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Quebec
Towards a hot spring

02/03/2015: Disrupt them like they disrupt us!

  Quebec

Greece
“Yes there was a different choice!”

02/03/2015: Socialist policies needed, not deals with the Troika

  Germany, Greece

Scotland
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Greece showdown

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Greece
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Denmark
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Massive defeat for ruling BJP in Delhi election

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Ruth Coppinger challenges government over political policing

12/02/2015: Heated exchange in Irish parliament between deputy Prime Minister and Socialist Party (CWI) MP

  Ireland Republic, Video

Brazil
CWI Latin American summer school 2015

12/02/2015: 8th Latin American school largest ever held by the CWI on the continent

  Brazil, Latin America

Poland
Miners’ strikes shake the country

11/02/2015: Biggest workers’ struggle for many years

  Poland

Egypt
Regime brutality on fourth anniversary of revolution

10/02/2015: Masses will regain confidence and willingness to fight

  Egypt

 UPDATE
Paul Murphy and others released from police custody

09/02/2015: Send protests against political policing and repression

  Ireland Republic, Solidarity

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

Greece: “Yes there was a different choice!”
02/03/2015, Interview with Nikos Kanellis, Volos City Councilor (Xekinima/ CWI Greece) by Sascha Stanicic (SAV’/CWI Germany):
Socialist policies needed, not deals with the Troika

Scotland: Why Tommy is wrong to call for a vote for the SNP in May
27/02/2015, Clear anti-austerity alternative necessary:
Philip Stott Socialist Party Scotland

Britain: Labour MP shows contempt for workers
24/02/2015, :
Three decades ago he debated with Militant leaders who warned about degeneration of his party

Germany: Pegida at an end?
24/02/2015, Michael Koschitzki, SAV (CWI Germany):
German racist mobilizations split but danger continues

Malaysia: Stop arrests of government opponents!
20/02/2015, Statement on arrests from Socialist Alternative (CWI Malaysia):
Respect the right to freedom of speech!

Solidarity: Five Dublin anti-water charge protesters jailed
20/02/2015, Socialistworld.net:
International solidarity protests needed!

Congo: Forty two killed during street protests in January
20/02/2015, Per-Åke Westerlund, Rättvisepartiet Socialisterna (CWI Sweden):
Senate quashes Kabila’s plan to extend presidency

Greece: What does Tsipras’s endorsement of Prokopis Pavlopoulos for President signify?
19/02/2015, Statement by Xekinima (CWI Greece) Editorial Board [edited translation]:
Economic and social crisis requires independent pro-worker, socialist policies!

Britain: 2015 Socialist Party Congress:
19/02/2015, Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales) reporters:
Preparing the forces to fight capitalist austerity

Ireland: Socialist questions Taoiseach on political policing
18/02/2015, socialistworld.net:
International solidarity protests continue

Denmark: Terrorist attack in Copenhagen
18/02/2015, Arne Johansson, Rättvisepartiet Socialisterna (CWI Sweden):
United struggle needed against right-wing policies

Ireland: “Dogs of war” unleashed in Jobstown
16/02/2015, Cillian Gillespie and Councillor Mick Barry, Socialist Party (CWI in Ireland):
The Gardai have simultaneously targeted the community of Jobstown, the anti-water charges movement and the Anti-Austerity Alliance

Malaysia: Opposition leader imprisoned
16/02/2015, Socialist Alternative (CWI in Malaysia):
Government conspires to quell growing opposition

Hong Kong: Erwiana’s court victory – now to step up the struggle for migrant rights!
14/02/2015, Vincent Kolo, Socialist Action (CWI) in Hong Kong:
Hong Kong court finds employer guilty of torture-like crimes

Ireland: Interview with Paul Murphy TD following arrest
13/02/2015, socialistworld.net:
Socialist Party (CWI) and AAA TD Paul Murphy speaks following five days of political arrests of anti-water

Greece: If the Troika does not back down?
13/02/2015, Andros Payiatsos, Xekinima (CWI Greece):
Let the Greek people decide!

India: Massive defeat for ruling BJP in Delhi election
12/02/2015, Youvraj B, Pune, New Socialist Alternative (CWI India):
Result reflects growing mass discontent

Video: Brazilian housing movement presents Kshama Sawant with flag
12/02/2015, socialistworld.net:
MTST one of Brazil’s most important social movements

Video: Ruth Coppinger challenges government over political policing
12/02/2015, socialistworld.net:
Heated exchange in Irish parliament between deputy Prime Minister and Socialist Party (CWI) MP

Brazil: CWI Latin American summer school 2015
12/02/2015, Socialistworld.net:
8th Latin American school largest ever held by the CWI on the continent

Solidarity: Sweden protest against political policing in Ireland
11/02/2015, Rättvisepartiet Socialisterna (CWI in Sweden):
"No more arrests"

UPDATE: Further Dublin arrests as anti-protest clampdown continues
11/02/2015, socialistworld.net:
Organise international solidarity!

Poland : Miners’ strikes shake the country
11/02/2015, Wojciech Orowiecki, Alternatywa Socjalistyczna (CWI in Poland):
Biggest workers’ struggle for many years

UPDATE: More dawn arrests of Irish water-tax protestors
10/02/2015, socialistworld.net:
Solidarity protests needed

UPDATE: Paul Murphy and others released from police custody
09/02/2015, socialistworld.net:
Send protests against political policing and repression

CWI Comment and Analysis

ANALYSIS

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.

Libya: War-torn country becoming new hub for IS activities
25/02/2015, Serge Jordan (CWI):
Libyan people bearing the brunt of NATO’s fiasco

Europe: Eurozone time-bomb
25/02/2015, Lynn Walsh, article from Socialism Today (magazine of the Socialist Party of England and Wales):
Mired in recession, the eurozone is haunted by the spectre of stagnation

Greece: Syriza retreats under Troika threats
24/02/2015, Nicos Anastasiades, Xekinima (CWI Greece), Thessaloniki:
Popular mood shows anti-austerity, socialist policies would win huge support

History: The political legacy of Malcolm X
21/02/2015, Eljeer Hawkins, Socialist Alternative:
50 years after his assassination

Spain: Is ‘Podemos’ the Spanish Syriza?
16/02/2015, Danny Byrne, CWI:
Dangers of “moderation” and domestication

Egypt: Regime brutality on fourth anniversary of revolution
10/02/2015, David Johnson, Socialist Party (CWI England & Wales):
Masses will regain confidence and willingness to fight

Greece: Not a single step back!
08/02/2015, Statement by the Editorial Board of Xekinima (CWI Greece):
Conflict between SYRIZA government and EU escalates

Kurdistan: ‘Islamic State’ driven out of Kobanê
02/02/2015, Serge Jordan, CWI:
Will the end of Kobanê’s siege turn the tide against IS?

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