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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

  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

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

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