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Council cuts and the Corbyn campaign

01/09/2015: Potential to resist if follow 80’s Liverpool Council example

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Kurdistan
Democratic autonomy or socialism?

29/08/2015: Articles on Öcalan’s ideas and Rojava, originally published in sozialismus.info, the quaterly magazine of SAV (German section of the CWI)

  Kurdistan, Syria, Turkey

Greece
What does “Popular Unity” stand for?

28/08/2015: New Left force launched following Tsipras’ betrayal

  Greece

Sri Lanka
Identifying the challenges after defeat of Rajapaksa

27/08/2015: Working class struggle top priority for socialists

  Sri Lanka

Britain
The Corbyn insurgency

27/08/2015: Whatever the outcome of the contest, Jeremy Corbyn’s campaign has already transformed the political situation in Britain

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‘Garbage protests’ shake the ruling class

25/08/2015: Interview with Tamer Mahdi, CWI member in Lebanon

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World economy
China crisis triggers panic on global markets

25/08/2015: More than $5 trillion wiped off global stock markets in two weeks since Chinese devaluation

  China, World Economy

Sri Lanka
Election sees Rajapaksa fail to make a come-back

23/08/2015: Neo-liberal policies of UNP-led government will not satisfy demands of workers and poor.

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25 years since invasion of Kuwait

22/08/2015: ’Unfinished business’ remains today

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Anniversary of Trotsky’s assassination

21/08/2015: Coming mass revolts will see workers and youth look to Trotsky’s ideas

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Scotland and the Jeremy Corbyn campaign

20/08/2015: The response to Corbyn’s campaign has parallels with the outpouring of class anger that was seen during the independence referendum

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Bomb in Bangkok kills 20

19/08/2015: Country plagued by military junta and economic downturn

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Past or future?

18/08/2015: Review of ‘PostCapitalism: a guide to our future’ by Paul Mason

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Greece and the latest phase of the EU crisis

18/08/2015: Alexis Tsipras and the Syriza leadership have pushed through parliament the third bailout – and further deep cuts – although only with the help of right-wing parties. However, the crises in Greece, the eurozone and wider EU are far from over…

  Greece

Britain
Corbyn challenge - a very welcome political upheaval

17/08/2015: The Labour Party’s right-wing leaders have been astonished and horrified at the over-flowing rallies for Jeremy Corbyn around the UK over the last few weeks

  Britain

Northern Ireland
Left Challenge for Largest Union’s Leadership

15/08/2015: CWI member, Patrick Mulholland, leads Left campaign for leadership of NIPSA union

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Ireland
Paul Murphy and 22 activists to be charged over peaceful protest

14/08/2015: Socialist MP to be charged with false imprisonment for protesting against water charges

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Will robots end capitalism?

14/08/2015: Technological developments, the threat to jobs, and perspectives for the struggle against capitalism and for the future of humanity

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New Left formations

13/08/2015: Report of discussion on New Workers’ Parties, Left Populism and the ideas and programme of PODEMOS, SYRIZA

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Devaluation of yuan jolts global markets

12/08/2015: Sudden reversal of Beijing’s exchange rate policy underlines seriousness of China’s economic woes

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Human tragedy of Calais crisis

07/08/2015: Tories have no solutions

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PYD leaders call for partnership with Bashar al-Assad’s regime

06/08/2015: No faith in authoritarian rulers and Western powers!

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70th anniversary of Hiroshima atomic bomb

06/08/2015: Can a future nuclear conflict be avoided?

  Japan, Nuclear Power

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Building the CWI

06/08/2015: Introductory video to the plenary session on ‘Building the CWI’ shown at the 2015 CWI Summer School, featuring the work of our International across the world

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Britain
Jeremy Corbyn – thousands rally to anti-austerity appeal

05/08/2015: Large attendances at Corbyn rallies across country

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Kshama Sawant leads primary elections count on 50%

05/08/2015: Seattle socialist primary election success

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Greece
‘The working class showed it will return to struggle’

04/08/2015: After Syriza capitulates, taking first steps towards building a new mass Left alternative to austerity and capitalism

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World crisis continues amid horrific consequences

03/08/2015: Report of World Perspectives discussion at the 2015 CWI Summer School

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Drawing the lessons from the revolutions in North Africa

03/08/2015: Life and death struggle with the process of counter-revolution.

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Over 1,000 attend housing debate hosted by Socialist councillor Kshama Sawant

31/07/2015: Kshama Sawant, Seattle’s socialist councillor defending seat in primary elections on 4 August

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Social and political turmoil in Ireland

30/07/2015: Socialists play key role in rapidly changing situation

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Britain
Corbyn’s Labour leadership bid shows anti-austerity message popular

29/07/2015: Militant Tendency held up as bogeyman by Labour right and media - What’s the real history?

  Britain

Turkey
Horrific Suruc massacre

28/07/2015: Only workers’ unity can end terrorism and division

  Turkey

Ireland

Economic and social issues preparing an explosion

www.socialistworld.net, 29/11/2012
website of the committee for a workers' international, CWI

Anti-household tax struggle sinks deep roots as signs of increased anger against austerity emerge

Kevin Mcloughlin, Socialist Party (CWI in Ireland)

The last two Saturdays have seen two important demonstrations in Dublin. With another austerity Budget due on 5 December, last Saturday, 24 November, 15,000 attended an anti-austerity march and rally.

The original proposal for this demonstration was put forward by the Socialist Party (CWI in Ireland) in both the United Left Alliance (ULA) and the Campaign Against Household and Water Taxes (CAHWT). Our proposal was taken up but unfortunately its nature was significantly altered along the way. Even still, in comparison to a demonstration called in advance of last year’s Budget which attracted just over 2,000, last Saturday’s demo was a significant development.

Anti-household tax struggle has deep roots

The most obvious change since last year has been that the campaign against the household tax burst forth, particularly between January and April, including the unprecedented indoor rally of 3,000 in the National Stadium, followed up with 15,000 marching on the Fine Gael conference in Dublin on 31 March, as well as the establishing of mass non-payment. Recent figures illustrate that 52% of single homeowners and 47% of households in general have still not registered or paid the tax.

In the last months, there have been some signs that anger is intensifying as the cuts and attacks get worse and it is more and more apparent that there is no economic recovery. Even though the figures on the demonstration are up, it is still not clear if a point has been reached where new layers are ready to get active in the struggle against austerity generally.

A centre piece in the Budget will be the new Property Tax which will replace the household charge, and what was clear from the demo was that the campaign against the household and property taxes has a real base in society as it mobilised the largest and most vibrant sections of the demonstration.

Abortion – a new social movement erupts

Another protest demonstration on 17 November, attracted 20,000 people on a completely different issue and with a completely different age profile. That demonstration was called at a few days notice by an ad-hoc campaign and people came in their droves.

They came to register their horror at the death of Savita Halappanavar who died in Galway having been denied a potentially life-saving abortion. People turned out in huge numbers in solidarity with her family and to demand abortion rights in Ireland.

In contrast to the demonstration last Saturday, the vast bulk of those attending were between the ages of 25 to 35. There were few enough people in the over forty or under twenty age brackets and nearly as many young men as young women participated. The significance of this demonstration cannot be overstated.

Savita Halappanavar – denied her right to choose

The tragic story of Savita Halappanavar has gained significant international coverage. The CWI has played an important role in spreading awareness of her gross mistreatment and the medieval treatment of women’s rights in Ireland in the 21st century. There are investigations into Savita’s death but her partner, Praveen, is demanding a public inquiry.

It has been stated by Praveen that Savita’s repeated requests for a termination were refused on the basis that Ireland was a “Catholic country”. This would indicate that Savita may not have been allowed an abortion either because of bigoted religious sectarianism or because it was deemed that her health may have been in danger, but not necessarily her life.

In Ireland abortion is illegal except where there is a “real and substantial” risk to the life, as opposed to the health, of a woman. This was the finding of a Supreme Court ruling in the X Case in 1992. Yet even this ruling has never been legislated for because of political spinelessness as well as the continuing but unrepresentative influence of right-wing and Catholic ethos in the traditional capitalist parties.

Backward capitalism

The only conclusion that can be drawn is that for those in power, it is acceptable that women may suffer horrendous agony and serious risks to their health rather than bring in clear legislation and allow for terminations to be performed. As a result of this scandal we have heard of many other dreadful stories of the physical and mental anguish that denial of a right to an abortion has caused countless women over many years.

The counter-posing of a women’s life to her health is disgusting, backward and must be ended. A woman’s right to the best possible care and respect for her choices regarding her own body must be established. A government ‘Expert Group’ report was pending on these issues when Savita died. A real movement made up of ordinary women and men must be established to maximise the pressure on the backward political establishment.

Such a movement must fight for a referendum as soon as is possible to get rid of the 1983 Pro-Life 8th amendment to the constitution that bans abortion. Such a referendum could be won and that could open up the way for a struggle for legislation to be enacted to provide for abortion rights.

The bitter experience of the many tragedies that women have suffered in Ireland - the X Case, the A, B, and C cases and now the oppression that Savita suffered means that the struggle for abortion rights is seen now more than ever before, as a battle for basic but essential human and democratic rights.

For real choices – yes to abortion rights – no to austerity

The age profile of the Savita demonstration gives a glimpse of the future and indicates the importance of democratic and social issues to young people and their resolve not to be dragged backward.

The Labour Party who would have previously reflected to some degree the aspirations of many people are now seen to have sold out on both the economic and on the social issues. The hatred towards them is tangible.

It is now becoming a matter of course that trade union leaders and Labour politicians can’t speak on public platforms without getting booed relentlessly. This indicates the political vacuum that is opening up.

An explosion on the Property Tax?

In the New Year, ordinary working class people who have not paid the household tax are likely to be dragged to court and this can result in some significant conflicts. The new property tax, replacing the current €100 household tax, will be announced in the Budget but will come into effect in July 2013.

The indications are that the tax could well come in at a level of €400 a year on an average home. After five years of austerity we are now getting into the territory of “can’t pay, won’t pay” for huge numbers of people. The reality of austerity, as well as the deep principled opposition among huge numbers to more austerity taxes so bondholders and speculators get their pound of flesh, is creating the basis for an explosion.

The build up to the imposition of the Property tax in July could see mobilisations greater and deeper than with the household tax earlier this year. Many issues can come to the fore, some out of the blue, just as with Savita’s tragic death. However, it seems likely that the property tax could become a vehicle for a real and sustained struggle against austerity and against this discredited Government.

Attempts to build an independent class movement undermined

This perspective informed the Socialist Party’s initial proposal regarding the pre-Budget, anti-austerity demonstration last Saturday. We advocated that the CAHWT (Campaign Against Household & Water Taxes) should take the lead in initiating the anti-austerity demonstration as it was by some distance fighting the most significant battle against austerity. CAHWT could then seek the support of others, including from the rank and file and fighting elements in the trade unions.

Unfortunately, abusing the understandable desire for unity and feeding off a lack of confidence among activists, others including the Socialist Workers Party in the CAHWT prevailed with the idea that the march should be "jointly" organised with the ineffectual Dublin Council of Trade Unions (DCTU).

The Socialist Party wouldn’t have had a problem with a joint demonstration but we knew because of our experience with the DCTU that even though it plays a minimal role in the struggle against austerity, it always seeks to exaggerate its importance and exert tight control.

A joint demo or DCTU control?

Unfortunately what supposedly started out as a joint demonstration quickly became a march organised by the DCTU with the CAHWT becoming just one of a number of supporting organisations. Before and after Saturday’s march the media again and again referred to it as organised by the DCTU with little or no mention of the anti-household tax campaign.

The Socialist Workers Party was the main agency that argued in reality for CAHWT to play second fiddle to the DCTU, and in this way, their approach facilitated the take over of this initiative by the DCTU.

Having been allowed take control of the initiative, the DCTU’s then appealed to the discredited main trade union leaders to support the demonstration. Some of these leaders who have completely sold-out the attempts of workers to fight austerity, then indicated their support, not because they were serious about mobilising for the demonstration but as a cover for the very negative role that they are playing in reality.

Involvement of trade union leaders who have sold-out undermines demonstration

The reality is that the endorsement of the principle trade union leadership – Jack O’Connor, the leader of the biggest union SIPTU was a key speaker at the press conference for the demonstration – will have brought out some workers and certainly brought out a lot of union officials, but it also would have undermined the basis for the demonstration among other, potentially more militant layers.

It illustrates how the main leaders of the official movement are viewed that when the President of Irish Congress of Trade Unions, Eugene McGlone was introduced to the demonstration on Saturday, he was met with a loud and long chorus of jeering from the demonstrators.

One Socialist Party member commented that a member of SIPTU who he knew said that he attended the demonstration because he was made aware of it through a SIPTU circular, but he refused to march under the SIPTU banners.

Opposition to the Property Tax is dropped

With the influence and control of the DCTU, opposition to the property tax, which clearly should have been a central demand of the demonstration, was dropped and again this limited its attractiveness for many of the best people, including activists in the campaign who increasingly didn’t see the demonstration as their demonstration.

There are clearly elements in the trade unions, both “left” and “right” who fear the potential explosion around the property tax, the political significance of it and the political influence that the campaign could develop, potentially representing a new and independent political movement of working class people.

Significance of Campaign and Property Tax becomes clear

It is poor that the SWP pushed and promoted the Dublin Council of Trade Unions into the central organising role for the pre-Budget march. While being part of the CAHWT, the SWP’s approach ensured that the CAHWT and DCTU were not equals.

As a result the role of the most significant anti-austerity campaign and movement that has been built since the crisis hit was diminished to the detriment of the demo itself and to the detriment of preparing for the property tax which will be key in the fight against austerity in 2013.

Regardless, in the end the actual attendance on the march reflected more than anything else the significant base and influence of the Campaign, the opposition to the household and property taxes and the huge potential of these issues. 2013 is shaping up to be an eventful year on many counts.



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NEWS

Greece: What does “Popular Unity” stand for?
28/08/2015, Interview with Andreas Payiatsos, Xekinima (CWI in Greece), by Lucy Redler, SAV (CWI in Germany):
New Left force launched following Tsipras’ betrayal

Britain: The Corbyn insurgency
27/08/2015, Editorial of Socialism Today, magazine of the Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales), September 2015:
Whatever the outcome of the contest, Jeremy Corbyn’s campaign has already transformed the political situation in Britain

Lebanon: ‘Garbage protests’ shake the ruling class
25/08/2015, socialistworld.net:
Interview with Tamer Mahdi, CWI member in Lebanon

World economy: China crisis triggers panic on global markets
25/08/2015, Vincent Kolo, chinaworker.info:
More than $5 trillion wiped off global stock markets in two weeks since Chinese devaluation

Sri Lanka: Election sees Rajapaksa fail to make a come-back
23/08/2015, Srinath Perera, United Socialist Party (CWI in Sri Lanka):
Neo-liberal policies of UNP-led government will not satisfy demands of workers and poor.

Gulf War: 25 years since invasion of Kuwait
22/08/2015, Niall Mulholland, CWI:
’Unfinished business’ remains today

Scotland and the Jeremy Corbyn campaign
20/08/2015, Editorial taken from the current issue of the Socialist - the paper of Socialist Party Scotland (CWI):
The response to Corbyn’s campaign has parallels with the outpouring of class anger that was seen during the independence referendum

Thailand: Bomb in Bangkok kills 20
19/08/2015, Per-Ake Westerlund, Rattvisepartiet Socialisterna (CWI in Sweden):
Country plagued by military junta and economic downturn

Greece and the latest phase of the EU crisis
18/08/2015, Tony Saunois, CWI, from September 2015 issue of Socialism Today, magazine of the Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales):
Alexis Tsipras and the Syriza leadership have pushed through parliament the third bailout – and further deep cuts – although only with the help of right-wing parties. However, the crises in Greece, the eurozone and wider EU are far from over…

Britain: Corbyn challenge - a very welcome political upheaval
17/08/2015, Interview with Judy Beishon in the Socialist, paper of the Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales):
The Labour Party’s right-wing leaders have been astonished and horrified at the over-flowing rallies for Jeremy Corbyn around the UK over the last few weeks

Northern Ireland: Left Challenge for Largest Union’s Leadership
15/08/2015, Socialist Party (CWI in Ireland) reporters:
CWI member, Patrick Mulholland, leads Left campaign for leadership of NIPSA union

Ireland: Paul Murphy and 22 activists to be charged over peaceful protest
14/08/2015, Socialist Party (CWI in Ireland) reporters:
Socialist MP to be charged with false imprisonment for protesting against water charges

CWI School 2015: New Left formations
13/08/2015, Matt Dobson, Socialist Party Scotland (CWI in Scotland):
Report of discussion on New Workers’ Parties, Left Populism and the ideas and programme of PODEMOS, SYRIZA

China: Devaluation of yuan jolts global markets
12/08/2015, Editorial comment by chinaworker.info:
Sudden reversal of Beijing’s exchange rate policy underlines seriousness of China’s economic woes

Malaysia: Prime Minister implicated in financial scandals
11/08/2015, Socialist Alternative (CWI in Malaysia):
Power struggle in UMNO party

France/Britain: Human tragedy of Calais crisis
07/08/2015, Sarah Sachs-Eldridge, from The Socialist (weekly paper of the Socialist Party, CWI England & Wales):
Tories have no solutions

Japan: 70th anniversary of Hiroshima atomic bomb
06/08/2015, Geoff Jones and Kate Jones, from The Socialist (newspaper of the Socialist Party – CWI England & Wales):
Can a future nuclear conflict be avoided?

CWI School: Building the CWI
06/08/2015, Socialistworld.net:
Introductory video to the plenary session on ‘Building the CWI’ shown at the 2015 CWI Summer School, featuring the work of our International across the world

Britain: Jeremy Corbyn – thousands rally to anti-austerity appeal
05/08/2015, Steve Score, Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales):
Large attendances at Corbyn rallies across country

US: Kshama Sawant leads primary elections count on 50%
05/08/2015, Socialist Alternative reporters:
Seattle socialist primary election success

CWI School: Drawing the lessons from the revolutions in North Africa
03/08/2015, David Johnson, Socialist Party (CWI in England and Wales):
Life and death struggle with the process of counter-revolution.

US: Over 1,000 attend housing debate hosted by Socialist councillor Kshama Sawant
31/07/2015, Kshama Sawant:
Kshama Sawant, Seattle’s socialist councillor defending seat in primary elections on 4 August

CWI School: Social and political turmoil in Ireland
30/07/2015, Eddie McCabe, Socialist Party (CWI in Ireland):
Socialists play key role in rapidly changing situation

Britain: Corbyn’s Labour leadership bid shows anti-austerity message popular
29/07/2015, Editorial from The Socialist, weekly paper of the Socialist Party (CWI England & Wales):
Militant Tendency held up as bogeyman by Labour right and media - What’s the real history?

Turkey: Horrific Suruc massacre
28/07/2015, Paula Mitchell, Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales):
Only workers’ unity can end terrorism and division

Britain: Labour Left leadership candidate under fire from right wing
27/07/2015, Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales - formerly the Militant Tendency) press statement on Labour leadership contest:
Blairites’ terror at popularity of left-wing ideas in Corbyn campaign

CWI Comment and Analysis

ANALYSIS

Britain: Council cuts and the Corbyn campaign
01/09/2015, Clive Heemskerk, from Socialism Today, September 2015 issue (monthly magazine of the Socialist Party England & Wales):
Potential to resist if follow 80’s Liverpool Council example

Kurdistan: Democratic autonomy or socialism?
29/08/2015, Socialistworld.net:
Articles on Öcalan’s ideas and Rojava, originally published in sozialismus.info, the quaterly magazine of SAV (German section of the CWI)

Sri Lanka: Identifying the challenges after defeat of Rajapaksa
27/08/2015, Siritunga Jayasuriya, United Socialist Party (CWI in Sri Lanka):
Working class struggle top priority for socialists

History: Anniversary of Trotsky’s assassination
21/08/2015, Peter Taaffe, General Secretary Socialist Party (CWI England and Wales), article published on 70th anniversary of Leon Trotsky’s assassination, in 2010:
Coming mass revolts will see workers and youth look to Trotsky’s ideas

Socialism: Past or future?
18/08/2015, Peter Taaffe, Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales) General Secretary:
Review of ‘PostCapitalism: a guide to our future’ by Paul Mason

Technology: Will robots end capitalism?
14/08/2015, Interview with Peter Taaffe, conducted by Shahar Ben-Horin from Socialist Struggle Movement (CWI in Israel-Palestine):
Technological developments, the threat to jobs, and perspectives for the struggle against capitalism and for the future of humanity

Ireland: Mass non-payment campaign transforms political landscape
10/08/2015, Cillian Gillespie, Socialist Party (CWI in Ireland):
57% refuse to pay hated water charge

Kurdistan: PYD leaders call for partnership with Bashar al-Assad’s regime
06/08/2015, Serge Jordan, CWI:
No faith in authoritarian rulers and Western powers!

Greece: ‘The working class showed it will return to struggle’
04/08/2015, Interview with a Greek socialist:
After Syriza capitulates, taking first steps towards building a new mass Left alternative to austerity and capitalism

CWI School 2015: World crisis continues amid horrific consequences
03/08/2015, Cillian Gillespie, Socialist Party (CWI in Ireland):
Report of World Perspectives discussion at the 2015 CWI Summer School

CWI School: Europe’s euro-crisis and prospects for class struggle
28/07/2015, Kevin Parslow, Socialist Party (CWI England & Wales):
Ground prepared everywhere for new battles and rise of left formations

China: Stock market crash can turn into a political crisis
08/07/2015, Interview, with chinaworker.info editor, Vincent Kolo:
Regime adopts panic measures as market crash threatens wider economic recession

Greece: Mighty class-based ‘NO’ shakes bosses’ EU
06/07/2015, Editorial comment by Xekinima (CWI Greece), 6 July 2015:
Referendum earthquake sees working class boldly defy Troika and Greece’s servile ruling class!

Britain: Socialists and the EU referendum
03/07/2015, Clive Heemskerk, Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales):
How should socialists approach the in-or-out EU debate?

Greece: Troika threatens Greeks ahead of referendum
30/06/2015, Andreas Payiatsos and Niall Mulholland:
Vote ‘No’! For a mass working class campaign to oppose Troika and for socialist policies!

Britain’s class battle-lines are drawn
26/06/2015, Hannah Sell, Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales) Deputy General Secretary - article from ’Socialism Today’:
A quarter-of-a-million people protested through London and Glasgow raising the need for trade union-led struggle

Greece: Tsipras retreats before Troika threats
24/06/2015, Statement by Xekinima (CWI Greece) [dated 23 June 2015]:
What should the SYRIZA Left do next?

Greece: No surrender to‘Gang of Lenders’
22/06/2015, Editorial article from Xekinima (CWI Greece) [dated 17 June 2015]:
Plan an anti-austerity fight-back, with socialist policies!

Iraq/Syria: US imperialist strategy in tatters
12/06/2015, Serge Jordan (CWI):
A year after ISIS captured Mosul, the jihadist group controls about half of Syria and a third of Iraq – more territory than ever before

Greece: Syriza voters want austerity ended, not another ’compromise’ Troika deal
04/06/2015, Editorial article from Xekinima (CWI Greece) website [dated 3 June 2015]:
Break with the austerity - adopt a socialist programme!

China: Is China heading for a new Tiananmen?
04/06/2015, Vincent Kolo, chinaworker.info:
26th anniversary of the Beijing massacre on June 4, 1989, is also a warning of revolutionary shocks ahead

Hong Kong: Endgame for Beijing’s fake democracy plan
03/06/2015, Vincent Kolo, chinaworker.info:
Government’s electoral reform proposals meet with mass opposition

Spain: Victories for Left “popular unity” lists in local elections
02/06/2015, Danny Byrne, CWI:
Two-party system dealt a new blow in local and regional elections

Belgium: Momentum to bring down right wing government lost
01/06/2015, Els Deschoemacker and Eric Byl, LSP/PSL (Belgian section of the CWI), Brussels:
Learn from the struggle, as new opportunities open up

Ireland: Massive ‘Yes’ to Marriage Equality referendum
28/05/2015, Conor Payne, Socialist Party (CWI in Ireland):
Growing opposition to conservative establishment