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Greece
H&M workers score victory against management plans

28/03/2017: Despite very difficult times, struggle can bring results

  Greece

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#JobstownNotGuilty international day of action a huge success

28/03/2017: Over 30 protests around the world and 88 MPs/MEPs pledge support

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A week-end of mass protests

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

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Second referendum on independence?

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

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National day of strikes and protests shows Temer can be beaten

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

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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

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

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

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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

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Ireland North
Snap election raises sectarian temperature    

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

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Counter protest against far-right

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

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Speech by Kshama Sawant

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

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Millions join marches and take action

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

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Women’s march against sexism and racism

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

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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

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Pakistan
Political spectacle of the ruling class

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

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A century on from the Russian Revolution

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

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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

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Price hikes hit workers and middle classes

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

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

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“Who could believe it?"

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

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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.

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International protests in support of TOTAL/G4S workers

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Palestine

Paul Murphy Socialist Party MEP joins ‘Freedom Flotilla II’

www.socialistworld.net, 24/06/2011
website of the committee for a workers' international, CWI

“Aim of Flotilla to break siege and highlight blockade impact on Gaza population”

Interview with Paul Murphy by Socialistworld.net

n="center"> [follow latest updates on paulmurphymep.eu]

Paul Murphy, Socialist Party MEP for Dublin will shortly attempt to sail to Gaza as part of the ‘Freedom Flotilla II’ to try to deliver humanitarian aid to people in the Gaza strip. Last year’s ‘Freedom Flotilla I’ was brutally attacked in international waters by the Israeli Defence Forces, with 9 human rights activists killed. Socialistworld.net interviewed Paul about the Flotilla and the situation in the Middle East.

Why did you decide to join the Flotilla?

Above all, my decision to join the ‘Freedom Flotilla’ is based on the conditions faced by the people in Gaza and an attempt to alleviate their suffering. The Israeli state does not allow essential medicine and construction materials into Gaza, with devastating impacts on living conditions. The aim of the Flotilla is to break that siege by delivering vital medical supplies and construction material and to highlight the ongoing blockade and impact on the population.


Additional video footage:


The Gaza strip is one of the most densely populated areas in the world, with 1.6 million people crammed into an area of 360 square kilometres. Conditions there are horrific and have worsened dramatically as a result of the Israeli blockade. According to the UN, the unemployment rate in Gaza reached 45.2 % in late 2010. The number of people living on less than $1 a day has tripled to 300,000 as a result of the blockade and the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) said that wages have dropped by one third during the blockade.

The blockade of Gaza is now entering its fifth year, having been imposed by the Israeli state after Hamas won the elections. This amounts to a collective punishment of the population in Gaza for the decision to elect Hamas. It is an outrageous abuse of human and democratic rights to impose such suffering on the civilian population of Gaza because they voted ‘the wrong way’!

What is your reaction to what happened to last year’s flotilla?

Last year’s assault by the IDF on the Freedom Flotilla I demonstrated the impunity with which the Israeli establishment feels able to act, without any regard to international law, never mind human rights. I recently saw video footage from last year’s raid on the flotilla and had the chance to talk to some of the participants who witnessed the killing of 9 peaceful activists. The brutality of the IDF was extreme, as was the whole approach of the Israeli government who callously decided to launch attacks on these human rights activists.

I have huge respect for the determination of many of the activists in wanting to deliver humanitarian aid to the besieged population of Gaza. When I heard that the Flotilla was sailing again and that they were looking for public representatives to travel, I felt it would be a very good opportunity to express my solidarity with the Palestinian people as well as hopefully give some level of protection to the other activists on the ship.

Who is travelling to Gaza?

Hundreds of activists will attempt to break the siege of Gaza in a few days time. These people come from different Palestinian rights groups and of course from different political organisations. One other MEP from the European United Left group will travel, Willy Meyer from the United Left in Spain. There are 25 participants on the Irish boat including rugby player Trevor Hogan and People Before Profit & United Left Alliance Councillor, Hugh Lewis. The Irish ship is organised by the Irish Ship to Gaza (irishshiptogaza.org) which is part of the international coalition for Freedom Flotilla II.

Do you think you will succeed in getting to Gaza?

I think that is something that is almost entirely in the hands of the Israeli establishment and defence forces. If they decide to attack the boats again, which I think is most likely, it will not be possible to out-run them. However, if they take that course they risk igniting a major movement of protest across the world, as occurred at the time of their attack on the last flotilla.

If we do succeed in getting to Gaza, we will deliver our humanitarian aid and then stay for a few days to engage in a series of “civil society to civil society” meetings, including meeting with human rights and other activists within Gaza. I would be particularly interested in meeting with trade unionists who have led major strikes in the last number of years.

Does the opening of the Rafah crossing (between Egypt and the Gaza strip) mean that the Flotilla is no longer necessary?

No, for two reasons in my opinion. The first is that the Rafah border is not genuinely open. The Egyptian authorities announced the opening at the end of May. They allowed civilian crossing but no trade in goods. Still, the opening of the border meant that people could buy goods and medication etc in Egypt. However, at the beginning of June, Hamas announced the closure of the border, allegedly out of protest against delays at the checkpoint and against Egypt’s unannounced closure of the border on a previous day. Whatever the true motivation of Hamas is, it is clear that the issue is not resolved and that the purpose of the Flotilla remains valid.

Secondly, even if the Rafah crossing was completely open, the Flotilla would still retain its validity. The people of Gaza should not be forced to be reliant on one crossing alone as a result of the Israeli blockade and should be able to use their sea ports freely without Israeli interference.

What impact do you think the revolutions in North Africa and the Middle East will have on developments in the region?

It is obvious that these revolutions have an impact on the situation in Israel/Palestine. Across the region, there have been demonstrations and protests in solidarity with the oppressed Palestinian masses. At the same time, the Palestinian people have been inspired by the revolutionary events in the region. It is no surprise that the demonstrations to mark Nakba (“the catastrophe” in Arabic –the establishment of the state of Israel with the expulsion of an estimated 700,000 Palestinians) which were held in Israel proper and in the Palestinian occupied territories were particularly well attended. The revolutions also had an impact in building pressure on Hamas and Fatah to discuss forming a national unity government.

Significantly, these protests were mainly made up of a new generation of Palestinian youth and appear to have momentum. The 15 March saw massive protests on the streets of many towns in the Gaza strip and the West Bank. Nakba Day, 15 May, also saw large protests, as already mentioned, and the added factor of the beginnings of a mass movement of Palestinian refugees in the Arab countries. Near the Golan Heights, on 5 June, clashes at the borders saw brutal attacks by the Israeli army (IDF), with over 20 Palestinians killed and hundreds wounded.

On the other hand, the Israeli government has tried to use the revolutions to strike fear into Israeli Jews, by scaremongering about the threat of the forces of political Islam. This is a traditional tactic of the Israeli capitalist establishment, which emphasises Israel being surrounded by hostile countries, and therefore the need for ‘national unity’ within Israel and a focus on the question of security. The Israeli regime has been very worried about losing important allies such as the former Egyptian dictator Hosni Mubarak. At the same time, they will find it more and more difficult to portray themselves as the only “democracy” in the region that needs to defend itself against the dictatorships in the region.

It is clear, from my own trip to Tunisia and the experiences of CWI members in Egypt and elsewhere that the future of the revolutions still lies in the balance. Across the region, the forces of counter-revolution are re-organising and attempting to consolidate power. Unless the revolution moves forward and the working class and poor masses take full democratic control of the running of society and the economy, unfortunately the aspirations of the people who have bravely overthrown brutal dictators will not be met.

What is your attitude to Hamas?

I have always accepted the legitimate electoral victory of Hamas in Gaza in 2006 and opposed the blockade imposed by the Israeli state. In my view, Hamas was able to win support as a result of increased frustration and disillusionment on the part of the Palestinian masses with the failed Oslo peace process which was brokered by the Fatah wing of the PLO under Arafat. On top of that, the Palestinian masses were increasingly dissatisfied with the corruption and nepotism under the Fatah led Palestinian Authorities.

However, I do have very serious disagreements with the political leadership of Hamas. Fundamentally, Hamas is a right-wing organisation, with policies that are against the interests of the workers’ movement, trade unionists and genuine socialists. It does not offer a real way forward that can deliver an independent and sustainable Palestinian state.

I disagree with Hamas’ strategy and tactics in trying to bring about an independent Palestinian state. I unconditionally support the right of the Palestinian people to self determination and self defence against the Israeli state but I am absolutely opposed to the methods of suicide bombings, firing rockets on Israeli civilians etc.

In my opinion, those types of actions play into the hands of the right wing political establishment in Israel and the Israeli state machine and will not bring the region any closer to lasting peace or an independent Palestinian state. That is because they enable the Israeli establishment to further whip up fear within Israel and tie ordinary Israeli workers to the right-wing parties who constantly propagandise around the theme of security.

How do you think that a Palestinian state can be achieved?

The so-called “Arab Spring” – in reality, revolutions and revolutionary movements and uprisings in North Africa and the Middle East – demonstrated, once again, that mass resistance, collective action by the oppressed against their oppressors are the most effective tool in bringing about substantial change. The first Palestinian mass uprising in 1987 - the first Intifada – shook the Israeli ruling class and imperialism and forced the Israeli regime into ‘peace negotiations’ which however led to the fraudulent Oslo agreement, in 1993, a cruel cul-de-sac for Palestinians.

A re-development of mass struggle is vital, in my opinion, to bring the struggle forward. To achieve that, no trust must be placed in the various Western powers, which, on occasion, may pretend to be ‘favourable’ to the Palestinian people.

Instead, what needs to be built, in my opinion, is mass revolutionary movements of the Palestinian masses, the risen masses of the Arab world as well as the working class and poor in Israel itself. Such movements could complete the overthrow of the corrupt elites in the Arab world, as well as kick out the right-wing Israeli establishment, and fight to create a socialist Palestine, alongside a socialist Israel, as part of a socialist confederation of the Middle East.

At the moment, there is a lot of discussion of a possible declaration of an independent Palestinian state in front of the UN General Assembly on 1 September. Quite understandably, there are a lot of hopes amongst the Palestinian people that 1 September will at last bring about an independent Palestinian State.

However, while it is possible that 1 September will see some sort of recognition for the Palestinian cause, it is unfortunately not going to meet the aspirations of the Palestinian people. The Israeli regime will not allow the establishment of a sovereign Palestinian state with Jerusalem as a joint capital. Despite the fact that Israel seems to be more isolated at the moment, the US and other Western powers still need Israel as an important ally in a region whose make-up is still not secure for Western imperialists’ interests.

In order to achieve a real solution, the current political regime in Israel needs to be overthrown. To achieve this, the Israeli working class is a vital potential ally. I think it is very important to emphasise the fact that is often forgotten by many on the left – that despite the massive propaganda within Israel and militarised nature of society, Israel is a class society.

This was demonstrated recently by protests against price rises, by important strikes by the social workers, doctors and railway workers, and the strike by chemical workers in Haifa. These struggles involve Israeli Jews and Israeli Arab-Palestinians. My Palestinian and Jewish comrades in Israel/Palestine in the Socialist Struggle Movement (www.maavak.org.il) are playing an active part in building support for the `Haifa` strike, as well as other struggles, and take an active part in the struggle against the occupation and the oppression of the Palestinians. They work to unite Jewish and Arab workers generally in a struggle against the Israeli capitalist class. I believe that with a class appeal, a majority of Israeli workers and poor can be won to a united struggle against this common enemy. I also applaud the courageous demonstration at the beginning of June in Tel Aviv against the occupation, where the CWI participated prominently.

How can supporters of the Palestinian people internationally assist in this struggle?

One of the debates amongst those who support the rights of the Palestinian people is over the call for BDS – Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions. Those who advocate BDS as a major tactic advocate that encouraging people to boycott Israeli goods and institutions internationally is an important activity that people can carry out around the world. I of course understand why some activists advocate this campaign but I don’t think that tactically a general boycott represents the best way forward for campaigning for Palestinian rights and a Palestinian state.

Some types of boycott or sanctions, such as against arms that are being used in the occupied territories, or goods made in Jewish settlements – especially if organised by trade unions – can play a useful role in the struggle.

But I believe that the Israeli political establishment would use the further development of a general BDS campaign as a propaganda tool to try to further alienate the Israeli working class from the Palestinian masses. It would allow the Israeli state to go further with the propaganda that the Israeli Jews stand alone in the world and therefore they need to stand together to defend their interests. For this reason, while I am of course sympathetic to those who call for a BDS, I believe that this demand could strengthen the chauvinist right-wing in Israel, making it more difficult to win over Israeli Jewish workers, who I think are vital to a long-term solution in the Middle East.

Instead of pursuing a BDS strategy, I would encourage people to take the opportunity of the Freedom Flotilla II to engage in major protests against the Israeli treatment of the people in Gaza and to support the right of the Palestinians to a genuinely independent state. In particular, I would encourage workers to pursue this issue within the trade union movement, seeking to get motions passed and similarly students in the student movement.



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NEWS

Greece: H&M workers score victory against management plans
28/03/2017, Statement (slightly edited) by Xekinima (CWI Greece):
Despite very difficult times, struggle can bring results

Solidarity: #JobstownNotGuilty international day of action a huge success
28/03/2017, socialistworld.net :
Over 30 protests around the world and 88 MPs/MEPs pledge support

Russia/Belarus: A week-end of mass protests
27/03/2017, Socialist Alternative (CWI Russia) Reporters:
New spring of protest opens up, as 1,000s arrested

Hong Kong: Creeping “coup” by Chinese dictatorship
27/03/2017, Dikang, Socialist Action (CWI in Hong Kong) :
Defend the four Hong Kong legislators

Britain: Terror attack at Westminster
24/03/2017, Judy Beishon, from the Socialist Party (CWI England & Wales) website :
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):
President Lukashenko must go!

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
14/03/2017, Sally Tang Mei-ching, Socialist Action (CWI in Hong Kong) :
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
09/03/2017, Socialist Action (CWI in Hong Kong) reporters:
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
08/03/2017, Tariq Shahzad, National Organiser of IYWM (International Youth and Workers Movement) :
Most workers underemployed, 40% in poverty - situation demands new workers’ party

Britain: Massive demo shows battle to save the NHS can be won
06/03/2017, Hannah Sell, Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales) deputy general secretary :
Up to 250,000 march in national protest, organised from below

Egypt: Price hikes hit workers and middle classes
04/03/2017, David Johnson, Socialist Party (CWI England & Wales) :
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
02/03/2017, socialistworld.net:
Kshama Sawant, Socialist Alternative councillor, speaks

Catalonia: Historic demonstration in Barcelona in support of refugees
25/02/2017, Esquerra Revolucionària :
'Volem acollir'

Sweden: “Who could believe it?"

24/02/2017, Per-Åke Westerlund, Rättvisepartiet Socialisterna (CWI Sweden):
What is behind Trump's attack?

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    
14/03/2017, Daniel Waldron, Socialist Party (CWI Ireland), Belfast :
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?
21/02/2017, Peter Taaffe, Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales), printed in the Socialist (paper of the Socialist Party):
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?

CWI and Izquierda Revolucionaria – Towards unification
06/02/2017, Socialistworld.net :
Joint declaration of the CWI’s IEC and Izquierda Revolucionaria’s IEC

France: After Sarkozy, Juppé and Valls, now Fillon is on the way out
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Space opening up to left of Socialist Party

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New movements for change will need to arm themselves with the lessons of the Syrian tragedy

Sri Lanka: The year 2017
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Between oppression and struggle

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

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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
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Build a socialist alternative to the ‘Orange’ versus ‘Green’ headcount

Spain: What kind of Podemos do workers and youth need?
17/01/2017, Izquierda Revolucionaria, Spanish state, editorial :
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 :
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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