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latest news

Iran
Petrochemical workers sentenced to jail and flogging

22/09/2014: Protest against Iranian government’s brutal sentences!

  Iran

 Environment
Video of Climate Summit meeting with Kshama Sawant

22/09/2014: Video of New York City Climate Summit meeting with Bernie Sanders, Kshama Sawant, Bill KcKibben, Naomi Klein, Chris Hedges

  Environment, US, Video

Scotland
1.6 million vote Yes in a working class revolt against austerity

19/09/2014: Urgent to build new mass party for the working class

  Scotland

Belgium
Right wing coalition aims for structural attack on workers

19/09/2014: Massive social resistance is looming

  Belgium

Northern Ireland
Ian Paisley - peace-maker or war-monger?

18/09/2014: A right-wing, sectarian demagogue who courted paramilitary violence

  Ireland Republic

Scotland
Independence referendum

18/09/2014: "Britain will never be the same again"

  Britain

Spain
Millions take to streets calling for Catalonia’s independence

18/09/2014: Only working class struggle can guarantee the right to decide and resist austerity

  Spain

Sweden
Conservative collapse, extreme-right gains

17/09/2014: CWI success, defended four council seats

  Sweden

Scotland
Thousands mobilise to oppose Project Terror in Scotland

17/09/2014: "You will not take this opportunity away from us"

  Scotland

US
Inequality and fight-back in the world’s richest country

16/09/2014: Socialist Alternative articulates political strategy to break from Democratic Party and capitalism

  US

 Video
John McInally on Scottish Independence

16/09/2014: John McInally, PCS national vice-president (personal capacity), adresses the issue of Scottish independence at a meeting of the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC)

  Video

Brazil
Will elections mark the end of the PT government?

15/09/2014: Space for Left alternative to win support

  Brazil

Asia-Pacific
Majority of Chinese expect war with Japan

13/09/2014: Warmongering governments ratchet-up national tensions in struggle for regional dominance

  Asia, Japan

Scotland
Defeat Project Terror with socialist policies

12/09/2014: Big business, politicians and media attack independence

  Scotland

US
building a movement to end poverty pay!

12/09/2014: Spreading and organising the movement for decent wages

  US

South Africa
Community protest over corruption widens

11/09/2014: Authorities deploy heavily armed response

  Africa, South Africa

Chile
The other ‘9/11’

11/09/2014: 1973 bloody coup against Popular Unity government

  Chile

Ukraine
Fragile ceasefire holds but country remains “a tinder box”

10/09/2014: Only united working class action can secure lasting peace

  Ukraine

Bosnia
Privatise to colonise

08/09/2014: How looting of the economy led to mass social protests

  Bosnia

West Africa
Ebola outbreak - a crisis of capitalism

08/09/2014: Profit drive obstructs treatment and prevention

  Africa

Scotland
10 days that can shake British capitalism to its foundations

08/09/2014: “In the past four weeks support for the union has drained away at an astonishing rate. The Yes campaign has not just invaded No territory; it has launched a blitzkrieg.”

  Scotland

Britain
Crisis brewing on all fronts

05/09/2014: The 2015 general election is a mere eight months away yet impossible to call. But what is clear is that none of the capitalist parties hold any real attraction for working class voters.

  Britain

Hong Kong
Occupy Central leader’s comments cast doubt over occupation plan

04/09/2014: After NPC ruling democracy activists are perplexed by Benny Tai Yiu-ting’s comments that the strategic part of struggle “should end”

  Hong Kong

 Iran
Support Behnam Ebrahimzadeh

04/09/2014: Support jailed labour activist’s demands against critical dentention conditions

  Iran, Solidarity

Scotland
Big swing to Yes leaves referendum vote on a knife edge

04/09/2014: Over 18,000 people have attended Hope Over Fear public meetings to hear socialist Tommy Sheridan.

  Scotland

Ukraine
Rebel forces gain territory

03/09/2014: International tensions escalate

  Ukraine

Beijing slams door shut on Hong Kong democracy

02/09/2014: Mass resistance against one-party dictatorship is the only way forward!

  Hong Kong

 Video
Revolution and counter-revolution in the world today

01/09/2014: Hannah Sell, deputy general secretary of the Socialist Party (CWI in England and Wales) speaking at recent summer camp

  Video

France
Economic stagnation and political instability

29/08/2014: Hollande removes ‘lefts’ from government

  France

Turkey
Erdoğan sworn in as country’s President

29/08/2014: Significant poll gains for the left coalition HDP

  Turkey

 Solidarity
Iranian mine workers on strike

26/08/2014: Demand the release of the arrested workers!

  Iran, Solidarity

Nigeria
Fees victory at Lagos State University!

26/08/2014: Vigilance required from LASU students and workers to ensure that victory is permanent

  Nigeria

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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NEWS

Iran: Petrochemical workers sentenced to jail and flogging
22/09/2014, Appeal from Campaign in Support of Iranian Workers’:
Protest against Iranian government’s brutal sentences!

Environment: Video of Climate Summit meeting with Kshama Sawant
22/09/2014, Video from The Real News:
Video of New York City Climate Summit meeting with Bernie Sanders, Kshama Sawant, Bill KcKibben, Naomi Klein, Chris Hedges

Scotland: 1.6 million vote Yes in a working class revolt against austerity
19/09/2014, Philip Stott, Socialist Party Scotland (CWI in Scotland):
Urgent to build new mass party for the working class

Northern Ireland: Ian Paisley - peace-maker or war-monger?
18/09/2014, Michael Cleary, Socialist Party (CWI Ireland), Belfast:
A right-wing, sectarian demagogue who courted paramilitary violence

Scotland: Independence referendum
18/09/2014, Editorial of the Socialist, newspaper of the Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales):
"Britain will never be the same again"

Spain: Millions take to streets calling for Catalonia’s independence
18/09/2014, Rob MacDonald, Socialismo Revolucionario (CWI in Spain) Barcelona:
Only working class struggle can guarantee the right to decide and resist austerity

Scotland: Thousands mobilise to oppose Project Terror in Scotland
17/09/2014, Matt Dobson, Socialist Party Scotland (CWI Scotland):
"You will not take this opportunity away from us"

Video: John McInally on Scottish Independence
16/09/2014, Socialistworld.net:
John McInally, PCS national vice-president (personal capacity), adresses the issue of Scottish independence at a meeting of the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC)

Belgium: First school student protest against cuts in education
15/09/2014, Jeroen Demuynck, PSL-LSP (CWI in Belgium):
Anger against austerity growing

Asia-Pacific: Majority of Chinese expect war with Japan
13/09/2014, Dikang, chinaworker.info:
Warmongering governments ratchet-up national tensions in struggle for regional dominance

Scotland: Defeat Project Terror with socialist policies
12/09/2014, Philip Stott, Socialist Party Scotland (CWI):
Big business, politicians and media attack independence

US: building a movement to end poverty pay!
12/09/2014, Geoff Jones, Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales) and Ty Moore, Socialist Alternative (CWI in the US):
Spreading and organising the movement for decent wages

South Africa: Community protest over corruption widens
11/09/2014, WASP reporters:
Authorities deploy heavily armed response

Chile: The other ‘9/11’
11/09/2014, Tony Saunois, CWI (first published on socialistworld.net, September 2011):
1973 bloody coup against Popular Unity government

Sri Lanka:Veteran trade union leader dies
09/09/2014, United Socialist Party:

Bosnia: Privatise to colonise
08/09/2014, Sonja Grusch, Socialist Left Party (CWI Austria):
How looting of the economy led to mass social protests

West Africa: Ebola outbreak - a crisis of capitalism
08/09/2014, Peluola Adewale, Democratic Socialist Movement (CWI Nigeria):
Profit drive obstructs treatment and prevention

Hong Kong: Occupy Central leader’s comments cast doubt over occupation plan
04/09/2014, Reporters of Socialist Action (CWI Hong Kong):
After NPC ruling democracy activists are perplexed by Benny Tai Yiu-ting’s comments that the strategic part of struggle “should end”

Iran: Support Behnam Ebrahimzadeh
04/09/2014, Campaign in Support of Workers of Iran:
Support jailed labour activist’s demands against critical dentention conditions

Scotland: Big swing to Yes leaves referendum vote on a knife edge
04/09/2014, Matt Dobson, Socialist Party Scotland (CWI in Scotland):
Over 18,000 people have attended Hope Over Fear public meetings to hear socialist Tommy Sheridan.

Ukraine: Rebel forces gain territory
03/09/2014, Niall Mulholland, CWI:
International tensions escalate

Video: Revolution and counter-revolution in the world today
01/09/2014, Socialistworld.net:
Hannah Sell, deputy general secretary of the Socialist Party (CWI in England and Wales) speaking at recent summer camp

France: Economic stagnation and political instability
29/08/2014, Leila Massaoudi, Gauche Revolutionnaire (CWI in France):
Hollande removes ‘lefts’ from government

Turkey: Erdoğan sworn in as country’s President
29/08/2014, Coşku Mıhcı:
Significant poll gains for the left coalition HDP

Ireland: Greyhound lockout enters ninth week
28/08/2014, Paul Murphy, Socialist Party (CWI Ireland), Dublin:
A fight for all workers!

Solidarity: Iranian mine workers on strike
26/08/2014, Campaign in support of workers of Iran:
Demand the release of the arrested workers!

CWI Comment and Analysis

ANALYSIS

Belgium: Right wing coalition aims for structural attack on workers
19/09/2014, Eric Byl, LSP/PSL (Belgian section of the CWI), Brussels:
Massive social resistance is looming

Sweden: Conservative collapse, extreme-right gains
17/09/2014, Per Olsson, from Offensiv (newspaper of the Rättvisepartiet Socialisterna - CWI Sweden):
CWI success, defended four council seats

US: Inequality and fight-back in the world’s richest country
16/09/2014, Peter Taaffe, General Secretary, Socialist Party (CWI England & Wales):
Socialist Alternative articulates political strategy to break from Democratic Party and capitalism

Brazil: Will elections mark the end of the PT government?
15/09/2014, Andre Ferrari, LSR (CWI in Brazil):
Space for Left alternative to win support

Ukraine: Fragile ceasefire holds but country remains “a tinder box”
10/09/2014, Rob Jones, CWI, Moscow:
Only united working class action can secure lasting peace

Scotland: 10 days that can shake British capitalism to its foundations
08/09/2014, Philip Stott, Socialist Party Scotland (CWI in Scotland):
“In the past four weeks support for the union has drained away at an astonishing rate. The Yes campaign has not just invaded No territory; it has launched a blitzkrieg.”

Britain: Crisis brewing on all fronts
05/09/2014, Hannah Sell, deputy general secretary of the Socialist Party (CWI in England and Wales):
The 2015 general election is a mere eight months away yet impossible to call. But what is clear is that none of the capitalist parties hold any real attraction for working class voters.

Beijing slams door shut on Hong Kong democracy
02/09/2014, Statement by Socialist Action (CWI Hong Kong):
Mass resistance against one-party dictatorship is the only way forward!

Iraq: Only united action can stop sectarian war
16/08/2014, Robert Bechert, CWI:
Iraqis and Kurds must not trust imperialist ‘helpers’

Socialism and national rights
15/08/2014, From Socialism Today No.181, September 2014 by Peter Taaffe, General Secretary of Socialist Party (England and Wales), CWI Secretariat:
Ukraine, Israel/Palestine and other countries

Ukraine: Crisis deepens
09/08/2014, Clare Doyle, CWI Secretariat:
Military conflict escalates

CWI School: World capitalism fails working people
07/08/2014, Kevin Parslow, Socialist Party (CWI England & Wales):
System offers economic crisis, insecurity, poverty and wars

Israel/Palestine: After weeks of mass slaughter in Gaza, IDF forces ‘withdraw’
06/08/2014, Niall Mulholland, from articles in this week’s Socialist (paper of the Socialist Party, England & Wales):
What is the role of imperialism in the conflict?

CWI Summer School: European capitalism fails to recover
02/08/2014, Sarah Sachs-Eldridge, Socialist Party (CWI England & Wales):
Working class must organise for future struggles

Gaza in crisis
29/07/2014, Shahar Benhorin, Socialist Struggle Movement (CWI in Israel-Palestine):
Mass action needed to stop bloodshed

Trotsky: The first year of war
23/07/2014, Originally published in in special WWI edition of Socialism Today, magazine of the Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales):
Article by LEON TROTSKY translated into English for first time

WW1: The Bolsheviks and the war
21/07/2014, Peter Taaffe, article originally published in special WWI edition of Socialism Today, magazine of the Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales):
The horrors of the first world war, and the economic and social turmoil it created, led to mass upheaval. In Russia alone did this lead to a successful revolution…

1914: The capitulation of the Second International
19/07/2014, Robert Bechert (a longer version of an article published in the July/August 2014 issue of Socialism Today):
Before 1914, the Second International resolved to act to prevent war…

World War One: 100 years since the great slaughter
16/07/2014, Tony Saunois, article originally published in special WWI edition of Socialism Today, magazine of the Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales):
Ten million killed and more than ten million seriously injured

Israel-Palestine:World outraged by Israeli State’s ferocious bombing of Gaza
15/07/2014, Judy Beishon, from The Socialist (weekly newspaper of the Socialist Party – CWI England & Wales):
Mass action needed to end the slaughter and blockade!

Can capitalism put all of us first?
05/07/2014, By Philip Stott:
A response to the “practical idealism” of the Common Weal

Argentina: Return to turmoil
01/07/2014, Danny Byrne, CWI:
Debt crisis is back – the class struggle and tasks for the Left

Review: ’Capital in the Twenty-First Century’
28/06/2014, Hannah Sell, Socialist Party (CWI England and Wales):
Thomas Piketty: The new Marx?

Iraq: Isis jihadists capture more territory
24/06/2014, Niall Mulholland, CWI:
Only organised, united working class can end war and social misery

Nigeria: 200 school girls abducted
18/06/2014, By Segun Sango, National Chairperson, Socialist Party of Nigeria (SPN), a party initiated by the DSM (CWI in Nigeria):
Why has Boko Haram insurgency grown?