The Austrian Section of the RCIT (Revolutionary Communist Organization LIBERATION, RKO BEFREIUNG) will be running in the upcoming municipal elections of Vienna, Austria’s capital city, to be held on 11 October. We will be running in Favoriten, the city’s largest district with a population of 187,000 people (making it nearly as big as Linz, the third most populous city of Austria).

Favoriten is a traditional working class district. Its composition (officially, 42% of the population are migrants) reflects the multi-national character of the mass of the working class in Vienna.

In order to be allowed to run in the elections, our comrades had to collect a number of signatures of people who reside in this district. Naturally, there were a number of obstacles. Many migrants do not have Austrian citizenship and hence are not allowed to vote (the disenfranchised constitute nearly 1/3 of the entire population over the age of 16 in Favoriten!). In addition many persons, particularly migrants, fear going to municipal offices and signing in front of bureaucrats (which they must do in order for their signature to be recognized). Nevertheless the comrades of the Austrian RCIT-Section succeeded in collecting a sufficient number of signatures. We just slightly missed getting the necessary number of signatures for Floridsdorf too, the third largest district of the city with a population of 149,000.

The name of our list will be “RKO BEFREIUNG – Equal Rights for Muslims.” As we have reported in the past, Islamophobia has become a central issue in Austrian domestic politics. Anti-Muslim hatred is spread by right-wing populists (the Austrian FPÖ led by Strache, which is currently the leading party in the national polls) as well by fascists. While the latter have been a relatively small force until now, they recently tried to go more on the offensive, as we witnessed in the racist PEGIDA demonstration which was held on 2 February; however at that time they were seriously outnumbered by a massive counter-demonstration in which we played a key role. However Islamophobia is also exploited by the social-democratic/conservative coalition government which pushed through the so-called “Islam Law” in the spring of 2015, a law which discriminates against Islam relative to other religions.

The Austrian section of the RCIT has a long history of campaigning for migrant rights and solidarity with the Palestinian liberation struggle and the Arab Revolution. (See the numerous reports on our website and various videos on our YouTube channel https://www.youtube.com/user/RevolutionCommunism). As a result of our well-known and appreciated record, we were able to gain the support of militants and other groups among the migrant population and to further advance our good relations with these communities. The positive extent of these relations was reflected, for example, by the fact that, in the mass counter-demonstration against PEGIDA on 2 February, our comrade Michael Pröbsting was nominated by the Muslim migrant organizations to be one of their two speakers (See http://www.thecommunists.net/rcit/austria-mass-demo-against-islamophobia/).

Our campaign will be based around three main issues.

1) Equal rights for migrants! Equal rights for Muslims! Open borders for refugees! Equality for migrants in all legal matters! For the right of migrants to use their native language in Vienna’s public educational institutions and in the city’s administrative offices! Equal pay for equal work! Down with the racist “Islam Law”!

2) Solidarity with the Arab Revolution! US & EU: Out of the Middle East and North Africa! Freedom for Palestine! Solidarity with Gaza! No to Apartheid Israel! Victory for the Syrian revolution! Solidarity with the resistance against the military dictatorship in Egypt! No to war against Yemen! Freedom for Chechnya – No to the Russian occupation!

3) Wealth is theft! Expropriate the superrich! Place the banks and wealth in the hands of the working people! Cancel debts! End unemployment – For a program of public works under the control of the workers! Housing for all – Expropriate the housing speculators! For a minimum monthly wage of 1,700 Euro!

Naturally, as communists we have no illusions in the significance of bourgeois “democratic” elections, let alone municipal elections. The main purpose of our running in the electoral campaign is to spread our ideas among the working class migrant communities, to win new supporters for our struggle among them, and to advance and deepen our relations with these communities.

The past weeks of electoral campaigning have already witnessed a number of interesting developments. Migrants have traditionally voted in their majority for the social-democrat party (SPÖ) – social democrats having controlled Vienna’s municipal government since 1918 (except for the years of fascist rule, 1934-45). However, given the support SPÖ gave to the reactionary Islam Law and the entire racist policy of the Austrian state, more and more migrants are now turning away from the reformists. According to recent opinion polls, the SPÖ is about to lose a large chunk of their electoral support (dropping from 44% to 35%).

Consistent with this development has been the formation of a new migrant list called “Together for Vienna.” The initiators of this list are a group of Turkish Muslim forces. They invited the RKO BEFREIUNG to participate in their list. They also invited us to a meeting of 65-70 Muslim community leaders in which comrade Pröbsting was asked to deliver a speech (see http://www.rkob.net/wer-wir-sind-1/rkob-aktiv-bei/vereinstreffen-2015). While the leaders of “Together for Vienna” initially agreed to our conditions and even offered us a prominent place in their list of candidates, the negotiations ultimately broke down because a significant section in this heterogeneous list rejected our demand for freedom of propaganda for our candidates. In addition, this list failed to integrate a number of active migrant organizations. Thus, we decided to run on our own.

We look forward to an intense period of electoral campaigning and hope that this will afford us numerous opportunities to share our ideas with working class and migrant people!

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About RCIT Britain

What the RCIT stands for Revolutionary Communist International Tendency (RCIT) The Revolutionary Communist International Tendency (RCIT)is a revolutionary combat organisation fighting for the liberation of the working class and all oppressed. It has national sections in a number of countries. The working class is composed of all those (and their families) who are forced to sell their labor power as wage earners to the capitalists. The RCIT stands on the theory and practice of the revolutionary workers’ movement associated with the names of Marx, Engels, Lenin, and Trotsky. Capitalism endangers our lives and the future of humanity. Unemployment, war, environmental disasters, hunger, and exploitation are all part of everyday life under capitalism as are the imperialistic oppression of nations, the national oppression of migrants, and the oppression of women, young people, and homosexuals. Therefore, we want to eliminate capitalism. The liberation of the working class and all oppressed is possible only in a classless society without exploitation and oppression. Such a society can only be established internationally. Therefore, the RCIT is fighting for a socialist revolution at home and around the world. This revolution must be carried out and lead by the working class, for only this class has the collective power to bring down the ruling class and build a socialist society. The revolution cannot proceed peacefully because a ruling class never has nor ever will voluntarily surrender its power. By necessity, therefore, the road to liberation includes armed rebellion and civil war against the capitalists. The RCIT is fighting for the establishment of workers’ and peasants’ republics, where the oppressed organize themselves in councils democratically elected in rank-and-file meetings in factories, neighbourhoods, and schools. These councils, in turn, elect and control the government and all other statue authorities, and always retain the right to recall them. Authentic socialism and communism have nothing to do with the so-called “socialism” that ruled in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, and which continues to do so in China and Cuba, for example. In these countries, the proletariat was and is dominated and oppressed by a privileged party bureaucracy. Under capitalism, the RCIT supports all efforts to improve the living conditions of the workers and oppressed, while simultaneously striving to overthrow this system based on economic exploitation of the masses. Towards these ends, we work from within the trade unions where we advocate class struggle, socialism, and workers’ democracy. But trade unions and social democracy are controlled by a bureaucracy perniciously connected with the state and capital via status, high-paying jobs, and other privileges. Thus, the trade union bureaucracy is far from the interests and living conditions of its members, based as it is on the top, privileged layers of the working class – a labor aristocracy which has no real interest in replacing capitalism. Therefore, the true struggle for the liberation of the working class, the toppling of capitalism and the establishment of socialism, must be based on the broad mass of the proletariat rather than their “representative” from the upper trade union strata. We also fight for the expropriation of the big land owners as well as for the nationalisation of the land and its distribution to the poor and landless peasants. Towards this goal we struggle for the independent organisation of the rural workers. We support national liberation movements against oppression. We also support the anti-imperialist struggles of oppressed peoples against the great powers. Within these movements we advocate a revolutionary leadership as an alternative to nationalist or reformist forces. While the RCIT strives for unity of action with other organizations, we are acutely aware that the policies of social democrats and pseudo-revolutionary groups are dangerous, and ultimately represent an obstacle to the emancipation of the working class, peasants, and the otherwise oppressed. In wars between imperialist states we take a revolutionary defeatist position: we do not support either side, but rather advocate the transformation of the war into a civil war against the ruling class in each of the warring states. In wars between imperialist powers (or their stooges) and a semi-colonial countries we stand for the defeat of the former and the victory of the oppressed countries. As communists, we maintain that the struggle against national oppression and all types of social oppression (women, youth, sexual minorities etc.) must be lead by the working class, because only the latter is capable of fomenting a revolutionarily change in society . Therefore, we consistently support working class-based revolutionary movements of the socially oppressed, while opposing the leadership of petty-bourgeois forces (feminism, nationalism, Islamism, etc.), who ultimately dance to the tune of the capitalists, and strive to replace them with revolutionary communist leadership. Only with a revolutionary party fighting as its leadership can the working class be victorious in its struggle for liberation. The establishment of such a party and the execution of a successful revolution, as it was demonstrated by the Bolsheviks in Russia under Lenin and Trotsky remain the models for revolutionary parties and revolutions in the 21st century. For new, revolutionary workers' parties in all countries! For a 5th Workers International to be founded on a revolutionary program! Join the RCIT! No future without socialism! No socialism without revolution! No revolution without a revolutionary party!
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