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latest news

Greece
Syriza victory shows austerity elite can be beaten

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

  Britain, Greece

Greece
Syriza comes to power, as old ruling parties collapse

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

  Europe, Greece

China
Slowest growth rate since 1990

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

  China

Cuba
Diplomatic relations with US restored, embargo eased

24/01/2015: Threat of capitalist restoration accelerates

  Cuba, US

Northern Ireland
Water service workers win important victory

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

  Ireland North

Sri Lanka
Mobilise now to defend our demands

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

  Sri Lanka

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

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

  US, Video

Russia/Ukraine
Facing a turbulent 2015

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

  Russia, Ukraine

Greece
Prospect of Syriza victory raises workers’ hopes

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

  Greece

Nigeria
The Massacre in Baga

19/01/2015: Socialism or Barbarism

  Nigeria

Review
‘Eleanor Marx - a life’

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

  Review

 Video
Joe Higgins questions Irish Central Bank governor

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

  Video

Nigeria
2015 general elections and the working masses

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

  Nigeria

  Video
Ruth Coppinger calls for referendum on abortion rights in Ireland

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

  Ireland Republic, Video, Women

 Video
A year of struggle in Brazil

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

  Brazil, Video

Sri Lanka
New but uncertain period opens up

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

  Sri Lanka

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

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

  Iran

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

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

  Germany

France
Millions march for solidarity

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

  France

New Zealand
Extreme poverty worsens

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

  New Zealand

France
Counter terrorist threat with workers-led mass unity

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

  France

Norway
General strike called for 28 January

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

  Norway

Sri Lanka
Rajapaksa defeated

09/01/2015: Period of uncertainty opens

  Sri Lanka

Sweden
New elections cancelled

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

  Sweden

Greece
Towards a Syriza government?

08/01/2015: General elections on 25 January

  Greece

France
Deadly attack on satirical paper Charlie Hebdo

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

  France

Hong Kong
Politics transformed by ‘Umbrella Revolution’

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

  Hong Kong

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

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

  Israel / Palestine

Northern Ireland
The Stormont House Agreement

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

  Ireland Republic

Environment
Market forces hold back renewable energy

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

  Environment

New Year
Political and economic ingredients for volatile 2015

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

  Britain, Europe, World Economy

Britain
In defence of TUSC

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

  Britain, US

 CWI
National Question a key feature of political crisis of capitalism

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

  CWI

Scotland
Blairite wins election as Labour’s new Scottish leader

27/12/2014: Murphy’s election means trade unions must build a new workers party

  Scotland

Obituary
Gough Whitlam, 1916-2014

26/12/2014: Former Australian Labour Party (ALP) prime minister

  Australia, Obituary

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

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NEWS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Obituary: Gough Whitlam, 1916-2014
26/12/2014, Conor Flynn, Socialist Party (CWI in Australia):
Former Australian Labour Party (ALP) prime minister

CWI Comment and Analysis

ANALYSIS

Greece: Syriza comes to power, as old ruling parties collapse
27/01/2015, Niall Mulholland, socialistworld.net, interviews Andros Payiatsos, from Xekinima (CWI Greece):
Left parties fail to form government - Syriza goes into coalition with populist right Independent Greeks

Cuba: Diplomatic relations with US restored, embargo eased
24/01/2015, Tony Saunois, CWI:
Threat of capitalist restoration accelerates

Russia/Ukraine: Facing a turbulent 2015
21/01/2015, Rob Jones, CWI, Moscow:
As death toll rises, economies plunge into freefall

Greece: Prospect of Syriza victory raises workers’ hopes
20/01/2015, Interview with Andros Payiatsos, from Xekinima (CWI in Greece):
Mass intervention of working class to struggle for socialist policies is vital

Nigeria: The Massacre in Baga
19/01/2015, H.T Soweto, DSM (CWI in Nigeria):
Socialism or Barbarism

Germany: What is behind the ‘PEGIDA’ anti-immigrant demonstrations?
13/01/2015, Wolfram Klein, Socialist Alternative (SAV- CWI Germany):
Unions and Left must organise against racism and for jobs and decent living standards for all

Greece: Towards a Syriza government?
08/01/2015, Interview with Andros Payiatsos, Xekinima (CWI in Greece):
General elections on 25 January

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Britain: Anniversary of first issue of Militant newspaper
24/10/2014, Peter Taaffe, Socialist Party general secretary, from this week’s Socialist (paper of the Socialist Party – CWI England & Wales):
50 years of socialist ideas and workers’ struggle