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latest news

Latin America
A new turn?

25/04/2015: Historic handshake between Barack Obama and Raúl Castro, turmoil in Venezuela, and stalled reforms in Bolivia – as well as crises in Brazil – symbolise a new turn in Latin America and the Caribbean

  Latin America

Finland
Worst ever election result for traditional Left

24/04/2015: Finns Party second biggest in parliament

  Finland

Iran
Proposed nuclear deal reflects transformed Middle East

24/04/2015: In aftermath of disastrous Iraq occupation, Obama administration balancing between region’s forces

  Iran, Middle East

Scotland
Labour face annihilation as millions seek an answer to austerity

23/04/2015: The SNP, according to the polls, will win 53 of Scotland’s 59 Westminster MPs

  Scotland

 Video
Paul Murphy speaking at anti-water charges demo in Dublin

23/04/2015: Socialist Partty (CWI) and Anti-Austerity Alliance TD speaks at march of tens of thosuands against water charges on April 18

  Ireland Republic, Video

 Video
Interview with Jawad Ahmed, famous Pakistani singer and activist

22/04/2015: Jawad Ahmed, Singer and central committee member of International Youth and Workers Movement (IYWM) from Pakistan spoke to CWI about the work of IYWM.

  Pakistan, Video

South Africa
Organise against xenophobia – a programme for our communities

21/04/2015: Build a country-wide socialist civic movement. Fight for jobs, houses and services for all

  Africa, South Africa

 Video
TUSC 100% anti-austerity election broadcast

20/04/2015: Broadcast goes out on all 5 national terrestrial channels

  Britain, Video

Britain
Labour - party of cuts

19/04/2015: Oppose the ’logic of capitalism’

  Britain

Tunisia
After the Bardo terrorist attack

18/04/2015: New class battles loom

  Tunisia

 Video
Paul Murphy attacks bosses’ victimisation of strikers

17/04/2015: Socialist Partty (CWI) and Anti-Austerity Alliance TD speaks in Irish Parliament

  Ireland Republic, Video

US
National day of strikes and protests for $15

17/04/2015: Snapshot of the movement – the fight for $15 in 7 major cities

  US

 Video
Kshama Sawant on Democracy Now

16/04/2015: Socialist Seattle councillor debates Hillary Clinton run for President

  US, Video

Ireland North
Hundreds protest against racist arson attack

15/04/2015: Build a united mass movement to challenge racism, sectarianism and all forms of bigotry

  Ireland North

Yemen
Brutal onslaught on country’s poor

15/04/2015: For unity of workers and poor against imperialism and sectarianism

  Yemen

Québec
A hot spring in the making?

14/04/2015: Students take strike action against austerity

  Quebec

China’s feminists
A victory for protests in China and worldwide

14/04/2015: Five women activists released in rare climb down by Beijing regime

  China

France
First one-day strike against austerity gets big response

13/04/2015: 300, 000 people marched on demonstrations across France on Thursday 9 April

  France

Australia
Budget - Who should pay for the economic crisis?

13/04/2015: Federal government preparing the ground for their second budget

  Australia

Britain
UKIP blame immigration for problems facing working class

12/04/2015: Workers’ unity to defend pay jobs and services

  Britain

Panama 2015 Trade Union and Social Alternative Summit

11/04/2015: For an end to imperialism and capitalism, long live socialist and revolutionary united solidarity in our Americas!

  Latin America

Kenya
The Garissa massacre, Al-Shabaab and US imperialism

10/04/2015: Growing regional destabilisation

  Kenya, US

US
40,000 Seattle workers get pay rise

08/04/2015: Coalition of students and workers demand $15 minimum wage at University of Washington

  US

Australia
Anti-racist protesters vastly outnumber ‘Reclaim Australia’ Melbourne rally

07/04/2015: Only ‘minority’ to blame for society’s problems is ultra-rich 1%

  Australia

Climate change
Looking for a cheap fix

06/04/2015: The cyclone that devastated the Pacific island of Vanuatu in March, the most severe ever recorded in the region, highlighted again the very likely connection between extreme weather events and global warming.

  Environment

Nigeria
Ruling party crumbles in historic election

05/04/2015: But only mass struggle can guarantee the interests of workers and poor masses under buhari’s presidency

  Nigeria

Scotland
Is the SNP: a threat to the political establishment?

04/04/2015: The SNP (Scottish National Party) looks set to win the majority of Scottish seats in the general election

  Scotland

Economy
What low oil prices cost the world economy

03/04/2015: The sudden plunge of oil and gas prices has underlined the volatility in the world capitalist economy

  World Economy

 Video
Paul Murphy speaks in support of striking workers

02/04/2015: Socialist MP challenges Labour Deputy Prime Minister in parliament

  Ireland Republic, Video

Scotland
Indefinite strike by Glasgow Council Homeless workers

01/04/2015: Workers treated unfairly by council for years

  Scotland

South Africa
Cosatu splits as ‘Vavi’ expelled

01/04/2015: Expulsion opens new chapter in working class struggle

  Africa, South Africa

Singapore
Former Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew dies

31/03/2015: Apologist for neo-liberalism and autocracy

  Singapore

France
Elections punish Valls and Hollande

31/03/2015: Department results show need for fightback against austerity and racism

  France

Greece

48-hour general strike sees biggest workers’ protests in decades

www.socialistworld.net, 21/10/2011
website of the committee for a workers' international, CWI

All out occupations and strikes! Kick out the Pasok cuts government! For a revolutionary government of the workers and poor!

Andreas Payiatsos, Xekinima (CWI Greece), Athens

Greece was paralysed on Wednesday and Thursday this week by a 48 hour general strike called by the General Confederation of Greek Workers (GSEE) and the public sector Civil Servants’ Confederation (ADEDY). Up to half a million workers and youth took to the streets of Athens on Wednesday and around 100,000 on Thursday. Wednesday’s demo was the largest union demonstration in Greece since the fall of the military dictatorship in 1974 and with the exception of a popular uprising in 1965, the largest since the end of World War II!

Workers readily took strike action and to the streets to oppose yet another vicious austerity cuts bill which sees further pay cuts for public sector employees, another tax hike, yet more cuts to pensions, mass layoffs in the public sector and a disbandment of Collective Agreements in the private sector. Tens of thousands public sector workers will have their current jobs “suspended”, over the next few months, with huge pay cuts, and will fully lose their jobs one year later. More layoffs in the public sector will follow in 2012 and 2013 – the ‘Troikans’ demand that a total of 250,000 jobs to go in the public sector out of a total of 650,000 (including about 200,000 in the army, the police, the judiciary and the church). All this is supposed to tackle the national debt crisis, but it is bringing precisely the opposite results: the deep recession, causing a fall in GDP of nearly 15% in three years, has raised both the budget deficits and the national debt. But the only ‘remedy’ Troikans impose is yet more cuts, while accusing Greek workers, now the poorest in the euro zone, of “living beyond their means”!

A complete national shut down

The general strike action enjoyed overwhelming support in every sector, public and private. It was a complete national shut down, involving the widest social layers. Even those sections of the population normally considered ‘conservative’, like court judges, street kiosk owners, taxi drivers and track drivers, took action.

The magnificent strike action followed weeks of escalating “rolling” industrial action by many sections of the workforce. Most government ministry buildings have been in occupation since the beginning of the month, including the key departments, like finance and justice. The government has tried to break a bitter strike, and occupation of the landfills, by refuse workers. This is nearly 3 weeks long, causing mountains of garbage to accumulate in the streets of Athens. Government attempts to break the strike, deploying private trucks, completely failed. The Pasok administration now threatens the strikers, who continue their strike, with military coercion! Bus drivers, doctors and other health workers, teachers, sailors, and many other sectors, have been on repeated strike action over the last few weeks.

The mood on the streets of Athens and other cities and towns this week was angry and explosive. Most workers feel that after several draconian austerity packages and steeply declining living standards they have “nothing to lose” by taking all out industrial action. The so-called “shock therapy” has failed to put Greece’s finances on a “sustainable” path. It has only produced an unprecedented recession at huge human and social cost. Unemployment and bankruptcies increase, tax revenue falls and recession deepens. The official rate of unemployment, already announced for this month at 16.5% according to the OAED (the official government employment bureau). But everyone knows that the real unemployment level is already around 25%. Up to 60% of unemployed young workers refuse to register as they see no point in doing so! This picture does not take into consideration the ‘underemployment’ levels which are at similar figures to unemployment figures. Poverty figures and drug addiction and suicide rates have all risen sharply. Many people suffer from poor health and illnesses because they cannot afford to pay for medical costs and because of deep cuts to the public health services – 50% of hospital beds face the Troikan axe! Children are going to school complaining to teachers they are hungry. The teachers’ union reported cases of children fainting in the class rooms due to malnutrition.

Angry and explosive mood

There were revolutionary aspects to the situation in Greece this week. The Pasok government was completely isolated from the masses, including the middle classes, and suspended in mid air. The union leaders could easily have called for further determined action to finish off the government and to stop all cuts and other attacks. But instead workers were not given clear leadership or any call for more action. After a few hours, the hundreds of thousands demonstrating on the streets in Athens, on Wednesday, drifted home, particularly after clashes between anarchist groups or agent provocateurs and the riot police. The police took full advantage given to them by about 100 to 200 “anarchists” to suffocate tens of thousands of workers with chemical weapons thrown directly into the main body of the workers’ demonstration.

On the second day of the 48 hour general strike, around 100,000 took to the streets and surrounded the parliament. Members of the Greek communist party (KKE) decided for the first time in years to join the rest of the Left and the unions in a common demonstration. They decided to steward their own contingents in front of the Parliament but this was seen as a provocation by the anarchist groups and the result was violent clashes between anarchists and the KKE supporters. Around 70 people were wounded and a building worker died from a heart attack, initial reports claim. The violent clashes were broadcast on Greek television to show divisions on the Left and to try to discredit the strike.

Despite the general strike and huge protests, the draconian cuts were passed by Parliament. Around 15,000 policemen were mobilised to protect the “thieves and liars” inside the parliament from the rage of the Greek masses. The cuts were passed by 153 votes to 144, allowing Prime Minister George Papandreou’s government to cling to power, for the time being, at least. There were rumours all week that the government would fall. But it was understood by the Greek ruling class and the ruling elites across the EU that for Pasok to collapse would have been seen as a victory for the mass movement, encouraging more mass resistance to austerity measures in Greece and elsewhere.

What will happen next? The draconian cuts bill was passed but strikes, occupations and protests can continue. Many workers hope that some of the more militant union federations will continue with protest actions. But there is no clear lead from any of the union leaders or from the Left parties. Workers want to fight and have shown they will fight to the end, but they are not optimistic. All of the Left parties call for the “removal” of the government but it is largely empty rhetoric as they do not put forward any specific demands to concretely develop the mass struggle.

What slogans and demands?

In stark contrast, Xekinima (CWI in Greece) has been calling and campaigning for a continuation of indefinite occupations and strikes to remove the Pasok cuts-making government. These were the main slogans on three prominent Xekinima banners carried on the big demonstrations this week, on the front page headline of the party newspaper and carried on 20,000 leaflets distributed in the course of this week by Xekinima supporters.

Xekinima further explains that the overthrow of this government, the most hated since the end of the military regime in 1974, through mass struggle would represent a huge victory for the Greek working class. It would bring forward the prospect of a revolutionary government of workers and the poor, which is the only way out of the impasse and barbarism of capitalism.

Xekinima is, unfortunately, the only prominent force on the Left in Greece that makes clear proposals to the rest of the Left and to the workers’ movement, in general, about how to develop the struggles, to bring the government down and to stop cuts.

In fact, and, actually to our surprise, others on the Left publicly opposed Xekinima’s ideas to develop a clear plan of action for the struggle. For example, before this week’s general strike action, at an important co-ordinating meeting of union activists held on 16 October, representing about 200 local union branches, trade unionists supporting far left groups, but also Syriza (a broad left party), opposed Xekinima’s proposals to escalate the mass action in a concrete way. Xekinima trade unionists called for co-ordination to develop the different occupations and strikes, for rolling industrial action by sectors of the workforce every week, for repeated 48 hour general strikes every week and more, where possible, to build in the direction of all-out, indefinite strike action and occupations, with the common aim of bringing down the government. We also called for full democratic organization of the workers’ movement, based on elected rank and file committees leading the struggles.

Xekinima links these struggles to political demands, including refusal to pay the debt and nationalization of the banks under workers’ democratic control and management, to plan the economy for the benefit of the majority, instead of for huge profits for a handful of bankers and multinationals.

The representatives of the various left groups and parties at the afore mentioned co-ordinating meeting argued that given the anti-cuts mood of the working class there was “no need to take these [Xekinima’s] proposals”. In other words, they refused to discuss a programme of action that could develop the mass struggle, leaving the initiative in the hands of the Pasok-linked union bureaucracy. This refusal included the ultra left, who never tire talking about “revolution”. But when it comes to specific action, they have a sectarian approach and method and have no concept of demands, tactics or strategy.

Perspectives for struggle?

Feeling huge pressure from below, the leadership of the Pasok unions were compelled to organise general strikes but they see it as a way to “scare” the government to make a few concessions and not to bring it down. The union tops do not seriously intend to fully utilise the enormous power of the working class, displayed so clearly this week, to halt all cuts and to kick the government out of office.

Perspectives for the unfolding situation in Greece and for workers’ movement need to be very conditional given how fluid and explosive the situation remains. New waves of fury from workers over the cuts can see more workplace occupations, local and sector strikes and actions by students and youth, particularly by school students. This volcanic mood can force union leaders to call new general strikes that can escalate.

But it is also the case that in the absence of resolute militant leadership from the unions and Left, there is a real danger that industrial action and occupations could start to fall away, the new cuts will start to take effect and many workers could become demoralised for a period.

The need to democratically co-ordinate the struggles from below, and to built an alternative mass, internationalist, Left force - determined to take the struggle to the end, fight against the capitalists’ assault and to link it to the need for a socialist society - is more demanding than ever.



Europe

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Video: Paul Murphy speaking at anti-water charges demo in Dublin, 23/04/2015

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NEWS

Finland: Worst ever election result for traditional Left
24/04/2015, Jonas Brännberg and Juha Tapio for CWI in Finland:
Finns Party second biggest in parliament

Scotland: Labour face annihilation as millions seek an answer to austerity
23/04/2015, Philip Stott, Socialist Party Scotland (CWI in Scotland):
The SNP, according to the polls, will win 53 of Scotland’s 59 Westminster MPs

Video: Paul Murphy speaking at anti-water charges demo in Dublin
23/04/2015, Socialistworld.net:
Socialist Partty (CWI) and Anti-Austerity Alliance TD speaks at march of tens of thosuands against water charges on April 18

Video: Interview with Jawad Ahmed, famous Pakistani singer and activist
22/04/2015, socialistworld.net:
Jawad Ahmed, Singer and central committee member of International Youth and Workers Movement (IYWM) from Pakistan spoke to CWI about the work of IYWM.

South Africa: Organise against xenophobia – a programme for our communities
21/04/2015, Workers and Socialist Party (WASP) leaflet text:
Build a country-wide socialist civic movement. Fight for jobs, houses and services for all

Video: TUSC 100% anti-austerity election broadcast
20/04/2015, socialistworld.net:
Broadcast goes out on all 5 national terrestrial channels

Britain: Labour - party of cuts
19/04/2015, Editorial from The Socialist, paper of the Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales):
Oppose the ’logic of capitalism’

Video: Paul Murphy attacks bosses’ victimisation of strikers
17/04/2015, Socialistworld.net:
Socialist Partty (CWI) and Anti-Austerity Alliance TD speaks in Irish Parliament

US: National day of strikes and protests for $15
17/04/2015, Socialist Alternative (CWI in US) reporters:
Snapshot of the movement – the fight for $15 in 7 major cities

Video: Kshama Sawant on Democracy Now
16/04/2015, socialistworld.net:
Socialist Seattle councillor debates Hillary Clinton run for President

Ireland North: Hundreds protest against racist arson attack
15/04/2015, Daniel Waldron, Socialist Party (CWI), Belfast:
Build a united mass movement to challenge racism, sectarianism and all forms of bigotry

Québec: A hot spring in the making?
14/04/2015, Deirdre Grégoire, Alternative Socialiste (CWI in Quebec):
Students take strike action against austerity

China’s feminists: A victory for protests in China and worldwide
14/04/2015, chinaworker.info reporters:
Five women activists released in rare climb down by Beijing regime

France: First one-day strike against austerity gets big response
13/04/2015, Report from website of Gauche Revolutionnaire (CWI in France):
300, 000 people marched on demonstrations across France on Thursday 9 April

Australia: Budget - Who should pay for the economic crisis?
13/04/2015, Socialist Party (CWI in Australia) editorial:
Federal government preparing the ground for their second budget

Britain: UKIP blame immigration for problems facing working class
12/04/2015, Editorial of The Socialist (issue 851), weekly paper of the Socialist Party (CWI England & Wales):
Workers’ unity to defend pay jobs and services

Panama 2015 Trade Union and Social Alternative Summit
11/04/2015, The Committee for a Worker’s International, via its Venezuelan Section Socialismo Revolucionario, greets the Panama 2015 Trade Union and Social Alternative Summit.:
For an end to imperialism and capitalism, long live socialist and revolutionary united solidarity in our Americas!

Kenya: The Garissa massacre, Al-Shabaab and US imperialism
10/04/2015, Shaun Arendse, CWI South Africa:
Growing regional destabilisation

US: 40,000 Seattle workers get pay rise
08/04/2015, Kailyn Nicholson, republished from 15Now.org:
Coalition of students and workers demand $15 minimum wage at University of Washington

Scotland: Dundee porters and Glasgow council workers on indefinite strike
08/04/2015, Socialist Party Scotland (CWI) Reporters:
Build solidarity now!

Australia: Anti-racist protesters vastly outnumber ‘Reclaim Australia’ Melbourne rally
07/04/2015, Socialist Party (CWI Australia) Reporters:
Only ‘minority’ to blame for society’s problems is ultra-rich 1%

Climate change: Looking for a cheap fix
06/04/2015, Pete Dickenson, article from Socialism Today, magazine of the Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales):
The cyclone that devastated the Pacific island of Vanuatu in March, the most severe ever recorded in the region, highlighted again the very likely connection between extreme weather events and global warming.

Nigeria: Ruling party crumbles in historic election
05/04/2015, By National Executive Committee Democratic Socialist Movement (DSM – CWI in Nigeria):
But only mass struggle can guarantee the interests of workers and poor masses under buhari’s presidency

Scotland: Is the SNP: a threat to the political establishment?
04/04/2015, Philip Stott, Socialist Party Scotland (CWI):
The SNP (Scottish National Party) looks set to win the majority of Scottish seats in the general election

Video: Paul Murphy speaks in support of striking workers
02/04/2015, socialistworld.net:
Socialist MP challenges Labour Deputy Prime Minister in parliament

Australia: Counter-protests set for ’Reclaim Australia’ rallies
02/04/2015, Mel Gregson, from The Socialist (monthly magazine of the Socialist Party - CWI Australia):
Stand against racism & Islamophobia!

CWI Comment and Analysis

ANALYSIS

Latin America: A new turn?
25/04/2015, Tony Saunois, article from May issue of Socialism Today, magazine of the Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales):
Historic handshake between Barack Obama and Raúl Castro, turmoil in Venezuela, and stalled reforms in Bolivia – as well as crises in Brazil – symbolise a new turn in Latin America and the Caribbean

Iran: Proposed nuclear deal reflects transformed Middle East
24/04/2015, Robert Bechert, CWI:
In aftermath of disastrous Iraq occupation, Obama administration balancing between region’s forces

Tunisia: After the Bardo terrorist attack
18/04/2015, Serge Jordan:
New class battles loom

Yemen: Brutal onslaught on country’s poor
15/04/2015, Judy Beishon, from The Socialist (weekly paper of the CWI England & Wales):
For unity of workers and poor against imperialism and sectarianism

Economy: What low oil prices cost the world economy
03/04/2015, Lynn Walsh, article from Socialism Today, magazine of the Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales):
The sudden plunge of oil and gas prices has underlined the volatility in the world capitalist economy

Israel: Netanyahu mobilises far right to win election
25/03/2015, Yasha Marmer, Socialist Struggle Movement, Israel-Palestine:
New coalition will face unresolved crises and bitter struggles

Italy: The instability of domestic capitalism
24/03/2015, Marco Veruggio, ControCorrente (CWI Italy):
Political vacuum pushes FIOM to take initiative

Greece: Varoufakis’ “erratic Marxism” is not the answer
23/03/2015, Peter Taaffe, from Socialism Today (monthly magazine of the Socialist Party, England & Wales):
Necessary to clarify ideas upon which successful struggles of European working class will be conducted

Belgium: No agreement reached between unions and government over austerity
20/03/2015, Eric Byl, LSP/PSL (Belgian section of the CWI), Brussels:
New action plan against right wing government takes off

Ukraine: Conflict unresolved after ’Minsk-2’ agreement
18/03/2015, Rob Jones, CWI, Moscow:
Only independent working-class mass movement can remove the region’s authoritarian rulers

Greece: Syriza’s first months in power
07/03/2015, Andreas Payiatsos, from Xekinima (newspaper of the CWI Greece):
The working class and social movements must enter the struggle for their rights

Quebec: Towards a hot spring
02/03/2015, Deirdre and Bruno, Socialist Alternative (CWI Quebec):
Disrupt them like they disrupt us!

Greece showdown
26/02/2015, Article to be published in the March issue of Socialism Today (magazine of the Socialist Party, CWI in England and Wales):
Niall Mulholland interviewed NICOS ANASTASIADES, of Xekinima (CWI Greece), just as Syriza leaders agreed a four-month bail-out extension with the EU.

Libya: War-torn country becoming new hub for IS activities
25/02/2015, Serge Jordan (CWI):
Libyan people bearing the brunt of NATO’s fiasco

Europe: Eurozone time-bomb
25/02/2015, Lynn Walsh, article from Socialism Today (magazine of the Socialist Party of England and Wales):
Mired in recession, the eurozone is haunted by the spectre of stagnation

Greece: Syriza retreats under Troika threats
24/02/2015, Nicos Anastasiades, Xekinima (CWI Greece), Thessaloniki:
Popular mood shows anti-austerity, socialist policies would win huge support

History: The political legacy of Malcolm X
21/02/2015, Eljeer Hawkins, Socialist Alternative:
50 years after his assassination

Spain: Is ‘Podemos’ the Spanish Syriza?
16/02/2015, Danny Byrne, CWI:
Dangers of “moderation” and domestication

Egypt: Regime brutality on fourth anniversary of revolution
10/02/2015, David Johnson, Socialist Party (CWI England & Wales):
Masses will regain confidence and willingness to fight

Greece: Not a single step back!
08/02/2015, Statement by the Editorial Board of Xekinima (CWI Greece):
Conflict between SYRIZA government and EU escalates

Kurdistan: ‘Islamic State’ driven out of Kobanê
02/02/2015, Serge Jordan, CWI:
Will the end of Kobanê’s siege turn the tide against IS?

Greece: Why did Syriza and the KKE fail to reach agreement?
29/01/2015, Article from Xekhinima (CWI Greece) website [dated 26 January 2015] translated and slightly edited:
For socialist policies to end austerity nightmare!

Greece: Syriza comes to power, as old ruling parties collapse
27/01/2015, Niall Mulholland, socialistworld.net, interviews Andros Payiatsos, from Xekinima (CWI Greece):
Left parties fail to form government - Syriza goes into coalition with populist right Independent Greeks

Cuba: Diplomatic relations with US restored, embargo eased
24/01/2015, Tony Saunois, CWI:
Threat of capitalist restoration accelerates