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latest news

Saudi Arabia
’Defenders of democracy’ mourn despot’s death

30/01/2015: Atrocious human rights records no concern for Western powers

  Saudi Arabia

Greece
Why did Syriza and the KKE fail to reach agreement?

29/01/2015: For socialist policies to end austerity nightmare!

  Greece

Greece
Syriza victory shows austerity elite can be beaten

29/01/2015: An inspiration for workers and youth across Europe

  Britain, Greece

Greece
Syriza comes to power, as old ruling parties collapse

27/01/2015: Left parties fail to form government - Syriza goes into coalition with populist right Independent Greeks

  Europe, Greece

China
Slowest growth rate since 1990

25/01/2015: Economy decelerated 30 percent in five years

  China

Cuba
Diplomatic relations with US restored, embargo eased

24/01/2015: Threat of capitalist restoration accelerates

  Cuba, US

Northern Ireland
Water service workers win important victory

23/01/2015: A victory for all workers and an inspiration to resist the ‘race to the bottom’

  Ireland North

Sri Lanka
Mobilise now to defend our demands

22/01/2015: Article first published in the Colombo Telegraph

  Sri Lanka

 US
Kshama Sawant gives socialist response to Obama’s "State of the Union" address

21/01/2015: "Why can’t Barack Obama say “Black Lives Matter”?"

  US, Video

Russia/Ukraine
Facing a turbulent 2015

21/01/2015: As death toll rises, economies plunge into freefall

  Russia, Ukraine

Greece
Prospect of Syriza victory raises workers’ hopes

20/01/2015: Mass intervention of working class to struggle for socialist policies is vital

  Greece

Nigeria
The Massacre in Baga

19/01/2015: Socialism or Barbarism

  Nigeria

Review
‘Eleanor Marx - a life’

17/01/2015: Clare Doyle reviews ’Eleanor Marx - A Life’ by Rachel Holmes

  Review

 Video
Joe Higgins questions Irish Central Bank governor

16/01/2015: Socialist MP grills establishment over banking bubble and collapse

  Video

Nigeria
2015 general elections and the working masses

16/01/2015: Boko Haram and the war in the north-east

  Nigeria

  Video
Ruth Coppinger calls for referendum on abortion rights in Ireland

15/01/2015: "You march in Paris, yet uphold laws any religious fundamentalist would envy"

  Ireland Republic, Video, Women

 Video
A year of struggle in Brazil

14/01/2015: LSR members intervene in struggles of 2014

  Brazil, Video

Sri Lanka
New but uncertain period opens up

14/01/2015: President Sirisena aims for clean government but will face difficulties

  Sri Lanka

Iran
Labour and children’s rights activist, Behnam Ebrahimzadeh, sentenced to another nine years

13/01/2015: International action needed to overturn latest conviction and to immediately release Behnam

  Iran

Germany
What is behind the ‘PEGIDA’ anti-immigrant demonstrations?

13/01/2015: Unions and Left must organise against racism and for jobs and decent living standards for all

  Germany

France
Millions march for solidarity

12/01/2015: Unity against racism and capitalism!

  France

New Zealand
Extreme poverty worsens

12/01/2015: Workers need to build political alternative to major parties’ big business agenda

  New Zealand

France
Counter terrorist threat with workers-led mass unity

10/01/2015: The shocking, cold blooded slaughter at Charlie Hebdo, and more killings in subsequent days, has been met with mass outrage

  France

Norway
General strike called for 28 January

10/01/2015: Two-hour protest against worsening working conditions

  Norway

Sri Lanka
Rajapaksa defeated

09/01/2015: Period of uncertainty opens

  Sri Lanka

Sweden
New elections cancelled

09/01/2015: “Peace deal” between government and right-wing opposition

  Sweden

Greece
Towards a Syriza government?

08/01/2015: General elections on 25 January

  Greece

France
Deadly attack on satirical paper Charlie Hebdo

08/01/2015: Defend freedom of speech! Don’t let us be divided!

  France

Hong Kong
Politics transformed by ‘Umbrella Revolution’

07/01/2015: A fighting democratic movement must be created to continue and build upon this historic “first round”

  Hong Kong

Israel-Palestine
A successful Socialism conference in the shadow of national divide

06/01/2015: Over 150 people participated in the ‘Socialism Conference 2014’ in Tel Aviv, organised by the Socialist Struggle Movement (SSM - CWI in Israel-Palestine)

  Israel / Palestine

Northern Ireland
The Stormont House Agreement

05/01/2015: Agreeing Not To Agree, Again

  Ireland Republic

Environment
Market forces hold back renewable energy

01/01/2015: Have capitalist governments around the world finally woken up to the danger of global warming?

  Environment

New Year
Political and economic ingredients for volatile 2015

31/12/2014: As crisis of capitalism worsens, vital to organise and continue the struggle

  Britain, Europe, World Economy

Britain
In defence of TUSC

30/12/2014: As the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition gears up for its biggest ever electoral stand…

  Britain, US

 CWI
National Question a key feature of political crisis of capitalism

28/12/2014: A socialist solution to national oppression

  CWI

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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US: Kshama Sawant gives socialist response to Obama’s "State of the Union" address, 21/01/2015

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NEWS

Saudi Arabia: ’Defenders of democracy’ mourn despot’s death
30/01/2015, Simon Carter, Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales):
Atrocious human rights records no concern for Western powers

Greece: Syriza victory shows austerity elite can be beaten
29/01/2015, Editorial of The Socialist, newspaper of the Socialist Party (CWI England & Wales):
An inspiration for workers and youth across Europe

China: Slowest growth rate since 1990
25/01/2015, chinaworker.info reporters:
Economy decelerated 30 percent in five years

Northern Ireland: Water service workers win important victory
23/01/2015, Donal O’Cofaigh, Socialist Party, Fermanagh:
A victory for all workers and an inspiration to resist the ‘race to the bottom’

Sri Lanka: Mobilise now to defend our demands
22/01/2015, Tu Senan, International Coordinator of the Tamil Solidarity campaign:
Article first published in the Colombo Telegraph

US: Kshama Sawant gives socialist response to Obama’s "State of the Union" address
21/01/2015, Socialistworld.net, via socialistalternative.org:
"Why can’t Barack Obama say “Black Lives Matter”?"

Review: ‘Eleanor Marx - a life’
17/01/2015, Clare Doyle, CWI. Article published in the Socialist, paper of the Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales):
Clare Doyle reviews ’Eleanor Marx - A Life’ by Rachel Holmes

Video: Joe Higgins questions Irish Central Bank governor
16/01/2015, socialistworld.net:
Socialist MP grills establishment over banking bubble and collapse

Nigeria: 2015 general elections and the working masses
16/01/2015, Aj. Dagga Tolar and Kola Ibrahim, DSM (CWI in Nigeria):
Boko Haram and the war in the north-east

Video: Ruth Coppinger calls for referendum on abortion rights in Ireland
15/01/2015, socialistworld.net:
"You march in Paris, yet uphold laws any religious fundamentalist would envy"

Video: A year of struggle in Brazil
14/01/2015, socialistworld.net:
LSR members intervene in struggles of 2014

Sri Lanka: New but uncertain period opens up
14/01/2015, Clare Doyle, CWI:
President Sirisena aims for clean government but will face difficulties

Iran: Labour and children’s rights activist, Behnam Ebrahimzadeh, sentenced to another nine years
13/01/2015, Campaign in Support Workers of Iran:
International action needed to overturn latest conviction and to immediately release Behnam

France: Millions march for solidarity
12/01/2015, Gauche Revolutionnaire (CWI in France):
Unity against racism and capitalism!

New Zealand: Extreme poverty worsens
12/01/2015, CWI Reporters, NZ/Aotearoa:
Workers need to build political alternative to major parties’ big business agenda

France: Counter terrorist threat with workers-led mass unity
10/01/2015, Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales) website editorial:
The shocking, cold blooded slaughter at Charlie Hebdo, and more killings in subsequent days, has been met with mass outrage

Norway: General strike called for 28 January
10/01/2015, Trond Sverre and Elise Kollveit (CWI, Oslo):
Two-hour protest against worsening working conditions

Sri Lanka: Rajapaksa defeated
09/01/2015, TU Senan, CWI:
Period of uncertainty opens

Sweden: New elections cancelled
09/01/2015, Questions answered by Rättvisepartiet Socialisterna (CWI in Sweden):
“Peace deal” between government and right-wing opposition

France: Deadly attack on satirical paper Charlie Hebdo
08/01/2015, Gauche Revolutionnaire (CWI in France):
Defend freedom of speech! Don’t let us be divided!

Hong Kong: Politics transformed by ‘Umbrella Revolution’
07/01/2015, Editorial from Socialist magazine《社會主義者, of CWI in China and Hong Kong:
A fighting democratic movement must be created to continue and build upon this historic “first round”

Israel-Palestine: A successful Socialism conference in the shadow of national divide
06/01/2015, Or Dar, Socialist Struggle Movement, CWI in Israel-Palestine:
Over 150 people participated in the ‘Socialism Conference 2014’ in Tel Aviv, organised by the Socialist Struggle Movement (SSM - CWI in Israel-Palestine)

Environment: Market forces hold back renewable energy
01/01/2015, Pete Dickinson, Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales):
Have capitalist governments around the world finally woken up to the danger of global warming?

Britain: In defence of TUSC
30/12/2014, Clive Heemskerk, from Socialism Today, magazine of the Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales):
As the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition gears up for its biggest ever electoral stand…

CWI: National Question a key feature of political crisis of capitalism
28/12/2014, Matt Dobson, Socialist Party Scotland (CWI Scotland):
A socialist solution to national oppression

Scotland:Blairite wins election as Labour’s new Scottish leader
27/12/2014, Philip Stott, SPS (CWI Scotland):
Murphy’s election means trade unions must build a new workers party

CWI Comment and Analysis

ANALYSIS

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

Northern Ireland: The Stormont House Agreement
05/01/2015, Michael Cleary, Socialist Party (CWI in Ireland):
Agreeing Not To Agree, Again

New Year: Political and economic ingredients for volatile 2015
31/12/2014, Peter Taaffe, General Secretary Socialist Party (CWI England & Wales):
As crisis of capitalism worsens, vital to organise and continue the struggle

Latin America: The end of one cycle and the beginning of another
17/12/2014, socialistworld.net:
Document on Latin America, agreed by CWI International Executive Committee

World Perspectives: A turbulent period in history
15/12/2014, CWI International Executive Committee:
Signs of revival of class struggle signposts the future

Sri Lanka: Presidential Election January 8, 2015
11/12/2014, Interview with Siritunga Jayasuriya, USP (CWI Sri Lanka):
Socialist candidate challenges all other forces

Australia: Major community victory stops Melbourne’s East-West Toll Road
08/12/2014, By Socialist Party (CWI Australia) reporters, Melbourne:
Socialist Party leads successful campaign against Toll Road and for investment in public transport

World Perspectives: A turbulent period in history
27/11/2014, International Secretariat of the CWI :
Signs of revival of class struggle signposts the future

Ireland: Lies and distortions against community protests, the AAA and the Socialist Party
21/11/2014, Socialist Party (CWI in Ireland) reporters:
Government and Water Charges completely undermined

Israel-Palestine: Netanyahu threatens “heavy hand” response to synagogue attacks
19/11/2014, Yasha Marmer, Socialist Struggle Movement (SSM):
New rounds of repression answered by new wave of rage and protest

Ukraine: Competing ’elections’ deepen divisions
15/11/2014, Rob Jones, CWI Moscow:
Working people need socialist alternative to warring oligarchs and outside powers

Northern Ireland: 20 years after the ceasefires
10/11/2014, Ciaran Mulholland, Socialist Party (CWI in Ireland):
In 1994, the IRA and Loyalist paramilitaries called ceasefires. Four years later the Good Friday agreement was declared to mark the end of the ‘Troubles’…

Germany: 25 years since November 9
09/11/2014, By Robert Bechert, CWI, who was living in Berlin in 1989:
Berlin Wall brought down by mass revolutionary movement

Elections in Brazil
07/11/2014, Andre Ferrari, LSR (CWI in Brazil):
Narrow win for Dilma sets scene for more crisis and instability

Russia’s 1917 socialist revolution
07/11/2014, Clare Doyle, CWI:
November 7th anniversary of workers taking power

Ireland: Stunning Dublin by-election victory, huge water protests…new chapter for working class resistance
04/11/2014, Kevin McLoughlin, Socialist Party (CWI Ireland):
How the Anti Austerity Alliance won a parliamentary seat and the way forward for the Left

Kurdistan: Battle for Kobanê at a crossroads
31/10/2014, Serge Jordan, CWI:
What does US military ‘assistance’ mean for the Kurdish struggle?

A ‘third industrial revolution’
28/10/2014, Peter Taaffe, general secretary of the Socialist Party (CWI England & Wales):
New technological innovations are having a huge impact on the capitalist system, a subject explored in a new book, The Zero Marginal Cost Society.