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latest news

Britain
The struggles to come

27/05/2015: No fundamental change to be expected from the Labour Party

  Britain

Hong Kong
Cathay Pacific workers to strike in August

26/05/2015: Protesting cabin crew at Hong Kong airport explained their grievances to Socialist Action reporters

  Hong Kong

Canada’s ‘carbo-state’

26/05/2015: Only a socialist alternative can challenge the carbo-capitalists’ grip on Canadian politics

  Canada, Environment

New Zealand
Victory over zero-contract hours

24/05/2015: ‘Cotton On’ clothes retailer workers defeat attempt to remove rest and meal breaks

  New Zealand

Iraq/Syria
ISIS rout national armies at Ramadi and Palmyra

23/05/2015: United working class movement needed to sweep away sectarian militias and reactionary politicians

  Iraq, Syria

Britain
Labour leadership contest - appealing to big business

22/05/2015: The Labour leadership contest begs the question: what is the point of the Labour Party?

  Britain

Ireland North
Election marks growing rejection of sectarian status quo

21/05/2015: Opportunities to build new anti-sectarian political voice for working class and youth

  Ireland Republic

Spain
Is Podemos in crisis?

20/05/2015: Left and social movements in a state of flux, as key elections loom

  Spain

Britain
Build a movement to defeat Tories’ cuts savagery

20/05/2015: For massive union demonstrations, linked to a 24-hour general strike

  Britain

Ireland South
Vote ‘Yes’ to marriage equality!

19/05/2015: Referendum a product of long-waged campaign of struggle from below

  Ireland Republic

Greece
Subordination to Troika or rupture with austerity?

18/05/2015: The choices before the Greek working class

  Greece

North Cyprus
‘Moderate leftist’ wins presidential election on peace ticket

16/05/2015: Workers’ common front, north and south, can find solution to island’s division

  Cyprus

Chile
Huge demonstrations call for free education

15/05/2015: New chapter opens in country’s political and ‘moral’ crisis

  Chile

Australia
East-West toll road dispute concluded

15/05/2015: Local community direct action secures victory

  Australia

Ireland
Parliament suspended after PM tells Socialist MPs “where to go”

14/05/2015: Contemptuous remarks reflect government concerns over non-payment of water charges

  Ireland Republic

Britain
Organising against Tory austerity starts now

14/05/2015: Potential for industrial response to cuts but needs determined leadership and campaigning

  Britain

 Video
Joe Higgins TD questions former ECB president Jean Claude Trichet

13/05/2015: "When bankers and bondholders’ gambles crashed, their massive burden of private debt was placed onto the shoulders of the Irish people"

  Ireland Republic, Video

Sudan
Mass apathy towards elections

12/05/2015: Renewed struggle from below needed to put an end to Bashir’s rule

  Sudan

USA
Presidential candidate declares "political revolution" against billionaires

12/05/2015: Campaign needs to build independent political power

  US

Britain
Fight against "five more damned years" of Tory rule

12/05/2015: Labour leader’s ’responsible capitalism’ shows its bankruptcy

  Britain

China
“In a hard landing now”

11/05/2015: Stock market frenzy and fabricated GDP figures cannot hide the reality of an economy in deep trouble

  China

Scotland
Labour annihilated

11/05/2015: SNP sweeps to victory by posing as an anti-austerity alternative

  Scotland

Britain
With the votes of 24% of the electorate, Tories have no mandate for more savage cuts

11/05/2015: Labour’s failure puts centre stage the need for new mass anti-austerity force

  Britain

Poland
65,000 workers demonstrate against governments’ policies

07/05/2015: Plan of action for a general strike needed

  Poland

Ireland North
Socialist Party replies to leading Sinn Fein councillor’s attacks

06/05/2015: How to fight cuts, sectarianism and to build workers’ unity

  Ireland North

Britain
Russell Brand mistaken to sow illusions in Labour

06/05/2015: Russell Brand calls on people to elect a Labour government, saying Ed Miliband will ’listen’ and wants pressure from below

  Britain

May Day 2015
International workers’ day marked by marches and rallies

05/05/2015: Photo gallery of the CWI taking part in May Day event across the world

  May Day

Iceland
Fighting for better wages

05/05/2015: General strike called for 26 May

  Iceland

May Day 2015
Socialist plan or capitalist chaos

01/05/2015: What sort of new society are we struggling for?

  May Day

Nepal
Disaster in Nepal –amplified by capitalism

30/04/2015: Nepal, one of the poorest countries in the south Asian region has been further devastated by the recent earthquake.

  Nepal

US
Rage in Baltimore

29/04/2015: The aftermath of Freddie Gray’s death

  US

Book review
’No place to hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA and the US Surveillance state’

29/04/2015: What the 1% will do to defend their class interests

  Review, US

 May Day 2015
Resisting austerity, exploitation, wars and oppression

28/04/2015: 125 years since first May Day – Build a united workers’ movement for socialism!

  CWI, May Day

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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Pakistan: Jawad Ahmad speaking at May Day rally held by International Youth and Workers Movement, 18/05/2015

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NEWS

Hong Kong: Cathay Pacific workers to strike in August
26/05/2015, Chinaworker.info:
Protesting cabin crew at Hong Kong airport explained their grievances to Socialist Action reporters

New Zealand: Victory over zero-contract hours
24/05/2015, Joe Kelly, CWI NZ/Aotearoa:
‘Cotton On’ clothes retailer workers defeat attempt to remove rest and meal breaks

Britain: Labour leadership contest - appealing to big business
22/05/2015, Sarah Sachs-Eldridge, Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales):
The Labour leadership contest begs the question: what is the point of the Labour Party?

Britain: Build a movement to defeat Tories’ cuts savagery
20/05/2015, Editorial from The Socialist, weekly paper of the Socialist Party (CWI England & Wales):
For massive union demonstrations, linked to a 24-hour general strike

Ireland South: Vote ‘Yes’ to marriage equality!
19/05/2015, From the Socialist Party (CWI Ireland) website:
Referendum a product of long-waged campaign of struggle from below

Greece: Subordination to Troika or rupture with austerity?
18/05/2015, Editorial from Xekinima (no. 410, 6-20 May 2015), fortnightly newspaper of CWI Greece:
The choices before the Greek working class

Pakistan: Jawad Ahmad speaking at May Day rally held by International Youth and Workers Movement
18/05/2015, Socialistworld.net:
Video of May Day Rally and concert in Lahore

North Cyprus: ‘Moderate leftist’ wins presidential election on peace ticket
16/05/2015, Athina Kariati, New Internationalist Left (CWI in Cyprus):
Workers’ common front, north and south, can find solution to island’s division

Chile: Huge demonstrations call for free education
15/05/2015, Patricio Guzman, Socialismo Revolcuionario (CWI in Chile):
New chapter opens in country’s political and ‘moral’ crisis

Australia: East-West toll road dispute concluded
15/05/2015, Socialist Party (CWI Australia) Reporters:
Local community direct action secures victory

Ireland: Parliament suspended after PM tells Socialist MPs “where to go”
14/05/2015, Socialistworld.net:
Contemptuous remarks reflect government concerns over non-payment of water charges

Britain: Organising against Tory austerity starts now
14/05/2015, John McInally, Public and Commercial Services Union national Vice-President (personal capacity), from the Socialist Party (CWI England & Wales) website:
Potential for industrial response to cuts but needs determined leadership and campaigning

Video: Joe Higgins TD questions former ECB president Jean Claude Trichet
13/05/2015, Socialistworld.net:
"When bankers and bondholders’ gambles crashed, their massive burden of private debt was placed onto the shoulders of the Irish people"

Sudan: Mass apathy towards elections
12/05/2015, Sudanese CWI supporter:
Renewed struggle from below needed to put an end to Bashir’s rule

Scotland: Labour annihilated
11/05/2015, :
SNP sweeps to victory by posing as an anti-austerity alternative

Britain: With the votes of 24% of the electorate, Tories have no mandate for more savage cuts
11/05/2015, Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales):
Labour’s failure puts centre stage the need for new mass anti-austerity force

Poland: 65,000 workers demonstrate against governments’ policies
07/05/2015, Alternatywa Socjalistyczna (CWI Poland) Reporters:
Plan of action for a general strike needed

Britain: Russell Brand mistaken to sow illusions in Labour
06/05/2015, Sarah Sachs-Eldridge, Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales):
Russell Brand calls on people to elect a Labour government, saying Ed Miliband will ’listen’ and wants pressure from below

May Day 2015: International workers’ day marked by marches and rallies
05/05/2015, Socialistworld.net:
Photo gallery of the CWI taking part in May Day event across the world

Iceland: Fighting for better wages
05/05/2015, Per-Åke Westerlund, Rättvisepartiet Socialisterna (CWI Sweden):
General strike called for 26 May

US: Rage in Baltimore
29/04/2015, Eljeer Hawkins, Socialist Alternative, New York:
The aftermath of Freddie Gray’s death

Book review: ’No place to hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA and the US Surveillance state’
29/04/2015, Reviewed by Tony Saunois, CWI:
What the 1% will do to defend their class interests

Kazakhstan: Presidential ‘election’ - Nazarbayev’s overwhelming victory no surprise
28/04/2015, Elizabeth Clarke, CWI:
Workers need to build mass opposition

Ireland North: Health Minister forced to resign after making homophobic remarks
27/04/2015, Daniel Waldron, Socialist Party (CWI Ireland):
LGBT and women’s rights campaigners boosted

Italy: Migrant disasters - the human cost of budget cuts
27/04/2015, From web-site of ControCorrente (CWI in Italy):
From Mare Nostrum to Triton

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

CWI Comment and Analysis

ANALYSIS

Britain: The struggles to come
27/05/2015, Peter Taaffe, Socialist Party (CWI England and Wales) General Secretary:
No fundamental change to be expected from the Labour Party

Canada’s ‘carbo-state’
26/05/2015, Bill Hopwood, Socialist Alternative (CWI Canada):
Only a socialist alternative can challenge the carbo-capitalists’ grip on Canadian politics

Iraq/Syria: ISIS rout national armies at Ramadi and Palmyra
23/05/2015, Niall Mulholland, CWI:
United working class movement needed to sweep away sectarian militias and reactionary politicians

Ireland North: Election marks growing rejection of sectarian status quo
21/05/2015, Daniel Waldron and Kevin Henry, Socialist Party (CWI Ireland), Belfast:
Opportunities to build new anti-sectarian political voice for working class and youth

Spain: Is Podemos in crisis?
20/05/2015, Danny Byrne, CWI:
Left and social movements in a state of flux, as key elections loom

USA: Presidential candidate declares "political revolution" against billionaires
12/05/2015, Philip Locker, Socialist Alternative, Seattle:
Campaign needs to build independent political power

Britain: Fight against "five more damned years" of Tory rule
12/05/2015, Peter Taaffe, Socialist Party )CWI England & Wales) General Secretary:
Labour leader’s ’responsible capitalism’ shows its bankruptcy

China: “In a hard landing now”
11/05/2015, Dikang, chinaworker.info:
Stock market frenzy and fabricated GDP figures cannot hide the reality of an economy in deep trouble

Ireland North: Socialist Party replies to leading Sinn Fein councillor’s attacks
06/05/2015, Socialist Party (CWI Ireland) Statement:
How to fight cuts, sectarianism and to build workers’ unity

May Day 2015: Socialist plan or capitalist chaos
01/05/2015, Peter Taaffe, Socialist Party General Secretary, (CWI England & Wales):
What sort of new society are we struggling for?

Nepal: Disaster in Nepal –amplified by capitalism
30/04/2015, TU Senan, CWI:
Nepal, one of the poorest countries in the south Asian region has been further devastated by the recent earthquake.

May Day 2015: Resisting austerity, exploitation, wars and oppression
28/04/2015, CWI:
125 years since first May Day – Build a united workers’ movement for socialism!

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.