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Greece
Syriza comes to power, as old ruling parties collapse

27/01/2015: Left parties fail to form government - Syriza goes into coalition with populist right Independent Greeks

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Slowest growth rate since 1990

25/01/2015: Economy decelerated 30 percent in five years

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Cuba
Diplomatic relations with US restored, embargo eased

24/01/2015: Threat of capitalist restoration accelerates

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Northern Ireland
Water service workers win important victory

23/01/2015: A victory for all workers and an inspiration to resist the ‘race to the bottom’

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Mobilise now to defend our demands

22/01/2015: Article first published in the Colombo Telegraph

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 US
Kshama Sawant gives socialist response to Obama’s "State of the Union" address

21/01/2015: "Why can’t Barack Obama say “Black Lives Matter”?"

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Facing a turbulent 2015

21/01/2015: As death toll rises, economies plunge into freefall

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Greece
Prospect of Syriza victory raises workers’ hopes

20/01/2015: Mass intervention of working class to struggle for socialist policies is vital

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Nigeria
The Massacre in Baga

19/01/2015: Socialism or Barbarism

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Review
‘Eleanor Marx - a life’

17/01/2015: Clare Doyle reviews ’Eleanor Marx - A Life’ by Rachel Holmes

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Joe Higgins questions Irish Central Bank governor

16/01/2015: Socialist MP grills establishment over banking bubble and collapse

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Nigeria
2015 general elections and the working masses

16/01/2015: Boko Haram and the war in the north-east

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  Video
Ruth Coppinger calls for referendum on abortion rights in Ireland

15/01/2015: "You march in Paris, yet uphold laws any religious fundamentalist would envy"

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A year of struggle in Brazil

14/01/2015: LSR members intervene in struggles of 2014

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Sri Lanka
New but uncertain period opens up

14/01/2015: President Sirisena aims for clean government but will face difficulties

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Iran
Labour and children’s rights activist, Behnam Ebrahimzadeh, sentenced to another nine years

13/01/2015: International action needed to overturn latest conviction and to immediately release Behnam

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Germany
What is behind the ‘PEGIDA’ anti-immigrant demonstrations?

13/01/2015: Unions and Left must organise against racism and for jobs and decent living standards for all

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France
Millions march for solidarity

12/01/2015: Unity against racism and capitalism!

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New Zealand
Extreme poverty worsens

12/01/2015: Workers need to build political alternative to major parties’ big business agenda

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France
Counter terrorist threat with workers-led mass unity

10/01/2015: The shocking, cold blooded slaughter at Charlie Hebdo, and more killings in subsequent days, has been met with mass outrage

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Norway
General strike called for 28 January

10/01/2015: Two-hour protest against worsening working conditions

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Sri Lanka
Rajapaksa defeated

09/01/2015: Period of uncertainty opens

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Sweden
New elections cancelled

09/01/2015: “Peace deal” between government and right-wing opposition

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Greece
Towards a Syriza government?

08/01/2015: General elections on 25 January

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France
Deadly attack on satirical paper Charlie Hebdo

08/01/2015: Defend freedom of speech! Don’t let us be divided!

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Hong Kong
Politics transformed by ‘Umbrella Revolution’

07/01/2015: A fighting democratic movement must be created to continue and build upon this historic “first round”

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Israel-Palestine
A successful Socialism conference in the shadow of national divide

06/01/2015: Over 150 people participated in the ‘Socialism Conference 2014’ in Tel Aviv, organised by the Socialist Struggle Movement (SSM - CWI in Israel-Palestine)

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Northern Ireland
The Stormont House Agreement

05/01/2015: Agreeing Not To Agree, Again

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Environment
Market forces hold back renewable energy

01/01/2015: Have capitalist governments around the world finally woken up to the danger of global warming?

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New Year
Political and economic ingredients for volatile 2015

31/12/2014: As crisis of capitalism worsens, vital to organise and continue the struggle

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Britain
In defence of TUSC

30/12/2014: As the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition gears up for its biggest ever electoral stand…

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National Question a key feature of political crisis of capitalism

28/12/2014: A socialist solution to national oppression

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Blairite wins election as Labour’s new Scottish leader

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Obituary
Gough Whitlam, 1916-2014

26/12/2014: Former Australian Labour Party (ALP) prime minister

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China
Hard landing in 2015?

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Kazakhstan

Union and social movement leader, Esenbek Ukteshbaev, sees in New Year behind prison walls

www.socialistworld.net, 30/12/2010
website of the committee for a workers' international, CWI

‘Appeal’ hearing a travesty of justice

CWI Reporters, Alma-Aty, Kazakhstan

In the end-of-year holiday period, the self-styled ‘Leader of the Nation’ in Kazakhstan, President Nursultan Nazarbayev, announced a ‘referendum’ to approve the extension of his presidency. He hopes by the end of the holiday to experience no resistance to this measure.

At the same time, in a total travesty of ‘justice’, the workers’ leader, Esenbek Ukteshbaev, appears in court to appeal against a prison sentence that even the judge recognises as unjust!

Dozens of workers’ representatives and socialists, as well as trade union and political organisations from around the world, protested at the sentencing of Esen to 15 days detention for presenting a petition to the Mayor of Almaty (see previous report on socialistworld.net). More protests are needed now that Esen’s appeal has been refused (Please follow the same procedure to complain about Esen’s treatment as recommended before).

In the New Year, a renewed international campaign of solidarity will be conducted, including pickets and protests. Meanwhile we send solidarity to Esen’s family and comrades as the year 2011 begins.

Below is a translation of a report on the Socialist Resistance (CWI Kazakhstan) website, concerning the farcical process of Esen’s appeal, held last Tuesday.

We also carry below a protest letter sent by the CWI International Secretariat to the Kazakhstan authorities and to the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe, headed by Kazakhstan this year.

Socialistworld.net

Although the judge, Zhangazin Erbol, leading the trial of Esenbek Ukteshbaev, said several times that the law should not be enforced without question, practice has shown otherwise. After the appeal session on 28 December had started (late), and some discussion had taken place, the "court arbitrator" left the courtroom together with the prosecutor. They returned, again together, to announce the decision. As they say, comment here is superfluous.

To support their colleague and comrade, fellow activists from organisations participating in the opposition movement ‘Kazakhstan 2012’, began gathering as early as 10 am at the court house. Despite such an early hour, awaiting them were police and a special bus "for the particularly violent"! An employee of the Department of the Interior, Bakhyt Zhetibaev, warned Esen’s supporters that if there was a single ball or stone in anyone’s hand, "all possible measures" would be applied and that person would be convicted according to the strictest application of the law!

After keeping people more than an hour in the freezing cold, the "guardians of the law" deigned to announce that the court hearing was postponed to 17:00, expecting that, with the delay, the people who had gathered and journalists would not stay around and it would be possible to carry out their business in peace. But the sense of solidarity was higher than hunger, fatigue and cold, and, at the appointed time, even more people were there!

Just as they were bringing Esenbek to the court, his supporters began their solidarity action. They stood in a line and pulled out a balloon with the words "Freedom for Esen" written on it. They began chanting: "Freedom for Esenbek Ukteshbaev!”. As soon as the police pulled the protesters to one side, the activists released the balloon into the sky. “This balloon symbolises our wish that the judge changes his mind and releases from custody Esenbek Ukteshbaev, just as we released the balloon into the sky, so he can spend the New Year at home with his family”, commented Sulubike Dzhaksylykova, the co-chair of the campaign, ‘Leave the people their homes’.

After the ‘flash mobbing’, people formed a column, and went in an organised way to the courthouse, chanting along the way: "Freedom for Esen!”.

The trial itself took place "without a hitch, without any complication". After hearing all the arguments of the "accused", the judge conferred in a "secret room" with the prosecutor and the arbiter and decided to leave the verdict of the first hearing unchanged.

The process can be regarded as setting a precedent. It was demonstrated by the judge that, “The law under which Esenbek Ukteshbaev was convicted is imperfect, and this was officially confirmed by the president’s administration and the bill in question will be reviewed.

“Esen was wrongfully convicted because he was tried for holding an unsanctioned picket and a picket, as such, was not held, he simply handed in a petition to the Mayor of Almaty, after letting reporters know about it.

“A ban on picketing was unlawful because the person concerned had no right to refuse to authorise the action, and the response to an official request for permission to picket was made by the deputy Mayor, Seidumanov, against whom it was planned to picket.

“Esenbek was illegally detained and taken to court.”

The appeal court judge went on to say:

“The judge, who conducted the first trial was emotionally upset and negatively disposed towards the ‘accused’, as she was called to work during an official day off and, hence, doubts can be raised about her impartiality in the trial.”

Just to be even more convincing, Esenbek pleaded guilty "to a crime not committed"! He asked for the period of his detention to be reconsidered - to be for 10 days rather than 15 because the previous illegal detention amounted to 5 days. Therefore, logically he should have been given 10 days and not just the maximum term. But the court, agreeing with all the arguments, did not even trouble themselves to understand what was going on in the trial.

“We defend interests of the common people”

The question arises: if the court does not fulfill its functional responsibilities, then why is it needed? Would it not be correct to dissolve it? While this travesty of justice goes on, across Kazakhstan 15% budget reductions are being carried out.

Esenbek Ukteshbaev spoke to his friends and journalists before being returned to jail: “It was not worth expecting any different sentence; we just wanted to show the public who all these courts are serving. It is not worth the common man hoping for the truth in this system. This system only works for one person and the groups closest to him. But we cannot break these show judgements and arbitrariness. We defend not only our interests but those of the common people, and for that, I think we can suffer and put up with much greater persecution. They cannot break us with this; our comrades will continue the work. When I come out, I will similarly get back into carrying out my responsibilities. I want to say thank you to all who supported me and continue to support me, within Kazakhstan, as well as our comrades around the world”,

Since the appeal hearing, we are led to understand that a ‘nark’ or police informer has been put in the cell with Esenbek, to relay to the management everything he says. It is not excluded that a provocation will be carried out against Esen – some kind of frame-up - as has happened with other leaders in the opposition movement.

Committee for a Workers’ International Letter to Kazakhstan authorities/OSCE

Monday, 20 December

The Committee for a Workers’ International, with organisations in 47 countries, protests most strongly over the arrest of Esenbek Ukteshbayev, leader of the Independent Trade Union of Workers and Staff, on 19 December. We understand he has been summarily imprisoned for 15 days.

We understand that Esenbek was arrested for the “crime” of handing in a petition to the Akim (Mayor) of Almaty on Independence Day, with the demand that the Akim’s deputy, Serik Seiduman, should resign after practically calling for the elimination of all rural residents now living in the city. We understand that Esenbek was taken to court without any official papers, that he was held without charge and was refused the right to defence counsel.

Astonished by such a blatant travesty of justice, a supporter of Esenbek in court declared, “Have you lost your mind?” For this completely understandable reaction, she was immediately charged with “lack of respect for the court” and will be tried today, 20 December.

While Kazakhstan acts as the current head the OSCE – an organisation that claims to promote human and democratic rights – the Kazakh regime practices widespread intimidation and terror against opposition activists. It has even been reported that the police are under orders to start the “physical annihilation” of opposition activists.

We condemn this state terror and attempted intimidation of activists. We demand Esenbek Ukteshbayev’s immediate release and that all state repression against opposition activists ceases forthwith.

Until this action is taken, we will continue to organise protests and pickets against the repression of the Kazakhstan regime. We pledge to do our utmost to highlight Esenbek’s case to as many organisations and people as possible in our country and internationally.

Yours, Tony Saunois, Secretary, Committee for a Workers’ International



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NEWS

China: Slowest growth rate since 1990
25/01/2015, chinaworker.info reporters:
Economy decelerated 30 percent in five years

Northern Ireland: Water service workers win important victory
23/01/2015, Donal O’Cofaigh, Socialist Party, Fermanagh:
A victory for all workers and an inspiration to resist the ‘race to the bottom’

Sri Lanka: Mobilise now to defend our demands
22/01/2015, Tu Senan, International Coordinator of the Tamil Solidarity campaign:
Article first published in the Colombo Telegraph

US: Kshama Sawant gives socialist response to Obama’s "State of the Union" address
21/01/2015, Socialistworld.net, via socialistalternative.org:
"Why can’t Barack Obama say “Black Lives Matter”?"

Review: ‘Eleanor Marx - a life’
17/01/2015, Clare Doyle, CWI. Article published in the Socialist, paper of the Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales):
Clare Doyle reviews ’Eleanor Marx - A Life’ by Rachel Holmes

Video: Joe Higgins questions Irish Central Bank governor
16/01/2015, socialistworld.net:
Socialist MP grills establishment over banking bubble and collapse

Nigeria: 2015 general elections and the working masses
16/01/2015, Aj. Dagga Tolar and Kola Ibrahim, DSM (CWI in Nigeria):
Boko Haram and the war in the north-east

Video: Ruth Coppinger calls for referendum on abortion rights in Ireland
15/01/2015, socialistworld.net:
"You march in Paris, yet uphold laws any religious fundamentalist would envy"

Video: A year of struggle in Brazil
14/01/2015, socialistworld.net:
LSR members intervene in struggles of 2014

Sri Lanka: New but uncertain period opens up
14/01/2015, Clare Doyle, CWI:
President Sirisena aims for clean government but will face difficulties

Iran: Labour and children’s rights activist, Behnam Ebrahimzadeh, sentenced to another nine years
13/01/2015, Campaign in Support Workers of Iran:
International action needed to overturn latest conviction and to immediately release Behnam

France: Millions march for solidarity
12/01/2015, Gauche Revolutionnaire (CWI in France):
Unity against racism and capitalism!

New Zealand: Extreme poverty worsens
12/01/2015, CWI Reporters, NZ/Aotearoa:
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France: Counter terrorist threat with workers-led mass unity
10/01/2015, Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales) website editorial:
The shocking, cold blooded slaughter at Charlie Hebdo, and more killings in subsequent days, has been met with mass outrage

Norway: General strike called for 28 January
10/01/2015, Trond Sverre and Elise Kollveit (CWI, Oslo):
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Sri Lanka: Rajapaksa defeated
09/01/2015, TU Senan, CWI:
Period of uncertainty opens

Sweden: New elections cancelled
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“Peace deal” between government and right-wing opposition

France: Deadly attack on satirical paper Charlie Hebdo
08/01/2015, Gauche Revolutionnaire (CWI in France):
Defend freedom of speech! Don’t let us be divided!

Hong Kong: Politics transformed by ‘Umbrella Revolution’
07/01/2015, Editorial from Socialist magazine《社會主義者, of CWI in China and Hong Kong:
A fighting democratic movement must be created to continue and build upon this historic “first round”

Israel-Palestine: A successful Socialism conference in the shadow of national divide
06/01/2015, Or Dar, Socialist Struggle Movement, CWI in Israel-Palestine:
Over 150 people participated in the ‘Socialism Conference 2014’ in Tel Aviv, organised by the Socialist Struggle Movement (SSM - CWI in Israel-Palestine)

Environment: Market forces hold back renewable energy
01/01/2015, Pete Dickinson, Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales):
Have capitalist governments around the world finally woken up to the danger of global warming?

Britain: In defence of TUSC
30/12/2014, Clive Heemskerk, from Socialism Today, magazine of the Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales):
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China: Hard landing in 2015?
24/12/2014, Vincent Kolo, chinaworker.info:
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CWI Comment and Analysis

ANALYSIS

Greece: Syriza comes to power, as old ruling parties collapse
27/01/2015, Niall Mulholland, socialistworld.net, interviews Andros Payiatsos, from Xekinima (CWI Greece):
Left parties fail to form government - Syriza goes into coalition with populist right Independent Greeks

Cuba: Diplomatic relations with US restored, embargo eased
24/01/2015, Tony Saunois, CWI:
Threat of capitalist restoration accelerates

Russia/Ukraine: Facing a turbulent 2015
21/01/2015, Rob Jones, CWI, Moscow:
As death toll rises, economies plunge into freefall

Greece: Prospect of Syriza victory raises workers’ hopes
20/01/2015, Interview with Andros Payiatsos, from Xekinima (CWI in Greece):
Mass intervention of working class to struggle for socialist policies is vital

Nigeria: The Massacre in Baga
19/01/2015, H.T Soweto, DSM (CWI in Nigeria):
Socialism or Barbarism

Germany: What is behind the ‘PEGIDA’ anti-immigrant demonstrations?
13/01/2015, Wolfram Klein, Socialist Alternative (SAV- CWI Germany):
Unions and Left must organise against racism and for jobs and decent living standards for all

Greece: Towards a Syriza government?
08/01/2015, Interview with Andros Payiatsos, Xekinima (CWI in Greece):
General elections on 25 January

Northern Ireland: The Stormont House Agreement
05/01/2015, Michael Cleary, Socialist Party (CWI in Ireland):
Agreeing Not To Agree, Again

New Year: Political and economic ingredients for volatile 2015
31/12/2014, Peter Taaffe, General Secretary Socialist Party (CWI England & Wales):
As crisis of capitalism worsens, vital to organise and continue the struggle

Latin America: The end of one cycle and the beginning of another
17/12/2014, socialistworld.net:
Document on Latin America, agreed by CWI International Executive Committee

World Perspectives: A turbulent period in history
15/12/2014, CWI International Executive Committee:
Signs of revival of class struggle signposts the future

Sri Lanka: Presidential Election January 8, 2015
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Socialist candidate challenges all other forces

Australia: Major community victory stops Melbourne’s East-West Toll Road
08/12/2014, By Socialist Party (CWI Australia) reporters, Melbourne:
Socialist Party leads successful campaign against Toll Road and for investment in public transport

World Perspectives: A turbulent period in history
27/11/2014, International Secretariat of the CWI :
Signs of revival of class struggle signposts the future

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21/11/2014, Socialist Party (CWI in Ireland) reporters:
Government and Water Charges completely undermined

Israel-Palestine: Netanyahu threatens “heavy hand” response to synagogue attacks
19/11/2014, Yasha Marmer, Socialist Struggle Movement (SSM):
New rounds of repression answered by new wave of rage and protest

Ukraine: Competing ’elections’ deepen divisions
15/11/2014, Rob Jones, CWI Moscow:
Working people need socialist alternative to warring oligarchs and outside powers

Northern Ireland: 20 years after the ceasefires
10/11/2014, Ciaran Mulholland, Socialist Party (CWI in Ireland):
In 1994, the IRA and Loyalist paramilitaries called ceasefires. Four years later the Good Friday agreement was declared to mark the end of the ‘Troubles’…

Germany: 25 years since November 9
09/11/2014, By Robert Bechert, CWI, who was living in Berlin in 1989:
Berlin Wall brought down by mass revolutionary movement

Elections in Brazil
07/11/2014, Andre Ferrari, LSR (CWI in Brazil):
Narrow win for Dilma sets scene for more crisis and instability

Russia’s 1917 socialist revolution
07/11/2014, Clare Doyle, CWI:
November 7th anniversary of workers taking power

Ireland: Stunning Dublin by-election victory, huge water protests…new chapter for working class resistance
04/11/2014, Kevin McLoughlin, Socialist Party (CWI Ireland):
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Kurdistan: Battle for Kobanê at a crossroads
31/10/2014, Serge Jordan, CWI:
What does US military ‘assistance’ mean for the Kurdish struggle?

A ‘third industrial revolution’
28/10/2014, Peter Taaffe, general secretary of the Socialist Party (CWI England & Wales):
New technological innovations are having a huge impact on the capitalist system, a subject explored in a new book, The Zero Marginal Cost Society.

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50 years of socialist ideas and workers’ struggle