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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

Towards a genuine left alternative?

www.socialistworld.net, 21/05/2010
website of the committee for a workers' international, CWI

The Conference of the Democratic Left (CDL) is an initiative to bring together left organisations, social movements and activists to confront the disastrous social, economic and political crisis in South Africa.

Edited version of an article by Liv Shange and Weizmann Hamilton, first published in Izwi labasebenzi, paper of the Democratic Socialist Movement (CWI South Africa)

In the making since late 2008, a national conference is to be held in the coming months. The Democratic Socialist Movement (DSM, CWI in South Africa) welcomes the CDL as an attempt to address the most critical challenge facing the working class in South Africa and internationally – the development of an independent working class political voice. We nevertheless have several comradely criticisms...

From Brazil to Britain, Iceland to India, the working class has begun to recognise the need to create its own authentic political voice. This is the political significance of the intensification of class struggles in recent years also in South Africa, in the workplace, educational institutions, and in black working class townships.

The militant mass “service delivery” protests throughout the country demanding electricity, sanitation, water, decent housing, an end to corruption, and a say in the running of their communities express this most sharply. In the workplaces, three times as many strike days were recorded in 2009 as in 2008. After sixteen years, poverty and mass unemployment are still rampant. South Africa is now the most unequal society on earth. This is the fundamental reason for the revolt of the masses.

Vacuum on the left

The political crisis is reflected in the open divisions in the ruling ANC, and its SACP and Cosatu allies on the one hand, and the opposition parties’ own internal tensions as well as the attempt to form a super-opposition on the other. Despite sitting on opposite sides of the parliamentary benches, on the fundamental question of economic policy, the ANC and the opposition parties share one thing in common – they are all pro-capitalist and therefore occupy the same side in the class divide in South Africa. The turmoil on the right of the political spectrum accentuates sharply the ideological and organisational vacuum on the left.

Fragmented struggles must unite

Both within and across the three main terrains of struggle – in education institutions (against financial and academic exclusions), townships (against poor service delivery and corruption) and the workplace, the battles are fought separately. What is clearly required is coordination of these struggles. This is why the DSM campaigns for a mass workers party.

The emergence of the CDL is ultimately a response to the working class’ search for its own voice. Provided it can develop clear positions on the critical ideological, programmatic and organisational tasks posed, we believe the CDL has the potential to develop into a working class independent, class-based, political force that can coordinate struggles and challenge capitalism on all fronts, including elections.

The CDL’s call to “Unite to make another South Africa and World Possible” commits it to “work towards developing a grassroots democratic eco-socialist, feminist, political programme”. The Call includes good points on the crisis of capitalism and emphasises the need for independent working class organisation. The CDL “aims to create a united front around a programme of action while preserving the autonomy of constituent organisations”. This open and democratic approach, together with its generally anti-capitalist position, is a good starting point and will be crucial to the CDL’s progress and vital in developing a programme of action that addresses the key challenges facing the working class.

However, while supporting and participating in the CDL, the DSM has several comradely criticisms which we put forward to contribute towards theoretical, ideological and organisational clarification.

Struggle oriented programme needed

The CDL initiators correctly recognise the need to be concrete. However, the DSM believes that the basic outline for a programme of action has already been developed in action by the working class itself – in the service delivery, education and workplace struggles. While it may be possible to graft some of CDL’s ideas onto existing struggles, we believe that this should be debated by the workers, students and youth leading these struggles themselves.

As a new formation, the CDL first has to earn the right to be taken as a serious force by workers in struggle. The CDL should therefore refrain from imposing an agenda of struggle from without where one already exists. The DSM believes the CDL should rather focus on working towards assisting unification of mass struggles.

We believe the CDL should propose a national service delivery conference to agree on how to coordinate these struggles in preparation for a national general strike for service delivery. Communities should be encouraged to appeal also to students and organised workers to elect delegates to such a conference and for rank-and-file union members to get their unions’ support.

The DSM believes the CDL should also raise for debate the political issues the existing struggles are already posing – that is, the political representation of the working class and the broader struggle against capitalism. The fact that service delivery protests are directed against council officials, councillors and mayors, shows that workers have already drawn political conclusions from their struggles.

Demands for the resignation of councils or mayors are not a rejection of representative democracy as such. Those who make such claims are jumping over the existing stage in the level of consciousness by exaggerating the level of political clarity. Such claims are ultra-left, confuse the first month of pregnancy with the ninth, and substitute nihilistic and anarchist prejudices for the actual consciousness of the working class. Workers are in fact struggling for a form of representation over which they have control – the first step in the recognition of the limitations of capitalist democracy and the need for workers democracy – the basis for a socialist society.

We therefore call on the CDL to campaign for communities to put up independent working class candidates to contest the 2011 local government elections. The DSM believes this would demonstrate in practice the necessity for independent working class representation.

Need for a bold socialist programme

Unfortunately, some of the CDL’s leading lights are reluctant to embrace socialism boldly. This reflects the lingering doubts over the credibility of socialism as a viable alternative that gripped the left following the collapse of the former Soviet Union. The official left especially was ideologically demoralised by the restoration of capitalism, the triumphalism of the capitalist class and the intensification of the neo-liberal offensive against the working class that followed worldwide. The process of capitalist restoration in China reinforced this.

Yet what collapsed was not socialism, but a bureaucratic perversion of it – Stalinism – the outcome of a political counter-revolution that entailed the smashing of workers democracy, while preserving state ownership of the economy. For this reason the DSM strongly rejects the CDL declaration’s description of Soviet, (Cuban or Chinese) society as “really existing socialism” as the SACP does. Both Stalinism and imperialism, despite their antagonism, had a vested interest in this misrepresentation, the former to justify the political counter-revolution in the name of Lenin and the leadership of the October Revolution; the latter to discredit socialism by pointing to the monstrous authoritarian dictatorship of Stalin. The importation of the SACP’s bankrupt ideas into the CDL will make it impossible to defend the genuine ideas of socialism particularly to those workers and youth who want answers to questions as to how a socialist society would work and degeneration avoided.

Because of the CDL initiators’ doubts about socialism, they entertain reformist ideas such as “parallel or alternative economies”. Any programme not based on the understanding that capitalism is incapable of developing society and must be abolished, fosters the illusion that socialism can be achieved by gradual in-roads into capitalism through cooperatives, township vegetable gardens and ultimately a “parallel mode of production”. If the CDL does not break with such ideas, it will end up as a mere “SACP Lite” – proposing to manage capitalism instead of arguing boldly for an end to the profit driven capitalist system and for a fundamental, socialist transformation of society.

New left formations like the Party for Socialism and Liberty (PSOL) in Brazil, SYRIZA in Greece, die Linke in Germany, Rifondazione Communista in Italy have arisen. However, the development of these formations shows the need for them to base themselves on the struggles of workers and youth and link them to a socialist programme to transform society. If they fall into the trap of taking part in pro-capitalist governments, like the RC in Italy, they will end in existential crisis or fall apart.

The mass of the working class has not yet drawn clear socialist conclusions. But the crisis has exposed the bankruptcy of capitalism, providing the best opportunity to make the case for socialism since the October Revolution. The DSM proposes a transitional approach, linking the everyday struggle for reforms to the overthrow of capitalism and the socialist reconstruction of society.

For a general strike for service delivery

The DSM tabled for debate a resolution at the 20 March Gauteng CDL consultative conference entitled “For a general strike for service delivery and a campaign for the formation of a new socialist mass party!” (see the DSM website www.socialistsouthafrica.co.za). We propose the CDL campaigns for a conference of all communities in struggle, appeals to rank-and-file unionists, for a national day of action – a service delivery general strike. We propose that the CDL campaigns for communities to contest the 2011 local government elections independently. We also call on the CDL to commit to the formation of a new mass workers’ party on a socialist programme. These proposals received support from many activists at the meeting.



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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