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latest news

US
Bernie’s political revolution opens new era for American politics

13/02/2016: Build a #Movement4Bernie to Defeat the Billionaire Class and the Democratic Party Establishment.

  US

 CWI 11th World Congress
Upheaval of traditional European political framework

12/02/2016: Workers’ fury at austerity and capitalist system will find more expression

  CWI, Europe

Ireland North
Hundreds protest against manufacturing destruction

12/02/2016: Union movement should step up call for nationalisation of threatened factories

  Ireland North

 11th CWI World Congress
A World in turmoil

11/02/2016: Renewed economic crisis, wars, political polarisation & class struggle perspectives

  Africa, Asia, CWI, Latin America, Middle East, Russia, US, World Economy

Hong Kong
‘Fishball Revolution’!

10/02/2016: Brutal policing must be condemned

  Hong Kong

Ethiopia
Hunger and deadly repression

09/02/2016: Crisis for imperialism and a fight-back from below

  Africa

Greece
Powerful general strike opposes cuts to pensions

09/02/2016: All out in the struggle! Coordinate and develop the fight now!

  Greece

Africa
New political storms and mass struggles

08/02/2016: Opportunities will arise for working class and poor to organise

  Africa

Spain
A break in the political establishment

07/02/2016: December’s elections broke the hold of the two main capitalist parties for the first time since the Franco dictatorship. The high vote for representatives of workers’ and social movements, and the recovery of the left-populist Podemos, open up a new phase in the struggle against austerity.

  Spain

US
#Movement4Bernie Takes Off Around the Country

06/02/2016: Bernie Sanders’ call for a political revolution against the billionaire class enthuses millions

  US

Brazil
Devastating outbreak of Zika virus

04/02/2016: Another healthcare system failure

  Brazil

Pakistan
PIA strike continues despite state repression

04/02/2016: Four workers killed, eight injured as security forces open fire on protesting workers

  Pakistan

US
Iowa results reveal crisis of establishment politics - Sanders and Clinton tie

03/02/2016: “It’s too late for establishment politics, establishment economics!”

  US

Japan
Social and political unease after “twenty lost years”

03/02/2016: Weakness of opposition is Prime Minister Abe’s only strength

  Japan

 Greece
Workers strike at Contitech-IMAS factory

02/02/2016: Solidarity campaign needed!

  Greece, Solidarity

World Economy
Capitalism buffeted by choppy waters

02/02/2016: Bosses strive to offload cost of crisis on working class - a struggle for system change is needed

  World Economy

Egypt
Fifth anniversary of heroic revolutionary uprising

01/02/2016: Workers’ struggles continue despite repression

  Egypt

India
Justice for Rohit Vemula

31/01/2016: Solidarity message from the Committee for a Workers’ International

  India, US

Britain
Fractured politics

29/01/2016: A volatile mix

  Britain

Tunisia
Suicide of unemployed youth sparks new wave of protests

22/01/2016: Five years after the fall of Ben Ali, demands of the revolution remain unsatisfied

  Tunisia

China
Kidnapping and TV show-trials

21/01/2016: “China is entering a dark night of repression and detentions under Xi Jinping”

  China

Venezuela
Right-wing landslide

20/01/2016: First electoral defeat suffered by the Chavistas since Hugo Chávez was first elected president in 1998

  Venezuela

Leningrad
‘Hero City’

19/01/2016: 900 days of siege in World War Two

  History, Russia

Britain
Police infiltration of Socialist Party exposed

19/01/2016: Untold distress caused to women in relationships with undercover police officers

  Britain

US
Socialist response to State of the Union 2016

15/01/2016: Kshama Sawant replies to Obama’s "State of the Union" speech

  US

 South Africa
Campus workers strike against outsourcing

14/01/2016: For the mobilisation and support of all students, permanent workers and communities across Tshwane

  Africa, Solidarity, South Africa

Britain
Steps towards setting up Trade Union Momentum

12/01/2016: Potential for inclusive, anti-austerity trade union based movement with effective alliances in workplaces and communities

  Britain

Scotland
Politicians have a choice

11/01/2016: Implement Tory austerity or set no-cuts budgets

  Scotland

Sweden/Denmark
Closing borders

07/01/2016: The EU’s nightmare continues

  Denmark, Sweden

 Pakistan
Nestle workers solidarity campaign update

06/01/2016: Union leader, Muhammad Hussain Bhatti, released on bail

  Pakistan, Solidarity

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.



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NEWS

Ireland North: Hundreds protest against manufacturing destruction
12/02/2016, Daniel Waldron, Socialist Party (CWI Ireland), Belfast:
Union movement should step up call for nationalisation of threatened factories

Hong Kong: ‘Fishball Revolution’!
10/02/2016, Eyewitness report from Socialist Action (CWI in Hong Kong):
Brutal policing must be condemned

Ethiopia: Hunger and deadly repression
09/02/2016, Per-Ãke Westerlund, Rattvisepartiet Socialisterna (CWI in Sweden):
Crisis for imperialism and a fight-back from below

Greece: Powerful general strike opposes cuts to pensions
09/02/2016, Editorial from Xekinima, fortnightly newspaper of the CWI, Greece:
All out in the struggle! Coordinate and develop the fight now!

US: #Movement4Bernie Takes Off Around the Country
06/02/2016, Socialist Alternative, CWI in the USA:
Bernie Sanders’ call for a political revolution against the billionaire class enthuses millions

Brazil: Devastating outbreak of Zika virus
04/02/2016, Isabel Keppler, LSR (CWI Brazil):
Another healthcare system failure

Pakistan: PIA strike continues despite state repression
04/02/2016, Fazal Abbas Shah and Rukhsana Manzoor, Socialist Movement Pakistan, Lahore:
Four workers killed, eight injured as security forces open fire on protesting workers

US: Iowa results reveal crisis of establishment politics - Sanders and Clinton tie
03/02/2016, Joshua Koritz, Socialist Alternative (CWI in the US):
“It’s too late for establishment politics, establishment economics!”

Greece: Workers strike at Contitech-IMAS factory
02/02/2016, Xekinima (CWI Greece) Reporters:
Solidarity campaign needed!

Egypt: Fifth anniversary of heroic revolutionary uprising
01/02/2016, David Johnson, Socialist Party (CWI England & Wales):
Workers’ struggles continue despite repression

India: Justice for Rohit Vemula
31/01/2016, socialistworld.net:
Solidarity message from the Committee for a Workers’ International

Britain: Fractured politics
29/01/2016, Peter Taaffe, general secretary, Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales):
A volatile mix

Tunisia: Suicide of unemployed youth sparks new wave of protests
22/01/2016, Al-Badil al-Ishtiraki, CWI in Tunisia:
Five years after the fall of Ben Ali, demands of the revolution remain unsatisfied

China: Kidnapping and TV show-trials
21/01/2016, chinaworker.info:
“China is entering a dark night of repression and detentions under Xi Jinping”

Britain: Police infiltration of Socialist Party exposed
19/01/2016, Press statement from the Socialist Party (CWI England & Wales):
Untold distress caused to women in relationships with undercover police officers

US: Socialist response to State of the Union 2016
15/01/2016, Socialistworld.net:
Kshama Sawant replies to Obama’s "State of the Union" speech

South Africa: Campus workers strike against outsourcing
14/01/2016, Workers & Socialist Party (WASP), Reporters:
For the mobilisation and support of all students, permanent workers and communities across Tshwane

Britain: Steps towards setting up Trade Union Momentum
12/01/2016, John McInally Public and Commercial Services Union Vice-President (personal capacity), from The Socialist newspaper:
Potential for inclusive, anti-austerity trade union based movement with effective alliances in workplaces and communities

Scotland: Politicians have a choice
11/01/2016, By Brian Smith and Jim McFarlane, Glasgow City Unison and Dundee City Unison branch secretaries (in a personal capacity) and Socialist Party Scotland:
Implement Tory austerity or set no-cuts budgets

Sweden/Denmark: Closing borders
07/01/2016, Per-Ãke Westerlund, Rattvisepartiet Socialisterna (CWI in Sweden):
The EU’s nightmare continues

Pakistan: Nestle workers solidarity campaign update
06/01/2016, Fazal Abbas Shah SMP (CWI in Pakistan), Lahore:
Union leader, Muhammad Hussain Bhatti, released on bail

Taiwan: Solidarity urged for insurance workers’ strike
05/01/2016, CWI Taiwan Reporters (translated from The Socialist, journal of the CWI Taiwan):
Determined battle for pension rights and an end to contract labour

China 2015: A year of unnatural disasters
04/01/2016, chinaworker.info reporters:
Corruption, poor oversight and chase for profits, maim thousands

Britain: Corbyn’s supporters want resistance against the right
01/01/2016, Peter Taaffe, Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales):
Edited extracts from an article by Peter Taaffe, Socialist Party general secretary, that will be published in the first 2016 issue of the Socialist (7 January).

Review: Alexandra Kollontai
29/12/2015, Heather Rawling, from Socialism Today:
A life of socialist struggle

Review: Revisiting Animal Farm
27/12/2015, Andy Ford, from Socialism Today (Issue 192 October 2015):
Allegory of the terrible betrayal of the Russian revolution

CWI Comment and Analysis

ANALYSIS

US: Bernie’s political revolution opens new era for American politics
13/02/2016, Patrick Ayers, Socialist Alternative (CWI in the USA):
Build a #Movement4Bernie to Defeat the Billionaire Class and the Democratic Party Establishment.

CWI 11th World Congress 2016: Women and oppression in class society
13/02/2016, CWI World Congress Document:
A socialist approach

CWI 11th World Congress: Upheaval of traditional European political framework
12/02/2016, Sarah Wrack, Socialist Party (CWI England & Wales):
Workers’ fury at austerity and capitalist system will find more expression

11th CWI World Congress: A World in turmoil
11/02/2016, Kevin Parslow, Socialist Party (CWI England & Wales):
Renewed economic crisis, wars, political polarisation & class struggle perspectives

Africa: New political storms and mass struggles
08/02/2016, CWI 11th World Congress Document:
Opportunities will arise for working class and poor to organise

India: Rising class struggle reflects seething anger of working class
08/02/2016, Anand Kumar, from Dudiyora Horaata (Workers’ Struggle – newspaper of the CWI in India), Bangalore:
Is ‘Modimania’ on the wane?

World relations, economy and the class struggle
08/02/2016, Socialistworld.net:
CWI 11th World Congress document

Spain: A break in the political establishment
07/02/2016, Danny Byrne, CWI (article from issue 195 of ’Socialism Today’):
December’s elections broke the hold of the two main capitalist parties for the first time since the Franco dictatorship. The high vote for representatives of workers’ and social movements, and the recovery of the left-populist Podemos, open up a new phase in the struggle against austerity.

Japan: Social and political unease after “twenty lost years”
03/02/2016, Carl Simmons, Kokusai Rentai (CWI in Japan):
Weakness of opposition is Prime Minister Abe’s only strength

World Economy: Capitalism buffeted by choppy waters
02/02/2016, Lynn Walsh, from The Socialist (weekly paper of the Socialist Party, CWI England & Wales):
Bosses strive to offload cost of crisis on working class - a struggle for system change is needed

Venezuela: Right-wing landslide
20/01/2016, Tony Saunois, from February edition of Socialism Today, magazine of the Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales):
First electoral defeat suffered by the Chavistas since Hugo Chávez was first elected president in 1998

Leningrad: ‘Hero City’
19/01/2016, Clare Doyle (fuller version of a review article to be published in the February 2016 issue of Socialism Today):
900 days of siege in World War Two

China: Financial turmoil spreads fear across global markets
14/01/2016, Per-Åke Westerlund, with additional reporting by Vincent Kolo:
Setting the tone for 2016?

2016: Crisis-ridden capitalism will meet with bitter mood of resistance
05/01/2016, Peter Taaffe, Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales) general secretary:
Socialist alternative is essential

Environment: A world of change
23/12/2015, Jess Spear, Socialist Alternative (CWI in USA):
Human beings have radically altered the Earth, adapting nature in the struggle to survive and thrive…

Venezuela: Elections – who won and who lost?
16/12/2015, Johan Rivas, Socialismo Revolucionario (CWI in Venezuela):
Victory for the right wing reflects popular discontent

Pakistan: Religious extremism, military operations and increased intolerance
15/12/2015, Khalid Bhatti SMP (CWI in Pakistan):
Revolutionary movement of the working class needs to finally defeat religious extremism and intolerance

Côte d’Ivoire : Ouattara reelected in a “frighteningly quiet” atmosphere
14/12/2015, CWI in Ivory Coast:
Dictatorship consolidating while opposition ridicules itself. Time to “turn the page”!

Environment: Socialism or ecological catastrophe
05/12/2015, Articles from Socialism Today, magazine of the Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales):
25 years of hot air from establishment

World relations, economy and the class struggle
05/12/2015, CWI International Secretariat:
There has been a profound change in the world situation and world relations since the CWI’s last World Congress in 2010

Britain: After the vote in parliament to bomb Syria
04/12/2015, Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales) reporters:
This crisis has revealed that Labour is essentially two parties in one

Britain: Syria vote reveals two Labour parties in one
02/12/2015, Editorial from The Socialist, paper of the Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales):
Fight for a party that stands against war and austerity

Scotland: Post-referendum, where is Scotland heading?
29/11/2015, Socialist Party Scotland (CWI):
Mass struggle and socialism will challenge capitalist austerity

Environment: Socialist change not climate change
28/11/2015, Pete Dickenson, Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales):
The growing threat of climate change and a socialist programme for the environment

Middle East: Bombing Syria won’t stop Isis
25/11/2015, Editorial of The Socialist, weekly newspaper of the Socialist Party (CWI England & Wales):
For workers’ unity against war, terrorism and racism