What has May 1 become? What is the significance of this “trade union holiday” today? What message do they spread about the working class at this point?
Continuing with the recovery of texts of our current, we digitized (in Spanish) three articles published in the French editions of FOR between 1980 and 1986 on war and revolutionary defeatism. They have always been fundamental, but now they are even more urgent.
The topic of the day in Spain is the approval yesterday of the Labor Reform in Congress thanks to the blunder of a PP member of parliament who was not allowed by the Presidency to change his electronic vote once it had been cast. The representative insists that it was a “computer error” but in the same day he had made a mistake in at least three votes. What at first glance seems just an anecdote of parliamentary formalism actually reveals the historical moment of the society in which we live.
The League of Communists and its Manifesto of 1848 were a fundamental moment in the process of the constitution of the workers as a class. However, the League was not, and could hardly have been, the first nor the most extensive of the political expressions of a proletariat that was taking shape. “Icarian communism”, with all its political weaknesses, was in reality the first great workers’ party and its experience -which goes far beyond that of the colonies in the United States- can still teach us some things.
In many parts of the world, restaurant work encapsulates the worst of precarization with the general meaninglessness of capitalist production. From “Michelin star” restaurants to fast food joints, every apparent advance in the art of cooking or the way of producing seems to be made at the expense of the workers, so our readers ask us if it is possible for restaurants – or something like them – to exist under communism.
The Third International, from the experience of the russian revolution, was the first to address the role of cooperatives in a revolutionary phase.
It has been 20 years since the 9/11 attacks of 2001. TV channels and the press are devoting thousands of pages today to what is already today a hazy memory for most. Understanding 9/11 in the perspective of these two decades requires putting it in the context of the global imperialist game and the evolution of the struggles and balances between classes in the Arab-Islamic world.
Looking at the schools and formative and educational developments of the social democratic parties before the First World Imperialist War and of the communists afterwards allows us to understand what the Internationals really were and how the “Conscious Proletariat” organized itself.
The EU wants to bring into being a New European Bauhaus that will be an integral part of the Green Deal. In January, the design process was launched. Since then, speeches and roadmaps have proliferated. The Green Deal uses the housing problem to impose capital’s pressing need to recompose the rate of profit through a massive transfer of income from labor to capital. That is why not coincidentally the ruling classes are once again taking the Bauhaus as a reference. And that is why it is worthwhile to dwell on the study of the original Bauhaus, what it reflected and what it meant for capitalist competition and the lives of workers.
The Russian Revolution confronted the issue of housing, gave rise to the greatest social experimentation ever seen by workers on collective and communal ways of living and working, and very soon had to address the transformation of urban space in order to push forward the revolution of social space that was in its perspective.
This week, the WHO reported that global working hours keep lengthening and that excess working hours kill nearly three-quarters of a million people a year worldwide. Late last month it was also reported that excess mortality -not taking into account covid- has multiplied in recent decades in the US. The overall health of the population keeps getting worse as GDPs and accumulation keep growing, but this wasn’t always the case. There was a period when the health of the economy and the health of the general population were aligned, but that ended a century ago and there is no going back. What happened and what is left for us to do to reverse this trend?
Feminism and World War 2 are deeply related. It is no coincidence at all for one of the most enduring symbols of feminism to be a poster for the recruitment of women for war production. Reproduced ad nauseam today by all kinds of feminist groups, Rosie the Riveter even has a theme song. It is the female embodiment of a war effort whose propaganda included women as never before because never before had female incorporation into the slaughter taken on a similar dimension. In the reorganization of the entire society to maximize the number of soldiers available for the massacre, women of the petty bourgeoisie soon saw a unique possibility for social advancement.
Whenever May 1 draws near, the media tell us the story of the Chigago martyrs. The crackdown on a strike in the US would have stirred and organized European workers to the point of creating a worldwide day of celebration. The story implies a leadership of the US labor movement, something that is just the opposite of the reality of the moment. More importantly, it forgets the real context and purpose of the call, all too uncomfortable even today. May 1st is born in Paris, not in Chicago and not to pay tribute to anyone but to organize into a simultaneous struggle the universal working class.
At the height of the Russian Revolution, as the working class wielded political power for the first time and hundreds of thousands of workers were experimenting with new forms of collective labor, Taylorism and the scientific organization of labor raised debates that were only partly resolved historically: Are the techniques of scientific organization of labor necessarily alienating and do they necessarily increase exploitation? Is their scientific foundation correct? Is there anything rescuable in them?
In the second entry in our series on feminism and war, we will study interwar feminism in the USA in order to understand why during World War II it will be thoroughly used to recruit women workers for imperialist slaughter and war production.
Many decades before the emergence of environmentalism, the first extensive experience of workers’ power, the Russian Revolution, featured a strong policy on forests and revolutionary plans for wilderness. The soviets discovered from the first moment, however, that Nature is not a minor battlefield in the class struggle.
We begin a new series of articles that investigate the relationship between feminism and war since its emergence in the United States and Great Britain in the 19th century up to the present day. Why has feminism always been linked to the war effort and why has it hoisted up as its banner the mobilization of women workers for the world wars?
Today is the 150th anniversary of the Paris Commune. Almost all the major world media have been devoting articles the last week, rehearsing nationalist, feminist reinterpretations or even incongruously reducing it to a riot preforming… May ’68 and the yellow vests! Today we shed light on three keys for understanding what the Paris Commune really was… which the media won’t tell you about.
Between 1896 and 1917, the left wing of the Second International, with Rosa Luxemburg and Clara Zetkin at the forefront, fought against the nascent feminist movement, then focused on extending the suffrage to bourgeois and petty-bourgeois women. It was this battle that gave rise to the birth of March 8 as a day of workers’ demands. The confrontation against feminism was settled with the outbreak of the First World Imperialist War and the Russian Revolution.
In the United States, racialism has become the leading ideological campaign directed against workers. But the Black Lives Matter movement has not had a remotely comparable impact in most other countries despite media pressure and the effort of the Democratic apparatus to export it to Europe and Asia. The question is, why is it so powerful in the United States?
Articles promoting co-living are popping up in the press. They specifically target young workers (no students allowed, as pointed out by TeleMadrid) and sell a way of life based on an idea of community offering the promise of overcoming isolation and atomization. In reality: shared apartments with minimal individual spaces at prices which not long ago would have been charged for a family house; housing precariousness beyond the mini-house level based on a false collectivist bond and commodified interpersonal relationships. These are certainly similar to the oppressive and miserable stalinist komunalkas which are also now coming back, but light years away from the collective and communal housing movements of the workers’ movement up to and during the Russian Revolution.
We are told of tax havens as a kind of small parasitic states stealing tax revenues from large states by eroding their revenue-raising capacity and social policies. Nothing could be more untrue. Tax havens were established as such as a result of the deliberate policies of large states, Germany, France, Great Britain, the USA… and Spain, whose relationship with Andorra and Gibraltar fits into that general pattern.
The postcards, although not much used by the scarce apparatus of the Second International, were nevertheless the main means of communication and the most spontaneous, which the workers used to extend and strengthen internationalism before the World War.
Christmas begins in the agrarian phase of primitive communism. The class society will turn it into a feast in dispute.
European leaders were publicly outraged to see the WHO turned into a battleground between the two great current imperialisms. But was it ever anything other than a battleground between the various imperialist interests in conflict at every moment?
The world Revolution and the Soviet takeover of Russia briefly opened a period in which a whole universe of human needs was expressed and knowledge developed in a new way. It radically changed, among other things, the conception of learning and childhood.
For the bourgeoisie education is a question of state, its main goal is to manufacture citizens and train -according to their social position- children and youth in skills useful for production. For the workers, on the other hand, it is not a national problem. It is a question of necessity.
Was there ever a Chilean «path to socialism»? What was the Allende presidency? On the 47th anniversary of the military coup, we recovered and published in our archive the FOR’s publications on Chile during those years.
Trotsky today could only look with horror at his so-called epigones. The last thing he would be is a “Trotskyist”. And precisely because of this, in the face of the enemies and slanderers of the great militant, eighty years after his assassination we can only vindicate him.
The commitment and effort put into cultural dissemination was thus very different from that of the associations and state institutions dedicated then and now to promoting the knowledge and consumption of cultural objects. It was above all of a moral nature. It expressed the immediate dimension of communism’s perspective of abundance as the liberation of knowledge and the free development of human experience and sensibility.
1936, on July 17 and 18, a military uprising confirmed that a sector of Spain’s ruling class -the most reactionary one- had decided to take that path. But on the 19th, the “unexpected” general insurrection of the Spanish proletariat, overriding parties and unions, disarmed the armed reaction and seized power in 4/5ths of the territory.
Few elements of working class history are still as present among workers today as the memory of the “Casas del Pueblo” (People’s Houses) of the Second International in Spain. They were the largest experience of organization of militant groups of the time, but above all, they represented a massive effort of workers’ training and discussion.
How the Russian Revolution transformed workers’ relationship with food.
Socialist militant, SLP (“Socialist Labor Party”) leader and founder of the IWW (“Industrial Workers of the World”), he established the criticism of the trade union bureaucracy within the Second International. To recover his history is to recover that of socialism in the United States.
ne of the more advanced examples of proletarian insurrection occurred exactly forty years ago in South Korea, a date so recent that many of the participants are still alive. The events of that time are a lesson not to be forgotten.
The real slaughter that we witnessed in the nursing homes during the Covid pandemic has brought media attention to more or less cooperative “co-living” models, whose functioning has been shown to be much more reliable than the average nursing home. As always, they try to get us excited about the idea that “everything could be better” without having overcome the economic system. This is not true. Production in this society is guided by the placement of capital and the realization of profit. And nursing homes are excellent placements of capital. They are not going to become anything else. On the other hand, the “alternative” models that today are presented as novel, were not born precisely from capital and its state, but from the workers’ organizations of the end of the 19th century. It might be a good idea to recall their history now.
The original March 8 was neither “Women’s Day” nor was it celebrated in March. What does today’s celebration really commemorate and when did it cease to be what its creators intended it to be?
Alexandra Kollontai wrote about women’s liberation and relationships, but from a perspective that had nothing to do with feminism and everything to do with communist morality.
Ninety-nine years after the congress in which the International discussed the educational work of the PCs, cultural associations of workers, gatherings and self-training initiatives among workers continue to emerge.