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latest news

 International Women’s Day 2015
Scotland

06/03/2015: Exploited at work, fighting back

  Scotland, Women

 International Women’s Day 2015
China

06/03/2015: Capitalism is pushing back women’s rights

  China, Women

Netherlands
Wave of student protests

05/03/2015: For democratic reforms and end to budget cuts

  Netherlands

Austria
The year starts with antifascism

05/03/2015: Right-wing Ball events, PEGIDA, and neo-nazi Violence: A Month of Intense and Successful anti-fascism in Austria

  Austria, Venezuela

 Greece
Vodafone strike declared “illegal”

04/03/2015: “None of this will intimidate us - we will struggle until we win collective bargaining”

  Greece, Solidarity

Russia
50,000 march in Moscow after shooting of Boris Nemtsov

03/03/2015: As economic crisis deepens, social explosions loom

  Russia

Quebec
Towards a hot spring

02/03/2015: Disrupt them like they disrupt us!

  Quebec

Greece
“Yes there was a different choice!”

02/03/2015: Socialist policies needed, not deals with the Troika

  Germany, Greece

Scotland
Why Tommy is wrong to call for a vote for the SNP in May

27/02/2015: Philip Stott Socialist Party Scotland

  Scotland

Greece showdown

26/02/2015: Niall Mulholland interviewed NICOS ANASTASIADES, of Xekinima (CWI Greece), just as Syriza leaders agreed a four-month bail-out extension with the EU.

  Greece

Libya
War-torn country becoming new hub for IS activities

25/02/2015: Libyan people bearing the brunt of NATO’s fiasco

  Libya

Europe
Eurozone time-bomb

25/02/2015: Mired in recession, the eurozone is haunted by the spectre of stagnation

  Europe, World Economy

Greece
Syriza retreats under Troika threats

24/02/2015: Popular mood shows anti-austerity, socialist policies would win huge support

  Greece

Britain
Labour MP shows contempt for workers

24/02/2015: Three decades ago he debated with Militant leaders who warned about degeneration of his party

  Britain

Germany
Pegida at an end?

24/02/2015: German racist mobilizations split but danger continues

  Germany

History
The political legacy of Malcolm X

21/02/2015: 50 years after his assassination

  History

 Malaysia
Stop arrests of government opponents!

20/02/2015: Respect the right to freedom of speech!

  Malaysia, Solidarity

 Solidarity
Five Dublin anti-water charge protesters jailed

20/02/2015: International solidarity protests needed!

  Solidarity

Congo
Forty two killed during street protests in January

20/02/2015: Senate quashes Kabila’s plan to extend presidency

  Congo

Greece
What does Tsipras’s endorsement of Prokopis Pavlopoulos for President signify?

19/02/2015: Economic and social crisis requires independent pro-worker, socialist policies!

  Greece

Britain
2015 Socialist Party Congress:

19/02/2015: Preparing the forces to fight capitalist austerity

  Britain

Ireland
Socialist questions Taoiseach on political policing

18/02/2015: International solidarity protests continue

  Ireland Republic

Denmark
Terrorist attack in Copenhagen

18/02/2015: United struggle needed against right-wing policies

  Denmark

Spain
Is ‘Podemos’ the Spanish Syriza?

16/02/2015: Dangers of “moderation” and domestication

  Spain

 Ireland
“Dogs of war” unleashed in Jobstown

16/02/2015: The Gardai have simultaneously targeted the community of Jobstown, the anti-water charges movement and the Anti-Austerity Alliance

  Ireland Republic, Video

Malaysia
Opposition leader imprisoned

16/02/2015: Government conspires to quell growing opposition

  Malaysia

Hong Kong
Erwiana’s court victory – now to step up the struggle for migrant rights!

14/02/2015: Hong Kong court finds employer guilty of torture-like crimes

  Hong Kong

Ireland
Interview with Paul Murphy TD following arrest

13/02/2015: Socialist Party (CWI) and AAA TD Paul Murphy speaks following five days of political arrests of anti-water

  Ireland Republic

Greece
If the Troika does not back down?

13/02/2015: Let the Greek people decide!

  Greece

India
Massive defeat for ruling BJP in Delhi election

12/02/2015: Result reflects growing mass discontent

  India

 Video
Brazilian housing movement presents Kshama Sawant with flag

12/02/2015: MTST one of Brazil’s most important social movements

  Brazil, Video

 Video
Ruth Coppinger challenges government over political policing

12/02/2015: Heated exchange in Irish parliament between deputy Prime Minister and Socialist Party (CWI) MP

  Ireland Republic, Video

Brazil
CWI Latin American summer school 2015

12/02/2015: 8th Latin American school largest ever held by the CWI on the continent

  Brazil, Latin America

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

International Women’s Day 2015: Scotland
06/03/2015, Sinead Daly, from The Socialist, newspaper of the Socialist Party Scotland (CWI):
Exploited at work, fighting back

International Women’s Day 2015: China
06/03/2015, chinaworker.info:
Capitalism is pushing back women’s rights

Netherlands: Wave of student protests
05/03/2015, Bas de Ruiter, Socialist Alternative (CWI in Netherlands):
For democratic reforms and end to budget cuts

Austria: The year starts with antifascism
05/03/2015, Stefan Gredler, SLP (CWI in Austria):
Right-wing Ball events, PEGIDA, and neo-nazi Violence: A Month of Intense and Successful anti-fascism in Austria

Greece: Vodafone strike declared “illegal”
04/03/2015, Jacqueline Gorou, President, Panhellenic Trade Union Vodafone-Panafone:
“None of this will intimidate us - we will struggle until we win collective bargaining”

Russia: 50,000 march in Moscow after shooting of Boris Nemtsov
03/03/2015, Rob Jones, CWI, Moscow:
As economic crisis deepens, social explosions loom

Greece: “Yes there was a different choice!”
02/03/2015, Interview with Nikos Kanellis, Volos City Councilor (Xekinima/ CWI Greece) by Sascha Stanicic (SAV’/CWI Germany):
Socialist policies needed, not deals with the Troika

Scotland: Why Tommy is wrong to call for a vote for the SNP in May
27/02/2015, Clear anti-austerity alternative necessary:
Philip Stott Socialist Party Scotland

Britain: Labour MP shows contempt for workers
24/02/2015, :
Three decades ago he debated with Militant leaders who warned about degeneration of his party

Germany: Pegida at an end?
24/02/2015, Michael Koschitzki, SAV (CWI Germany):
German racist mobilizations split but danger continues

Malaysia: Stop arrests of government opponents!
20/02/2015, Statement on arrests from Socialist Alternative (CWI Malaysia):
Respect the right to freedom of speech!

Solidarity: Five Dublin anti-water charge protesters jailed
20/02/2015, Socialistworld.net:
International solidarity protests needed!

Congo: Forty two killed during street protests in January
20/02/2015, Per-Åke Westerlund, Rättvisepartiet Socialisterna (CWI Sweden):
Senate quashes Kabila’s plan to extend presidency

Greece: What does Tsipras’s endorsement of Prokopis Pavlopoulos for President signify?
19/02/2015, Statement by Xekinima (CWI Greece) Editorial Board [edited translation]:
Economic and social crisis requires independent pro-worker, socialist policies!

Britain: 2015 Socialist Party Congress:
19/02/2015, Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales) reporters:
Preparing the forces to fight capitalist austerity

Ireland: Socialist questions Taoiseach on political policing
18/02/2015, socialistworld.net:
International solidarity protests continue

Denmark: Terrorist attack in Copenhagen
18/02/2015, Arne Johansson, Rättvisepartiet Socialisterna (CWI Sweden):
United struggle needed against right-wing policies

Ireland: “Dogs of war” unleashed in Jobstown
16/02/2015, Cillian Gillespie and Councillor Mick Barry, Socialist Party (CWI in Ireland):
The Gardai have simultaneously targeted the community of Jobstown, the anti-water charges movement and the Anti-Austerity Alliance

Malaysia: Opposition leader imprisoned
16/02/2015, Socialist Alternative (CWI in Malaysia):
Government conspires to quell growing opposition

Hong Kong: Erwiana’s court victory – now to step up the struggle for migrant rights!
14/02/2015, Vincent Kolo, Socialist Action (CWI) in Hong Kong:
Hong Kong court finds employer guilty of torture-like crimes

Ireland: Interview with Paul Murphy TD following arrest
13/02/2015, socialistworld.net:
Socialist Party (CWI) and AAA TD Paul Murphy speaks following five days of political arrests of anti-water

Greece: If the Troika does not back down?
13/02/2015, Andros Payiatsos, Xekinima (CWI Greece):
Let the Greek people decide!

India: Massive defeat for ruling BJP in Delhi election
12/02/2015, Youvraj B, Pune, New Socialist Alternative (CWI India):
Result reflects growing mass discontent

Video: Brazilian housing movement presents Kshama Sawant with flag
12/02/2015, socialistworld.net:
MTST one of Brazil’s most important social movements

Video: Ruth Coppinger challenges government over political policing
12/02/2015, socialistworld.net:
Heated exchange in Irish parliament between deputy Prime Minister and Socialist Party (CWI) MP

Brazil: CWI Latin American summer school 2015
12/02/2015, Socialistworld.net:
8th Latin American school largest ever held by the CWI on the continent

CWI Comment and Analysis

ANALYSIS

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

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