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New Zealand
Victory over zero-contract hours

24/05/2015: ‘Cotton On’ clothes retailer workers defeat attempt to remove rest and meal breaks

  New Zealand

Iraq/Syria
ISIS rout national armies at Ramadi and Palmyra

23/05/2015: United working class movement needed to sweep away sectarian militias and reactionary politicians

  Iraq, Syria

Britain
Labour leadership contest - appealing to big business

22/05/2015: The Labour leadership contest begs the question: what is the point of the Labour Party?

  Britain

Ireland North
Election marks growing rejection of sectarian status quo

21/05/2015: Opportunities to build new anti-sectarian political voice for working class and youth

  Ireland Republic

Spain
Is Podemos in crisis?

20/05/2015: Left and social movements in a state of flux, as key elections loom

  Spain

Britain
Build a movement to defeat Tories’ cuts savagery

20/05/2015: For massive union demonstrations, linked to a 24-hour general strike

  Britain

Ireland South
Vote ‘Yes’ to marriage equality!

19/05/2015: Referendum a product of long-waged campaign of struggle from below

  Ireland Republic

Greece
Subordination to Troika or rupture with austerity?

18/05/2015: The choices before the Greek working class

  Greece

North Cyprus
‘Moderate leftist’ wins presidential election on peace ticket

16/05/2015: Workers’ common front, north and south, can find solution to island’s division

  Cyprus

Chile
Huge demonstrations call for free education

15/05/2015: New chapter opens in country’s political and ‘moral’ crisis

  Chile

Australia
East-West toll road dispute concluded

15/05/2015: Local community direct action secures victory

  Australia

Ireland
Parliament suspended after PM tells Socialist MPs “where to go”

14/05/2015: Contemptuous remarks reflect government concerns over non-payment of water charges

  Ireland Republic

Britain
Organising against Tory austerity starts now

14/05/2015: Potential for industrial response to cuts but needs determined leadership and campaigning

  Britain

 Video
Joe Higgins TD questions former ECB president Jean Claude Trichet

13/05/2015: "When bankers and bondholders’ gambles crashed, their massive burden of private debt was placed onto the shoulders of the Irish people"

  Ireland Republic, Video

Sudan
Mass apathy towards elections

12/05/2015: Renewed struggle from below needed to put an end to Bashir’s rule

  Sudan

USA
Presidential candidate declares "political revolution" against billionaires

12/05/2015: Campaign needs to build independent political power

  US

Britain
Fight against "five more damned years" of Tory rule

12/05/2015: Labour leader’s ’responsible capitalism’ shows its bankruptcy

  Britain

China
“In a hard landing now”

11/05/2015: Stock market frenzy and fabricated GDP figures cannot hide the reality of an economy in deep trouble

  China

Scotland
Labour annihilated

11/05/2015: SNP sweeps to victory by posing as an anti-austerity alternative

  Scotland

Britain
With the votes of 24% of the electorate, Tories have no mandate for more savage cuts

11/05/2015: Labour’s failure puts centre stage the need for new mass anti-austerity force

  Britain

Poland
65,000 workers demonstrate against governments’ policies

07/05/2015: Plan of action for a general strike needed

  Poland

Ireland North
Socialist Party replies to leading Sinn Fein councillor’s attacks

06/05/2015: How to fight cuts, sectarianism and to build workers’ unity

  Ireland North

Britain
Russell Brand mistaken to sow illusions in Labour

06/05/2015: Russell Brand calls on people to elect a Labour government, saying Ed Miliband will ’listen’ and wants pressure from below

  Britain

May Day 2015
International workers’ day marked by marches and rallies

05/05/2015: Photo gallery of the CWI taking part in May Day event across the world

  May Day

Iceland
Fighting for better wages

05/05/2015: General strike called for 26 May

  Iceland

May Day 2015
Socialist plan or capitalist chaos

01/05/2015: What sort of new society are we struggling for?

  May Day

Nepal
Disaster in Nepal –amplified by capitalism

30/04/2015: Nepal, one of the poorest countries in the south Asian region has been further devastated by the recent earthquake.

  Nepal

US
Rage in Baltimore

29/04/2015: The aftermath of Freddie Gray’s death

  US

Book review
’No place to hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA and the US Surveillance state’

29/04/2015: What the 1% will do to defend their class interests

  Review, US

 May Day 2015
Resisting austerity, exploitation, wars and oppression

28/04/2015: 125 years since first May Day – Build a united workers’ movement for socialism!

  CWI, May Day

Italy
Migrant disasters - the human cost of budget cuts

27/04/2015: From Mare Nostrum to Triton

  Italy

Latin America
A new turn?

25/04/2015: Historic handshake between Barack Obama and Raúl Castro, turmoil in Venezuela, and stalled reforms in Bolivia – as well as crises in Brazil – symbolise a new turn in Latin America and the Caribbean

  Latin America

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

New Zealand: Victory over zero-contract hours
24/05/2015, Joe Kelly, CWI NZ/Aotearoa:
‘Cotton On’ clothes retailer workers defeat attempt to remove rest and meal breaks

Britain: Labour leadership contest - appealing to big business
22/05/2015, Sarah Sachs-Eldridge, Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales):
The Labour leadership contest begs the question: what is the point of the Labour Party?

Britain: Build a movement to defeat Tories’ cuts savagery
20/05/2015, Editorial from The Socialist, weekly paper of the Socialist Party (CWI England & Wales):
For massive union demonstrations, linked to a 24-hour general strike

Ireland South: Vote ‘Yes’ to marriage equality!
19/05/2015, From the Socialist Party (CWI Ireland) website:
Referendum a product of long-waged campaign of struggle from below

Greece: Subordination to Troika or rupture with austerity?
18/05/2015, Editorial from Xekinima (no. 410, 6-20 May 2015), fortnightly newspaper of CWI Greece:
The choices before the Greek working class

Pakistan: Jawad Ahmad speaking at May Day rally held by International Youth and Workers Movement
18/05/2015, Socialistworld.net:
Video of May Day Rally and concert in Lahore

North Cyprus: ‘Moderate leftist’ wins presidential election on peace ticket
16/05/2015, Athina Kariati, New Internationalist Left (CWI in Cyprus):
Workers’ common front, north and south, can find solution to island’s division

Chile: Huge demonstrations call for free education
15/05/2015, Patricio Guzman, Socialismo Revolcuionario (CWI in Chile):
New chapter opens in country’s political and ‘moral’ crisis

Australia: East-West toll road dispute concluded
15/05/2015, Socialist Party (CWI Australia) Reporters:
Local community direct action secures victory

Ireland: Parliament suspended after PM tells Socialist MPs “where to go”
14/05/2015, Socialistworld.net:
Contemptuous remarks reflect government concerns over non-payment of water charges

Britain: Organising against Tory austerity starts now
14/05/2015, John McInally, Public and Commercial Services Union national Vice-President (personal capacity), from the Socialist Party (CWI England & Wales) website:
Potential for industrial response to cuts but needs determined leadership and campaigning

Video: Joe Higgins TD questions former ECB president Jean Claude Trichet
13/05/2015, Socialistworld.net:
"When bankers and bondholders’ gambles crashed, their massive burden of private debt was placed onto the shoulders of the Irish people"

Sudan: Mass apathy towards elections
12/05/2015, Sudanese CWI supporter:
Renewed struggle from below needed to put an end to Bashir’s rule

Scotland: Labour annihilated
11/05/2015, :
SNP sweeps to victory by posing as an anti-austerity alternative

Britain: With the votes of 24% of the electorate, Tories have no mandate for more savage cuts
11/05/2015, Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales):
Labour’s failure puts centre stage the need for new mass anti-austerity force

Poland: 65,000 workers demonstrate against governments’ policies
07/05/2015, Alternatywa Socjalistyczna (CWI Poland) Reporters:
Plan of action for a general strike needed

Britain: Russell Brand mistaken to sow illusions in Labour
06/05/2015, Sarah Sachs-Eldridge, Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales):
Russell Brand calls on people to elect a Labour government, saying Ed Miliband will ’listen’ and wants pressure from below

May Day 2015: International workers’ day marked by marches and rallies
05/05/2015, Socialistworld.net:
Photo gallery of the CWI taking part in May Day event across the world

Iceland: Fighting for better wages
05/05/2015, Per-Åke Westerlund, Rättvisepartiet Socialisterna (CWI Sweden):
General strike called for 26 May

US: Rage in Baltimore
29/04/2015, Eljeer Hawkins, Socialist Alternative, New York:
The aftermath of Freddie Gray’s death

Book review: ’No place to hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA and the US Surveillance state’
29/04/2015, Reviewed by Tony Saunois, CWI:
What the 1% will do to defend their class interests

Kazakhstan: Presidential ‘election’ - Nazarbayev’s overwhelming victory no surprise
28/04/2015, Elizabeth Clarke, CWI:
Workers need to build mass opposition

Ireland North: Health Minister forced to resign after making homophobic remarks
27/04/2015, Daniel Waldron, Socialist Party (CWI Ireland):
LGBT and women’s rights campaigners boosted

Italy: Migrant disasters - the human cost of budget cuts
27/04/2015, From web-site of ControCorrente (CWI in Italy):
From Mare Nostrum to Triton

Finland: Worst ever election result for traditional Left
24/04/2015, Jonas Brännberg and Juha Tapio for CWI in Finland:
Finns Party second biggest in parliament

Scotland: Labour face annihilation as millions seek an answer to austerity
23/04/2015, Philip Stott, Socialist Party Scotland (CWI in Scotland):
The SNP, according to the polls, will win 53 of Scotland’s 59 Westminster MPs

CWI Comment and Analysis

ANALYSIS

Iraq/Syria: ISIS rout national armies at Ramadi and Palmyra
23/05/2015, Niall Mulholland, CWI:
United working class movement needed to sweep away sectarian militias and reactionary politicians

Ireland North: Election marks growing rejection of sectarian status quo
21/05/2015, Daniel Waldron and Kevin Henry, Socialist Party (CWI Ireland), Belfast:
Opportunities to build new anti-sectarian political voice for working class and youth

Spain: Is Podemos in crisis?
20/05/2015, Danny Byrne, CWI:
Left and social movements in a state of flux, as key elections loom

USA: Presidential candidate declares "political revolution" against billionaires
12/05/2015, Philip Locker, Socialist Alternative, Seattle:
Campaign needs to build independent political power

Britain: Fight against "five more damned years" of Tory rule
12/05/2015, Peter Taaffe, Socialist Party )CWI England & Wales) General Secretary:
Labour leader’s ’responsible capitalism’ shows its bankruptcy

China: “In a hard landing now”
11/05/2015, Dikang, chinaworker.info:
Stock market frenzy and fabricated GDP figures cannot hide the reality of an economy in deep trouble

Ireland North: Socialist Party replies to leading Sinn Fein councillor’s attacks
06/05/2015, Socialist Party (CWI Ireland) Statement:
How to fight cuts, sectarianism and to build workers’ unity

May Day 2015: Socialist plan or capitalist chaos
01/05/2015, Peter Taaffe, Socialist Party General Secretary, (CWI England & Wales):
What sort of new society are we struggling for?

Nepal: Disaster in Nepal –amplified by capitalism
30/04/2015, TU Senan, CWI:
Nepal, one of the poorest countries in the south Asian region has been further devastated by the recent earthquake.

May Day 2015: Resisting austerity, exploitation, wars and oppression
28/04/2015, CWI:
125 years since first May Day – Build a united workers’ movement for socialism!

Latin America: A new turn?
25/04/2015, Tony Saunois, article from May issue of Socialism Today, magazine of the Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales):
Historic handshake between Barack Obama and Raúl Castro, turmoil in Venezuela, and stalled reforms in Bolivia – as well as crises in Brazil – symbolise a new turn in Latin America and the Caribbean

Iran: Proposed nuclear deal reflects transformed Middle East
24/04/2015, Robert Bechert, CWI:
In aftermath of disastrous Iraq occupation, Obama administration balancing between region’s forces

Tunisia: After the Bardo terrorist attack
18/04/2015, Serge Jordan:
New class battles loom

Yemen: Brutal onslaught on country’s poor
15/04/2015, Judy Beishon, from The Socialist (weekly paper of the CWI England & Wales):
For unity of workers and poor against imperialism and sectarianism

Economy: What low oil prices cost the world economy
03/04/2015, Lynn Walsh, article from Socialism Today, magazine of the Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales):
The sudden plunge of oil and gas prices has underlined the volatility in the world capitalist economy

Israel: Netanyahu mobilises far right to win election
25/03/2015, Yasha Marmer, Socialist Struggle Movement, Israel-Palestine:
New coalition will face unresolved crises and bitter struggles

Italy: The instability of domestic capitalism
24/03/2015, Marco Veruggio, ControCorrente (CWI Italy):
Political vacuum pushes FIOM to take initiative

Greece: Varoufakis’ “erratic Marxism” is not the answer
23/03/2015, Peter Taaffe, from Socialism Today (monthly magazine of the Socialist Party, England & Wales):
Necessary to clarify ideas upon which successful struggles of European working class will be conducted

Belgium: No agreement reached between unions and government over austerity
20/03/2015, Eric Byl, LSP/PSL (Belgian section of the CWI), Brussels:
New action plan against right wing government takes off

Ukraine: Conflict unresolved after ’Minsk-2’ agreement
18/03/2015, Rob Jones, CWI, Moscow:
Only independent working-class mass movement can remove the region’s authoritarian rulers

Greece: Syriza’s first months in power
07/03/2015, Andreas Payiatsos, from Xekinima (newspaper of the CWI Greece):
The working class and social movements must enter the struggle for their rights

Quebec: Towards a hot spring
02/03/2015, Deirdre and Bruno, Socialist Alternative (CWI Quebec):
Disrupt them like they disrupt us!

Greece showdown
26/02/2015, Article to be published in the March issue of Socialism Today (magazine of the Socialist Party, CWI in England and Wales):
Niall Mulholland interviewed NICOS ANASTASIADES, of Xekinima (CWI Greece), just as Syriza leaders agreed a four-month bail-out extension with the EU.

Libya: War-torn country becoming new hub for IS activities
25/02/2015, Serge Jordan (CWI):
Libyan people bearing the brunt of NATO’s fiasco

Europe: Eurozone time-bomb
25/02/2015, Lynn Walsh, article from Socialism Today (magazine of the Socialist Party of England and Wales):
Mired in recession, the eurozone is haunted by the spectre of stagnation