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New Zealand
Victory over zero-contract hours

24/05/2015: ‘Cotton On’ clothes retailer workers defeat attempt to remove rest and meal breaks

  New Zealand

Iraq/Syria
ISIS rout national armies at Ramadi and Palmyra

23/05/2015: United working class movement needed to sweep away sectarian militias and reactionary politicians

  Iraq, Syria

Britain
Labour leadership contest - appealing to big business

22/05/2015: The Labour leadership contest begs the question: what is the point of the Labour Party?

  Britain

Ireland North
Election marks growing rejection of sectarian status quo

21/05/2015: Opportunities to build new anti-sectarian political voice for working class and youth

  Ireland Republic

Spain
Is Podemos in crisis?

20/05/2015: Left and social movements in a state of flux, as key elections loom

  Spain

Britain
Build a movement to defeat Tories’ cuts savagery

20/05/2015: For massive union demonstrations, linked to a 24-hour general strike

  Britain

Ireland South
Vote ‘Yes’ to marriage equality!

19/05/2015: Referendum a product of long-waged campaign of struggle from below

  Ireland Republic

Greece
Subordination to Troika or rupture with austerity?

18/05/2015: The choices before the Greek working class

  Greece

North Cyprus
‘Moderate leftist’ wins presidential election on peace ticket

16/05/2015: Workers’ common front, north and south, can find solution to island’s division

  Cyprus

Chile
Huge demonstrations call for free education

15/05/2015: New chapter opens in country’s political and ‘moral’ crisis

  Chile

Australia
East-West toll road dispute concluded

15/05/2015: Local community direct action secures victory

  Australia

Ireland
Parliament suspended after PM tells Socialist MPs “where to go”

14/05/2015: Contemptuous remarks reflect government concerns over non-payment of water charges

  Ireland Republic

Britain
Organising against Tory austerity starts now

14/05/2015: Potential for industrial response to cuts but needs determined leadership and campaigning

  Britain

 Video
Joe Higgins TD questions former ECB president Jean Claude Trichet

13/05/2015: "When bankers and bondholders’ gambles crashed, their massive burden of private debt was placed onto the shoulders of the Irish people"

  Ireland Republic, Video

Sudan
Mass apathy towards elections

12/05/2015: Renewed struggle from below needed to put an end to Bashir’s rule

  Sudan

USA
Presidential candidate declares "political revolution" against billionaires

12/05/2015: Campaign needs to build independent political power

  US

Britain
Fight against "five more damned years" of Tory rule

12/05/2015: Labour leader’s ’responsible capitalism’ shows its bankruptcy

  Britain

China
“In a hard landing now”

11/05/2015: Stock market frenzy and fabricated GDP figures cannot hide the reality of an economy in deep trouble

  China

Scotland
Labour annihilated

11/05/2015: SNP sweeps to victory by posing as an anti-austerity alternative

  Scotland

Britain
With the votes of 24% of the electorate, Tories have no mandate for more savage cuts

11/05/2015: Labour’s failure puts centre stage the need for new mass anti-austerity force

  Britain

Poland
65,000 workers demonstrate against governments’ policies

07/05/2015: Plan of action for a general strike needed

  Poland

Ireland North
Socialist Party replies to leading Sinn Fein councillor’s attacks

06/05/2015: How to fight cuts, sectarianism and to build workers’ unity

  Ireland North

Britain
Russell Brand mistaken to sow illusions in Labour

06/05/2015: Russell Brand calls on people to elect a Labour government, saying Ed Miliband will ’listen’ and wants pressure from below

  Britain

May Day 2015
International workers’ day marked by marches and rallies

05/05/2015: Photo gallery of the CWI taking part in May Day event across the world

  May Day

Iceland
Fighting for better wages

05/05/2015: General strike called for 26 May

  Iceland

May Day 2015
Socialist plan or capitalist chaos

01/05/2015: What sort of new society are we struggling for?

  May Day

Nepal
Disaster in Nepal –amplified by capitalism

30/04/2015: Nepal, one of the poorest countries in the south Asian region has been further devastated by the recent earthquake.

  Nepal

US
Rage in Baltimore

29/04/2015: The aftermath of Freddie Gray’s death

  US

Book review
’No place to hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA and the US Surveillance state’

29/04/2015: What the 1% will do to defend their class interests

  Review, US

 May Day 2015
Resisting austerity, exploitation, wars and oppression

28/04/2015: 125 years since first May Day – Build a united workers’ movement for socialism!

  CWI, May Day

Italy
Migrant disasters - the human cost of budget cuts

27/04/2015: From Mare Nostrum to Triton

  Italy

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

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.



Europe

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Pakistan: Jawad Ahmad speaking at May Day rally held by International Youth and Workers Movement, 18/05/2015

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NEWS

New Zealand: Victory over zero-contract hours
24/05/2015, Joe Kelly, CWI NZ/Aotearoa:
‘Cotton On’ clothes retailer workers defeat attempt to remove rest and meal breaks

Britain: Labour leadership contest - appealing to big business
22/05/2015, Sarah Sachs-Eldridge, Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales):
The Labour leadership contest begs the question: what is the point of the Labour Party?

Britain: Build a movement to defeat Tories’ cuts savagery
20/05/2015, Editorial from The Socialist, weekly paper of the Socialist Party (CWI England & Wales):
For massive union demonstrations, linked to a 24-hour general strike

Ireland South: Vote ‘Yes’ to marriage equality!
19/05/2015, From the Socialist Party (CWI Ireland) website:
Referendum a product of long-waged campaign of struggle from below

Greece: Subordination to Troika or rupture with austerity?
18/05/2015, Editorial from Xekinima (no. 410, 6-20 May 2015), fortnightly newspaper of CWI Greece:
The choices before the Greek working class

Pakistan: Jawad Ahmad speaking at May Day rally held by International Youth and Workers Movement
18/05/2015, Socialistworld.net:
Video of May Day Rally and concert in Lahore

North Cyprus: ‘Moderate leftist’ wins presidential election on peace ticket
16/05/2015, Athina Kariati, New Internationalist Left (CWI in Cyprus):
Workers’ common front, north and south, can find solution to island’s division

Chile: Huge demonstrations call for free education
15/05/2015, Patricio Guzman, Socialismo Revolcuionario (CWI in Chile):
New chapter opens in country’s political and ‘moral’ crisis

Australia: East-West toll road dispute concluded
15/05/2015, Socialist Party (CWI Australia) Reporters:
Local community direct action secures victory

Ireland: Parliament suspended after PM tells Socialist MPs “where to go”
14/05/2015, Socialistworld.net:
Contemptuous remarks reflect government concerns over non-payment of water charges

Britain: Organising against Tory austerity starts now
14/05/2015, John McInally, Public and Commercial Services Union national Vice-President (personal capacity), from the Socialist Party (CWI England & Wales) website:
Potential for industrial response to cuts but needs determined leadership and campaigning

Video: Joe Higgins TD questions former ECB president Jean Claude Trichet
13/05/2015, Socialistworld.net:
"When bankers and bondholders’ gambles crashed, their massive burden of private debt was placed onto the shoulders of the Irish people"

Sudan: Mass apathy towards elections
12/05/2015, Sudanese CWI supporter:
Renewed struggle from below needed to put an end to Bashir’s rule

Scotland: Labour annihilated
11/05/2015, :
SNP sweeps to victory by posing as an anti-austerity alternative

Britain: With the votes of 24% of the electorate, Tories have no mandate for more savage cuts
11/05/2015, Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales):
Labour’s failure puts centre stage the need for new mass anti-austerity force

Poland: 65,000 workers demonstrate against governments’ policies
07/05/2015, Alternatywa Socjalistyczna (CWI Poland) Reporters:
Plan of action for a general strike needed

Britain: Russell Brand mistaken to sow illusions in Labour
06/05/2015, Sarah Sachs-Eldridge, Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales):
Russell Brand calls on people to elect a Labour government, saying Ed Miliband will ’listen’ and wants pressure from below

May Day 2015: International workers’ day marked by marches and rallies
05/05/2015, Socialistworld.net:
Photo gallery of the CWI taking part in May Day event across the world

Iceland: Fighting for better wages
05/05/2015, Per-Åke Westerlund, Rättvisepartiet Socialisterna (CWI Sweden):
General strike called for 26 May

US: Rage in Baltimore
29/04/2015, Eljeer Hawkins, Socialist Alternative, New York:
The aftermath of Freddie Gray’s death

Book review: ’No place to hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA and the US Surveillance state’
29/04/2015, Reviewed by Tony Saunois, CWI:
What the 1% will do to defend their class interests

Kazakhstan: Presidential ‘election’ - Nazarbayev’s overwhelming victory no surprise
28/04/2015, Elizabeth Clarke, CWI:
Workers need to build mass opposition

Ireland North: Health Minister forced to resign after making homophobic remarks
27/04/2015, Daniel Waldron, Socialist Party (CWI Ireland):
LGBT and women’s rights campaigners boosted

Italy: Migrant disasters - the human cost of budget cuts
27/04/2015, From web-site of ControCorrente (CWI in Italy):
From Mare Nostrum to Triton

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

CWI Comment and Analysis

ANALYSIS

Iraq/Syria: ISIS rout national armies at Ramadi and Palmyra
23/05/2015, Niall Mulholland, CWI:
United working class movement needed to sweep away sectarian militias and reactionary politicians

Ireland North: Election marks growing rejection of sectarian status quo
21/05/2015, Daniel Waldron and Kevin Henry, Socialist Party (CWI Ireland), Belfast:
Opportunities to build new anti-sectarian political voice for working class and youth

Spain: Is Podemos in crisis?
20/05/2015, Danny Byrne, CWI:
Left and social movements in a state of flux, as key elections loom

USA: Presidential candidate declares "political revolution" against billionaires
12/05/2015, Philip Locker, Socialist Alternative, Seattle:
Campaign needs to build independent political power

Britain: Fight against "five more damned years" of Tory rule
12/05/2015, Peter Taaffe, Socialist Party )CWI England & Wales) General Secretary:
Labour leader’s ’responsible capitalism’ shows its bankruptcy

China: “In a hard landing now”
11/05/2015, Dikang, chinaworker.info:
Stock market frenzy and fabricated GDP figures cannot hide the reality of an economy in deep trouble

Ireland North: Socialist Party replies to leading Sinn Fein councillor’s attacks
06/05/2015, Socialist Party (CWI Ireland) Statement:
How to fight cuts, sectarianism and to build workers’ unity

May Day 2015: Socialist plan or capitalist chaos
01/05/2015, Peter Taaffe, Socialist Party General Secretary, (CWI England & Wales):
What sort of new society are we struggling for?

Nepal: Disaster in Nepal –amplified by capitalism
30/04/2015, TU Senan, CWI:
Nepal, one of the poorest countries in the south Asian region has been further devastated by the recent earthquake.

May Day 2015: Resisting austerity, exploitation, wars and oppression
28/04/2015, CWI:
125 years since first May Day – Build a united workers’ movement for socialism!

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