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latest news

Britain
Right wing, populist UKIP wins second Parliament seat

26/11/2014: Labour’s pro-austerity ‘opposition’ no alternative

  Britain

South Africa
Metalworkers’ union expelled from COSATU

25/11/2014: Rebuild the trade union movement on socialist principles!

  Africa, South Africa

Catalonia
9 November “consultation” on independence

22/11/2014: Another show of strength for independence - fight for a Socialist Catalonia

  Spain

Greece
Workers’ victory at Diamant telesales company

21/11/2014: Xekinima (CWI) member wins key union position in Athens Municipality sector

  Greece

Israel-Palestine
Netanyahu threatens “heavy hand” response to synagogue attacks

19/11/2014: New rounds of repression answered by new wave of rage and protest

  Israel / Palestine

US
Mid-term elections do not mean a turn to the right in society

19/11/2014: Big Gains for Republicans while Voters Support Progressive Ballot Measures

  US

 Video
Socialist TD defends anti-water charges protests

18/11/2014: Ruth Coppinger, Socialist Party TD (MP) appears on ‘Prime Time’

  Ireland Republic, Video

Vital lessons of Hong Kong’s ‘Umbrella Revolution’

18/11/2014: Mass struggle needs genuine internal democracy and fighting working class programme to defeat dictatorship

  Hong Kong

 Video
Water tax revolt continues in Ireland

17/11/2014: Tanaiste (Deputy PM) trapped by protestors; AAA TD (MP) and Socialist Party member, Paul Murphy, assaulted

  Ireland Republic, Video

Indonesia
"New Hope" president faces intense pressures

16/11/2014: Initiative to build mass party of working class and rural poor urgently needed

  Indonesia

Ukraine
Competing ’elections’ deepen divisions

15/11/2014: Working people need socialist alternative to warring oligarchs and outside powers

  Ukraine

Scotland
SNP government announces £500 million cuts

14/11/2014: Majority of ‘Yes’ voters want end to austerity - anti-cuts candidates needed!

  Scotland

Afghanistan
British combat troops pull out

13/11/2014: A legacy of death and destruction

  Afghanistan, Britain, US

 Germany
Highly politicised train drivers’ strike

12/11/2014: Last week German train drivers and on-board staff went on strike for four days, shaking and polarising the country

  Germany, Solidarity

Greece
Mayors refuse to make job cuts

12/11/2014: Lefts, local authority workers and communities’ united can resist Troika’s policies

  Greece

Britain
Over 1,000 attend largest ever ‘Socialism’ event

11/11/2014: Socialism 2014 - infused with contagious confidence

  Britain

Belgium
Massive demonstration in Brussels

10/11/2014: Shows anger against austerity

  Belgium

Northern Ireland
20 years after the ceasefires

10/11/2014: 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’…

  Ireland Republic

Review
Environmental disaster and the need to change everything

09/11/2014: “This Changes Everything: capitalism vs the climate”, by Naomi Klein

  Environment, Review

Germany
25 years since November 9

09/11/2014: Berlin Wall brought down by mass revolutionary movement

  Germany

Canada
Right wing wins Toronto Mayoral election

08/11/2014: NDP increasingly irrelevant to needs of workers, immigrants and youth

  Canada

Elections in Brazil

07/11/2014: Narrow win for Dilma sets scene for more crisis and instability

  Brazil

Russia’s 1917 socialist revolution

07/11/2014: November 7th anniversary of workers taking power

  Russia

Europe
Anti-fascist demonstrations set for 8-9 November

06/11/2014: Movement of workers and youth needed against racism and fascism

  Europe, Greece, Sweden

Canada
Ottawa ‘locked-down’ after Parliament gun attack

05/11/2014: Tory government whips-up terrorist fears to boost Canada’s imperialist role

  Canada

Ireland
Stunning Dublin by-election victory, huge water protests…new chapter for working class resistance

04/11/2014: How the Anti Austerity Alliance won a parliamentary seat and the way forward for the Left

  Ireland Republic

Book review
The Jihadis Return

04/11/2014: Isis and the new Sunni uprising, by Patrick Cockburn

  Middle East, Review

South Africa
Metal workers’ union clashes with Congress of South African Trade Unions

03/11/2014: For political and class independence - Struggle, solidarity and socialism!

  South Africa

Britain
Come to Socialism 2014

03/11/2014: Weekend of discussion & debate hosted by the Socialist Party – London 8-9 November

  Britain

  Ireland
’Abortion Pill Train’ video

02/11/2014: Pro-choice ROSA campaigners swallow abortion pills after rail journey

  Ireland Republic, Video, Women

Italy
Renzi government faces mounting opposition

01/11/2014: A one-day strike of all workers is needed

  Italy

Burkina Faso
Mass uprising ousts dictator

31/10/2014: No to military rule! Continue mass struggle – the whole rotten system must go!

  Burkina Faso

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



Europe

 video

Video: Joe Higgins denounces Irish government’s water charge trickery, 20/11/2014

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NEWS

Britain: Right wing, populist UKIP wins second Parliament seat
26/11/2014, Editorial from The Socialist, weekly paper of the Socialist Party (England & Wales):
Labour’s pro-austerity ‘opposition’ no alternative

South Africa: Metalworkers’ union expelled from COSATU
25/11/2014, WASP Reporters:
Rebuild the trade union movement on socialist principles!

Catalonia: 9 November “consultation” on independence
22/11/2014, Rob MacDonald Socialismo Revolucionario (CWI in Spain) Barcelona:
Another show of strength for independence - fight for a Socialist Catalonia

Greece: Workers’ victory at Diamant telesales company
21/11/2014, Xekinima Reporters:
Xekinima (CWI) member wins key union position in Athens Municipality sector

Video: Joe Higgins denounces Irish government’s water charge trickery
20/11/2014, socialistworld.net:
Mass boycott will defeat water charges

US: Mid-term elections do not mean a turn to the right in society
19/11/2014, Tom Crean, Socialist Alternative:
Big Gains for Republicans while Voters Support Progressive Ballot Measures

Video: Socialist TD defends anti-water charges protests
18/11/2014, socialistworld.net:
Ruth Coppinger, Socialist Party TD (MP) appears on ‘Prime Time’

Venezuela: Scarcity and speculation - whose fault is it?
18/11/2014, Gabriela Sánchez. Socialismo Revolucionario (CWI in Venezuela):
Who is sabotaging who?

Vital lessons of Hong Kong’s ‘Umbrella Revolution’
18/11/2014, chinaworker.info:
Mass struggle needs genuine internal democracy and fighting working class programme to defeat dictatorship

Video: Water tax revolt continues in Ireland
17/11/2014, socialistworld.net:
Tanaiste (Deputy PM) trapped by protestors; AAA TD (MP) and Socialist Party member, Paul Murphy, assaulted

Indonesia: "New Hope" president faces intense pressures
16/11/2014, Iyan, CWI Malaysia:
Initiative to build mass party of working class and rural poor urgently needed

Scotland: SNP government announces £500 million cuts
14/11/2014, Philip Stott, Socialist Party Scotland (CWI):
Majority of ‘Yes’ voters want end to austerity - anti-cuts candidates needed!

Afghanistan: British combat troops pull out
13/11/2014, Niall Mulholland, from The Socialist (weekly paper of the Socialist Party – CWI England & Wales):
A legacy of death and destruction

Germany: Highly politicised train drivers’ strike
12/11/2014, Sascha Stanicic, Socialist Alternative (CWI in Germany):
Last week German train drivers and on-board staff went on strike for four days, shaking and polarising the country

Greece: Mayors refuse to make job cuts
12/11/2014, Eleni Mitsou, Xekinima (CWI Greece):
Lefts, local authority workers and communities’ united can resist Troika’s policies

Britain: Over 1,000 attend largest ever ‘Socialism’ event
11/11/2014, Sarah Sachs Eldridge, Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales):
Socialism 2014 - infused with contagious confidence

Belgium: Massive demonstration in Brussels
10/11/2014, Geert Cool, LSP/PSL (CWI in Belgium):
Shows anger against austerity

Review: Environmental disaster and the need to change everything
09/11/2014, Bill Hopwood, from the November 2014 edition of Socialism Today:
“This Changes Everything: capitalism vs the climate”, by Naomi Klein

Canada: Right wing wins Toronto Mayoral election
08/11/2014, Socialist Alternative Toronto:
NDP increasingly irrelevant to needs of workers, immigrants and youth

Europe: Anti-fascist demonstrations set for 8-9 November
06/11/2014, Anti-fascist organiser, Stockholm:
Movement of workers and youth needed against racism and fascism

Canada: Ottawa ‘locked-down’ after Parliament gun attack
05/11/2014, Socialist Alternative Reporters, Canada:
Tory government whips-up terrorist fears to boost Canada’s imperialist role

Book review: The Jihadis Return
04/11/2014, Reviewed by Paul Gerrard, Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales):
Isis and the new Sunni uprising, by Patrick Cockburn

South Africa: Metal workers’ union clashes with Congress of South African Trade Unions
03/11/2014, Moses Mayekiso, WASP President and Numsa founding general secretary (elected while on trail for treason in 1987):
For political and class independence - Struggle, solidarity and socialism!

Britain: Come to Socialism 2014
03/11/2014, Sarah Sachs-Eldridge, Socialism 2014 organising team:
Weekend of discussion & debate hosted by the Socialist Party – London 8-9 November

Ireland: ’Abortion Pill Train’ video
02/11/2014, Socialistworld.net:
Pro-choice ROSA campaigners swallow abortion pills after rail journey

Italy: Renzi government faces mounting opposition
01/11/2014, Giuliano Brunetti, ControCorrente (CWI Italy):
A one-day strike of all workers is needed

CWI Comment and Analysis

ANALYSIS

Ireland: Lies and distortions against community protests, the AAA and the Socialist Party
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):
How the Anti Austerity Alliance won a parliamentary seat and the way forward for the Left

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.

Britain: Anniversary of first issue of Militant newspaper
24/10/2014, Peter Taaffe, Socialist Party general secretary, from this week’s Socialist (paper of the Socialist Party – CWI England & Wales):
50 years of socialist ideas and workers’ struggle

Spain: Death knells of "Transition" regime
23/10/2014, Danny Byrne, CWI:
Catalonia; ’Podemos’, and the left

Kazakhstan: Brutal repression in imperialism’s interests
20/10/2014, Mike Whale, Secretary of Campaign Kazakhstan (first published in October 2014 issue of Socialism Today):
Workers pay the price for crony capitalism

Is the US promoting a “colour revolution” in Hong Kong?
18/10/2014, Dikang, Socialist Action (CWI in Hong Kong):
Beijing’s scare propaganda doesn’t stand up to examination

Britain: Workers need a pay rise - how can we pay for it?
17/10/2014, Peter Taaffe, general secretary of the Socialist Party (CWI in England and Wales):
End poverty, inequality and capitalism

Ireland: Byelection triumph marks turning point in anti-austerity struggle
14/10/2014, Eddie McCabe, Socialist Party (CWI in Ireland):
Paul Murphy wins parliamentary seat as 100,000 march against water charges

Middle East: US-led policy of air attacks on Islamic State lies in ruins
13/10/2014, Tony Saunois, CWI:
As battle for Kobane rages, IS forces make major gains in Iraq

Ireland: Paul Murphy elected to Irish parliament in stunning byelection victory
12/10/2014, socialistworld.net:
Anti-Austerity Alliance victory shocks political establishment, reflects mass revolt against water charges and austerity

South Africa: "A workers’ party must emerge"
11/10/2014, John Malanga, Democratic Socialist Movement (CWI South Africa):
Dire position of South African capitalism and inequality adds momentum towards creation of workers’ party

Israel/Palestine: After the Gaza war
07/10/2014, Shahar Benhorin, Socialist Struggle Movement (CWI Israel-Palestine):
No justice for Palestinians and no peace for the region - For a socialist solution!

Hong Kong: Pro-regime thugs attack protesters
06/10/2014, Dikang, Socialist Action (CWI Hong Kong):
Organise democratic defence committees to repel attacks and kick out CY Leung’s government!

Kurdistan: The battle for Kobanê
02/10/2014, Serge Jordan, CWI:
Regional war poses new challenges for struggle for Kurdish self-determination

Iraq /Syria: US-led bombings will worsen divisions
01/10/2014, Judy Beishon, from the Socialist (weekly newspaper of the Socialist Party – CWI England & Wales):
Stop imperialist slaughter!

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