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latest news

 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

 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

South Africa

Working class masses give president Zuma baptism of fire

www.socialistworld.net, 03/08/2009
website of the committee for a workers' international, CWI

New government comes up against militant action

Weizmann Hamilton, Democratic Socialist Movement (CWI in South Africa)

No honeymoon for Zuma government

No honeymoon for Zuma government

Barely 100 days into Jacob Zuma’s presidency, the class contradictions that have produced political polarisation and then a split in the ANC, have sharpened with a vengeance. The working class – both organised in the workplace as well as the marginalised poor in squatter camps and townships – has challenged the head of SA’s fourth post apartheid government to make good on the promises that propelled him first into the presidency of the ANC and then that of the country.

With discontent that matched the chill of one of the coldest winters in decades, protests against poor service delivery and corruption spread across over two dozen townships in five of the country’s nine provinces, with Gauteng the main flashpoint throughout the month of July. A number of protestors were shot dead, as police fired rubber bullets and allegedly, in some instances, used live ammunition. Scores of protestors were arrested on charges of public violence, intimidation and malicious damage to property.

In scenes reminiscent of the struggle against apartheid, local authorities, municipal offices and other facilities were torched and local councilors and mayors driven out of their homes which were then set alight. Although on a significantly lower scale than in May 2008, the outbreak of protests were marred by incidents of xenophobia, with foreign nationals coming under attack, their small businesses looted and destroyed, and almost all driven from their residences.

The common theme and predominant issue at the heart of the protests, which were marked by violent confrontations with the police, was local government incompetence, cronyism, corruption, lack of water, sanitation, electricity, housing, health and social services. The number of service delivery protests so far this year has surpassed all the service delivery protests of 2008.

The protests exploded against the background of an economic crisis deteriorating more rapidly and with greater devastation on the lives of working class people than experts had predicted and government had expected. After contracting for two consecutive quarters, SA’s economy is now officially in recession. The 6.4% decline in the first quarter follows the 1.8% drop in the last quarter of 2008. In 2009 alone, the number of job losses have so far totaled a conservatively estimated 475,000. If the 302,000 job seekers who became “discouraged” in 2009 are added, the real figure for the first half of 2009 exceeds three quarters of a million coming on top of so-called official unemployment of 23%. The real figure is closer to 40%.

These figures have shaken the complacency of SA analysts, who until recently were providing the chorus to the praise songs of their international counterparts in the World Bank, IMF and rating agencies about SA’s alleged immunity from the global recession. With the economy expected to remain mired in recession for the rest of the year at least, job losses are expected to exceed 700,000 (excluding those to discouraged to look for a job) and more likely a million –a “bloodbath” in the words of T-Sec economist Mike Schussler (Business Day 29.07.09).

Zuma’s misfortune has been for his accession to the presidency to take place on the eve of the traditional wage negotiations season which this year are taking place against the background of the worst economic crisis since 1984. With the average worker supporting an average of eight dependants, the pressure to provide for more in the face of an avalanche of job losses was enormous. The situation facing workers was made worse by the fact that whereas inflation and interest rates had declined, to 8% by May 2009, inflation in food, health and transport on which workers spend the bulk of their income, remained at 11.9%, 11.7% and 14% respectively. In addition the electricity parastatal, Eskom, had been granted a 31% traffic increase. To add to the burden on workers shoulders, despite the successive lowering of interest rates that began in December 2008, the effect of the previous cycle has still not receded. More than 2000 houses and 6 000 cars are being repossessed monthly by banks. The average level of household debt remains at 75% of annual income. Civil summonses and garnishee orders (compulsory deductions from salaries for debts) had soared.

Militant workers’ action

The militancy of the trade union mass action was intended to ensure that especially the Congress of SA Trade Union (Cosatu) leadership did not compromise their members’ interests now that Cosatu’s allies, the triumphant Zuma faction of the ANC, had taken office and a number of SA Communist Party and trade union leaders had been appointed to key ministries (SACP members now hold 40% of ministerial positions). With short-time and lay-offs especially in the car industry undermining workers’ power, those workers who still had leverage were determined not to be made to pay for crisis of the capitalist system. As a National Union of Mineworkers spokesperson, referring to the bosses’ stance in the gold mining industry pointed out, every time during wage negotiations one excuse after the other is put forward as to why workers should not demand a decent wage increase. During the boom the excuse was the negative impact of the strong rand on the price of gold, now the problem is the recession it is. “We will not take responsibility for their recession.”

The tone for the wage negotiations season and the mood of workers were, however, not set by the traditional blue collar battalions, but by the white coated brigades – the doctors in the public sector. Reflecting the accumulated anger of their counterparts in the rest of provincial and national government over the failure of the government to comply with aspects of the agreement that ended the 2007 public sector strike, they demanded the immediate implementation of the so-called occupation specific occupation dispensation – in effect a new remuneration system that would set new higher salaries for identified categories of skilled workers. Despite public acknowledgement by government over the legitimacy of their grievances, doctors were not prepared to wait for promises to be fulfilled. They took action in defiance of the essential services legislation barring them from striking, eventually forcing government into a humiliating retreat after over 200 hundred doctors had been served with dismissal letters.

Before the start of 4-day 150,000-strong municipal workers’ strike, SA had already lost 500,000 working days through strike action -- more than double that for the same period in 2008. This wave of worker militancy has led to above-inflation increases in every sector, with the overwhelming majority of trade unions settling for 10% or more. Construction workers, taking advantage both of the enormous profits made by the bosses from the lucrative government tenders for the construction of stadiums for the 2010 World Cup, and the pressure to complete them in time, forced the bosses to settle at 12%, and won allowances for days when weather prevented work, as well as permanent contracts for the significant number of casual workers whose exploitation had become a permanent feature of employment practices in the construction industry.

The municipal workers, whose strike was characterised by violent clashes with police and trashing of the streets in a traditional “cleaning of the rubbish bins” protest and counter-productive acts of gratuitous vandalism by some elements, ended in victory with the unions settling for 13% after striking for 15% and the employer initially offering 6.5%. Despite condemnation of the violence, and the denunciation of lawlessness, it is clear that both in respect of the service delivery protests and the trade unions mass action, the Zuma-government was on the back foot and, mindful of the need to avoid alienating its trade union allies, elected to ride out the storm this time. It is likely therefore that the public sector trade unions will be made an offer that will result in a settlement without a strike.

However, the economic crisis is not going away. Government tax revenue projections are already R19 billion below target. The World Cup may soften the class contradictions for a short period. After that there will be reckoning. Both the bosses and the government will demanding more sacrifices from the workers. The scene will then be set for a renewed sharpening of the class contradictions forcing the polarisation to proceed apace and placing the need to bring the forces of the masses in the townships and the workers on the workplace together in a common struggle firmly on the agenda. A new mass workers’ party, equipped with a socialist programme could play a decisive role in the development of such a struggle.



Europe

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

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NEWS

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?

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!

CWI Comment and Analysis

ANALYSIS

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

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