Europe

Over the past few months, the world’s media has been full of talk of a new war in Europe. According to US intelligence services, Russia has moved over 100,000 troops to its border with Ukraine. It is also carrying out a joint military exercise with Belarus. The US and NATO have held a series of talks with Russia, although none have yet resolved the situation.

Tensions from the build-up of military forces on the Ukraine-Russia border have made their yearly return at the beginning of 2022, although they have recently been overshadowed by events in Kazakhstan. Even until Kazakhstan supplanted the sabre-rattling on the news, there was little sign that anyone really believed something on the scale of war would happen. The people in Ukraine and Russia have grown weary of the political poker game being played with their futures. Now only the well-paid media shills speak seriously about war.

The crisis of capitalism is sharpening by the day. As a result, trade unions are moving onto a war footing. Already the ruling class is worried about a ‘Spring of Discontent’. This must become a generalised struggle to bring down the Tory government.

The recent trial and sentencing of elite socialite and sex-trafficker Ghislaine Maxwell has opened the curtain on the disgusting den of sin that the capitalist class inhabit – with all eyes now on Prince Andrew and the crisis-ridden monarchy.

A number of key unions have seen seismic shifts to the left in recent months, as workers turn to the industrial front for action. To beat the bosses, the left needs a strategy for united action, as part of the struggle for workers’ power.

Last week, the Tories suffered a humiliating electoral defeat in their formerly safe seat of North Shropshire, a rural constituency dominated by the Conservative Party for nearly 200 years. Boris Johnson is running out of road as he lurches from one scandal to another. This opens up further instability and crisis for British capitalism.

Big demonstrations broke out in Brussels in November and December. In the former, 35,000 protested efforts by the government to blame the people for the course of the pandemic crisis, and impose stricter control measures. Sentiments of disgust, and distrust towards the establishment, underpin these protests, following intermittent lockdowns and a host of broken promises by the government, combined with the double standards of the measures taken thus far. All of this has caused disorientation, perplexity and anger that has pushed people onto the streets. Meanwhile, the threat to fire unvaccinated staff in healthcare and other sectors has led to strike action being called by the

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Over the past period, a conflict has been brewing between the Polish government and the European Union, manifesting itself in multiple incidents. For example, the recent refusal by the Polish authorities to deploy the EU’s Forex border guards during the crisis at the Polish border with Belarus, or the open threat to suspend funding to the EU, advanced by members of the Polish government. This led to retaliation from the EU, which threatened to withdraw COVID-19 related relief funding.

In the post-war period, MI5 (the British state’s internal security agency) paid little attention to the activities of Trotskyists in Britain, regarding the threat that they posed to be minimal. But the rise of the Militant in the 1970s and 1980s – a tightly organised, professional and theoretically trained organisation founded by Ted Grant – completely transformed the Secret Services’ perception of Trotskyism.

Journalist and founder of the whistleblower organisation WikiLeaks Julian Assange can now be extradited to the US to face charges of espionage, ruled Her Majesty's High Court on 10 December. This ruling was in favour of an appeal by the US government to overturn the previous decision by the Westminster Magistrates' Court from January, which denied the extradition on the grounds that the harsh and restrictive prison conditions that Assange may face could worsen his mental wellbeing, creating a real risk of suicide.

On 27 November, protests broke out against amendments to the Referendum Law – eliminating the need for a 50 percent turnout of adult citizens to ensure the validity of the referendum – as well as against the Expropriation Law – making it easier for the state to expropriate the private property of ordinary working class people. All this is being declared as “in the public interest” – by which, of course, are meant the interests of big business.

This month marks the 30th anniversary of the collapse of the Soviet Union. The most powerful deformed workers’ state was collapsing into chaos as supposed communists were looting the state and its assets, cheered on by the imperialists of the west. Capitalism reared its ugly head, and the workers of the Soviet Union had to pay the price.

A row over an alleged Downing Street Christmas party held during lockdown has added further fuel to the fire for Boris Johnson and his scandal-ridden government. The labour movement must mobilise to kick out these crooks and charlatans.

The tragic drowning of 27 migrants in the English Channel has brought home the misery and devastation facing refugees worldwide. Capitalism is horror without end. Only socialist revolution can bring down the borders and avert this catastrophe.