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24/06/2016: Tories Out! General election now! Fight for a 24 hour general strike

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24/06/2016: The digits change but reality remains a nightmare for most

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EU referendum

23/06/2016: Whatever the result, political turmoil is ahead

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Student protests win important victory

23/06/2016: Education ministry retreats over increased tuition fees

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Prime Minister Renzi’s party routed

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New protests as kidnapped bookseller speaks out

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This weak government can be beaten

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Women health workers protest in Sindh

21/06/2016: Lady Health Workers organisation protests at non-payment of wages

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EU referendum

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Stand together against bigotry, war and terrorism

17/06/2016: Orlando – massive wave of solidarity with LGBTQ community

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Conflict in the South China Sea

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ISIS under pressure on several fronts

15/06/2016: Working classes, through bitterest of experiences, will take to road of mass struggle again

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Massive protest demonstration in Paris

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Over 100,000 sign petition for independent Sanders challenge

13/06/2016: Surge in support for petition initiated by socialist councillor Kshama Sawant

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Orlando massacre

13/06/2016: Stand with our LGBTQ Sisters and Brothers! Fight back against Scapegoating & Islamophobia!

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New trade union action plan

13/06/2016: “The cup is full !”

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Egypt’s workers in revolt

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EU green myths

11/06/2016: The truth about the EU and the environment

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Left parties turning against bosses’ Europe

10/06/2016: Progress in Portugal and Spain, confusion in Britain

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China’s ’Cultural Revolution’ 1966-67

10/06/2016: 50 years ago the ’Cultural Revolution’ began in China.

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Youth and the EU referendum

09/06/2016: Fight for our future, starting with a Leave vote to smash the Tories

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A fighter who inspired millions

09/06/2016: Establishment forced to incorporate his legend into re-writing of history

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The working-class case against the EU

08/06/2016: Review of ‘And The Weak Must Suffer What They Must?’ by Yanis Varoufakis

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1989 mass movement and June 4 massacre

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Victory for Athens bus cleaners

07/06/2016: Strike action wins major concessions from contractors and bus administration

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Biggest union votes to support exit from the EU

06/06/2016: Union and Labour leaders should join NIPSA and other combative unions in opposing bosses’ club

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On the brink of collapse?

04/06/2016: Counter-revolution gaining ground

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After party conference, where is DIE LINKE going?

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Lisbon dockers victory against precarious work

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Tories tearing themselves apart over EU referendum

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Fight against Valls/Hollande government intensifies

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Left government on the horizon in June elections

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Bus cleaners renew strike after management’s broken promises

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Greece election

Majority vote against austerity

www.socialistworld.net, 21/06/2012
website of the committee for a workers' international, CWI

Clear socialist programme for struggle needed

Nicos Anastasiades, Xekinima (CWI Greece)

The relief of the capitalist world leaders attending the G20 summit in Mexico didn’t last long. Within hours following the narrow general election victory of Greece’s pro-austerity New Democracy party, the rally of share prices on stock markets ended and Spain’s government bond yields exceeded a euro-busting 7%.

The capitalist crisis can only inflict further pain and ruination for millions of Greek people and beyond. And as the article below on the Greek election concludes, only the fight for a socialist alternative can end this living nightmare.

Nicos Anastasiades writes, from Xekinima, Greek section of the Committee for a Workers’ International:

The outcome of the elections in Greece has left the majority of the population with mixed feelings. On the one hand, there is the victory of the right-wing New Democracy, which conducted a huge campaign of fear and was able to rally all the conservative elements of society. Nonetheless, the parties that explicitly backed the European Union, International Monetary Fund and European Central Bank (the ’Troika’) bailout conditions got less than 50% of the vote.

On the other hand, the left-wing Syriza, while not coming first in the election and thereby taking the bonus 50 MPs, still got almost 27%, the highest vote that any left party in Greece has won in the last decades.

Alarmingly, the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn won almost 7% of the vote.

These results reflect the political tensions that have shaken Greece during the last two and a half years as a result of the economic crisis and the impact of the policies of the Troika.

New Democracy

How did New Democracy, associated with causing Greece’s punishing austerity measures, emerge from the election as the largest party?

It was one of the most polarised election campaigns, probably the most polarised, since the 1980s. New Democracy (ND), accompanied by EU and IMF officials, local and international media, institutions of the ruling class and all the other capitalist parties waged a huge campaign of fear.

"If Syriza is elected we will be kicked out of the euro"... "There will be a social catastrophe"... "There won’t be any medicine and petrol"... were some of the usual phrases used by ND spokesmen.

ND managed to increase its vote from 19% in the previous election to nearly 30%, but this was not done on the basis of support for its programme.

The question of Greece’s future in the euro and Greece’s debt was the main focus of the ND scare campaign. They used the fear of many workers that Greece is a small economy and cannot survive ’isolated’ from the eurozone and EU. According to polls, a third of the population voted with the euro issue uppermost in their concerns. The ND’s propaganda was ’helped’ by Syriza, whose leaders did not have a clear position on the question, and put forward different proposals, creating confusion among big sections of the electorate.

But it was not only the euro question. Syriza was declared as the ’root of all evils’. New Democracy accused Syriza of being linked to terrorism, to political violence and to corruption! This McCarthyite-style witch-hunt was aimed at mobilising the most reactionary elements of the older generation.

Greece: protests during general election 18 June 2012, photo by RT free video

There was a clear split in the voting results according to age. Among the over 55s, New Democracy and Pasok got more than double the percentage vote than from voters aged 18-54.

There was also a clear voter differentiation between the rich areas (for example in Ekali, a rich neighborhood in Athens, New Democracy got 70% and Syriza 6.5%) and the poor ones (in Nikaia-Renti, a working class area, Syriza got around 38% and New Democracy only 17%).

Antonis Samaras, the leader of ND, stated after the results that Greece will "honour its signatures" ie continue along the austerity road. Of course, given the huge combined anti-austerity vote, he was also forced to talk about the need for "policies for growth", saying that he will try to negotiate with the Troika a more ’loose’ economic policy.

It is clear that a new ND-led coalition will be a government of crisis and austerity attacks and will face big struggles. Greek and international capitalists and bankers do not have a ’humanitarian’ approach to the Greek drama. They will continue to impose brutal cuts policies, but perhaps at a slightly slower pace or in nicer packaging.

The new government will continue to provoke huge workers’ struggles and social movements. Now, however, these struggles will have a political perspective, that of bringing to power a left government. This will boost the combativeness and the determination of the masses, even if for the time being, the basic feeling is that of disappointment over the victory of ND.

Left vote

It is maybe the first time in Greek history that the second party in an election has enjoyed bigger celebrations than the first. Syriza made a huge leap, from 4.6% (315,627 votes) in the 2009 elections, to 16.78% (1,061,282) in the 6 May elections, and to almost 27% (1,655,053) on 17 June. This shows the huge potential for the left to grow during a period of crisis.

Syriza became a pole of attraction when it posed the question of power, calling for a "left government" and challenging New Democracy, on the slogans of scrapping the bailout memorandum and ending austerity. By doing so, Syriza gave hope to big sections of workers and youth, who saw a way to end the nightmare imposed on Greek society during the last two years.

In the run up to the latest elections, there was a clear trend towards Syriza, but it was not an enthusiastic one. Syriza leapt to 27% in the polls just after the 6 May elections. That means that in the one month pre-election period they did not manage to increase that support, while ND was constantly gaining ground.

On the one hand, people saw Syriza as the only alternative to punish the "parties of the memorandum". On the other hand, people saw that Syriza did not propose a clear alternative to the implemented policies.

The leadership of Syriza kept a clear distance from advocating a socialist programme, which is the only possible way out of the present crisis. They actually tended to water down Syriza’s programme in the weeks before the election and moved to the right.

One of the central tasks facing Syriza therefore is to engage in a serious political debate on the programme that they put forward.

The basic deficiency of Syriza is that it does not have a rounded-out socialist programme to deal with the crisis. There were radical elements in what it proposed, but these were pared back as the election date approached (for example the demand to "nationalise the banks" became "public control over the banking system" and the slogan "for a government of the Left" changed to "a government of all the Greeks").

Xekinima, the Socialist Party’s counterpart in Greece, which campaigned for a Syriza vote, argued for a clear socialist programme. This included ending all austerity, non-payment of the debt and nationalising the big banks and main planks of the economy under democratic workers’ control and management.

Also, part of Syriza’s problem was that different spokespersons were saying different things. ND used that ’multilingualism’ to accuse Syriza of not having a clear orientation. They were not completely wrong in that sense.

Syriza took part in the elections with a programme which created illusions that a change of policy can be achieved without clashing with big capital in Greece and Europe. This alienated some of the most politically conscious sections of the working class (who voted for Syriza but had serious doubts), and a fear among other working class voters that Syriza may become a ’new Pasok’, promising a lot of things that it cannot fulfil.

Another weakness was that Syriza does not have deep roots in the workplaces and the neighbourhoods. There was an attempt to organise local meetings before the election, and some events saw significant numbers attend, but the overall picture was that the decisions were taken at the top of Syriza.

The sharp drop in the votes of KKE (Communist Party), (losing 50% of its votes from 6 May) and the anti-capitalist formation Antarsya (losing 75% of its votes from 6 May) led to Syriza becoming the dominant force on the left in Greece.

But can Syriza replace its programme of reformist illusions and confusion with a socialist programme to create a vehicle for the masses to take power? Or will Syriza fail to develop its potential and be in danger of becoming politically ’absorbed’ by the system?

Xekinima, which participated in Syriza’s local organisations, intends to play a role in this process, working with the rank and file of Syriza and developing alliances, in its attempt to push Syriza in a leftward direction.

Neo-fascist threat

The consolidation of the near 7% of the vote by the neo-Nazi thugs of Golden Dawn is an alarm bell to all workers and progressive people in Greece and Europe. Its ’election campaign’ was a mixture of violence, threats and political cannibalism.

Its vote came from a part of the population which is desperate and alienated due to the economic and social crisis, without any previous political experience, and politically confused and disorientated.

The infamous beating of the KKE MP Liana Kaneli on live TV, which shook a big part of the population, actually seems to have helped Golden Dawn reach that part of the population which seeks ’radical and immediate solutions’ against the whole political system. Its propaganda was also based on the rise of criminality which they try to equate with immigration.

Golden Dawn’s position will now be strengthened, and the left must come together to form anti-fascist committees in every city, neighbourhood and workplace to stop their rise.

New period

In the months to come, Greece will continue to be the weakest link in the weak EU chain. A new governing coalition of pro-austerity parties will solve none of the country’s difficulties but instead will continue to pauperise the already impoverished Greek people. This will at some stage provoke a massive renewed fightback by the working class.

Xekinima conducted a major campaign to support Syriza in the election, and at the same time firmly put forward the need for a clear socialist programme. We will meet the battles ahead with determination, to end this rotten system and lay the basis for a socialist society.

Socialist MEP’s solidarity visit

Paul Murphy the Irish Socialist Party MEP for Dublin was in Greece during the election as part of the European left group of MEPs supporting Syriza. Paul penned the following on his blog immediately after the election result.

"The narrow victory for New Democracy comes after an incredible campaign of terror against the Greek people, which far surpassed the campaign people in Ireland were subjected to during the referendum campaign. A conscious decision was made by the Greek political, economic and media establishment, in collaboration with their European partners, to portray this election as a referendum on leaving the euro and so frighten people into supporting the right.

"Tonight’s victory will prove to be pyrrhic and short-lived for the capitalist establishment here. Any right-wing government that is formed will face such resistance on the streets and in the workplaces, together with a massively strengthened left opposition in the parliament, that it will not be able to implement the level of austerity demanded by Merkel and Co."

Health services collapse under austerity cuts

Greece’s public services are collapsing under the hammer blows of recession and austerity.

The health service has suffered a 40% cut in funding for hospitals, including massive job cuts. Health workers have seen their monthly pay slashed by hundreds of euros.

Hospitals are squeezing the supply of essential drugs, cancelling non-urgent operations and rationing health treatments. The cuts have also caused a sharp rise in HIV/Aids and malaria cases.

If all this wasn’t bad enough then the situation facing patients at the psychiatric hospital on the Greek island of Leros is utterly desperate. It’s reported that by next month the hospital will not have enough food to feed its 400 patients. The financial crisis has meant that the government has not paid in €8 million owed to the hospital from the social security fund. Consequently the hospital cannot pay its suppliers.



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NEWS

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Tories Out! General election now! Fight for a 24 hour general strike

Pakistan: Budget 2016-17
24/06/2016, Muhammad Khan Ahmedani Socialist Movement Sindh, Pakistan:
The digits change but reality remains a nightmare for most

Britain: EU referendum
23/06/2016, Editorial from the Socialist, paper of the Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales):
Whatever the result, political turmoil is ahead

Taiwan: Student protests win important victory
23/06/2016, CWI Taiwan:
Education ministry retreats over increased tuition fees

Italy: Prime Minister Renzi’s party routed
22/06/2016, Chris Thomas, ControCorrente (CWI Italy):
Five Star mayors elected in Rome and Turin

Ireland: The left wing case for leaving the EU
22/06/2016, Originally published on sluggerotoole.com:
Article by Paul Murphy, Irish MP and former MEP and CWI member

Hong Kong: New protests as kidnapped bookseller speaks out
22/06/2016, Dikang, Socialist Action (CWI in Hong Kong):
Gangster methods of China’s regime exposed

Ireland: This weak government can be beaten
21/06/2016, By Paul Murphy, Anti-Austerity Alliance MP and Socialist Party (CWI in Ireland) member:
“The reality is that a small clique of hard-left, Trotskyite politicians, who are quite upfront about seeking to overthrow the current system, are now arguably setting the political agenda.” (Shane Coleman, Irish Independent 17 May 2016)

Pakistan: Women health workers protest in Sindh
21/06/2016, Sughran Khaskheli:
Lady Health Workers organisation protests at non-payment of wages

Britain: EU referendum
19/06/2016, Editorial of the Socialist, issue 906:
Whatever the result, political turmoil is ahead

US: Stand together against bigotry, war and terrorism
17/06/2016, Tom Crean, Socialist Alternative:
Orlando – massive wave of solidarity with LGBTQ community

Middle East: ISIS under pressure on several fronts
15/06/2016, Niall Mulholland, CWI:
Working classes, through bitterest of experiences, will take to road of mass struggle again

France : Massive protest demonstration in Paris
15/06/2016, Naomi Byron in France for The Socialist, paper of the Socialist Party (CWI in England and Wales):
Workers march as Senate debates hated labour law reform

US: Over 100,000 sign petition for independent Sanders challenge
13/06/2016, socialistworld.net:
Surge in support for petition initiated by socialist councillor Kshama Sawant

US: Orlando massacre
13/06/2016, Immediate reaction from Kshama Sawant, Socialist Alternative councillor, Seattle:
Stand with our LGBTQ Sisters and Brothers! Fight back against Scapegoating & Islamophobia!

Belgium: New trade union action plan
13/06/2016, Nicolas Croes, PSL-LSP (CWI in Belgium):
“The cup is full !”

Egypt’s workers in revolt
12/06/2016, Christine Thomas:
Review of "The Egyptians: a radical story"

Environment: EU green myths
11/06/2016, Claire Laker Mansfield, originally published in Socialism Today, magazine of the Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales):
The truth about the EU and the environment

History: China’s ’Cultural Revolution’ 1966-67
10/06/2016, Edited version of article written by Socialist Party general secretary Peter Taaffe for Militant (predecessor of the Socialist) in February 1967.:
50 years ago the ’Cultural Revolution’ began in China.

Britain: Youth and the EU referendum
09/06/2016, Editorial from the Socialist (weekly paper of the Socialist Party – CWI England & Wales):
Fight for our future, starting with a Leave vote to smash the Tories

China: 1989 mass movement and June 4 massacre
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Video by CWI comrades in China and Hong Kong

Greece: Victory for Athens bus cleaners
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Strike action wins major concessions from contractors and bus administration

Northern Ireland: Biggest union votes to support exit from the EU
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Venezuela: On the brink of collapse?
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Counter-revolution gaining ground

Germany: After party conference, where is DIE LINKE going?
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SAV/CWI member Lucy Redler elected to national committee

Portugal: Lisbon dockers victory against precarious work
02/06/2016, João Félix Socialismo Revolucionário (CWI in Portugal):
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CWI Comment and Analysis

ANALYSIS

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16/06/2016, This is an abridged version of an article by Vincent Kolo, originally published on chinaworker.info.:
Territorial disputes resemble pieces on a ‘geopolitical chessboard’ as the US and China struggle for hegemony in Asia

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10/06/2016, Danny Byrne, CWI:
Progress in Portugal and Spain, confusion in Britain

Muhammad Ali: A fighter who inspired millions
09/06/2016, Hugo Pierre, Socialism Today (originally published in 2003):
Establishment forced to incorporate his legend into re-writing of history

Review: The working-class case against the EU
08/06/2016, Hannah Sell, article from Socialism Today, magazine of the Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales):
Review of ‘And The Weak Must Suffer What They Must?’ by Yanis Varoufakis

France: Fight against Valls/Hollande government intensifies
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Gauche Revolutionnaire statement underlines vital need for political alternative

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24/05/2016, Sonja Grusch, SLP (the Austrian section of the CWI):
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Ireland: ‘Jobstown trials’ to go ahead
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Government loses battle on water charges but wages war on Left

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Hollande’s decision to over-rule parliament provokes another round of struggle

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Belgium: Trade unions announce new plan of action
11/05/2016, LSP/PSL (CWI in Belgium) Reporters:
Call for two national demonstrations, building towards general strikes

Britain: 90th anniversary of epochal general strike
05/05/2016, Peter Taaffe, Socialist Party (CWI England & Wales) general secretary:
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Israel/Palestine: The Marxist left, the national conflict and the
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29/04/2016, Socialist Struggle Movement (CWI Israel-Palestine):
The necessity of a class approach and a socialist alternative

France: One-day strike set for 28 April
26/04/2016, Alex Rouillard, Gauche Revolutionnaire (CWI in France):
A final stage before indefinite action against Hollande’s government?

US: The un-Democratic Primary
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Review: ’Militant’ by Michael Crick
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Lessons of Militant vital for anti-austerity struggles today

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Extracts from a statement discussed at the Socialist Party’s recent congress

Ireland: 100th anniversary of Easter 1916 Rising
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History: When Khrushchev denounced Stalin
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1956 ‘secret speech’ a devastating blow to Stalinist regimes

11th CWI World Congress: World Perspectives
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DIE LINKE (Left Party) urgently needs to change course