This year so far has been marked by new heights of crisis for the disastrous and chaotic system of global capitalism. While there is no real end in sight to the Covid-19 pandemic, working people have been faced with a new brutal war in Ukraine, new levels of tensions between the U.S. and China, the highest inflation in decades, a right-wing offensive against women and LGBTQ+ people, and a deepening of the ongoing economic crisis which workers and the poor globally bear the brunt of.
The largest corporations in the world netted $5 trillion in profits and the richest people are planning their next trips into space. At the same time parts of the planet are facing heat levels not seen in over a century and new records of environmental disasters.
The horrors of the war in Ukraine are already changing the way global capitalism sees itself going forward. Capitalist governments are investing historic amounts in militarisation, as can be seen with the Swedish and German Social Democratic-led governments increasing military spending to a massive 2% of GDP. Instead of these destructive measures, we need massive investment in climate protection, healthcare, social services and education.
Fears of nuclear war have returned, with weapon technology and destructive power far exceeding what it was at the height of the last Cold War. Countries that heavily rely on grains and other basic goods from the war zones are facing a catastrophic food crisis, especially in parts of Africa and the Middle East.
Growing shortages resulting from supply chain crises and the increasing trend away from neoliberal free trade and towards protectionism, nationalism and decoupling of production do nothing but exacerbate the misery and disaster capitalism has to offer the working class and poor worldwide.
The United States, the richest country in the world, has seen more than one mass shooting per day and infant malnutrition, caused by baby formula shortages, are forcing mothers to share breast milk. Millions of women face the threat of losing their right to abortion and the right wing is targeting LGBTQ+ youth and their parents.
The Chinese state is also restricting access to reproductive healthcare and continuing with its repressive “Zero Covid” policy with mass lockdowns which have resulted in job losses without a social safety net, which hits migrant communities especially hard. At the same time, other workers are locked in their factories and forced to work. The lockdowns have been supplemented by shortages of food, medications, and other necessities.
Polarization is growing globally, as can be seen by the dangers of far-right and right-wing populists growing in many parts of the world. The right-wing uses the legitimate anger of the working class and poor to push their divisive false solutions based around racism, sexism, homophobia and xenophobia.
However, there is also a mood amongst working people for radical change and mass disillusionment from mainstream corporate politicians, evident for example in a series of left-wing victories in Latin American elections or the broad support for the left alliance led by Mélenchon in France.
As big businesses and the capitalist governments look to unload their crises onto ordinary people worldwide, the working class and poor people are fighting back.
Workers in Sri Lanka have organized the first general strike in 42 years against the corrupt and oppressive Rajapaksa regime, as part of a militant and brave mass movement that brought down sections of the government. Extreme levels of price hikes, pro-regime brutality, and an economic collapse have brought millions to the streets to demand fundamental change.
Hospital workers in Shanghai have protested and went on strike against the brutal treatment by the Chinese dictatorship while workers locked in the factories have rioted and clashed with the police.
Workers in Turkey are protesting and striking against the sharp rise in the cost of living, and in Iran, workers are fighting economic austerity and government neglect which caused, among other things, the collapse of the Metropol building killing dozens of people.
ISA’s work on the ground
With the worsening environmental crisis and the complete failure of this system to carry out even modest tasks to fight it, we demand massive public investment in a socialist green new deal to create tens of millions of well-paid quality jobs worldwide, seizing the wealth of the billionaires to fund a real fightback against climate change.
In November 2021, International Socialist Alternative mobilized hundreds of its members from all continents to Glasgow to protest the inaction of the COP26 climate conference. One of our key demands is to bring polluting multinationals and the key sectors of the economy (energy, transport & mobility, finance, agriculture, healthcare) into democratic public ownership to implement an ecological and socialist economic plan which reorganizes the economy to serve people and the planet first. Read here our 8-point socialist climate programme Save the Planet from Profit and War!
Continuing our work in the climate movement, we organized another international contingent to join the Swedish section of ISA in the protests around the Stockholm+50 conference this June. The Stockholm+50 UN Summit on climate was meant to “celebrate 50 years of global environmental action”, which is in stark contrast to reality where environmental disasters are more common, global warming is increasing and the greenwashing from the elites are intensifying.
The host country, Sweden, has failed to meet 75 percent of their climate targets in this period. ISA helped organize the demonstrations in Stockholm to reach out to the best layers of climate activists and the layers among the youth who are angry about this issue, winning them over to the need for socialist change to combat climate change.
Moreover, we have organized and participated in protests, rallies, pickets, and other solidarity actions against the war in Ukraine, where the basic needs of millions of people are sacrificed by imperialist world powers in the name of oil and profits.
Socialists in Russia, who have long been opposing Putin’s reactionary government, reacted immediately by intervening in the spontaneous anti-war protests in Russia. 15,000 people, socialists too faced arrest, Several have now spent short periods in prison.
One in particular, Dzhavid Mamedov, after serving two month-long sentences just for speaking out against the war faced criminal charges and possibly long imprisonment. A very effective international solidarity campaign helped to ensure that Dzhavid is now in safety. The steps taken have ensured that socialists in Russia can continue to operate, preparing for the future.
We have also continued to develop the campaign for Solidarity against Repression in China & Hong Kong and organize against the brutal CCP dictatorship in China, which stands in direct opposition to the interests of all working class and poor people in the region and worldwide.
Our members in South Africa helped to build the struggle and strike by Clover workers against factory closures and layoffs, demanding instead a wage increase, kicking out the greedy MILCO/CBC owners, and the democratic public ownership of Clover.
In Brazil, our members are on the streets fighting the authoritarian and reactionary Bolsonaro regime.
There cannot be any compromise with the institutions who brought him to power in the first place, such “moderate strategies” are doomed to fail. Instead, we call for a united and independent working class movement to fight Bolsonaro and all he represents in the streets, workplaces, school and universities.
In the U.S., our members have played key roles in the recent wave of labor organizing, particularly in Starbucks and Amazon, in organizing protests to defend women’s rights against the Supreme Court’s attack on abortion, and in defending LGBTQ+ rights against right-wing politicians and their violent far-right supporters.
This past December we defeated, yet again, an undemocratic attempt by big business and the right wing to remove Seattle councilmember Kshama Sawant, the only Marxist elected representative in the U.S. Our Kshama Solidarity Campaign showed again — when we fight, we can win!
Over 1,500 volunteers in Seattle came out to help Socialist Alternative in organizing and campaigning and an unprecedented million-dollar campaign collected donations from 11,000 working class people. This was paramount in winning the political battle against the billionaires and right wing. A fighting movement is not built on Marxist ideas alone, it requires resources to power action.
We need support to help build the struggle — Donate to ISA!
We have received massive support from ordinary working class people who have been living under increasingly difficult conditions. It is clear that there is no way out under this system. We need to build the forces who put forward an alternative and are fighting every day for socialism.
In order for us to build on our work and make a bigger impact on events, we are launching a financial appeal with a target of €75,000, as part of the ISA’s first in-person international event since before the 2020 Covid-19 pandemic.
Capitalism is a global system and therefore we need a global fightback. That is why it is a priority for us to build a strong international organization with central resources to be able to build and help coordinate our work around the world. This financial appeal will go towards building campaigns, mobilizing our forces, and play a role in key struggles by working class people in many countries.
Real power is held in the hands of big businesses. From decisions made at board of directors meetings and corporate conferences; corporate lobbying and donations to the capitalist parties; and the privately-owned mass media, including social media — political and financial power is out of the hands of working class people. Working class people need to build their own power.
That is why the ISA completely relies on contributions from our members and supporters.
Can you take a minute right now to make a donation and help us reach our target and improve our work around the world in the period ahead? Are you able to make a donation of €5, €10, €50, €200, €1,000, or more?