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France
Burkini ban fuels Islamophobia

30/08/2016: For workers’ unity and struggle against racism, division and austerity

  France

Congo
General strike results in "villes mortes"

30/08/2016: Boiling anger as Kabila tries to cling to power

  Congo

Environment
Green China to save the world?

29/08/2016: Article published in last edition of Socialism Today

  China, Environment

Book review
Iraq, IS and the failing war on terror

28/08/2016: Published earlier this year before the Chilcot report was finally released, Blood Year by counter-insurgency strategist David Kilcullen is a damning indictment of the so-called war on terror unleased by US imperialism in 2001, with the full support of Tony Blair.

  Iraq, Middle East

Haiti
225th anniversary of anti-slavery, anti-colonial revolution

27/08/2016: A heroic and lasting inspiration to the oppressed everywhere

  Haiti

Scotland
Will the Corbyn uprising save Scottish Labour?

27/08/2016: Lessons of indyref and need for active anti-cuts policies

  Scotland

Greece
Athens bus cleaners win major victory

26/08/2016: Struggle achieves public contracts for 100s cleaning workers

  Greece

Russia
Twenty five years since the coup against Gorbachev

25/08/2016: Decades of ‘shock therapy capitalism’, wars and corruption

  Russia

Chile
Up to 2 million march against pensions robbery

24/08/2016: General strike threatened for 4 November as protests grow

  Chile

Quebec
Montreal workers strike for $15 an hour

22/08/2016: "Company totally underestimated workers’ determination"

  Quebec

 Video
Militant, Liverpool and Trotskyism today

22/08/2016: Russia Today covers historic Liverpool battle, led by the CWI in Britain

  Trotsky, Video

US
Build a new party of the 99%

21/08/2016: Support Jill Stein

  US

Middle East
ISIS’ waning “caliphate”

20/08/2016: Imperialist solutions are no solution at all

  Middle East

Russia
Twenty fifth anniversary of attempted coup

19/08/2016: Attempted Stalinist counter-revolution speeds up capitalist counter-revolution

  Russia

US
Trump in trouble

17/08/2016: Political polarisation deepens

  US

Philippines
Is Duterte following in Marcos’ footsteps?

16/08/2016: New president threatens martial law while leaning on ‘left’ parties for support

  Philippines

Britain
The Corbyn insurgency 2.0

15/08/2016: Now let’s finish the job

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 Video
Socialist Party general secretary Peter Taaffe on Channel 4

14/08/2016: Socialist party media coverage amid accusations of Trotskyist "entryism"

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 Video
CWI around the world

13/08/2016: Video shown at the CWI Summer school of some sections’ activities

  CWI, Video

Quebec
World Social Forum 2016

13/08/2016: Tens of thousands of activists from around the world gather WSF in Montreal, 9-14 August

  Canada, Quebec

Hong Kong
Multinational MTR takes socialist Sally Tang Mei-ching to court

12/08/2016: Political motives behind ‘David versus Goliath’ trial

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Britain
#KeepCorbyn - stand firm for socialism

10/08/2016: The fight for a Labour Party for the working class

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South Africa
Local elections a thunderous rebuke for ANC

09/08/2016: ANC polls less than 60% for first time since end of apartheid

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Zimbabwe
Mugabe must fall!

05/08/2016: Mass revolt shakes the regime to its foundations

  Zimbabwe

The Olympics, big business and dictatorship

04/08/2016: A short history of the Olympics:

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 CWI Summer school
Brazil

04/08/2016: New cycle of struggle following right-wing parliamentary coup

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 CWI Summer School
Economic instability, inter-imperialist tensions, workers struggles’ and political earthquakes

03/08/2016: Report of the discussion on world perspectives at the recent CWI Summer School

  CWI, Turkey

 CWI Summer School 2016
Fighting racism and the far right 

02/08/2016: Capitalist crisis and anti-immigrant reaction

  CWI

Germany
‘Brexit’ and the German Left

30/07/2016: Reject the bosses’ EU! For a Europe of working people - a voluntary socialist federation

  Germany

US
Most contentious Democratic Convention since 1968

29/07/2016: We need a new party of the 99% to defeat the billionaire class

  US

 Cameroon
Free jailed Buea activists!

28/07/2016: 100 protest outside the court demanding release of the 15

  Cameroon, Solidarity

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

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Boiling anger as Kabila tries to cling to power

Environment: Green China to save the world?
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Article published in last edition of Socialism Today

Scotland: Will the Corbyn uprising save Scottish Labour?
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Greece: Athens bus cleaners win major victory
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Solidarity protests needed!

Chile: Up to 2 million march against pensions robbery
24/08/2016, Socialismo Revolucionario (CWI in Chile) reporters:
General strike threatened for 4 November as protests grow

Britain: Answer right’s attacks with firm socialist programme
23/08/2016, Editorial from the Socialist, paper of the Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales):
#KeepCorbyn

Quebec: Montreal workers strike for $15 an hour
22/08/2016, Interview with Jacques Fontaine, a striking worker at the Old Port of Montreal:
"Company totally underestimated workers’ determination"

Video: Militant, Liverpool and Trotskyism today
22/08/2016, socialistworld.net:
Russia Today covers historic Liverpool battle, led by the CWI in Britain

US: Build a new party of the 99%
21/08/2016, Joshua Koritz, Socialist Alternative, USA:
Support Jill Stein

Philippines: Is Duterte following in Marcos’ footsteps?
16/08/2016, Vincent Kolo (CWI) interviews Philippines-based socialist, Gabriel:
New president threatens martial law while leaning on ‘left’ parties for support

Video: Socialist Party general secretary Peter Taaffe on Channel 4
14/08/2016, Socialistworld.net:
Socialist party media coverage amid accusations of Trotskyist "entryism"

Video: CWI around the world
13/08/2016, socialistworld.net:
Video shown at the CWI Summer school of some sections’ activities

Quebec: World Social Forum 2016
13/08/2016, socialistworld.net:
Tens of thousands of activists from around the world gather WSF in Montreal, 9-14 August

Hong Kong: Multinational MTR takes socialist Sally Tang Mei-ching to court
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Britain: #KeepCorbyn - stand firm for socialism
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The fight for a Labour Party for the working class

South Africa: Local elections a thunderous rebuke for ANC
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ANC polls less than 60% for first time since end of apartheid

Ireland: Non-payment of water bills rises to 73%
09/08/2016, Katia Hancke, Socialist Party (CWI in Ireland):
Abolish the charges now

Zimbabwe: Mugabe must fall!
05/08/2016, Statement by the Executive Committee of the Workers and Socialist Party (CWI in South Africa):
Mass revolt shakes the regime to its foundations

The Olympics, big business and dictatorship
04/08/2016, Vincent Kolo, chinaworker.info:
A short history of the Olympics:

CWI Summer school: Brazil
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New cycle of struggle following right-wing parliamentary coup

CWI Summer School 2016: Fighting racism and the far right 
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US: Most contentious Democratic Convention since 1968
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100 protest outside the court demanding release of the 15

Cote d’Ivoire: Protests against electricity prices
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CWI Comment and Analysis

ANALYSIS

France: Burkini ban fuels Islamophobia
30/08/2016, Judy Beishon, from The Socialist (weekly paper of the Socialist Party, CWI England & Wales):
For workers’ unity and struggle against racism, division and austerity

Book review: Iraq, IS and the failing war on terror
28/08/2016, Manny Thain, Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales), from the September edition of Socialism Today:
Published earlier this year before the Chilcot report was finally released, Blood Year by counter-insurgency strategist David Kilcullen is a damning indictment of the so-called war on terror unleased by US imperialism in 2001, with the full support of Tony Blair.

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Now let’s finish the job

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Report of the discussion on world perspectives at the recent CWI Summer School

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US: Beyond Bernie
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Still not with her

Britain: Referendum revolt
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EU: Left parties turning against bosses’ Europe
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Muhammad Ali: A fighter who inspired millions
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Establishment forced to incorporate his legend into re-writing of history

Review: The working-class case against the EU
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31/05/2016, Clare Doyle, CWI:
Gauche Revolutionnaire statement underlines vital need for political alternative

Austria: Only 31,026 votes prevent far right’s Hofer becoming president
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Britain: EU referendum exposes gaping political fault-lines
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