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Britain
Labour leadership contest - appealing to big business

22/05/2015: The Labour leadership contest begs the question: what is the point of the Labour Party?

  Britain

Ireland North
Election marks growing rejection of sectarian status quo

21/05/2015: Opportunities to build new anti-sectarian political voice for working class and youth

  Ireland Republic

Spain
Is Podemos in crisis?

20/05/2015: Left and social movements in a state of flux, as key elections loom

  Spain

Britain
Build a movement to defeat Tories’ cuts savagery

20/05/2015: For massive union demonstrations, linked to a 24-hour general strike

  Britain

Ireland South
Vote ‘Yes’ to marriage equality!

19/05/2015: Referendum a product of long-waged campaign of struggle from below

  Ireland Republic

Greece
Subordination to Troika or rupture with austerity?

18/05/2015: The choices before the Greek working class

  Greece

North Cyprus
‘Moderate leftist’ wins presidential election on peace ticket

16/05/2015: Workers’ common front, north and south, can find solution to island’s division

  Cyprus

Chile
Huge demonstrations call for free education

15/05/2015: New chapter opens in country’s political and ‘moral’ crisis

  Chile

Australia
East-West toll road dispute concluded

15/05/2015: Local community direct action secures victory

  Australia

Ireland
Parliament suspended after PM tells Socialist MPs “where to go”

14/05/2015: Contemptuous remarks reflect government concerns over non-payment of water charges

  Ireland Republic

Britain
Organising against Tory austerity starts now

14/05/2015: Potential for industrial response to cuts but needs determined leadership and campaigning

  Britain

 Video
Joe Higgins TD questions former ECB president Jean Claude Trichet

13/05/2015: "When bankers and bondholders’ gambles crashed, their massive burden of private debt was placed onto the shoulders of the Irish people"

  Ireland Republic, Video

Sudan
Mass apathy towards elections

12/05/2015: Renewed struggle from below needed to put an end to Bashir’s rule

  Sudan

USA
Presidential candidate declares "political revolution" against billionaires

12/05/2015: Campaign needs to build independent political power

  US

Britain
Fight against "five more damned years" of Tory rule

12/05/2015: Labour leader’s ’responsible capitalism’ shows its bankruptcy

  Britain

China
“In a hard landing now”

11/05/2015: Stock market frenzy and fabricated GDP figures cannot hide the reality of an economy in deep trouble

  China

Scotland
Labour annihilated

11/05/2015: SNP sweeps to victory by posing as an anti-austerity alternative

  Scotland

Britain
With the votes of 24% of the electorate, Tories have no mandate for more savage cuts

11/05/2015: Labour’s failure puts centre stage the need for new mass anti-austerity force

  Britain

Poland
65,000 workers demonstrate against governments’ policies

07/05/2015: Plan of action for a general strike needed

  Poland

Ireland North
Socialist Party replies to leading Sinn Fein councillor’s attacks

06/05/2015: How to fight cuts, sectarianism and to build workers’ unity

  Ireland North

Britain
Russell Brand mistaken to sow illusions in Labour

06/05/2015: Russell Brand calls on people to elect a Labour government, saying Ed Miliband will ’listen’ and wants pressure from below

  Britain

May Day 2015
International workers’ day marked by marches and rallies

05/05/2015: Photo gallery of the CWI taking part in May Day event across the world

  May Day

Iceland
Fighting for better wages

05/05/2015: General strike called for 26 May

  Iceland

May Day 2015
Socialist plan or capitalist chaos

01/05/2015: What sort of new society are we struggling for?

  May Day

Nepal
Disaster in Nepal –amplified by capitalism

30/04/2015: Nepal, one of the poorest countries in the south Asian region has been further devastated by the recent earthquake.

  Nepal

US
Rage in Baltimore

29/04/2015: The aftermath of Freddie Gray’s death

  US

Book review
’No place to hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA and the US Surveillance state’

29/04/2015: What the 1% will do to defend their class interests

  Review, US

 May Day 2015
Resisting austerity, exploitation, wars and oppression

28/04/2015: 125 years since first May Day – Build a united workers’ movement for socialism!

  CWI, May Day

Italy
Migrant disasters - the human cost of budget cuts

27/04/2015: From Mare Nostrum to Triton

  Italy

Latin America
A new turn?

25/04/2015: Historic handshake between Barack Obama and Raúl Castro, turmoil in Venezuela, and stalled reforms in Bolivia – as well as crises in Brazil – symbolise a new turn in Latin America and the Caribbean

  Latin America

Finland
Worst ever election result for traditional Left

24/04/2015: Finns Party second biggest in parliament

  Finland

Iran
Proposed nuclear deal reflects transformed Middle East

24/04/2015: In aftermath of disastrous Iraq occupation, Obama administration balancing between region’s forces

  Iran, Middle East

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: Labour leadership contest - appealing to big business
22/05/2015, Sarah Sachs-Eldridge, Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales):
The Labour leadership contest begs the question: what is the point of the Labour Party?

Britain: Build a movement to defeat Tories’ cuts savagery
20/05/2015, Editorial from The Socialist, weekly paper of the Socialist Party (CWI England & Wales):
For massive union demonstrations, linked to a 24-hour general strike

Ireland South: Vote ‘Yes’ to marriage equality!
19/05/2015, From the Socialist Party (CWI Ireland) website:
Referendum a product of long-waged campaign of struggle from below

Greece: Subordination to Troika or rupture with austerity?
18/05/2015, Editorial from Xekinima (no. 410, 6-20 May 2015), fortnightly newspaper of CWI Greece:
The choices before the Greek working class

Pakistan: Jawad Ahmad speaking at May Day rally held by International Youth and Workers Movement
18/05/2015, Socialistworld.net:
Video of May Day Rally and concert in Lahore

North Cyprus: ‘Moderate leftist’ wins presidential election on peace ticket
16/05/2015, Athina Kariati, New Internationalist Left (CWI in Cyprus):
Workers’ common front, north and south, can find solution to island’s division

Chile: Huge demonstrations call for free education
15/05/2015, Patricio Guzman, Socialismo Revolcuionario (CWI in Chile):
New chapter opens in country’s political and ‘moral’ crisis

Australia: East-West toll road dispute concluded
15/05/2015, Socialist Party (CWI Australia) Reporters:
Local community direct action secures victory

Ireland: Parliament suspended after PM tells Socialist MPs “where to go”
14/05/2015, Socialistworld.net:
Contemptuous remarks reflect government concerns over non-payment of water charges

Britain: Organising against Tory austerity starts now
14/05/2015, John McInally, Public and Commercial Services Union national Vice-President (personal capacity), from the Socialist Party (CWI England & Wales) website:
Potential for industrial response to cuts but needs determined leadership and campaigning

Video: Joe Higgins TD questions former ECB president Jean Claude Trichet
13/05/2015, Socialistworld.net:
"When bankers and bondholders’ gambles crashed, their massive burden of private debt was placed onto the shoulders of the Irish people"

Sudan: Mass apathy towards elections
12/05/2015, Sudanese CWI supporter:
Renewed struggle from below needed to put an end to Bashir’s rule

Scotland: Labour annihilated
11/05/2015, :
SNP sweeps to victory by posing as an anti-austerity alternative

Britain: With the votes of 24% of the electorate, Tories have no mandate for more savage cuts
11/05/2015, Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales):
Labour’s failure puts centre stage the need for new mass anti-austerity force

Poland: 65,000 workers demonstrate against governments’ policies
07/05/2015, Alternatywa Socjalistyczna (CWI Poland) Reporters:
Plan of action for a general strike needed

Britain: Russell Brand mistaken to sow illusions in Labour
06/05/2015, Sarah Sachs-Eldridge, Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales):
Russell Brand calls on people to elect a Labour government, saying Ed Miliband will ’listen’ and wants pressure from below

May Day 2015: International workers’ day marked by marches and rallies
05/05/2015, Socialistworld.net:
Photo gallery of the CWI taking part in May Day event across the world

Iceland: Fighting for better wages
05/05/2015, Per-Åke Westerlund, Rättvisepartiet Socialisterna (CWI Sweden):
General strike called for 26 May

US: Rage in Baltimore
29/04/2015, Eljeer Hawkins, Socialist Alternative, New York:
The aftermath of Freddie Gray’s death

Book review: ’No place to hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA and the US Surveillance state’
29/04/2015, Reviewed by Tony Saunois, CWI:
What the 1% will do to defend their class interests

Kazakhstan: Presidential ‘election’ - Nazarbayev’s overwhelming victory no surprise
28/04/2015, Elizabeth Clarke, CWI:
Workers need to build mass opposition

Ireland North: Health Minister forced to resign after making homophobic remarks
27/04/2015, Daniel Waldron, Socialist Party (CWI Ireland):
LGBT and women’s rights campaigners boosted

Italy: Migrant disasters - the human cost of budget cuts
27/04/2015, From web-site of ControCorrente (CWI in Italy):
From Mare Nostrum to Triton

Finland: Worst ever election result for traditional Left
24/04/2015, Jonas Brännberg and Juha Tapio for CWI in Finland:
Finns Party second biggest in parliament

Scotland: Labour face annihilation as millions seek an answer to austerity
23/04/2015, Philip Stott, Socialist Party Scotland (CWI in Scotland):
The SNP, according to the polls, will win 53 of Scotland’s 59 Westminster MPs

Video: Paul Murphy speaking at anti-water charges demo in Dublin
23/04/2015, Socialistworld.net:
Socialist Partty (CWI) and Anti-Austerity Alliance TD speaks at march of tens of thosuands against water charges on April 18

CWI Comment and Analysis

ANALYSIS

Ireland North: Election marks growing rejection of sectarian status quo
21/05/2015, Daniel Waldron and Kevin Henry, Socialist Party (CWI Ireland), Belfast:
Opportunities to build new anti-sectarian political voice for working class and youth

Spain: Is Podemos in crisis?
20/05/2015, Danny Byrne, CWI:
Left and social movements in a state of flux, as key elections loom

USA: Presidential candidate declares "political revolution" against billionaires
12/05/2015, Philip Locker, Socialist Alternative, Seattle:
Campaign needs to build independent political power

Britain: Fight against "five more damned years" of Tory rule
12/05/2015, Peter Taaffe, Socialist Party )CWI England & Wales) General Secretary:
Labour leader’s ’responsible capitalism’ shows its bankruptcy

China: “In a hard landing now”
11/05/2015, Dikang, chinaworker.info:
Stock market frenzy and fabricated GDP figures cannot hide the reality of an economy in deep trouble

Ireland North: Socialist Party replies to leading Sinn Fein councillor’s attacks
06/05/2015, Socialist Party (CWI Ireland) Statement:
How to fight cuts, sectarianism and to build workers’ unity

May Day 2015: Socialist plan or capitalist chaos
01/05/2015, Peter Taaffe, Socialist Party General Secretary, (CWI England & Wales):
What sort of new society are we struggling for?

Nepal: Disaster in Nepal –amplified by capitalism
30/04/2015, TU Senan, CWI:
Nepal, one of the poorest countries in the south Asian region has been further devastated by the recent earthquake.

May Day 2015: Resisting austerity, exploitation, wars and oppression
28/04/2015, CWI:
125 years since first May Day – Build a united workers’ movement for socialism!

Latin America: A new turn?
25/04/2015, Tony Saunois, article from May issue of Socialism Today, magazine of the Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales):
Historic handshake between Barack Obama and Raúl Castro, turmoil in Venezuela, and stalled reforms in Bolivia – as well as crises in Brazil – symbolise a new turn in Latin America and the Caribbean

Iran: Proposed nuclear deal reflects transformed Middle East
24/04/2015, Robert Bechert, CWI:
In aftermath of disastrous Iraq occupation, Obama administration balancing between region’s forces

Tunisia: After the Bardo terrorist attack
18/04/2015, Serge Jordan:
New class battles loom

Yemen: Brutal onslaught on country’s poor
15/04/2015, Judy Beishon, from The Socialist (weekly paper of the CWI England & Wales):
For unity of workers and poor against imperialism and sectarianism

Economy: What low oil prices cost the world economy
03/04/2015, Lynn Walsh, article from Socialism Today, magazine of the Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales):
The sudden plunge of oil and gas prices has underlined the volatility in the world capitalist economy

Israel: Netanyahu mobilises far right to win election
25/03/2015, Yasha Marmer, Socialist Struggle Movement, Israel-Palestine:
New coalition will face unresolved crises and bitter struggles

Italy: The instability of domestic capitalism
24/03/2015, Marco Veruggio, ControCorrente (CWI Italy):
Political vacuum pushes FIOM to take initiative

Greece: Varoufakis’ “erratic Marxism” is not the answer
23/03/2015, Peter Taaffe, from Socialism Today (monthly magazine of the Socialist Party, England & Wales):
Necessary to clarify ideas upon which successful struggles of European working class will be conducted

Belgium: No agreement reached between unions and government over austerity
20/03/2015, Eric Byl, LSP/PSL (Belgian section of the CWI), Brussels:
New action plan against right wing government takes off

Ukraine: Conflict unresolved after ’Minsk-2’ agreement
18/03/2015, Rob Jones, CWI, Moscow:
Only independent working-class mass movement can remove the region’s authoritarian rulers

Greece: Syriza’s first months in power
07/03/2015, Andreas Payiatsos, from Xekinima (newspaper of the CWI Greece):
The working class and social movements must enter the struggle for their rights

Quebec: Towards a hot spring
02/03/2015, Deirdre and Bruno, Socialist Alternative (CWI Quebec):
Disrupt them like they disrupt us!

Greece showdown
26/02/2015, Article to be published in the March issue of Socialism Today (magazine of the Socialist Party, CWI in England and Wales):
Niall Mulholland interviewed NICOS ANASTASIADES, of Xekinima (CWI Greece), just as Syriza leaders agreed a four-month bail-out extension with the EU.

Libya: War-torn country becoming new hub for IS activities
25/02/2015, Serge Jordan (CWI):
Libyan people bearing the brunt of NATO’s fiasco

Europe: Eurozone time-bomb
25/02/2015, Lynn Walsh, article from Socialism Today (magazine of the Socialist Party of England and Wales):
Mired in recession, the eurozone is haunted by the spectre of stagnation

Greece: Syriza retreats under Troika threats
24/02/2015, Nicos Anastasiades, Xekinima (CWI Greece), Thessaloniki:
Popular mood shows anti-austerity, socialist policies would win huge support