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latest news

Iraq/Syria
ISIS rout national armies at Ramadi and Palmyra

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

  Iraq, Syria

Britain
Labour leadership contest - appealing to big business

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

  Britain

Ireland North
Election marks growing rejection of sectarian status quo

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

  Ireland Republic

Spain
Is Podemos in crisis?

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

  Spain

Britain
Build a movement to defeat Tories’ cuts savagery

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

  Britain

Ireland South
Vote ‘Yes’ to marriage equality!

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

  Ireland Republic

Greece
Subordination to Troika or rupture with austerity?

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

  Greece

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

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

  Cyprus

Chile
Huge demonstrations call for free education

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

  Chile

Australia
East-West toll road dispute concluded

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

  Australia

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

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

  Ireland Republic

Britain
Organising against Tory austerity starts now

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

  Britain

 Video
Joe Higgins TD questions former ECB president Jean Claude Trichet

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

  Ireland Republic, Video

Sudan
Mass apathy towards elections

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

  Sudan

USA
Presidential candidate declares "political revolution" against billionaires

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

  US

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

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

  Britain

China
“In a hard landing now”

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

  China

Scotland
Labour annihilated

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

  Scotland

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

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

  Britain

Poland
65,000 workers demonstrate against governments’ policies

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

  Poland

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

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

  Ireland North

Britain
Russell Brand mistaken to sow illusions in Labour

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

  Britain

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

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

  May Day

Iceland
Fighting for better wages

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

  Iceland

May Day 2015
Socialist plan or capitalist chaos

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

  May Day

Nepal
Disaster in Nepal –amplified by capitalism

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

  Nepal

US
Rage in Baltimore

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

  US

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

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

  Review, US

 May Day 2015
Resisting austerity, exploitation, wars and oppression

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

  CWI, May Day

Italy
Migrant disasters - the human cost of budget cuts

27/04/2015: From Mare Nostrum to Triton

  Italy

Latin America
A new turn?

25/04/2015: Historic handshake between Barack Obama and Raúl Castro, turmoil in Venezuela, and stalled reforms in Bolivia – as well as crises in Brazil – symbolise a new turn in Latin America and the Caribbean

  Latin America

Finland
Worst ever election result for traditional Left

24/04/2015: Finns Party second biggest in parliament

  Finland

US

Occupy Homes: The Battle of 4404 Cedar Ave

www.socialistworld.net, 04/07/2012
website of the committee for a workers' international, CWI

Minneapolis anti-foreclosure movement confronts banks, politicians, and police

Ginger Jentzen & Ty Moore, Socialist Alternative (CWI supporters in US)

The battle over the Cruz family home, nestled in a well-kept working class neighbourhood in south Minneapolis, emerged in May and June as the central struggle in the burgeoning nationwide anti-foreclosure movement.

All members of the Cruz family work, and for years they paid their mortgage in full and on time. But when their online payment to PNC failed to go through due to a bank computer error, the bank unapologetically demanded two mortgage payments plus penalties. When they were unable to pay what PNC demanded in time, the house fell into foreclosure, and the mortgage was sold to Freddie Mac.

Sheriffs posted an eviction notice on Alejandra and David Cruz’s door in late April, and the Cruzes invited Occupy Homes MN to begin a 24/7 eviction blockade of their home. For a peaceful first month, the Cruz family home served as a community hub, hosting teach-ins, neighbourhood barbecues, and Occupy Homes meetings. But the long-awaited battle eventually began.

Wednesday, May 23: First eviction attempt

Hennepin County sheriffs made their first major eviction attempt. Several occupiers immediately hooked into concrete lock-box barrels to delay the deputies. A text alert went out, and 100 supporters arrived within a short period, blockading busy Cedar Ave during rush hour until the sheriffs retreated.

Friday, May 25: Pre-dawn defense

Deputies returned at 4am with a jackhammer and a battering ram. While sheriffs jackhammered through the concrete lock-box barrels to arrest the activists whose limbs were locked inside, the delay allowed 40 people to mobilize in the pre-dawn hour.

For the occupiers, the situation appeared desperate, until someone suggested flanking the sheriffs that were guarding the front of the house. Activists ran through the alley, jumped the back fence, and re-occupied the property. Faced with the audacity of the protesters, and fearing the political consequences of mass arrests, the sheriffs again retreated. Occupiers removed flimsy plywood from the doors and reclaimed the Cruz home.

75 activists marched into the sheriffs’ headquarters, then the mayor’s office, presenting them with the Cruzes’ front door, mangled by the battering ram. Mayor Rybak pledged police would not take further action until the following Tuesday, and the five arrested in the morning raid were released on minimal bail.

Tuesday, May 29: Eviction and police station protests

Forty police swooped in, surprising activists. They rapidly cleared the home, arresting the one activist who managed to lock down. Dozens of Cruz supporters gathered, repeatedly rushing police lines. But with police securely holding the house, protestors marched down Hiawatha Ave., shutting down the major highway, then moved on to shut down a big intersection by a local police precinct

Wednesday, May 30: The re-occupation (and more arrests)

With only three private security guards protecting the house, Occupy Homes again tested the Mayor’s statement that “the City is not in the foreclosure business.” Linking arms, over a hundred occupiers linked arms around the Cruz home, ignoring the security guards’ objections, and again removed the plywood over the doors.

By nightfall, police again amassed around the house, arresting 14. Confrontations continued into the night, with occupiers linking arms, pushing up against police lines, and sitting down around the paddy-wagon filled with arrestees.

Since that night, the house sits under constant police surveillance. Heavy metal barriers were put over the windows and doors. Protests, prayer vigils, and other actions continued.

Thursday, June 21: National day of action

Alejandra and David Cruz led a caravan to Pittsburgh and, alongside supporters there, they marched into PNC headquarters to demand a meeting with the CEO. Their requests for a real negotiation were still rejected.

National Day of Action promo image

A national day of solidarity called by Occupy Wall Street drew protests outside PNC bank branches in 19 cities. In Minneapolis, fifteen were arrested – including internationally famed rapper Brother Ali – for crossing police lines at the Cruz home. A national call-in campaign targeting the leaked cell phones of top PNC executives was unleashed, and a change.org petition is nearing 200,000 signatures.

Win or lose, the battle of 4044 Cedar Ave has already emerged as a national model for home defence, and exposed not only the profiteering of the banks but also the role of the sheriffs, police, and city officials as frontline defenders of the 1%.

Occupy Homes Takes On the Mayor

A few doors down from the Cruz family home lives Sasha Lindquist, himself a homeowner on the verge of foreclosure.

Angered by the massive police presence, Sasha wrote a letter to the Minneapolis Star Tribune, signed by three other neighbours, that effectively sums up the role of government and police in capitalist society:

"Mayor Rybak, the city attorney, and the chief of Minneapolis police have all declared that the city is not in the business of providing free private security for banking institutions. Their actions, however, speak louder than their words: there have been a total of five raids on the Cruz house in the last two weeks. Last Friday, I awoke to the sound of chainsaws and jackhammers as sheriff’s deputies hacked away at the concrete barriers that protesters had erected…"

The living experience of the class struggle has always been the best teacher of political theory. While study after study reveals Wall Street’s widespread crimes against homeowners and their flagrant disregard for even the lax laws governing financial institutions, hardly any bankers sit behind bars.

Meanwhile, 39 Occupy Homes activists have been arrested since late May. Chief Dolan, head of the Minneapolis police, sent a widely publicized letter to Mayor R.T. Rybak outlining the costs of securing 4044 Cedar Ave against the Cruz family and Occupy Homes: $45,585, including “work performed by him, an inspector, three lieutenants, five sergeants, 155 officers, a public information officer, a crime lab officer, three forensic scientists and two video analysts,” and the Fire Department (Star Tribune, 6/14/12).

Strategic Weak-point

The issue is already causing public divisions within the Democratic Party machine that runs Minneapolis. “There’s no way Minneapolis property taxpayers should be footing the bill for [evicting activists] who are trying to keep a family in their home… We send that [$45,585] off as an invoice to PNC [the Bank who foreclosed on the Cruzes] and ask them to pay for it,” proposed Gary Schiff, an ambitious city councillor reputedly eyeing a run for mayor himself. “Arresting every protestor is not a sustainable solution to the foreclosure crisis.”

It’s also not sustainable for Mayor Rybak’s political career. City officials may be able to weather the political fallout of mass arrests to force foreclosed upon families out of their homes once, twice, maybe even a dozen times.

But upwards of 3,000 homes are foreclosed on in Minneapolis each year. If hundreds of homeowners “take the pledge” to occupy their homes – which is the central goal of Occupy Homes MN – responding with police repression would hopelessly expose Mayor Rybak and his allies in the Democratic Party as agents of Wall Street.

Electoral Challenge Needed

Yet as recent history has repeatedly demonstrated, unless social movements put forward a clear and credible political alternative, big business will simply replace unpopular capitalist politicians with “fresh faces” who carry out the same policies.

Imagine if, in the coming year, Occupy Homes MN succeeds in building a mass campaign of hundreds of homeowners facing foreclosure, backed up by their neighbours, unions, and community groups. Imagine if Occupy Homes used this base to run a homeowner for Minneapolis Mayor in 2013, calling for a moratorium on foreclosures and vowing to reprioritize police resources toward white-collar criminals instead of evicting families.

Combined with ongoing home defence campaigns, and mass door-to-door canvassing to build an active base of support, an electoral challenge could transform the debate. The main goal would not be to win the election, but rather to use the electoral platform to broaden the struggle and popularize the demands. A credible campaign would add tremendous pressure on the local Democratic Party machine to shift police priorities.

Again, Sasha Lindquist’s letter opposing police “providing free private security for banking institutions” poses the question perfectly:

“…As a local resident and not as a member of any group or organization, I am requesting that the city cease providing this type of security. What would happen if they did? The occupiers would be inside, quiet as mice - just like they were for four weeks before the police marched in. Freddie Mac would then have incentive to work with the Cruz family on modifying their loan. The occupiers would call it a day and go to sleep in their own homes. With the Cruz family back home, we’d have our stable community once more.”

If city and county authorities simply stopped enforcing evictions whenever bankers demanded it, a de facto foreclosure moratorium would be in place. The banks would have no choice but to collectively bargain with homeowners. Occupy Homes’ call for across-the-board principle reduction to current market value could be achieved.

Occupy Homes MN is already looked to as a national model. Creating a clear political voice for the 99% here could jump-start discussion on what’s needed nationally: a broad new political party of, by, and for working people to challenge Wall Street’s political stranglehold on our country.



Europe

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

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NEWS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Finland: Worst ever election result for traditional Left
24/04/2015, Jonas Brännberg and Juha Tapio for CWI in Finland:
Finns Party second biggest in parliament

Scotland: Labour face annihilation as millions seek an answer to austerity
23/04/2015, Philip Stott, Socialist Party Scotland (CWI in Scotland):
The SNP, according to the polls, will win 53 of Scotland’s 59 Westminster MPs

Video: Paul Murphy speaking at anti-water charges demo in Dublin
23/04/2015, Socialistworld.net:
Socialist Partty (CWI) and Anti-Austerity Alliance TD speaks at march of tens of thosuands against water charges on April 18

CWI Comment and Analysis

ANALYSIS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Latin America: A new turn?
25/04/2015, Tony Saunois, article from May issue of Socialism Today, magazine of the Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales):
Historic handshake between Barack Obama and Raúl Castro, turmoil in Venezuela, and stalled reforms in Bolivia – as well as crises in Brazil – symbolise a new turn in Latin America and the Caribbean

Iran: Proposed nuclear deal reflects transformed Middle East
24/04/2015, Robert Bechert, CWI:
In aftermath of disastrous Iraq occupation, Obama administration balancing between region’s forces

Tunisia: After the Bardo terrorist attack
18/04/2015, Serge Jordan:
New class battles loom

Yemen: Brutal onslaught on country’s poor
15/04/2015, Judy Beishon, from The Socialist (weekly paper of the CWI England & Wales):
For unity of workers and poor against imperialism and sectarianism

Economy: What low oil prices cost the world economy
03/04/2015, Lynn Walsh, article from Socialism Today, magazine of the Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales):
The sudden plunge of oil and gas prices has underlined the volatility in the world capitalist economy

Israel: Netanyahu mobilises far right to win election
25/03/2015, Yasha Marmer, Socialist Struggle Movement, Israel-Palestine:
New coalition will face unresolved crises and bitter struggles

Italy: The instability of domestic capitalism
24/03/2015, Marco Veruggio, ControCorrente (CWI Italy):
Political vacuum pushes FIOM to take initiative

Greece: Varoufakis’ “erratic Marxism” is not the answer
23/03/2015, Peter Taaffe, from Socialism Today (monthly magazine of the Socialist Party, England & Wales):
Necessary to clarify ideas upon which successful struggles of European working class will be conducted

Belgium: No agreement reached between unions and government over austerity
20/03/2015, Eric Byl, LSP/PSL (Belgian section of the CWI), Brussels:
New action plan against right wing government takes off

Ukraine: Conflict unresolved after ’Minsk-2’ agreement
18/03/2015, Rob Jones, CWI, Moscow:
Only independent working-class mass movement can remove the region’s authoritarian rulers

Greece: Syriza’s first months in power
07/03/2015, Andreas Payiatsos, from Xekinima (newspaper of the CWI Greece):
The working class and social movements must enter the struggle for their rights

Quebec: Towards a hot spring
02/03/2015, Deirdre and Bruno, Socialist Alternative (CWI Quebec):
Disrupt them like they disrupt us!

Greece showdown
26/02/2015, Article to be published in the March issue of Socialism Today (magazine of the Socialist Party, CWI in England and Wales):
Niall Mulholland interviewed NICOS ANASTASIADES, of Xekinima (CWI Greece), just as Syriza leaders agreed a four-month bail-out extension with the EU.

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