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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

Finland
Worst ever election result for traditional Left

24/04/2015: Finns Party second biggest in parliament

  Finland

Iran
Proposed nuclear deal reflects transformed Middle East

24/04/2015: In aftermath of disastrous Iraq occupation, Obama administration balancing between region’s forces

  Iran, Middle East

Scotland
Labour face annihilation as millions seek an answer to austerity

23/04/2015: The SNP, according to the polls, will win 53 of Scotland’s 59 Westminster MPs

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 Video
Paul Murphy speaking at anti-water charges demo in Dublin

23/04/2015: Socialist Partty (CWI) and Anti-Austerity Alliance TD speaks at march of tens of thosuands against water charges on April 18

  Ireland Republic, Video

 Video
Interview with Jawad Ahmed, famous Pakistani singer and activist

22/04/2015: Jawad Ahmed, Singer and central committee member of International Youth and Workers Movement (IYWM) from Pakistan spoke to CWI about the work of IYWM.

  Pakistan, Video

South Africa
Organise against xenophobia – a programme for our communities

21/04/2015: Build a country-wide socialist civic movement. Fight for jobs, houses and services for all

  Africa, South Africa

 Video
TUSC 100% anti-austerity election broadcast

20/04/2015: Broadcast goes out on all 5 national terrestrial channels

  Britain, Video

Britain
Labour - party of cuts

19/04/2015: Oppose the ’logic of capitalism’

  Britain

Tunisia
After the Bardo terrorist attack

18/04/2015: New class battles loom

  Tunisia

 Video
Paul Murphy attacks bosses’ victimisation of strikers

17/04/2015: Socialist Partty (CWI) and Anti-Austerity Alliance TD speaks in Irish Parliament

  Ireland Republic, Video

US
National day of strikes and protests for $15

17/04/2015: Snapshot of the movement – the fight for $15 in 7 major cities

  US

 Video
Kshama Sawant on Democracy Now

16/04/2015: Socialist Seattle councillor debates Hillary Clinton run for President

  US, Video

Ireland North
Hundreds protest against racist arson attack

15/04/2015: Build a united mass movement to challenge racism, sectarianism and all forms of bigotry

  Ireland North

Yemen
Brutal onslaught on country’s poor

15/04/2015: For unity of workers and poor against imperialism and sectarianism

  Yemen

Québec
A hot spring in the making?

14/04/2015: Students take strike action against austerity

  Quebec

China’s feminists
A victory for protests in China and worldwide

14/04/2015: Five women activists released in rare climb down by Beijing regime

  China

France
First one-day strike against austerity gets big response

13/04/2015: 300, 000 people marched on demonstrations across France on Thursday 9 April

  France

Australia
Budget - Who should pay for the economic crisis?

13/04/2015: Federal government preparing the ground for their second budget

  Australia

Britain
UKIP blame immigration for problems facing working class

12/04/2015: Workers’ unity to defend pay jobs and services

  Britain

Panama 2015 Trade Union and Social Alternative Summit

11/04/2015: For an end to imperialism and capitalism, long live socialist and revolutionary united solidarity in our Americas!

  Latin America

Kenya
The Garissa massacre, Al-Shabaab and US imperialism

10/04/2015: Growing regional destabilisation

  Kenya, US

US
40,000 Seattle workers get pay rise

08/04/2015: Coalition of students and workers demand $15 minimum wage at University of Washington

  US

Australia
Anti-racist protesters vastly outnumber ‘Reclaim Australia’ Melbourne rally

07/04/2015: Only ‘minority’ to blame for society’s problems is ultra-rich 1%

  Australia

Climate change
Looking for a cheap fix

06/04/2015: The cyclone that devastated the Pacific island of Vanuatu in March, the most severe ever recorded in the region, highlighted again the very likely connection between extreme weather events and global warming.

  Environment

Nigeria
Ruling party crumbles in historic election

05/04/2015: But only mass struggle can guarantee the interests of workers and poor masses under buhari’s presidency

  Nigeria

Scotland
Is the SNP: a threat to the political establishment?

04/04/2015: The SNP (Scottish National Party) looks set to win the majority of Scottish seats in the general election

  Scotland

Economy
What low oil prices cost the world economy

03/04/2015: The sudden plunge of oil and gas prices has underlined the volatility in the world capitalist economy

  World Economy

 Video
Paul Murphy speaks in support of striking workers

02/04/2015: Socialist MP challenges Labour Deputy Prime Minister in parliament

  Ireland Republic, Video

Scotland
Indefinite strike by Glasgow Council Homeless workers

01/04/2015: Workers treated unfairly by council for years

  Scotland

South Africa
Cosatu splits as ‘Vavi’ expelled

01/04/2015: Expulsion opens new chapter in working class struggle

  Africa, South Africa

Singapore
Former Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew dies

31/03/2015: Apologist for neo-liberalism and autocracy

  Singapore

France
Elections punish Valls and Hollande

31/03/2015: Department results show need for fightback against austerity and racism

  France

Spain

Huge general strike as government enters deep crisis

www.socialistworld.net, 31/03/2012
website of the committee for a workers' international, CWI

Continue and intensify with 48 hour general strike

Danny Byrne, CWI

It has taken less than 100 days for the Spanish government of Mariano Rajoy to go from being Europe’s arrogant newcomer, with his much-touted ’overall majority’, to being in the epicentre of the European crisis.Yesterday, it suffered the latest and most severe blow to it’s image of “stability” when well over 10 million workers joined a massive general strike against its policies. Such is the government’s spiral of crisis, that demonstrators who flooded the streets yesterday could be heard to chant “Mariano, at this rate you won’t reach the summer!”.

The scale and strength of the strike surpassed that of September 2010, in all respects. Union figures put participation at an average of 77% of salaried workers, or 85% when ’obligatory’ minimum services are deducted. The strategic sectors of the Spanish economy were paralysed from midnight onwards. Union figures indicate that stronghold sectors of industry, transport, and agriculture witnessed rates of 97%, 95%, and 95% (excluding agreed ’minimum services’ – explained below) participation respectively, giving an indication of the scale of the mobilisations. Despite the government and capitalist media’s attempts to paint the mobilisations as weak, the real figures recorded by authorities often exposed the truth. For example, the data recorded by the Spanish Electricity Network indicate that energy consumption on 29 March equalled that of a public holiday, pointing to the blacking out of the pillars of the capitalist economy by this magnificent workers’ action.

All of the Spanish state’s regions saw generalised stoppages. However, the strike was especially solid in the Northern, more industrialised regions. In the Basque country, the strike saw the nationalist unions, which there organise the majority of activists, striking on the same day as the main Spanish trade unions, CCOO and the UGT, unlike September 2010, when Basque unions had refused to join the Spanish unions’ call (as has also happened vice versa on various occasions, such as in June 2011). This new unity in struggle was reflected in a 95% solid strike. 90% are said to have taken action in Navarra and the key industrial / port region of Galicia, and 89% and 82% respectively in Asturias and Catalunya, home of second city, Barcelona and with an economy bigger than that of Portugal. In many sectors, participation was dramatically up on that of the 2010 strike. For example, in Andalucia, the strike was twice as solid among public sector workers, as even the right-wing press was forced to acknowledge.

Barcelona, 29 March

Marches of unprecedented size as determination to fight hardens

The massive character of the strike was not only expressed in the desolation of work-stations around the country, but also by the astonishing occupation of the streets by hundreds of thousands of workers, students and the unemployed. These demonstrations were full of life and an exercise in the building of confidence for those who participated, differing strikingly from the tranquility, or even “passivity” which some claimed had come to characterise union mobilisations. Morning demonstrations in some cities saw unprecedented attendances, with 100,000 in Sevilla among the 400,000 who filled the avenidas of Andalucia. Then, as evening approached breath-taking attendances were registered as demos began throughout the country. Unions claim that 900,000 marched in Madrid, and 800,000 in Barcelona, along with a quarter of a million in Valencia. The CCOO union figures put the total number of demonstrators throughout the state at an unprecedented 4 million, to which must be added the 100,000 who marched in the Basque country’s 4 capital cities, in separate ELA/LAB Basque union marches.

These figures, when compard to those of 29 September 2010, when unions reported 1.5 million attending marches, give a picture of how the situation, and importantly, the outlook of the mass of people, has changed. In 2010, as anger built against the austerity and attacks being imposed supposedly to “escape the crisis” by the then “socialist” PSOE government, there was nonetheless a certain hope among many workers that the situation would be temporary, and that “small sacrifices” then would give way to economic growth and a “return to normality”. The development and deepening of the crisis has smashed such hopes for wide swathes of society. In fact, since the arrival of the PP in government, as a “safe pair of hands” to stabilise the situation and win the favour of the markets, the Spanish economy is even closer to the precipice. Spanish debt bonds and risk premiums are being kept just about under control wholly thanks to the emergency intervention of the European Central Bank, with European officials openly advising the Spanish government to resort to Europe’s bailout mechanisms. These developments have hardened the understanding that the situation will only worsen on this basis and that a fight is necessary.

The 18 months between “29S” and “29M” also saw other key changes, most importantly the emergence of the movement of the indignados’ movement which shook society. The indignados put the idea of a militant and massive fightback back onto the agenda after the de-mobilisation which followed 29S, with the signing of a series of sellout attacks, including the raising of the retirement age, by union leaders. The impact of this movement was also reflected in massive turnouts by young people on the general strike demos. Sometimes amassed in “critical blocks”, many young indignados nonetheless seized the opportunity to unite in struggle with the organised working class, the only force with the power to force the way onto a new political path. Big layers of youth and indignados (15M) activists have come to the conclusion that despite the crimes of its leaders, the working class movement and trade unions are key weapons in the struggle against austerity and capitalism.

Repression and anti-union laws

The strike was also marked by an increase in state repression, with 176 arrests and 116 injuries (including at least one youth currently being held in intensive care) reported throughout the day. In Sevilla, a ’Tuscan’ bus terminal picket was charged by police on horseback in shocking scenes reminiscent of the Franco era, and live rounds of ’non-lethal’ bullets were fired on picketers in the Basque country. Barcelona saw some violent scenes, which featured the use of teargas and repeated charges by riot police. These incidents, although limited to small and isolated groups of protestors (and with a clear role played by provocateurs) not surprisingly grabbed media headlines.

Alongside this open repression, the state and bosses used age old anti-trade union ’minimum services’ legislation to try to break the back of the strike in many sectors. This law, which aims to impose the provision of minimum services, often sees employers and local authorities demanding that striking workers maintain over 50% of services, almost completely negating the impact of a strike! In a sign of both the radicalisation of the union movement, and the heightened arrogance of the PP government, this strike saw failure to agree minimum services in 8 out of Spain’s 17 autonomous regions. We stand for the organised breaking of this and other anti-trade union laws with whatever necessary minimum services decided upon by workers and trade unions democratically, not dictated by bosses or the capitalist state.

Continuation and intensification – name the date of a 48 hour strike!

The success of the strike was a result of struggle by the rank and file of the unions, and the youth in struggle, whose clamour for a general strike pushed the leaders into action. However, as Socialismo Revolucionario has explained consistently, one day of strike action will not be enough. Even before taking office, Rajoy was heard to say that the labour reform he was planning would “cost him a general strike”. Although a massive blow to his government and power, this general strike was thus, in a sense, already factored into his austerity plans. The question now is, how can the pressure go on to escalate the action and build a struggle of a sustained and determined character, which could put the government’s power to force through its brutality into question.

The leaders of UGT and CCOO followed the strike announcing that they are giving bosses and government until 1 May to begin negotiations on the labour reform, or face the threat of “a hardening of the struggle”. If followed, such a plan puts off the prospect of a further general strike until the summer in reality, at which time the labour reform will have become law. This poses the immediate necessity of a sustained campaign of pressure, organised from below and with a possible extra impulse from those organised in ’alternative’ more combative union federations, such as those of the Basque country, whose calling of a strike on 29 March was key in the CCOO and UGT decision to choose the same date. Socialismo Revolucionario (CWI in Spain) intervened on picket lines and demos throughout the Spanish state with the slogan “name the date for a new 48 hour strike” at the forefront. We think that this slogan, which has been remarkably well received and distributed, encapsulates the necessity to both continue and escalate the struggle, and represents a modest but important contribution to the debates that are and will be taking place within the movement. The need for the struggle of the workers and youth in the ’peripheral’ or ’PIIGS’ countries, under the boot of the Troika, to achieve a coordinated expression with a united strike, also needs to be stressed.

As the experiences of Greece and Portugal have shown, the development of the struggle to defeat austerity policies can experience its ups and downs, if a confident sustained strategy of struggle and positive political alternative are not adopted. Ultimately, such a road can only be adopted on the basis of a mass movement, armed with democratic fighting unions and a democratically accountable leadership willing to fight until victory, but also armed with an alternative political policy. It is in the fight for such an alternative, including non payment of the ’public’ debt, and a struggle against the bleeding dry of the working people and unemployed, that the necessity of an ’indefinite strike’, which was raised by sections of the workers movement and the left in Spain around this strike, would emerge. Such a struggle needs to be prepared for and would pose the question of who runs society. The CWI in Spain is demanding a 48 hour general strike as the next stage in the struggle to escalate the movement against the government. An ’indefinite’ general strike immediately poses the question of the control and management of society and ultimately the question of the taking of political and economic power by the working class, establishing a democratic workers’ government to implement socialist policies in favour of the 99%. This in turn poses the urgent need for the building of a mass united left-wing political force based on the growing struggles of the majority, with the task of putting forward and popularising such an alternative, on a national and international scale, with the perspective of fighting for an alternative socialist confederation of free and democratic countries, to replace the capitalist EU.

The United Left party, IU, which only days before the strike achieved a significant breakthrough in regional elections in Andalucia and Asturias, with big gains depriving the PP of widely-expected victories, has a key potential role to play in this process. However, this potential can quickly be wasted if its leadership decides to re-adopt the strategy of coalition governments with PSOE, and the pacting of austerity policies. In a period of class battles like this one, a fighting democratic left force with a real base in the struggle, and clear anti-capitalist policies, advocating an alternative of public democratic ownership of the banks and key sectors of economy under democratic control, as a basis to begin to invest wealth and resources combating the misery of the crisis, could make huge strides forward, and challenge the hegemony of the capitalist parties. Those within and around IU, and the rest of the organised left who struggle for such an outcome will undoubtedly be strengthened by these results and this general strike.

The perspective for the next weeks is very open. The application of pressure from below and/or the announcement of new strikes from outside the majority unions could see a quick change in the discourse of the leadership and new action called. Whatever the case, the government has made its intention not to budge quite clear. And with the European and world vulture capitalists constantly at its shoulder, it will find it increasingly difficult to do so. This, along with the the brutal budget announced today which includes 27 billion in austerity measures, indicates that the the union leaders will not be able to decisively or lastingly postpone an escalation of the class struggle.



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NEWS

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

Video: Paul Murphy speaking at anti-water charges demo in Dublin
23/04/2015, Socialistworld.net:
Socialist Partty (CWI) and Anti-Austerity Alliance TD speaks at march of tens of thosuands against water charges on April 18

Video: Interview with Jawad Ahmed, famous Pakistani singer and activist
22/04/2015, socialistworld.net:
Jawad Ahmed, Singer and central committee member of International Youth and Workers Movement (IYWM) from Pakistan spoke to CWI about the work of IYWM.

South Africa: Organise against xenophobia – a programme for our communities
21/04/2015, Workers and Socialist Party (WASP) leaflet text:
Build a country-wide socialist civic movement. Fight for jobs, houses and services for all

Video: TUSC 100% anti-austerity election broadcast
20/04/2015, socialistworld.net:
Broadcast goes out on all 5 national terrestrial channels

Britain: Labour - party of cuts
19/04/2015, Editorial from The Socialist, paper of the Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales):
Oppose the ’logic of capitalism’

Video: Paul Murphy attacks bosses’ victimisation of strikers
17/04/2015, Socialistworld.net:
Socialist Partty (CWI) and Anti-Austerity Alliance TD speaks in Irish Parliament

US: National day of strikes and protests for $15
17/04/2015, Socialist Alternative (CWI in US) reporters:
Snapshot of the movement – the fight for $15 in 7 major cities

Video: Kshama Sawant on Democracy Now
16/04/2015, socialistworld.net:
Socialist Seattle councillor debates Hillary Clinton run for President

Ireland North: Hundreds protest against racist arson attack
15/04/2015, Daniel Waldron, Socialist Party (CWI), Belfast:
Build a united mass movement to challenge racism, sectarianism and all forms of bigotry

Québec: A hot spring in the making?
14/04/2015, Deirdre Grégoire, Alternative Socialiste (CWI in Quebec):
Students take strike action against austerity

China’s feminists: A victory for protests in China and worldwide
14/04/2015, chinaworker.info reporters:
Five women activists released in rare climb down by Beijing regime

France: First one-day strike against austerity gets big response
13/04/2015, Report from website of Gauche Revolutionnaire (CWI in France):
300, 000 people marched on demonstrations across France on Thursday 9 April

Australia: Budget - Who should pay for the economic crisis?
13/04/2015, Socialist Party (CWI in Australia) editorial:
Federal government preparing the ground for their second budget

Britain: UKIP blame immigration for problems facing working class
12/04/2015, Editorial of The Socialist (issue 851), weekly paper of the Socialist Party (CWI England & Wales):
Workers’ unity to defend pay jobs and services

Panama 2015 Trade Union and Social Alternative Summit
11/04/2015, The Committee for a Worker’s International, via its Venezuelan Section Socialismo Revolucionario, greets the Panama 2015 Trade Union and Social Alternative Summit.:
For an end to imperialism and capitalism, long live socialist and revolutionary united solidarity in our Americas!

Kenya: The Garissa massacre, Al-Shabaab and US imperialism
10/04/2015, Shaun Arendse, CWI South Africa:
Growing regional destabilisation

US: 40,000 Seattle workers get pay rise
08/04/2015, Kailyn Nicholson, republished from 15Now.org:
Coalition of students and workers demand $15 minimum wage at University of Washington

Scotland: Dundee porters and Glasgow council workers on indefinite strike
08/04/2015, Socialist Party Scotland (CWI) Reporters:
Build solidarity now!

Australia: Anti-racist protesters vastly outnumber ‘Reclaim Australia’ Melbourne rally
07/04/2015, Socialist Party (CWI Australia) Reporters:
Only ‘minority’ to blame for society’s problems is ultra-rich 1%

Climate change: Looking for a cheap fix
06/04/2015, Pete Dickenson, article from Socialism Today, magazine of the Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales):
The cyclone that devastated the Pacific island of Vanuatu in March, the most severe ever recorded in the region, highlighted again the very likely connection between extreme weather events and global warming.

Nigeria: Ruling party crumbles in historic election
05/04/2015, By National Executive Committee Democratic Socialist Movement (DSM – CWI in Nigeria):
But only mass struggle can guarantee the interests of workers and poor masses under buhari’s presidency

Scotland: Is the SNP: a threat to the political establishment?
04/04/2015, Philip Stott, Socialist Party Scotland (CWI):
The SNP (Scottish National Party) looks set to win the majority of Scottish seats in the general election

Video: Paul Murphy speaks in support of striking workers
02/04/2015, socialistworld.net:
Socialist MP challenges Labour Deputy Prime Minister in parliament

Australia: Counter-protests set for ’Reclaim Australia’ rallies
02/04/2015, Mel Gregson, from The Socialist (monthly magazine of the Socialist Party - CWI Australia):
Stand against racism & Islamophobia!

CWI Comment and Analysis

ANALYSIS

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

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