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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

 Yemen
International protests in support of TOTAL/G4S workers

20/02/2017: Solidarity spreads for victims of wage robbery and killing by multinational corporations

  Solidarity, Yemen

Netherlands
Anti-immigrant Freedom Party leading polls ahead of general elections

18/02/2017: Only a choice between the “regular” and far-right?

  Netherlands

Britain
Council cuts can be fought - and they must be

16/02/2017: Corbyn needs to stand up to Brexit rebels

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Spain
Pablo Iglesias wins clear victory in Podemos congress

15/02/2017: Time to build the class struggle on the streets

  Spain

US
A socialist strategy to defeat Trump

14/02/2017: Escalate the resistance toward shutdowns on March 8 and May 1!

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Scotland
Greens back SNP government austerity budget

13/02/2017: TUSC council elections candidates put forward 100% anti-austerity programme

  Scotland

India
Upheaval in Tamil Nadu

09/02/2017: Corruption, nepotism, and other crimes of ruling party exposed

  India

Britain
Universal basic income demand gains ground

08/02/2017: What approach should socialists take?

  Britain

Yemen
Workers protest at parliament against TOTAL and G4S

07/02/2017: Security workers demand wages and arrest of colleagues’ killers

  Yemen

CWI and Izquierda Revolucionaria – Towards unification

06/02/2017: Joint declaration of the CWI’s IEC and Izquierda Revolucionaria’s IEC

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France
After Sarkozy, Juppé and Valls, now Fillon is on the way out

06/02/2017: Space opening up to left of Socialist Party

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Romania
Biggest street protests since 1989

04/02/2017: What position should the left take?

  Romania

Syria
Is an end to the war in sight?

03/02/2017: New movements for change will need to arm themselves with the lessons of the Syrian tragedy

  Syria

Quebec
Terrorist Attack in Québec City

01/02/2017: Counter terrorism and hate with solidarity

  Quebec

 CWI
9th Latin American school a success

31/01/2017: Over 200 participate in Sao Paolo CWI continental gathering

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Sri Lanka
The year 2017

31/01/2017: Between oppression and struggle

  Sri Lanka

Canada
Where are Trudeau’s ‘Sunny Ways’?

31/01/2017: Battles of Indigenous peoples, youth, workers will test Liberal government

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US
Airport protests help block Trump travel ban

30/01/2017: Defend immigrant communities

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Russian Revolution Centenary
January 1917 - On the eve of revolution

29/01/2017: War, hunger, hated Tsarist regime: class tensions reach breaking point

  Russian Revolution

China
CWI member Hu Xufang forced to flee

28/01/2017: Xu and his family are victims of China’s deepening police crackdown

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Afghanistan
The limits of US power

28/01/2017: Imperialism’s 15-year adventure a bloody catastrophe for millions

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US
Build 100 days of resistance to Trump’s agenda!

27/01/2017: Establishment deeply divided as mass resistance explodes

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Russia
Duma legislates to decriminalise domestic violence

26/01/2017: For unified struggle for women’s rights and against capitalism

  Russia

Tamil Nadu
Mass protests against state repression

26/01/2017: Support the right to assemble and protest - release those arrested immediately!

  India

Millions on women's marches around the world

25/01/2017: Reports from mass women's marches against Trump

  US

Bangladesh
Hartal protest against power plant

25/01/2017: Follows mass strike of garment workers in December

  Bangladesh

Côte d’Ivoire
Social revolts shake Ouattara regime

24/01/2017: Public sector strike and soldiers’ mutiny expose reality behind “economic growth”

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Taiwan
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24/01/2017: Island risks being pawn in his game

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US
CWI joins protests around the world against Trump

23/01/2017: Photo gallery selection of CWI actions during weekend of mass protests

  US

US
Kshama Sawant responds to Trump inauguration speech

23/01/2017: Socialist council member speaks

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South Africa

Cosatu call two day general strike as SAMWU’S mass action breathes life into anti-privatisation campaign.

www.socialistworld.net, 23/07/2002
website of the committee for a workers' international, CWI

Cosatu’s announcement yesterday that it has lifted the suspension on the anti-privatisation programme and will be calling a two-day general strike on the 1st and 2nd October, is a direct result of the impact of the Samwu strike. In effect Samwu has smashed its fist through the paper concealing the cracks in the Tripartite Alliance.

Weizmann Hamilton, Democratic Socialist Movement, South Africa, 23 July 2002

Cosatu call two day general strike as …

SAMWU’S mass action breathes life into anti-privatisation campaign.

Samwu’s titanic three-week wage strike – the longest and most bitter since the ANC came to power involving marches demonstrations and occupations -- ended on 19th July in a compromise agreement with a narrow majority in favour. It provides for a differentiated increase of 9% for those below R3 200 a month and 8% for those above plus a new minimum of R2 100 (up from R1 900). The agreement was rejected by the four (out of nine) provinces where the major cities are located: Gauteng (Johannesburg), Western Cape (Cape Town) and Kwa Zulu Natal (Durban) as well as the traditionally militant Eastern Cape. Even though Samwu did not achieve its original demand of 10% and a minimum monthly wage of R2 200, this was nevertheless a partial victory.

The agreement was inadequate. Inflation has just reached 9.8% turning the deal into a cut in real terms, aggravated by 14% food inflation and the extension of the deal over three years. Despite this it was still seen as significant achievement. This was because the employer body Salga (South African Local Government Association) had been forced to eat their arrogant words and prevented from unilaterally imposing the 8% "final offer" agreed with the traditionally conservative white-led Imatu. By preventing Salga from extending the government’s public sector unilateralism into local government, Samwu has won a victory for the entire labour movement.

Samwu enjoyed enormous sympathy during the strike despite reservations about the damage to property that occurred. Even the tactic of trashing the streets was seen as legitimate. One of the main factors in the support for Samwu, was the conduct of Salga and the revelations of the outrageous packages senior managers awarded themselves.

In a statement of breathtaking arrogance, the Salga CEO said they could not meet Samwu’s demand because this is South Africa not Switzerland! Yet the salaries they are paying themselves are precisely at Switzerland levels.

Top municipal managers earn up to 40 times as much as workers. In the North West province capital of Mafikeng, heads of department awarded themselves increases of more than 100% from R150 000 to R320 000 per year! The Cape The Cape Town City manager earns nearly R1 million a year. The worst example of these officials behaving like pigs with their snouts in the public trough looted the state with uncontrollable greed are to be found in the tiny town of Oklahamba (Bergville Kwa Zulu Natal). It has an income of just R2.1 million per year. Yet it spends R1.35 million on salaries for councilors and its top three officials - over half the budget! The municipal manager receives R404 000 a year.

These salaries confirm that top managers are on a looting spree. They also completely undermine the principle of closing the apartheid wage gap. For black managers, the wage gap was unacceptable only because white managers benefited alone. Now that they too can be enriched, they share the same class hostility to workers’ demands for decent wages by workers.

Much more important than the concession wrung from Salga, however, is the impact the strike has had on broader society. The fact that even a partial victory was achieved through struggle has been an enormous boost to the morale and confidence of not only Samwu workers but all workers. Although called over wages, and not against privatisation, the issue forced itself onto the agenda because the link between government policy of limiting public sector wages and its neo-liberal policies are clear for all to see. The strike has raised consciousness of the sharp class polarisation occurring within society. Most significantly it has exposed the futility of the hope that the truce called in the Tripartite Alliance after last August’s two-day anti-privatisation general strike would produce a negotiated end to the government’s neo-liberal economic policies (known as Gear – Growth Employment and Redistribution).

Mbeki’s condemnation of the Samwu strike further undermined the credibility of the April Tripartite Alliance accord that led to the suspension of the campaign of rolling mass action and quarterly general strikes that were to have followed the August 2001 general strike against privatisation and Gear.

State Violence

The strike claimed the lives of three workers, one of them shot through the head by the Head of Human Resources at the Louis Trichard municipality in the Limpopo Province. (the cause of the other deaths is still under investigation).

A highly significant feature of the strike has been the role of the state. In several parts of the country the police and the courts intervened to attack, undermine and intimidate strikers.

Workers were shot at with rubber bullets, birdshot and live ammunition in Queenstown, Paarl, Johannesburg and Louis Trichard, harassed in the Free State and prevented from marching in Cape Town by a massive police presence.

The courts have had no hesitation in agreeing to employer appeals to take away the right to strike and demonstrate – rights that are fundamental under a constitution that the government boasts is the best in the world. The Cape Town march was banned under an old apartheid law that prohibits demonstrations within one kilometer of parliament.

The private company Johannesburg Water obtained an interdict preventing workers from going on strike on the grounds that they provide an essential service. The private solid waste company PikiTub also obtained a court order against the union.

Pressure on Cosatu to withdraw from the Tripartite Alliance will grow

Whilst the SACP insists that all is well and general secretary Vavi claims Cosatu will not leave the Tripartite Alliance despite the revival of the anti-privatisation programme, objective reality is forcing the forces on which Cosatu rests, organised labour, and those whose interests the ANC represents, big business and the aspirant black capitalist, into collision with each other. Mbeki’s attack on Samwu workers shows very clearly that the ANC leadership’s understanding of liberation is a world apart from that of ordinary workers. His class hostility is the attitude of a party that is now the conscious agent of capitalism. The SACP’s failure to give even a message of support -- they called for a return to negotiations – will not have gone unnoticed by workers.

Unfortunately the multi-year deal copied from the private sector is aimed at demobilising workers. Such deals are also intended to force workers to tighten their belts so that the allegedly independent Reserve Bank can, on behalf of the bosses, achieve its so far illusory inflation target at workers’ expense whilst top executives are get fantastic salaries.

Even though the three-year deal is setback, it is not a train smash. It is quite possible that Salga itself will try to escape from it should inflation go past the 10% limit that allows any party to reopen negotiations. Although this year’s 9% public sector increase was in line with the formula in last year’s three-year wage deal, Reserve Bank Governor Tito Mboweni still criticised it as fuelling inflation. The Cape Town Chamber of Business took the same line on the Samwu wage deal.

The Reserve Bank failed to achieve its inflation target of 3% – 6% last year. Since then the state of the world economy has worsened. A US attack on Iraq for example is likely to increase world oil prices. The Reserve Bank is therefore likely to fail again. The experience of this strike shows that the government and the bosses expect workers to take further cuts, whilst the bosses in both the private and public sector engage in an orgy of self-enrichment.

A battle against low wages is a battle against Gear

Repulsive as the conduct of the top management is, it is merely a boil on the surface of a serious social crisis. At its root is capitalism in the form of the government’s macro-economic strategy – Gear, and privatisation. The ANC has simply continued in the same Gear where the apartheid regime left off. They have reduced central government funding (Inter Governmental Grant) to local government by over 90% since they came to power. This is why local governments, which in black areas in particular have no alternative source of revenue, are following a policy of "cost recovery". This has meant cutting water and electricity, evictions and the sale of household goods to recover arrears. Millions have experienced cut-offs, evictions, downsizing and household goods seizures.

In the stormy world economic events ahead, attacks on workers’ wages, conditions and democratic rights are going to escalate. Unless the unions break out of the political prison of the Tripartite Alliance, they will be completely unprepared for this. Samwu workers must join forces with fellow workers in Cosatu affiliates to campaign for the reactivation of the campaign of rolling mass action and quarterly general strikes against Gear and privatisation agreed last year that were to follow the two-day August general strike. Samwu workers must campaign for a mass workers’ party on a socialist programme. As a first step they must campaign for the resignation of all councilors who refuse to support an anti-privatisation platform. Samwu must collaborate with working class communities to put up independent candidates. All such candidates must be required to pledge publicly to accept election on the following platform:

  • election subject to the right of immediate recall
  • a salary no higher than that of the average skilled worker
  • an end to privatisation and the restoration of all privatised services to local government
  • for a minimum amount of free electricity and water to meet all needs for hygiene, heating and cooking combined with a block tariff system
  • an end to all water and electricity cuts, downsizing and evictions
  • scrap all rent, bond, electricity, water and service arrears
  • for the restoration of the inter governmental grant to pre-1994 levels

Mass action against privatisation in Peru, Paraguay and Bolivia have led to magnificent victories in what is now probably the most hated programme amongst working class people internationally. In Africa the masses are on the march against it. By linking up with community organisations fighting privatisation, evictions, electricity and water cut-offs this can be achieved in SA too.



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NEWS

Britain/Ireland: Dublin's #JobstownNotGuilty
23/02/2017, Neil Cafferky, from The Socialist (weekly paper of the Socialist Party, England & Wales):
Defend the right to protest - stop this political vendetta!

Ireland: A web of intrigue sparks government crisis
22/02/2017, By Cillian Gillespie, Socialist Party (CWI in Ireland) :
Smear campaign against a prominent police whistleblower

Yemen: International protests in support of TOTAL/G4S workers
20/02/2017, Socialistworld.net:
Solidarity spreads for victims of wage robbery and killing by multinational corporations

Netherlands: Anti-immigrant Freedom Party leading polls ahead of general elections
18/02/2017, Pieter Brans, Socialist Alternative (CWI in Netherlands), Amsterdam:
Only a choice between the “regular” and far-right?

Solidarity: French presidential candidate Mélenchon backs #JobstownNotGuilty campaign
17/02/2017, socialistworld.net :
Support the international solidarity campaign

Britain: Council cuts can be fought - and they must be
16/02/2017, Editorial comments from the Socialist, paper of the Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales) :
Corbyn needs to stand up to Brexit rebels

Spain: Pablo Iglesias wins clear victory in Podemos congress
15/02/2017, Izquierda Revolucionaria, Spain:
Time to build the class struggle on the streets

US: A socialist strategy to defeat Trump
14/02/2017, Kshama Sawant, Seattle City Council Woman and member of Socialist Alternative :
Escalate the resistance toward shutdowns on March 8 and May 1!

Greece: Athens’ bus cleaners win bulk of wages owed
14/02/2017, Eleni Mitsou (Xekinima - CWI Greece) and Apostolis Cassimere’s (Board Member of OASA - Athens Bus Workers’ Union):
The struggle continues!

Scotland: Greens back SNP government austerity budget
13/02/2017, Matt Dobson, Socialist Paty Scotland (CWI), Glasgow:
TUSC council elections candidates put forward 100% anti-austerity programme

Yemen: Workers protest at parliament against TOTAL and G4S
07/02/2017, Socialistworld.net:
Security workers demand wages and arrest of colleagues’ killers

Romania: Biggest street protests since 1989
04/02/2017, Mâna de Lucru (CWI supporters in Romania):
What position should the left take?

Quebec: Terrorist Attack in Québec City
01/02/2017, Socialist Alternative (CWI in Canada) :
Counter terrorism and hate with solidarity

CWI: 9th Latin American school a success
31/01/2017, socialistworld.net:
Over 200 participate in Sao Paolo CWI continental gathering

US: Airport protests help block Trump travel ban
30/01/2017, Socialist Alternative reporters, US :
Defend immigrant communities

China: CWI member Hu Xufang forced to flee
28/01/2017, chinaworker.info reporters :
Xu and his family are victims of China’s deepening police crackdown

Russia: Duma legislates to decriminalise domestic violence
26/01/2017, From Socialist Alternative (Russian CWI) website (socialist.news) :
For unified struggle for women’s rights and against capitalism

Tamil Nadu: Mass protests against state repression
26/01/2017, Isai Priya, from Tamil Solidarity website :
Support the right to assemble and protest - release those arrested immediately!

Bangladesh: Hartal protest against power plant
25/01/2017, Pete Mason, Socialist Party (CWI in England and Wales) :
Follows mass strike of garment workers in December

Côte d’Ivoire: Social revolts shake Ouattara regime
24/01/2017, Militant Côte d’Ivoire (CWI group in Côte d’Ivoire) :
Public sector strike and soldiers’ mutiny expose reality behind “economic growth”

Taiwan: US foreign policy under Trump
24/01/2017, Vincent Kolo, chinaworker.info:
Island risks being pawn in his game

US: CWI joins protests around the world against Trump
23/01/2017, socialistworld.net :
Photo gallery selection of CWI actions during weekend of mass protests

US: Kshama Sawant responds to Trump inauguration speech
23/01/2017, socialistworld.net :
Socialist council member speaks

Russian Revolution Centenary: New site celebrates and defends October socialist revolution
20/01/2017, socialistworld.net :
1917revolution.org brings rich lessons of 100 years ago to wide audience

Kazakhstan: Regime increases repression
20/01/2017, Andrei Prigor from Campaign Kazakhstan:
Citizens forced to register with police at all times

US: Global resistance against Trump’s inauguration
20/01/2017, socialistworld.net :
CWI organizes protests as millions prepare to fight Trump’s agenda

CWI Comment and Analysis

ANALYSIS

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

CWI International Executive Committee: European capitalism “battered by events”
16/12/2016, Kevin Henry, Socialist Party (CWI in Ireland) :
Report of discussion on Europe at CWI IEC meeting in November

CWI International Executive Committee: World shaken by seismic political events
14/12/2016, Kevin Parslow, Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales):
Report of first session of the CWI International Executive Committee, discussing World Relations

World capitalism in deep crisis
08/12/2016, CWI :
Perspectives documents agreed by November CWI international meeting

Sudan: Three day nationwide strike shuts down the country, in unique defiance of Al-Bashir’s rule
30/11/2016, Serge Jordan, CWI:
Escalation of the struggle needed to overthrow repressive regime

US: Trump prepares attacks on working people,immigrants and women
27/11/2016, Tom Crean and Philip Locker, Socialist Alternative (USA):
We must prepare massive resistance!

Cuba: Fidel Castro, leader of 1959 revolution, dies at 90
26/11/2016, Tony Saunois, CWI :
Castro's life and the Cuban Revolution