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latest news

Hong Kong
Massive anti-government protests after attempted police crackdown

30/09/2014: Anger over police violence fuels spontaneous “umbrella revolution” and growing strike movement

  Hong Kong

Britain
Labour to continue austerity offensive

26/09/2014: Labour conference a carefully stage-managed affair

  Britain

Ireland South
Is Sinn Féin a genuine left alternative?

25/09/2014: Seeking alliances with austerity parties

  Ireland Republic

Scotland
Independence referendum - A working-class revolt

24/09/2014: The referendum has turned British politics upside down – even though the No vote won

  Scotland

Britain
Capitalist parties in crisis after Scotland revolt

24/09/2014: Build a working class alternative

  Britain, Scotland

Greece
"This destruction of workers’ lives serves the bankers"

23/09/2014: “We must all keep going…we have no other way to survive than to fight-back”

  Greece

Iran
Petrochemical workers sentenced to jail and flogging

22/09/2014: Protest against Iranian government’s brutal sentences!

  Iran

 Environment
Video of Climate Summit meeting with Kshama Sawant

22/09/2014: Video of New York City Climate Summit meeting with Bernie Sanders, Kshama Sawant, Bill KcKibben, Naomi Klein, Chris Hedges

  Environment, US, Video

Scotland
1.6 million vote Yes in a working class revolt against austerity

19/09/2014: Urgent to build new mass party for the working class

  Scotland

Belgium
Right wing coalition aims for structural attack on workers

19/09/2014: Massive social resistance is looming

  Belgium

Northern Ireland
Ian Paisley - peace-maker or war-monger?

18/09/2014: A right-wing, sectarian demagogue who courted paramilitary violence

  Ireland Republic

Scotland
Independence referendum

18/09/2014: "Britain will never be the same again"

  Britain

Spain
Millions take to streets calling for Catalonia’s independence

18/09/2014: Only working class struggle can guarantee the right to decide and resist austerity

  Spain

Sweden
Conservative collapse, extreme-right gains

17/09/2014: CWI success, defended four council seats

  Sweden

Scotland
Thousands mobilise to oppose Project Terror in Scotland

17/09/2014: "You will not take this opportunity away from us"

  Scotland

US
Inequality and fight-back in the world’s richest country

16/09/2014: Socialist Alternative articulates political strategy to break from Democratic Party and capitalism

  US

 Video
John McInally on Scottish Independence

16/09/2014: John McInally, PCS national vice-president (personal capacity), adresses the issue of Scottish independence at a meeting of the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC)

  Video

Brazil
Will elections mark the end of the PT government?

15/09/2014: Space for Left alternative to win support

  Brazil

Asia-Pacific
Majority of Chinese expect war with Japan

13/09/2014: Warmongering governments ratchet-up national tensions in struggle for regional dominance

  Asia, Japan

Scotland
Defeat Project Terror with socialist policies

12/09/2014: Big business, politicians and media attack independence

  Scotland

US
building a movement to end poverty pay!

12/09/2014: Spreading and organising the movement for decent wages

  US

South Africa
Community protest over corruption widens

11/09/2014: Authorities deploy heavily armed response

  Africa, South Africa

Chile
The other ‘9/11’

11/09/2014: 1973 bloody coup against Popular Unity government

  Chile

Ukraine
Fragile ceasefire holds but country remains “a tinder box”

10/09/2014: Only united working class action can secure lasting peace

  Ukraine

Bosnia
Privatise to colonise

08/09/2014: How looting of the economy led to mass social protests

  Bosnia

West Africa
Ebola outbreak - a crisis of capitalism

08/09/2014: Profit drive obstructs treatment and prevention

  Africa

Scotland
10 days that can shake British capitalism to its foundations

08/09/2014: “In the past four weeks support for the union has drained away at an astonishing rate. The Yes campaign has not just invaded No territory; it has launched a blitzkrieg.”

  Scotland

Britain
Crisis brewing on all fronts

05/09/2014: The 2015 general election is a mere eight months away yet impossible to call. But what is clear is that none of the capitalist parties hold any real attraction for working class voters.

  Britain

Hong Kong
Occupy Central leader’s comments cast doubt over occupation plan

04/09/2014: After NPC ruling democracy activists are perplexed by Benny Tai Yiu-ting’s comments that the strategic part of struggle “should end”

  Hong Kong

 Iran
Support Behnam Ebrahimzadeh

04/09/2014: Support jailed labour activist’s demands against critical dentention conditions

  Iran, Solidarity

Scotland
Big swing to Yes leaves referendum vote on a knife edge

04/09/2014: Over 18,000 people have attended Hope Over Fear public meetings to hear socialist Tommy Sheridan.

  Scotland

Ukraine
Rebel forces gain territory

03/09/2014: International tensions escalate

  Ukraine

Beijing slams door shut on Hong Kong democracy

02/09/2014: Mass resistance against one-party dictatorship is the only way forward!

  Hong Kong

Egypt

Revolutionary masses move to overthrow Mubarak dictatorship

www.socialistworld.net, 28/01/2011
website of the committee for a workers' international, CWI

Regime deploys army on streets to try to crush mass movement

Niall Mulholland, CWI

Mass protests spread across Egypt following today’s Friday prayers, demanding an end to Hosni Mubarak’s 30-year presidency. Demonstrations took place in Alexandria, Suez, Mansoura, Sharqiya and Cairo. In many cases, clashes occured between protesters and police. Police deployed tear gas, rubber bullets and live ammunition. In areas like Alexandria and Suez, the movement reached insurrectionary proportions, with police and security forces retreating from parts of the cities in the face of mass resistance.

These are the largest protests since the ‘food riots’ in 1977, when the Sadat regime was forced to lower food prices, as well as stepping up repression. But today’s movement is on a much greater scale. It is an enormous popular revolt of revolutionary character.

Protests on Thursday saw demonstrators attempting to set fire to a local office of the ruling National Democratic Party. There were reports earlier this week of attempts by the protesters to fraternise with and to win over police. “Brothers! Brothers! How much do they pay you!” protesters said to police ranks in Cairo.

The protesters are showing enormous courage in confronting the might of the state machinery. In some cases, demonstrators are forcing the police to retreat. It is reported that protesters took over a police station in Alexandria and that the “police have now given up fighting the protesters. The police and protesters are now talking, with protesters bringing water and vinegar (for teargas) to the police” (Peter Bouckaert, Human Rights Watch, in Alexandria).

Events are moving at a dizzying speed, as the masses enter the stage of politics. The next hours and days are crucial and could see Mubarak overthrown. It remains to be seen if the state apparatus of repression can withstand the tidal wave of mass protest. The potential role of the army, on the streets or behind the scenes, is currently unclear. At the time of writing, it is reported that riot police in Alexandria were overwhelmed by protesters, who have armed themselves with police riot shields, and that police commanders have lost contact with their subordinates. In Suez, protesters seized police arms and broke into police vans. Two police stations were seized and prisoners released.

Police and army

Demonstrators instinctively made an appeal to the rank and file soldiers and police. Protesters in Cairo chanted slogans calling for the army to support them: "Where is the army? Come and see what the police is doing to us. We want the army. We want the army" An Al Jazerra reporter said protesters jumped and cheered beside an armoured army van, with the soldiers taking no action.

Socialists would add a class appeal to the rank and file army and police, who are mainly drawn from the working class and poor. This would include a call to create their own rank and file committees of action and to purge the officers and hierarchy, thereby fundamentally undermining and neutralising the security forces as a tool of repression for Mubarak.

If the disintegration or partial disintegration of the police seen in Alexandria and Suez today was to spread and be replicated across Egypt, the Mubarak regime would collapse. However, severely wounded by today’s extraordinary events on the streets, the Mubarak regime is now fighting to save its life and can unleash even greater savage repression. Mubarak called on the army to take control of security, indicating he has no confidence the police are capable of holding the line. Indeed, the police in Cairo were unable to quell the street protests.

The regime is attempting to crush the mass movement, imposing a curfew tonight, shutting down most of the internet and sending security forces to Al Jazeera local offices. The army are being deployed on the streets, including army tanks. Some sections of the demonstrators may see the army as potential saviours but this will quickly turn into its opposite should soldiers now be used to brutally prevent further opposition protests.

Events are unfolding fast, and as we publish it remains to be seen how the mass movement responds to these new developments. Will greater regime repression - the “whip of counter-revolution” - lead to even more protests and more steely determination by the masses to overthrow Mubarak? Will the army rank and file go over to the protesters? Or will the brute force of the state see the mass movement temporarily set back?

Even if Mubarak manages to hang on to power, for the moment, and brutally see off the street protests, today’s incredible events – a rising of the masses – means the regime is mortally wounded. Mubarak’s days in power are numbered, and it is no longer possible for the regime to continue to rule in the same old ways.

Today’s demonstrations mark the fourth consecutive day of protests in Egypt, which emulate the mass revolt in neighbouring Tunisia. So far, at least seven people have died in the unrest in Egypt and the police arrested thousands. A spokesperson for the opposition Muslim Brotherhood said that twenty members of his organisation were arrested on Thursday, including senior leaders.

The regime attempted to crack down on today’s planned demonstrations by blocking internet and mobile phone access. But before blocking the internet, activists were able to use social networking to call for protesters to go to mosques and churches today. The regime also warned that an ‘elite special counterterrorism force’ would be deployed at strategic points around Cairo.

This week’s desperate actions by the Mubarak regime shows it has long been losing its social base of support. Around 30% of Egypt’s 80 million-strong population is under 20 years old, with the average age of just 24 years. This week’s events amply illustrates that working people and youth have lost their fear of the regime. Veteran journalist, Robert Fisk, commented, “they are no longer afraid…Mubarak’s men seem to have lost all sense of initiative…the filth and the slums, the open sewers and the corruption of every government official, the bulging prisons, the laughable elections, the whole vast, sclerotic edifice of power has at last brought Egyptians on to their streets” (Independent, London, 28/01/11).

Muslim Brotherhood

The Muslim Brotherhood lagged behind the events of this week. Its leaders prevaricated over whether to support the movement or not. The Brotherhood then ran to catch up with the youth on the streets, attempting to take the initiative today and backing protests following Friday prayers. Protesters are heard chanting, “God is great!” leaving mosques after Friday prayers. Fisk comments that “This is not an Islamic uprising” warning, however, “though it could become one”. He adds, that for the moment “…it is just one mass of Egyptians stifled by decades of failure and humiliation”.

Although recent years have seen impressive strikes and the creation of several independent unions, so far the Egyptian working class has not entered the struggle as an independent organised mass force, stamping its authority on events and giving a clear class lead to overthrow the Mubarak regime. A general strike call now would get overwhelming backing and bring society to a standstill. Elected committees of mass struggle, in the workplaces, communities, schools and colleges, linked on a local, regional and national scale, could spearhead the resistance to Mubarak and form the basis of the rule of workers and the poor.

Workers need their own mass party, with a socialist programme to transform society. But in the absence of strong workers’ and left organisations to lead the mass social eruption, the Brotherhood will try to fill the leadership vacuum.

Also trying to fill the vacuum is Mohamed ElBaradei, who today warned Mubarak that his regime “is on its last legs”. Stung by criticism that he returned to Egypt days after the protests began, ElBaradei stressed his “solidarity” with the protesters.

El-Baradei, leader of the National Alliance for Change, like the Muslim Brotherhood leadership, is belatedly trying to channel the mass movement under his ‘control’.

ElBaradei offered himself to help lead a “transitional government” and warned that "If the international community does not speak out it will have a lot of implications…”

Indeed, US imperialism is extremely concerned at these developments. For decades, the US and other Western imperialist powers backed their ally Mubarak. Now concerned that about where the mass movement will lead, President Obama hypocritically calls on Mubarak to “make changes to the political system”. Mubarak has been a slavish follower of US policy in the region, including acting as prison guard over Palestinians in the Gaza Strip and as an ally against Iran. If Mubarak’s regime was to fall, US imperialist policy in the region could unravel and enter unchartered waters.

With Mubarak’s brutal repression, so far, failing to stop mass protests, imperialism and the Egyptian ruling class may be forced to remove Mubarak and make other changes at the top, to safeguard the future of the ruling elite in Egypt and a vital US ally in the region. They are terrified that Mubarak’s regime would collapse completely, possibly leaving the way open for the Muslim Brotherhood to fill the vacuum. The Tehran regime today provocatively commented that the mass movement in Egypt has “echoes” of the 1979 revolution in Iran that eventually led to the coming of power of the Mullahs.

Regime change?

The removal of Mubarak would be a great success for the mass movement on the streets. But Egyptian workers and youth can have no faith in any ‘national unity’ or ‘national salvation’ government, which would most likely involve remnants of the Mubarak regime and would be dominated by other pro-bourgeois ‘opposition’ forces. It is not even ruled out that attempts will be made to incorporate into a new regime the Muslim Brotherhood (or parts of it), whose leaders have long shown their willingness to compromise and accommodate. It claims its brand of political Islam is ‘moderate’. But as seen in the case of Tunisia, this sort of ‘regime change’ will not meet the needs and demands of the masses.

The Tunisian revolutionary movement is spreading across the Arabic world, from Yemen to Jordan and now most spectacularly to Egypt. Every rotten regime in the region is threatened, sooner or later, with mass street protests and their removal. The working masses have shown their power and blown away the notion that they will not fight back. The mass movements sweeping North Africa and the Middle East are a huge inspiration to working people and youth around the world and, quite rightly, a major concern for the ruling classes everywhere.

The CWI calls for:

End police repression and brutality – For international solidarity with the Egyptian masses

For mass workers’ action, including a general strike, to overthrow Mubarak and the whole rotten, brutal regime

For full democratic rights immediately, including the right to assemble, to strike and to organize democratic independent trade unions

For the creation of democratically elected committees of mass struggle, and defence against state repression, in the workplaces, communities, schools and colleges, linked on local, regional and national scale, to spearhead the resistance

For rank and file committees of police and soldiers - Side with the masses & purge the officers and hierarchy

No to sectarianism – For the unity of all workers across religious lines

No trust in any new ‘national unity’ regime based on the interests of the ruling class and imperialism

For immediate and free elections to a revolutionary democratic constituent assembly - For a majority workers’ and rural workers’ government

For a living minimum wage, guaranteed jobs, a massive programme of house building, education and health

End the Egyptian blockade of Gaza – For self-determination for Palestine and for workers’ unity and mass action to overthrow dictators across the region

For the nationalisation of Egypt’s big corporations, the banks and large estates and their democratic planning to meet the needs of the masses not an elite

For a socialist Egypt and a socialist confederation of the region, on an equal and voluntary basis



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NEWS

Britain: Labour to continue austerity offensive
26/09/2014, Matt Gordon, from the Socialist (weekly paper of the Socialist Party - CWI England & Wales):
Labour conference a carefully stage-managed affair

Ireland South: Is Sinn Féin a genuine left alternative?
25/09/2014, Conor Payne, Socialist Party (CWI Ireland), Cork:
Seeking alliances with austerity parties

Britain: Capitalist parties in crisis after Scotland revolt
24/09/2014, Editorial from the Socialist (issue 826), weekly newspaper of the Socialist Party (CWI England & Wales):
Build a working class alternative

Iran: Petrochemical workers sentenced to jail and flogging
22/09/2014, Appeal from Campaign in Support of Iranian Workers’:
Protest against Iranian government’s brutal sentences!

Environment: Video of Climate Summit meeting with Kshama Sawant
22/09/2014, Video from The Real News:
Video of New York City Climate Summit meeting with Bernie Sanders, Kshama Sawant, Bill KcKibben, Naomi Klein, Chris Hedges

Scotland: 1.6 million vote Yes in a working class revolt against austerity
19/09/2014, Philip Stott, Socialist Party Scotland (CWI in Scotland):
Urgent to build new mass party for the working class

Northern Ireland: Ian Paisley - peace-maker or war-monger?
18/09/2014, Michael Cleary, Socialist Party (CWI Ireland), Belfast:
A right-wing, sectarian demagogue who courted paramilitary violence

Scotland: Independence referendum
18/09/2014, Editorial of the Socialist, newspaper of the Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales):
"Britain will never be the same again"

Spain: Millions take to streets calling for Catalonia’s independence
18/09/2014, Rob MacDonald, Socialismo Revolucionario (CWI in Spain) Barcelona:
Only working class struggle can guarantee the right to decide and resist austerity

Scotland: Thousands mobilise to oppose Project Terror in Scotland
17/09/2014, Matt Dobson, Socialist Party Scotland (CWI Scotland):
"You will not take this opportunity away from us"

Video: John McInally on Scottish Independence
16/09/2014, Socialistworld.net:
John McInally, PCS national vice-president (personal capacity), adresses the issue of Scottish independence at a meeting of the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC)

Belgium: First school student protest against cuts in education
15/09/2014, Jeroen Demuynck, PSL-LSP (CWI in Belgium):
Anger against austerity growing

Asia-Pacific: Majority of Chinese expect war with Japan
13/09/2014, Dikang, chinaworker.info:
Warmongering governments ratchet-up national tensions in struggle for regional dominance

Scotland: Defeat Project Terror with socialist policies
12/09/2014, Philip Stott, Socialist Party Scotland (CWI):
Big business, politicians and media attack independence

US: building a movement to end poverty pay!
12/09/2014, Geoff Jones, Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales) and Ty Moore, Socialist Alternative (CWI in the US):
Spreading and organising the movement for decent wages

South Africa: Community protest over corruption widens
11/09/2014, WASP reporters:
Authorities deploy heavily armed response

Chile: The other ‘9/11’
11/09/2014, Tony Saunois, CWI (first published on socialistworld.net, September 2011):
1973 bloody coup against Popular Unity government

Sri Lanka:Veteran trade union leader dies
09/09/2014, United Socialist Party:

Bosnia: Privatise to colonise
08/09/2014, Sonja Grusch, Socialist Left Party (CWI Austria):
How looting of the economy led to mass social protests

West Africa: Ebola outbreak - a crisis of capitalism
08/09/2014, Peluola Adewale, Democratic Socialist Movement (CWI Nigeria):
Profit drive obstructs treatment and prevention

Hong Kong: Occupy Central leader’s comments cast doubt over occupation plan
04/09/2014, Reporters of Socialist Action (CWI Hong Kong):
After NPC ruling democracy activists are perplexed by Benny Tai Yiu-ting’s comments that the strategic part of struggle “should end”

Iran: Support Behnam Ebrahimzadeh
04/09/2014, Campaign in Support of Workers of Iran:
Support jailed labour activist’s demands against critical dentention conditions

Scotland: Big swing to Yes leaves referendum vote on a knife edge
04/09/2014, Matt Dobson, Socialist Party Scotland (CWI in Scotland):
Over 18,000 people have attended Hope Over Fear public meetings to hear socialist Tommy Sheridan.

Ukraine: Rebel forces gain territory
03/09/2014, Niall Mulholland, CWI:
International tensions escalate

Video: Revolution and counter-revolution in the world today
01/09/2014, Socialistworld.net:
Hannah Sell, deputy general secretary of the Socialist Party (CWI in England and Wales) speaking at recent summer camp

France: Economic stagnation and political instability
29/08/2014, Leila Massaoudi, Gauche Revolutionnaire (CWI in France):
Hollande removes ‘lefts’ from government

CWI Comment and Analysis

ANALYSIS

Hong Kong: Massive anti-government protests after attempted police crackdown
30/09/2014, Vincent Kolo, chinaworker.info:
Anger over police violence fuels spontaneous “umbrella revolution” and growing strike movement

Scotland: Independence referendum - A working-class revolt
24/09/2014, Peter Taaffe, General Secretary, Socialist Party (CWI England & Wales):
The referendum has turned British politics upside down – even though the No vote won

Greece: "This destruction of workers’ lives serves the bankers"
23/09/2014, Speech by Apostolis Kasimeriss, an Athens bus driver, to Italian socialists:
“We must all keep going…we have no other way to survive than to fight-back”

Belgium: Right wing coalition aims for structural attack on workers
19/09/2014, Eric Byl, LSP/PSL (Belgian section of the CWI), Brussels:
Massive social resistance is looming

Sweden: Conservative collapse, extreme-right gains
17/09/2014, Per Olsson, from Offensiv (newspaper of the Rättvisepartiet Socialisterna - CWI Sweden):
CWI success, defended four council seats

US: Inequality and fight-back in the world’s richest country
16/09/2014, Peter Taaffe, General Secretary, Socialist Party (CWI England & Wales):
Socialist Alternative articulates political strategy to break from Democratic Party and capitalism

Brazil: Will elections mark the end of the PT government?
15/09/2014, Andre Ferrari, LSR (CWI in Brazil):
Space for Left alternative to win support

Ukraine: Fragile ceasefire holds but country remains “a tinder box”
10/09/2014, Rob Jones, CWI, Moscow:
Only united working class action can secure lasting peace

Scotland: 10 days that can shake British capitalism to its foundations
08/09/2014, Philip Stott, Socialist Party Scotland (CWI in Scotland):
“In the past four weeks support for the union has drained away at an astonishing rate. The Yes campaign has not just invaded No territory; it has launched a blitzkrieg.”

Britain: Crisis brewing on all fronts
05/09/2014, Hannah Sell, deputy general secretary of the Socialist Party (CWI in England and Wales):
The 2015 general election is a mere eight months away yet impossible to call. But what is clear is that none of the capitalist parties hold any real attraction for working class voters.

Beijing slams door shut on Hong Kong democracy
02/09/2014, Statement by Socialist Action (CWI Hong Kong):
Mass resistance against one-party dictatorship is the only way forward!

Iraq: Only united action can stop sectarian war
16/08/2014, Robert Bechert, CWI:
Iraqis and Kurds must not trust imperialist ‘helpers’

Socialism and national rights
15/08/2014, From Socialism Today No.181, September 2014 by Peter Taaffe, General Secretary of Socialist Party (England and Wales), CWI Secretariat:
Ukraine, Israel/Palestine and other countries

Ukraine: Crisis deepens
09/08/2014, Clare Doyle, CWI Secretariat:
Military conflict escalates

CWI School: World capitalism fails working people
07/08/2014, Kevin Parslow, Socialist Party (CWI England & Wales):
System offers economic crisis, insecurity, poverty and wars

Israel/Palestine: After weeks of mass slaughter in Gaza, IDF forces ‘withdraw’
06/08/2014, Niall Mulholland, from articles in this week’s Socialist (paper of the Socialist Party, England & Wales):
What is the role of imperialism in the conflict?

CWI Summer School: European capitalism fails to recover
02/08/2014, Sarah Sachs-Eldridge, Socialist Party (CWI England & Wales):
Working class must organise for future struggles

Gaza in crisis
29/07/2014, Shahar Benhorin, Socialist Struggle Movement (CWI in Israel-Palestine):
Mass action needed to stop bloodshed

Trotsky: The first year of war
23/07/2014, Originally published in in special WWI edition of Socialism Today, magazine of the Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales):
Article by LEON TROTSKY translated into English for first time

WW1: The Bolsheviks and the war
21/07/2014, Peter Taaffe, article originally published in special WWI edition of Socialism Today, magazine of the Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales):
The horrors of the first world war, and the economic and social turmoil it created, led to mass upheaval. In Russia alone did this lead to a successful revolution…

1914: The capitulation of the Second International
19/07/2014, Robert Bechert (a longer version of an article published in the July/August 2014 issue of Socialism Today):
Before 1914, the Second International resolved to act to prevent war…

World War One: 100 years since the great slaughter
16/07/2014, Tony Saunois, article originally published in special WWI edition of Socialism Today, magazine of the Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales):
Ten million killed and more than ten million seriously injured

Israel-Palestine:World outraged by Israeli State’s ferocious bombing of Gaza
15/07/2014, Judy Beishon, from The Socialist (weekly newspaper of the Socialist Party – CWI England & Wales):
Mass action needed to end the slaughter and blockade!

Can capitalism put all of us first?
05/07/2014, By Philip Stott:
A response to the “practical idealism” of the Common Weal

Argentina: Return to turmoil
01/07/2014, Danny Byrne, CWI:
Debt crisis is back – the class struggle and tasks for the Left