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latest news

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

Italy

Monti government arouses huge anger of workers

www.socialistworld.net, 14/12/2011
website of the committee for a workers' international, CWI

General strike sets the pace

Giuliano Brunetti, ControCorrente‭ (‬CWI supporters Italy‭)

On Monday 12 December we saw a joint general strike mobilisation in Italy with the three major trade union confederations - CGIL, CISL and UIL calling a three-hour general strike. This was in response to the massive €30billion worth of budget cuts announced last week. The fact that the right-wing CISL and UIL felt compelled to call strike action with the more left wing CGIL after many years of a consensus approach, reflects the angry mood and pressure from below.

FIOM, the metal workers’ union of the CGIL, made it an 8 hour strike because of the particular attacks of the bosses against them. The car giant FIAT is leaving Confindustria, the bosses’ union, and has replaced the national metalworkers’ contract with a separate FIAT contract that considerably worsens working conditions and bans strike action against these changes. (Scandalously CISL and UIL have signed this contract, two days after the strike! Understandably many workers are sceptical about this newfound trade union ‘unity’.)

Bruno Manganaro, secretary of FIOM-CGIL Genoa, explained in a TV interview on the mass demonstration in his city: “Trade union unity is something serious, something that we all value. The unions may have different opinions but in the end it is the workers who decide. If someone prevents workers voting on their future, which is what is happening in Fiat, wiping out the national labour contract, as some are thinking of doing at Fincantieri, making a separate agreement, then this is a joke and workers are not willing to accept it”. To see a video on the La Republica newspaper website of the speach (in Italian) click here

On the day of the strike, noisy demonstrations of tens of thousands of workers took place throughout Italy. The unions’ national leaders spoke at a mass demonstration outside the parliament building in Rome. While workers shouted angrily that they could not live on their present incomes, let alone after cuts, Susanna Camusso, CGIL leader, spoke of the need to ‘amend’ the package simply with some more taxation of the rich. (Mario Monti has felt constrained to move at least a little in this direction as a result of the strike action being taken.)

In Naples a worker commented to reporters: “The austerity measures are scandalous. Politicians cannot ask for sacrifices while keeping all their privileges”. “Closed up in their palaces” they are “losing touch with reality”.

The main slogan that was taken up in all the squares, that could be read on leaflets, posters and banners being carried by the delegations on the opening parades was: "Let those pay who have never paid!". This referred to the imposition of massive austerity measures by the Monti government to ’save’ money when some of the richest businessmen and bankers have shifted their money abroad and pay no taxes. The central demand of the day was to stop the government slashing the hard-won gains of the Italian working class.

The budget ’manoeuvre’

The emergency austerity budget was designed to avoid the risk of default, to give a strong signal to the European technocracy and to reassure international markets. It is being carried through with the bipartisan support of the Democratic Party, previously in opposition, and the People of Freedom Party of Silvio Berlusconi. The package includes, among other things, a VAT increase of 2% from 1 September 2012 and the reintroduction of the IMU (a 0.4 % tax on homes), that was not implemented by either the Prodi or the Berlusconi governments.

But it is on the issue of pensions and retirement age that the government shows its real intention to make ordinary people pay for the crisis. From 1 January 2012 a contributory system on pensions will be introduced for all. It will mean that pensions will be equivalent to a percentage of contributions paid during the whole working life. Moreover, the entitlement to pensions will be extended to 62 years of age for women and 66 for men. It will be necessary to show 42 years of contributions to qualify with the pensions board. The introduction of this new system will force many workers to prolong their working life for two, three or even four or five years in some cases. With regard to cost of living indexing, there will be no adjustment for pensions above €960 per month from next year, and an adjustment of only 50% of the rate of inflation for pensions between €480 and €960.

The budget has been presented to us as a budget done with ‘equity’. Nothing could be further from the truth. This ’manoeuvre’ (special budget) contains very hard attacks against the living standards of working class people in the country. The measures are deeply unfair and will exacerbate the crisis pushing important sectors of the working and middle class into poverty. In response to this manoeuvre, there is particular anger that working class people are paying a high price while Monti, under pressure from Berlusconi’s party, said he has abandoned the idea of a wealth tax.

The fight back

Although there are still no official data from the trade unions about the participation in this Monday’s strike, we can say that it was a real success. There were peaks of participation that exceeded 75% - for example in Tuscany. Among the biggest and most combative contingents on the demonstrations were those of the metal-mechanics. A banner saying "For the freedom of work" with the Fiat logo on it was at the head of the procession of FIOM in the centre of Turin. Behind marched thousands of metalworkers. There was a very high participation in the strike in all factories according to FIOM’s figures - 69% at Mirafiori, more than 50% at Iveco , 70% at Rivalta Hail, Borgaretto 90%, Micro-engineering 95%, including 70% and 90% at the smaller places like Canavese at Moncton.

The FIOM leaflet distributed on a national scale carried four main demands: The cancellation of Article 8 of the budget that cancels collective agreement through waivers, including Article 18 of the Statute of workers on discriminatory dismissals. The defence of workers and jobs and the development of a new industrial policy of quality, with public intervention. The rejection of the decision to abolish the Fiat National Agreement and extend the practice of separate agreements to all 80,000 workers of the Pomigliano Group, putting into question the freedom of trade unions in this country. The defence of the provisions of the constitution in relation to trade union freedoms and democracy, the right to strike, the right to work and the right to national labour contract bargaining. These demands expressed very clearly the feeling of many workers who went on strike.

Desire for change

The organisation of Monday’s strike demonstrates the great desire for change that exists today at the base of society but also the great anger and frustration at the idea of having to always be the ones to pay the price for crises. More strike action is planned for the next few days - public transport strike on December 15 and 16, bank employees will stop work for the afternoon of 16 December and public administration will close down for a whole day on 19 December. But the fact that workers are being brought out on different days and sometimes for just a few hours, means many are questioning the seriousness of the union leaderships. Huge pressure from the rank and file will be necessary to ensure that a determined struggle is waged.

It is certain that the attempt by the government of the bankers and speculators to make us pay for the result of the neo-liberal policies of the last decades will not be allowed to pass without strong opposition at the base of society in Italy. This must and will include the forging by workers and young people of a new political force to take the struggle forward.



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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.