Eastern Europe

The fall of Stalinism in Eastern Europe — Workers' Liberty 3/25

Download as pdf, or read online below. Timeline Introduction 1. The risen people: Eastern Europe after the revolutions 2. What’s in the coffin at the funeral of socialism? 3. Lies against socialism answered 4. Stalin’s system collapses 5. Why socialists should support the banning of the CPSU 6. The triumph of unreason: market madness in the ex-USSR 7. What was the Bolsheviks’ conception of the 1917 revolution? 8. Why the workers want to restore capitalism 9. In the beginning was the critique of capitalism 10. An open letter to Ernest Mandel 11. Trotsky and the collapse of Stalinism 12. And...

The nature of the Lukashenko regime

While Belarusian and Russian troops have been staging joint military exercises ("Slavic Brotherhood 2020"), Belarus President Lukashenko's story about the events reveals the undemocratic nature of his regime. The current wave of protests, claims Lukashenko, is the product of ten years of preparations by the USA and its "satellites" — Poland, Lithuania, the Czech Republic and Ukraine — each of which "has had their own role to play". "Just as in Syria and Venezuela" attempts were made to undermine the electoral base of the country's leader. Tactics "borrowed from the Arab, Armenian, Polish and...

Belarus workers fight for democracy

Again on 19-20 September, mass demonstrations across Belarus demanded democracy. The last two Saturdays have seen tens of thousands of women in the capital, Minsk. They have faced police attacks, but the last two Sunday demonstrations have both attracted over 150,000. The women defended each other heroically — stopping state security arresting their comrades and pulling off the balaclavas behind which the security thugs hide their identity. One hero of the women's marches is 74 year old Nina Baginskaya. Escaping arrest on 12 September, she was eventually arrested at the 19 September...

Giant Belarus potash mine joins strikes

The slogans for the massive demonstrations on 13 September across Belarus, including one of 100,000 in Minsk, included “We won’t let him [neo-Stalinist president Alexander Lukashenko] sell the country”. Police attacked demonstrators, and even the official government figure said 774 had been arrested. Incidents caught on camera show that the police are now, for the first time, willing to openly use violence against female protesters – but also women fighting back successfully. The protests are not fading. Strikes have also continued to spread. The workers’ committee at the huge Beluruskali...

Belarus: calculation or confusion?

The Morning Star is usually clear-cut on international issues: for them (and their political masters, the Communist Party of Britain), the world is divided pretty neatly into goodies and baddies. The goodies are the “anti-imperialist” forces (Hamas, Hezbollah, etc.) and regimes like Cuba, Iran and Venezuela. The baddies are the US (with or without Trump), the EU and all liberal democracies. Putin doesn’t quite fit into the Morning Star’s neat division of the world, but it’s pretty obvious that on the whole, they reckon he’s more sinned against than sinning. First and foremost amongst the...

Jiři Menzel: 1938-2020

One of the great European “auteurs”, Jiři Menzel, has died aged 82. He is one of the last of a generation of film directors the likes of which will never be seen again. They included his fellow Czechs Miloš Forman and Vera Chytilova, the Hungarians Miklós Jancsó, Marta Mészáros and István Szabó, and, from Poland, Andrzej Wajda. From the Soviet Union, Andrei Tarkovsky and Elem Klimov. From other parts of Europe: Theo Angelopoulos from Greece, the doyens of the French New Wave such as Francois Truffaut, Jean-Luc Godard and Agnes Varda, Germany’s Rainer Werner Fassbinder and Margarette von Trotta...

"Pathetic clowns, lousy Trotskyists": The Left responds to a solidarity campaign with Belarus

In late August, at the request of independent trade unions in Belarus and supported by global union federations, LabourStart launched a campaign demanding an end to state repression in that country. The campaign title was “Stop the violence — defend democracy and human rights”. In a mass mailing to trade union activists, we summarised what had happened in Belarus, noting that “a wave of spontaneous work stoppages swept across the country. Workers started to form strike committees to prepare for a nationwide general strike in support of democratic change.” Our message quoted from some of the...

Belarus: support the left and the workers!

Belarus has been gripped by protests and strikes following the fraudulent “re-election” of dictator Alexander Lukashenko on 9 August. On 22 August Another Europe Is Possible held a meeting with voices from the frontline of Belarus. Lizaveta Merliak, International Secretary of the Belarusian independent trade union of miners and chemical workers, told us strike committees are now being formed all across Belarus. This is in spite of the fact that Belarus’ repressive strike laws prevent trade unions from putting forward political demands or striking for political reasons. Valentyna Katorzevska...

"Eight out of ten of the largest enterprises in Belarus are on strike"

"For Your Freedom and For Ours: why the Left should support the protests in Belarus" On 9 August, Belarusians went to the polls in a presidential election that, just like every presidential or otherwise election in long-standing autocrat President Alaksandr Łukašenka’s 26-year-long rule, they already knew would be neither free nor fair. The reigning president had already imprisoned several high-profile political opponents, attempted to prevent opposition rallies, curtailed the number of independent observers at polling stations and attempted to crack down on independent attempts to verify the...

Belarus: the working class joins the battle

On Sunday 9 August the old-style Stalinist president of Belarus, Alexander Lukashenko, rigged the presidential election to stay in power. He has run the country since 1994, controlling state media and the vast state machine. 70,000 attended the rally of the anti-Lukashenko presidential candidate Svetlana Tikhanovskaya which took place in the capital, Minsk, at the end of July. Tikhanovskaya had entered the contest after her husband, Sergey Tikhanovsky, a well-known blogger and alternative presidential candidate, was arrested and thrown in jail on trumped-up charges. Tikhanovskaya’s platform...

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