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latest news

Catalonia
9 November “consultation” on independence

22/11/2014: Another show of strength for independence - fight for a Socialist Catalonia

  Spain

Greece
Workers’ victory at Diamant telesales company

21/11/2014: Xekinima (CWI) member wins key union position in Athens Municipality sector

  Greece

Israel-Palestine
Netanyahu threatens “heavy hand” response to synagogue attacks

19/11/2014: New rounds of repression answered by new wave of rage and protest

  Israel / Palestine

US
Mid-term elections do not mean a turn to the right in society

19/11/2014: Big Gains for Republicans while Voters Support Progressive Ballot Measures

  US

 Video
Socialist TD defends anti-water charges protests

18/11/2014: Ruth Coppinger, Socialist Party TD (MP) appears on ‘Prime Time’

  Ireland Republic, Video

Vital lessons of Hong Kong’s ‘Umbrella Revolution’

18/11/2014: Mass struggle needs genuine internal democracy and fighting working class programme to defeat dictatorship

  Hong Kong

 Video
Water tax revolt continues in Ireland

17/11/2014: Tanaiste (Deputy PM) trapped by protestors; AAA TD (MP) and Socialist Party member, Paul Murphy, assaulted

  Ireland Republic, Video

Indonesia
"New Hope" president faces intense pressures

16/11/2014: Initiative to build mass party of working class and rural poor urgently needed

  Indonesia

Ukraine
Competing ’elections’ deepen divisions

15/11/2014: Working people need socialist alternative to warring oligarchs and outside powers

  Ukraine

Scotland
SNP government announces £500 million cuts

14/11/2014: Majority of ‘Yes’ voters want end to austerity - anti-cuts candidates needed!

  Scotland

Afghanistan
British combat troops pull out

13/11/2014: A legacy of death and destruction

  Afghanistan, Britain, US

 Germany
Highly politicised train drivers’ strike

12/11/2014: Last week German train drivers and on-board staff went on strike for four days, shaking and polarising the country

  Germany, Solidarity

Greece
Mayors refuse to make job cuts

12/11/2014: Lefts, local authority workers and communities’ united can resist Troika’s policies

  Greece

Britain
Over 1,000 attend largest ever ‘Socialism’ event

11/11/2014: Socialism 2014 - infused with contagious confidence

  Britain

Belgium
Massive demonstration in Brussels

10/11/2014: Shows anger against austerity

  Belgium

Northern Ireland
20 years after the ceasefires

10/11/2014: In 1994, the IRA and Loyalist paramilitaries called ceasefires. Four years later the Good Friday agreement was declared to mark the end of the ‘Troubles’…

  Ireland Republic

Review
Environmental disaster and the need to change everything

09/11/2014: “This Changes Everything: capitalism vs the climate”, by Naomi Klein

  Environment, Review

Germany
25 years since November 9

09/11/2014: Berlin Wall brought down by mass revolutionary movement

  Germany

Canada
Right wing wins Toronto Mayoral election

08/11/2014: NDP increasingly irrelevant to needs of workers, immigrants and youth

  Canada

Elections in Brazil

07/11/2014: Narrow win for Dilma sets scene for more crisis and instability

  Brazil

Russia’s 1917 socialist revolution

07/11/2014: November 7th anniversary of workers taking power

  Russia

Europe
Anti-fascist demonstrations set for 8-9 November

06/11/2014: Movement of workers and youth needed against racism and fascism

  Europe, Greece, Sweden

Canada
Ottawa ‘locked-down’ after Parliament gun attack

05/11/2014: Tory government whips-up terrorist fears to boost Canada’s imperialist role

  Canada

Ireland
Stunning Dublin by-election victory, huge water protests…new chapter for working class resistance

04/11/2014: How the Anti Austerity Alliance won a parliamentary seat and the way forward for the Left

  Ireland Republic

Book review
The Jihadis Return

04/11/2014: Isis and the new Sunni uprising, by Patrick Cockburn

  Middle East, Review

South Africa
Metal workers’ union clashes with Congress of South African Trade Unions

03/11/2014: For political and class independence - Struggle, solidarity and socialism!

  South Africa

Britain
Come to Socialism 2014

03/11/2014: Weekend of discussion & debate hosted by the Socialist Party – London 8-9 November

  Britain

  Ireland
’Abortion Pill Train’ video

02/11/2014: Pro-choice ROSA campaigners swallow abortion pills after rail journey

  Ireland Republic, Video, Women

Italy
Renzi government faces mounting opposition

01/11/2014: A one-day strike of all workers is needed

  Italy

Burkina Faso
Mass uprising ousts dictator

31/10/2014: No to military rule! Continue mass struggle – the whole rotten system must go!

  Burkina Faso

Ireland
Anti-water tax protest in Limerick

31/10/2014: Video of one of the city’s biggest protests

  Ireland Republic

Kurdistan
Battle for Kobanê at a crossroads

31/10/2014: What does US military ‘assistance’ mean for the Kurdish struggle?

  Kurdistan, Middle East

Belgium
Government’s Thatcherite attacks provoke class confrontation

30/10/2014: The right wing coalition must go, and all austerity policies!

  Belgium

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

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Video: Joe Higgins denounces Irish government’s water charge trickery, 20/11/2014

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A socialist world is possible, the history of the cwi with new introduction by Peter Planning green growth, a contribution to the debate on enviromental sustainability

NEWS

Catalonia: 9 November “consultation” on independence
22/11/2014, Rob MacDonald Socialismo Revolucionario (CWI in Spain) Barcelona:
Another show of strength for independence - fight for a Socialist Catalonia

Greece: Workers’ victory at Diamant telesales company
21/11/2014, Xekinima Reporters:
Xekinima (CWI) member wins key union position in Athens Municipality sector

Video: Joe Higgins denounces Irish government’s water charge trickery
20/11/2014, socialistworld.net:
Mass boycott will defeat water charges

US: Mid-term elections do not mean a turn to the right in society
19/11/2014, Tom Crean, Socialist Alternative:
Big Gains for Republicans while Voters Support Progressive Ballot Measures

Video: Socialist TD defends anti-water charges protests
18/11/2014, socialistworld.net:
Ruth Coppinger, Socialist Party TD (MP) appears on ‘Prime Time’

Venezuela: Scarcity and speculation - whose fault is it?
18/11/2014, Gabriela Sánchez. Socialismo Revolucionario (CWI in Venezuela):
Who is sabotaging who?

Vital lessons of Hong Kong’s ‘Umbrella Revolution’
18/11/2014, chinaworker.info:
Mass struggle needs genuine internal democracy and fighting working class programme to defeat dictatorship

Video: Water tax revolt continues in Ireland
17/11/2014, socialistworld.net:
Tanaiste (Deputy PM) trapped by protestors; AAA TD (MP) and Socialist Party member, Paul Murphy, assaulted

Indonesia: "New Hope" president faces intense pressures
16/11/2014, Iyan, CWI Malaysia:
Initiative to build mass party of working class and rural poor urgently needed

Scotland: SNP government announces £500 million cuts
14/11/2014, Philip Stott, Socialist Party Scotland (CWI):
Majority of ‘Yes’ voters want end to austerity - anti-cuts candidates needed!

Afghanistan: British combat troops pull out
13/11/2014, Niall Mulholland, from The Socialist (weekly paper of the Socialist Party – CWI England & Wales):
A legacy of death and destruction

Germany: Highly politicised train drivers’ strike
12/11/2014, Sascha Stanicic, Socialist Alternative (CWI in Germany):
Last week German train drivers and on-board staff went on strike for four days, shaking and polarising the country

Greece: Mayors refuse to make job cuts
12/11/2014, Eleni Mitsou, Xekinima (CWI Greece):
Lefts, local authority workers and communities’ united can resist Troika’s policies

Britain: Over 1,000 attend largest ever ‘Socialism’ event
11/11/2014, Sarah Sachs Eldridge, Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales):
Socialism 2014 - infused with contagious confidence

Belgium: Massive demonstration in Brussels
10/11/2014, Geert Cool, LSP/PSL (CWI in Belgium):
Shows anger against austerity

Review: Environmental disaster and the need to change everything
09/11/2014, Bill Hopwood, from the November 2014 edition of Socialism Today:
“This Changes Everything: capitalism vs the climate”, by Naomi Klein

Canada: Right wing wins Toronto Mayoral election
08/11/2014, Socialist Alternative Toronto:
NDP increasingly irrelevant to needs of workers, immigrants and youth

Europe: Anti-fascist demonstrations set for 8-9 November
06/11/2014, Anti-fascist organiser, Stockholm:
Movement of workers and youth needed against racism and fascism

Canada: Ottawa ‘locked-down’ after Parliament gun attack
05/11/2014, Socialist Alternative Reporters, Canada:
Tory government whips-up terrorist fears to boost Canada’s imperialist role

Book review: The Jihadis Return
04/11/2014, Reviewed by Paul Gerrard, Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales):
Isis and the new Sunni uprising, by Patrick Cockburn

South Africa: Metal workers’ union clashes with Congress of South African Trade Unions
03/11/2014, Moses Mayekiso, WASP President and Numsa founding general secretary (elected while on trail for treason in 1987):
For political and class independence - Struggle, solidarity and socialism!

Britain: Come to Socialism 2014
03/11/2014, Sarah Sachs-Eldridge, Socialism 2014 organising team:
Weekend of discussion & debate hosted by the Socialist Party – London 8-9 November

Ireland: ’Abortion Pill Train’ video
02/11/2014, Socialistworld.net:
Pro-choice ROSA campaigners swallow abortion pills after rail journey

Italy: Renzi government faces mounting opposition
01/11/2014, Giuliano Brunetti, ControCorrente (CWI Italy):
A one-day strike of all workers is needed

Burkina Faso: Mass uprising ousts dictator
31/10/2014, CWI Reporters, Ivory Coast:
No to military rule! Continue mass struggle – the whole rotten system must go!

Ireland: Anti-water tax protest in Limerick
31/10/2014, Socialistworld.net:
Video of one of the city’s biggest protests

CWI Comment and Analysis

ANALYSIS

Israel-Palestine: Netanyahu threatens “heavy hand” response to synagogue attacks
19/11/2014, Yasha Marmer, Socialist Struggle Movement (SSM):
New rounds of repression answered by new wave of rage and protest

Ukraine: Competing ’elections’ deepen divisions
15/11/2014, Rob Jones, CWI Moscow:
Working people need socialist alternative to warring oligarchs and outside powers

Northern Ireland: 20 years after the ceasefires
10/11/2014, Ciaran Mulholland, Socialist Party (CWI in Ireland):
In 1994, the IRA and Loyalist paramilitaries called ceasefires. Four years later the Good Friday agreement was declared to mark the end of the ‘Troubles’…

Germany: 25 years since November 9
09/11/2014, By Robert Bechert, CWI, who was living in Berlin in 1989:
Berlin Wall brought down by mass revolutionary movement

Elections in Brazil
07/11/2014, Andre Ferrari, LSR (CWI in Brazil):
Narrow win for Dilma sets scene for more crisis and instability

Russia’s 1917 socialist revolution
07/11/2014, Clare Doyle, CWI:
November 7th anniversary of workers taking power

Ireland: Stunning Dublin by-election victory, huge water protests…new chapter for working class resistance
04/11/2014, Kevin McLoughlin, Socialist Party (CWI Ireland):
How the Anti Austerity Alliance won a parliamentary seat and the way forward for the Left

Kurdistan: Battle for Kobanê at a crossroads
31/10/2014, Serge Jordan, CWI:
What does US military ‘assistance’ mean for the Kurdish struggle?

A ‘third industrial revolution’
28/10/2014, Peter Taaffe, general secretary of the Socialist Party (CWI England & Wales):
New technological innovations are having a huge impact on the capitalist system, a subject explored in a new book, The Zero Marginal Cost Society.

Britain: Anniversary of first issue of Militant newspaper
24/10/2014, Peter Taaffe, Socialist Party general secretary, from this week’s Socialist (paper of the Socialist Party – CWI England & Wales):
50 years of socialist ideas and workers’ struggle

Spain: Death knells of "Transition" regime
23/10/2014, Danny Byrne, CWI:
Catalonia; ’Podemos’, and the left

Kazakhstan: Brutal repression in imperialism’s interests
20/10/2014, Mike Whale, Secretary of Campaign Kazakhstan (first published in October 2014 issue of Socialism Today):
Workers pay the price for crony capitalism

Is the US promoting a “colour revolution” in Hong Kong?
18/10/2014, Dikang, Socialist Action (CWI in Hong Kong):
Beijing’s scare propaganda doesn’t stand up to examination

Britain: Workers need a pay rise - how can we pay for it?
17/10/2014, Peter Taaffe, general secretary of the Socialist Party (CWI in England and Wales):
End poverty, inequality and capitalism

Ireland: Byelection triumph marks turning point in anti-austerity struggle
14/10/2014, Eddie McCabe, Socialist Party (CWI in Ireland):
Paul Murphy wins parliamentary seat as 100,000 march against water charges

Middle East: US-led policy of air attacks on Islamic State lies in ruins
13/10/2014, Tony Saunois, CWI:
As battle for Kobane rages, IS forces make major gains in Iraq

Ireland: Paul Murphy elected to Irish parliament in stunning byelection victory
12/10/2014, socialistworld.net:
Anti-Austerity Alliance victory shocks political establishment, reflects mass revolt against water charges and austerity

South Africa: "A workers’ party must emerge"
11/10/2014, John Malanga, Democratic Socialist Movement (CWI South Africa):
Dire position of South African capitalism and inequality adds momentum towards creation of workers’ party

Israel/Palestine: After the Gaza war
07/10/2014, Shahar Benhorin, Socialist Struggle Movement (CWI Israel-Palestine):
No justice for Palestinians and no peace for the region - For a socialist solution!

Hong Kong: Pro-regime thugs attack protesters
06/10/2014, Dikang, Socialist Action (CWI Hong Kong):
Organise democratic defence committees to repel attacks and kick out CY Leung’s government!

Kurdistan: The battle for Kobanê
02/10/2014, Serge Jordan, CWI:
Regional war poses new challenges for struggle for Kurdish self-determination

Iraq /Syria: US-led bombings will worsen divisions
01/10/2014, Judy Beishon, from the Socialist (weekly newspaper of the Socialist Party – CWI England & Wales):
Stop imperialist slaughter!

Hong Kong: Massive anti-government protests after attempted police crackdown
30/09/2014, Vincent Kolo, chinaworker.info:
Anger over police violence fuels spontaneous “umbrella revolution” and growing strike movement

Scotland: Independence referendum - A working-class revolt
24/09/2014, Peter Taaffe, General Secretary, Socialist Party (CWI England & Wales):
The referendum has turned British politics upside down – even though the No vote won

Greece: "This destruction of workers’ lives serves the bankers"
23/09/2014, Speech by Apostolis Kasimeriss, an Athens bus driver, to Italian socialists:
“We must all keep going…we have no other way to survive than to fight-back”