“Those of you who haven’t joined yet – now is the time to do it. Join the struggle to finish capitalism once and for all, to finish the history of class struggle, to finish our prehistory so that we can enter the era of communism.” With these powerful words, Ylva Vinberg ended the congress of Revolution (IMT in Sweden), gathering over 100 enthusiastic Marxists from all over the country.
The optimism of the congress stood in stark contrast to the pessimism prevailing across the world. In his talk on the world situation, Niklas Albin Svensson explained that there’s a general feeling in society that something fundamental is wrong. He joked about the fact that the bourgeoisie, as usual, have invented fashionable phrases to describe the situation: permacrisis, polycrisis, etc.
“No matter what word you use, there’s a clear content: capitalism is at a dead end,” he stressed.
In the context of massive discontent we see mass movements unfolding at lightning speed across the globe. The uprisings in Peru and in Sri Lanka, the mass movement in France and the German ‘mega-strike’, were just a few of the movements discussed throughout the weekend. The potential for change is created by the resistance of the working class.
Britain has been rocked by the development of the biggest strike wave in over 40 years. Healthcare workers are demanding higher wages and better working conditions. Food banks have been set up in around a fourth of British healthcare districts for staff who don’t earn enough to survive the raging cost of living crisis.
“Class struggle has erupted after many years of relative lull. This crisis is like a powder keg, affecting all parts of British society, with layer upon layer of workers being drawn into the struggle: teachers, nurses, physiotherapists, etc.,” explained Elsa Rohlén.
In the minds of most people, food banks are only for the poorest people, the homeless and dispossessed – or, we should say, that’s the way it used to be. Now we are witnessing how wide layers of the working class are becoming dependent upon this type of charity. In Sweden, queues for food charity are quickly growing longer and longer.
Niki Brodin Larsson cited a principle of a school in Bredäng in Stockholm, who explained that more and more children are sent to school hungry, judging from the growing number of pupils arriving early to school for the freely available breakfast.
“We used to have about ten kids arriving early to have breakfast. Now it’s around 50 every day. The kids also eat more at every meal. The only sensible interpretation is that they go to school hungry,” she explained.
Poverty is back in Sweden, with a vengeance. Everywhere the bourgeoisie try to put the crisis on the shoulders of the workers. Three out of ten single parents with incomes below 35,000 SEK per month (about 3,000 EUR), are struggling to afford healthy food for their children.
Inevitably, workers have to fight back. The moment Niki ended the discussion on perspectives for the class struggle in Sweden, the news spread that train drivers at the Stockholm commuter rail were calling a three-day wildcat strike.
This was the first wildcat strike for years in Sweden, but we had predicted it in our Swedish perspectives document. The comrades quickly prepared to intervene, being the only organisation to participate on the picket lines every day of the strike, several hours per day, showing our support.
While workers across the world are attempting to fight back against the consequences of the capitalist crisis, the leadership of the workers movement is clinging to the system like never before.
“The leadership of the workers movement have forgotten that it’s possible to end capitalism. But workers – and particularly the youth – have a different perspective,” explained Niklas Albin Svensson.
A poll by the Frasier Institute, came to the following conclusion:
“The level of total agreement for communism as the ideal economic system among those aged 18–34 years is disturbingly high in the United Kingdom (29 percent) and to a lesser extent in the United States (20 percent) and Australia (20 percent).”
What is holding the working class back is neither their consciousness nor their fighting spirit, but their organisation.
“I don’t want to see another Sri Lanka, Iran or Peru where the masses go out onto the streets, are prepared to make great sacrifices, even to die, but nothing happens because they lack the necessary leadership. We must build it as quickly as possible – we must be a spine for the future revolutionary communist parties that the working class needs to end capitalism in Peru, Latin America, and in the whole world,” stressed Alexandra Bryngelsson.
In precisely this spirit the credentials for the congress cited The Transitional Programme by Trotsky, published by the section’s bookshop right before the congress: “The present crisis in human culture is the crisis in the proletarian leadership.”
The most applauded intervention at the congress was given by Ela Biitanen, who described the struggle to build the forces of Marxism in Finland. She was interrupted several times by shouts and applause while the plans and ambitions of the Finnish comrades were shared with the congress.
The International Marxist Tendency (IMT), with a presence in more than 50 countries across the world, is growing quickly. The congress also saw the exciting launch of a new website for the Swedish section, Revolution.
But the best proof of the determination among the comrades was the financial collection. All in all we collected more than 420,000 SEK (37,000 EUR) for the IMT.
The congress ended with a powerful rallying speech by Ylva Vinberg, describing the increasing poverty as well as the growing determination of the people now entering into struggle:
“The problem for the bourgeoisie is that everything that they now enforce upon the working class – the poverty, and misery, resulting from the crisis – all of this will be paid back by the working class, with interest. As the youth of the Basque country say: ‘The revenge of the working class will be the Socialist revolution’.”