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A web of intrigue sparks government crisis

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

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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.

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16/02/2017: Corbyn needs to stand up to Brexit rebels

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Pablo Iglesias wins clear victory in Podemos congress

15/02/2017: Time to build the class struggle on the streets

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Upheaval in Tamil Nadu

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Universal basic income demand gains ground

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Workers protest at parliament against TOTAL and G4S

07/02/2017: Security workers demand wages and arrest of colleagues’ killers

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Terrorist Attack in Québec City

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Duma legislates to decriminalise domestic violence

26/01/2017: For unified struggle for women’s rights and against capitalism

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Tamil Nadu
Mass protests against state repression

26/01/2017: Support the right to assemble and protest - release those arrested immediately!

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Millions on women's marches around the world

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24/01/2017: Island risks being pawn in his game

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Greece

Another 48 hour general strike paralyses society

www.socialistworld.net, 08/11/2012
website of the committee for a workers' international, CWI

But how can the struggle against austerity be won?

An interview with Paris Makrides, Xekinima (Greek CWI)

Yesterday was the first day of another 48 hours general strike. How big was the strike and protests of the Greek workers and youth?

The strike paralysed Greece completely. Athens was like a deserted city as nothing moved except the demonstration of the striking workers. Not only workers were on strike but small shopkeepers as well, even taxi drivers, who together with the strike in public transport paralysed Athens entirely. The picture was similar in every other city of Greece.

The numbers on the Athens strike demonstration however were not that big, due to the lack of transport; workers and youth had no means of getting to the centre of Athens other than by foot. Despite this, we estimate that 30,000 to 40,000 people were on the streets of Athens.

Today’s rally at Syntagma Square, which is intended to encircle the parliament building, where MPs will be voting on the new (third) Memorandum [new austerity measures at the behest of the Trioka] at 5.00pm, will probably be much bigger. But there is always an element of uncertainty, as the broad population, including workers and youth, know that most probably there will be violent clashes largely between anarchists and provocateurs (secret police agents), on the one hand, and the riot police, on the other hand. These clashes turn away the mass of the population from taking part in the demos. If this element did not exist, we can safely say that this afternoon one million people, if not more, would be on the streets of Athens surrounding Syntagma Square.

What does the new, third ’Memorandum’ mean for the Greek people?

The third Memorandum will be a disaster, added to an economy and society already devastated by the two previous Memorandums.

According to estimations of the Troika [European Union, European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund], Greece’s GDP will be reduced for a sixth consecutive year. And public debt, notwithstanding the austerity measures that have been adopted these last years and “haircut”, for 2013 will reach 346 billion € (189% of GDP) increased by 66 billion since last February!

Over the last years, Greek people have paid much higher taxes, have see their wages slashed, unemployment has reached 24% and youth unemployment 55% (these are the official figures). Public health and education have been destroyed and public services and companies privatized and sold off for peanuts. But European and Greek capitalists have no interest in the terrible social effects their policies are having.

The third Memorandum contains new cruel austerity measures, such as increase on the retirement age to 67 years, massive dismissals of public employees, more taxes, greater so-called “flexibility” concerning labour relations and privatisations. And it is clear this will lead to more social misery and catastrophe, just like the earlier Memorandums.

How do you explain the fact that despite all this huge mobilisations of the Greek people, the Troika is still able to apply its anti-working class policies?

The Greek people’s struggles over the last two years have been massive. People understand that they have to do something to stop the Troika’s policies. So they participated in general strikes, refused to pay taxes and occupied squares. People want to resist and fight. On the other hand, the trade union leaderships don’t. These leaderships don’t want to overthrow the government because they are tied with the government parties.

The parties of the Left support people’s demands but do not have a plan about how the capitalist’s policies will be stopped and how the government will fall. SYRIZA (Coalition of the Radical Left) recently called for new elections. But elections are not the Left’s primary field of battle at this moment. What is necessary is an indefinite general strike which, of course, will raise the question of power in society – who decides, who controls and who manages the economy and society. This is the only way to go forward, to overthrow the government, and to pave the way for a government of the Left which will be based on worker’s power, through democratic rank and file committees and assemblies, in every workplace, neighborhood, university and school etc.

Is the huge anger of the Greek working class reflected inside the trade unions?

The role of the leaders of trade union is absolutely exasperating. But whatever they do they cannot stop the class struggle. People are outraged with the Troika’s policies. This anger has pushed several rank and file unions and union federations to call the GSEE and ADEDY (the private and public sector trade union centres) for an indefinite general strike, as the only reply that corresponds to the scale of government’s and the Troika’s vicious austerity attacks.

However, the GSEE and ADEDY refused to call an all-out general strike (which was to be expected) and the unions calling for this action did not try to take the next necessary step, which is to co-ordinate actions between themselves; to prepare for and set a day of strike action and to call on the rest of the union movement to come out in coordinated, indefinite strike activity. We are convinced that such an initiative, given the explosive mood in Greek society, would trigger an avalanche of class action and would push aside the official union federation leaderships. Militant, mass industrial action, as described, could maximize workers’ mass pressure against the government and Troika and give society with a perspective to defeat the attacks.

But what really infuriates working class people and drives them “mad” is that often breaks on the strikes movement are made by the parties of the Left. For example, a resolution for at least one week’s strike action was voted down on the Central Council of the ADEDY federation (civil servants’ union) because of the votes of the KKE (Communist Party) faction. The resolution for a week’s long strike had the support of 19 votes, with 17 votes against, but the KKE used its seven votes to defeat it.

In the journalists’ union, two days ago, a similar role was played by the SYRIZA faction, which is the biggest faction in that union. The PASOK vote split, with half supporting the demand of the anti-capitalist Left for indefinite strike action. But SYRIZA voted, together with the conservative section of the union, to have only one 24 hour strike and some three hour stoppages.

These examples show the extent to which the mass parties of the Greek Left are far behind the needs of the situation and the mood of the working masses.

What impact do these developments have on the political landscape?

Despite dissatisfaction with the Left, a big section of the population now regards a new government of the Left as the only hope on the horizon. There is thus a huge turn in favour of SYRIZA (although opinion polls reveal that Syriza’s support has not essentially grown, but it is the largest party because support for the New Democrats, the main party in government, has fallen). But this turn towards SYRIZA is not enthusiastic. This is not without reason. SYRIZA’s political platform is not clear. People do not know exactly what SYRIZA is going to do if it takes the power, and that makes them suspicious. On the other hand, the KKE (communist party) is continuously isolated from the bulk of the working class because of its sectarian tactics. The KKE speaks, in general, about the need for “revolution” and “socialism” but it refuses to link this call, in any way, to today’s reality and to mass consciousness. On the contrary, the KKE say that things are not ‘mature enough’ yet for system change. So, in practice, they have ‘maximum and minimum’ approach (i.e. make radical and general rhetoric for ‘socialism’ etc, while only putting forward minimum demands and without linking the two concretely), rather than a transitional approach (campaigning on the key class demands of the day, while linking this up with the need for a workers’ government and to change society). In reality, as we can see from the union votes mentioned above and other actions, the KKE leadership functions like a strike breaking force.

Despite SYRIZA’s inadequacies, the struggle for a government of the Left is what the movement needs to campaign for and this is the approach of Xekinima. Of course, we link this struggle to the absolute need for a socialist programme and the need to base this on rank and file assemblies and committees of action. We emphasise that if a government of the Left, based around SYRIZA, fails to adopt a socialist platform this will represent a massive defeat for the Greek Left and the working class, particularly given the fact that the neo-fascist Golden Dawn received around 12% to 14% in recent polls.

How is Golden Dawn being combated?

The far right, anti-immigrant Golden Dawn is not invincible, however. Opposition to it is growing. There are many anti-fascist committees being set up. The mass parties of the Left do not really understand how to tackle the problem of rising fascism, which requires working class unity, combating the real danger and propaganda of the far right and also fighting for an end to cuts, and for jobs, decent homes, a living wage and for decent public services, health and education for all etc.

But things are changing. In September, every proposal made inside SYRIZA to create anti-fascist committees (usually made by members of Xekinima who participate in local branches of SYRIZA) was voted down. In the course of the last week, however, the central secretariat of SYRIZA changed its stand and is now in favour of anti-fascist committees. The KKE, on the other hand, makes no such call but it has a sectarian, abstract approach towards resisting Golden Dawn and the need for a united front against the far right threat. The KKE continues to live on its own isolated planet, refusing to understand what is happening around it.

How is the Left responding to the crisis?

SYRIZA is not the only field where developments are taking place. In the rest of the Left important developments are taking place. It is correct to say that the Greek Left, in general, is in a state of crisis, which takes different forms for different parties of the Left. There are splits inside ANTARSYA (the anti-capitalist Left Alliance); there is a mass exodus from the KKE; there are major clashes inside SYRIZA as the leadership turns to the right; and the Left Current of SYNASPISMOS (the main constituent force making up SYRIZA) is reacting to this rightward turn but without clarity as regards what should be done; and, of course, the huge mass of Left voters remain outside the Left parties and formations.

In this context, Xekinima (CWI in Greece), came together with other forces of the Left, from ANTYARSYA and the rest of the anti-capitalist Left and we have also linked up with forces inside SYRIZA, to create the ‘Initiative of the 1000’, as it has become known (1013 individuals signed the launching statement before it became public). This initiative bases itself on the need for a radical anti-capitalist programme, as the only way to come out of the devastating social and economic crisis. This includes calling for a repudiation of the debt, nationalisation of the banks and the commanding heights of the economy, and for a planning of the economy, on the basis of social needs, and under workers’ control and management. The programme also calls for a united front of the parties of the Left and for support for a Left government i.e. a government based around SYRIZA. At the same time, this means fighting against the reformist programme of the leadership of SYRIZA. The majority of the leadership think they can manage the crisis better than the ruling class and do not prioritise fighting to get rid of the capitalist system and for a socialist society.

The Initiative of the 1000 has only been publically alive for a few days but it has already been noted by the whole of the Left. It is an entirely new innovation, uniting forces from all sections and parties of the Left, on the same programme and with similar aims for the mass movement in the immediate period ahead. Its development and potential are not yet clear. But it is certainly worth the attempt to build the Initiative of the 1000. We will be able to say more about its role and perspectives in the very near future.



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NEWS

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?

Britain/Ireland: Dublin's #JobstownNotGuilty
23/02/2017, Neil Cafferky, from The Socialist (weekly paper of the Socialist Party, England & Wales):
Defend the right to protest - stop this political vendetta!

Ireland: A web of intrigue sparks government crisis
22/02/2017, By Cillian Gillespie, Socialist Party (CWI in Ireland) :
Smear campaign against a prominent police whistleblower

Yemen: International protests in support of TOTAL/G4S workers
20/02/2017, Socialistworld.net:
Solidarity spreads for victims of wage robbery and killing by multinational corporations

Netherlands: Anti-immigrant Freedom Party leading polls ahead of general elections
18/02/2017, Pieter Brans, Socialist Alternative (CWI in Netherlands), Amsterdam:
Only a choice between the “regular” and far-right?

Solidarity: French presidential candidate Mélenchon backs #JobstownNotGuilty campaign
17/02/2017, socialistworld.net :
Support the international solidarity campaign

Britain: Council cuts can be fought - and they must be
16/02/2017, Editorial comments from the Socialist, paper of the Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales) :
Corbyn needs to stand up to Brexit rebels

Spain: Pablo Iglesias wins clear victory in Podemos congress
15/02/2017, Izquierda Revolucionaria, Spain:
Time to build the class struggle on the streets

US: A socialist strategy to defeat Trump
14/02/2017, Kshama Sawant, Seattle City Council Woman and member of Socialist Alternative :
Escalate the resistance toward shutdowns on March 8 and May 1!

Greece: Athens’ bus cleaners win bulk of wages owed
14/02/2017, Eleni Mitsou (Xekinima - CWI Greece) and Apostolis Cassimere’s (Board Member of OASA - Athens Bus Workers’ Union):
The struggle continues!

Scotland: Greens back SNP government austerity budget
13/02/2017, Matt Dobson, Socialist Paty Scotland (CWI), Glasgow:
TUSC council elections candidates put forward 100% anti-austerity programme

Yemen: Workers protest at parliament against TOTAL and G4S
07/02/2017, Socialistworld.net:
Security workers demand wages and arrest of colleagues’ killers

Romania: Biggest street protests since 1989
04/02/2017, Mâna de Lucru (CWI supporters in Romania):
What position should the left take?

Quebec: Terrorist Attack in Québec City
01/02/2017, Socialist Alternative (CWI in Canada) :
Counter terrorism and hate with solidarity

CWI: 9th Latin American school a success
31/01/2017, socialistworld.net:
Over 200 participate in Sao Paolo CWI continental gathering

US: Airport protests help block Trump travel ban
30/01/2017, Socialist Alternative reporters, US :
Defend immigrant communities

China: CWI member Hu Xufang forced to flee
28/01/2017, chinaworker.info reporters :
Xu and his family are victims of China’s deepening police crackdown

Russia: Duma legislates to decriminalise domestic violence
26/01/2017, From Socialist Alternative (Russian CWI) website (socialist.news) :
For unified struggle for women’s rights and against capitalism

Tamil Nadu: Mass protests against state repression
26/01/2017, Isai Priya, from Tamil Solidarity website :
Support the right to assemble and protest - release those arrested immediately!

Bangladesh: Hartal protest against power plant
25/01/2017, Pete Mason, Socialist Party (CWI in England and Wales) :
Follows mass strike of garment workers in December

Côte d’Ivoire: Social revolts shake Ouattara regime
24/01/2017, Militant Côte d’Ivoire (CWI group in Côte d’Ivoire) :
Public sector strike and soldiers’ mutiny expose reality behind “economic growth”

Taiwan: US foreign policy under Trump
24/01/2017, Vincent Kolo, chinaworker.info:
Island risks being pawn in his game

US: CWI joins protests around the world against Trump
23/01/2017, socialistworld.net :
Photo gallery selection of CWI actions during weekend of mass protests

US: Kshama Sawant responds to Trump inauguration speech
23/01/2017, socialistworld.net :
Socialist council member speaks

Russian Revolution Centenary: New site celebrates and defends October socialist revolution
20/01/2017, socialistworld.net :
1917revolution.org brings rich lessons of 100 years ago to wide audience

CWI Comment and Analysis

ANALYSIS

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

CWI International Executive Committee: European capitalism “battered by events”
16/12/2016, Kevin Henry, Socialist Party (CWI in Ireland) :
Report of discussion on Europe at CWI IEC meeting in November

CWI International Executive Committee: World shaken by seismic political events
14/12/2016, Kevin Parslow, Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales):
Report of first session of the CWI International Executive Committee, discussing World Relations

World capitalism in deep crisis
08/12/2016, CWI :
Perspectives documents agreed by November CWI international meeting

Sudan: Three day nationwide strike shuts down the country, in unique defiance of Al-Bashir’s rule
30/11/2016, Serge Jordan, CWI:
Escalation of the struggle needed to overthrow repressive regime

US: Trump prepares attacks on working people,immigrants and women
27/11/2016, Tom Crean and Philip Locker, Socialist Alternative (USA):
We must prepare massive resistance!

Cuba: Fidel Castro, leader of 1959 revolution, dies at 90
26/11/2016, Tony Saunois, CWI :
Castro's life and the Cuban Revolution