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latest news

Ireland North
Martin McGuinness - from IRA leader to Stormont minister

29/03/2017: The IRA campaign, the ‘peace process’ and the working class

  Ireland North

Greece
H&M workers score victory against management plans

28/03/2017: Despite very difficult times, struggle can bring results

  Greece

 Solidarity
#JobstownNotGuilty international day of action a huge success

28/03/2017: Over 30 protests around the world and 88 MPs/MEPs pledge support

  Solidarity

Russia/Belarus
A week-end of mass protests

27/03/2017: New spring of protest opens up, as 1,000s arrested

  Russia

Hong Kong
Creeping “coup” by Chinese dictatorship

27/03/2017: Defend the four Hong Kong legislators

  Hong Kong

Britain
Terror attack at Westminster

24/03/2017: Unite against terror, racism and war

  Britain

Italy
Democratic Party splits and 5-Star Movement in crisis

22/03/2017: Class struggle can build real left force

  Italy

Spain
Student strike empties classes and fills streets on 9 March

21/03/2017: Over 100,000 take to the streets in SE demonstrations

  Spain

Scotland
Second referendum on independence?

18/03/2017: SNP fire the starting gun but offer no solutions to austerity

  Scotland

Brazil
National day of strikes and protests shows Temer can be beaten

17/03/2017: For a one-day general strike as the next step

  Brazil

South Africa
Unity against poverty, crime and xenophobia

17/03/2017: Capitalist politicians use xenophobia to divert attention from failures of profit system

  South Africa

Netherlands
Election result a colossal defeat for austerity government

16/03/2017: Oppose Wilders and the ‘mainstream’ right – Build a mass workers’ party that struggles for socialism

  Netherlands

Yemen
Workers and their families left to starve by multi-billionaire companies

16/03/2017: International campaign needed to force companies to pay

  Yemen

Hong Kong
Protest against LSG Sky Chefs dismissal of union chairman

14/03/2017: Ng Chi-Fai sacked for organising union by multinational’s Hong Kong division – international solidarity needed

  Hong Kong

Ireland North
Snap election raises sectarian temperature    

14/03/2017: Workers need strong socialist alternative at ballot box and in unions

  Ireland North

Quebec
Counter protest against far-right

13/03/2017: Rise of Islamophobia and right-wing reaction poses new challenges to the left

  Quebec

 International Women's Day
Speech by Kshama Sawant

12/03/2017: Video of 8 March rally in Seattle

  Women

 International Women’s Day
Millions join marches and take action

10/03/2017: Socialists around the world demand an end to women’s oppression

  Women

 Hong Kong
Women’s march against sexism and racism

09/03/2017: International Women’s Day: “Solidarity with global mass protests and women’s strikes”

  Women

 Spain
Hundreds of thousands participate in International Women’s day student strike

08/03/2017: ‘Libres y Combativas’ and Sindicato de Estudiantes call strike against sexist violence and for working class women's rights

  Women

Pakistan
Political spectacle of the ruling class

08/03/2017: Most workers underemployed, 40% in poverty - situation demands new workers’ party

  Pakistan

 International Women’s Day 2017
A century on from the Russian Revolution

06/03/2017: Demonstrations world-wide swelled by anti-Trump anger

  Women

Britain
Massive demo shows battle to save the NHS can be won

06/03/2017: Up to 250,000 march in national protest, organised from below

  Britain

Egypt
Price hikes hit workers and middle classes

04/03/2017: Falling support for dictator Sisi portends growing opposition

  Egypt

Hong Kong’s sham election

03/03/2017: Pan-democrats sink to new low by supporting “lesser evil” John Tsang

  Hong Kong

US
Socialist response to Trump’s address to joint session of congress

02/03/2017: Kshama Sawant, Socialist Alternative councillor, speaks

  US

Sweden
“Who could believe it?"

24/02/2017: What is behind Trump's attack?

  Sweden

Britain/Ireland
Dublin's #JobstownNotGuilty

23/02/2017: Defend the right to protest - stop this political vendetta!

  Ireland Republic

Ireland
A web of intrigue sparks government crisis

22/02/2017: Smear campaign against a prominent police whistleblower

  Ireland Republic

February revolution 1917
What lessons for today?

21/02/2017: 23 February 1917 (8 March in today’s calendar) marked the beginning of the socialist revolution in Russia, which sparked a revolutionary wave that would travel around the world.

  Russian Revolution

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.



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NEWS

Greece: H&M workers score victory against management plans
28/03/2017, Statement (slightly edited) by Xekinima (CWI Greece):
Despite very difficult times, struggle can bring results

Solidarity: #JobstownNotGuilty international day of action a huge success
28/03/2017, socialistworld.net :
Over 30 protests around the world and 88 MPs/MEPs pledge support

Russia/Belarus: A week-end of mass protests
27/03/2017, Socialist Alternative (CWI Russia) Reporters:
New spring of protest opens up, as 1,000s arrested

Hong Kong: Creeping “coup” by Chinese dictatorship
27/03/2017, Dikang, Socialist Action (CWI in Hong Kong) :
Defend the four Hong Kong legislators

Britain: Terror attack at Westminster
24/03/2017, Judy Beishon, from the Socialist Party (CWI England & Wales) website :
Unite against terror, racism and war

Belarus: Protesters flood onto streets demanding scrapping of “law against parasites”
21/03/2017, Daniil Raskolnikov (translation of article from the Russian CWI site www.socialist.news):
President Lukashenko must go!

Spain: Student strike empties classes and fills streets on 9 March
21/03/2017, Sindicato de Estudiantes (SE), Spanish Students' Union :
Over 100,000 take to the streets in SE demonstrations

Scotland: Second referendum on independence?
18/03/2017, Philip Stott, Socialist Party Scotland (CWI) :
SNP fire the starting gun but offer no solutions to austerity

South Africa: Unity against poverty, crime and xenophobia
17/03/2017, Shaun Arendse, Workers and Socialist Party (CWI South Africa):
Capitalist politicians use xenophobia to divert attention from failures of profit system

International Women’s Day: March in Malaysia and week of activity in Belgium
16/03/2017, socialistworld.net :
Reports from Kuala Lumpur and Brussels

Netherlands: Election result a colossal defeat for austerity government
16/03/2017, Pieter Brans, Socialist Alternative (CWI in Netherlands), Amsterdam:
Oppose Wilders and the ‘mainstream’ right – Build a mass workers’ party that struggles for socialism

Russian Revolution: March 1917 - After the fall of Czarism, what next for the revolution?
16/03/2017, socialistworld.net:
New article on 1917revolution.org

Hong Kong: Protest against LSG Sky Chefs dismissal of union chairman
14/03/2017, Sally Tang Mei-ching, Socialist Action (CWI in Hong Kong) :
Ng Chi-Fai sacked for organising union by multinational’s Hong Kong division – international solidarity needed

Quebec: Counter protest against far-right
13/03/2017, Michele Hehn, Alternative Socialiste (CWI in Quebec) :
Rise of Islamophobia and right-wing reaction poses new challenges to the left

International Women's Day: Speech by Kshama Sawant
12/03/2017, Socialistworld.net :
Video of 8 March rally in Seattle

International Women’s Day: Millions join marches and take action
10/03/2017, Clare Doyle, CWI:
Socialists around the world demand an end to women’s oppression

Hong Kong: Women’s march against sexism and racism
09/03/2017, Socialist Action (CWI in Hong Kong) reporters:
International Women’s Day: “Solidarity with global mass protests and women’s strikes”

Spain: Hundreds of thousands participate in International Women’s day student strike
08/03/2017, Sindicato de Estudiantes, students’ union in the Spanish state :
‘Libres y Combativas’ and Sindicato de Estudiantes call strike against sexist violence and for working class women's rights

Pakistan: Political spectacle of the ruling class
08/03/2017, Tariq Shahzad, National Organiser of IYWM (International Youth and Workers Movement) :
Most workers underemployed, 40% in poverty - situation demands new workers’ party

Britain: Massive demo shows battle to save the NHS can be won
06/03/2017, Hannah Sell, Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales) deputy general secretary :
Up to 250,000 march in national protest, organised from below

Egypt: Price hikes hit workers and middle classes
04/03/2017, David Johnson, Socialist Party (CWI England & Wales) :
Falling support for dictator Sisi portends growing opposition

Hong Kong’s sham election
03/03/2017, Dikang, Socialist Action:
Pan-democrats sink to new low by supporting “lesser evil” John Tsang

US: Socialist response to Trump’s address to joint session of congress
02/03/2017, socialistworld.net:
Kshama Sawant, Socialist Alternative councillor, speaks

Catalonia: Historic demonstration in Barcelona in support of refugees
25/02/2017, Esquerra Revolucionària :
'Volem acollir'

Sweden: “Who could believe it?"

24/02/2017, Per-Åke Westerlund, Rättvisepartiet Socialisterna (CWI Sweden):
What is behind Trump's attack?

CWI Comment and Analysis

ANALYSIS

Ireland North: Martin McGuinness - from IRA leader to Stormont minister
29/03/2017, Michael Cleary, Socialist Party (CWI Ireland), Belfast :
The IRA campaign, the ‘peace process’ and the working class

Italy: Democratic Party splits and 5-Star Movement in crisis
22/03/2017, Marco Veruggio, ControCorrrente, (CWI in Italy) :
Class struggle can build real left force

Brazil: National day of strikes and protests shows Temer can be beaten


17/03/2017, André Ferrari LSR (CWI in Brazil) :
For a one-day general strike as the next step

Yemen: Workers and their families left to starve by multi-billionaire companies
16/03/2017, Cedric Gerome, CWI :
International campaign needed to force companies to pay

Ireland North: Snap election raises sectarian temperature    
14/03/2017, Daniel Waldron, Socialist Party (CWI Ireland), Belfast :
Workers need strong socialist alternative at ballot box and in unions

International Women’s Day 2017: A century on from the Russian Revolution
06/03/2017, Clare Doyle, CWI :
Demonstrations world-wide swelled by anti-Trump anger

February revolution 1917: What lessons for today?
21/02/2017, Peter Taaffe, Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales), printed in the Socialist (paper of the Socialist Party):
23 February 1917 (8 March in today’s calendar) marked the beginning of the socialist revolution in Russia, which sparked a revolutionary wave that would travel around the world.

India: Upheaval in Tamil Nadu
09/02/2017, Sajith Attepuram, New Socialist Alternative (NSA) (CWI India) :
Corruption, nepotism, and other crimes of ruling party exposed

Britain: Universal basic income demand gains ground
08/02/2017, Judy Beishon, from The Socialist (weekly newspaper of the Socialist Party – CWI England & Wales) :
What approach should socialists take?

CWI and Izquierda Revolucionaria – Towards unification
06/02/2017, Socialistworld.net :
Joint declaration of the CWI’s IEC and Izquierda Revolucionaria’s IEC

France: After Sarkozy, Juppé and Valls, now Fillon is on the way out
06/02/2017, Alex Rouillard, Gauche Révolutionnaire (CWI in France) :
Space opening up to left of Socialist Party

Syria: Is an end to the war in sight?
03/02/2017, Serge Jordan (CWI) :
New movements for change will need to arm themselves with the lessons of the Syrian tragedy

Sri Lanka: The year 2017
31/01/2017, Siritunga Jayasuriya, United Socialist Party (CWI in Sri Lanka) :
Between oppression and struggle

Canada: Where are Trudeau’s ‘Sunny Ways’?
31/01/2017, Tim Heffernan, Socialist Alternative (CWI Canada), Toronto

:
Battles of Indigenous peoples, youth, workers will test Liberal government

Russian Revolution Centenary: January 1917 - On the eve of revolution
29/01/2017, Niall Mulholland, from 1917revolution.org :
War, hunger, hated Tsarist regime: class tensions reach breaking point

Afghanistan: The limits of US power
28/01/2017, Judy Beishon, from Socialism Today (February 2017 issue), monthly magazine of the Socialist Party (CWI England & Wales)<br />
<br />
:
Imperialism’s 15-year adventure a bloody catastrophe for millions

US: Build 100 days of resistance to Trump’s agenda!
27/01/2017, Bryan Koulouris, Socialist Alternative, US :
Establishment deeply divided as mass resistance explodes

Millions on women's marches around the world
25/01/2017, Editorial from the Socialist, paper of the Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales) and reports from US marches :
Reports from mass women's marches against Trump

China: New US President’s approach to China
21/01/2017, Vincent Kolo, chinaworker.info :
Outbursts raise fears of confrontation

Ireland North: Snap elections called to Stormont Assembly
17/01/2017, Daniel Waldron, Socialist Party (CWI Ireland), Belfast :
Build a socialist alternative to the ‘Orange’ versus ‘Green’ headcount

Spain: What kind of Podemos do workers and youth need?
17/01/2017, Izquierda Revolucionaria, Spanish state, editorial :
Debate within leadership touches on fundamental issues for future of party

US: Trump prepares vicious attacks
05/01/2017, Philip Locker and Tom Crean, Socialist Alternative (US):
Mass resistance needed!

Russian Revolution centenary
02/01/2017, Editorial from Socialism Today, Dec/Jan 2017 edition:
Defending the legacy in a new era

2017:Upheaval and fightback will continue
01/01/2017, Peter Taaffe, Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales) general secretary :
Everything to play for in 2017

Britain's shifting political contours
22/12/2016, Hannah Sell, Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales) from Socialism Today Dec/Jan 2017 edition :
Capitalist establishment in disarray