As millions of workers and youth take to the streets world-wide to celebrate May Day as a day of international working class solidarity, we need to reassess our common objectives in the light of a growing world crisis of capitalism. Originally written in 2001.

Last week, the representatives of the Spanish and Portuguese sections of the Committee for a Workers' International (CWI) walked out of a meeting of Peter Taaffe’s faction within that organisation. They then announced they "would recommend to the Spanish EC and CC that they leave the Faction. [Spanish section general secretary, Juan Ignacio Ramos] also stated that this would mean it would make no sense to remain in the CWI."

The Committee for a Workers’ International (CWI) has been plunged into a convulsive crisis, which is most likely going to end in a split. At the centre of the crisis are developments in their Irish section. From the material available to us from their internal discussions it appears that the Irish section is being accused of adapting to identity politics, concentrating on women’s and LGBTQ+ issues to the detriment of work in the trade unions, bending towards reformism and at the same time adopting a sectarian stance. This emerges both from the criticisms of the International Secretariat (IS) majority faction and of one of their MPs, Paul Murphy.

Josh Holroyd reviews Nelson at Naples (available here from Amazon) by Jonathan North, which exposes the atrocities committed by Horatio Nelson during his part in crushing the Neapolitan Revolution of 1799. The tragic events North describes, which reveal the unbridled barbarism of a reactionary old order fighting for its life, are rich with lessons for revolutionaries today.

Image: Flickr, War on Want

Since the beginning of the crisis of 2008, anti-immigrant parties and movements have made headway in Europe and the United States. They have even managed to win over certain layers of the working class to their programme. This has led a section of the labour movement to adapt itself to these ideas, calling for stricter border controls, justifying its position with quotations from Marx. Such short-sighted policies have nothing to do with Marx or the traditions of the First, Second or Third International, as we shall demonstrate.

26 years ago, after the fall of the Soviet Union, the defenders of capitalism were euphoric. They spoke of the death of socialism and communism. Liberalism had triumphed and therefore history had reached its final expression in the form of capitalism. That was the moment when Yoshihiro Francis Fukuyama uttered his famous (or notorious) prediction that history had ended. What he meant by this was as follows: now that socialism (in the form of the Soviet Union) had failed, the only possible socio-economic system was capitalism, or as he and others preferred to describe it: “the free market economy”.

Two centuries ago, a child was born whose very name would cause the world’s ruling classes to tremble at a communistic revolution. And yet, despite their century-long efforts to discredit, mock, and distort him, Karl Marx’s specter continues to haunt them. The reason is simple: Marx was right! More than ever, his books, pamphlets, speeches, notes, and letters provide an unparalleled wealth of ideological and practical tools for the working class in its struggle for a better world.

How can we reach the masses? This question has been at the center of revolutionary debate since the birth of the socialist movement. Revolutions are preceded by preparatory periods of ferment and debate, clarification of ideas, perspectives, and tasks, and shaking off the inertia of the previous epoch of stability and passivity. In these periods, there is a growing sense that society is at an impasse, while at the same time, history is accelerating and great events are coming. This pushes broader layers of society into political activity, and there is a thirst for ideas that can explain the crisis of the system and the way to transform it.

We publish here in English an oft-quoted text, The Sexual Revolution in Russia, by Dr. Grigory Batkis, published in German in 1925 as a contribution to the proceedings of the World League for Sexual Reform. Unable to locate an English language edition, we found a copy of the German original and had it translated by our German and Austrian comrades of the IMT.

In the bourgeois media today, Afghanistan is portrayed only in relation to Islamic fundamentalism, jihad, warlords and drug cartels. While these ills are a sad fact of life in Afghanistan today, that was not always the case. 40 years ago, a revolution almost shook the country out of its backwardness, only to be thrown back after the imperialist-backed, fundamentalist counter-revolution. To understand the current situation in the Middle East, as well as the rise of the reactionary forces, it is necessary to understand the rise and fall of the Saur revolution in Afghanistan in 1978.

In 1978, a radical faction of the Afghan Communist Party seized power in a military coup. The 'Saur Revolution' carried out a whole series of progressive measures. The government passed decrees abolishing the selling of brides and giving equality to women. It announced a land reform and the cancellation of farmers’ debts. These measures met with the ferocious opposition of the powerful land owners and moneylenders. This article by Ted Grant, published in 1978, contains an analysis of the revolution, as well as the phenomena of colonial revolutions and proletarian bonapartism more generally. To mark the 40th anniversary of the 1978 revolution, we republish Grant's classic contribution.

A sexual abuse scandal originally centered around Oxfam has now spread to many other household name charities, including Red Cross and Unicef. This has shone a bright light into the opaque world of the big charities, revealing that these organisations are part and parcel of the capitalist system that they purport to be on a mission to make just. In reality, they feed on poverty and the public’s conscience whilst doing nothing to end it.

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