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latest news

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

Sudan
Has al-Bashir survived mass protests?

25/03/2014: Removal of hated regime not enough; crises of poverty and oppression due to grip of capitalism

  Sudan

Britain
After Bob Crow and Tony Benn

24/03/2014: Mourn the loss, fight for the future

  Britain

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.



Europe

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NEWS

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

Portugal: Thousands of police and military march in Lisbon
27/03/2014, Jose David Gregorio, Socialismo Revolucionario (CWI in Portugal):
Reflection of the government’s intrinsic weakness

CWI Comment and Analysis

ANALYSIS

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

Thailand: Prolonged political crisis
27/01/2014, Ravichandran, CWI Malaysia:
Working class and rural poor need party of their own