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latest news

Catalonia
9 November “consultation” on independence

22/11/2014: Another show of strength for independence - fight for a Socialist Catalonia

  Spain

Greece
Workers’ victory at Diamant telesales company

21/11/2014: Xekinima (CWI) member wins key union position in Athens Municipality sector

  Greece

Israel-Palestine
Netanyahu threatens “heavy hand” response to synagogue attacks

19/11/2014: New rounds of repression answered by new wave of rage and protest

  Israel / Palestine

US
Mid-term elections do not mean a turn to the right in society

19/11/2014: Big Gains for Republicans while Voters Support Progressive Ballot Measures

  US

 Video
Socialist TD defends anti-water charges protests

18/11/2014: Ruth Coppinger, Socialist Party TD (MP) appears on ‘Prime Time’

  Ireland Republic, Video

Vital lessons of Hong Kong’s ‘Umbrella Revolution’

18/11/2014: Mass struggle needs genuine internal democracy and fighting working class programme to defeat dictatorship

  Hong Kong

 Video
Water tax revolt continues in Ireland

17/11/2014: Tanaiste (Deputy PM) trapped by protestors; AAA TD (MP) and Socialist Party member, Paul Murphy, assaulted

  Ireland Republic, Video

Indonesia
"New Hope" president faces intense pressures

16/11/2014: Initiative to build mass party of working class and rural poor urgently needed

  Indonesia

Ukraine
Competing ’elections’ deepen divisions

15/11/2014: Working people need socialist alternative to warring oligarchs and outside powers

  Ukraine

Scotland
SNP government announces £500 million cuts

14/11/2014: Majority of ‘Yes’ voters want end to austerity - anti-cuts candidates needed!

  Scotland

Afghanistan
British combat troops pull out

13/11/2014: A legacy of death and destruction

  Afghanistan, Britain, US

 Germany
Highly politicised train drivers’ strike

12/11/2014: Last week German train drivers and on-board staff went on strike for four days, shaking and polarising the country

  Germany, Solidarity

Greece
Mayors refuse to make job cuts

12/11/2014: Lefts, local authority workers and communities’ united can resist Troika’s policies

  Greece

Britain
Over 1,000 attend largest ever ‘Socialism’ event

11/11/2014: Socialism 2014 - infused with contagious confidence

  Britain

Belgium
Massive demonstration in Brussels

10/11/2014: Shows anger against austerity

  Belgium

Northern Ireland
20 years after the ceasefires

10/11/2014: 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’…

  Ireland Republic

Review
Environmental disaster and the need to change everything

09/11/2014: “This Changes Everything: capitalism vs the climate”, by Naomi Klein

  Environment, Review

Germany
25 years since November 9

09/11/2014: Berlin Wall brought down by mass revolutionary movement

  Germany

Canada
Right wing wins Toronto Mayoral election

08/11/2014: NDP increasingly irrelevant to needs of workers, immigrants and youth

  Canada

Elections in Brazil

07/11/2014: Narrow win for Dilma sets scene for more crisis and instability

  Brazil

Russia’s 1917 socialist revolution

07/11/2014: November 7th anniversary of workers taking power

  Russia

Europe
Anti-fascist demonstrations set for 8-9 November

06/11/2014: Movement of workers and youth needed against racism and fascism

  Europe, Greece, Sweden

Canada
Ottawa ‘locked-down’ after Parliament gun attack

05/11/2014: Tory government whips-up terrorist fears to boost Canada’s imperialist role

  Canada

Ireland
Stunning Dublin by-election victory, huge water protests…new chapter for working class resistance

04/11/2014: How the Anti Austerity Alliance won a parliamentary seat and the way forward for the Left

  Ireland Republic

Book review
The Jihadis Return

04/11/2014: Isis and the new Sunni uprising, by Patrick Cockburn

  Middle East, Review

South Africa
Metal workers’ union clashes with Congress of South African Trade Unions

03/11/2014: For political and class independence - Struggle, solidarity and socialism!

  South Africa

Britain
Come to Socialism 2014

03/11/2014: Weekend of discussion & debate hosted by the Socialist Party – London 8-9 November

  Britain

  Ireland
’Abortion Pill Train’ video

02/11/2014: Pro-choice ROSA campaigners swallow abortion pills after rail journey

  Ireland Republic, Video, Women

Italy
Renzi government faces mounting opposition

01/11/2014: A one-day strike of all workers is needed

  Italy

Burkina Faso
Mass uprising ousts dictator

31/10/2014: No to military rule! Continue mass struggle – the whole rotten system must go!

  Burkina Faso

Ireland
Anti-water tax protest in Limerick

31/10/2014: Video of one of the city’s biggest protests

  Ireland Republic

Kurdistan
Battle for Kobanê at a crossroads

31/10/2014: What does US military ‘assistance’ mean for the Kurdish struggle?

  Kurdistan, Middle East

Kazakhstan

Bloody, corrupt regime carries out massive repression against workers

www.socialistworld.net, 13/07/2012
website of the committee for a workers' international, CWI

Conditions for mass revolt maturing

Ben Robinson, Socialist Party (CWI England and Wales)

This week, 400 socialists from across Europe and all around the world are meeting in Belgium at the CWI Summer School. Ben Robinson’s report is from a well-attended commission on Kazakhstan and the struggles of the workers’ movement.

Socialistworld.net

_________________________

“Today, the division [between owners and workers] has become obvious. The owners number no more than 100 people… [Kazakhstan’s industrial economy] has produced a united multi-ethnic group – a highly organised working class based in big corporations. From the end of 2011, [this has] defined political and social life.

“Our economy is held up by several supports. These are the powerful raw material production enterprises. If it enters somebody’s head to completely mobilise their power, a crippling blow can be inflicted on the government and the state... [but] there is no direct contact between the working class and the political forces in Kazakhstan.

“But there are potential leaders – there are the Kazakhstan socialists, who have been working for many years on a professional basis, and now their time is coming.”

These are not the words of the Committee for a Workers International, but unbelievably of former Kazakhstan Prime Minister Akeshan Kashegeldeen, interviewed in the Kazakhstan paper, ‘Novaya Gazeta’.

Despite massive repression, the ground is prepared for mass revolt against the bloody, corrupt regime of Nazarbayev. To the fore of this movement are the fresh young Kazakh workers who now make up the majority of the labour in Kazakhstan’s heavy industry.

Wages had been kept at the same level by employers for several years, pushing workers into poverty. A wave of suicides swept through the poor, with many deeply in debt. Even today, according to sources that support the Nazarbayev regime, ten suicides in the capital are linked to debts, while hundreds of people apply for psychiatric help. While nurses live in poverty, corrupt bureaucrats purchase holiday villas in Europe. The regime is planning to raise the retirement age to 68, which is higher than the life expectancy in Kazakhstan.

The government pumps out propaganda, employing former British Prime Minister Tony Blair to advise and to represent them. But working people often tell each other that they wish they lived in the country that state TV reports on!

This has created huge dissatisfaction. The overwhelming majority of the population want to see Nazarbayev gone and twenty years of capitalism has forced a harsh understanding – either the system forces living conditions to the level of Somalia or workers change the system.

Spectacular victories against bosses

But the working class is on the offensive, scoring spectacular victories against the bosses and placing demands on the Kazakh regime.

A battle against housing repossession won $4.5bn from the government. Workers have saved factories from closure and organised militant strike action. Recently, in Kazakhmys, a copper-mining company, a 100% pay rise was won – hundreds occupied the mine while thousands took part in solidarity action outside. In the same city, workers in the energy sector took strike action and won 80% pay rise. Significantly, alongside the demands for higher pay, workers are fighting for the renationalisation of industries.

Social and industrial struggles are linking up. Those involved in the anti-repossession struggle travelled 1,500km to support the struggle against a factory closure.

In these waves of struggle, Committee for a Workers’ International members play a key role. Through Socialist Movement Kazakhstan, and the new trade union Zhanartu, the CWI is able to help these struggles organise and bring them together against the Nazarbayev regime.

This has terrified the government and led to cracks in the regime. Recent clashes at the Kazakh-Chinese border now appear to be part of a dispute between different wings of the oligarchy. It is possible that Nazarbayev could be removed after decades in power.

Nazarbayev has responded through increased repression. The 16th December 2011 was a turning point for the struggle. After seven months of strike action, oil workers organised a rally to provide a peaceful outlet for the huge anger building up. At this rally, the organisers agreed a central demand would be to broaden and deepen the fight, calling for a general strike against the Nazarbayev regime. This protest, however, was drowned in blood by the state, and the entire region was shut down. It is believed that 70 died, although in an attempt to downplay the massacre the media and Kazakh ruling class claim only 17.

Through the Socialist Movement Kazakhstan, despite the regime’s efforts, news of the massacre got out to the wider world. Campaign Kazakhstan organised immediate protests at embassies internationally, including Germany, Britain, Belgium and Poland. Although it is clear that the Kazakh state had prepared to go much further in putting down the strike, protests and international condemnation halted their actions.

Show trials of oil workers

Instead, the regime is dragging oil workers through the courts, organising a succession of ‘show trials’. To quote one defendant: “At the national security office, I was told to incriminate fifteen others. I refused. They started to beat me, I was suffocated six times, threatened with rape and photographs [of this crime would be] put on the internet. The commander put a loaded gun to my head several times and I was told I would be fed to the dogs.”

The vicious sentences imposed were met with bottles and shoes thrown in the court room.

Activists from the opposition party Alga were also rounded up. But many official Kazakh parties represent the whim of one or another oligarch. Their party ‘activists’ are paid to be so and without any real commitment. When these activists were arrested, they were turned to state witnesses against their own leadership. This has led to a collapse internally in the Alga party.

The regime used the trials and massacre as a threat to all those involved in struggle. Vadim Kuramshin, a human rights’ activist, was arrested and is being dragged through a show trial. Famous theatre director, Bolat Atabayev, was arrested and released, after coming under huge pressure to support the regime’s case against the oil workers. The government is now attempting to effectively outlaw trade union activity, to drive workers struggles even further underground.

But the effects of this repression are wearing off. The Kazakhmys copper workers’ struggle signalled a new preparedness to fight back. Despite the personal risk, victorious energy workers filmed and circulated a video explaining the role that Zhanartu played in helping their struggle.

The show trials could trigger further struggle. Yet more Zhanaozen oil workers trials are planned soon, but these could trigger mass protest, with political strike action at its heart.

A huge political vacuum

A huge political vacuum exists in Kazakhstan. The official opposition parties, sponsored by oligarchs opposed to Nazarbayev, are in a state of collapse. The working class is currently the decisive political force but there is no mass party which unites them. Socialist Movement Kazakhstan is campaigning for a new mass workers’ party, and for a constituent assembly where the workers and oppressed of Kazakhstan can come together and democratically decide how the country is organised.

But other forces are attempting to fill this space. Right-wing political Islamic groups, including those led by Nazarbayev’s relatives, are trying to make gains. A majority of workers and oppressed are Sunni Muslim but there are also significant religious minorities, including Russian Orthodox Christians.

If the workers’ movement is not sufficiently prepared, there is a danger that political Islam could make gains and that wings of the oligarchy could attempt to channel huge anger along these lines.

The CWI is determined to build a class opposition armed with genuine socialist ideas to solve the oncoming crisis. Internationally, working with others in Campaign Kazakhstan, international solidarity including protests, solidarity and financial support is vital. Inside Kazakhstan, the CWI is active and leading the fights that Zhanartu and Socialist Movement Kazakhstan are involved in. Time is running out for the Nazarbayev regime and the CWI is determined that the workers will be victorious.



Europe

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Video: Joe Higgins denounces Irish government’s water charge trickery, 20/11/2014

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NEWS

Catalonia: 9 November “consultation” on independence
22/11/2014, Rob MacDonald Socialismo Revolucionario (CWI in Spain) Barcelona:
Another show of strength for independence - fight for a Socialist Catalonia

Greece: Workers’ victory at Diamant telesales company
21/11/2014, Xekinima Reporters:
Xekinima (CWI) member wins key union position in Athens Municipality sector

Video: Joe Higgins denounces Irish government’s water charge trickery
20/11/2014, socialistworld.net:
Mass boycott will defeat water charges

US: Mid-term elections do not mean a turn to the right in society
19/11/2014, Tom Crean, Socialist Alternative:
Big Gains for Republicans while Voters Support Progressive Ballot Measures

Video: Socialist TD defends anti-water charges protests
18/11/2014, socialistworld.net:
Ruth Coppinger, Socialist Party TD (MP) appears on ‘Prime Time’

Venezuela: Scarcity and speculation - whose fault is it?
18/11/2014, Gabriela Sánchez. Socialismo Revolucionario (CWI in Venezuela):
Who is sabotaging who?

Vital lessons of Hong Kong’s ‘Umbrella Revolution’
18/11/2014, chinaworker.info:
Mass struggle needs genuine internal democracy and fighting working class programme to defeat dictatorship

Video: Water tax revolt continues in Ireland
17/11/2014, socialistworld.net:
Tanaiste (Deputy PM) trapped by protestors; AAA TD (MP) and Socialist Party member, Paul Murphy, assaulted

Indonesia: "New Hope" president faces intense pressures
16/11/2014, Iyan, CWI Malaysia:
Initiative to build mass party of working class and rural poor urgently needed

Scotland: SNP government announces £500 million cuts
14/11/2014, Philip Stott, Socialist Party Scotland (CWI):
Majority of ‘Yes’ voters want end to austerity - anti-cuts candidates needed!

Afghanistan: British combat troops pull out
13/11/2014, Niall Mulholland, from The Socialist (weekly paper of the Socialist Party – CWI England & Wales):
A legacy of death and destruction

Germany: Highly politicised train drivers’ strike
12/11/2014, Sascha Stanicic, Socialist Alternative (CWI in Germany):
Last week German train drivers and on-board staff went on strike for four days, shaking and polarising the country

Greece: Mayors refuse to make job cuts
12/11/2014, Eleni Mitsou, Xekinima (CWI Greece):
Lefts, local authority workers and communities’ united can resist Troika’s policies

Britain: Over 1,000 attend largest ever ‘Socialism’ event
11/11/2014, Sarah Sachs Eldridge, Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales):
Socialism 2014 - infused with contagious confidence

Belgium: Massive demonstration in Brussels
10/11/2014, Geert Cool, LSP/PSL (CWI in Belgium):
Shows anger against austerity

Review: Environmental disaster and the need to change everything
09/11/2014, Bill Hopwood, from the November 2014 edition of Socialism Today:
“This Changes Everything: capitalism vs the climate”, by Naomi Klein

Canada: Right wing wins Toronto Mayoral election
08/11/2014, Socialist Alternative Toronto:
NDP increasingly irrelevant to needs of workers, immigrants and youth

Europe: Anti-fascist demonstrations set for 8-9 November
06/11/2014, Anti-fascist organiser, Stockholm:
Movement of workers and youth needed against racism and fascism

Canada: Ottawa ‘locked-down’ after Parliament gun attack
05/11/2014, Socialist Alternative Reporters, Canada:
Tory government whips-up terrorist fears to boost Canada’s imperialist role

Book review: The Jihadis Return
04/11/2014, Reviewed by Paul Gerrard, Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales):
Isis and the new Sunni uprising, by Patrick Cockburn

South Africa: Metal workers’ union clashes with Congress of South African Trade Unions
03/11/2014, Moses Mayekiso, WASP President and Numsa founding general secretary (elected while on trail for treason in 1987):
For political and class independence - Struggle, solidarity and socialism!

Britain: Come to Socialism 2014
03/11/2014, Sarah Sachs-Eldridge, Socialism 2014 organising team:
Weekend of discussion & debate hosted by the Socialist Party – London 8-9 November

Ireland: ’Abortion Pill Train’ video
02/11/2014, Socialistworld.net:
Pro-choice ROSA campaigners swallow abortion pills after rail journey

Italy: Renzi government faces mounting opposition
01/11/2014, Giuliano Brunetti, ControCorrente (CWI Italy):
A one-day strike of all workers is needed

Burkina Faso: Mass uprising ousts dictator
31/10/2014, CWI Reporters, Ivory Coast:
No to military rule! Continue mass struggle – the whole rotten system must go!

Ireland: Anti-water tax protest in Limerick
31/10/2014, Socialistworld.net:
Video of one of the city’s biggest protests

CWI Comment and Analysis

ANALYSIS

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

Spain: Death knells of "Transition" regime
23/10/2014, Danny Byrne, CWI:
Catalonia; ’Podemos’, and the left

Kazakhstan: Brutal repression in imperialism’s interests
20/10/2014, Mike Whale, Secretary of Campaign Kazakhstan (first published in October 2014 issue of Socialism Today):
Workers pay the price for crony capitalism

Is the US promoting a “colour revolution” in Hong Kong?
18/10/2014, Dikang, Socialist Action (CWI in Hong Kong):
Beijing’s scare propaganda doesn’t stand up to examination

Britain: Workers need a pay rise - how can we pay for it?
17/10/2014, Peter Taaffe, general secretary of the Socialist Party (CWI in England and Wales):
End poverty, inequality and capitalism

Ireland: Byelection triumph marks turning point in anti-austerity struggle
14/10/2014, Eddie McCabe, Socialist Party (CWI in Ireland):
Paul Murphy wins parliamentary seat as 100,000 march against water charges

Middle East: US-led policy of air attacks on Islamic State lies in ruins
13/10/2014, Tony Saunois, CWI:
As battle for Kobane rages, IS forces make major gains in Iraq

Ireland: Paul Murphy elected to Irish parliament in stunning byelection victory
12/10/2014, socialistworld.net:
Anti-Austerity Alliance victory shocks political establishment, reflects mass revolt against water charges and austerity

South Africa: "A workers’ party must emerge"
11/10/2014, John Malanga, Democratic Socialist Movement (CWI South Africa):
Dire position of South African capitalism and inequality adds momentum towards creation of workers’ party

Israel/Palestine: After the Gaza war
07/10/2014, Shahar Benhorin, Socialist Struggle Movement (CWI Israel-Palestine):
No justice for Palestinians and no peace for the region - For a socialist solution!

Hong Kong: Pro-regime thugs attack protesters
06/10/2014, Dikang, Socialist Action (CWI Hong Kong):
Organise democratic defence committees to repel attacks and kick out CY Leung’s government!

Kurdistan: The battle for Kobanê
02/10/2014, Serge Jordan, CWI:
Regional war poses new challenges for struggle for Kurdish self-determination

Iraq /Syria: US-led bombings will worsen divisions
01/10/2014, Judy Beishon, from the Socialist (weekly newspaper of the Socialist Party – CWI England & Wales):
Stop imperialist slaughter!

Hong Kong: Massive anti-government protests after attempted police crackdown
30/09/2014, Vincent Kolo, chinaworker.info:
Anger over police violence fuels spontaneous “umbrella revolution” and growing strike movement

Scotland: Independence referendum - A working-class revolt
24/09/2014, Peter Taaffe, General Secretary, Socialist Party (CWI England & Wales):
The referendum has turned British politics upside down – even though the No vote won