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CWI
History of the Committee for a Workers’ International

21/04/2014: 40th anniversary of the founding of the CWI

  History

Sri Lanka
Provincial elections spike president’s plans

20/04/2014: Repression can provoke opposition

  Sri Lanka

China
Labour disputes soar

17/04/2014: 40,000 workers paralyse world’s largest sports shoe maker

  China

Greece
International anti-fascist conference “No pasaran!”

16/04/2014: Four thousand attend three-day event in Athens

  Greece

South Africa
Enthusiastic response for WASP ahead of May elections

15/04/2014: WASP campaigning material available on pdf

  South Africa

India
Massive election process could end in turmoil

14/04/2014: New party expresses, but cannot solve, major discontents

  India

Cyprus
Austerity sees living standards fall back 40 years

11/04/2014: One year of the right wing Anastasiades government

  Cyprus

 Iranian nuclear talks
Hypocrisy abounds

10/04/2014: Paul Murphy MEP

  Video

Britain
Dave Nellist on BBC outlining TUSC’s socialist policies

10/04/2014: Trade union and socialist coalition (TUSC) candidate count reaches 476 for May local election

  Britain

Taiwan
Occupation of parliament ends after 23 days

10/04/2014: What are the lessons of the island’s ‘sunflower movement’?

  Taiwan

Hungary
Election highlights lack of Left challenge

09/04/2014: Declining vote for ruling Fidész party; neo-fascist Jobbik picks up 20% as false ‘alternative’

  Hungary

Environment
Ukraine crisis exploited by multinational fracking lobby

09/04/2014: Oppose the pro-big business EU/ US Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership!

  Environment, Ukraine

Belgium
50,000 join ETUC Brussels demonstration

08/04/2014: Protesters’ radical mood

  Belgium

Britain
One in ten council seats will have TUSC candidate

07/04/2014: No-cuts election challenge grows

  Britain

Review
Net political impact

06/04/2014: To Save Everything, Click Here • By Evgeny Morozov •

  Review

Belgium
The rise of the PTB/PvdA

05/04/2014: Recent polls confirm a probable electoral breakthrough for the Workers’ Party of Belgium (PTB/PvdA).

  Belgium

Ivory Coast
First victory for students at University of Cocody

04/04/2014: An important step to push the struggle against neo-liberal policies further

  Ivory Coast

Canada
Port of Vancouver truckers’ strike wins significant gains

03/04/2014: After bosses’ seen off - unions must defend their right to strike!

  Canada

France
Government punished in local elections

02/04/2014: Far right gains highlight need for strong fighting left opposition

  France

Nepal
Turning back the wheel of history

01/04/2014: Second constituent assembly election – a shift to the right

  Nepal

South Africa
WASP manifesto launch success!

01/04/2014: On Saturday 29 March the Workers and Socialist Party launched its 2014 election manifesto at a rally in Katlehong, Gauteng

  Africa, South Africa

Taiwan
Half a million on the streets against President Ma

31/03/2014: Demonstrators call for trade pact to be withdrawn and for president to step down

  Taiwan

US
Winning $15 an hour in Seattle

31/03/2014: A socialist strategy

  US

Netherlands
Socialist Party local election gains

31/03/2014: Vote for SP can be the basis for a mass struggle against cuts

  Netherlands

 Video
Hypocrisy of Irish Govt & EU on Ukraine

29/03/2014: Joe Higgins, Socialist Party (CWI MP) speaks in Irish parliament

  Ukraine, Video

 Sweden
New political winds affect CWI Congress

28/03/2014: Optimistic Rättvisepartiet Socialisterna prepares for elections

  CWI, Sweden

No to the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership!

28/03/2014: Anti-democratic agreement seeks to increase corporate domination of politics

Portugal
Thousands of police and military march in Lisbon

27/03/2014: Reflection of the government’s intrinsic weakness

  Portugal

Spain
A million march for dignity in Madrid

26/03/2014: 22M: A before and after moment for the class struggle

  Spain

Taiwan
Ma government rocked by mass protests and occupation of parliament

26/03/2014: Down with undemocratic Kuomintang rule – for a Taiwan-wide student strike as the next step!

  Taiwan

Bosnia-Herzegovina
Mass protests - The first flowers of spring

26/03/2014: What programme should the Left advocate?

  Bosnia

Turkey

Brutal reality behind the West’s much-praised AKP government model

www.socialistworld.net, 30/03/2012
website of the committee for a workers' international, CWI

Turkey’s governing ’Justice and Development Party’ (AKP) is presented as a model of “successful democracy” by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. In fact, it is a brutal model of repression against Kurdish and left activists and is presented as way of dealing with the democratic aspirations of the Arab and North African spring.

Kai Stein, CWI

On Sunday, 18 March, police brutally attacked Kurdish rallies, arrested 100 people. In Istanbul, a district official from the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP), the main Kurdish party in Turkey, was killed after he was struck on the head by a police tear gas canister.

Kurds all over Turkey were celebrating Newroz, their New Year festival. Traditionally, it is much more than a celebration: it is a mass gathering, like a demonstration, with many dancing and marching for Kurdish rights. As part of the increased repression against Kurdish people over the last year, police tried to suppress celebrations on Sunday. However, 40,000 rallied in Diyarbakir. Tens of thousands came together in different cities.

This shows that protests are continuing despite increasing state pressure. Following accusations against people of belonging or supporting the Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK), an alleged political offshoot of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), the number of people arrested has risen dramatically in recent years from 16,000 in 2005 to more than 60,000 in 2010. In 2005, 17 children were jailed but 1,023 children were imprisoned in 2010, most of them accused of throwing stones against police and taking part in illegal demonstrations. In March 2012, Raci Bilici, the acting chairman of the south-eastern chapter of Turkey’s Human Rights Association reported: “The number of detentions doubled last year, and torture and sexual harassment of prisoners is on the rise.” [Economist, 24 March.]

“Turkey has the highest number of arrested journalists in the world... The Justice and Development Party (AKP) is abusing the anti-terror law,” a report of Reporters Without Borders’ (RSF) stated in January 2012. It continues: “Under the pretext of combating terrorism, dozens were jailed before being tried, above all in the investigations into the Ergenekon conspiracy and the KCK”.

The Ergenekon allegation was first used against the Kemalist forces, the traditionally secularist wing of the capitalist elite, within the state and military, who tried to defend their positions. Later on, it turned into widespread allegations of coup plots used also against left-wing journalists and many others. Those accused are held in prison without trial, in some cases for many years.

The policy of the AKP, in the direction of a slow but constant Islamisation of society, is a growing problem for women. When the AKP government was first elected in 2002, the immediate fears of attacks on women did not fully materialise. However, there is an ongoing deterioration of the situation. Domestic violence is rising and the number of ‘honour killings’ is increasing. “Though it is ranked the 16th largest economy in the world... Turkey ranks 122 out of 135 countries when it comes to male-female disparity,” the Turkish paper Hürriyet reported.

Despite all that, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton praised “Turkey’s successful democracy” as a source of “very strong support” for the countries of the region and a “real example” for them (Financial Times, 26 February 2012). On behalf of US imperialism, Clinton has no problems with thousands of BDP activists, including eight elected members of the national parliament and mayors, being imprisoned.

Change of course by Erdoğan’s AKP government

Up to the Turkish elections in June 2011, the AKP presented itself as moderate and democratic. Even Kurdish rights improved in some ways. For example, the Kurdish language was allowed to be heard on some radio programmes (although only speaking censored words).

Kurdish people hoped that Prime Minster Recep Erdoğan would announce a further ‘Kurdish Opening’. But even before the 2011 elections, the AKP government were preparing a new escalation of the war against the PKK with the creation of special forces. This escalation became much more widespread than expected by any commentator. After the elections, Erdoğan’s government escalated the war against the PKK and the repression against Kurdish people. (See article: “Turkey / Kurdistan: Erdoğan escalates attacks on PKK”)

The relative quiet of industrial disputes aided Erdoğan. The workers’ movement did not continue its significant steps forward in 2009 and 2010, when the Tekel workers fought privatisation and hundreds of thousands of workers flooded Taksim Square and many other places on 1 May, for the first time in many years. Smaller battles followed, but the relative stability of the Turkish economy helped to avoid bigger conflicts with workers.

The economy is still based on the huge influx of foreign investment linked to a deficit in the trade balance. Given the instabilities and prospects of international, especially European, economic turmoil, Turkey’s economy is highly vulnerable. A ten per cent current-account gap is a huge burden on the prospects for growth and the gap expanded faster than expected in March with rising oil prices. The backing Erdoğan received because of these economic developments does not have a solid base.

However, strengthened by the elections in June 2011 and empowered by the new role of Turkey in the region, Erdoğan felt strong enough to throw a final blow at the Kemalist elites. This went hand in hand with the use of more police state measures against Kurdish and Left activists and the escalation of the military war against the PKK.

Those forces on the Left who made big gains in and around the election times were targeted. The BDP, the main Kurdish party with big influence of the PKK, formed a ‘Work, Democracy and Freedom Bloc’ for the 2011 elections, giving three socialists the chance to enter parliament. Erdoğan hopes to counter the strengthening of the Kurdish and Left forces with police brutality.

“Zero problems” with dictators, a lot of problems with the Arab and North African Spring

The changes in the region are seen by many commentators as a political and economic chance for Turkey. However, first of all, this was a setback.

Since the AKP came to power, it has followed the objective of reducing conflicts with its neighbours, in an attempt to increase trade. This worked well with Syria, for example. It helped to position Turkey between Europe and the Middle East, including the Arab world. This increased the chances of Turkey playing more of a role as a regional power, competing with Egypt, Iran and others.

The AKP announced, once in power, its “zero problem with the neighbours” strategy. In practice, this meant there was no problem dealing with all the dictators and authoritarian regimes in the region and no problem dealing with Israel.

This strategy failed when confronted with the revolutionary movements in North Africa and the Middle East.

The Turkish regime tried to stick to its good relations with Qaddafi in Libya. It was the last NATO member to support the rebels. Turkish capitalists found themselves in an uncomfortable situation after the war.

Trying to learn some lessons from that, the Turkish regime followed the opposite route with Syria: it criticised Assad, demanding ‘democratic reforms’ and imposing sanctions. But this just openly marked the end of the “zero problems” policies, a collapse of trade with Syria and – instead of growing economic inter-relations – the destabilisation of the region flowing from the conflict within Syria.

The new regimes in Egypt and Tunisia were welcomed by Erdoğan and he visited these countries. However, the economy in Egypt is in a poor state and the aspirations of the Egyptian regime, as a regional power, are increasing. The whole regional policy of Turkey has to be re-developed.

A possible breakup of Iraq, with Kurdish people getting more autonomy or even their own ‘state’, a fragmentation of Syria and increased Kurdish resistance in Iran against the regime could all encourage the Kurdish people in Turkey to continue their fight against oppression.

Under the pressure of the Turkish people’s sympathy with the oppressed Palestinians, the Ankara regime tried to use anti-Israeli moods, while, at the same time, expanding its military co-operation and trade with Israel. These links are now stretched however and the tensions between the former allies are sharper than at any time in the last period.

Why is this regime called a ‘model’?

After decades of big conflicts between the Turkish state and the workers’ movement, with military coups at least every ten years, an ongoing war with Kurdish people, an economic meltdown in 2000-01 and the destruction of most the main Turkish political parties, Turkey arose in the last decade like a phoenix from ashes. Stable conditions for foreign investment, growth rates at the same scale as China and a low level of strikes in the first years of AKP rule meant that Turkey unexpectedly became a something of a paradise for international capitalists.

The AKP was formed from splits amongst the previously outlawed Islamist forces. Its support is rooted in religious sentiments. Its basis traditionally came from the middle classes in the more backward, rural areas of eastern Turkey. Not challenged by any serious mass party of the working class, it was able to present itself as the alternative to all the rotten, corrupt parties of the elites.

After Turkey’s devastating economic crisis in 2000-01, space opened for some recovery, given the background of the international upswing until 2007. International capital, in search of profitable investments, located the ruined Turkish markets and seized the opportunity. An unprecedented boom followed in Turkey and gave Erdoğan some credibility. As the banking sector in Turkey had already collapsed eight years earlier, the crisis of 2007-08 did not hit the country particularly hard.

International capitalist commentators concluded that a moderate Islamist party, like the AKP, might be a stable force to organise a framework for international investment. It might use religion in the region to build support for neo-liberal policies which otherwise would meet harsh resistance.

This confuses cause with effect: the relatively stable economic conditions allowed the AKP to play this role over ten years. The increasing brutality of its regime shows the sharp limitations of Erdoğan’s rule. The oppression used against Kurdish people, the Left and some parts of the former elite, only stores up future explosions. Whether this will take the form of further nationalist or religious tensions, or if the workers’ movement is able to channel mass disaffection to positively alter the course of developments, depends on whether the workers’ movement is re-built. This requires building a new mass party of working people, armed with a bold socialist programme to change society fundamentally.

In this process, a strong Marxist force is needed, bringing together activists from workplaces, trade unions and social movements, as well as Kurdish rights activists. Today, many on the left are attracted to the idea of an election block around the BDP and some smaller left forces that calls for “work, democracy and freedom”. But they will find that the leaderships of these parties will offer much less than they need. Any new umbrella party formed around this block – which is being discussed at the moment – needs a programme that calls for the reversal of the huge privatisations of the AKP government, the nationalisation the big banks and corporations, under workers’ control and management, the rebuilding and planning of the economy, to met the needs of people and not the short term interests of profit-greedy international capital. It needs to link the struggle for democratic rights – workers’ rights, an end to all forms of discrimination and the oppression of Kurdish and Armenian people and women – to the fight against capitalism and imperialism.

The Kemalist forces and their political party, the CHP, are not offering any fundamental alternative. The trap of supporting one “progressive” wing of the capitalists against other wings, dropping socialist demands in order not to ‘repel’ these forces, has wrecked the Left in Turkey all too often. A working class independent class policy is the only way to show a path out of capitalist exploitation and oppression.

Copycat effects

In Egypt’s 2011 elections, the biggest and most moderate part of the Muslim Brotherhood called itself the ‘Freedom and Justice Party’, with a nod to the AKP. In Morocco, a party, directly named after the AKP, ‘Justice and Development Party’, won elections in November 2011. In Tunisia, the now governing Ennahda party says its model is the Turkish AKP. In Libya, the newly formed National Gathering for Freedom, Justice and Development, is expected to win broader support.

All these forces are trying to exploit the support of Turkey’s AKP. They combine milder versions of Islamist beliefs, for example rejecting the implementation of Sharia law, with neo-liberal measures and economic policies.

Looking back at the model in Turkey itself, these attempts, and the advice of people like Clinton to follow the AKP example, are not only cynical and against the interests of workers and the poor fighting for democracy and better living conditions, they also represent the empty hope of the imperialist powers that this model can guarantee stability and profits. The economic crisis is looming over Europe, the Middle East and Northern Africa. The fuel to push the revolutionary processes further is still there. Turkey is more likely to move in the direction of Egypt or Tunisia than the other way round.



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NEWS

Sri Lanka: Provincial elections spike president’s plans
20/04/2014, Siritunga Jayasuriya, Secretary of United Socialist Party (CWI Sri Lanka):
Repression can provoke opposition

China: Labour disputes soar
17/04/2014, chinaworker.info reporters:
40,000 workers paralyse world’s largest sports shoe maker

Nigeria: Bomb explosions in Abuja - more evidence of the failure of capitalist government
16/04/2014, Segun Sango, Socialist Party Nigeria National Chairperson:
For democratic self-defence committees

Greece: International anti-fascist conference “No pasaran!”
16/04/2014, Sebastian Forster (CWI Germany) and Elin Gauffin (CWI Sweden):
Four thousand attend three-day event in Athens

South Africa: Enthusiastic response for WASP ahead of May elections
15/04/2014, Socialistworld.net:
WASP campaigning material available on pdf

India: Massive election process could end in turmoil
14/04/2014, Clare Doyle (CWI international Secretariat):
New party expresses, but cannot solve, major discontents

Cyprus: Austerity sees living standards fall back 40 years
11/04/2014, Athina Kariati, New Internationalist Left (CWI in Cyprus):
One year of the right wing Anastasiades government

Iranian nuclear talks: Hypocrisy abounds
10/04/2014, :
Paul Murphy MEP

Britain: Dave Nellist on BBC outlining TUSC’s socialist policies
10/04/2014, :
Trade union and socialist coalition (TUSC) candidate count reaches 476 for May local election

Hungary: Election highlights lack of Left challenge
09/04/2014, Sonja Grusch and Tilman M. Ruster:
Declining vote for ruling Fidész party; neo-fascist Jobbik picks up 20% as false ‘alternative’

Environment: Ukraine crisis exploited by multinational fracking lobby
09/04/2014, Paul Murphy, Socialist Party MEP, and Tanja Niemeier:
Oppose the pro-big business EU/ US Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership!

Belgium: 50,000 join ETUC Brussels demonstration
08/04/2014, Eric Byl, General Secretary, Linkse Socialistiche Partij / Parti Socialiste de Lutte (PSL/LSP):
Protesters’ radical mood

Review: Net political impact
06/04/2014, Ben Robinson, Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales) published in Socialism Today:
To Save Everything, Click Here • By Evgeny Morozov •

Ivory Coast: First victory for students at University of Cocody
04/04/2014, CWI in Ivory Coast:
An important step to push the struggle against neo-liberal policies further

Canada: Port of Vancouver truckers’ strike wins significant gains
03/04/2014, Socialist Alternative Reporter, Vancouver:
After bosses’ seen off - unions must defend their right to strike!

France: Government punished in local elections
02/04/2014, Gauche Revolutionnaire (CWI in France) reporters:
Far right gains highlight need for strong fighting left opposition

South Africa: WASP manifesto launch success!
01/04/2014, Workers’ and Socialist Party (WASP):
On Saturday 29 March the Workers and Socialist Party launched its 2014 election manifesto at a rally in Katlehong, Gauteng

Taiwan: Half a million on the streets against President Ma
31/03/2014, CWI reporters in Taipei:
Demonstrators call for trade pact to be withdrawn and for president to step down

Netherlands: Socialist Party local election gains
31/03/2014, Pieter Brans, Amsterdam:
Vote for SP can be the basis for a mass struggle against cuts

Video: Hypocrisy of Irish Govt & EU on Ukraine
29/03/2014, socialistworld.net:
Joe Higgins, Socialist Party (CWI MP) speaks in Irish parliament

Sweden: New political winds affect CWI Congress
28/03/2014, Rättvisepartiet Socialisterna Reporters:
Optimistic Rättvisepartiet Socialisterna prepares for elections

No to the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership!
28/03/2014, Vladimir Bortun, Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales):
Anti-democratic agreement seeks to increase corporate domination of politics

CWI Comment and Analysis

ANALYSIS

CWI: History of the Committee for a Workers’ International
21/04/2014, Socialistworld.net:
40th anniversary of the founding of the CWI

Taiwan: Occupation of parliament ends after 23 days
10/04/2014, Interview with Sally Tang Mei-ching, CWI participant in Taipei protests:
What are the lessons of the island’s ‘sunflower movement’?

Belgium: The rise of the PTB/PvdA
05/04/2014, Eric Byl, LSP/PSL (CWI in Belgium):
Recent polls confirm a probable electoral breakthrough for the Workers’ Party of Belgium (PTB/PvdA).

Nepal: Turning back the wheel of history
01/04/2014, Senan, CWI:
Second constituent assembly election – a shift to the right

US: Winning $15 an hour in Seattle
31/03/2014, Patrick Ayers, Socialist Alternative, USA:
A socialist strategy

Spain: A million march for dignity in Madrid
26/03/2014, Angel Morano, Socialismo Revolucionario (CWI in Spain):
22M: A before and after moment for the class struggle

Taiwan: Ma government rocked by mass protests and occupation of parliament
26/03/2014, Sally Tang Mei-ching in Taipei and Vincent Kolo:
Down with undemocratic Kuomintang rule – for a Taiwan-wide student strike as the next step!

Bosnia-Herzegovina: Mass protests - The first flowers of spring
26/03/2014, Sonja Grusch, Socialist Left Party (CWI in Austria):
What programme should the Left advocate?

Britain: After Bob Crow and Tony Benn
24/03/2014, Peter Taaffe, from Socialism Today (No.177, April 2014), monthly magazine of the Socialist Party (CWI England & Wales):
Mourn the loss, fight for the future

Scotland: Unions and the socialist case for independence
23/03/2014, John McInally, national vice-president of the Public and Commercial Services union (personal capacity):
Aruging a independent, working class position

Ukraine: Crimea breaks away to join Russia
18/03/2014, Niall Mulholland, CWI:
Tensions between powers worsen

Australia: Socialist Party playing key role in fight against East-West tunnel
13/03/2014, Mel Gregson and Stephen Jolly, Socialist Party (CWI in Australia), Melbourne:
Campaign brings public transport to forefront of political debate

Bosnia Herzegovina: Mass protests of working people and youth show the way forward
13/03/2014, CWI Leaflet text:
Working people stir to end poverty, joblessness, corruption and ethnic divisions!

Socialist perspectives for Aotearoa / New Zealand
09/03/2014, CWI Aotearoa / New Zealand:
The world and New Zealand in crisis

International Women’s Day 2014
07/03/2014, Clare Doyle (Committee for a Workers’ International):
Fighting austerity and oppression world-wide

Venezuela: A year after Chavez’s death
06/03/2014, By Gabriela Sanchez (CWI Venezuela).:
Commemorations in context of new crisis

Ukraine: Russian troops take up positions throughout Crimea
04/03/2014, CWI Reporters:
Tensions deepen between Western powers and Moscow

Greece: Still in the eye of the storm
26/02/2014, Interview with Andros Payiatsos, Xekinima (CWI in Greece) published in Socialism Today:
From the outside, it can appear there’s a certain pause in the struggle in Greece. Is this true?

Ukraine: Bloodshed in Kiev
19/02/2014, Rob Jones, from Socialism Today (March edition, No.176):
What lies behind the Ukraine crisis?

Venezuela: An analysis of 12F
19/02/2014, By Gabriela Sanchez- SR Venezuela:
On 12F, three people (two right wing supporters and one government supporter) were killed in Caracas and dozens injured and arrested in the protests and demonstrations that took place around Venezuela to commemorate the annual ’Youth Day’.

Pakistan: Negotiating peace
18/02/2014, Khalid Bhatti, SNP Lahore:
Government/Taliban talks begin - But where will they go?

South Africa: The end of Cosatu?
17/02/2014, WASP (Workers and Socialist Party) Reporters, S Africa:
Time for a new socialist trade union federation

Greece: The fascist threat
08/02/2014, Christina Ziakka, Xekinima (CWI Greece) - translated by Amalia Loizidou. First published in Socialism Today:
Deep economic crisis, savage austerity and social upheaval have polarised Greek society.

South Africa: After NUMSA’s Congress
04/02/2014, Workers And Socialist Party (WASP) statement:
Seize the historic opportunity of the 2014 elections

Tunisia: Three years on since the fall of Ben Ali
30/01/2014, Serge Jordan and CWI supporters in Tunis:
New ‘technocratic’ government no response to workers’ demands