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latest news

Germany
20,000 people give ECB “the finger”

28/03/2015: Big demo and blockade against the reopening of the Central Bank

  Germany

 Video
Interview with a Greek socialist

28/03/2015: The Syriza government and the Troika and building the Greek Left

  Greece, Video

South Africa
NUMSA & WASP discuss international experiences of new workers’ parties

27/03/2015: South Africa’s metalworkers union in discussion with WASP and CWI

  Africa, South Africa

Obituary
Harald Mahrer (1974-2015)

27/03/2015: An active, critical and inspiring comrade

  Obituary

 Video
Dave Nellist on Russia Today TV

26/03/2015: Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) standing throughout Britain in May elections

  Britain, Video

Norway
Lessons of the pilots’ strike

25/03/2015: A struggle against outsourcing

  Norway

Israel
Netanyahu mobilises far right to win election

25/03/2015: New coalition will face unresolved crises and bitter struggles

  Israel / Palestine

China
Demand release of arrested women activists

24/03/2015: Has the commemoration of International Women’s Day also now been outlawed in China?

  China

Italy
The instability of domestic capitalism

24/03/2015: Political vacuum pushes FIOM to take initiative

  Italy

Sweden
Central bank rates cut "panic measure"

23/03/2015: Eurozone’s QE intensifies currency wars

  Sweden

Greece
Varoufakis’ “erratic Marxism” is not the answer

23/03/2015: Necessary to clarify ideas upon which successful struggles of European working class will be conducted

  Greece

Tunisia
Twenty three killed in terrorist attack

20/03/2015: Down with terror! Down with capitalism!

  Tunisia

Belgium
No agreement reached between unions and government over austerity

20/03/2015: New action plan against right wing government takes off

  Belgium

Ukraine
Conflict unresolved after ’Minsk-2’ agreement

18/03/2015: Only independent working-class mass movement can remove the region’s authoritarian rulers

  Ukraine

Ireland North
Public sector workers strike against austerity

18/03/2015: For a second day of strike action in the run-up to the May general election!

  Ireland North

 North Cyprus
New strike wave against cuts

17/03/2015: Workers determined to stop austerity

  Cyprus, Solidarity

 Brazil
Urgent solidarity protests needed

17/03/2015: Faced with lack of water for the people, Sao Paulo water company SABESP cuts costs, sacks more than 500 workers and victimises trade union activists

  Brazil, Solidarity

 Scotland
Socialist Party Scotland (CWI) leaves Solidarity

16/03/2015: Tommy Sheridan departs from principled socialist position with call for “lending vote" to cuts-making SNP

  CWI, Scotland

Britain
What lies behind UKIP?

14/03/2015: Its Tory-oriented anti-immigration, anti-EU rhetoric has been adapted to a right-wing populism aimed at winning voters fed up with the political establishment

  Britain

Ireland North
Massive public sector strike against austerity

13/03/2015: Socialist MPs in Southern Ireland Parliament send message of support to strikers

  Ireland North, Ireland Republic

Ireland South
Marriage equality referendum set for May

12/03/2015: Poisonous bigotry must be challenged

  Ireland Republic

Ireland North
Stormont government crisis on eve of public sector strike

11/03/2015: Struggle can force politicians back from austerity measures

  Ireland North, Ireland Republic

Iran
Independent workers’ organizations statement about minimum wage

11/03/2015: Increasing demands for a living wage

  Iran

Ireland North
13 March public sector strike against austerity

10/03/2015: Dead-end of rightwing, sectarian politics - new anti-sectarian party which fights for working class needed

  Ireland North

  Video
Dublin ROSA demonstration on International Women’s Day

10/03/2015: Ruth Coppinger, Socialist Party TD (MP) speaks along with other activists

  Ireland Republic, Video, Women

 International Women’s Day 2015

09/03/2015: Articles from CWI sections celebrating IWD

  Women

Greece
Syriza’s first months in power

07/03/2015: The working class and social movements must enter the struggle for their rights

  Greece

Netherlands
Wave of student protests

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

  Netherlands

Austria
The year starts with antifascism

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

  Austria, Venezuela

 Greece
Vodafone strike declared “illegal”

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

  Greece, Solidarity

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

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

  Russia

Quebec
Towards a hot spring

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

  Quebec

Greece
“Yes there was a different choice!”

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

  Germany, Greece

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

27/02/2015: Philip Stott Socialist Party Scotland

  Scotland

Greece showdown

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

  Greece

Greece

Political earthquake sees pro-austerity parties’ support collapse

www.socialistworld.net, 09/05/2012
website of the committee for a workers' international, CWI

Left presented with big opportunities

Following the recent elections in Greece, which saw two out of three voters vote against pro-austerity parties and a big swing to left parties, Niall Mulholland spoke to Andros Payiatsos, from Xekinima (CWI in Greece).

What do the election results represent?

The parliamentary election results in Greece were a political earthquake, a crushing repudiation of the pro-austerity parties and the ‘Troika’ (International Monetary Fund, European Union and European Central Bank). This follows years of austerity measures that have led to a collapse in living standards, 51% youth unemployment and mass poverty.

The outgoing government coalition parties suffered a massive collapse in support. The traditional conservative party, New Democracy, fell from just over 33% in 2009 to 18.85% (108 MPs, which includes the 50 seat bonus received by the first party, according to Greek electoral law). Pasok, the traditional social democratic party, crashed from 43.9 percent in the last elections to 13.18% (41 seats). In the past three decades, the combined vote of the two “ruling” parties varied between 75% and 85% of the vote. Laos, the small right wing party that joined New Democracy and Pasok in the austerity coalition for a few months, lost all its MPs.

The biggest gains went to the broad left, Syriza (Coalition of the Radical Left), which rose from 4.6% to 16.78% (52 seats). The communist party (KKE) won 8.48% (26 MPs). The Democratic Left, which split from Syriza in 2010 on a more right wing path, but which also attacked austerity cuts, won 6.1%.

This major swing to the left by Greek voters shows the huge potential for a bold socialist alternative to the capitalist crisis and austerity cuts.

However, serving as a warning to the workers’ movement, the neo-fascist Golden Dawn, exploiting the anti-cuts mood and issues over immigration, picked up 6.97%. For the first time, this far right party entered parliament, with 21 MPs. The Independent Greeks, a recent right wing nationalist split from New Democracy, also entered parliament, with 10.6% (33 MPs).

While the election results revealed a polarisation along left and right lines, many workers and youth saw no viable alternative on offer and simply did not vote for any party. Abstention was much higher than predicted, at a record 35%, and ‘blank’ and invalid votes stood at 2.4%.

Leader of Democratic Left party, Fotis Kouvelis, (left) and leader of the Left Coalition party Alexis Tsipras, Athens 8 May 2012

Why did Syriza gain so many votes?

Syriza gained support over the last two weeks of the election campaign mainly by appealing for a ‘Left government’ against the Troika’s ‘memorandum’.

The supporters of Xekinima pioneered the call for a Left ‘united front’ and for a vote for the parties of the left, over the last months. Unlike Syriza leaders, Xekinima did not call for a ‘renegotiation’ of the crushing austerity measures, but for a Left government to carry out a programme to defend working people. This would include repudiating the debt, stopping all cuts, nationalising the main banks and industries, under democratic workers’ control and management, and fighting for a socialist Europe, as opposed to the bosses’ EU - breaking with the diktat of the Troika and capitalism, in general.

The other main forces on the Left in Greece, the communist party (KKE) and Antarsya (the Anti-capitalist Left Cooperation) both took a sectarian attitude and rejected Syriza’s ‘left unity’ proposal. Yet if the left had formed an electoral bloc, they would probably now be in a position to form a government! With millions of workers yearning for an anti-cuts left government, the KKE and Antarsya paid for their approach in the polls. Their votes remain virtually stagnant: the KKE rose by just 1% (under 19,000) to 8.48% (26 MPs) and Antarsya finished on 1.19%, with no MPs.

Can a new government be formed?

Under the Greek constitution, New Democracy, as the largest party, was given three days to try to form a new government. But its leader, Antonis Samaras, announced on Monday after just a few hours that his party had failed in its bid to create a “national salvation” government.

Given the unambiguous anti-austerity verdict of the electorate, no parties entering a coalition government can do so without at least pledging to renegotiate the ‘memorandum’ with the Troika.

The Troika may be prepared to re-negotiate over aspects of the memoranda and to make some minor concessions. But the Troika will not agree to end its central demands for huge debt repayments from Greece, which can only come at the cost of yet more enormous cuts to welfare, jobs and living standards. The question of Greek membership of the eurozone and even the EU will, most probably, quickly be placed on the agenda.

Greek politics is entering very stormy waters. The invitation to form a government fell to Syriza, the second biggest party. If it fails, the initiative goes to Pasok, and if that fails, to the Greek president, who can try to assemble a coalition.

The combined strength of the Syriza and the KKE, even together with the Democratic Left, in parliament is not enough to form a majority government and, to date, the KKE has refused to accept Syriza’s proposal.

Failure to form a new government would eventually lead to new elections. The ruling class has additional reasons to dread this prospect, as most probably it will lead to Syriza becoming the largest party.

What must the left do now?

Alexis Tsipras, the Syriza leader, said he will strive to form a “left-wing coalition” to reject the "barbaric" measures associated with the EU/IMF bailout deal.

Xekinima (CWI Greece) supports the call for a left government coalition but it must be a government fully committed to opposing all austerity cuts and the bosses’ EU, rejecting the debt repayments and carrying out pro-worker policies, not ‘renegotiating’ for ‘milder’ cuts and ‘more generous’ loan repayments, which still means a lowering of Greek living standards. The Syriza leadership must oppose any coalition or co-operation with the bosses’ parties, which would be a disastrous trap.

Celebration after the election: Alexis Tsipras, the head of Greece’s Syriza party

There is now a great opportunity for Syriza to publicly put forward a programme for a workers’ government. It is true that according to parliamentary arithmetic the left do not have enough MPs to form such a government. Furthermore, the KKE leadership has, so far, refused to co-operate with Syriza. But huge pressure needs to come from trade unionists, social movement activists and the rank and file of the KKE and Syriza, to insist that both parties reject sectarianism and any ‘cuts-lite’ policies based on ‘re-negotiated’ austerity. The workers’ movement activists want genuine left unity, preparing the ground to form a new left government in the near future.

A programme to unite Syriza and the KKE around opposition to all austerity measures and the EU diktats, for cancellation of the debt and nationalisation of the main banks and industries under democratic workers’ control and for socialist change, as the basis of a workers’ government, would win widespread support from the working class, youth and ruined middle class. It would inspire a resurgence of mass action in the workplaces and communities.

If an attempt is made to form yet another cuts-making coalition, based around Pasok and ND, the left and workers’ movement needs to organise mass opposition, including general strikes and workplace occupations, to stop such attempts, which have no mandate.

Last weekend’s election makes clear that a majority government of the left is possible. If new elections take place in June, the left parties will have a great opportunity to win a majority. This requires the left parties adopting socialist policies – a rejection of the debt repayments and a struggle to break with the bosses’ EU and the profit-system. It also means a strong united front of the left and workers’ movement against the threat of the neo-fascist and far right.

If the left fails to offer a viable socialist alternative, the far right can partially fill the space and grow, and the ruling class will also seek to deploy more authoritarian measures against the workers’ movement resisting cuts.



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NEWS

Germany: 20,000 people give ECB “the finger”
28/03/2015, by Michael Koschitzki, SAV – Sozialistische Alternative (CWI in Germany):
Big demo and blockade against the reopening of the Central Bank

Video: Interview with a Greek socialist
28/03/2015, Nicos Anastasiades of Xekinima (CWI Greece):
The Syriza government and the Troika and building the Greek Left

South Africa: NUMSA & WASP discuss international experiences of new workers’ parties
27/03/2015, socialistworld.net:
South Africa’s metalworkers union in discussion with WASP and CWI

Obituary: Harald Mahrer (1974-2015)
27/03/2015, Sozialistische LinksPartei (CWI Austria) Reporters:
An active, critical and inspiring comrade

Video: Dave Nellist on Russia Today TV
26/03/2015, socialistworld.net:
Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) standing throughout Britain in May elections

Norway: Lessons of the pilots’ strike
25/03/2015, Elin Gauffin, Rättvisepartiet Socialisterna (CWI Sweden):
A struggle against outsourcing

China: Demand release of arrested women activists
24/03/2015, Sally Tang Mei-Ching, Socialist Action (CWI in Hong Kong):
Has the commemoration of International Women’s Day also now been outlawed in China?

Sweden: Central bank rates cut "panic measure"
23/03/2015, Per-Åke Westerlund, Rättvisepartiet Socialisterna (CWI Sweden):
Eurozone’s QE intensifies currency wars

Tunisia: Twenty three killed in terrorist attack
20/03/2015, Statement by CWI-Tunisia:
Down with terror! Down with capitalism!

Ireland North: Public sector workers strike against austerity
18/03/2015, Kevin Henry, Socialist Party (CWI Ireland), Belfast:
For a second day of strike action in the run-up to the May general election!

North Cyprus: New strike wave against cuts
17/03/2015, Özgür İnsanoğlu and Bahtiyar Girne, North Cyprus:
Workers determined to stop austerity

Brazil: Urgent solidarity protests needed
17/03/2015, Translation of a solidarity appeal from the LSR (CWI in Brazil):
Faced with lack of water for the people, Sao Paulo water company SABESP cuts costs, sacks more than 500 workers and victimises trade union activists

Scotland: Socialist Party Scotland (CWI) leaves Solidarity
16/03/2015, Statement from Socialist Party Scotland Executive Committee:
Tommy Sheridan departs from principled socialist position with call for “lending vote" to cuts-making SNP

Britain: What lies behind UKIP?
14/03/2015, Hannah Sell, Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales):
Its Tory-oriented anti-immigration, anti-EU rhetoric has been adapted to a right-wing populism aimed at winning voters fed up with the political establishment

Ireland North: Massive public sector strike against austerity
13/03/2015, Socialistworld.net:
Socialist MPs in Southern Ireland Parliament send message of support to strikers

Ireland South: Marriage equality referendum set for May
12/03/2015, Helen Redwood, Socialist Party (CWI Ireland):
Poisonous bigotry must be challenged

Ireland North: Stormont government crisis on eve of public sector strike
11/03/2015, Kevin Henry, Socialist Party (CWI Ireland), Belfast:
Struggle can force politicians back from austerity measures

Iran: Independent workers’ organizations statement about minimum wage
11/03/2015, Statement by six Iranian workers’ organizations:
Increasing demands for a living wage

Ireland North: 13 March public sector strike against austerity
10/03/2015, Text of Socialist Party (CWI Ireland) leaflet, Belfast:
Dead-end of rightwing, sectarian politics - new anti-sectarian party which fights for working class needed

Video: Dublin ROSA demonstration on International Women’s Day
10/03/2015, socialistworld.net:
Ruth Coppinger, Socialist Party TD (MP) speaks along with other activists

International Women’s Day 2015
09/03/2015, socialistworld.net:
Articles from CWI sections celebrating IWD

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

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

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

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

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

CWI Comment and Analysis

ANALYSIS

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

Russia/Ukraine: Facing a turbulent 2015
21/01/2015, Rob Jones, CWI, Moscow:
As death toll rises, economies plunge into freefall

Greece: Prospect of Syriza victory raises workers’ hopes
20/01/2015, Interview with Andros Payiatsos, from Xekinima (CWI in Greece):
Mass intervention of working class to struggle for socialist policies is vital

Nigeria: The Massacre in Baga
19/01/2015, H.T Soweto, DSM (CWI in Nigeria):
Socialism or Barbarism

Germany: What is behind the ‘PEGIDA’ anti-immigrant demonstrations?
13/01/2015, Wolfram Klein, Socialist Alternative (SAV- CWI Germany):
Unions and Left must organise against racism and for jobs and decent living standards for all

Greece: Towards a Syriza government?
08/01/2015, Interview with Andros Payiatsos, Xekinima (CWI in Greece):
General elections on 25 January