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Racist Buddhist mob ambushes United Socialist Party march

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The great slowdown

24/07/2014: Signs the mammoth property bubble is finally bursting belie Beijing’s upbeat GDP data

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The first year of war

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21/07/2014: 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…

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1914
The capitulation of the Second International

19/07/2014: Before 1914, the Second International resolved to act to prevent war…

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Vicious communalist attacks on Muslims

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100 years since the great slaughter

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World outraged by Israeli State’s ferocious bombing of Gaza

15/07/2014: Mass action needed to end the slaughter and blockade!

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Revolutionary US Teamsters

14/07/2014: Celebrating the 80th Anniversary of the 1934 Minneapolis Strikes

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Netanyahu government fuels wave of protest

08/07/2014: Extracts and updates from a series of articles on the website of Socialist Struggle Movement, the Israel-Palestine section of the CWI.

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What next after massive July 1 demo?

07/07/2014: Battle-lines hardening as masses push for democracy while government steps up repression

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’Capital in the Twenty-First Century’

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Isis jihadists capture more territory

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Protest in Tel Aviv against military raids

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Egypt

Mass revolt forces Mubarak regime to the brink

www.socialistworld.net, 31/01/2011
website of the committee for a workers' international, CWI

Hundreds of thousands remain on streets defying repression - For an indefinite general strike!

David Johnson, Socialist Party (CWI England & Wales) and Niall Mulholland, CWI

Mubarak’s rotten regime is tottering on the brink. Six days of mass protests have grown into a nation-wide revolutionary wave of defiance. The first demonstrations were mostly young people organised through on-line social networks. But they swelled as the mass of Egypt’s urban poor and middle classes joined in. This is a magnificent mass revolt that is an inspiration to workers and youth everywhere.

Today, 31 January, sees tens of thousands of people gathered again in central Cairo for a seventh day of protest and independent unions have called a general strike.

"I had never joined any protests before. I didn’t believe in the people leading them," said Adef Husseini, a call centre worker in Cairo who took to the streets on Tuesday. "Now, though, the people are the leaders." (Guardian 28.1.11)

The middle classes, students, workers and the urban poor have all joined the tidal wave of opposition to Hosni Mubarak’s rule. Even judges joined the protesters in Tahrir Square on Sunday 30 January.

Standing up to vicious brutality from the riot police and large numbers of plain-clothes police and security forces, hundreds of thousands of Egyptians have sent a clear message – “Go! Go! Go!” Older people have passed down water from their flats to demonstrators in the streets below.

Police charges with batons, mass arrests and beatings, tear gas, water cannon, rubber bullets, shotguns and live ammunition have all been used on the demonstrators. Over 150 have been killed by bullets, beatings or suffocation from tear gas used at close range. One Cairo hospital dealt with over 1000 injured on Friday night (28 January).

In the past two days the police appear to have disappeared. In many areas there has been an outbreak of looting and violent robbery. But according to many independent reports most of the culprits have been police in plain-clothes and convicts deliberately released from prison. Two police informants were caught attempting to rob a bank in Alexandria. Just as in Tunisia, the regime has attempted to give out a message that if it falls it will be followed by greater instability and chaos, to try to scare people back to tolerating its continued existence.

As in Tunisia, people have organised protection of their own homes and neighbourhoods, forming local committees to patrol streets and control traffic, armed with wooden clubs and knives. While some of these may be in richer areas it is clear that elements of ‘dual power’ are emerging, where the state is no longer in full control and the masses are starting to gather power in their hands. But this is an unstable situation that cannot last indefinitely; either the working class and youth will strive to take power, or the ruling class will strive to re-establish itself, as it is attempting in Tunisia, probably around a new cobbled together regime and at the cost of more bloodshed.

The masses no longer fear the regime. Instead, it is the regime – and all its wealthy and international backers - that fears the masses. The riot police, which failed to suppress the demonstrations, were withdrawn off the streets and replaced by the army. But the soldiers showed no appetite to turn their guns onto the crowds. As army trucks rolled into Tahrir Square, in central Cairo, protesters jumped on and hitched a ride. Many clambered over the tanks, embracing the soldiers.

Class appeal

A clear class appeal to the troops as ‘workers in uniform’, with a programme of democratic and trade union rights and election of officers could get a huge response from the ranks of the armed forces. They could be convinced that the old regime’s hours are numbered and that their place was with the working masses – their families, relatives and friends.

Terrified of such developments, it is reported that army generals, who are closely linked to Egyptian big business interests, discussed in the last days ‘advising’ Mubarak to leave power. Better to keep their state machine, privileges and interests intact, they reason, than risk the mass movement sweeping all before it.

But the situation remains highly volatile and fluid. The close of 30 January saw reports that the riot police had taken up positions again on some streets and that the army was brining in its heavy armoured vehicles and water cannons. During the day, army jets flew threateningly over the crowds in Tahrir Square. This may be Mubarak’s last throw of the dice, as he attempts to intimidate the masses back into their homes. This desperate effort can backfire, provoking the masses further on the offensive until they win their objectives. Several hundred demonstrators remained camped out in Tahrir square in central Cairo early on Monday morning, defying a curfew that has been extended by the army. A general strike call was made by independent unions on Monday 31 January and the April 6 Movement said it plans to have more than a million people on the streets of the capital Cairo on Tuesday.

In a potentially very significant development, independent union leaders announced on 30 January the organization of the new ’Federation of Egyptian Trade Unions’. The statement called for "the formation of committees in all factories and enterprises to protect, defend them and to set a date for a general strike. And to emphasize that the labor movement is in the heart and soul of the Egyptian Peoples’ revolution and its emphasis on the support for the six requirements as demanded by the Egyptian People’s Revolution. To emphasize the economic and democratic demands voiced by the independent labor movement through thousands of strikes, sit-ins and protests by Egyptian workers in the past years."

Mubarak may succeed in forcing back the mass movement in the blood of protesters. Even then, Mubarak could go, sooner or later. Perhaps he will be forcefully ‘advised’ by his allies in Washington to depart and a new regime cobbled together, as they fear the possible social and political consequences should Mubarak insist on clinging on to power beyond his usefulness to imperialism and the Egyptian ruling class.

Mubarak’s backers in the ruling classes around the world face the same problem. He has made Egypt a good place for them to do business, with privatisation, poverty pay and without decent public services.

Workers’ rights, including to organise in independent trade unions and to strike to win better living standards, are severely restricted. The day after the protests began on ‘Police Day’, 25 January, Hussein Megawer, head of the slavish, state-controlled Egyptian Trade Union Federation, issued a statement congratulating the Interior Ministry! He has tried to stop any union demonstrations during the past week.

Under Mubarak, democratic rights have been cynically brushed aside - to organise political parties, to freely assemble and demonstrate, and to take part in free elections to an assembly with real powers to improve the living standards of workers and the poor.

Imperialist hypocrisy

The regime has been the biggest recipient of US aid in the region, apart from Israel, financing the monstrous security forces that have been used against workers and youth for so long. Egypt has the 10th largest army in the world. Spent tear gas canisters and rubber bullet cases have been found with US markings – a ‘gift’ to the Egyptian masses from US imperialism.

Suddenly Western capitalist governments are discovering the plight of the Egyptian people! Many are viewing these revolutionary developments from their conference in the Swiss luxury resort of Davos, where they dine and ski with big bankers and industrialists.

US Secretary of State Hiliary Clinton, who described the Egyptian regime as “stable” just a few days ago, now calls for “an orderly transition” of power. President Sarkozy of France, German Chancellor Merkel and British Prime Minister Cameron issued a joint statement: “The Egyptian people have legitimate grievances and a longing for a just and better future. We urge President Mubarak to embark on a process of transformation which should be reflected in a broad-based government and in free and fair elections.” Cameron and Obama – who previously backed the despot Mubarak to the hilt - never fail to call for protesters to refrain from “violence” – as if the Egyptian masses, risking their lives to resist the murderous regime, are on the same level playing field as the well-armed riot police!

Laughably, King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia said his government, “declares it stands with all its resources with the government of Egypt and its people." The Egyptian government and the people are completely opposed to each other, but there is no doubt whose side the King and every other corrupt ruler in the region supports.

The Egyptian rich elite and friendly imperialist powers now nervously look into the future and wonder who can continue to protect their interests in Egypt. Gamal Mubarak’s chances of following in his father’s footsteps and becoming the next president are now less than a snow storm falling on Tahrir Square. Mubarak’s appointment of his Head of Internal Security, 74-year old Omar Suleiman, as vice-president convinced no-one that the regime will reform itself. Sulieman is no democrat. He has a record of brutal oppression of Muslim Brotherhood supporters and other oppositionists. Already the streets of Cairo are filled with protesters denouncing his name.

Nothing less than the dismissal of the entire ruling National Democratic Party will satisfy the demonstrators. That would leave a massive vacuum of political power, which the pro-capitalist forces would hurriedly seek to fill. A ‘provisional government’ could be cobbled together with various leaders of small opposition parties, such as Ayman Nour of Ghad and Mahmoud Abaza of Wafd. The leaders of Tagammu, once a workers’ party, postpone the idea of socialism until the dim and distant future, after the mirage of a stable capitalist democracy develops. But the history of the 20th century in Egypt and the region shows that real democracy and change in living standards cannot be met by the ‘native’ reactionary capitalist ruling classes or sections of them. The tail-ending of Left and popular movements to the so-called ‘progressive’ national bourgeoisie led to setbacks, betrayals and defeat of the masses in country after country. None of the pro-capitalist parties in Egypt today have mass support and none will challenge the root cause of the desperate lives of Egyptian workers and youth – the capitalist system.

Mohammed el-Baradei hurried to Egypt from his home in Austria after the protests began, with only a few supporters greeting him at the airport. “We want to build a new Egypt founded on freedom, democracy and social justice,” he said. “The main demand is that President Mubarak announces clearly that he will resign, or that he will not run again." El-Baradei is not even firm on the need for Mubarak to go now!

The largest organised political movement, the Muslim Brotherhood, also held back from supporting the protests at first, although their youth section did eventually support the 25 January ‘Day of Anger’. The following day, the Brotherhood issued a statement “on the importance of the cooperation between all political and partisan forces to maintain a unified national stance.” On 30 January, Essam el-Eryan, a leading Brotherhood member, said, “Political groups support el-Baradei to negotiate with the regime."

When Muslim Brotherhood members chanted, “Allah Akbar”, the crowd stopped them, chanting louder, “Muslim, Christian, we’re all Egyptian.” One 22-year old student in Cairo told the Guardian, “This is a revolution without individual leaders; the Egyptian people are leading it. This is nothing to do with el-Baradei or the Muslim Brotherhood or any of the other political parties; they are absent. We are all just Egyptians, and we are standing together.” (28.1.11) Workers and youth can have no confidence in any of these politicians to defend their interests. Their aim is to maintain the capitalist system that causes poverty and repression.

Working class alternative

Increasingly it is clear that Mubarak’s days are numbered. Late on 30 January, after talks between President Obama, British leader Cameron and King Abdullah of Jordan, the British government announced: “The Prime Minister and President Obama were united in their view that Egypt now needed a comprehensive process of political reform, with an orderly, Egyptian-led transition leading to a government that responded to the grievances of the Egyptian people and to their aspirations for a democratic future”. Their talk of an “orderly” change means one which safeguards imperialism’s interests and the continuation of capitalism, and they will try to achieve this using el-Baradei or some other figure to head a transitional, but still pro-capitalist, government.

The fact that the mass revolt has clearly shown that class demands predominate, and not divisive religious ideas, is highly significant and progressive. It shows the potential for a working class, socialist alternative, leading the oppressed. But this must be built and in its absence, other forces, including the Muslim Brotherhood, which for all its rhetoric is pro-capitalist, can start to make bigger gains, stepping into the political vacuum.

To prevent different capitalist politicians or army generals replacing the dying Mubarak regime, workers and youth must organise their own alternative. Democratic workplace and neighbourhood committees would organise safety and security and, joining together at city, regional and national level, would lay the basis for a government of workers and the poor, the real alternative to the rule of the military and capitalist elites.

Al Jazeera reported on 29 January that 1,700 public workers in Suez had gone on an indefinite strike demanding Mubarak’s ousting. This is a highly significant development that must be emulated across Egypt. A call for a general strike by protesters was made on 30 January by "independent Egyptian trade unions of workers in real estate tax collection, the retirees, the technical health professionals and representatives of the important industrial areas in Egypt" . Indeed, a general strike is needed, uniting all sections of the working and middle classes with the youth and the street protests. The protests on 30 January, the start of the Egyptian working week, shows the potential huge support for such a strike. Indeed, such decisive action - paralysing the whole of the country and organised democratically through local, regional and national linked committees in the workplaces, colleges and elsewhere – could already have seen off Mubarak and his regime.

“Tunis-ami” of popular mass struggle

Removing Mubarak from power would be a huge step forward for Egyptian working people. But on its own it will not be enough to meet their class needs and aspirations for a better standard of living. A socialist programme of nationalisation of all the big corporations and banks under democratic workers’ control would lay the basis for planning the use of Egypt’s resources to meet the needs of all those who are denied a decent life under Mubarak’s corrupt and cruel regime. The potential of a mass movement across the region that can win democratic rights and make sweeping social change is indicated by the fire that was lit by the Tunisian revolution. Despots across North Africa and the Middle East are terrified of domestic mass protests and already demonstrations are taking place in Yemen, Sudan, Jordan, Syria, Libya and elsewhere. One regime after another is forced to rush to make concessions to the stirring masses, particularly over high food prices. But this will not save them from the onrush and consequences of the “Tunis-ami” of popular mass struggle for real democratic rights and a transformation of living standards.

Socialists celebrate the unfolding mass uprising in Egypt and which are developing across the region– which is a damning refutation of all those cynics and apologists of the system that argued the working masses would not resist, let alone take revolutionary action! The Arab masses are taking matters into their own hands, removing “native tyrants” allied with the Western imperialist powers, first in Tunisia and to be followed, sooner or later, in Egypt and elsewhere. They will not accept the dictates of local despots and imperialism. These are inspiring movements for working people and youth everywhere. Socialists call on workers’ internationally to take solidarity action with the Egyptian masses until they have removed Mubarak and his cronies from power!



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NEWS

Video: Building the CWI
31/07/2014, Socialistworld.net:
Video shown at CWI Summer School 2014

Sri Lanka: United Socialist Party issues press statement
28/07/2014, Clare Doyle (CWI Secretariat):
CWI calls for protests and financial assistance

Sri Lanka: Racist Buddhist mob ambushes United Socialist Party march
26/07/2014, socialistworld.net:
CWI condemns attack and requests solidarity

China: The great slowdown
24/07/2014, Vincent Kolo, chinaworker.info:
Signs the mammoth property bubble is finally bursting belie Beijing’s upbeat GDP data

South Africa: Metal workers’ strike
19/07/2014, By Workers and Socialist Party (WASP – South Africa) Reporters:
Industrial action must take forward call for a new workers’ party

Britain: Abuse scandals reveal abusive system
18/07/2014, Hannah Sell, Socialist Party, Deputy General Secretary:
An Establishment cover-up?

Sri Lanka: Vicious communalist attacks on Muslims
17/07/2014, Siritunga Jayasura, United Socialist Party (CWI in Sri Lanka):
USP mounts motor cycle ‘march’ to fight for united struggle against chauvinists

History: Revolutionary US Teamsters
14/07/2014, Alan Jones and Ty Moore, Socialist Alternative:
Celebrating the 80th Anniversary of the 1934 Minneapolis Strikes

Stop the bombing of Gaza – End Israeli state terror!
12/07/2014, Text of Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales) leaflet:
Over 100 Gazans have been killed in one week, including 20 children

Europe: Junk Juncker, Cameron and the anti-worker EU
11/07/2014, Peter Taaffe, Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales) general secretary:
"Cameron’s defeat was dire."

Britain: Millions of public sector workers prepare to strike
09/07/2014, Hannah Sell, Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales) deputy general secretary:
Build workers’ movement

Israel-Palestine: Netanyahu government fuels wave of protest
08/07/2014, Socialistworld.net:
Extracts and updates from a series of articles on the website of Socialist Struggle Movement, the Israel-Palestine section of the CWI.

Hong Kong: What next after massive July 1 demo?
07/07/2014, Vincent Kolo, chinaworker.info:
Battle-lines hardening as masses push for democracy while government steps up repression

France: Hollande’s austerity plans must be blocked
04/07/2014, Alex Rouillard, Gauche Revolutionnaire (CWI in France):
United private-public sector strike vital

Brazil: Solidarity with sacked Metro workers
04/07/2014, socialistworld.net:
42 workers sacked for going on strike

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04/07/2014, Socialismo Revolucionario (CWI in Venezuela) reporters:
Photo report of march

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03/07/2014, Mametlwe Sebei, Workers’ and Socialist Party (WASP) Deputy President:
Forward to a living wage – end labour broking

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Labour claim opposition to project but refuse to rip up contracts

Sri Lanka: Solidarity needed against nationalist attacks
02/07/2014, Keerthikan Thennavan, Tamil Solidarity:
At least four people were killed and 100 injured in anti-Muslim attacks

Video: Free Vadim Kuramshin
02/07/2014, socialistworld.net:
Joe HIggins, Socialist Party (CWI) TD raises Vadim’s case in Irish parliament

South Africa: Victory in platinum miners’ strike!
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Significant step forward in the struggle for a living wage for all

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26/06/2014, Khalid Bhatti , SMP (CWI in Pakistan):
Half a million people flee the area

Britain: Coulson conviction - Cameron must resign!
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Call a general election now

Israel/Palestine: Protest in Tel Aviv against military raids
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Israeli nationalist thugs cowardly attacked Socialist Struggle Movement activists after the protest

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The quickening pace of global warming poses a threat to US national security, says a leading, federally-funded military research organisation

Pakistan: Scores killed in Taliban attacks on Karachi airport
19/06/2014, Khalid Bhatti, Socialist Movement Pakistan (CWI), Lahore:
Workers need political movement to counter extremist ideology and capitalism

CWI Comment and Analysis

ANALYSIS

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

Review: ’Capital in the Twenty-First Century’
28/06/2014, Hannah Sell, Socialist Party (CWI England and Wales):
Thomas Piketty: The new Marx?

Iraq: Isis jihadists capture more territory
24/06/2014, Niall Mulholland, CWI:
Only organised, united working class can end war and social misery

Nigeria: 200 school girls abducted
18/06/2014, By Segun Sango, National Chairperson, Socialist Party of Nigeria (SPN), a party initiated by the DSM (CWI in Nigeria):
Why has Boko Haram insurgency grown?

Iraq: Oil war’s bloody legacy
17/06/2014, Judy Beishon, from The Socialist, weekly paper of the Socialist Party (CWI England & Wales):
Escalating sectarian conflict threatens to draw in surrounding countries

Ukraine: Hundreds killed in military clashes
13/06/2014, Rob Jones, CWI, Moscow:
Working people fearing all-out war

Review: ’The Snowden Files’
12/06/2014, Clare Doyle, from Socialism Today (June 2014 issue), monthly magazine of the Socialist Party (CWI in England and Wales):
Exposing the ‘architecture of oppression’

Britain: The Battle of Orgreave
11/06/2014, Ken Smith, from Socialism Today (June 2014 issue), monthly magazine of the Socialist Party (CWI in England and Wales):
1984 state-organised riot against striking miners

Brazil: Homeless struggle and Metro strike as World Cup approaches
09/06/2014, André Ferrari, LSR (CWI in Brazil):
New stage of the class struggle

Euro polls warning
05/06/2014, Robert Bechert, CWI:
In country after country, May’s elections to the European parliament saw governments and traditional parties defeated

2014: The ’rejection election’
30/05/2014, Hannah Sell, Socialist Party (CWI in England and Wales):
Now Trade Unions must lead our fightback

Ireland: Electoral surge against austerity
28/05/2014, Danny Byrne, CWI:
Socialist Party wins a second TD and Anti Austerity Alliance 14 councillors

Euro elections: A revolt against the capitalist establishment
27/05/2014, Peter Taaffe, general secretary of the Socialist Party (CWI in England and Wales):
Gains for the far right but some successes for genuine Left

Turkey: Mass protest and strikes erupt against AKP government and mine-owning cronies
15/05/2014, Socialistworld.net:
Soma mine disaster deadliest in the country’s history

China: What lies behind anti-corruption drive?
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Case against former security czar risks dangerous splits in ruling party

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Can a solution to the insurgency be found under capitalism?

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09/05/2014, Rob Jones, Moscow:
Only united working class action can stop the catastrophe

South Africa: Elections 2014
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The ANC victory, WASP and the EFF.