On 5 May it will be 200 years since the birth of Karl Marx. Around the world, the capitalist system is in crisis and the working class is moving into action to seize control of its destiny. In establishment circles, no longer do they snidely declare the death of Marx. On the contrary, there is fear and consternation in their ranks. There has, therefore, never been a more urgent time to study Marx’s ideas. We present here the introduction by Alan Woods.

In the bourgeois media today, Afghanistan is portrayed only in relation to Islamic fundamentalism, jihad, warlords and drug cartels. While these ills are a sad fact of life in Afghanistan today, that was not always the case. 40 years ago, a revolution almost shook the country out of its backwardness, only to be thrown back after the imperialist-backed, fundamentalist counter-revolution. To understand the current situation in the Middle East, as well as the rise of the reactionary forces, it is necessary to understand the rise and fall of the Saur revolution in Afghanistan in 1978.

It has been confirmed that the last of our abducted Pakistani comrades have been released by the Rangers. We are relieved to have them back safely and grateful to all of our comrades and supporters who participated in our solidarity campaign, which was instrumental in securing the abductees. We publish the following message from the Progressive Youth Alliance, celebrating the safe return of our comrades, and the victory of our international campaign.

SAFTU’s general strike on Wednesday was a serious warning to the government and the capitalist class. It was part of a sharp intensification of industrial action by workers in big sectors of the economy. The attacks on the working class are preparing a backlash and an upsurge of the class struggle.

Seven prominent youth and trade union activists have been disappeared in Karachi by the Army and Sindh Rangers, a paramilitary state department notorious for extra-judicial killings. Nobody has been told about their whereabouts so far and no case has been registered against them.

Comrade Bilawal Baloch from Quetta is suspected to have been abducted by the armed forces of Pakistan. He attended the protest held yesterday in front of the Karachi Press Club, which was called by the Pashtun Tahafuz Movement (PTM), and was heading back from there to his home in Quetta. But his mobile phone is permanently off and nobody has been able to contact him.

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