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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

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.



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