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latest news

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

China
Hard landing in 2015?

24/12/2014: China’s economic slowdown already being felt throughout world economy

  China

Trotsky
‘The national principle’

24/12/2014: An article written by LEON TROTSKY, exposing the hypocrisy of world powers towards national minorities and oppressed peoples, translated into English for the first time

  History, Trotsky

Libya

Post-Gaddafi society still volatile and violent

www.socialistworld.net, 29/10/2012
website of the committee for a workers' international, CWI

If demands of working people to be realised, it is necessary to be self-organised with clear aims

Robert Bechert, from Socialism Today, monthly magazine of the Socialist Party (CWI England and Wales)

Just over a month since the death of the US ambassador, developments in Libya illustrate the instability, even chaos, gripping many parts of the country. With no real central government, fighting continued around Bani Walid, widely regarded as a pro-Gaddafi area, by forces from Misrata angry at the detention and subsequent death of Omran Shaban, the rebel fighter who found Gaddafi after a Nato air-strike on his convoy a year ago.

Last year, we explained that while Gaddafi, an "autocratic ruler, surrounded by his privileged family and cronies", had been overthrown, this was not the same as the earlier ousting of Ben Ali in Tunisia or Mubarak in Egypt. "If this had been purely the result of struggle by the Libyan working masses it would have been widely acclaimed but the direct involvement of imperialism casts a dark shadow over the revolution’s future". (CWI, www.socialistworld.net: Gaddafi Regime Crumbles, 26 August 2011)

One of the biggest changes over the last year is that oil production has recovered. Currently, Libya’s oil revenue is roughly $1 billion every ten days, something that would go far in a country of around 6.5 million. But already new gangs of looters are settling in. In October, Le Monde Diplomatique reported that ministers are receiving salaries of $7,800 a month, while staying in $325-a-night Tripoli hotel suites. Although elections passed off peacefully in July, in reality, the General National Congress is powerless in the face of the competing militias.

This chaotic situation was not inevitable. When mass protests began in February 2011, Gaddafi launched a brutal counter-offensive against Benghazi and other centres of opposition. Benghazi, however, could have been protected by the mass popular defence of the million-strong city alongside a revolutionary appeal to workers, youth and the poor in the rest of Libya. This could have led to an earlier victory and given no excuse for foreign intervention.

In Benghazi, at the start of the revolution, English language posters declared: ‘No to foreign intervention – Libyans can do it by themselves’. But, dominated by a combination of defectors from Gaddafi’s regime and openly pro-imperialist elements, the self-appointed leadership of the National Transitional Council pushed aside the initial popular mood against foreign intervention. It looked to western imperialist powers and semi-feudal Arab states for support.

Gaddafi’s fall the following August was greeted with rejoicing by large numbers of Libyans, but not all joined in. And they were not solely the privileged elite around Gaddafi and groupings favoured by his regime. There were also elements of genuine opposition to the role of the western powers and autocratic Arab regimes, and fear of religious fundamentalists.

Each of the Arab spring revolutions had their own characteristics. In Tunisia and Egypt there were developing, or transforming, workers’ organisations. In Libya, on the other hand, the largely spontaneous initial uprising did not lead to the large-scale democratic, self-organisation of the working masses and youth. Despite the involvement of large numbers of Libyans in the fighting and the mass arming of the population, there are not any signs so far of Libyan workers, youth and poor striving to establish their own collective rule over society. Without strong democratic, independent organisations in most communities and workplaces, the militias are taking the lead in maintaining security. But most of these militias are divided by territorial, tribal, religious or ethnic origin differences and their leaders have their own agendas.

Religious fundamentalists

Now there is the growing involvement of religious fundamentalists and the continued existence of elements who fought alongside Gaddafi against what they saw as foreign intervention. Thus, alongside the militia rivalries, there has been the demolition of Sufi shrines by Salafist fundamentalists and four attacks on western representatives in the run-up to the 11 September assaults on the US consulate in Benghazi and on a semi-secret US intelligence base.

The 20 September protest that drove the Ansar al-Sharia militia, initially blamed for the US consulate attack, out of Benghazi was not simply a popular reaction against the militias. The protest was led by the military police who then proceeded to attack the base of the Qatari-funded Rafallah al-Sahati militia that works with the Tripoli-based defence ministry. How much this second target was part of the ongoing rivalry between leaders in Benghazi and Tripoli is not clear. These tensions continued. On 21 September the Benghazi military commander was kidnapped for six hours. Three days later, pro-Tripoli militias in Benghazi began arresting participants in the 20 September protests, including 30 military officers.

While some Libyans are still grateful for the US’s support in overthrowing Gaddafi, there is also growing opposition – mainly, at this time, of a religious character – to continued US involvement in Libya. This is likely to increase as western powers attempt to strengthen their presence. In September, the Obama administration allocated $8 million towards training a 500-strong elite ‘anti-terrorism’ force in Libya.

The feeling of liberation that many Libyans have is still important. This could provide a basis for opposition to sectarian and reactionary militias, the potential for which was seen in the protests against Ansar al-Sharia. However, that protest also showed that just going onto the streets is not enough. If the demands of working people are going to be realised it is necessary to be self-organised with clear aims, otherwise other forces can seek to profit from such movements.

Many Libyans, particularly the young, felt last year that they had a chance, and the power, to decide their own future. Now it is becoming clearer that this will require organisation, programme and struggle to unite the working people and youth in common battle, otherwise there is the risk of a downward spiral of breakdown.

The divisions between the areas are becoming wider, in spite of the glue that the oil revenue provides. Misrata, for example, is now virtually autonomous. In the oil-rich Cyrenaica region around Benghazi there are repeated demands for more autonomy, something that strikes fear in other areas. In the absence of independent, democratic workers’ organisations, other forces will make the running.

The opposition to foreign involvement, the fear of the old elite returning or a new one arising can provide the basis for different forces of populism – religious, regional, tribal, ethnic or nationalist. While Libya’s oil wealth can keep the country together, particularly when viewed from the non-oil-producing areas, struggles can break out between competing elites over how the loot is doled out or, at a certain stage, of whether this country breaks up.

Creation of independent, democratic workers’ organisations vital

The creation of independent, democratic workers’ organisations, including a workers’ party, is vital. This is the only way working people, the oppressed and youth would be able to overcome the growing divisions and begin a struggle to achieve a real revolutionary transformation of the country and thwart the imperialists’ plans, end dictatorship and transform the lives of the mass of the people.

To achieve their goals a workers’ movement would need to defend all democratic rights, involve and defend the rights of migrant workers, and oppose the privatisation of Libya’s assets. It would also need to demand the withdrawal of all foreign armed forces, oppose all foreign military intervention and, above all, reject participation in any government with pro-capitalist forces.

Instead, it would strive for a government of representatives of the workers and poor, based upon democratic structures in the workplaces and communities. Such a government would use Libya’s resources for its population. This would be the real victory for the Libyan working people and youth and help set an international example of ending both dictatorial rule and the miseries of capitalism.



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

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

China: Hard landing in 2015?
24/12/2014, Vincent Kolo, chinaworker.info:
China’s economic slowdown already being felt throughout world economy

CWI Comment and Analysis

ANALYSIS

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

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