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latest news

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

  Aceh

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!

  US

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

  Spain

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

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

  France

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

  CWI

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

  Canada

US
Airport protests help block Trump travel ban

30/01/2017: Defend immigrant communities

  US

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

  China

Afghanistan
The limits of US power

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

  Afghanistan

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

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

  US

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”

  Ivory Coast

Taiwan
US foreign policy under Trump

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

  Taiwan

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

  US

Germany

No choice elections

www.socialistworld.net, 27/09/2002
website of the committee for a workers' international, CWI

On 22 September, the Social Democrats and Greens succeeded in defending their government position in the national elections but with a very small majority.

Sascha Stanicic, Berlin, 26 September 2002

The recent German general elections saw the return of Schröder’s SPD/Green coalition government, in what was an amazing turn around in fortunes. Only weeks ago, Schröder was staring defeat in the face, as his government polled badly after years of neo-liberal policies.
Central to the success for Schröder was undoubtedly the support he won for his stance against a US led war on Iraq, albeit an opportunist stance.
Anti-war and anti-militarist sentiments are always strong in Germany, but, even so, for a ’foreign issue’ to play such a key role in an election outcome is rare in recent European history. It indicates the deep opposition to what many German workers and youth see as US war plans for securing vital oil supplies in the Middle East. Many people share this view across Europe.
Many anti-war demonstrations are planned in numerous European cities in the coming days and weeks ahead.
Sascha Stanicic, in Berlin, examines the outcome of the German elections, and puts the case to build a socialist alternative. CWI

No-choice elections

Second, party list, votes

 

2002

1998

SPD

18.484.560

38.5%

20.181.269

40.9%

CDU

14.164.183

29.5%

14.004.908

28.4%

CSU

4.311.513

9.0%

3.324.480

6.7%

Greens

4.108.314

8.6%

3.301.624

6.7%

FDP

3.537.466

7.4%

3.080.955

6.2%

PDS

1.915.797

4.0%

2.515.454

5.1%

Turnout

48.574.607

79.1%

49.947.087

82.3%

Overall the CDU/CSU won 38.5%, a rise of 3.3% points, to equal the SPD’s 38.5%.

The right-wing conservative candidate, Edmund Stoiber, was stopped at the polls. It is clear that many workers and youth decided to vote one more time for the SPD and the Greens, despite their anti-working class and neo-liberal policies, to stop what they saw as a shift to the right.

It is also true that the capitalists were promoting a change of government because they hoped Stoiber could step up the speed of attacks on workers’ living standards and rights.

Many workers and youth were relieved about Stoiber’s defeat but they will now find out that they will be the losers under a continuation of a "red-green" coalition, which will continue social cuts and privatisation.

Neck to neck race

It was a neck-to-neck-race on polling day until late in the night. Two months ago, opinion polls saw the conservative and liberal parties well in advance of the SPD/Green government parties. This was a reflection of four years of neo-liberal policies. The SPD and Greens created the possibility of a comeback for the hated party of former chancellor Helmut Kohl, after the CDU were thrown out of office in 1998, by an electorate determined to change the direction the country was heading. But under the SPD/Greens nothing fundamentally changed. The Schröder government continued where Kohl had left off and so the SPD were made to pay for this policy on election day. Compared with four years ago, the SPD lost 1,694,000 votes, mainly amongst industrial workers.

That they survived in power was mainly due to two events: the summer floods in eastern Germany and the US war plans against Iraq. The government reacted quickly after the floods and successfully presented itself as acting in the interest of the victims. This allowed Schröder to portray himself as doing something concrete to help the east, despite its record levels of unemployment and continuing high rates of depopulation.

On the question of an attack on Iraq, Schröder adopted an anti-war position and went into conflict with the Bush administration. This was not because of a principled anti-war position by the government. In the last four years it had decided to send German troops abroad seventeen times and participated in the attacks on Serbia and Afghanistan. Schröder’s anti-war rhetoric reflected the interests of the German ruling class who sees the incalculable consequences of an all out attack against Iraq. German bosses fear that a regime change in Iraq, after a US-led war, would lead to an Iraqi government obedient to the US alone, limiting the prospects for German companies to make profit out of the country.

They also want to counter the unilateralist approach of the US. During the election campaign, Schröder went as far as saying that his government would not support a war even if it were lead by the UN. This was a tactical manoeuvre to mobilise support for the elections. It caused a severe worsening of US-German relations. From the point of view of the German capitalist class, Schröder went too far. He will not be able to maintain that position if and when a war starts.

A new war in the Middle East and, or, the continuing social and economic crisis could trigger off a quick crisis of the new government, which most likely will be much more unstable than the last coalition.

Growing alienation

One important phenomenon was not reflected in the election results: the growing alienation of the masses from the established parties. The mass of workers and young people did not vote enthusiastically for any of the parties. The opinion polls over the last months showed continual swings in mood. A few weeks before the elections, forty percent of the electorate said they were undecided over which way to vote. The entire campaign was very ‘non-political’, concentrating around "personalities". On domestic issues, you had to search for the differences between the established parties with a magnifying glass.

Overall the election turnout fell from 82.3% to 79.1% with 1,320,000 fewer votes cast than in 1998. The vote for smaller parties and for the far right was lower this time (the far right parties went down from 4.4 percent to 1.8 percent) because a layer of the electorate wanted to prevent a Stoiber-led government. Many far right voters were enthused by Stoiber, who has a record for racism. But while Stoiber was able to massively increase the vote of the CSU in his native Bavaria by 987,000, 27%, in the rest of Germany the CDU’s sister party was only able to increase its vote by 160,000. Indeed in 9 of the 15 regional states outside Bavaria the CDU’s vote actually fell.

Greens make best ever poll – PDS biggest losers

The Greens recorded a large rise in their votes, gaining 808,000. This took their percentage to 8.6%, a best ever result. This was in marked contrast to fall in votes the Green has suffered in other elections, since they formed their coalition with the SPD. The general election gain was based upon the anti-Iraq war position they adopted, an increased environmental awareness following the floods, and by the fact that many social democratic supporters gave their second vote to the Greens. (Voters in Germany have two voters, one for their constituency representative, and the other for a party list. The SPD "second" vote was 1,571,000 lower than its "first" vote, and many of these went to the Greens).

The big loser was the left-wing PDS (Party of Democratic Socialism – ex-governing state party in the Stalinist GDR). The PDS has a mass base in East Germany but is a very small force in West Germany. In the East, the party is leading many local councils and has joined two coalition governments with the SPD, on federal state level. Here they have participated in social cuts and privatisations. Especially in Berlin, the so-called "red-red coalition" is implementing the sharpest attacks against the masses in the post-war history of the city. The SPD-PDS Berlin city government announced a massive package of cuts just five days before the Bundestag election. The most prominent PDS leader, Gregor Gysi, hat to step down as senator for economic affairs in Berlin after being found pocketing lucrative ’air miles’ while on business trips.

Socialist election campaign

SAV, the CWI section in Germany, stood seven first-past-the-post constituency candidates in the elections (from only 23 candidates to the left of the PDS nationally).

The campaign was directed against the anti-working class policies of both Schröder and Stoiber, and emphasised the need for a new workers’ party.

SAV organised a contingent for a 40,000 strong demonstration organised by Attac (the anti capitalist organisation) and trade union youth organisations, just one week before the election. This demonstration was against neo-liberal policies, social cuts, and war. Afterwards, SAV members organised a successful meeting, with more than 120 people listening to Joe Higgins, the Socialist Party (CWI) TD (member of parliament) from Ireland speak.

The seven SAV candidates polled 2,192 votes, in total.

The PDS was rewarded for their anti-working class policies with a collapse of their vote. They lost nearly 600,000 votes and failed to make the five percent hurdle that is the minimum to get into parliament. They only won two constituencies and will only have these two MPs in the next parliament. This is a disaster for the party and will probably lead to a deep crisis. This result for the PDS is a setback for the left and many who gave their vote to Schröder or the Greens to stop Stoiber will regret, once the government starts further attacks on the working class and changes its course on the war question, that there is no left-wing opposition in parliament anymore.

But the defeat for the PDS was not a defeat for socialist policies, quite the contrary. The PDS only carries socialism in its name but not in its politics. The decline in votes was a rejection of the right-wing policies of the party leadership. It was a rejection of participation in local right wing governments, of acceptance of privileges, of adaptation to the social democrats, and of politicians with no backbone. 300,000 former PDS voters did not vote at all. Workers and youth expected a different policy from the PDS and instead all they got was the same as they have experienced from the social democrats. So they turned their backs on the party.

In contrast, a Green candidate, Christian Ströbele, proved that it is possible to win elections on a left-wing programme. He stood in one Berlin constituency and was put to the bottom of the party slate for seats. Nevertheless Ströbele won a seat because of his opposition to the Green Party leadership’s previous war policies in Serbia and Afghanistan. He became the first ever Green candidate to win a constituency seat, using the slogan "to vote Ströbele means to torture Fischer" (the Green party leader and Foreign Minister) and claimed to be "social and a socialist".

Stormy struggles ahead

The move to the right of the PDS will probably continue, as their policies will now be even more dominated by their East German government wing. This poses the need for a new workers’ party even more sharply. The working class is without strong political representation and this absence will be felt more and more as the SPD government continues on its capitalist course. Out of the conflicts of the coming years will grow the idea that such a representation has to be formed. This year has already seen a number of strikes of metal workers, building workers, printers, bank workers and other sectors. These conflicts were mild winds in comparison to the stormy struggles that lie ahead.

With the economy already stagnating, huge pressures for cuts in public spending and the mass unemployment on high levels the working class will have to fight back sooner or later. The trade union leaders tried not to come into open conflict with the SPD/Green government and openly campaigned for a vote for them. But dissatisfaction is widespread amongst the trade union rank and file and already the coming wage round in the public sector later this year could see the first open conflict between the trade unions and the government (especially as the government is under financial pressure because it cannot keep within the limits of the Maastricht criteria for its budget deficit).

From the point of view of the development of workers’ consciousness, and the prospects for the creation of a new workers’ party, the continuation of the Red-Green government is an advantage because it will speed up the breach between the unions and the social democracy.



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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