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latest news

 Solidarity
Brutal bosses attack striking Lisbon Dockers

25/05/2016: Protest and solidarity messages needed

  Solidarity

Austria
Only 31,026 votes prevent far right’s Hofer becoming president

24/05/2016: ‘Breathing space’ offers chance to build a fighting, democratic left alternative

  Austria

Britain
EU referendum exposes gaping political fault-lines

24/05/2016: New road can open up for labour movement if working class relies on its own forces

  Britain

Kazakhstan
Massive police operation confronts demonstrators

23/05/2016: Nazarbayev regime faces mounting opposition

  Kazakhstan

Australia
Federal election looming

21/05/2016: How should the labour and social movements respond?

  Australia

Kazakhstan
 Anger against Nazarbayev expressed on the streets

20/05/2016: ‘Illegal’ protests planned for Saturday 21 May

  Kazakhstan

Brazil
Fall of President Dilma Rousseff unleashes offensive against working class

19/05/2016: The impeachment process and historic crisis of the PT (Workers’ Party)

  Brazil

Britain
Brexit, the EU and the economy

19/05/2016: Remain or Leave, workers must fight for socialist change

  Britain

Nigeria
General strike begins

18/05/2016: Determined leadership and clear strategy needed to succeed

  Nigeria

Ireland
‘Jobstown trials’ to go ahead

18/05/2016: Government loses battle on water charges but wages war on Left

  Ireland Republic

Greece
Striking Athens bus cleaners continue their struggle

17/05/2016: Court declares strike ‘lawful’

  Greece

Canada
Fire devastates Fort McMurray

16/05/2016: Capitalism equals environmental destruction

  Canada

Saudi Arabia
Gathering storms over the House of Saud

13/05/2016: Collapse of oil prices expose fragile foundations of oil Gulf monarchies

  Middle East, Qatar, Saudi Arabia

France
New stage in battle over labour law

12/05/2016: Hollande’s decision to over-rule parliament provokes another round of struggle

  France

Kazakhstan
Protests erupt

12/05/2016: Phoney elections have not brought stability

  Kazakhstan

Sweden
Successful Congress for CWI forces

12/05/2016: Political foundations laid for new branches and growth in other Nordic countries

  Sweden

Ireland
100th anniversary of the execution of James Connolly

12/05/2016: Revolutionary socialist, militant workers' leader and internationalist

  Ireland Republic

Northern Ireland
Main parties win Assembly elections…

11/05/2016: But positive moves against sectarian politics

  Ireland North

Belgium
Trade unions announce new plan of action

11/05/2016: Call for two national demonstrations, building towards general strikes

  Belgium

Quebec
The fight for $15 shows true colors of Parti Québecois

10/05/2016: No to an all-class pro-independence alliance

  Quebec

Britain
Elections show anger and fragmentation

10/05/2016: Mobilise the anti-austerity mood into a mass, democratic movement to defeat the right

  Britain

Scotland
SNP win elections

09/05/2016: New openings for a socialist left alternative emerge

  Scotland

Ireland
How long can Kenny’s government last?

07/05/2016: Minority government supported by two main parties and “Independents” formed

  Ireland Republic

 Video
Paul Murphy sets record straight on "legal aid"

06/05/2016: Socialist MP threatened with jail for protesting against water charges responds to attacks in Irish parliament

  Video

South Africa
Zuma must go!

06/05/2016: Build a socialist mass workers’ party for a government of the working class

  South Africa

 Solidarity
Portuguese dock workers’ indefinite strike

05/05/2016: What we cannot do: leave the dockers alone

  Solidarity

Britain
90th anniversary of epochal general strike

05/05/2016: When workers tasted power

  Britain

Hong Kong
Racist smear campaign against refugees

05/05/2016: Socialist Action (CWI) initiates successful anti-racist march

  Aceh

May Day 2016
Rallies and marches mark international workers' day

04/05/2016: Photo gallery of CWI's global May Day participation

  May Day

Ireland
Water charges suspended

03/05/2016: Protest movement and boycott force huge Establishment parties climb down

  Ireland Republic

Britain
'Slow coup' against left Labour leader

02/05/2016: Anti-Semitism charges a cynical campaign by right-wing to ditch Jeremy Corbyn

  Britain

May Day 2016
The idea of May Day on the march

01/05/2016: "The brilliant idea of May Day is the immediate stepping forward of the proletarian masses"

  May Day

Israel/Palestine
The Marxist left, the national conflict and the
Palestinian struggle

29/04/2016: The necessity of a class approach and a socialist alternative

  Israel / Palestine

Austria
Stop the rise of the far right!

27/04/2016: Against Hofer, the government and the system of the super-rich!

  Austria

Turkey / Kurdistan

Erdoğan escalates attacks on PKK

www.socialistworld.net, 26/08/2011
website of the committee for a workers' international, CWI

Attempts to form a new left umbrella party

Nihat, SAV (CWI Germany), and Kai Stein, CWI

In an offensive during the last seven days, the Turkish army claims that around 100 fighters of the PKK (Kurdistan Worker’s Party), the Kurdish guerrilla group in Turkey, were killed and another 80 were wounded. Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Turkey’s Prime Minister, used an attack on a military convoy by the PKK in the south-east of Turkey on 17 August, in which eight soldiers and one member of the pro-government Kurdish militia died, to launch a huge military campaign. It included air strikes on bases of the PKK in Northern Iraq and coordinated action with the Iranian regime, as a reported phone call with President Ahmadinejad indicates. The Iranian regime itself started an offensive on 16 July against Kurdish fighters. This was reported by the Kurdistan National Congress, who warned Turkey not to resort to a ‘Tamil solution’ of the Kurdish question – a further slaughter of Kurdish people. There is speculation in the Turkish media that, after Ramadan ends on 30 August, the government could start a ground offensive in the region.

Erdoğan combined these military actions with a threat: that those not distancing themselves from terror would have to “pay a price”. This was more or less openly directed at the BDP (Peace and Democracy Party), a Kurdish, left-leaning party.

The AKP (Justice and Development Party) government presented itself in the past as searching for a peaceful and democratic solution to the Kurdish question, even implementing some reforms, for example allowing the use of the Kurdish language. Now, thousands of Kurdish politicians are imprisoned by this government and the repression on Kurdish activists, but also the left and trade unionists, is increasing.

Erdoğan is trying to use his strengthened position following his victory in the general election in June 2011, which saw a slight increase in the AKP’s vote from 47 to 50%. He was afterwards able to further push aside the opposition from the ’Kemalist’ – traditional secularist – leadership of the military. The open power struggle between different wings of the bureaucracy of the state apparatus which kept Turkey in its grip over a decade has now reached a qualitative change in favour of the AKP: The old Kemalist bureaucracy in the state apparatus – for example in the military and the courts – who tried to stand against the AKP, have severely lost their influence and power.

Therefore, this is the first military campaign where Erdoğan cannot hide behind a warmongering military elite with its own interests in escalation – which was partially true in the past. In the eyes of many Kurdish people, Erdoğan will be fully responsible now.

Refugee camp in border zone in northeastern Iraq, where Kurds have fled offensives in Turkey and Iran

Elections in June and the prospects of the bloc for work, democracy and freedom

The elections of June saw also an increase from 20 to 36 elected MPs supported by the BDP and an alliance of mostly left parties around it. To surmount the obstacle of the 10% national threshold for parties to get MPs, these candidates stood as independents. In total this ‘bloc for work, democracy and freedom’ got 6.6% nationally, despite the fact that they could not stand in all constituencies. Their votes increased in the Kurdish areas compared to 2007. The bloc allowed representatives of left parties to stand, for example, in Istanbul and other big cities, where the election results were also better than the average. The MPs elected included Sırrı Süreyya Önder, a well known film director, active in the resistance against the military dictatorship in the 1980s, Levent Tüzel, member and ex-chair of EMEP (Labour Party), and Ertuğrul Kürkçü, one of the leading members of the left resistance of the THKP-C (Turkish People’s Liberation Front) in the 1970s which still has a very high profile in Turkey today.

However, some of the elected representatives were not allowed to become members of the parliament. Hatip Dicle, elected with 78.000 votes in Diyarbakir, but imprisoned for his pro-Kurdish activism, was refused to take his seat. Instead, it was given to the AKP’s candidate in his constituency who clearly came second. Alongside Hatip, four other elected representatives were banned. In protest, the other MPs of the bloc for work, democracy and freedom refused to take their oath in parliament.

Empty seats of the MPs supported by the bloc during a swearing-in ceremony at the parliament, June 2011

After the election success of the bloc, Abdullah Öcalan, imprisoned leader of the PKK, emphasised again his repeatedly made proposal to transform the election alliance into a new umbrella party of the BDP, socialists, ecological activists and feminists. The election result encouraged activists to move in this direction. It got a lot of attention on the left and in the workers’ movement. The Turkish media did not report much about it, but the discussions are continuing involving EMEP (a legal party built from former Stalinists who supported Albania and still see themselves as socialists, mainly presenting a reformist programme; internationally linked to Day-Mer in Britain, or DiDF – federation of Turkish workers in Germany) and SDP (Socialist Democracy Party – also comprising former left activists, a split from the ÖDP – Freedom and Solidarity Party) as well as the BDP. Unfortunately, it is not a process from below involving new activists but more a top-down approach of the different leaderships of these groups.

Before and during the elections, Öcalan had proposed to the government to transform the PKK into a political movement and end the armed struggle. The PKK has been in an impasse now for many years. It is obvious that the armed struggle will lead nowhere. Öcalan and the PKK are not demanding an independent Kurdistan anymore, but ‘democratic autonomy’ within the Turkish state.

But the government – while starting some negotiations with their prisoner and state enemy number one, Öcalan – did not offer anything. In danger of being pushed more and more aside, the PKK gave their answer in August and re-started attacks after ending their one-sided ceasefire. The PKK created with these attacks an opportunity for Erdogan to strike back with bloody bombing. There are now even discussions in the government about using special elite forces on the ground to intensify the battle against the PKK. A harsher prison regime against Öcalan has been imposed. As the Kurdistan National Congress reports, his lawyers have been banned from seeing him “for arbitrary reasons” since 27 July.

A new increased wave of arrests against the BDP and Kurdish intellectuals is foreseeable. The whole rhetoric of the government and capitalist media points in this direction. A newspaper close to Erdoğan called the BDP “murderers”.

So far, tensions on the ground between Turkish and Kurdish people are not as heated as after other PKK attacks in recent years, when Turkish nationalists stirred up groups to attack Kurdish shops and centres. But the government and the media have re-inflamed the tensions and slanders against the BDP to accompany the military campaign.

Prospects for a new left party

The Turkish workers’ movement has been in a process of re-awakening in recent years, with hundreds of thousands gathering every May Day in Istanbul’s Taksim Square, the Tekel workers’ struggle last year and other smaller industrial battles. Given this background and the social instability in Turkey, a new formation developing out of the bloc has a lot of potential in offering a platform to a layer of new socialist, workplace and trade union activists.

At the same time, because of its mainly Kurdish nationalist outlook despite its left positioning, the BDP (and its forbidden predecessors) have limited appeal for Turkish workers. The BDP never managed to become a real Turkey-wide party.

Rally of the bloc in the election campaign

To cut across the demagogy of the nationalists, from the neo-fascist MHP (Nationalist Movement Party) to the Kemalist CHP (Republican People’s Party) and the governing AKP (the other three parties in the parliament), a new left party has to base itself on the joint struggle of the working class against all oppression and for full democratic rights, including trade union rights, the right to strike and the rights of Kurdish people to decide their autonomy or even independence, if they wish.

On a capitalist basis there is no way out for the development of the economy in the Kurdish areas, nor is there a prospect for a stable continuation of the boom in the Turkish economy. In contrast, it has a lot of features in common with the Southern European states before the last crisis hit them (see box on Turkish economy). The precarious, low-paid jobs are increasing and the boom of recent years has not reached wider parts of the working class. The credit-card bubble helped working-class people to sustain their living standards. This will strike back to hit them hard.

A newly-formed left formation could develop roots also in the Turkish working class. Unfortunately, the forces allied to the bloc for work, democracy and freedom limit themselves to small reformist demands and do not link the struggle for immediate improvements to the fight for a socialist solution to poverty and unemployment in Turkey and Kurdistan. This will put the development of this new party under question.

However, a platform to bring workers, young people and activists of social movements together, to discuss and develop a programme and a joint fightback against the AKP government and the attacks of the capitalists and imperialism, is urgently needed. A new umbrella party could be a step forward in this direction.

Marxist forces are needed to ensure that those activists from workplaces, trade unions and social movements as well as Kurdish activists, who are looking in the direction of this new emerging umbrella party, will find more than the leaderships of the parties involved are prepared to offer. A revolutionary socialist alternative is necessary to build a new mass workers’ party, armed with a programme to overcome the AKP government, the oppression of Kurdish people, capitalism and imperialism.

Threat of economic decline

All this has happened in a still favourable economic situation for the capitalists.

In the first quarter of 2011, Turkey saw economic growth of 11% - more than even China. But in August, the US bank Morgan Stanley lowered their expectations for 2012 from 4.5% to 3.5% growth. The growth is based on a huge current account deficit which the IMF expects to be around 10.5% this year.

‘Hot money’ is pouring into Turkey as it is seen as a profitable place to invest. But this can not only stop but completely change its direction and lead to an outflow of capital.

The Turkish Lira has lost 23% of its value in relation to the Euro since the beginning of the year; the index of the Istanbul stock exchange has lost 21% of its value so far in 2011.

This indicates developments similar to the pre-crisis situation in Southern Europe.

Regional developments are a further destabilising factor. Economic relations with Syria in the last period rose from €700 million to €3 billion. But since the Syrian regime launched its civil war against the protest movement and the number of people crossing the border to escape repression increased significantly, trade and investment have been seriously hit.



Europe

 video

Video: Paul Murphy sets record straight on "legal aid", 06/05/2016

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NEWS

Solidarity: Brutal bosses attack striking Lisbon Dockers
25/05/2016, Socialismo Revolucionario (CWI in Portugal) reporters:
Protest and solidarity messages needed

Britain: EU referendum exposes gaping political fault-lines
24/05/2016, Peter Taaffe, from Socialism Today (monthly magazine of the Socialist Party England & Wales):
New road can open up for labour movement if working class relies on its own forces

Kazakhstan: Massive police operation confronts demonstrators
23/05/2016, Clare Doyle, CWI:
Nazarbayev regime faces mounting opposition

Australia: Federal election looming
21/05/2016, Editorial from May 2016 edition of ‘The Socialist’ (paper of the Socialist Party – CWI Australia) :
How should the labour and social movements respond?

Kazakhstan: Anger against Nazarbayev expressed on the streets
20/05/2016, socialistworld.net :
‘Illegal’ protests planned for Saturday 21 May

Britain: Brexit, the EU and the economy
19/05/2016, Judy Beishon, from The Socialist (weekly paper of the Socialist Party England & Wales) :
Remain or Leave, workers must fight for socialist change

Nigeria: General strike begins
18/05/2016, HT Soweto, Democratic Socialist Movement (CWI Nigeria):
Determined leadership and clear strategy needed to succeed

Greece: Striking Athens bus cleaners continue their struggle
17/05/2016, Articles from Xekinima (CWI Greece) website :
Court declares strike ‘lawful’

Canada: Fire devastates Fort McMurray
16/05/2016, Bill Hopwood, Socialist Alternative (CWI Canada) Vancouver :
Capitalism equals environmental destruction

Kazakhstan: Protests erupt
12/05/2016, Sergei Skobelev, CWI Russia:
Phoney elections have not brought stability

Sweden: Successful Congress for CWI forces
12/05/2016, Kristofer Lundberg, Rättvisepartiet Socialistern:
Political foundations laid for new branches and growth in other Nordic countries

Northern Ireland: Main parties win Assembly elections…
11/05/2016, Daniel Waldron, Socialist Party (CWI Ireland), Belfast:
But positive moves against sectarian politics

Quebec: The fight for $15 shows true colors of Parti Québecois
10/05/2016, Bruno, Alternative Socialiste (CWI in Quebec):
No to an all-class pro-independence alliance

Britain: Elections show anger and fragmentation
10/05/2016, Hannah Sell, from The Socialist (weekly paper of the Socialist Party, CWI England & Wales):
Mobilise the anti-austerity mood into a mass, democratic movement to defeat the right

Scotland: SNP win elections
09/05/2016, Philip Stott, Socialist Party Scotland (CWI):
New openings for a socialist left alternative emerge

Ireland: How long can Kenny’s government last?
07/05/2016, By Kevin McLoughlin, Socialist Party (CWI in Irelnd):
Minority government supported by two main parties and “Independents” formed

Video: Paul Murphy sets record straight on "legal aid"
06/05/2016, socialistworld.net:
Socialist MP threatened with jail for protesting against water charges responds to attacks in Irish parliament

South Africa: Zuma must go!
06/05/2016, Editorial from Izwi Labasebenzi (WASP - CWI South Africa) :
Build a socialist mass workers’ party for a government of the working class

Solidarity: Portuguese dock workers’ indefinite strike
05/05/2016, Socialismo Revolucionário (CWI in Portugal) Statement:
What we cannot do: leave the dockers alone

Hong Kong: Racist smear campaign against refugees
05/05/2016, Dikang, Socialist Action (CWI in Hong Kong):
Socialist Action (CWI) initiates successful anti-racist march

France: Striking workers join students and youth in mass demonstrations
04/05/2016, Naomi Byron, Paris (first published in The Socialist):
Build a general strike movement!

May Day 2016: Rallies and marches mark international workers' day
04/05/2016, socialistworld.net :
Photo gallery of CWI's global May Day participation

Ireland: Water charges suspended
03/05/2016, Katia Hancke, Socialist Party (CWI Ireland), Dublin:
Protest movement and boycott force huge Establishment parties climb down

Britain: 'Slow coup' against left Labour leader
02/05/2016, Hannah Sell, Socialist Party deputy general secretary :
Anti-Semitism charges a cynical campaign by right-wing to ditch Jeremy Corbyn

May Day 2016: The idea of May Day on the march
01/05/2016, CWI socialist greetings/Two articles by Rosa Luxemburg :
"The brilliant idea of May Day is the immediate stepping forward of the proletarian masses"

Austria: Stop the rise of the far right!
27/04/2016, Tilman Ruster, SLP (CWI in Austria) :
Against Hofer, the government and the system of the super-rich!

CWI Comment and Analysis

ANALYSIS

Austria: Only 31,026 votes prevent far right’s Hofer becoming president
24/05/2016, Sonja Grusch, SLP (the Austrian section of the CWI):
‘Breathing space’ offers chance to build a fighting, democratic left alternative

Brazil: Fall of President Dilma Rousseff unleashes offensive against working class
19/05/2016, André Ferrari, LSR (‘Freedom, Socialism and Revolution’ - CWI Brazil):
The impeachment process and historic crisis of the PT (Workers’ Party)

Ireland: ‘Jobstown trials’ to go ahead
18/05/2016, Kieran Mahon, Anti-Austerity Alliance / Socialist Party Councillor, Dublin:
Government loses battle on water charges but wages war on Left

Saudi Arabia: Gathering storms over the House of Saud
13/05/2016, Serge Jordan, CWI:
Collapse of oil prices expose fragile foundations of oil Gulf monarchies

France: New stage in battle over labour law
12/05/2016, Clare Doyle, CWI:
Hollande’s decision to over-rule parliament provokes another round of struggle

Ireland: 100th anniversary of the execution of James Connolly
12/05/2016, Three articles on Connolly’s life and ideas :
Revolutionary socialist, militant workers' leader and internationalist

Belgium: Trade unions announce new plan of action
11/05/2016, LSP/PSL (CWI in Belgium) Reporters:
Call for two national demonstrations, building towards general strikes

Britain: 90th anniversary of epochal general strike
05/05/2016, Peter Taaffe, Socialist Party (CWI England & Wales) general secretary:
When workers tasted power

Israel/Palestine: The Marxist left, the national conflict and the
Palestinian struggle

29/04/2016, Socialist Struggle Movement (CWI Israel-Palestine):
The necessity of a class approach and a socialist alternative

France: One-day strike set for 28 April
26/04/2016, Alex Rouillard, Gauche Revolutionnaire (CWI in France):
A final stage before indefinite action against Hollande’s government?

US: The un-Democratic Primary
22/04/2016, Kshama Sawant, Socialist Alternative Seattle, originally published on counterpunch.org:
Why we need new party of the 99%

Capitalism: a failing system
18/04/2016, Peter Taaffe, from May edition of Socialism Today, magazine of the Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales):
A new book, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, analyses the downward course of the US economy – and the limits of the whole capitalist system

Review: ’Militant’ by Michael Crick
14/04/2016, Peter Taaffe, Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales) general secretary:
Lessons of Militant vital for anti-austerity struggles today

US election turmoil
01/04/2016, By Tony Saunois (CWI Secretary) who recently visited the US for meetings of Socialist Alternative:
Bernie Sanders campaign - an opportunity to build a new party of the 99%

Britain: A new moment
28/03/2016, Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales), published in April 2016 issue of Socialism Today:
Extracts from a statement discussed at the Socialist Party’s recent congress

Ireland: 100th anniversary of Easter 1916 Rising
26/03/2016, Cillian Gillespie, Socialist Party (CWI Ireland):
A revolt against imperial power and war

History: When Khrushchev denounced Stalin
26/03/2016, Niall Mulholland, from Socialism Today (April 2016 issue of the monthly journal of Socialist Party, England & Wales):
1956 ‘secret speech’ a devastating blow to Stalinist regimes

11th CWI World Congress: World Perspectives
22/03/2016, socialistworld.net:
Amended agreed version of the World Perspectives document agreed by the CWI’s 11th World Congress

Germany: Big gains for right-wing, nationalist, AfD in state elections
22/03/2016, Sascha Stanicic, Sozialistische Alternative (CWI in Germany):
DIE LINKE (Left Party) urgently needs to change course

US: Sanders needs to run as an independent in November
18/03/2016, Calvin Priest, Socialist Alternative (CWI supporters in USA):
Continuing the Political Revolution

European Union: Alliance with Turkey to close borders
09/03/2016, Per-Ãke Westerlund, from Offensiv - the weekly paper of Rattvisepartiet Socialisterna (CWI in Sweden):
Crises for refugees - and the EU – continues

Germany: Between hatred and solidarity
08/03/2016, By Sascha Stanicic, Sozialistische Alternative (CWI in Germany):
The situation in Germany

Turkey: No intervention in Syria! Stop the war on the Kurds!
01/03/2016, By Murat Karin, Sosyalist Alternatif (CWI in Turkey) and Paula Mitchell, Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales):
Two articles on the current situation in Turkey and Kurdistan

US: Nevada Goes to Clinton – Sanders Looks to Super Tuesday
26/02/2016, Calvin Priest, Socialist Alternative (CWI in the USA):
Huge enthusiasm for Bernie Sanders’ call for a political revolution leads to serious challenge to Hillary Clinton

Five years on from the “Arab Spring”
20/02/2016, Serge Jordan (CWI), article to be published in the March 2016 edition of Socialism Today, No.196.:
The “Arab Spring” revolutionary wave brought dictators in Tunisia and Egypt crashing down. It swept through the Middle East, inspiring workers and youth the world over. It has since ebbed, however, leaving the region wracked with war and sectarian conflict.