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latest news

 CWI 11th World Congress
Upheaval of traditional European political framework

12/02/2016: Workers’ fury at austerity and capitalist system will find more expression

  CWI, Europe

Ireland North
Hundreds protest against manufacturing destruction

12/02/2016: Union movement should step up call for nationalisation of threatened factories

  Ireland North

 11th CWI World Congress
A World in turmoil

11/02/2016: Renewed economic crisis, wars, political polarisation & class struggle perspectives

  Africa, Asia, CWI, Latin America, Middle East, Russia, US, World Economy

Hong Kong
‘Fishball Revolution’!

10/02/2016: Brutal policing must be condemned

  Hong Kong

Ethiopia
Hunger and deadly repression

09/02/2016: Crisis for imperialism and a fight-back from below

  Africa

Greece
Powerful general strike opposes cuts to pensions

09/02/2016: All out in the struggle! Coordinate and develop the fight now!

  Greece

Africa
New political storms and mass struggles

08/02/2016: Opportunities will arise for working class and poor to organise

  Africa

Spain
A break in the political establishment

07/02/2016: December’s elections broke the hold of the two main capitalist parties for the first time since the Franco dictatorship. The high vote for representatives of workers’ and social movements, and the recovery of the left-populist Podemos, open up a new phase in the struggle against austerity.

  Spain

US
#Movement4Bernie Takes Off Around the Country

06/02/2016: Bernie Sanders’ call for a political revolution against the billionaire class enthuses millions

  US

Brazil
Devastating outbreak of Zika virus

04/02/2016: Another healthcare system failure

  Brazil

Pakistan
PIA strike continues despite state repression

04/02/2016: Four workers killed, eight injured as security forces open fire on protesting workers

  Pakistan

US
Iowa results reveal crisis of establishment politics - Sanders and Clinton tie

03/02/2016: “It’s too late for establishment politics, establishment economics!”

  US

Japan
Social and political unease after “twenty lost years”

03/02/2016: Weakness of opposition is Prime Minister Abe’s only strength

  Japan

 Greece
Workers strike at Contitech-IMAS factory

02/02/2016: Solidarity campaign needed!

  Greece, Solidarity

World Economy
Capitalism buffeted by choppy waters

02/02/2016: Bosses strive to offload cost of crisis on working class - a struggle for system change is needed

  World Economy

Egypt
Fifth anniversary of heroic revolutionary uprising

01/02/2016: Workers’ struggles continue despite repression

  Egypt

India
Justice for Rohit Vemula

31/01/2016: Solidarity message from the Committee for a Workers’ International

  India, US

Britain
Fractured politics

29/01/2016: A volatile mix

  Britain

Tunisia
Suicide of unemployed youth sparks new wave of protests

22/01/2016: Five years after the fall of Ben Ali, demands of the revolution remain unsatisfied

  Tunisia

China
Kidnapping and TV show-trials

21/01/2016: “China is entering a dark night of repression and detentions under Xi Jinping”

  China

Venezuela
Right-wing landslide

20/01/2016: First electoral defeat suffered by the Chavistas since Hugo Chávez was first elected president in 1998

  Venezuela

Leningrad
‘Hero City’

19/01/2016: 900 days of siege in World War Two

  History, Russia

Britain
Police infiltration of Socialist Party exposed

19/01/2016: Untold distress caused to women in relationships with undercover police officers

  Britain

US
Socialist response to State of the Union 2016

15/01/2016: Kshama Sawant replies to Obama’s "State of the Union" speech

  US

 South Africa
Campus workers strike against outsourcing

14/01/2016: For the mobilisation and support of all students, permanent workers and communities across Tshwane

  Africa, Solidarity, South Africa

Britain
Steps towards setting up Trade Union Momentum

12/01/2016: Potential for inclusive, anti-austerity trade union based movement with effective alliances in workplaces and communities

  Britain

Scotland
Politicians have a choice

11/01/2016: Implement Tory austerity or set no-cuts budgets

  Scotland

Sweden/Denmark
Closing borders

07/01/2016: The EU’s nightmare continues

  Denmark, Sweden

 Pakistan
Nestle workers solidarity campaign update

06/01/2016: Union leader, Muhammad Hussain Bhatti, released on bail

  Pakistan, Solidarity

 Taiwan
Solidarity urged for insurance workers’ strike

05/01/2016: Determined battle for pension rights and an end to contract labour

  Solidarity, Taiwan

Euro crisis

Greece heads for the exit

www.socialistworld.net, 26/05/2012
website of the committee for a workers' international, CWI

Eurozone convulsed by turbulent economic forces and political upheavals

Lynn Walsh, editor of Socialism Today, magazine of the Socialist Party (CWI England & Wales)

Ten governments have been overturned since 2008, with the rejection of austerity policies. There have been a continuous series of public-sector strikes, general strikes, protests and riots. Now, many eurozone leaders fear that the possible victory on 17 June of an anti-austerity, Syriza-led government in Greece could trigger the departure of Greece from the eurozone, with incalculable repercussions.

Even before the election, the run on the Greek banks, as depositors began to withdraw their cash or transfer it to other more stable eurozone countries, could trigger a separation. Currently, the Greek banking system is being propped up by €96 billion ‘emergency liquidity assistance’ from the Greek central bank, supported by the European Central Bank. But more than €75 billion has been taken out of Greek banks since December 2009. Moreover, eurozone leaders fear the danger of ‘contagion’, that there will be a similar flight of capital from Spanish, Italian, Portuguese banks, etc.

The taboo has been broken. Although eurozone leaders, including Germany’s Angela Merkel, proclaim that they regard Greece as a permanent member of the eurozone, there are active preparations for Greece’s departure. This was recently admitted by the European trade commissioner, Karel De Gucht: “Today there are, both within the European Central Bank and the European Commission, services that are working on emergency scenarios in case Greece doesn’t make it”. (International Herald Tribune, 19 May)

According to some reports, new drachma notes are already being printed. The multinational corporations are clearing their deposits out of Greek banks, and quite likely out of Spanish and other shaky banking systems. The euro stands on the edge of a death spiral, which could have devastating effects on the world capitalist economy. None of the capitalist leaders wants a chaotic disintegration of the eurozone, but none of them has any policies capable of resolving the crisis.

According to opinion polls, Syriza could emerge from the 17 June elections as the biggest party. Its leader, Alexis Tsipras, has rightly described Greece as a “social hell”, where the workers and large sections of the middle class have been subject to barbarous austerity measures. Tsipras has correctly rejected the austerity package of the Troika – European Central Bank, European Commission and International Monetary Fund – and repudiated the payment of unbearable debts, hugely inflated by Troika loans used to bail out the banks.

Repudiation of the Troika’s ‘rescue’ package, however, would lead to the expulsion of Greece from the eurozone. Under pressure from US president, Barack Obama, and the recently elected François Hollande in France, Merkel has softened her tone, conceding that Germany would consider some measures to boost growth. These have not been specified. But, at the same time, she has made it crystal clear that acceptance of the austerity package is the precondition of any further assistance. Yet in reality, such savage austerity measures rule out economic recovery.

What kind of Grexit?

EUROPE’S CAPITALIST LEADERS are struggling with a number of scenarios: New elections in Greece could (they hope) produce a pro-austerity government based on the right-wing New Democracy. This could result from the campaign by the leaders of New Democracy and the Panhellenic Socialist Movement (Pasok), together with eurozone leaders, to make the general election a referendum on Greece staying in the euro. Merkel even proposed a referendum in a phone conversation with the Greek president, Karolos Papoulias. While there is overwhelming rejection of the austerity measures, there is still a big majority (in the region of 80%) in favour of staying with the euro. This reflects fear of Greece, a small country, being isolated outside the eurozone, and slipping back to the backward economic conditions that prevailed before.

However, even if a new Greek government swallows the austerity measures, that would only provide temporary respite – because the debt loaded onto Greece is unsustainable, and the savage austerity measures will produce further mass movements against them. In any case, it is possible that Greece’s position within the eurozone could be undermined even before the elections by a massive run on the banks. The ECB will not be able to sustain the current level of support indefinitely. The collapse of major banks in Greece would make it impossible for Greece to stay in the eurozone.

Alternatively, Greece could be forced out of the eurozone in the near future. Some eurozone strategists are advocating a controlled exit from Greece, while others fear a chaotic separation.

A controlled exit would require an orderly transition from the euro to a new drachma, which would be exchanged at a lower value. This would still require massive Troika funding to support the Greek banks to prevent a collapse. In spite of further repudiation of its debts, the major eurozone economies would have to give support to Greece to prevent a meltdown of society.

Devastating chain reaction

GIVEN THE DISARRAY of eurozone leaders, however, it is perhaps more likely that there will be a completely chaotic exit of Greece, either as a result of a massive bank run or the election of an anti-austerity government. This would aggravate the European banking crisis. Many banks have already sold their Greek government bonds, which have been taken over by the ECB. But French and German banks would still be burned by a further default by Greece. This in turn would hit banks in Britain and other countries which have shareholdings in banks based in France, Spain, etc. There would be a chain reaction.

A major eurozone crisis, more intense than anything so far, would have a devastating effect on the European and global economy. Various estimates indicate that the eurozone GDP could fall by between 5% and 10%. This in turn would have a devastating impact on countries like Britain and also the United States, for which the eurozone is a major export market.

The unfolding of the eurozone crisis, moreover, is taking place against the background of continued stagnation in the world economy. There is a recession in the eurozone itself, with only very feeble growth in Germany, the biggest economy. The almost undetectable ‘recovery’ in the US is faltering. The recent huge losses by the investment bank JPMorgan Chase, which has lost up to $4 billion in speculative activity, shows the continued vulnerability of the finance sector, regardless of the eurozone crisis. Even the IPO (initial public offering) of Facebook, which was heralded as a great success for the hi-tech, consumer sector, proved to be a huge disappointment to investors, as its shares fell immediately after they were issued. Facebook indicates the fragility of the bubble economy that still continues.

The recent G8 summit in the United States, moreover, once again exposed the bankruptcy of capitalist leaders. Obama, supported by Hollande, called for policies to promote ‘growth and jobs’. But these were vague exhortations, with no concrete measures. Merkel made some verbal concessions to the idea of promoting growth, but made it clear that her primary concern is the implementation of austerity measures – outside Germany – despite the fact that they have ensured the prolongation of recession throughout most of Europe.

A trap for the working class

EXIT FROM THE eurozone will not provide a way out of crisis for Greek society. Repudiation of the debt would lift an immediate burden. Devaluation of a new national currency would boost exports. However, Greece is not in the same situation as Argentina in 2001: Argentina could rely on exports of food and other commodities, boosted by a devalued peso, against the backdrop of the pre-2008 world upswing. Greece does not have such raw materials, and also has very weak domestic industries. At the same time, Greece has been highly dependent on imports of fuel, food and consumer goods, which would become more expensive through devaluation of the Greek currency.

Moreover, the crisis in Argentina is a warning to the Greek working class. Most of the burden of the transition from the peso pegged to the US dollar to a devalued Argentine peso was thrown onto the working class and the middle class. Bank accounts were frozen and the value of peso deposits was drastically devalued. There was mass unemployment and a huge rise in absolute poverty. Only after several years of crisis did the Argentinean economy begin to recover, under more favourable global economic conditions than prevail at the present time.

There is no way out for the Greek working class within capitalism, either in the eurozone or outside. A national, ‘siege economy’ would be a trap for the working class. Any solution requires socialist economic measures under the democratic control of the working class.

If Greece leaves the eurozone, or is forced out, it is likely that other member states will follow. Spanish banks, for instance, are on the edge of insolvency. The Spanish government was recently forced to nationalise 40% of Bankia. Other banks in Italy, Portugal, Ireland, etc, are just as shaky. The €700 billion of Europe’s stability fund is not enough to stabilise the eurozone banking system.

Greece is not the cause of the eurozone crisis but one of its symptoms. But Greece may act as a detonator, triggering an explosion or perhaps a slower disintegration. This process is an expression of the organic crisis of the eurozone and the European Union itself.

Overcoming national limitations

THE CAPITALIST LEADERS who pushed for a common currency argued that it would consolidate the single market of the EU. The EU was intended to secure peace in Europe, stability and economic prosperity. The capitalist europhiles were under the illusion that they could overcome the national borders of capitalism, which ultimately act as a fetter on economic development. But everything has turned into its opposite.

Europe has sunk into economic stagnation and the common currency has accentuated the differences between the national economies rather than bringing about a convergence. Resentment at austerity policies has led to the growth of nationalist forces and far-right trends (one example being the growth in support for Golden Dawn in Greece). These developments confirm our view that the capitalist class cannot overcome its national limitations: that is a task for the working class, which can only be accomplished on socialist lines.

The Independent newspaper recently carried a front-page headline: ‘Capitalism at a Crossroads’ (19 May). It correctly sees the eurozone crisis as one aspect of a global crisis in the system. The crisis is reflected in the massive movements of the working class that have been taking place continuously throughout Europe and elsewhere. There is no doubt that many millions of workers reject capitalist austerity and are questioning the viability of the system. What is required is a clear alternative, a socialist planned economy, run under workers’ democracy, and with the international perspective of building a global planned economy.



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NEWS

Ireland North: Hundreds protest against manufacturing destruction
12/02/2016, Daniel Waldron, Socialist Party (CWI Ireland), Belfast:
Union movement should step up call for nationalisation of threatened factories

Hong Kong: ‘Fishball Revolution’!
10/02/2016, Eyewitness report from Socialist Action (CWI in Hong Kong):
Brutal policing must be condemned

Ethiopia: Hunger and deadly repression
09/02/2016, Per-Ãke Westerlund, Rattvisepartiet Socialisterna (CWI in Sweden):
Crisis for imperialism and a fight-back from below

Greece: Powerful general strike opposes cuts to pensions
09/02/2016, Editorial from Xekinima, fortnightly newspaper of the CWI, Greece:
All out in the struggle! Coordinate and develop the fight now!

US: #Movement4Bernie Takes Off Around the Country
06/02/2016, Socialist Alternative, CWI in the USA:
Bernie Sanders’ call for a political revolution against the billionaire class enthuses millions

Brazil: Devastating outbreak of Zika virus
04/02/2016, Isabel Keppler, LSR (CWI Brazil):
Another healthcare system failure

Pakistan: PIA strike continues despite state repression
04/02/2016, Fazal Abbas Shah and Rukhsana Manzoor, Socialist Movement Pakistan, Lahore:
Four workers killed, eight injured as security forces open fire on protesting workers

US: Iowa results reveal crisis of establishment politics - Sanders and Clinton tie
03/02/2016, Joshua Koritz, Socialist Alternative (CWI in the US):
“It’s too late for establishment politics, establishment economics!”

Greece: Workers strike at Contitech-IMAS factory
02/02/2016, Xekinima (CWI Greece) Reporters:
Solidarity campaign needed!

Egypt: Fifth anniversary of heroic revolutionary uprising
01/02/2016, David Johnson, Socialist Party (CWI England & Wales):
Workers’ struggles continue despite repression

India: Justice for Rohit Vemula
31/01/2016, socialistworld.net:
Solidarity message from the Committee for a Workers’ International

Britain: Fractured politics
29/01/2016, Peter Taaffe, general secretary, Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales):
A volatile mix

Tunisia: Suicide of unemployed youth sparks new wave of protests
22/01/2016, Al-Badil al-Ishtiraki, CWI in Tunisia:
Five years after the fall of Ben Ali, demands of the revolution remain unsatisfied

China: Kidnapping and TV show-trials
21/01/2016, chinaworker.info:
“China is entering a dark night of repression and detentions under Xi Jinping”

Britain: Police infiltration of Socialist Party exposed
19/01/2016, Press statement from the Socialist Party (CWI England & Wales):
Untold distress caused to women in relationships with undercover police officers

US: Socialist response to State of the Union 2016
15/01/2016, Socialistworld.net:
Kshama Sawant replies to Obama’s "State of the Union" speech

South Africa: Campus workers strike against outsourcing
14/01/2016, Workers & Socialist Party (WASP), Reporters:
For the mobilisation and support of all students, permanent workers and communities across Tshwane

Britain: Steps towards setting up Trade Union Momentum
12/01/2016, John McInally Public and Commercial Services Union Vice-President (personal capacity), from The Socialist newspaper:
Potential for inclusive, anti-austerity trade union based movement with effective alliances in workplaces and communities

Scotland: Politicians have a choice
11/01/2016, By Brian Smith and Jim McFarlane, Glasgow City Unison and Dundee City Unison branch secretaries (in a personal capacity) and Socialist Party Scotland:
Implement Tory austerity or set no-cuts budgets

Sweden/Denmark: Closing borders
07/01/2016, Per-Ãke Westerlund, Rattvisepartiet Socialisterna (CWI in Sweden):
The EU’s nightmare continues

Pakistan: Nestle workers solidarity campaign update
06/01/2016, Fazal Abbas Shah SMP (CWI in Pakistan), Lahore:
Union leader, Muhammad Hussain Bhatti, released on bail

Taiwan: Solidarity urged for insurance workers’ strike
05/01/2016, CWI Taiwan Reporters (translated from The Socialist, journal of the CWI Taiwan):
Determined battle for pension rights and an end to contract labour

China 2015: A year of unnatural disasters
04/01/2016, chinaworker.info reporters:
Corruption, poor oversight and chase for profits, maim thousands

Britain: Corbyn’s supporters want resistance against the right
01/01/2016, Peter Taaffe, Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales):
Edited extracts from an article by Peter Taaffe, Socialist Party general secretary, that will be published in the first 2016 issue of the Socialist (7 January).

Review: Alexandra Kollontai
29/12/2015, Heather Rawling, from Socialism Today:
A life of socialist struggle

Review: Revisiting Animal Farm
27/12/2015, Andy Ford, from Socialism Today (Issue 192 October 2015):
Allegory of the terrible betrayal of the Russian revolution

CWI Comment and Analysis

ANALYSIS

CWI 11th World Congress 2016: Women and oppression in class society
13/02/2016, CWI World Congress Document:
A socialist approach

CWI 11th World Congress: Upheaval of traditional European political framework
12/02/2016, Sarah Wrack, Socialist Party (CWI England & Wales):
Workers’ fury at austerity and capitalist system will find more expression

11th CWI World Congress: A World in turmoil
11/02/2016, Kevin Parslow, Socialist Party (CWI England & Wales):
Renewed economic crisis, wars, political polarisation & class struggle perspectives

Africa: New political storms and mass struggles
08/02/2016, CWI 11th World Congress Document:
Opportunities will arise for working class and poor to organise

India: Rising class struggle reflects seething anger of working class
08/02/2016, Anand Kumar, from Dudiyora Horaata (Workers’ Struggle – newspaper of the CWI in India), Bangalore:
Is ‘Modimania’ on the wane?

World relations, economy and the class struggle
08/02/2016, Socialistworld.net:
CWI 11th World Congress document

Spain: A break in the political establishment
07/02/2016, Danny Byrne, CWI (article from issue 195 of ’Socialism Today’):
December’s elections broke the hold of the two main capitalist parties for the first time since the Franco dictatorship. The high vote for representatives of workers’ and social movements, and the recovery of the left-populist Podemos, open up a new phase in the struggle against austerity.

Japan: Social and political unease after “twenty lost years”
03/02/2016, Carl Simmons, Kokusai Rentai (CWI in Japan):
Weakness of opposition is Prime Minister Abe’s only strength

World Economy: Capitalism buffeted by choppy waters
02/02/2016, Lynn Walsh, from The Socialist (weekly paper of the Socialist Party, CWI England & Wales):
Bosses strive to offload cost of crisis on working class - a struggle for system change is needed

Venezuela: Right-wing landslide
20/01/2016, Tony Saunois, from February edition of Socialism Today, magazine of the Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales):
First electoral defeat suffered by the Chavistas since Hugo Chávez was first elected president in 1998

Leningrad: ‘Hero City’
19/01/2016, Clare Doyle (fuller version of a review article to be published in the February 2016 issue of Socialism Today):
900 days of siege in World War Two

China: Financial turmoil spreads fear across global markets
14/01/2016, Per-Åke Westerlund, with additional reporting by Vincent Kolo:
Setting the tone for 2016?

2016: Crisis-ridden capitalism will meet with bitter mood of resistance
05/01/2016, Peter Taaffe, Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales) general secretary:
Socialist alternative is essential

Environment: A world of change
23/12/2015, Jess Spear, Socialist Alternative (CWI in USA):
Human beings have radically altered the Earth, adapting nature in the struggle to survive and thrive…

Venezuela: Elections – who won and who lost?
16/12/2015, Johan Rivas, Socialismo Revolucionario (CWI in Venezuela):
Victory for the right wing reflects popular discontent

Pakistan: Religious extremism, military operations and increased intolerance
15/12/2015, Khalid Bhatti SMP (CWI in Pakistan):
Revolutionary movement of the working class needs to finally defeat religious extremism and intolerance

Côte d’Ivoire : Ouattara reelected in a “frighteningly quiet” atmosphere
14/12/2015, CWI in Ivory Coast:
Dictatorship consolidating while opposition ridicules itself. Time to “turn the page”!

Environment: Socialism or ecological catastrophe
05/12/2015, Articles from Socialism Today, magazine of the Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales):
25 years of hot air from establishment

World relations, economy and the class struggle
05/12/2015, CWI International Secretariat:
There has been a profound change in the world situation and world relations since the CWI’s last World Congress in 2010

Britain: After the vote in parliament to bomb Syria
04/12/2015, Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales) reporters:
This crisis has revealed that Labour is essentially two parties in one

Britain: Syria vote reveals two Labour parties in one
02/12/2015, Editorial from The Socialist, paper of the Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales):
Fight for a party that stands against war and austerity

Scotland: Post-referendum, where is Scotland heading?
29/11/2015, Socialist Party Scotland (CWI):
Mass struggle and socialism will challenge capitalist austerity

Environment: Socialist change not climate change
28/11/2015, Pete Dickenson, Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales):
The growing threat of climate change and a socialist programme for the environment

Middle East: Bombing Syria won’t stop Isis
25/11/2015, Editorial of The Socialist, weekly newspaper of the Socialist Party (CWI England & Wales):
For workers’ unity against war, terrorism and racism

Hong Kong: Great result for socialist election campaign
25/11/2015, Vincent Kolo, chinaworker.info:
Socialist Action’s Sally Tang Mei-ching lifts opposition vote to 33 percent