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Greece
Syriza-led government announces anti-austerity policies

30/01/2015: Markets and EU leaders react against Athens

  Greece

Saudi Arabia
’Defenders of democracy’ mourn despot’s death

30/01/2015: Atrocious human rights records no concern for Western powers

  Saudi Arabia

Greece
Why did Syriza and the KKE fail to reach agreement?

29/01/2015: For socialist policies to end austerity nightmare!

  Greece

Greece
Syriza victory shows austerity elite can be beaten

29/01/2015: An inspiration for workers and youth across Europe

  Britain, Greece

Greece
Syriza comes to power, as old ruling parties collapse

27/01/2015: Left parties fail to form government - Syriza goes into coalition with populist right Independent Greeks

  Europe, Greece

China
Slowest growth rate since 1990

25/01/2015: Economy decelerated 30 percent in five years

  China

Cuba
Diplomatic relations with US restored, embargo eased

24/01/2015: Threat of capitalist restoration accelerates

  Cuba, US

Northern Ireland
Water service workers win important victory

23/01/2015: A victory for all workers and an inspiration to resist the ‘race to the bottom’

  Ireland North

Sri Lanka
Mobilise now to defend our demands

22/01/2015: Article first published in the Colombo Telegraph

  Sri Lanka

 US
Kshama Sawant gives socialist response to Obama’s "State of the Union" address

21/01/2015: "Why can’t Barack Obama say “Black Lives Matter”?"

  US, Video

Russia/Ukraine
Facing a turbulent 2015

21/01/2015: As death toll rises, economies plunge into freefall

  Russia, Ukraine

Greece
Prospect of Syriza victory raises workers’ hopes

20/01/2015: Mass intervention of working class to struggle for socialist policies is vital

  Greece

Nigeria
The Massacre in Baga

19/01/2015: Socialism or Barbarism

  Nigeria

Review
‘Eleanor Marx - a life’

17/01/2015: Clare Doyle reviews ’Eleanor Marx - A Life’ by Rachel Holmes

  Review

 Video
Joe Higgins questions Irish Central Bank governor

16/01/2015: Socialist MP grills establishment over banking bubble and collapse

  Video

Nigeria
2015 general elections and the working masses

16/01/2015: Boko Haram and the war in the north-east

  Nigeria

  Video
Ruth Coppinger calls for referendum on abortion rights in Ireland

15/01/2015: "You march in Paris, yet uphold laws any religious fundamentalist would envy"

  Ireland Republic, Video, Women

 Video
A year of struggle in Brazil

14/01/2015: LSR members intervene in struggles of 2014

  Brazil, Video

Sri Lanka
New but uncertain period opens up

14/01/2015: President Sirisena aims for clean government but will face difficulties

  Sri Lanka

Iran
Labour and children’s rights activist, Behnam Ebrahimzadeh, sentenced to another nine years

13/01/2015: International action needed to overturn latest conviction and to immediately release Behnam

  Iran

Germany
What is behind the ‘PEGIDA’ anti-immigrant demonstrations?

13/01/2015: Unions and Left must organise against racism and for jobs and decent living standards for all

  Germany

France
Millions march for solidarity

12/01/2015: Unity against racism and capitalism!

  France

New Zealand
Extreme poverty worsens

12/01/2015: Workers need to build political alternative to major parties’ big business agenda

  New Zealand

France
Counter terrorist threat with workers-led mass unity

10/01/2015: The shocking, cold blooded slaughter at Charlie Hebdo, and more killings in subsequent days, has been met with mass outrage

  France

Norway
General strike called for 28 January

10/01/2015: Two-hour protest against worsening working conditions

  Norway

Sri Lanka
Rajapaksa defeated

09/01/2015: Period of uncertainty opens

  Sri Lanka

Sweden
New elections cancelled

09/01/2015: “Peace deal” between government and right-wing opposition

  Sweden

Greece
Towards a Syriza government?

08/01/2015: General elections on 25 January

  Greece

France
Deadly attack on satirical paper Charlie Hebdo

08/01/2015: Defend freedom of speech! Don’t let us be divided!

  France

Hong Kong
Politics transformed by ‘Umbrella Revolution’

07/01/2015: A fighting democratic movement must be created to continue and build upon this historic “first round”

  Hong Kong

Israel-Palestine
A successful Socialism conference in the shadow of national divide

06/01/2015: Over 150 people participated in the ‘Socialism Conference 2014’ in Tel Aviv, organised by the Socialist Struggle Movement (SSM - CWI in Israel-Palestine)

  Israel / Palestine

Northern Ireland
The Stormont House Agreement

05/01/2015: Agreeing Not To Agree, Again

  Ireland Republic

Environment
Market forces hold back renewable energy

01/01/2015: Have capitalist governments around the world finally woken up to the danger of global warming?

  Environment

New Year
Political and economic ingredients for volatile 2015

31/12/2014: As crisis of capitalism worsens, vital to organise and continue the struggle

  Britain, Europe, World Economy

Britain
In defence of TUSC

30/12/2014: As the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition gears up for its biggest ever electoral stand…

  Britain, US

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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NEWS

Greece: Syriza-led government announces anti-austerity policies
30/01/2015, Niall Mulholland, CWI:
Markets and EU leaders react against Athens

Saudi Arabia: ’Defenders of democracy’ mourn despot’s death
30/01/2015, Simon Carter, Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales):
Atrocious human rights records no concern for Western powers

Greece: Syriza victory shows austerity elite can be beaten
29/01/2015, Editorial of The Socialist, newspaper of the Socialist Party (CWI England & Wales):
An inspiration for workers and youth across Europe

China: Slowest growth rate since 1990
25/01/2015, chinaworker.info reporters:
Economy decelerated 30 percent in five years

Northern Ireland: Water service workers win important victory
23/01/2015, Donal O’Cofaigh, Socialist Party, Fermanagh:
A victory for all workers and an inspiration to resist the ‘race to the bottom’

Sri Lanka: Mobilise now to defend our demands
22/01/2015, Tu Senan, International Coordinator of the Tamil Solidarity campaign:
Article first published in the Colombo Telegraph

US: Kshama Sawant gives socialist response to Obama’s "State of the Union" address
21/01/2015, Socialistworld.net, via socialistalternative.org:
"Why can’t Barack Obama say “Black Lives Matter”?"

Review: ‘Eleanor Marx - a life’
17/01/2015, Clare Doyle, CWI. Article published in the Socialist, paper of the Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales):
Clare Doyle reviews ’Eleanor Marx - A Life’ by Rachel Holmes

Video: Joe Higgins questions Irish Central Bank governor
16/01/2015, socialistworld.net:
Socialist MP grills establishment over banking bubble and collapse

Nigeria: 2015 general elections and the working masses
16/01/2015, Aj. Dagga Tolar and Kola Ibrahim, DSM (CWI in Nigeria):
Boko Haram and the war in the north-east

Video: Ruth Coppinger calls for referendum on abortion rights in Ireland
15/01/2015, socialistworld.net:
"You march in Paris, yet uphold laws any religious fundamentalist would envy"

Video: A year of struggle in Brazil
14/01/2015, socialistworld.net:
LSR members intervene in struggles of 2014

Sri Lanka: New but uncertain period opens up
14/01/2015, Clare Doyle, CWI:
President Sirisena aims for clean government but will face difficulties

Iran: Labour and children’s rights activist, Behnam Ebrahimzadeh, sentenced to another nine years
13/01/2015, Campaign in Support Workers of Iran:
International action needed to overturn latest conviction and to immediately release Behnam

France: Millions march for solidarity
12/01/2015, Gauche Revolutionnaire (CWI in France):
Unity against racism and capitalism!

New Zealand: Extreme poverty worsens
12/01/2015, CWI Reporters, NZ/Aotearoa:
Workers need to build political alternative to major parties’ big business agenda

France: Counter terrorist threat with workers-led mass unity
10/01/2015, Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales) website editorial:
The shocking, cold blooded slaughter at Charlie Hebdo, and more killings in subsequent days, has been met with mass outrage

Norway: General strike called for 28 January
10/01/2015, Trond Sverre and Elise Kollveit (CWI, Oslo):
Two-hour protest against worsening working conditions

Sri Lanka: Rajapaksa defeated
09/01/2015, TU Senan, CWI:
Period of uncertainty opens

Sweden: New elections cancelled
09/01/2015, Questions answered by Rättvisepartiet Socialisterna (CWI in Sweden):
“Peace deal” between government and right-wing opposition

France: Deadly attack on satirical paper Charlie Hebdo
08/01/2015, Gauche Revolutionnaire (CWI in France):
Defend freedom of speech! Don’t let us be divided!

Hong Kong: Politics transformed by ‘Umbrella Revolution’
07/01/2015, Editorial from Socialist magazine《社會主義者, of CWI in China and Hong Kong:
A fighting democratic movement must be created to continue and build upon this historic “first round”

Israel-Palestine: A successful Socialism conference in the shadow of national divide
06/01/2015, Or Dar, Socialist Struggle Movement, CWI in Israel-Palestine:
Over 150 people participated in the ‘Socialism Conference 2014’ in Tel Aviv, organised by the Socialist Struggle Movement (SSM - CWI in Israel-Palestine)

Environment: Market forces hold back renewable energy
01/01/2015, Pete Dickinson, Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales):
Have capitalist governments around the world finally woken up to the danger of global warming?

Britain: In defence of TUSC
30/12/2014, Clive Heemskerk, from Socialism Today, magazine of the Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales):
As the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition gears up for its biggest ever electoral stand…

CWI: National Question a key feature of political crisis of capitalism
28/12/2014, Matt Dobson, Socialist Party Scotland (CWI Scotland):
A socialist solution to national oppression

CWI Comment and Analysis

ANALYSIS

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

Russia/Ukraine: Facing a turbulent 2015
21/01/2015, Rob Jones, CWI, Moscow:
As death toll rises, economies plunge into freefall

Greece: Prospect of Syriza victory raises workers’ hopes
20/01/2015, Interview with Andros Payiatsos, from Xekinima (CWI in Greece):
Mass intervention of working class to struggle for socialist policies is vital

Nigeria: The Massacre in Baga
19/01/2015, H.T Soweto, DSM (CWI in Nigeria):
Socialism or Barbarism

Germany: What is behind the ‘PEGIDA’ anti-immigrant demonstrations?
13/01/2015, Wolfram Klein, Socialist Alternative (SAV- CWI Germany):
Unions and Left must organise against racism and for jobs and decent living standards for all

Greece: Towards a Syriza government?
08/01/2015, Interview with Andros Payiatsos, Xekinima (CWI in Greece):
General elections on 25 January

Northern Ireland: The Stormont House Agreement
05/01/2015, Michael Cleary, Socialist Party (CWI in Ireland):
Agreeing Not To Agree, Again

New Year: Political and economic ingredients for volatile 2015
31/12/2014, Peter Taaffe, General Secretary Socialist Party (CWI England & Wales):
As crisis of capitalism worsens, vital to organise and continue the struggle

Latin America: The end of one cycle and the beginning of another
17/12/2014, socialistworld.net:
Document on Latin America, agreed by CWI International Executive Committee

World Perspectives: A turbulent period in history
15/12/2014, CWI International Executive Committee:
Signs of revival of class struggle signposts the future

Sri Lanka: Presidential Election January 8, 2015
11/12/2014, Interview with Siritunga Jayasuriya, USP (CWI Sri Lanka):
Socialist candidate challenges all other forces

Australia: Major community victory stops Melbourne’s East-West Toll Road
08/12/2014, By Socialist Party (CWI Australia) reporters, Melbourne:
Socialist Party leads successful campaign against Toll Road and for investment in public transport

World Perspectives: A turbulent period in history
27/11/2014, International Secretariat of the CWI :
Signs of revival of class struggle signposts the future

Ireland: Lies and distortions against community protests, the AAA and the Socialist Party
21/11/2014, Socialist Party (CWI in Ireland) reporters:
Government and Water Charges completely undermined

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.