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latest news

China
Labour disputes soar

17/04/2014: 40,000 workers paralyse world’s largest sports shoe maker

  China

Greece
International anti-fascist conference “No pasaran!”

16/04/2014: Four thousand attend three-day event in Athens

  Greece

South Africa
Enthusiastic response for WASP ahead of May elections

15/04/2014: WASP campaigning material available on pdf

  South Africa

India
Massive election process could end in turmoil

14/04/2014: New party expresses, but cannot solve, major discontents

  India

Cyprus
Austerity sees living standards fall back 40 years

11/04/2014: One year of the right wing Anastasiades government

  Cyprus

 Iranian nuclear talks
Hypocrisy abounds

10/04/2014: Paul Murphy MEP

  Video

Britain
Dave Nellist on BBC outlining TUSC’s socialist policies

10/04/2014: Trade union and socialist coalition (TUSC) candidate count reaches 476 for May local election

  Britain

Taiwan
Occupation of parliament ends after 23 days

10/04/2014: What are the lessons of the island’s ‘sunflower movement’?

  Taiwan

Hungary
Election highlights lack of Left challenge

09/04/2014: Declining vote for ruling Fidész party; neo-fascist Jobbik picks up 20% as false ‘alternative’

  Hungary

Environment
Ukraine crisis exploited by multinational fracking lobby

09/04/2014: Oppose the pro-big business EU/ US Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership!

  Environment, Ukraine

Belgium
50,000 join ETUC Brussels demonstration

08/04/2014: Protesters’ radical mood

  Belgium

Britain
One in ten council seats will have TUSC candidate

07/04/2014: No-cuts election challenge grows

  Britain

Review
Net political impact

06/04/2014: To Save Everything, Click Here • By Evgeny Morozov •

  Review

Belgium
The rise of the PTB/PvdA

05/04/2014: Recent polls confirm a probable electoral breakthrough for the Workers’ Party of Belgium (PTB/PvdA).

  Belgium

Ivory Coast
First victory for students at University of Cocody

04/04/2014: An important step to push the struggle against neo-liberal policies further

  Ivory Coast

Canada
Port of Vancouver truckers’ strike wins significant gains

03/04/2014: After bosses’ seen off - unions must defend their right to strike!

  Canada

France
Government punished in local elections

02/04/2014: Far right gains highlight need for strong fighting left opposition

  France

Nepal
Turning back the wheel of history

01/04/2014: Second constituent assembly election – a shift to the right

  Nepal

South Africa
WASP manifesto launch success!

01/04/2014: On Saturday 29 March the Workers and Socialist Party launched its 2014 election manifesto at a rally in Katlehong, Gauteng

  Africa, South Africa

Taiwan
Half a million on the streets against President Ma

31/03/2014: Demonstrators call for trade pact to be withdrawn and for president to step down

  Taiwan

US
Winning $15 an hour in Seattle

31/03/2014: A socialist strategy

  US

Netherlands
Socialist Party local election gains

31/03/2014: Vote for SP can be the basis for a mass struggle against cuts

  Netherlands

 Video
Hypocrisy of Irish Govt & EU on Ukraine

29/03/2014: Joe Higgins, Socialist Party (CWI MP) speaks in Irish parliament

  Ukraine, Video

 Sweden
New political winds affect CWI Congress

28/03/2014: Optimistic Rättvisepartiet Socialisterna prepares for elections

  CWI, Sweden

No to the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership!

28/03/2014: Anti-democratic agreement seeks to increase corporate domination of politics

Portugal
Thousands of police and military march in Lisbon

27/03/2014: Reflection of the government’s intrinsic weakness

  Portugal

Spain
A million march for dignity in Madrid

26/03/2014: 22M: A before and after moment for the class struggle

  Spain

Taiwan
Ma government rocked by mass protests and occupation of parliament

26/03/2014: Down with undemocratic Kuomintang rule – for a Taiwan-wide student strike as the next step!

  Taiwan

Bosnia-Herzegovina
Mass protests - The first flowers of spring

26/03/2014: What programme should the Left advocate?

  Bosnia

Sudan
Has al-Bashir survived mass protests?

25/03/2014: Removal of hated regime not enough; crises of poverty and oppression due to grip of capitalism

  Sudan

Britain
After Bob Crow and Tony Benn

24/03/2014: Mourn the loss, fight for the future

  Britain

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

China: Labour disputes soar
17/04/2014, chinaworker.info reporters:
40,000 workers paralyse world’s largest sports shoe maker

Nigeria: Bomb explosions in Abuja - more evidence of the failure of capitalist government
16/04/2014, Segun Sango, Socialist Party Nigeria National Chairperson:
For democratic self-defence committees

Greece: International anti-fascist conference “No pasaran!”
16/04/2014, Sebastian Forster (CWI Germany) and Elin Gauffin (CWI Sweden):
Four thousand attend three-day event in Athens

South Africa: Enthusiastic response for WASP ahead of May elections
15/04/2014, Socialistworld.net:
WASP campaigning material available on pdf

India: Massive election process could end in turmoil
14/04/2014, Clare Doyle (CWI international Secretariat):
New party expresses, but cannot solve, major discontents

Cyprus: Austerity sees living standards fall back 40 years
11/04/2014, Athina Kariati, New Internationalist Left (CWI in Cyprus):
One year of the right wing Anastasiades government

Iranian nuclear talks: Hypocrisy abounds
10/04/2014, :
Paul Murphy MEP

Britain: Dave Nellist on BBC outlining TUSC’s socialist policies
10/04/2014, :
Trade union and socialist coalition (TUSC) candidate count reaches 476 for May local election

Hungary: Election highlights lack of Left challenge
09/04/2014, Sonja Grusch and Tilman M. Ruster:
Declining vote for ruling Fidész party; neo-fascist Jobbik picks up 20% as false ‘alternative’

Environment: Ukraine crisis exploited by multinational fracking lobby
09/04/2014, Paul Murphy, Socialist Party MEP, and Tanja Niemeier:
Oppose the pro-big business EU/ US Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership!

Belgium: 50,000 join ETUC Brussels demonstration
08/04/2014, Eric Byl, General Secretary, Linkse Socialistiche Partij / Parti Socialiste de Lutte (PSL/LSP):
Protesters’ radical mood

Review: Net political impact
06/04/2014, Ben Robinson, Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales) published in Socialism Today:
To Save Everything, Click Here • By Evgeny Morozov •

Ivory Coast: First victory for students at University of Cocody
04/04/2014, CWI in Ivory Coast:
An important step to push the struggle against neo-liberal policies further

Canada: Port of Vancouver truckers’ strike wins significant gains
03/04/2014, Socialist Alternative Reporter, Vancouver:
After bosses’ seen off - unions must defend their right to strike!

France: Government punished in local elections
02/04/2014, Gauche Revolutionnaire (CWI in France) reporters:
Far right gains highlight need for strong fighting left opposition

South Africa: WASP manifesto launch success!
01/04/2014, Workers’ and Socialist Party (WASP):
On Saturday 29 March the Workers and Socialist Party launched its 2014 election manifesto at a rally in Katlehong, Gauteng

Taiwan: Half a million on the streets against President Ma
31/03/2014, CWI reporters in Taipei:
Demonstrators call for trade pact to be withdrawn and for president to step down

Netherlands: Socialist Party local election gains
31/03/2014, Pieter Brans, Amsterdam:
Vote for SP can be the basis for a mass struggle against cuts

Video: Hypocrisy of Irish Govt & EU on Ukraine
29/03/2014, socialistworld.net:
Joe Higgins, Socialist Party (CWI MP) speaks in Irish parliament

Sweden: New political winds affect CWI Congress
28/03/2014, Rättvisepartiet Socialisterna Reporters:
Optimistic Rättvisepartiet Socialisterna prepares for elections

No to the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership!
28/03/2014, Vladimir Bortun, Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales):
Anti-democratic agreement seeks to increase corporate domination of politics

Portugal: Thousands of police and military march in Lisbon
27/03/2014, Jose David Gregorio, Socialismo Revolucionario (CWI in Portugal):
Reflection of the government’s intrinsic weakness

CWI Comment and Analysis

ANALYSIS

Taiwan: Occupation of parliament ends after 23 days
10/04/2014, Interview with Sally Tang Mei-ching, CWI participant in Taipei protests:
What are the lessons of the island’s ‘sunflower movement’?

Belgium: The rise of the PTB/PvdA
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Recent polls confirm a probable electoral breakthrough for the Workers’ Party of Belgium (PTB/PvdA).

Nepal: Turning back the wheel of history
01/04/2014, Senan, CWI:
Second constituent assembly election – a shift to the right

US: Winning $15 an hour in Seattle
31/03/2014, Patrick Ayers, Socialist Alternative, USA:
A socialist strategy

Spain: A million march for dignity in Madrid
26/03/2014, Angel Morano, Socialismo Revolucionario (CWI in Spain):
22M: A before and after moment for the class struggle

Taiwan: Ma government rocked by mass protests and occupation of parliament
26/03/2014, Sally Tang Mei-ching in Taipei and Vincent Kolo:
Down with undemocratic Kuomintang rule – for a Taiwan-wide student strike as the next step!

Bosnia-Herzegovina: Mass protests - The first flowers of spring
26/03/2014, Sonja Grusch, Socialist Left Party (CWI in Austria):
What programme should the Left advocate?

Britain: After Bob Crow and Tony Benn
24/03/2014, Peter Taaffe, from Socialism Today (No.177, April 2014), monthly magazine of the Socialist Party (CWI England & Wales):
Mourn the loss, fight for the future

Scotland: Unions and the socialist case for independence
23/03/2014, John McInally, national vice-president of the Public and Commercial Services union (personal capacity):
Aruging a independent, working class position

Ukraine: Crimea breaks away to join Russia
18/03/2014, Niall Mulholland, CWI:
Tensions between powers worsen

Australia: Socialist Party playing key role in fight against East-West tunnel
13/03/2014, Mel Gregson and Stephen Jolly, Socialist Party (CWI in Australia), Melbourne:
Campaign brings public transport to forefront of political debate

Bosnia Herzegovina: Mass protests of working people and youth show the way forward
13/03/2014, CWI Leaflet text:
Working people stir to end poverty, joblessness, corruption and ethnic divisions!

Socialist perspectives for Aotearoa / New Zealand
09/03/2014, CWI Aotearoa / New Zealand:
The world and New Zealand in crisis

International Women’s Day 2014
07/03/2014, Clare Doyle (Committee for a Workers’ International):
Fighting austerity and oppression world-wide

Venezuela: A year after Chavez’s death
06/03/2014, By Gabriela Sanchez (CWI Venezuela).:
Commemorations in context of new crisis

Ukraine: Russian troops take up positions throughout Crimea
04/03/2014, CWI Reporters:
Tensions deepen between Western powers and Moscow

Greece: Still in the eye of the storm
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From the outside, it can appear there’s a certain pause in the struggle in Greece. Is this true?

Ukraine: Bloodshed in Kiev
19/02/2014, Rob Jones, from Socialism Today (March edition, No.176):
What lies behind the Ukraine crisis?

Venezuela: An analysis of 12F
19/02/2014, By Gabriela Sanchez- SR Venezuela:
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Pakistan: Negotiating peace
18/02/2014, Khalid Bhatti, SNP Lahore:
Government/Taliban talks begin - But where will they go?

South Africa: The end of Cosatu?
17/02/2014, WASP (Workers and Socialist Party) Reporters, S Africa:
Time for a new socialist trade union federation

Greece: The fascist threat
08/02/2014, Christina Ziakka, Xekinima (CWI Greece) - translated by Amalia Loizidou. First published in Socialism Today:
Deep economic crisis, savage austerity and social upheaval have polarised Greek society.

South Africa: After NUMSA’s Congress
04/02/2014, Workers And Socialist Party (WASP) statement:
Seize the historic opportunity of the 2014 elections

Tunisia: Three years on since the fall of Ben Ali
30/01/2014, Serge Jordan and CWI supporters in Tunis:
New ‘technocratic’ government no response to workers’ demands

Thailand: Prolonged political crisis
27/01/2014, Ravichandran, CWI Malaysia:
Working class and rural poor need party of their own