deutsch |  english |  español  |  français  |  italiano  |  nederlands  |  polski  |  português  |  svenska  |  türkçe  |  中文  |  عربي  |  русский

latest news

Ireland North
Martin McGuinness - from IRA leader to Stormont minister

29/03/2017: The IRA campaign, the ‘peace process’ and the working class

  Ireland North

Greece
H&M workers score victory against management plans

28/03/2017: Despite very difficult times, struggle can bring results

  Greece

 Solidarity
#JobstownNotGuilty international day of action a huge success

28/03/2017: Over 30 protests around the world and 88 MPs/MEPs pledge support

  Solidarity

Russia/Belarus
A week-end of mass protests

27/03/2017: New spring of protest opens up, as 1,000s arrested

  Russia

Hong Kong
Creeping “coup” by Chinese dictatorship

27/03/2017: Defend the four Hong Kong legislators

  Hong Kong

Britain
Terror attack at Westminster

24/03/2017: Unite against terror, racism and war

  Britain

Italy
Democratic Party splits and 5-Star Movement in crisis

22/03/2017: Class struggle can build real left force

  Italy

Spain
Student strike empties classes and fills streets on 9 March

21/03/2017: Over 100,000 take to the streets in SE demonstrations

  Spain

Scotland
Second referendum on independence?

18/03/2017: SNP fire the starting gun but offer no solutions to austerity

  Scotland

Brazil
National day of strikes and protests shows Temer can be beaten

17/03/2017: For a one-day general strike as the next step

  Brazil

South Africa
Unity against poverty, crime and xenophobia

17/03/2017: Capitalist politicians use xenophobia to divert attention from failures of profit system

  South Africa

Netherlands
Election result a colossal defeat for austerity government

16/03/2017: Oppose Wilders and the ‘mainstream’ right – Build a mass workers’ party that struggles for socialism

  Netherlands

Yemen
Workers and their families left to starve by multi-billionaire companies

16/03/2017: International campaign needed to force companies to pay

  Yemen

Hong Kong
Protest against LSG Sky Chefs dismissal of union chairman

14/03/2017: Ng Chi-Fai sacked for organising union by multinational’s Hong Kong division – international solidarity needed

  Hong Kong

Ireland North
Snap election raises sectarian temperature    

14/03/2017: Workers need strong socialist alternative at ballot box and in unions

  Ireland North

Quebec
Counter protest against far-right

13/03/2017: Rise of Islamophobia and right-wing reaction poses new challenges to the left

  Quebec

 International Women's Day
Speech by Kshama Sawant

12/03/2017: Video of 8 March rally in Seattle

  Women

 International Women’s Day
Millions join marches and take action

10/03/2017: Socialists around the world demand an end to women’s oppression

  Women

 Hong Kong
Women’s march against sexism and racism

09/03/2017: International Women’s Day: “Solidarity with global mass protests and women’s strikes”

  Women

 Spain
Hundreds of thousands participate in International Women’s day student strike

08/03/2017: ‘Libres y Combativas’ and Sindicato de Estudiantes call strike against sexist violence and for working class women's rights

  Women

Pakistan
Political spectacle of the ruling class

08/03/2017: Most workers underemployed, 40% in poverty - situation demands new workers’ party

  Pakistan

 International Women’s Day 2017
A century on from the Russian Revolution

06/03/2017: Demonstrations world-wide swelled by anti-Trump anger

  Women

Britain
Massive demo shows battle to save the NHS can be won

06/03/2017: Up to 250,000 march in national protest, organised from below

  Britain

Egypt
Price hikes hit workers and middle classes

04/03/2017: Falling support for dictator Sisi portends growing opposition

  Egypt

Hong Kong’s sham election

03/03/2017: Pan-democrats sink to new low by supporting “lesser evil” John Tsang

  Hong Kong

US
Socialist response to Trump’s address to joint session of congress

02/03/2017: Kshama Sawant, Socialist Alternative councillor, speaks

  US

Sweden
“Who could believe it?"

24/02/2017: What is behind Trump's attack?

  Sweden

Britain/Ireland
Dublin's #JobstownNotGuilty

23/02/2017: Defend the right to protest - stop this political vendetta!

  Ireland Republic

Ireland
A web of intrigue sparks government crisis

22/02/2017: Smear campaign against a prominent police whistleblower

  Ireland Republic

February revolution 1917
What lessons for today?

21/02/2017: 23 February 1917 (8 March in today’s calendar) marked the beginning of the socialist revolution in Russia, which sparked a revolutionary wave that would travel around the world.

  Russian Revolution

South Africa

General strike against privatisation

www.socialistworld.net, 29/08/2001
website of the committee for a workers' international, CWI

The struggle against privatisation in SA has entered a qualitatively new stage. At the end of August Cosatu will be holding a two-day general strike to protest against the government’s plan to privatise the Electricity Supply Commission (ESKOM).

Weizmann Hamilton, CWI South Africa

This is a development of enormous political significance. Although the general strike is in protest against the privatisation of Eskom, it is in fact a protest against the government’s entire privatisation programme. Privatisation is the nuclear warhead of the neo-liberal arsenal the government has been using in its war against the working class over the past 5 years. In that sense the general strike is a protest against the government’s macro-economic strategy known as the Growth Employment and Redistribution strategy (Gear).

Gear has devastated the lives of the SA working class. Introduced to replace the mildly reformist Reconstruction and Development Programme, Gear’s aim was to bring SA macro-economic policy in line with the prevailing neo-liberal Washington consensus: to slash government expensiture in pursuit of a zero-deficit budget by 2002, downsize the publc sector, lower wages and undermine conditions, outsource and privatise. The lowering of tariff barriers by the Minstry of Trade and Industry (headed by a central committee member of the South African Communist Party as are all the ministries key to the implementation of the various aspects of Gear) has resulted in the loss of a million jobs in the clothing, textile and leather indutries alone since 1990.

After coming to power in 1994, the ANC not only continued the social and economic war waged on the working class by the Apartheid regime, but intenified it. Tariff barriers have been lowered at a rate faster than that demanded by the World Trade Organisation. Far from attracting foreign investment, it has led to a flight of capital with 5 of the top ten companies on the Johannesburg Securities Exchange relocating their head offices overseas.To maintain the limit on public spending in the health sector, the government has refused to supply free drugs to Aids sufferers despite the fact that SA has the highest number of HIV/AIDS sufferers in the world.

The result is that SA is competing with Brazil for the position of the most unequal society in the world. Unemployment is estimated at between 6 - 8 million, more than 40% of the economically active populaton. 57% live below the poverty line with 18 million people earning less than R350 (less than 35 pounds) per month when the minimum living level for a low income family of five is very coservatively estimated at R1 400 (under 14 pounds) a month.

The significance of the general strike is further heightened by the fact that through the proposed privatisation of Eskom the govermment is planning to give their privatisation programme a real lift off. The privatisation that has taken place so far – mainly in local government – is small beer compared to what they are planning this year and the potential bonanza they are anticipating from the proceeds of the sale. Eskom’s privatisation is part of a package including also the telecommunication (Telkom), arms procurement (Armscor) and transport (Transnet) parastatals. Big business at home and abroad have been happy with Mbeki’s public pledge as a defender of the neo-liberal faith. But they want to know now is where is the beef?

This is the first two-day general strike since the ANC came to power. Far more explicitly than the one day general strike against job losses last year, this action is directed againt the ANC government. Cosatu is part of what the media misleadingly describe as the "ruling" Tripartite Alliance. Cosatu may be part of the Alliance but it is certainly not ruling. Its role is to police the working class securing acquiesence to the policies of its "senior" Alliance partner, theANC. All the Cosatu leadership have been demanding so far is to be consulted about privatisation, not to oppose it in principle. Pressure from below has made it impossible for them to continue to act as a political rubberstamp for anti-working class policies.

The turning point was when the ANC national executive committee publicly rejected Cosatu’s demands for a moratorium on privatisation and gave their unqualified backing to the government’s plans. It was no longer possible for the Cosatu leadership to hide behind nonsensical explanations that the problems lay with individual ministers or the ANC as a government and not the ANC as a political party.

The Cosatu leadership found themselves caught between their public humiliation by the ANC from the top and the burning anger of the working class from below. The working class is experiencing the consequences of privatisation through the bitter reality of everyday life. As part of Eskom’s preparation for privatisation, the goverment has instituted a policy of "cost recovery". People who cannot pay their tariffs are cut off. Where people responded by illegally reconnecting, the cables connecting them to the grid are physically removed and metres ripped from the walls of their homes. Pensioners on the government’s pittance of R570 (less than 57 pounds) a month have their electricity cut off days before pension payout day with demands for reconnection fees of upto R1 500 (150 pounds)!

Homes are being sold to recover arrears, furniture is being sold in public auctions to enforce the policy of cost recovery. This policy is being applied ruthlessly and indiscriminately and backed up by private armed security who have already shot at people killing two known so far for attempting to resist. The privatisation of water, in particular the merciless application of the "cost recovery" policy, has resulted in water-cut offs.

In a rural area in Kwa Zulu Natal last year, a subsidised water supply in place since before the end of apartheid was summarily terminated with a demand by the government for a R51 reconnection fee. Only one thrid of the population in the area could afford it. The remainder went to dams and rivers. The result? The biggest cholera epidemic in the country’s history – 105 000 infections which has so far claimed the lives of 220 people. The anger of the working class is based on this experience not some abstract "ideology" as the government so insultingly suggests.

Privatisation has also been accompanied like a shadow by corruption. In particular the government’s "black economic empowerment" stratetgy – the enrichment of a rich minority of aspirant capitalists in the name of the black majority – has seen ugly confrontatioins as the differernt empowerment companies struggle like pigs for a place to put their noses in the public trough.

The strike wave that is currrently sweeping through the country is an expression of a volcano that is coming to life. The lava spewing out will leave the political landcscape changed forever. The Tripartite Alliance may survive – a meeting has been called before the general strike to repair relations – as a cosy agreement between the leadership at the top. But at the bottom it is finished. In time the Cosatu leadership will have to break from the Alliance or risk splitting Cosatu itself.

The DSM’s call for a campaign of mass non-payment in the Anti-Privatisation Forum – a coalition of community and left political organisations based mainly in Gauteng at this stage but planning to spread nationally – has been accepted. The APF’s Soweto affiliate, the Soweto Electricity Crisis Committee led by former ANC councillor Trevor Ngwane expelled for public opposing the ANC’s local government privatisation programme, is organising a rally in Soweto to launch the service payment boycott campaign this weekend. The APF is coordinating illegal reconnections called Operation Khanyisa (Zulu for "light up"). It has successfully begun to place the de facto mass non-payment driven mainly by an inability to pay, on an organised conscious footing based on a refusal to pay.

The DSM will be on the platform. We will be calling for suport for Cosatu’s action and to call upon Cosatu to break form the Alliance and to pepear to form a mass workers party on a socialist programme.



Europe

 video

Video: US Socialist Students build for student walkouts against Trump, 15/12/2016

 further videos

CWI - get involved


solidarity

tamil solidarity campaign kazakhstan

featured links

Socialist Party Ireland

cwi links

Marxist.net, CWI marxist archive

cwi comment & analysis

world economic crisis

analysis and commentary


cwi publications

marxism in today's world che

Che Guevara: Símbolo de Lucha

Por Tony Saunois

A socialist world is possible, the history of the cwi with new introduction by Peter Planning green growth, a contribution to the debate on enviromental sustainability

NEWS

Greece: H&M workers score victory against management plans
28/03/2017, Statement (slightly edited) by Xekinima (CWI Greece):
Despite very difficult times, struggle can bring results

Solidarity: #JobstownNotGuilty international day of action a huge success
28/03/2017, socialistworld.net :
Over 30 protests around the world and 88 MPs/MEPs pledge support

Russia/Belarus: A week-end of mass protests
27/03/2017, Socialist Alternative (CWI Russia) Reporters:
New spring of protest opens up, as 1,000s arrested

Hong Kong: Creeping “coup” by Chinese dictatorship
27/03/2017, Dikang, Socialist Action (CWI in Hong Kong) :
Defend the four Hong Kong legislators

Britain: Terror attack at Westminster
24/03/2017, Judy Beishon, from the Socialist Party (CWI England & Wales) website :
Unite against terror, racism and war

Belarus: Protesters flood onto streets demanding scrapping of “law against parasites”
21/03/2017, Daniil Raskolnikov (translation of article from the Russian CWI site www.socialist.news):
President Lukashenko must go!

Spain: Student strike empties classes and fills streets on 9 March
21/03/2017, Sindicato de Estudiantes (SE), Spanish Students' Union :
Over 100,000 take to the streets in SE demonstrations

Scotland: Second referendum on independence?
18/03/2017, Philip Stott, Socialist Party Scotland (CWI) :
SNP fire the starting gun but offer no solutions to austerity

South Africa: Unity against poverty, crime and xenophobia
17/03/2017, Shaun Arendse, Workers and Socialist Party (CWI South Africa):
Capitalist politicians use xenophobia to divert attention from failures of profit system

International Women’s Day: March in Malaysia and week of activity in Belgium
16/03/2017, socialistworld.net :
Reports from Kuala Lumpur and Brussels

Netherlands: Election result a colossal defeat for austerity government
16/03/2017, Pieter Brans, Socialist Alternative (CWI in Netherlands), Amsterdam:
Oppose Wilders and the ‘mainstream’ right – Build a mass workers’ party that struggles for socialism

Russian Revolution: March 1917 - After the fall of Czarism, what next for the revolution?
16/03/2017, socialistworld.net:
New article on 1917revolution.org

Hong Kong: Protest against LSG Sky Chefs dismissal of union chairman
14/03/2017, Sally Tang Mei-ching, Socialist Action (CWI in Hong Kong) :
Ng Chi-Fai sacked for organising union by multinational’s Hong Kong division – international solidarity needed

Quebec: Counter protest against far-right
13/03/2017, Michele Hehn, Alternative Socialiste (CWI in Quebec) :
Rise of Islamophobia and right-wing reaction poses new challenges to the left

International Women's Day: Speech by Kshama Sawant
12/03/2017, Socialistworld.net :
Video of 8 March rally in Seattle

International Women’s Day: Millions join marches and take action
10/03/2017, Clare Doyle, CWI:
Socialists around the world demand an end to women’s oppression

Hong Kong: Women’s march against sexism and racism
09/03/2017, Socialist Action (CWI in Hong Kong) reporters:
International Women’s Day: “Solidarity with global mass protests and women’s strikes”

Spain: Hundreds of thousands participate in International Women’s day student strike
08/03/2017, Sindicato de Estudiantes, students’ union in the Spanish state :
‘Libres y Combativas’ and Sindicato de Estudiantes call strike against sexist violence and for working class women's rights

Pakistan: Political spectacle of the ruling class
08/03/2017, Tariq Shahzad, National Organiser of IYWM (International Youth and Workers Movement) :
Most workers underemployed, 40% in poverty - situation demands new workers’ party

Britain: Massive demo shows battle to save the NHS can be won
06/03/2017, Hannah Sell, Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales) deputy general secretary :
Up to 250,000 march in national protest, organised from below

Egypt: Price hikes hit workers and middle classes
04/03/2017, David Johnson, Socialist Party (CWI England & Wales) :
Falling support for dictator Sisi portends growing opposition

Hong Kong’s sham election
03/03/2017, Dikang, Socialist Action:
Pan-democrats sink to new low by supporting “lesser evil” John Tsang

US: Socialist response to Trump’s address to joint session of congress
02/03/2017, socialistworld.net:
Kshama Sawant, Socialist Alternative councillor, speaks

Catalonia: Historic demonstration in Barcelona in support of refugees
25/02/2017, Esquerra Revolucionària :
'Volem acollir'

Sweden: “Who could believe it?"

24/02/2017, Per-Åke Westerlund, Rättvisepartiet Socialisterna (CWI Sweden):
What is behind Trump's attack?

CWI Comment and Analysis

ANALYSIS

Ireland North: Martin McGuinness - from IRA leader to Stormont minister
29/03/2017, Michael Cleary, Socialist Party (CWI Ireland), Belfast :
The IRA campaign, the ‘peace process’ and the working class

Italy: Democratic Party splits and 5-Star Movement in crisis
22/03/2017, Marco Veruggio, ControCorrrente, (CWI in Italy) :
Class struggle can build real left force

Brazil: National day of strikes and protests shows Temer can be beaten


17/03/2017, André Ferrari LSR (CWI in Brazil) :
For a one-day general strike as the next step

Yemen: Workers and their families left to starve by multi-billionaire companies
16/03/2017, Cedric Gerome, CWI :
International campaign needed to force companies to pay

Ireland North: Snap election raises sectarian temperature    
14/03/2017, Daniel Waldron, Socialist Party (CWI Ireland), Belfast :
Workers need strong socialist alternative at ballot box and in unions

International Women’s Day 2017: A century on from the Russian Revolution
06/03/2017, Clare Doyle, CWI :
Demonstrations world-wide swelled by anti-Trump anger

February revolution 1917: What lessons for today?
21/02/2017, Peter Taaffe, Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales), printed in the Socialist (paper of the Socialist Party):
23 February 1917 (8 March in today’s calendar) marked the beginning of the socialist revolution in Russia, which sparked a revolutionary wave that would travel around the world.

India: Upheaval in Tamil Nadu
09/02/2017, Sajith Attepuram, New Socialist Alternative (NSA) (CWI India) :
Corruption, nepotism, and other crimes of ruling party exposed

Britain: Universal basic income demand gains ground
08/02/2017, Judy Beishon, from The Socialist (weekly newspaper of the Socialist Party – CWI England & Wales) :
What approach should socialists take?

CWI and Izquierda Revolucionaria – Towards unification
06/02/2017, Socialistworld.net :
Joint declaration of the CWI’s IEC and Izquierda Revolucionaria’s IEC

France: After Sarkozy, Juppé and Valls, now Fillon is on the way out
06/02/2017, Alex Rouillard, Gauche Révolutionnaire (CWI in France) :
Space opening up to left of Socialist Party

Syria: Is an end to the war in sight?
03/02/2017, Serge Jordan (CWI) :
New movements for change will need to arm themselves with the lessons of the Syrian tragedy

Sri Lanka: The year 2017
31/01/2017, Siritunga Jayasuriya, United Socialist Party (CWI in Sri Lanka) :
Between oppression and struggle

Canada: Where are Trudeau’s ‘Sunny Ways’?
31/01/2017, Tim Heffernan, Socialist Alternative (CWI Canada), Toronto

:
Battles of Indigenous peoples, youth, workers will test Liberal government

Russian Revolution Centenary: January 1917 - On the eve of revolution
29/01/2017, Niall Mulholland, from 1917revolution.org :
War, hunger, hated Tsarist regime: class tensions reach breaking point

Afghanistan: The limits of US power
28/01/2017, Judy Beishon, from Socialism Today (February 2017 issue), monthly magazine of the Socialist Party (CWI England & Wales)<br />
<br />
:
Imperialism’s 15-year adventure a bloody catastrophe for millions

US: Build 100 days of resistance to Trump’s agenda!
27/01/2017, Bryan Koulouris, Socialist Alternative, US :
Establishment deeply divided as mass resistance explodes

Millions on women's marches around the world
25/01/2017, Editorial from the Socialist, paper of the Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales) and reports from US marches :
Reports from mass women's marches against Trump

China: New US President’s approach to China
21/01/2017, Vincent Kolo, chinaworker.info :
Outbursts raise fears of confrontation

Ireland North: Snap elections called to Stormont Assembly
17/01/2017, Daniel Waldron, Socialist Party (CWI Ireland), Belfast :
Build a socialist alternative to the ‘Orange’ versus ‘Green’ headcount

Spain: What kind of Podemos do workers and youth need?
17/01/2017, Izquierda Revolucionaria, Spanish state, editorial :
Debate within leadership touches on fundamental issues for future of party

US: Trump prepares vicious attacks
05/01/2017, Philip Locker and Tom Crean, Socialist Alternative (US):
Mass resistance needed!

Russian Revolution centenary
02/01/2017, Editorial from Socialism Today, Dec/Jan 2017 edition:
Defending the legacy in a new era

2017:Upheaval and fightback will continue
01/01/2017, Peter Taaffe, Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales) general secretary :
Everything to play for in 2017

Britain's shifting political contours
22/12/2016, Hannah Sell, Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales) from Socialism Today Dec/Jan 2017 edition :
Capitalist establishment in disarray