The year 2022 has been a year in which much of the inflammable material in world politics – accumulating and smouldering over decades – has burst into flames. War, hunger, mass displacement and spiralling prices torment humanity. Meanwhile, we have seen industrial unrest, revolutions, and accompanying them, coups, counter-revolutions and repression. But to recall a folk expression: “The fire that bends the iron, tempers the steel.”
Among the most-advanced layers of the working class – and especially the youth – this period is creating an increasingly revolutionary, determined and harder mood.
There has therefore never been a better time to build the forces of Marxism; to gather and train the cadres of the future revolutionary army of the world working class that will overthrow this system and create socialism. That is the purpose of the International Marxist Tendency (IMT).
We believe the advances that the IMT has made in the last year prove precisely how fertile the opportunities are out there for Marxists, if we are willing to grasp them. And to demonstrate this point, we’ve put together a short round-up of the IMT’s activities throughout the year.
Perhaps you have read marxist.com over the years and have enjoyed and agreed with its content but are yet to make the step of commiting to joining us in the IMT? Comrade: now is the time to make that step. Make it your New Year’s Resolution as we enter 2023!
7,300 attend International Marxist University 2022
We begin our round-up with what was, for us, undoubtedly the year’s highlight: the International Marxist University.
In 2020, the IMT put on an unprecedented event: a four-day Marxist education school with almost 6,500 comrades from 115 countries simultaneously participating.
This year, we were back with the second International Marxist University 2022 (IMU22). If truth be told, IMU22 exceeded even our wildest ambitions, drawing together 7,300 registrations from an incredible 144 countries.
Held over four days, this was an event that depended for its success on the Herculean effort of hundreds of comrades from all over the world. The seamlessness of IMU22 belied the enormous effort involved in its execution. 15 sessions were translated into 10 languages, making for an event like no other in terms of size or quality.
Comrades in Chile were tuning in just as the sun was rising, whilst comrades in Timor Leste simultaneously gathered for watch parties as the sun was setting. Across the world, camps and watch parties were organised on every continent. In Balochistan, some comrades literally scaled a mountain to get the signal necessary to participate!
This was a landmark event in the building of the forces of Marxism globally, and the recordings of the sessions (now online and available for catch-up) will be an educational tool for Marxists for years to come. (All the sessions from IMU 2020 are also available for catch-up. Just click this link.)
The phenomenal collection of €825,000 eloquently expressed the fervour, optimism and spirit for self-sacrifice among all the comrades involved.
The highlights of the event were too numerous to mention, but we draw our readers’ attention to two excellent discussions in particular at which the editor-in-chief of marxist.com, Alan Woods, was the main speaker: War, Crisis and Revolution: The New Normal, and Marxism and Art: Unshackling Culture from Capitalism.
The fight for Marxist theory
At the International Marxist Tendency, we are proud of our focus on Marxist theory. Without revolutionary theory, as Lenin explained, there can be no revolutionary movement. The purpose of IMU22 was to bring this theory to thousands in an accessible and lively way. But this year we’ve also broken new ground in bringing you the best Marxist theory in every possible medium.
It is the mission of this website to bring you the best theoretical content and Marxist analysis anywhere on the web – not only in English, but in the more than 30 languages that we’ve published in this year!
And in the New Year, we are proud to be returning with a brand new podcast, International Marxist Radio, so you can get these ideas whilst you’re on the go!
In contrast, it is a lamentable fact that most of what constitutes the ‘Left’ have little regard for theory. Instead there is a constant seeking after ‘new’ ideas, which are invariably very old, very reactionary ideas with a new lick of varnish.
For this reason, Wellred Books, the publishing house of the IMT internationally, and the many publishing houses of our national sections, stand virtually alone in continuing to issue new editions of classic texts by Marx, Engels, Lenin and Trotsky. This year we have published a new edition of Karl Marx’s The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte, joining the long list of Marxist classics we have re-released, with many more in the pipeline for 2023 and beyond.
This year, we were also proud to release to the world a number of new books and updated editions that will serve as sharp weapons in the theoretical armoury of Marxists today. Above all, we strive to rescue the legacies of those great Marxists upon whom a heap of lies and distortions have been piled by the ruling class to dissuade the youth from seeking out their ideas.
To that end, this year Wellred Books published a new title by Marie Frederiksen, The Revolutionary Legacy of Rosa Luxemburg. Its publication was enthusiastically received, the phenomenal book launch in January being attended by over 300 people from 18 countries. You can watch it back below:
If Luxemburg’s heritage has suffered grievous distortions even at the hands of those who claim her legacy, the great Irish Marxist James Connolly has fared little better. The republication of an updated edition of Alan Woods’ Ireland: Republicanism and Revolution is a timely antidote as Ireland enters a new, stormy period.
A hundred people attended the successful book launch in November, the recording of which is likewise available to watch back below:
These are some of our new releases in the English language. But across the world, the comrades of the IMT have worked hard to make important Marxist texts available for the first time in many other languages. To name a few highlights, 2022 has seen the release of a German translation of Alan Woods’ History of Philosophy: A Marxist Perspective, with French and Spanish editions in the pipelines; the publication of Arabic and Urdu translations of Alan Woods’ Bolshevism: The Road to Revolution, which is a living manual for constructing a revolutionary party today; the publication of a new Italian edition of Lenin’s Imperialism; and a new selected works of Trotsky in Spanish.
This year, our Spanish-language theoretical journal, In Defence of Marxism-América Socialista, also celebrates its first anniversary as a truly international journal in multiple languages. Its reception has been phenomenal, and it now sells over 4,000 copies per issue in the various languages into which it is translated.
Dozens of schools around the globe
Returning to the in-person work of the IMT: IMU22 was an incomparable event in terms of both the quality of the discussions and its global scope, but on top of this, throughout the whole year, national sections of the IMT have also hosted more and better-attended schools, camps, conferences and congresses than ever before.
Here is a flavour of what we’ve been up to.
In February, the year kicked off with 1,000 people attending the biggest-ever Montreal Marxist School, hosted by Fightback, the Canadian section of the IMT. This has become the biggest annual Marxist event in Canada and each year it continues to grow. (You can book your place at the Montreal Marxist School 2023 now – just click here.)
In the spring, many of the national sections of the IMT held important conferences and congresses that have spectacularly confirmed the growth, both quantitative and qualitative, across the IMT since the pandemic.
In March, hundreds attended the conference of Socialist Appeal in Britain. The enthusiasm and spirit of sacrifice running through the event was reflected in a magnificent collection, which has now reached £200,000, which along with the €825,000 collected at IMU22, will go towards purchasing Socialist Appeal and IMT offices in London for the first time.
A week later, over one hundred attended the national congress of Revolution, the Swedish section of the IMT. This was followed in early April by the largest-ever national congress of the Spanish section of the IMT, Lucha de Clases, with more than 50 comrades attending.
In May, 280 Marxists attended the congress of the Canadian Marxists, Fightback/La Riposte. Once again, this was the largest ever such congress by the section.
Later that month, the Mexican section of the IMT, La Izquierda Socialista, held its 20th national congress, with delegates coming from across the country including Sonora, Chihuahua, Hidalgo, the State of Mexico, Puebla, Veracruz, Querétaro, Mexico City, Oaxaca, Chiapas, Quintana Roo, Yucatán and Jalisco. The congress was preceded by an excellent open meeting of 30 people on Blood and Gold: The Spanish Conquest of the Americas.
A week later, the congress of the German section of the IMT brought together 90 comrades. Up from 40 attendees in 2019, this was a significant advance in the country that is key to the European revolution.
Meanwhile, over the summer, the Salvadoran section of the IMT, the Bloque Popular Juvenil, held a successful in-person congress, the first following a number of years in which COVID-19 made in-person gatherings impossible.
These are just a few of the congresses we reported on over the course of the year.
In the summer, alongside the preparations for IMU22, the IMT organised a series of successful national schools and camps. In June, the Austrian section organised its annual ‘Pfingst Seminar’, a four-day camp with 14 workshops in which over 170 comrades participated, making it the biggest ‘Pfingst Seminar’ ever. International visitors attended from Germany, Switzerland, Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Yugoslavia, Hungary and Britain.
A few weeks later, 80 comrades gathered for the first ever Marxist Student Federation Summer School in Britain. The talks on the theme ‘the life and ideas of Lenin’ are now online to watch.
Meanwhile, 100 comrades descended on Edmonton for the third annual Western Canadian Marxist School. Again, this was the biggest gathering of Marxists in the region in living memory.
And in early August, 400 attended the Progressive Youth Alliance (PYA) youth convention and rally in Kashmir against the horrors of capitalism. This tremendous success was followed by a Marxist Day School with over 200 students, workers and young people attending.
Everywhere these events show one thing: Marxism is on the rise once more. Under the banner of the IMT, Marxists are striving to build the forces to meet the world-historic challenge facing the working class.
The whole IMT emerged from IMU22 and these other political schools held over the summer electrified, politically sharper than ever, and ready to launch an autumn recruitment offensive. From August to October, with the return of students to schools and universities all over the world, our comrades threw themselves into the fray in a campaign bringing Marxist ideas to hundreds of campuses all over the globe.
Among a growing layer of the young generation, consciousness has leapfrogged not only the largely conservative labour and trade union bureaucracies, but even those Lefts who were a focal point for the radicalising mood in the past period.
It is clear that a growing advanced layer is seeking not merely socialist, but openly communist ideas. And it was towards this layer of young people that the IMT launched its autumn offensive, under the banner #CommunisOnCampus. And what a reception we received!
Britain: thousands respond to communist ideas
In a year that has seen three Prime Ministers and growing industrial unrest, the comrades of the Marxist Student Federation in Britain launched their biggest ever recruitment drive on campuses up and down the country. Throughout the months of September and October, more than 3,750 students signed up to Marxist Societies on over 50 campuses.
This was followed up by a series of 50 meetings, from Glasgow to Southampton, on one topic: ‘Why We Are Communists’. Over 1,000 students attended these meetings, at which hundreds of students expressed an interest in joining the IMT.
The autumn campaign was crowned with phenomenal success at Revolution Festival, a three-day festival of Marxist ideas, which drew together 700 attendees, including comrades from 14 countries, making it a truly international event.
‘Raising Hell’ in Pakistan
In Pakistan, the comrades of the IMT have been building against a backdrop of agonising suffering among the masses. The economic crisis is now reaching the proportions witnessed in Sri Lanka, whilst devastating floods having compounded the misery of the masses.
In the wake of the floods, the comrades organised protest and relief camps across the country. Thousands of signatures were collected for protest letters, culminating in a Day of Action organised by the Progressive Youth Alliance (PYA) on 2 November demanding universities waive fees for flood-affected students. Scandalously, comrades who spoke at this protest found themselves subjected to a legal proceedings, alleging incitement to rebellion.
This kind of harassment is a fact of daily life for Marxists in Pakistan. The more acute layers of the ruling class understand that the Marxists represent their most dangerous enemies: dangerous because of the ideas that we possess.
Yet the comrades overcame all obstacles this autumn and winter to launch a magnificent series of local PYA conventions in Rawalakot (Kashmir), Quetta (Baluchistan), Karachi, Lahore, Dera Ghazi Khan, Bahawalpur, Gujranwala, Islamabad, Hyderabad, Kashmore and Taunsa.
Unfortunately we have not been able to report on all of this magnificent work, but we were able to report on the convention in November in Kashmir, at which hundreds of students and workers attended.
All this was crowned with a phenomenal Central Youth Convention in Multan on 7 December, at which 700 comrades attended, including representatives from over 30 universities.
The slogan under which the conventions were held could not be more appropriate given the conditions that prevail today in Pakistan: ‘Halla Bol’, which means, ‘Raise Hell’. The day is surely coming fast when the oppressed masses of Pakistan will raise an almighty hell against a ruling class that is plunging the people daily into a pit of despair. The Marxists are preparing for that day.
Coast-to-coast successes in United States
In the United States, campuses reopened in August. In the ‘belly of the beast’ itself, Marxism is finding an open door to the youth. By early September, the comrades of Socialist Revolution, the US section of the IMT, had already signed up 1,500 people on 20 campuses to find out more about the IMT.
The US comrades’ recruitment offensive has been accompanied by coast-to-coast Marxist Schools, beginning in Phoenix in September, with 37 comrades attending for the weekend. This was followed in October with a weekend school in Minneapolis in the Midwest, which saw 70 attending; and later that month by a school in Atlanta, Georgia, with 22 comrades attending from across the South, where the forces of Marxism are beginning to tap into a rich seam of revolutionary potential.
In October, this was followed by a gathering of over 130 comrades in New York on the East coast, before the final Marxist School of the year all the way over on the West coast in Bellingham, Washington state, that attracted over 50 comrades – a first for the IMT in the Pacific Northwest region.
Class war in Canada
Heading north, Canada has shown us this year how quickly the class war can erupt in even the most outwardly ‘stable’ of capitalist nations. In November, the magnificent movement of education workers erupted like a thunderclap, at a certain point threatening to turn into an Ontario-wide general strike.
The Marxists in Canada were down at the picket lines every day that the dispute was running, whilst playing an important role in the CUPE rank-and-file committee. The active participation of the Marxists in the awakening labour movement has been made possible by years of patient work, building an important presence among the students. And this year, Socialist Fightback Students made strides forward, intervening on 15 campuses across the country, including for the first time at University of Calgary, University of British Columbia, and Université Laval.
We received an unprecedented reception for Marxist ideas this autumn, indicating the turning mood among the youth. Comrades signed up over 2,000 students in September alone. In Toronto, comrades signed up over 1,000 students at three universities, and 700 sign ups in Montreal. These were followed by meetings on all the campuses where the IMT is active that have regularly attracted 50-70 attendees.
The real ideas of socialism on the rise in Scandinavia
Remaining on the same line of latitude and heading across the Atlantic, we arrive in Scandinavia. The myth is often spun by social democrats that the Scandinavian countries represent a marvellous model of ‘socialism’. Were this the case, we would expect Marxists to find their propaganda and agitation falling on stony ground.
Yet the Swedish section of the IMT had its most successful recruitment drive ever this autumn. The contact details of over 400 people were left with the Marxists over a few days in Stockholm, Gothenburg, Umeå and beyond.
The crowning achievement of the Swedish section of the IMT’s success was the Marxism 2022 autumn school, which brought together 125 comrades from Umeå in the north to Malmö in the south, as well as participants from Norway and Finland.
Meanwhile, in Denmark, the IMT intervened in six universities in Copenhagen. One meeting alone on Marx and the Communist Manifesto attracted over 100 people, with 40 expressing an interest in joining the IMT. And it’s not just among university students that the IMT is finding an echo. The IMT also tabled at two schools, at one of which our comrade organised a successful climate strike of over 200 students.
These successes in turn were crowned with success at this year’s Revolution Festival, attended by over 110 comrades.
Major advances in the German and French-speaking world
The #CommunismOnCampus drive that we’ve reported on here has also highlighted the important strides that the IMT is making in the German-speaking world.
In Austria, comrades focused their campus interventions in Vienna, Graz and Innsbruck. The paper sales over this period – more than double those of the previous year – give an indication of the rapid advances we’ve made in the short time since the outbreak of the pandemic.
In Germany, the comrades intervened in universities in Würzburg, Rosenheim, Mainz, Bremen, Cologne, Jena, Marburg, Hamburg, and three universities in Berlin, culminating in a weekend-long Marxist school. With over 120 present, the Karl Marx Seminar was a landmark event. By comparison, the last in-person school held by Der Funke, the German section of the IMT, was held back in January 2020, and 50 people attended.
Meanwhile, in Switzerland, such has been the success of the IMT in penetrating the university campuses, that we even caught the attention of right-wing journalists, with one newspaper running an ‘exposé’ on “How radical Marxists are infiltrating the universities”. We, of course, thank them for the free publicity!
A successful autumn campaign in Switzerland was capped off with a German-language Marxist School in Bern, attended by 216 workers, school students and university students. Again, this was the biggest event ever hosted by the Swiss section of the IMT.
It was not, however, the only school hosted by our Swiss comrades, as it was followed up by an equally successful French-language school, jointly organised by the all Francophone sections of the IMT (Switzerland, France, Belgium and Canada).
This marvellous school was attended by a further 150 comrades in person, and another 30 attendees joining from Montreal via Zoom.
The school was a culmination of success of the #CommunismOnCampus campaign across the Francophone world. In France, comrades intervened energetically at Université Jean Jaurès and Université Capitole in Toulouse; Aix-Marseille Université in Marseille; Paul Valéry University in Montpellier; and Sciences Po and Université Paris Cité in Paris, among others, with stalls, flyers and a host of regular meetings under the banner Cercle Marxiste.
Italy: Marxists keep the red banner flying
In Italy too, we can look back on 2022 as a milestone year in building the forces of Marxism among the youth, the culmination of the year being the first ever national camp of Alziamo la Testa (ALT), the youth organisation of the Italian Marxists.
The weekend of rich political discussion brought together university and school students, and young workers from 26 cities. This came amidst a successful drive on campuses across the country, including the University of Milan, La Sapienza University in Rome and the University of Naples.
Everywhere the comrades found their slogan, “fight the Meloni government on the streets,” resonated deeply with the fighting mood among the student youth.
Whilst sectarians and reformists hailed the ascent of Meloni and the Brothers’ of Italy with the blackest pessimism – even talking about the victory of ‘fascism’ – the Marxists understood that this ‘victory by default’ on the part of the right masked the real mood among the masses: an anger and rejection of all the political parties.
Only the Marxists have confidently kept their red banner held high, a point that became conspicuous at this year’s march against violence towards women, at which the IMT alone raised political banners and slogans, for which they were subsequently attacked by the right and by a clique based on identity politics among the organisers.
Finally, this autumn, the IMT has raised its banner in a number of countries where we weren’t previously present.
In Ireland, comrades intervened in universities in the North and South; meanwhile, in Peru the IMT organised its first in-person meeting with international visitors from Mexico. Meanwhile, in 2022 the Colombian Marxists made the important step of establishing a newspaper, Colombia Marxista, as have the Taiwanese comrades, who this year published the first edition of New Youth.
With the full and enthusiastic support of the whole International behind them, we can expect great things from these new groups developing around the world.
Striving towards the working class
The young people are everywhere the first to reach revolutionary conclusions. But the aim of the Marxists is above all to sink roots among the advanced workers.
International Workers’ Day on 1 May remains an important point of reference for advanced workers everywhere. And every May Day, the comrades of the IMT in every corner of the globe form blocs at demonstration, organise day schools, and even take the lead in organising May Day rallies to celebrate International Workers' Day. This year was no different, with comrades present in hundreds of rallies around the world.
In the United States, where the tradition of May Day began in 1884 with the judicial murder of four revolutionaries, the comrades of the IMT hit the streets in 20 cities from coast to coast.
The IMT was present at May Day rallies all over the world, from Caracas, Valencia and Barquisimeto in Venezuela; to Warsaw in Poland; Moscow in Russia; Bana Luka in Bosnia, to Mexico City, Madrid, Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Athens and London.
In Venezuela, the IMT launched a successful series of five meetings on the revolutionary ideas of Marxism to span the week from May Day until Marx’s birthday on 5 May.
In some cities, like Zurich, Switzerland, the IMT bloc was among the biggest revolutionary blocs on the May Day march. In Spain, comrades intervened in nine cities across the country. In Sweden, more than 100 Marxists mobilised at demonstrations in Stockholm, Gothenburg, Umeå, Malmö, Karlstad, Uppsala, Halmstad, Växjö and Helsingborg.
In Austria, the Marxists participated in demonstrations in Vienna, Graz, Linz, Innsbruck and Vorarlberg, all-in-all mobilising in 12 rallies. In Germany, comrades of the IMT were present at the demonstrations and rallies in Berlin, Bremen, Hamburg, Cologne, Erfurt, Essen, Mainz, Marburg, Munich, Würzburg and other cities. In France, comrades intervened vigorously in four cities: Paris, Toulouse, Marseille and Lyon; with a presence in Strasbourg, Grenoble, Montpellier, Granville and Lavelanet.
In Italy, comrades intervened in big demonstrations on May Day itself, as well as the commemoration of the liberation from fascism on 25 April, selling over 800 copies of their paper Rivoluzione.
Meanwhile in Pakistan, through the Red Workers' Front, comrades organised an online rally with no less than 1,000 people present, whilst holding in-person meetings in Rawlakot, Kashmir; Wana, Waziristan; Bahawalpur and Gilgit.
Marxists shoulder-to-shoulder with workers in struggle
The latter part of this year has seen new peaks in inflation in most countries, and this galloping inflation is acting like a spur, forcing the workers into action. The only option left is to organise and strike back for higher pay.
And where our class is beginning to strike back, the IMT, with its programme, slogans and demands has been present in more and more of these struggles, side-by-side with the workers.
In Britain, where the government is walking a tightrope as industrial action spreads from sector to sector, Socialist Appeal comrades have been present in large numbers at the picket lines of striking dockers, university staff, postal workers, nurses, railway workers and Shelter charity staff,
In the United States, where we have seen a flurry of union drives on the one hand, and even government intervention to stave off a potentially crippling railway strike on the other, comrades of Socialist Revolution have been down at picket lines at Trader Joe’s, Starbucks, Amazon, academic staff, and Apple. You can read a full report of the US comrades’ interventions here.
As previously mentioned, the Canadian comrades of Fightback have been out in force at the CUPE picket lines as the strike threatened to turn into a head-on clash with the right-wing Ontario administration of Doug Ford. The comrades played an important role in the rank-and-file committee.
And it isn’t just on the industrial front that comrades have joined workers in struggle over the most diverse questions. In Pakistan in October, in the context of the Taliban’s return to power in Afghanistan, comrades of the IMT organised a mass meeting of hundreds under the banner ‘class struggle against terrorism’ in Pakhtoonkhwa. Meanwhile, in July, comrade Juan Glob in Spain was assaulted by police and arrested for his work as an organiser of Barrios Hartos, organising protests against electricity price hikes and power cuts. Hundreds of angry neighbourhood residents descended on the police station following his arrest.
Meanwhile, in Brazil, as active participants in the Occupied Factory Movement, comrades of the IMT celebrated the movement’s 20th anniversary this year. And in a year which saw an important election, the comrades of Esquerda Marxista (IMT Brazil) threw themselves into the election campaign with an independent Marxist banner, standing candidates on their own programme under the ticket of the left party, PSOL.
In the wake of that election, which saw the victory of Lula, with his bourgeois running-mate Alckmin, the PSOL leadership is repeating a past folly in preparing to enter the new government, which is in reality a government of national unity with the capitalist class. Today, Esquerda Marxista is standing against the stream in fighting for a principled position for class independence in PSOL.
These are only a few of the larger IMT interventions and events that we have been able to report upon here at marxist.com. On every continent, there have been many, many more than we could ever possibly record in a single article, not to mention thousands of public meetings, day schools and reading groups every day of the year.
What general conclusion can we draw from this mass of reports? One thing stands out. The forces of Marxism are growing everywhere, and they are growing under the banner of the IMT. The mood infusing our events and interventions is everywhere the same: one of optimism and a firmness of will – a fact that is the source of perplexity among our political opponents, including many so-called ‘Lefts’.
But a bit of thought ought to dispel that perplexity. Yes, the crisis of capitalism is casting a dark shadow over the world. It is eating away at the little crust of bread that the workers still possess; it is forcing workers to turn off the heating despite the extreme weather caused by climate change, as we see right now across North America; through imperialist wars it is killing hundreds of thousands and displacing millions.
These are the horrors that capitalism has stored up for us. As Trotsky wrote regarding the horrors of the dawning twentieth century, our present epoch seems to say: “Surrender, you pathetic dreamer. Here I am, your long awaited ‘future,’” But with Trotsky, we answer, “No: You, you are only the present.”
Beneath the surface a tremendous bitterness and anger is building up within the working class all over the world. The day is coming when it will burst to the surface and shake capitalism to its foundations. We have already seen its foreshocks: in Sri Lanka, Iran, and in growing industrial discontent in many other countries.
The IMT is already present in many of these struggles. And as we grow we expect to be present among many more, fighting alongside workers and winning many of the soldiers of the future world socialist revolution to our banner. Join us, and add your part to this difficult, yet necessary and infinitely rewarding work.