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latest news

Catalonia
9 November “consultation” on independence

22/11/2014: Another show of strength for independence - fight for a Socialist Catalonia

  Spain

Greece
Workers’ victory at Diamant telesales company

21/11/2014: Xekinima (CWI) member wins key union position in Athens Municipality sector

  Greece

Israel-Palestine
Netanyahu threatens “heavy hand” response to synagogue attacks

19/11/2014: New rounds of repression answered by new wave of rage and protest

  Israel / Palestine

US
Mid-term elections do not mean a turn to the right in society

19/11/2014: Big Gains for Republicans while Voters Support Progressive Ballot Measures

  US

 Video
Socialist TD defends anti-water charges protests

18/11/2014: Ruth Coppinger, Socialist Party TD (MP) appears on ‘Prime Time’

  Ireland Republic, Video

Vital lessons of Hong Kong’s ‘Umbrella Revolution’

18/11/2014: Mass struggle needs genuine internal democracy and fighting working class programme to defeat dictatorship

  Hong Kong

 Video
Water tax revolt continues in Ireland

17/11/2014: Tanaiste (Deputy PM) trapped by protestors; AAA TD (MP) and Socialist Party member, Paul Murphy, assaulted

  Ireland Republic, Video

Indonesia
"New Hope" president faces intense pressures

16/11/2014: Initiative to build mass party of working class and rural poor urgently needed

  Indonesia

Ukraine
Competing ’elections’ deepen divisions

15/11/2014: Working people need socialist alternative to warring oligarchs and outside powers

  Ukraine

Scotland
SNP government announces £500 million cuts

14/11/2014: Majority of ‘Yes’ voters want end to austerity - anti-cuts candidates needed!

  Scotland

Afghanistan
British combat troops pull out

13/11/2014: A legacy of death and destruction

  Afghanistan, Britain, US

 Germany
Highly politicised train drivers’ strike

12/11/2014: Last week German train drivers and on-board staff went on strike for four days, shaking and polarising the country

  Germany, Solidarity

Greece
Mayors refuse to make job cuts

12/11/2014: Lefts, local authority workers and communities’ united can resist Troika’s policies

  Greece

Britain
Over 1,000 attend largest ever ‘Socialism’ event

11/11/2014: Socialism 2014 - infused with contagious confidence

  Britain

Belgium
Massive demonstration in Brussels

10/11/2014: Shows anger against austerity

  Belgium

Northern Ireland
20 years after the ceasefires

10/11/2014: 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’…

  Ireland Republic

Review
Environmental disaster and the need to change everything

09/11/2014: “This Changes Everything: capitalism vs the climate”, by Naomi Klein

  Environment, Review

Germany
25 years since November 9

09/11/2014: Berlin Wall brought down by mass revolutionary movement

  Germany

Canada
Right wing wins Toronto Mayoral election

08/11/2014: NDP increasingly irrelevant to needs of workers, immigrants and youth

  Canada

Elections in Brazil

07/11/2014: Narrow win for Dilma sets scene for more crisis and instability

  Brazil

Russia’s 1917 socialist revolution

07/11/2014: November 7th anniversary of workers taking power

  Russia

Europe
Anti-fascist demonstrations set for 8-9 November

06/11/2014: Movement of workers and youth needed against racism and fascism

  Europe, Greece, Sweden

Canada
Ottawa ‘locked-down’ after Parliament gun attack

05/11/2014: Tory government whips-up terrorist fears to boost Canada’s imperialist role

  Canada

Ireland
Stunning Dublin by-election victory, huge water protests…new chapter for working class resistance

04/11/2014: How the Anti Austerity Alliance won a parliamentary seat and the way forward for the Left

  Ireland Republic

Book review
The Jihadis Return

04/11/2014: Isis and the new Sunni uprising, by Patrick Cockburn

  Middle East, Review

South Africa
Metal workers’ union clashes with Congress of South African Trade Unions

03/11/2014: For political and class independence - Struggle, solidarity and socialism!

  South Africa

Britain
Come to Socialism 2014

03/11/2014: Weekend of discussion & debate hosted by the Socialist Party – London 8-9 November

  Britain

  Ireland
’Abortion Pill Train’ video

02/11/2014: Pro-choice ROSA campaigners swallow abortion pills after rail journey

  Ireland Republic, Video, Women

Italy
Renzi government faces mounting opposition

01/11/2014: A one-day strike of all workers is needed

  Italy

Burkina Faso
Mass uprising ousts dictator

31/10/2014: No to military rule! Continue mass struggle – the whole rotten system must go!

  Burkina Faso

Ireland
Anti-water tax protest in Limerick

31/10/2014: Video of one of the city’s biggest protests

  Ireland Republic

Kurdistan
Battle for Kobanê at a crossroads

31/10/2014: What does US military ‘assistance’ mean for the Kurdish struggle?

  Kurdistan, Middle East

Belgium
Government’s Thatcherite attacks provoke class confrontation

30/10/2014: The right wing coalition must go, and all austerity policies!

  Belgium

Spain

1.5 million march as workers gear up for general strike

www.socialistworld.net, 13/03/2012
website of the committee for a workers' international, CWI

Struggle from below for a sustained programme of mobilisations to fight labour ‘reforms’!

Danny Byrne, CWI

Less than 100 days since the formation of the PP (People’s Party) government, which was to bring “stability” to crisis-ridden Spain, we see the country convulsed in an intense period of protests and mobilisations. On Sunday 11 March, up to 1.5 million marched in 60 cities, with unions claiming attendances of 500,000 in Madrid and 450,000 in Barcelona. In smaller towns and cities, tens of thousands took the streets. In the region of Andalucia alone, over 220,000 are said to have turned out. These marches followed a massive day of protest on 19 February which was similar numbers take to the streets, and the spontaneous explosion of solidarity with the Valencian spring, which saw tens of thousands protest around the country. And far from representing the culmination of the process, these mobilisations represent only the build up to a general strike on 29 March.

The focal point in this upturn in struggle is the recently announced labour reform, which represents an historic attack on the gains of the Spanish working class, without precedents in the three decades since the fall of the Franco regime. This reform, which massively cheapens and facilitates sackings and seriously erodes the collective bargaining rights of workers, is predicted to usher in 630,000 job losses in 2012. At a time when over 5 million people are unemployed already, this has provoked massive disgust and outrage. It has crystallised the anger at the austerity offensive, which has become more brutal and accelerated since the PP’s victory. And this response comes even before the announcement of the bulk of their anti-worker measures which will come in the budget at the end of March.

Anti-union campaign reflects bosses’ fear of general strike

Since the announcement of the strike, a concerted anti-union campaign has been launched, spearheaded by PP leaders and their cronies in the pro-capitalist press. The general strike has been labelled a “strike against Spain” with an appeal to “patriotism” (i.e. the acceptance of decades of misery and mass unemployment to pay for the debts and “solve” the crisis of the international and Spanish market system). Duran Lleida, leader of the governing Catalan CiU party (which backed up the PP in voting through the labour reform bill in parliament) even called for the strengthening of anti-union legislation to further impede the right to strike. This has been supplemented with a media and government offensive to undermine the impact of the general strike, and the mobilising power of the trade union movement. These demonstrations are a fitting initial answer to this campaign, as will be the general strike which is sure to be of massive proportions. In reality, this campaign reflects weakness more than strength, and a fear of the entry of the organised working class into battle. In the context of such a rabid anti-union campaign, a correct approach on behalf of the anti-capitalist left and social movements, to clearly distinguish the necessary opposition to the right-wing leadership from opposition to the trade union movement generally, is of special importance.

General strike is a first victory in the struggle from below for combative trade unionism

The leaders of the main Spanish trade unions, the CCOO and the UGT, far from responding to the announcement of these attacks with a determined resolve to lead the working class into a battle to win, were pushed from below into calling the general strike. Even when the Prime Minister, Mariano Rajoy, told his counterparts at an EU summit that the labour reform would “cost him a general strike”, weeks passed before the union leaders were prepared to even contemplate it! It was the pressure from below, especially that exercised by the massive demonstrations on 19 February, after which even the capitalist press was forced to comment on the extent to which there was a clamour from below for a general strike. This was then reinforced by the students’ revolt and the determined demand for serious action being transmitted from below through the unions’ structures. It was just a few days after ruling out any general strike action until after May, that the top bureaucrats found themselves without any other option but to announce a strike for 29 March.

The experience of the general strike in September 2010, in which over 10 million workers downed tools, only to have the union leaders signing a sell-out pact agreeing to the increase of the retirement age, among other things, has also had an impact on the consciousness of broad sections of workers and trade unionists. The next step must consist in further developing the struggle from below, to ensure that ‘29-M’ is the beginning of a serious struggle, and is not simply a symbolic strike but part of a strategy to win.

Members of Socialismo Revolucionario (CWI in Spain) participated in Sunday’s mass demonstrations, emphasising the need for a sustained programme of action, democratically discussed and decided upon by workplace and community assemblies and strike committees and open to members of all unions (and none). The naming of a date for a 48 hour strike to follow 29-M, with the threat of further strikes of even longer duration if necessary, could be the basis to begin a movement capable of facing down the government’s cuts and counter-reforms. The left organisations, social movements and trade union rank and file could organise from below to fight for such a programme linked to a political alternative to the austerity consensus. This could point the way forward to the only viable road out of the current quagmire – the socialist transformation of society through public democratic ownership and control of the economy, on a national and international scale.

For a sustained campaign of strikes and mobilisations to impose an alternative to the labour “reform” and the cuts!

No more ’symbolic’ mobilisations! Name the date for the next general strike, this time of 48 hours!

[The following is a translation of statement by Socialismo Revolucionario (CWI in Spain) following the announcement of the general strike on 29 March]

The government’s labour reform is the biggest attack on the conquests of the working class in terms of workers’ rights since the Franco era. It cheapens sackings at a time when over 5 million are unemployed and over half of young people are out of work. It further facilitates collective sackings, and for those still in work worsens the nightmare of precarious jobs.

But this reform only represents the beginning. It is part of an agenda of misery, of the destruction of the welfare state, which the capitalists are very conscious of, both in Spain and internationally. Rajoy (Prime Minister), Rubalcaba (PSOE leader), Merkel and Sarkozy, along with the capitalist media say that this is the only way possible, that the debt must be paid and the markets must be pacified. They have built a consensus around these policies and this approach.

But we know that it is lies. The austerity of Zapatero and now of Rajoy has not in any way succeeded in improving the situation. The debt continues to climb and the markets continue to demand more ’sacrifices’. Like the Aztecs, they demand more and more blood from society, to please their “gods” - the markets, bosses and big business. It is becoming clearer and clearer to more and more working people that there is no alternative but to struggle for a different path.

General strike as the first step to kick off a sustained struggle

The general strike on 29-M will be an important first step. It will show the power of the working class through the paralysis of the economy, and the massive demonstrations. This strike has only been possible due to the pressure from the mass of workers, especially in the base of the major trade unions, CC.OO and UGT, which forced their ’leaders’ into action. These leaders tried all they could to put off a strike, and only a week or so ago, ruled out a general strike until after May, unsurprisingly attempting to walk the line of least resistance and keep ’social peace’ intact.

This general strike is thus a first victory for the workers and fighting trade unionists, a result of their struggles, and of the energy and shining example of the youth and students in the Valencian Spring. But, unfortunately, this first victory will not be enough. We must continue to organise from below, to make sure that that the union leaders do not follow the strike with a sell-out pact, as was the case following the general strike of 29 September 2010.

This strike must be built for by workers, the unemployed and young people, with the formation of assemblies in the workplaces and communities and in schools and universities. Strike committees, open to members of all unions and non-unionised workers, should be established to debate the strategy for the struggle and the way forward after 29M. What we know for sure is that to be able to halt the offensive of the government and the system, one strike will not be enough. We have seen the heroic resistance of the Greek working class, with 18 individual general strikes. Without a sustained plan of struggle, with an escalating series of strikes, we will be incapable of stopping the government from passing its anti-worker measures. It is necessary to name the date for a general strike of 48 hours to follow 29M, with the threat of more strikes, of an even longer duration should they be necessary, to smash this reform. Linked to this is the need to transform the trade union movement into a democratic fighting instrument of struggle.

The international crisis of capitalism also poses the need for coordinated international struggle. The need for a general strike is posed in a whole number of countries, with one taking place in Portugal on 22 March. But, unfortunately, there is no strategy or plan to link these mobilisations together. The next general strikes in the Iberian Peninsula, and beyond in the ’peripheral’ countries of Europe, should be coordinated and simultaneous.

We must also arm ourselves with political alternatives, which DO exist. In this respect, the left now has an historic responsibility, to demand and popularise genuine alternative policies to the crisis and austerity. These include a rejection of the payment of the debt, which is not ours but that of bankers and speculators, and the nationalisation of the banks and strategic sectors of the economy under democratic workers’ control. This would allow for the implementation of an offensive policy of massive public investment in jobs, production and public services. Based on such policies we could fight for a genuinely democratic system which gives participation to the mass of working people, as an alternative to the dictatorship of the markets and capital. Only on this basis can the movements of workers and youth advance towards the transformation of society and the economy to resolve the fundamental problems facing the majority of people.



Europe

 video

Video: Joe Higgins denounces Irish government’s water charge trickery, 20/11/2014

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Che Guevara: Símbolo de Lucha

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A socialist world is possible, the history of the cwi with new introduction by Peter Planning green growth, a contribution to the debate on enviromental sustainability

NEWS

Catalonia: 9 November “consultation” on independence
22/11/2014, Rob MacDonald Socialismo Revolucionario (CWI in Spain) Barcelona:
Another show of strength for independence - fight for a Socialist Catalonia

Greece: Workers’ victory at Diamant telesales company
21/11/2014, Xekinima Reporters:
Xekinima (CWI) member wins key union position in Athens Municipality sector

Video: Joe Higgins denounces Irish government’s water charge trickery
20/11/2014, socialistworld.net:
Mass boycott will defeat water charges

US: Mid-term elections do not mean a turn to the right in society
19/11/2014, Tom Crean, Socialist Alternative:
Big Gains for Republicans while Voters Support Progressive Ballot Measures

Video: Socialist TD defends anti-water charges protests
18/11/2014, socialistworld.net:
Ruth Coppinger, Socialist Party TD (MP) appears on ‘Prime Time’

Venezuela: Scarcity and speculation - whose fault is it?
18/11/2014, Gabriela Sánchez. Socialismo Revolucionario (CWI in Venezuela):
Who is sabotaging who?

Vital lessons of Hong Kong’s ‘Umbrella Revolution’
18/11/2014, chinaworker.info:
Mass struggle needs genuine internal democracy and fighting working class programme to defeat dictatorship

Video: Water tax revolt continues in Ireland
17/11/2014, socialistworld.net:
Tanaiste (Deputy PM) trapped by protestors; AAA TD (MP) and Socialist Party member, Paul Murphy, assaulted

Indonesia: "New Hope" president faces intense pressures
16/11/2014, Iyan, CWI Malaysia:
Initiative to build mass party of working class and rural poor urgently needed

Scotland: SNP government announces £500 million cuts
14/11/2014, Philip Stott, Socialist Party Scotland (CWI):
Majority of ‘Yes’ voters want end to austerity - anti-cuts candidates needed!

Afghanistan: British combat troops pull out
13/11/2014, Niall Mulholland, from The Socialist (weekly paper of the Socialist Party – CWI England & Wales):
A legacy of death and destruction

Germany: Highly politicised train drivers’ strike
12/11/2014, Sascha Stanicic, Socialist Alternative (CWI in Germany):
Last week German train drivers and on-board staff went on strike for four days, shaking and polarising the country

Greece: Mayors refuse to make job cuts
12/11/2014, Eleni Mitsou, Xekinima (CWI Greece):
Lefts, local authority workers and communities’ united can resist Troika’s policies

Britain: Over 1,000 attend largest ever ‘Socialism’ event
11/11/2014, Sarah Sachs Eldridge, Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales):
Socialism 2014 - infused with contagious confidence

Belgium: Massive demonstration in Brussels
10/11/2014, Geert Cool, LSP/PSL (CWI in Belgium):
Shows anger against austerity

Review: Environmental disaster and the need to change everything
09/11/2014, Bill Hopwood, from the November 2014 edition of Socialism Today:
“This Changes Everything: capitalism vs the climate”, by Naomi Klein

Canada: Right wing wins Toronto Mayoral election
08/11/2014, Socialist Alternative Toronto:
NDP increasingly irrelevant to needs of workers, immigrants and youth

Europe: Anti-fascist demonstrations set for 8-9 November
06/11/2014, Anti-fascist organiser, Stockholm:
Movement of workers and youth needed against racism and fascism

Canada: Ottawa ‘locked-down’ after Parliament gun attack
05/11/2014, Socialist Alternative Reporters, Canada:
Tory government whips-up terrorist fears to boost Canada’s imperialist role

Book review: The Jihadis Return
04/11/2014, Reviewed by Paul Gerrard, Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales):
Isis and the new Sunni uprising, by Patrick Cockburn

South Africa: Metal workers’ union clashes with Congress of South African Trade Unions
03/11/2014, Moses Mayekiso, WASP President and Numsa founding general secretary (elected while on trail for treason in 1987):
For political and class independence - Struggle, solidarity and socialism!

Britain: Come to Socialism 2014
03/11/2014, Sarah Sachs-Eldridge, Socialism 2014 organising team:
Weekend of discussion & debate hosted by the Socialist Party – London 8-9 November

Ireland: ’Abortion Pill Train’ video
02/11/2014, Socialistworld.net:
Pro-choice ROSA campaigners swallow abortion pills after rail journey

Italy: Renzi government faces mounting opposition
01/11/2014, Giuliano Brunetti, ControCorrente (CWI Italy):
A one-day strike of all workers is needed

Burkina Faso: Mass uprising ousts dictator
31/10/2014, CWI Reporters, Ivory Coast:
No to military rule! Continue mass struggle – the whole rotten system must go!

Ireland: Anti-water tax protest in Limerick
31/10/2014, Socialistworld.net:
Video of one of the city’s biggest protests

CWI Comment and Analysis

ANALYSIS

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.

Britain: Anniversary of first issue of Militant newspaper
24/10/2014, Peter Taaffe, Socialist Party general secretary, from this week’s Socialist (paper of the Socialist Party – CWI England & Wales):
50 years of socialist ideas and workers’ struggle

Spain: Death knells of "Transition" regime
23/10/2014, Danny Byrne, CWI:
Catalonia; ’Podemos’, and the left

Kazakhstan: Brutal repression in imperialism’s interests
20/10/2014, Mike Whale, Secretary of Campaign Kazakhstan (first published in October 2014 issue of Socialism Today):
Workers pay the price for crony capitalism

Is the US promoting a “colour revolution” in Hong Kong?
18/10/2014, Dikang, Socialist Action (CWI in Hong Kong):
Beijing’s scare propaganda doesn’t stand up to examination

Britain: Workers need a pay rise - how can we pay for it?
17/10/2014, Peter Taaffe, general secretary of the Socialist Party (CWI in England and Wales):
End poverty, inequality and capitalism

Ireland: Byelection triumph marks turning point in anti-austerity struggle
14/10/2014, Eddie McCabe, Socialist Party (CWI in Ireland):
Paul Murphy wins parliamentary seat as 100,000 march against water charges

Middle East: US-led policy of air attacks on Islamic State lies in ruins
13/10/2014, Tony Saunois, CWI:
As battle for Kobane rages, IS forces make major gains in Iraq

Ireland: Paul Murphy elected to Irish parliament in stunning byelection victory
12/10/2014, socialistworld.net:
Anti-Austerity Alliance victory shocks political establishment, reflects mass revolt against water charges and austerity

South Africa: "A workers’ party must emerge"
11/10/2014, John Malanga, Democratic Socialist Movement (CWI South Africa):
Dire position of South African capitalism and inequality adds momentum towards creation of workers’ party

Israel/Palestine: After the Gaza war
07/10/2014, Shahar Benhorin, Socialist Struggle Movement (CWI Israel-Palestine):
No justice for Palestinians and no peace for the region - For a socialist solution!

Hong Kong: Pro-regime thugs attack protesters
06/10/2014, Dikang, Socialist Action (CWI Hong Kong):
Organise democratic defence committees to repel attacks and kick out CY Leung’s government!

Kurdistan: The battle for Kobanê
02/10/2014, Serge Jordan, CWI:
Regional war poses new challenges for struggle for Kurdish self-determination

Iraq /Syria: US-led bombings will worsen divisions
01/10/2014, Judy Beishon, from the Socialist (weekly newspaper of the Socialist Party – CWI England & Wales):
Stop imperialist slaughter!

Hong Kong: Massive anti-government protests after attempted police crackdown
30/09/2014, Vincent Kolo, chinaworker.info:
Anger over police violence fuels spontaneous “umbrella revolution” and growing strike movement

Scotland: Independence referendum - A working-class revolt
24/09/2014, Peter Taaffe, General Secretary, Socialist Party (CWI England & Wales):
The referendum has turned British politics upside down – even though the No vote won

Greece: "This destruction of workers’ lives serves the bankers"
23/09/2014, Speech by Apostolis Kasimeriss, an Athens bus driver, to Italian socialists:
“We must all keep going…we have no other way to survive than to fight-back”