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latest news

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 has enthused millions of people throughout the US looking for a political alternative to Wall Street.

  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

China 2015
A year of unnatural disasters

04/01/2016: Corruption, poor oversight and chase for profits, maim thousands

  China

Britain
Corbyn’s supporters want resistance against the right

01/01/2016: 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).

  Britain

 Review
Alexandra Kollontai

29/12/2015: A life of socialist struggle

  Review, Women

Review
Revisiting Animal Farm

27/12/2015: Allegory of the terrible betrayal of the Russian revolution

  Review

Review
Charlie Chaplin

25/12/2015: Playing the underdog

  Review

Spain
Elections mark shift to the Left

23/12/2015: No government majority as Podemos partially recovers

  Spain

Environment
A world of change

23/12/2015: Human beings have radically altered the Earth, adapting nature in the struggle to survive and thrive…

  Environment

Pakistan
Hundreds protest against religious extremism and increased intolerance

21/12/2015: Rally organised by Socialist Movement Sindh in Mir Pur Khas

  Pakistan

China
Regime cracks down on labour activists

19/12/2015: Arrests in Guangdong province as workers’ struggles multiply

  China

Egypt

50,000 protest ruling military junta’s new sweeping powers

www.socialistworld.net, 20/06/2012
website of the committee for a workers' international, CWI

Escalation in struggle for power between old regime and Muslim Brotherhood

Niall Mulholland and David Johnson, edited article from The Socialist (weekly paper of the Socialist Party (CWI England and Wales)

Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood stated the revolution is facing ‘a life and death moment’ after it claimed victory in presidential elections but now faces an attempt by the ruling military junta to impose a ‘constitutional coup’.

The official results of the second round presidential elections will not be known until Thursday 21 June. However, on a low turnout, unofficial tallies suggested that Mohammed Mursi, the presidential candidate for the Muslim Brotherhood’s (MB) Freedom and Justice Party (FJP), won with 52% of the vote. It is likely that no matter who the election commission names as winner, his rival will claim it is a fraud, opening the way to further confrontation.

Just as polls closed the ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (Scaf) gave itself new sweeping powers in a ‘constitutional declaration’. This effectively binds the hands of the incoming president and increases military dictatorship in the post-Mubarak era.

It gives the generals powers to initiate legislation, control the budget, appoint a panel to draft a new constitution, postpone new parliamentary elections until the constitution is approved and strips the president of any authority over the army.

It also formalised the army’s ability to detain civilians and to bring troops onto the streets during “internal unrest”.

This follows a ruling by the High Constitutional Court on 14 June - stacked with Mubarak-era supporters - that decreed parliamentary elections held earlier this year were unconstitutional, leading to the dissolution of the Islamist-led parliament.

On Monday morning, 18 June, soldiers prevented MPs from entering parliament. The court also supported the right of Mubarak’s last prime minister to run for president.

The concerted moves by the High Court and generals mark a serious escalation in the struggle for power between the old regime and the rising power of the Muslim Brotherhood.

More importantly, it is another assault by the Mubarak-era forces against the working masses and revolutionary opposition.

Since the ‘25 January revolution’, last year, over 1,200 protesters have been murdered by the regime, 8,000 maimed and 16,000 court-martialled. Thousand are in military jails, with many of them on hunger strike.

In a leaflet distributed in Tahrir Square last year, published on the day of Murbarak’s forced resignation, CWI supporters warned: “However the battle is not over yet, dangers still remain. The unelected vice-president Suleiman, the Mubarak police state’s former head of intelligence, announced that the former president handed over power to the ‘High Council of the armed forces to administer the affairs of the country’. The new head of state, Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, has been defence minister and the armed forces Commander-in Chief since 1991, nearly two-thirds of the time that Mubarak was in power. A BBC correspondent commented that ‘The army takeover looks very much like a military coup … because officially it should be the speaker of parliament who takes over, not the army leadership’.”

( http://www.socialistworld.net/doc/4844)

Reports that ousted president Hosni Mubarak was transferred from Torah prison hospital to a military hospital, late last night, where he is on a life support machine, will raise tensions in society. It will further infuriate many youth and workers who regard the revolution under attack. Although sentenced to a life prison sentence, Mubarak is given preferential treatment by the ruling military regime and security and military officials.

‘Nasserist’ candidate

The two presidential candidates, the Muslim Brotherhood’s Mursi and Ahmad Shafiq, a former minister in Mubarak’s regime, each gained only about 25% of the votes in the first round.

Hamdeen Sabbahi

Despite the strong show of support for Hamdeen Sabbahi, the radical ‘Nasserist’ candidate whose vote was just 3% behind Mursi and 2% behind Shafiq in the first round, there was no candidate for president to represent the interests of the working class and the poor.

Shafiq was backed by Scaf which has ruled Egypt since Mubarak’s downfall. This is the same regime that ruled before the 25 January 2011 revolution, minus Mubarak, his sons and a few other henchmen. Shafiq stands for the continuation of rule by this pro-big business regime, with Scaf retaining power behind the scenes.

Shafiq made the need for security and ‘law and order’ his main campaign issue. He tried to exploit the “chaos” of recent months, which was due to the machinations of the ruling military, including their ‘divide and rule’ policies, but also because the revolution has no clear direction or socialist leadership.

But behind talk of the need to cut crime is the clear threat to clamp down on the rights to protest, to organise independent trade unions and to strike. After 18 months of revolutionary turmoil, Shafiq stood for counter-revolution to end the challenge to the ruling classes’ right to exploit the rest of society.

Mursi’s share of the vote was almost half what his FJP had won in the parliamentary elections earlier this year, falling from ten million to 5.8 million.

He tried to portray himself as the candidate to defend the revolution against the restoration of the old regime. That is not easy for him given the MB’s role before, during and since the revolution.

For years, the MB leadership avoided direct confrontation with the Mubarak regime, despite frequent arrests and imprisonment of its leading members.

At first, the MB opposed the 25 January uprising. It was only after large numbers of MB youth ignored these ‘leaders’, joining other youth in Tahrir and other city squares, that the MB leadership was forced to change its tune and declare its support for the revolution.

After the downfall of Mubarak, the MB leaders cooperated with Scaf until November. Coming under massive pressure from below, they then supported a demonstration called for 18 November but continued to avoid outright confrontation with the generals.

MB leaders have continued to swing between cooperation with Scaf and opposition, depending on whether they have felt under greater pressure from the generals or the masses. The MB leaders opposed independent working class action and, in particular, strike action.

They represent the interests of a section of the capitalist class who were excluded from political power under Mubarak’s regime. They use right-wing, political Islam to build a base of support among the most conservative layers in society. Since their election to parliament, MB MPs have been trying to remove women’s and children’s rights.

In the second round presidential elections, many of the exploited in society, for want of a class alternative, voted for the MB as a ‘lesser evil’, in opposition to the Mubarak-era forces and the rule of the generals. Others voted for Shafiq, not because they want to see the rule of the generals, but because they feared political Islamists imposing their will on society.

Most tellingly, however, were the millions who decided not to vote at all, in effect boycotting the election. Some areas reported voter turnout as low as 15%.

The Scaf is relying on repression and intimidation, as well as widespread exhaustion and a craving for stability among big parts of Egyptian society, in order to maintain their rule. The so-called months of “democratic transition”, under the control of Scaf and with imperialist backing, is clearly revealed to the Egyptian masses as a complete fraud.

Following the outcome of the presidential elections and the military’s coup there may be a feeling of demoralisation among some workers and youth.

It is also possible that the crude intervention of the pro-Mubarak Courts and Scaf’s new repressive legislation, can act as the ‘whip of counter-revolution’, provoking new mass protests and an upsurge in revolutionary struggles. Some 50,000 protesters, reportedly mostly Islamists, massed in Cairo’s Tahrir Square, on 19 June, chanting slogans in support of Morsi and denouncing the Scaf entrenchment of its power. Other protests were reported in Alexandria, the port city.

Whatever the timing and course of new mass resistance, the MB cannot be relied upon to lead it in the interests of working people.

Although the Muslim Brotherhood called this week for mass protests across Egypt to demonstrate against sweeping new powers taken by the ruling military council, it remains to be seen how far the leadership is prepared to lead a real struggle.

While coming under pressure from below to fight for more democratic rights, the MB, in or out of power, will primarily act on behalf of the ruling class, or at least that faction they represent. As the MB has shown before, despite its rhetoric against military rule, it can end up making a rotten compromise with the generals.

Independent working class alternative

As the revolution last year showed, to win democratic and social gains, the working class can only rely on its own collective power and methods of mass struggle, including general strikes, and by building a strong, independent political alternative to all pro-capitalist parties.

A working class alternative can draw behind it those rank and file MB supporters who are opposed to the military and want to see real democracy and social justice.

If Mursi takes office in the current circumstances, he will be without any real powers. However, as the Guardian points out (19 June), it may be in the interests of Scaf to see “a weak civilian president who can be blamed when the economy deteriorates further”.

As well as the political and ‘constitutional crisis’, Egypt’s economic crisis takes centre stage. Currency reserves are falling by about $600 million a month, as the rich take their money out of the country and income from tourism remains low.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has offered a loan on condition that there is ‘broad political support’, meaning that politicians of all governing parties sign up to their programme of tax rises and public spending cuts, especially on food and fuel subsidies.

Whether it is tax rises and spending cuts, or rising inflation and growing unemployment, the price for workers and the poor is the same – a massive attack on already desperately low living standards.

A Mursi presidency, even if largely toothless, can end up being blamed when workers’ living standards and their newly-won democratic rights come under renewed attack. This will lead to disillusionment among Muslim Brotherhood supporters and splits among its base. But unless the Left offers a clear socialist alternative, the more right-wing political Islam of the Salafist Nour party can gain.

Even the limited reforms promised by the Nasserist candidate Sabbahi - including raising the minimum wage and unemployment benefit for youth and opposing austerity measures - will require a major struggle.

They must be part of more far-reaching measures, including nationalising all the big corporations and banks, under democratic workers’ control. This would enable the economy to be democratically planned in the interests of the vast majority of society.

New revolution

The 25 January revolution marked the entry of the masses onto the stage of history and led to the overthrow of Mubarak. But the rule of the capitalist class and their army generals continues.

A second revolution is needed to change society – a socialist revolution in which the working class leads the poor, the small farmers, middle classes and youth to take power from the bankers, big business and Scaf. A mass movement with a socialist programme could win the ranks of the armed forces away from the generals.

The most important task facing revolutionary workers and youth in Egypt is to organise and build independent trade unions and a mass workers’ party that can unite workers, youth and the poor together to fight for their interests.

Increasing attacks on living standards and attempts to withdraw newly-won democratic rights by whatever regime is in power will inevitably result in new waves of struggle, sooner or later.

There will be many opportunities to build workers’ organisations and for workers to learn the need for a second, socialist revolution. Part of this struggle entails workers fighting for real, lasting democratic rights and social change, including the convening of a genuine constituent assembly and for a workers’ government to fundamentally change society.



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NEWS

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.

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 has enthused millions of people throughout the US looking for a political alternative to Wall Street.

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

Review: Charlie Chaplin
25/12/2015, Niall Mulholland, from Socialism Today (Issue 191 September 2015):
Playing the underdog

Spain: Elections mark shift to the Left
23/12/2015, Socialismo Revolucionario (CWI in Spain):
No government majority as Podemos partially recovers

Pakistan: Hundreds protest against religious extremism and increased intolerance
21/12/2015, Hameed Channa Socialist Movement Pakistan (CWI in Pakistan) organiser in Sindh:
Rally organised by Socialist Movement Sindh in Mir Pur Khas

CWI Comment and Analysis

ANALYSIS

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

Turkey: Erdoğan’s Pyrrhic victory
20/11/2015, Nihat Boyraz, Sosyalist Alternatif (CWI in Turkey) - translation from an article originally written in Turkish for Sosyalist Alternatif magazine:
It is time to build a new united left force

Burma: Sweeping victory for Aung San Suu Kyi party
19/11/2015, Keith Dickinson, Socialist Party (England and Wales):
Army holds on to powerful positions

France: Horror in Paris
14/11/2015, Statement from Gauche Révolutionnaire (CWI in France):
We will not be intimidated !

Britain: Socialist ideas back on the agenda
10/11/2015, Sarah Sachs-Eldridge, Socialism 2015 organiser:
Best ever ‘Socialism’ weekend of discussion & debate

US: The Bernie Sanders challenge
07/11/2015, Tom Crean, Socialist Alternative, USA. Article from Socialism Today:
The established political order in the US has been shaken up by Bernie Sanders’ campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination…

Israel/Palestine: Netanyahu government policy claims more victims
28/10/2015, Two articles by Socialist Struggle Movement (CWI in Israel-Palestine) reporters:
The crisis of “management of the conflict”

Women: Identity politics and the struggle against oppression
27/10/2015, Hannah Sell, Socialism Today Issue 192 October 2015 (monthly magazine of the Socialist Party, CWI England & Wales):
Unpacking the ’rucksack’