Austria: boldly building the Revolutionary Communist International

From 22 March to 24 March, the annual national congress of the Austrian section of the International Marxist Tendency (IMT) took place. 225 participants discussed the crisis of capitalism, the upswing of the class struggle and the tasks of communists – worldwide and in Austria.

[Originally published in German at derfunke.at]

The discussion on world perspectives kicked off on Friday. As Niklas from the International Secretariat of the IMT explained: “Capitalism worldwide is in crisis, we are in an age of wars, crises, revolutions and counter-revolutions. At the same time, there is an upswing in the class struggle, more and more workers and young people are drawing radical conclusions and a growing number are open to communism and revolution.” The presence and contributions of 31 comrades from Switzerland, Germany, the former Yugoslavia, Poland, Italy, Hungary, Czechoslovakia and Great Britain deepened the internationalist character of the meeting.

congress hall Image Der FunkeThe atmosphere at the congress was very enthusiastic / Image: Der Funke

The remaining two days were devoted specifically to the political and economic situation in Austria and how this impacts the building of revolutionary forces in this country. Austria's economic outlook is one of the worst in Europe, the decades of stability are over and the next government will undoubtedly introduce a programme of massive cuts. The working class and youth are already seething with anger, as comrades at the congress explained, quoting public studies, but also reports from their own workplaces, universities and schools. It is clear that class struggle is the order of the day in Austria! Comrades also reported on their practical work in different areas. To name but a few examples, comrades across Austria have started an initiative to prevent a factory closure, organised a student committee against an undemocratic and anti-Palestinian school administration and participated in a university protest against the war on Gaza.

The atmosphere at the congress was very enthusiastic, with lively discussions even during the short breaks and at the socials in the evenings, which ended with the spontaneous singing of workers' songs.

merch Image Der FunkeThe theory and literature stall was also well attended / Image: Der Funke

The theory and literature stall was also well attended. In Defence of Lenin, the new text on Lenin's life and ideas, published by Wellred Books, as well as our new booklet on the Russian Revolution sold particularly well. Over 140 copies of the Manifesto of the Revolutionary Communist International (RCI) were sold. This reflects the serious attitude to the ideas of Marxism that was expressed by one comrade during the discussion: “Theory is not a dogma, but an instruction for action”.

Over the course of the weekend there was also a report on development of the IMT internationally. In July last year, 5000 comrades were organised with the IMT worldwide, now there are over 6000. We are growing fast, but this is just the beginning. There are millions of unorganised communists around the world, who will play an important role in the class struggles that are now heating up. As the RCI manifesto states: “Communists have the responsibility to make conscious the unconscious or semi-conscious urge of the working class to change society. Only the working class has the power to overthrow the dictatorship of the bankers and capitalists.”

You cannot accomplish this task on your own. You need collective experience, Marxist theory and the material resources to make it happen. The International Marxist Tendency wants to take up the challenge of raising a revolutionary banner for all unorganised communists. To that end, we will be launching the Revolutionary Communist International in July and aim to be an organisation of 10,000 communists internationally by the end of the year.

We need to match that spirit in every country around the globe. The revolutionary communists of Der Funke in Austria grew from 200 members last year, to 300 members just before our congress. But we are setting our sights higher! The coming 12 months will be marked by an increasing economic and political crisis. The working class in Austria needs a revolutionary leadership. Noone else will build that. That's why we decided at this congress to aim to grow to 500 members. We will organise the young communists, the future revolutionary vanguard into a fighting Bolshevik party as part of the Revolutionary Communist International!

RCI launch 1

Contributions from congress attendees

“We live in an extremely turbulent world. There is no stability to be found anywhere. There are crises at all levels. The world is being turned upside down. The recurring government crises have become an integral part of our society. All civic institutions are being called into question. A majority of people believe that society only works for the rich, that capitalism does more harm than good in the world.” -Niklas

Sonja Image Der FunkeThe working class in Austria needs a revolutionary leadership / Image: Der Funke

"These are the real experiences that young people have had in recent years. They learn the role of the state apparatus, when it criminalises solidarity with Palestine. They learn the role of authority, when the lack of teachers means that you don't even have regular lessons in schools. They learn about the political parties – all the people who attended climate demonstrations and then voted for the Greens now see the Greens as a completely treacherous party. The people who have learnt these lessons, who want to fight, these are our people" -Yola

“Two years ago, we would talk about the war in Ukraine in every class in school, even in maths lessons. But now, when the school students want their teachers to talk about Palestine, there's silence. And what should we do now? You have to fight back, of course. I wrote an open letter and in this letter I defended Palestine against the silence of the school management. I then printed out the letter 400 times and arrived an hour early to post the letter around the school with my friends. That's how I found a lot of supporters and we founded the student committee for Palestine.” - Zaya

“As a branch, we have set ourselves the goal of building up the forces of communism at the Vienna University of Technology. We are doing this, for example, by putting up posters inside the buildings. And at the last two stalls we organised, we met 14 people who were interested in getting active. We will meet with them and discuss the Manifesto of the RCI. We have had many reading groups as a branch and we wanted to turn them into an internal one-day seminar for the comrades. But we need to be bolder: we want to turn it into a recruitment event at the University.” - Michael


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