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latest news

Latin America
The end of one cycle and the beginning of another

17/12/2014: Document on Latin America, agreed by CWI International Executive Committee

  Latin America

Taiwan
Kuomintang’s landslide election defeat redraws the political map

17/12/2014: Taiwan’s ‘Sunflower Movement’ and democracy protests in Hong Kong fuel massive rejection of ruling party

  Taiwan

 World Perspectives
A turbulent period in history

15/12/2014: Signs of revival of class struggle signposts the future

  CWI

Ireland
Mass water charges protest on 10 December

15/12/2014: Dublin City centre came to a standstill as different marches made their way to the Dáil

  Ireland Republic

Sweden
Political crisis and new elections

15/12/2014: Right-wing alliance relied on racist party to defeat budget

  Sweden

Greece
Government brings forward presidential election

12/12/2014: Kick out the austerity government and Troika! For a Syriza government with bold socialist policies!

  Greece

Sri Lanka
Presidential Election January 8, 2015

11/12/2014: Socialist candidate challenges all other forces

  Sri Lanka

 Video
Paul Murphy speaks at mass Dublin water charges protest

11/12/2014: For a new political movement to bring the "mob" to power

  Ireland Republic, Video

Greece
Violent clashes over prisoner hunger strike

09/12/2014: Cruel and vengeful actions by the State and ruling elite

  Greece

 Video
All out on 10 December against water charges!

09/12/2014: Paul Murphy and Ruth Coppinger speak in Irish parliament

  Ireland Republic, Video

Australia
Major community victory stops Melbourne’s East-West Toll Road

08/12/2014: Socialist Party leads successful campaign against Toll Road and for investment in public transport

  Australia

US
An Uprising Against Police Violence

08/12/2014: From Ferguson to Staten Island

  US

Philippines
‘Economic miracle’ – a neo-liberal nightmare for the masses

30/11/2014: Forced evictions, poverty wages and repression is the reality for millions

  Philippines

 World Perspectives
A turbulent period in history

27/11/2014: Signs of revival of class struggle signposts the future

  CWI

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

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

Taiwan : Kuomintang’s landslide election defeat redraws the political map
17/12/2014, Vincent Kolo and CWI Taiwan reporters:
Taiwan’s ‘Sunflower Movement’ and democracy protests in Hong Kong fuel massive rejection of ruling party

Italy: Mass support for general strike expresses anger at PD government
15/12/2014, Chris Thomas, ControCorrente (CWI Italy):
New political voice vitally needed

Ireland: Mass water charges protest on 10 December
15/12/2014, Cillian Gillespie, Socialist Party (CWI in Ireland):
Dublin City centre came to a standstill as different marches made their way to the Dáil

Sweden: Political crisis and new elections
15/12/2014, From articles in Offensiv, weekly paper of Rättvisepartiet Socialisterna (CWI Sweden):
Right-wing alliance relied on racist party to defeat budget

Greece: Government brings forward presidential election
12/12/2014, Slightly edited article from the current issue of Xekinima newspaper (CWI in Greece):
Kick out the austerity government and Troika! For a Syriza government with bold socialist policies!

Video: Paul Murphy speaks at mass Dublin water charges protest
11/12/2014, socialistworld.net:
For a new political movement to bring the "mob" to power

Greece: Violent clashes over prisoner hunger strike
09/12/2014, Xekinima Reporters:
Cruel and vengeful actions by the State and ruling elite

Video: All out on 10 December against water charges!
09/12/2014, socialistworld.net:
Paul Murphy and Ruth Coppinger speak in Irish parliament

US: An Uprising Against Police Violence
08/12/2014, Eljeer Hawkins, Socialist Alternative:
From Ferguson to Staten Island

Mexico: Anger grows over missing Mexican students
04/12/2014, Led by the families of the 43 students who disappeared two months ago, thousands of protesters marched through Mexico City on 20 November to demand answers and action from the government.:
Dave Carr

Philippines: ‘Economic miracle’ – a neo-liberal nightmare for the masses
30/11/2014, By a CWI correspondent in Philippines:
Forced evictions, poverty wages and repression is the reality for millions

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

CWI Comment and Analysis

ANALYSIS

Latin America: The end of one cycle and the beginning of another
17/12/2014, socialistworld.net:
Document on Latin America, agreed by CWI International Executive Committee

World Perspectives: A turbulent period in history
15/12/2014, CWI International Executive Committee:
Signs of revival of class struggle signposts the future

Sri Lanka: Presidential Election January 8, 2015
11/12/2014, Interview with Siritunga Jayasuriya, USP (CWI Sri Lanka):
Socialist candidate challenges all other forces

Australia: Major community victory stops Melbourne’s East-West Toll Road
08/12/2014, By Socialist Party (CWI Australia) reporters, Melbourne:
Socialist Party leads successful campaign against Toll Road and for investment in public transport

World Perspectives: A turbulent period in history
27/11/2014, International Secretariat of the CWI :
Signs of revival of class struggle signposts the future

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!