement in the US, represent the decline of US imperialism. Without such a decline, Trump and the fascists could not grow at the present worrying speed. Trotsky’s words from 1938 that “The historical crisis of mankind is reduced to the crisis of the revolutionary leadership” stand even stronger today than in 1938. Without a construction of such leadership, the collapse of the civilization due to Climate Change and the new wars (with potential nuclear weapons) are inevitable. Even if another decade or two will pass without such catastrophic consequences, without the socialist revolution such a terrible ending is assured. How long can the big imperialist countries stop smaller countries from obtaining nuclear weapons? The technology and the ease in obtaining the material for such bombs will only become easier in the future. But Climate Change just by itself will bring us into barbarism as our planet as we know will be gone. It is Socialism and a globally planned economy for the needs of the majority, or the collapse of civilization. Ultimately there will not be a road that will keep world capitalism from collapsing under its own enormous contradictions. And no. The aliens will not likely come and save us.

Notes


[1] The Guardian, Victoria Bekiempis in New York and agencies, January 15, 2021, Washington and state capitols brace for violence from armed Trump supporters. Security beefed up across US following attack on Capitol. FBI monitoring threats of violence against Biden and Harris, https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2021/jan/15/washington-us-state-capitols-threat-violence-trump

[2]Michael Brenner, Washington Post, January 9, 2021, Pre-Nazi Germany tells us the fight to save American democracy is just beginning, Stopping an attempted insurrection is only a start, https://www.washingtonpost.com/outlook/2021/01/09/pre-nazi-germany-tells-us-fight-saveamerican-democracy-is-just-beginning/

[3] New York Times, Farhad Manjoo, January 6, 2021, With One Presidential Phone Call, QAnon Shows Its Power. The sprawling online conspiracy network is at the center of Trump’s attempt to overturn the election. https://www.nytimes.com/2021/01/06/opinion/trump-qanon-georgiacall.html?

[4] CNBC, Jennifer Elias, @JENN_ELIAS, Jan 7 2021, New Google union slams YouTube for ‘lackluster’ response to Trump and Capitol mob, https://www.cnbc.com/2021/01/07/new-google-union-slams-youtube-for-lackluster-responseto-trump.html

[5] CNBC, Jennifer Elias @JENN_ELIAS, JAN 5 UPDATED WED, JAN 6: “Googleworkers have made organizing attempts in the past. Here’s why this one is more significant; “Alphabet Workers Union: Employees at Google parent company Alphabet formalized a union organization effort Monday (4 January) after several years of attempts and increased turbulence between leadership and employees. So far, 400 of the company’s more than 260,000 employees and contractors have signed up for the Alphabet Workers Union, which formally aligned with the Communications Workers of America. While that’s just a sliver of the workforce, it is significant because it includes employees from all areas of the company, is legitimized through a “minority union” model supported by the CWA, and has the potential to grow, while influencing other tech companies.” https://www.cnbc.com/2021/01/05/google-workers-union-make-todays-announcement-significant.html

[6] Trotsky, the Transitional Programme, https://www.marxists.org/archive/trotsky/1938/tp/tp-text.htm

[7] Trotsky, On the Labor Party Question in the United States, Three Discussions in Mexico City with James P. Cannon, Vincent R. Dunne & Max Shachtman, (April–June 1938), https://www.marxists.org/archive/trotsky/1938/04/lp.htm

[8] Klanwatch Project of the Southern Poverty Law Center, March 1, 2011: “The Klan itself has had three periods of significant strength in American history — in the late 19th century, in the 1920s, and during the 1950s and early 1960s when the civil rights movement was at its height. The Klan had resurgence again in the 1970s but did not reach its past level of influence. Since then, the Klan has become just one element in a much broader spectrum of white supremacist activity.” The Klan had claimed more than 1 million members by early 1922, https://www.splcenter.org/20110228/ku-klux-klan-history racism?

[9] The Guardian, Cas Mudde, January 7, What happened in Washington DC is happening around the world. https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2021/jan/07/what-happened-inwashington-dc-is-happening-around-the-world

[10] The ‘Corbyn Surge’ saw the membership of the Labour party soar since 2015, making it the biggest political party in Europe, at its height almost three times the size of the next biggest UK party, the Conservatives. As of January 2018, Labour had 552,000 members, a massive increase on the 198,000 recorded prior to the 2015 election. It has lost over 50,000, through expulsions and resignations in disgust at the bogus anti-Semitism witchhunt against the Labour Left even before the election of Kier Starmer in February 2020 bur escalating since then. Membership of the Communist Party of Britain (Morning Star) and the Young Communist League have begun to grow modestly because of these expulsions form Labour. Self-declared Trotskyist groups in Britain and elsewhere have also begun to show modest growth of late.

[11]Global Finance, Unemployment Rates Around the World 2020, https://www.gfmag.com/global-data/economic-data/worlds-unemployment-ratescom

[12] 2020 Global Situation Report, https://www.interaction.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/Global-Situation-Report-1.pdf

[13] Bloomberg Wealth, Devon Pendleton, 6 January 2021, Elon Musk Surpasses Jeff Bezos to Become World’s Richest Person, https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2021-01-06/musk-close-to-surpassing-bezos-as-world-s-richest-person

[14] INEQUALITYUpdates, Chuck Collins, DECEMBER 09, 2020, Billionaire Wealth, U.S. Job Losses and Pandemic Profiteers, https://inequality.org/great-divide/updates-billionaire-pandemic/

[15] Financial Times, Sam Jones in Zurich and Valentina Romei in London OCTOBER 23 2020, Pandemic makes world’s billionaires — and their advisers — richer, Global trend suggests the Covid-19 crisis is widening financial inequalities, https://www.ft.com/content/ab30d301-351b-4387-b212-12fed904324b

[16] 2020 Global Situation Report, https://www.interaction.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/Global-Situation-Report-1.pdf

[17] Lenin, What is to be Done, https://www.marxists.org/archive/lenin/works/1901/witbd/iii.htm

[18] The Guardian, December 3, Three women on their fight for abortion rights in Poland, Academic Agnieszka Graff, lawyer Karolina Więckiewicz and gynaecologist Anna Parzyńska discuss their fight for abortion rights. An attempt by authorities to impose a near-total ban on terminations has sparked mass demonstrations across the country, https://www.theguardian.com/news/audio/2020/dec/03/three-women-on-their-fight-for-abortion-rights-in-poland-podcast.

[19] The Guardian, December 3, Three women on their fight for abortion rights in Poland, Academic Agnieszka Graff, lawyer Karolina Więckiewicz and gynaecologist Anna Parzyńska discuss their fight for abortion rights. An attempt by authorities to impose a near-total ban on terminations has sparked mass demonstrations across the country, https://www.theguardian.com/news/audio/2020/dec/03/three-women-on-their-fight-for-abortion-rights-in-poland-podcast.

[20] Socialist Fight, Ella Downing, 21-5-16, Women’s Rights under Attack from America to Ireland (north and south), https://wordpress.com/post/socialistfight.com/4993.

[21] The Atlantic, Angela Nagle, January 9, 2013,Why American Pro-Life Dollars Are Pouring Into Ireland, https://www.theatlantic.com/sexes/archive/2013/01/why-american-pro-life-dollars-are-pouring-into-ireland/266981/

[22] The Guardian, Caelainn Hogan, Oct 3, 2019, Why Ireland’s battle over abortion is far from over, from sham websites to rogue crisis pregnancy centres, Irish anti-abortionists are using shocking tactics to block women’s rights to safe abortions, https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2019/oct/03/why-irelands-battle-over-abortion-is-far-from-over-anti-abortionists

[23] Gilead is a novel written by Marilynne Robinson which won the 2005 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and the National Book Critics Circle Award. It describes the fight of the Reverend John Ames, an elderly, white Congregationalist pastor, and that of his father and grandfather, against racism in the US.

[24] Socialist Fight, Gerry Downing, 06/07/2019, Alabama’s hounding of Marshae Jones and The Handmaid’s Tale, The face of US fascism today, neo liberal agenda under attack from the right, https://socialistfight.com/2019/07/06/alabamas-hounding-of-marshae-jones-and-the-handmaids-tale/

[25] Detroit Free Press, Todd Spangler, 15 June 2020, Supreme Court rules in Michigan case, says workers can’t be fired for being transgender, https://eu.freep.com/story/news/local/michigan/2020/06/15/supreme-court-transgender-people-lgbtq-protected-aimee-stephens-case/3190573001/

[26] Ibid.

[27] The Guardian, Kari Paul in Oakland, September 15, 2020, ICE detainees faced medical neglect and hysterectomies, whistleblower alleges, Nurse Dawn Wooten says she was demoted and reprimanded when she spoke out about practices at Georgia detention center. ICE says only(!) two women were subjected to this. https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/sep/14/ice-detainees-hysterectomies-medical-neglect-irwin-georgia

[28] Detroit Free Press, Todd Spangler.

[29] Ibid.

[30] Ibid.

[31] Statista, Simona Varrella, Nov 27, 2020, Deaths of migrants in the Mediterranean Sea 2014-2020, https://www.statista.com/statistics/1082077/deaths-of-migrants-in-the-mediterranean-sea/

[32] 2020 Global Situation Report.

[33] The New Humanitarian, June 10 2020, Drought in Africa leaves 45 million in need across 14 countries, https://www.thenewhumanitarian.org/analysis/2019/06/10/drought-africa-2019-45-million-in-need

[34] George Galloway, Kalima Hora, One year on; Victims of State Terrorism: Lt. Gen. Qaseem Soleimani and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rvBLkC-juUQ&ab_channel=GeorgeGalloway

[35] End Time Headlines, Jan 13, 2021, Israel Bombs Iranian-Backed Targets in Syria, Killing 23, https://endtimeheadlines.org/2021/01/israel-bombs-iranian-backed-targets-in-syria-killing-23

[36] Congressional Research Service, U.S. Foreign Aid to Israel, Updated November 16, 2020, https://fas.org/sgp/crs/mideast/RL33222.pdf

[37] Washington Post, Anthony Faiola and Rachelle Krygier, November 14, 2019, How to make sense of the many protests raging across South America, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/the_americas/a-government-chased-from-its-capital-a-president-forced-into-exile-a-storm-of-protest-rages-in-south-america

[38] DW, October 26, 2019, South America’s protests fueled by ‘extreme’ social inequality, https://www.dw.com/en/south-americas-protests-fueled-by-extreme-social-inequality/a-50977566

[39] The Transitional Program, The Death Agony of Capitalism and the Tasks of the Fourth International, https://www.marxists.org/archive/trotsky/1938/tp/tp-text.htm#op

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