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Britain
Terror attack at Westminster

24/03/2017: Unite against terror, racism and war

  Britain

Italy
Democratic Party splits and 5-Star Movement in crisis

22/03/2017: Class struggle can build real left force

  Italy

Spain
Student strike empties classes and fills streets on 9 March

21/03/2017: Over 100,000 take to the streets in SE demonstrations

  Spain

Scotland
Second referendum on independence?

18/03/2017: SNP fire the starting gun but offer no solutions to austerity

  Scotland

Brazil
National day of strikes and protests shows Temer can be beaten

17/03/2017: For a one-day general strike as the next step

  Brazil

South Africa
Unity against poverty, crime and xenophobia

17/03/2017: Capitalist politicians use xenophobia to divert attention from failures of profit system

  South Africa

Netherlands
Election result a colossal defeat for austerity government

16/03/2017: Oppose Wilders and the ‘mainstream’ right – Build a mass workers’ party that struggles for socialism

  Netherlands

Yemen
Workers and their families left to starve by multi-billionaire companies

16/03/2017: International campaign needed to force companies to pay

  Yemen

Hong Kong
Protest against LSG Sky Chefs dismissal of union chairman

14/03/2017: Ng Chi-Fai sacked for organising union by multinational’s Hong Kong division – international solidarity needed

  Hong Kong

Ireland North
Snap election raises sectarian temperature    

14/03/2017: Workers need strong socialist alternative at ballot box and in unions

  Ireland North

Quebec
Counter protest against far-right

13/03/2017: Rise of Islamophobia and right-wing reaction poses new challenges to the left

  Quebec

 International Women's Day
Speech by Kshama Sawant

12/03/2017: Video of 8 March rally in Seattle

  Women

 International Women’s Day
Millions join marches and take action

10/03/2017: Socialists around the world demand an end to women’s oppression

  Women

 Hong Kong
Women’s march against sexism and racism

09/03/2017: International Women’s Day: “Solidarity with global mass protests and women’s strikes”

  Women

 Spain
Hundreds of thousands participate in International Women’s day student strike

08/03/2017: ‘Libres y Combativas’ and Sindicato de Estudiantes call strike against sexist violence and for working class women's rights

  Women

Pakistan
Political spectacle of the ruling class

08/03/2017: Most workers underemployed, 40% in poverty - situation demands new workers’ party

  Pakistan

 International Women’s Day 2017
A century on from the Russian Revolution

06/03/2017: Demonstrations world-wide swelled by anti-Trump anger

  Women

Britain
Massive demo shows battle to save the NHS can be won

06/03/2017: Up to 250,000 march in national protest, organised from below

  Britain

Egypt
Price hikes hit workers and middle classes

04/03/2017: Falling support for dictator Sisi portends growing opposition

  Egypt

Hong Kong’s sham election

03/03/2017: Pan-democrats sink to new low by supporting “lesser evil” John Tsang

  Hong Kong

US
Socialist response to Trump’s address to joint session of congress

02/03/2017: Kshama Sawant, Socialist Alternative councillor, speaks

  US

Sweden
“Who could believe it?"

24/02/2017: What is behind Trump's attack?

  Sweden

Britain/Ireland
Dublin's #JobstownNotGuilty

23/02/2017: Defend the right to protest - stop this political vendetta!

  Ireland Republic

Ireland
A web of intrigue sparks government crisis

22/02/2017: Smear campaign against a prominent police whistleblower

  Ireland Republic

February revolution 1917
What lessons for today?

21/02/2017: 23 February 1917 (8 March in today’s calendar) marked the beginning of the socialist revolution in Russia, which sparked a revolutionary wave that would travel around the world.

  Russian Revolution

 Yemen
International protests in support of TOTAL/G4S workers

20/02/2017: Solidarity spreads for victims of wage robbery and killing by multinational corporations

  Solidarity, Yemen

Netherlands
Anti-immigrant Freedom Party leading polls ahead of general elections

18/02/2017: Only a choice between the “regular” and far-right?

  Netherlands

Britain
Council cuts can be fought - and they must be

16/02/2017: Corbyn needs to stand up to Brexit rebels

  Aceh

Spain
Pablo Iglesias wins clear victory in Podemos congress

15/02/2017: Time to build the class struggle on the streets

  Spain

Portugal

’Troika’ comes to town

www.socialistworld.net, 05/05/2011
website of the committee for a workers' international, CWI

Elections loom as IMF’s austerity plans revealed

Danny Byrne, CWI

Protests, strikes, bailouts, governments collapsing and elections. This is the situation in Portugal, the latest country in Europe to fall victim to the “aid” of the IMF and EU. It is passing through dramatic days. Representatives of the IMF, European Central Bank and European Commission, dubbed “the Troika”, are engaged in daily discussions in Lisbon. At these encounters the diktats of these vultures are fed to their willing representatives in the Portuguese caretaker government. Although officially secret, the daily leaks from these fraternal discussions reveal crumb by crumb, the austerity which will characterise life for millions in Portugal under Troika rule.

Householders will no longer receive the tax relief. This often means the difference between shelter and homelessness. The 13th and 14th months “extra” payments in public sector wages are to go, or be replaced by government bond investments! These are just a few examples of the many draconian measures that going to be introduced. They will be accompanied by wholesale attacks on workers’ rights, including a “reform” that will cheapen sackings to and make them easier. There will also be an attack on collective bargaining for the trade unions. All this is to “"save the country"”, according to the establishment, the banks, and capitalist parties! But it was them who ruined the country in the first place!

Economy crashed by capitalism

The main Portuguese banks, which now preach the necessity of bending over backwards to please the Troika, were the very ones who pulled the trigger on the Portuguese economy, leading the government to call in the EU/IMF. They withdrew together from funding state debt at the beginning of April, with the official request for external aid being made only hours later. What better illustration of the insane dictatorship of these parasites! Any “socialist” government in the least bit worthy of the name would have immediately nationalised the banks in response to this, ensuring the funding of government could continue. But the completely misnamed and pro-capitalist “Socialist” Party government of Jose Socrates, who had recently resigned as Prime Minister, having failed to ram through yet another austerity package to please its EU/IMF masters, took this ultimatum with typical servitude.

This cynical action by the banks was wholly motivated by a desire to maximise profit at the expense of the nation’s crisis. While poverty beckons for millions due to the austerity already implemented in crisis-ridden Portugal, the picture is not one of “sacrifice for all” as the capitalists put it. The bankers are still living the high life! Millennium BCP, BES, Santander Totta and BPI, the five biggest private banks, recently announced profits of over 252 million euros, in the first trimester of this year (during which the country has constantly teetered on the brink of bankruptcy)! They hope that the conclusion of a deal with the EU/IMF, in the interests of the big bankers, will create the conditions for further bumper profits in the future.

The measures they advocate now represent a declaration of savage class warfare against the poor. It is also, in economic terms, a recipe for a deeper crisis, recession and default. Already Portugal represents a text-book example of the failure of austerity to lead to economic recovery. The Troika’s austerity will deepen the crisis further. Deflationary measures, such as the axing of wages and benefits, along with the facilitation of precarious labour and easy sackings will have a disastrous impact. Across the border in Spain, a labour reform package similar to what the IMF is proposing, was also justified on the grounds it would cut unemployment. This provoked a general strike in September last year. Since it was introduced unemployment has jumped to almost 5 million. Cheapening sackings is a green light to employers to make redundancies and encourage the existence of precarious jobs and contracts, something already endemic for young workers in Portugal.

FMI fora daqui - IMF out of here!

The problem that Portuguese and international capitalism face in attempting to push through the Troika deal and austerity is that workers and youth will instinctively move into struggle to oppose it. This was demonstrated in the movement which erupted and led to the downfall of the Socrates government. The ten days preceding his resignation saw a combined total of over 400,000 people take to the streets and many strikes taking place. This followed a general strike on 24 November 2010 which brought the country to a standstill. 85% of workers downed tools! The opportunistic decision of the PSD (main conservative opposition party) to vote against Socrates’ “PEC IV” (austerity measures) [after supporting the first three], which led to the government’s collapse was a clear reaction to the mass revulsion that has greeted these anti-worker policies. However, the PSD vote against the outgoing government, will not save them from the wrath of the same workers and youth who will fight any future government implementing Troika diktats. These planned attacks will surpass the brutality of the PEC IV package.

Already, the ruling class’s request for external aid and discussions with the Troika have provoked open opposition. The last ten days have seen thousands take to the streets on two separate occasions. On 25th April, in celebration of the 37th anniversary of the Portuguese 1974 April revolution, and on 1 May mass protests took place. On both these demonstrations, the dominant slogan was "FMI fora daqui!"” (IMF out of here!). Unlike the Irish, the Portuguese people have had previous experience of what IMF intervention represents. In 1983, the IMF intervened, with disastrous consequences for the majority of people, when living standards fell, prices soared and unemployment rocketed upwards.

The current discussions on a possible bailout package are a complete and openly anti-democratic sham. What right do these politicians and marketers have to conclude such an agreement behind the backs of the Portuguese people even before an election takes place to replace the hated Socrates government. This is a stark exposure of what the capitalists mean by democracy. The dictatorship of the financiers, markets, and speculators is allowed to rule supreme in order to defend their interests. To the Troika and the Portuguese capitalists, the wishes of the majority of workers and youth are of no consequence, in their determination to drive their agenda forward. Socialismo Revolucionario (CWI in Portugal) demands that the working class movement; – the trade unions and the left parties - the Portuguese Communist Party and the Bloco Esquerda (Left Bloc) begin an immediate campaign of mobilisation and mass struggle to prevent such a deal being agreed. The choice facing working people is between years of suffering and poverty to pay for the mistakes of the rich, or joining the fight for an alternative.

For mass workers’ action to stop the Troika and government!

The belated announcement by the CGTP (the largest trade union federation) of mass demonstrations on 19 May against the Troika intervention’s represent a delayed but welcome break of the trade union leaders’ previous silence on what to do. Indeed, the leaders of the CGTP and UGT union federations, rather than mounting an immediate struggle, entered into negotiations with the Troika when it arrived in Lisbon. However, these demonstrations, despite their inevitable mass character, will not be sufficient to force back a determined and united ruling elite with European and world capitalism behind it. The general strike which rocked the country on 24 November gave a glimpse of the potential power of the working class when organised and engaged in effective action. The strike action which will involve many public sector workers on 6 May will give another example of this power in action.

A real programme of militant struggle, beginning with a 24-hour general strike of all workers, followed by further general strikes and co-ordinated actions, with the aim of stopping the elite in their tracks is what is immediately necessary. Socialismo Revolucionario comrades intervened in the country’s recent demonstrations with material arguing for this course of action and met with a positive response from many.

Bosses want a “national unity” government for assault on workers

To their credit, the left parties in parliament, the Communist Party and Left Bloc (which together command about 20% of support) have refused to enter into negotiations with the Troika, and opposed the intervention. For this stand, they have come under intense pressure from the establishment to be involved in an agreement.

In order to most effectively come after all the modern gains of working people in Portugal, the bosses need maximum unity - a ‘united front’ of their representatives in parliament and outside, to force such policies through. It is for this reason that in the last days of the electoral debate, the need for a “strong united” government has been stressed by the ruling elite. On 25 April, a joint press conference was held by former Presidents from both the PS and PSD, all together urging the capitalist parties to work constructively together. This call, which has been echoed ad infinitum is a clear call for a national government, of both the PSD and PS to be formed after the elections, if, as opinion polls indicate, neither party wins enough for an all-out majority. These voices hope that such a grand coalition would be strong enough to drive through the austerity package.

For a real alternative! Fight for a United Front of the left with socialist policies!

The coming elections will be extremely politicised, due to the gravity of the crisis in the country and the clear political polarisation which exists. The lines of the debate will be drawn around the main questions: do the Troika represents a way out or whether there is an alternative to austerity. These questions are so serious, of such profound importance to the lives and futures of people, that only serious answers will be considered by the mass of people. The left parties must answer these questions with clear and revolutionary socialist alternative that is fundamentally different from all the other parties.

Such answers cannot be provided within the framework of the market capitalist system, which is languishing in crisis. From the point of view of this system, in which the wealth and power of the super-rich are unquestioned and unquestionable, then there really is no alternative to brutal austerity! In their logic it makes perfect sense to accept state bankruptcy and poverty living standards to pay for the debts and mistakes of the bankers and big bosses, because their logic is that of the dictatorship of the bankers and big bosses. The only answers which can genuinely protect the living standards of people, combat unemployment, bring about economic growth or get Portugal out of the crisis are those which challenge capitalism. Unfortunately, this has not been the case until now, with both the PCP and Left Bloc only demanding taxation of the rich, - which the CWI supports - – but without explaining how this can be done without breaking with capitalism as part of a socialist programme and alternative.

Genuinely socialist policies - of refusing to pay the debt; introducing a massive programme of socially use public works to provide jobs; the introduction of a democratically planned socialist economy based on the nationalisation of the banks, financial institutions and major companies to use the wealth of society for the benefit of the mass of population could rapidly win support in Portugal if popularised and fought for by the left and workers’ movement. The example of Ireland, in which recent elections saw the Socialist Party (CWI) and United Left Alliance make an important breakthrough, could be emulated in Portugal, but on an immensely higher level! The current strength of the Portuguese left in parliament and society offers a huge platform to put forward such ideas.

The Communist Party’s election slogan of “for a left patriotic government” partly represents a step forward in the sense that it raises broadly speaking the question of an alternative government to one made up of the capitalist parties. But unless such a slogan is given clarity by linking it to concrete socialist proposals, it is insufficient. Also, the term “patriotic” is potentially confusing and could give credence to the idea that a national solution to the crisis of Portuguese capitalism is possible. On the contrary, in this international crisis, where the ruling classes are conducting an international assault, then an internationalist position is not only desirable, but absolutely necessary. Linking up with the working people of Greece, Ireland Spain and other countries under the boot of EU/IMF austerity and fighting for an alternative socialist Europe must be the call of the hour from the left and workers’ movement.

The Communist Party and the Left Bloc, which have a history of bitter sectarianism between them, recently took the positive step of beginning joint discussions on a common platform against the crisis and IMF. The CWI in Portugal has consistently demanded that these parties form a united front armed with socialist policies, which together with the mass movement, can challenge for political power in Portugal, to fight for a government of a different type, for a government of working people, based democratic planning of the economy, as an alternative to capitalism. Now the hour for this demand to be made reality has truly come! Socrates himself recently launched an attack on the left, denouncing them for “never presenting an alternative of government”. The left should begin to present an alternative of government, not that which Socrates calls for, but a government of the left parties with socialist policies.



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NEWS

Britain: Terror attack at Westminster
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Unite against terror, racism and war

Belarus: Protesters flood onto streets demanding scrapping of “law against parasites”
21/03/2017, Daniil Raskolnikov (translation of article from the Russian CWI site www.socialist.news):
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Spain: Student strike empties classes and fills streets on 9 March
21/03/2017, Sindicato de Estudiantes (SE), Spanish Students' Union :
Over 100,000 take to the streets in SE demonstrations

Scotland: Second referendum on independence?
18/03/2017, Philip Stott, Socialist Party Scotland (CWI) :
SNP fire the starting gun but offer no solutions to austerity

South Africa: Unity against poverty, crime and xenophobia
17/03/2017, Shaun Arendse, Workers and Socialist Party (CWI South Africa):
Capitalist politicians use xenophobia to divert attention from failures of profit system

International Women’s Day: March in Malaysia and week of activity in Belgium
16/03/2017, socialistworld.net :
Reports from Kuala Lumpur and Brussels

Netherlands: Election result a colossal defeat for austerity government
16/03/2017, Pieter Brans, Socialist Alternative (CWI in Netherlands), Amsterdam:
Oppose Wilders and the ‘mainstream’ right – Build a mass workers’ party that struggles for socialism

Russian Revolution: March 1917 - After the fall of Czarism, what next for the revolution?
16/03/2017, socialistworld.net:
New article on 1917revolution.org

Hong Kong: Protest against LSG Sky Chefs dismissal of union chairman
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Ng Chi-Fai sacked for organising union by multinational’s Hong Kong division – international solidarity needed

Quebec: Counter protest against far-right
13/03/2017, Michele Hehn, Alternative Socialiste (CWI in Quebec) :
Rise of Islamophobia and right-wing reaction poses new challenges to the left

International Women's Day: Speech by Kshama Sawant
12/03/2017, Socialistworld.net :
Video of 8 March rally in Seattle

International Women’s Day: Millions join marches and take action
10/03/2017, Clare Doyle, CWI:
Socialists around the world demand an end to women’s oppression

Hong Kong: Women’s march against sexism and racism
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International Women’s Day: “Solidarity with global mass protests and women’s strikes”

Spain: Hundreds of thousands participate in International Women’s day student strike
08/03/2017, Sindicato de Estudiantes, students’ union in the Spanish state :
‘Libres y Combativas’ and Sindicato de Estudiantes call strike against sexist violence and for working class women's rights

Pakistan: Political spectacle of the ruling class
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Britain: Massive demo shows battle to save the NHS can be won
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Up to 250,000 march in national protest, organised from below

Egypt: Price hikes hit workers and middle classes
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Falling support for dictator Sisi portends growing opposition

Hong Kong’s sham election
03/03/2017, Dikang, Socialist Action:
Pan-democrats sink to new low by supporting “lesser evil” John Tsang

US: Socialist response to Trump’s address to joint session of congress
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Kshama Sawant, Socialist Alternative councillor, speaks

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What is behind Trump's attack?

Britain/Ireland: Dublin's #JobstownNotGuilty
23/02/2017, Neil Cafferky, from The Socialist (weekly paper of the Socialist Party, England & Wales):
Defend the right to protest - stop this political vendetta!

Ireland: A web of intrigue sparks government crisis
22/02/2017, By Cillian Gillespie, Socialist Party (CWI in Ireland) :
Smear campaign against a prominent police whistleblower

Yemen: International protests in support of TOTAL/G4S workers
20/02/2017, Socialistworld.net:
Solidarity spreads for victims of wage robbery and killing by multinational corporations

Netherlands: Anti-immigrant Freedom Party leading polls ahead of general elections
18/02/2017, Pieter Brans, Socialist Alternative (CWI in Netherlands), Amsterdam:
Only a choice between the “regular” and far-right?

CWI Comment and Analysis

ANALYSIS

Italy: Democratic Party splits and 5-Star Movement in crisis
22/03/2017, Marco Veruggio, ControCorrrente, (CWI in Italy) :
Class struggle can build real left force

Brazil: National day of strikes and protests shows Temer can be beaten


17/03/2017, André Ferrari LSR (CWI in Brazil) :
For a one-day general strike as the next step

Yemen: Workers and their families left to starve by multi-billionaire companies
16/03/2017, Cedric Gerome, CWI :
International campaign needed to force companies to pay

Ireland North: Snap election raises sectarian temperature    
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Workers need strong socialist alternative at ballot box and in unions

International Women’s Day 2017: A century on from the Russian Revolution
06/03/2017, Clare Doyle, CWI :
Demonstrations world-wide swelled by anti-Trump anger

February revolution 1917: What lessons for today?
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23 February 1917 (8 March in today’s calendar) marked the beginning of the socialist revolution in Russia, which sparked a revolutionary wave that would travel around the world.

India: Upheaval in Tamil Nadu
09/02/2017, Sajith Attepuram, New Socialist Alternative (NSA) (CWI India) :
Corruption, nepotism, and other crimes of ruling party exposed

Britain: Universal basic income demand gains ground
08/02/2017, Judy Beishon, from The Socialist (weekly newspaper of the Socialist Party – CWI England & Wales) :
What approach should socialists take?

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06/02/2017, Socialistworld.net :
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06/02/2017, Alex Rouillard, Gauche Révolutionnaire (CWI in France) :
Space opening up to left of Socialist Party

Syria: Is an end to the war in sight?
03/02/2017, Serge Jordan (CWI) :
New movements for change will need to arm themselves with the lessons of the Syrian tragedy

Sri Lanka: The year 2017
31/01/2017, Siritunga Jayasuriya, United Socialist Party (CWI in Sri Lanka) :
Between oppression and struggle

Canada: Where are Trudeau’s ‘Sunny Ways’?
31/01/2017, Tim Heffernan, Socialist Alternative (CWI Canada), Toronto

:
Battles of Indigenous peoples, youth, workers will test Liberal government

Russian Revolution Centenary: January 1917 - On the eve of revolution
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War, hunger, hated Tsarist regime: class tensions reach breaking point

Afghanistan: The limits of US power
28/01/2017, Judy Beishon, from Socialism Today (February 2017 issue), monthly magazine of the Socialist Party (CWI England & Wales)<br />
<br />
:
Imperialism’s 15-year adventure a bloody catastrophe for millions

US: Build 100 days of resistance to Trump’s agenda!
27/01/2017, Bryan Koulouris, Socialist Alternative, US :
Establishment deeply divided as mass resistance explodes

Millions on women's marches around the world
25/01/2017, Editorial from the Socialist, paper of the Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales) and reports from US marches :
Reports from mass women's marches against Trump

China: New US President’s approach to China
21/01/2017, Vincent Kolo, chinaworker.info :
Outbursts raise fears of confrontation

Ireland North: Snap elections called to Stormont Assembly
17/01/2017, Daniel Waldron, Socialist Party (CWI Ireland), Belfast :
Build a socialist alternative to the ‘Orange’ versus ‘Green’ headcount

Spain: What kind of Podemos do workers and youth need?
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Debate within leadership touches on fundamental issues for future of party

US: Trump prepares vicious attacks
05/01/2017, Philip Locker and Tom Crean, Socialist Alternative (US):
Mass resistance needed!

Russian Revolution centenary
02/01/2017, Editorial from Socialism Today, Dec/Jan 2017 edition:
Defending the legacy in a new era

2017:Upheaval and fightback will continue
01/01/2017, Peter Taaffe, Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales) general secretary :
Everything to play for in 2017

Britain's shifting political contours
22/12/2016, Hannah Sell, Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales) from Socialism Today Dec/Jan 2017 edition :
Capitalist establishment in disarray

CWI International Executive Committee: European capitalism “battered by events”
16/12/2016, Kevin Henry, Socialist Party (CWI in Ireland) :
Report of discussion on Europe at CWI IEC meeting in November