revolution

November 11 marks the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I, but not before tens of millions died in the four-year-long unprecedented industrial carnage. Amid all the media coverage, almost entirely missing is the actual story of how such bloodshed and misery was ended: by a mass popular rebellion in Germany that brought down the monarchy and established a republic.

The rise of the far right around the world, with fascist candidate Jair Bolsonaro in Brazil close to joining the growing ranks of authoritarian far right leaders, many on the left are wondering how to respond.

The parallels with the rise of fascism in Europe in the early 20th century are clear.

In July, Canadian Marxist academic and activist John Riddell gave a speech, abridged below, at a York University seminar entitled “Historical perspectives on united fronts against fascism and the far right”.

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Empire of the Tsars: Romanov Russia
Three part series presented by Lucy Worsley
Available on SBS On Demand until October 10

This three-part series examines the history of Russia’s most famous royal family, the Romanovs. This is a useful introduction to a topic for those wanting to know more about the conditions that led to the 1917 Russian Revolution.

The Romanovs rose to power in 1613 after the collapse of the previous Rurik dynasty that ruled Russia for 700 years. The tsars were absolute monarchs with enormous power.

The Assad regime and its allies have been building up their forces around the rebel-held Idlib province, in Syria’s north-west, in preparation for a major offensive. Some bombing raids have already been carried out in the south and west of the province.

Meanwhile, the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) are carrying out guerrilla resistance against the occupying Turkish army and its militia allies in the Afrin canton, a predominantly Kurdish area of northern Syria.

Representatives of 74 communes — institutions of popular power elected from grassroots communal councils — from across Venezuela gathered in Lara state late last month to participate in the inaugural National Assembly of Communes, writes Paul Dobson.

The meeting of more than 300 commune activists was held to try to strengthen the connections between different communes in a range of areas. This includes linking up productive micro-projects, communicational initiatives and educational networks.

John Bellamy Foster is editor of Marxist journal Monthly Review, whose books include Marx’s Ecology (2002) and The Ecological Revolution (2009). He spoke to Fiona Ferguson, a Belfast-based activist in People Before Profit. The interview below is posted the Irish socialist website REBEL.

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Egyptian-French Marxist academic Samir Amin passed away aged 86 on August 12. The man who introduced the concept of “Eurocentrism” was, writes Nick Dearden, one of the world’s greatest radical thinkers.

Venezuela’s campesino marchers achieved their immediate objective on August 2 by holding a public meeting with President Nicolas Maduro in Caracas that was nationally televised. They presented proposals for far-reaching reforms to state agrarian policies and institutions.

The fourth national congress of Venezuela’s largest political party, the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV), wound up on July 30 following three days of intense activities. The congress was inaugurated on July 28, on the 64th birthday of the party’s late founder, Hugo Chavez.

The PSUV congress took place in an increasingly complicated context, amidst a collapsing economy, hyperinflation, international financial sanctions and an upcoming monetary reconversion.

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