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Ireland North
Martin McGuinness - from IRA leader to Stormont minister

29/03/2017: The IRA campaign, the ‘peace process’ and the working class

  Ireland North

Greece
H&M workers score victory against management plans

28/03/2017: Despite very difficult times, struggle can bring results

  Greece

 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

Britain

Con-Dem government propose denationalisation of NHS

www.socialistworld.net, 26/07/2010
website of the committee for a workers' international, CWI

For trade union led mass campaign to stop destruction of Health Service!

From The Socialist, weekly paper of the Socialist Party (CWI England & Wales)

Using the cover of ‘saving’ money by reducing ‘bureaucracy’, the Conservative/Liberal Democrats (‘Con-Dem’) coalition government is effectively proposing the wholesale privatisation of the National Health Service (NHS). In doing so, Tory Prime Minister David Cameron and Liberal Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg aim to finish what Margaret Thatcher started in the 1980s and Labour enthusiastically continued.

Andrew Lansley, the new Tory health minister, has set out his government’s plans to reduce the NHS to dust. Far from the stated aim of cutting bureaucracy and saving money, these plans are predicted to cost £1.7 billion to implement. Seumas Milne, writing in the Guardian, summed up the proposals: “From a major public service with a million employees, [the NHS] will have become a central fund with a minimal workforce, commissioning services from a string of private companies in a fully-fledged health care market.”

The NHS is due to be turned completely on its head and there is no doubt that chaos will follow. If Andrew Lansley succeeds in getting his legislation passed the NHS logo will be all that remains to be misused by a multitude of new health care providers.

Private companies that specialise in ‘out-sourcing’ of public services, such as Capita, Serco and many others, are lining up to take advantage of the huge profits they can make by the ‘denationalisation’ of the NHS. Richard Marchant, one of the heads at Capita, openly stated that the ‘problems’ in the public sector represent a ‘significant opportunity’ for his company.

The White Paper

Can it be managed by the ‘third sector’? Can it be cut? Can it be privatised? These are the three questions the new Con-Dem government is asking about the NHS.

The White Paper calls for more and more NHS services (including those which directly provide patient care) to be tendered out to ‘any willing provider’. Private companies will be lining up for their golden opportunity to take their pick of the most lucrative NHS services.

Profit maximisation in the NHS will have a profoundly damaging impact on a service, which was designed to have the needs of the patient at the heart of its core philosophy. Lansley is explicit about his desire to “create the largest social enterprise sector in the world”.

The idea of the ‘internal market’ was first introduced into the NHS by Thatcher in the 1980s and it was carried on with zeal by Tony Blair’s New Labour administration. One aspect of the market policy is that various NHS services get ‘split off’ into separate components and they are then tendered out to companies like Serco.

This process has happened wholesale in all NHS cleaning and catering services and it is happening increasingly with phlebotomy (blood taking) services. We have all borne witness to the damage inflicted on the NHS via PFI (private finance initiatives) which basically gave construction companies carte blanche to lock NHS trusts into long term, hugely expensive contracts for building new hospitals. NHS trusts ended up in massive amounts of debt as public funds were effectively diverted into the pockets of company shareholders.

The GMB union has identified around 640 current PFIs and more than 100 new projects in the pipeline (across all public services, although many may now be cut). The total cost was estimated at £250 billion over 25-30 years, four times the value of the assets built (£64 billion). This is equivalent to £8,400 per taxpayer.

Duplication of existing services will also be encouraged under the pretext of ‘offering choice’ and this production of excess capacity will lead to unnecessary waste.

Extended role of the GP

Primary Care Trusts (PCTs) and Strategic Health Authorities (SHAs) are to be completely abolished by 2013. This will fundamentally change the structure of the NHS and radically alter the existing funding and commissioning of health care. These changes will be costly and complicated to implement.

Groups of GP surgeries (consortia) will be handed responsibility for up to 80% of the £100 billion health budget. GPs will increasingly have their eyes on budgets rather than on providing and accessing care for their patient population.

When money is a factor in a GP’s decision-making this will make purchasing the cheapest, possibly less effective health care option more attractive, regardless of a patient’s clinical need. GPs will end up avoiding referring patients on for specialist investigations and services that are deemed to be ‘too expensive’ or are not deemed to provide ‘value for money’.

35,000 doctors could form up to 500 consortia, which will then ‘buy care’ from local hospitals or other providers, including private organisations. They will hire staff to manage these processes. While some have welcomed this proposal, Unison reports that around half of GPs are opposed.

GPs are not trained for their new commissioning responsibilities and will need to employ existing commissioners to help them. Capita, for example, is already offering to ‘help’ GPs with billing and human resources etc. It is acknowledged in the White Paper that GPs will not fully understand all of the complex areas of the specialist services, eg mental health services, that they will be commissioning.

According to Rethink, a mental health charity, two-thirds of GPs say they lack the expertise to commission mental health services. Ignorance of the value of a particular service will rapidly lead to ‘disinvestment’ which is the current NHS buzz term for cutting a service.

There are some GPs who wisely realise that they are going to be handed a ‘poisoned chalice’ and will end up implementing the government’s hidden agenda of carrying out cuts to patient services.

‘Efficiency savings’, i.e. cuts of £20 billion, are expected over the next few years and if GP consortia are deemed to ‘fail’, i.e. overspend on their allocated budgets, the government is being explicit about the fact that there will be no ‘bailouts’. Any failure will pave the way for other groups with vested interests to take away the health care commissioning role from a GP consortium.

Effects on existing NHS staff

The abolition of the PCTs and SHAs will lead to masses of job losses as all of the existing staff cannot be absorbed into the new structure. Admin workers and other ancillary staff will be hit the hardest. In the meantime Andrew Lansley is already busying himself finding cushy, lucrative roles for the old bosses of the quangos.

Dame Barbara Hakin, chief executive of NHS East Midlands, has already secured a role for herself as one of the directors of the new NHS commissioning board. She will be paid £200,000 a year in the midst of ‘the very challenging financial position’ to which Lansley alludes.

In the meantime, the accelerated privatisation of the remainder of the NHS will mean that the contracts of NHS staff will change and our pay and conditions will most likely be driven down in the process. Staff will find that who they work for, what they work for and the way in which they work will change fundamentally.

Lansley is signing the death warrant for national pay bargaining and agreements: “Pay decisions should be led by health care employers rather than imposed by the government. In future, all individual employers will have the right, as foundation trusts have now, to determine pay for their own staff.” NHS workers’ pensions are also under threat.

The White Paper also proposes changes in the provision of staff training which will be outsourced to the cheapest bidder. There is a real risk that the content and the quality of training will evolve over time to incorporate more of a ‘business ethos’ with reduced emphasis on the needs of the patient being at the heart of operational philosophy.

Staff who entered the service because they care about patients will end up feeling completely demoralised as they are pressurised to ensure that ‘the company is successful’.

The cost of caring

The drive towards ‘payment by results’ and introducing ‘currencies’ for units of care will be pushed forward and standardised. This is to ensure that service providers can be compared with each other and to increase competition between an ever-growing number of health care providers.

Prices for service provision will inevitably rise as new technologies, medicines and treatments are refined and developed. An organisation called ‘Monitor’ will be involved in price regulation, but only for publicly provided NHS services.

Competition rather than cooperation will become the order of the day. Disputes between providers could become a reality and the resolution of these disputes via the courts could put further strain on the public purse.

Health and social services will be integrated further and their budgets will be pooled. This integration has already been started and staff are finding that they have to take on additional roles and responsibilities for which they are not trained. This has a negative impact on the quality of care a patient receives.

Integration of services also leads to services being centralised in one building and patients then have to travel miles out of their local area to access the service they need.

Funding arrangements for social care are being scrutinised by the government and they are openly admitting that they are considering voluntary health insurance as one of the payment options. Of course this option will not be open to everyone, particularly the unemployed and could directly lead to those most in need of services being excluded.

Patient information

The White Paper proposes radical changes to the way in which patients communicate with health care professionals. Patients and professionals will be encouraged to communicate about a patient’s health status online. This is a time-saving exercise and there is no evidence that patients have requested this style of communication or will value this ‘arm’s length’, and essentially dehumanising, approach.

There will be implications for patients as their confidential health information will be shared with a multitude of newer, profit-driven, health and social care providers and the government has yet to clarify the legal situation around this.

In reality it will be very difficult for GP consortia and the new NHS commissioning board to ensure that these many and varied health care providers are held accountable to the public.

A patient’s confidential information could end up being misused in a variety of ways and there will be more opportunities for confidentiality to be breached and privacy eroded.

These plans must be stopped

These proposed changes will make a mockery of the founding principles of the NHS constitution. Legislation still needs to get through parliament in order to effect the changes so urgent, nationwide action is needed right now to send a clear message to Andrew Lansley and the big business vultures that we, the NHS staff and service users will not tolerate the massacre of our NHS.

During the general election campaign Labour candidates liked to dress in the cloak of saviours of the NHS. This was and is pure hypocrisy. Labour’s 13-year reign saw the massive expansion of the internal market in the NHS while Private Finance Initiatives sucked up enormous amounts of public money, depositing them in the pockets of private, profiteering contractors. Lansley’s plan is but the next logical step.

While all three main parties agree wholeheartedly on the ‘need’ for private companies in the NHS the majority of public opinion wants the NHS to remain a publicly owned and run service. An overwhelming 89% of the public agree that “public services should be run by the government or local authorities, rather than by private companies”, according to a 2005 YouGov poll. A mass workers’ party that represents that majority view is desperately needed as part of the struggle to save the NHS.

We cannot sit back and allow this government to sell off the NHS. The Socialist Party calls for the formation of a broad coalition of NHS staff (nurses, ancillary and medical staff), trade unions, patients, carers, community and health campaigners to coordinate a nationwide campaign to save what remains of the NHS and rebuild it before it’s too late.

We urgently need a national trade union-led demonstration against all cuts in jobs and services. The slogans for this demonstration must include opposition to the destruction of the NHS and for kicking out the profiteers, as well as defence of health jobs and services.

The Socialist Party calls for:

End all privatisation. Return privatised services to NHS control.

Take PFI hospitals and all other privately owned aspects of the health service back from big business. Publicly fund and integrate them with the rest of the NHS.

End Foundation Trusts. For democratic control of local health services by elected health workers and community representatives as well as elected representatives from local and national government.

Nationalise the big construction companies, service companies, medical supply and pharmaceutical industries that are taking billions of pounds out of the NHS.

Build anti-cuts unions in every area to defend the NHS and all our jobs and public services.



Europe

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A socialist world is possible, the history of the cwi with new introduction by Peter Planning green growth, a contribution to the debate on enviromental sustainability

NEWS

Greece: H&M workers score victory against management plans
28/03/2017, Statement (slightly edited) by Xekinima (CWI Greece):
Despite very difficult times, struggle can bring results

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?

CWI Comment and Analysis

ANALYSIS

Ireland North: Martin McGuinness - from IRA leader to Stormont minister
29/03/2017, Michael Cleary, Socialist Party (CWI Ireland), Belfast :
The IRA campaign, the ‘peace process’ and the working class

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