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latest news

Britain
The struggles to come

27/05/2015: No fundamental change to be expected from the Labour Party

  Britain

Hong Kong
Cathay Pacific workers to strike in August

26/05/2015: Protesting cabin crew at Hong Kong airport explained their grievances to Socialist Action reporters

  Hong Kong

Canada’s ‘carbo-state’

26/05/2015: Only a socialist alternative can challenge the carbo-capitalists’ grip on Canadian politics

  Canada, Environment

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

Hong Kong

130,000 people march on New Year’s Day

www.socialistworld.net, 03/01/2013
website of the committee for a workers' international, CWI

Marchers demand Chief Executive CY Leung’s resignation and one person one vote

Dikang, Socialist Action (CWI in Hong Kong)

An estimated 130,000 joined protest marches on 1 January against Hong Kong’s leader Leung Chun-ying, also known as “CY”. His government is just six months old and the New Year’s Day protests were only the latest expression of mass anger towards the unelected government, and the pressure is clearly mounting.

Protesters depicted CY as a wolf, a vampire, and a long-nosed Pinocchio – due to his lying ways. The number “689” appeared on many banners – signifying the miniscule number of votes won by Leung in last March’s elite-only “election” from which 99.9% of the population were excluded.

They chanted “Down with Leung Chun-ying” and “Democracy now”. The protests took place one week before an impeachment motion will be moved by League of Social Democrats lawmaker ‘Long Hair’ Leung Kwok-hung in Hong Kong’s pseudo-parliament, the Legco. Smaller marches consisting overwhelmingly of elderly people were also organised on 1 January to show support for CY. These were staged by groups linked to the ruling ‘Communist Party’ (CCP) in China. Even the police figures, which are unreliable, say the anti-CY protests were triple the size of his supporters’ demos.

Policing of mass protests in Hong Kong has become more restrictive and heavy-handed, and New Year’s Day was no exception, with one-third of the territory’s police force deployed for the demonstrations. The police announced weeks before hand they would stop campaign groups from erecting stalls and raising money along the march route, a traditional way for opposition groups to win support and an important democratic right that must be actively defended. Almost all groups ignored this threat and set up campaign stalls.

The demonstration continued late into the night, with police cordoning off the roads leading to CY’s house, and other areas of central Hong Kong, in an attempt to block sections of the marchers intent on staging occupations. At around midnight police arrested several protesters including ‘Long Hair’ and removed tents set up by the demonstrators at Government House.

An estimated 130,000 took part in anti-CY demos 1 January

Interest in socialist ideas

The supporters of the CWI, Socialist Action, set up two stalls to promote the January 2013 issue of Socialist magazine and spread our socialist message. To show how the mass of demonstrators reject the bullyboy threats of the police against democratic rights, our stalls raised over 31,000 Hong Kong dollars. Over 340 issues of the magazine were bought.

Hong Kong and international media reports have made much of the reappearance of British colonial-era flags held by some demonstrators. This has been a trend in recent months, and CCP leaders have vented their fury over this, as proof they say that “external forces” are attempting to subvert Hong Kong, linking this issue to the need to pass repressive security legislation under Article 23 of the Basic Law.

While one on hand the colonial flag has been adopted by some relatively small groups arguing for greater autonomy and in some cases independence for Hong Kong, but also echoing chauvinist and racist ideas against mainland Chinese people, this trend has also be taken up by other layers loosely connected via the internet. For the latter the colonial flag is a way to show opposition to the government and CCP, a bit like the trend in wearing Vendetta masks among some demonstrators. Socialists defend democratic rights and freedom of expression, while opposing the confused and often reactionary ideas symbolised by the colonial flag.

Socialist Action stalls met with great response

Crisis of the whole system

Rather than the personal ‘failings’ or lack of ‘integrity’ of one politician, Hong Kong faces a crisis of the entire political system – of capitalist leaders imposed by the CCP dictatorship riding roughshod over the democratic aspirations of the people.

Despite its short history, CY’s administration has put hundreds of thousands of protesters onto the streets – with 400,000 marching on July 1 when he took office, and over 120,000 in the massive battle over national education (school brainwashing) in September. Mass protests are likely to continue as the threat of Article 23 comes a step closer. This threat is implicit in the appointment of hard-liner Zhang Xiaoming as head of the Hong Kong-mainland Liaison Office and Zhang Dejiang within China’s ruling politburo standing committee as the top man for Hong Kong affairs. Zhang has shown himself to be a hard-liner for example as Guangdong CCP boss in 2005, when up to 20 protesters were shot dead in the Shanwei massacre.

Socialist magazine issue 19 – January 2013

Always and everywhere, the CCP combines the “carrot” with the “stick” (negotiations with repression) and will try to win over or neutralise some of Hong Kong’s pan democratic (opposition) parties by dangling the possibility of a trade-off over the electoral rules for the 2017 Chief Executive election. This shows the need for democratic structures – elected committees – to organise the anti-CY mass struggle and insure that unaccountable “leaders” do not enter into secret deals with the government. This was unfortunately what happened with the mass “Occupy Tamar” movement against national education.

In his scramble last March against Henry Tang Ying-yen for the required 600-plus votes, CY threw around some populist promises to tackle the housing crisis, build more public housing and tilt policy-making in favour of the poor. As Socialist Action warned at that time, nothing has come of this. Some small measures (increased stamp duties for example) have been imposed to cool the housing market, but mass-market house prices still rose by more then 23 percent in 2012, worsening the agony for millions who cannot afford a home.

For the poorest section of society the housing crisis already means acute misery. The scandal of subdivided flats is far worse than previously reported, with an estimated 250,000 people – double the previous estimates – cramped into these tiny units. It is hardly surprising therefore that people rage over CY’s multiple luxury homes with their illegal construction work.

CY was installed with just 689 votes, mostly millionaires

Democratic election in 2017?

After decades of delays, lies, and manoeuvres, it is becoming harder for the Beijing and Hong Kong elites to stonewall over universal suffrage. Mass pressure is growing, as reflected in the hostility to CY, and this is forcing the government’s hand to offer at least an appearance of “progress” over the election rules for 2017 (Chief Executive election) and 2020 (Legco elections). But this does not mean they will commit to real universal suffrage, even on the far-from-democratic lines that apply in Western countries, where politics is still (but more subtly) controlled by business interests. This issue will be decided by mass struggle in coming years.

We must be prepared for more manoeuvres and trickery as the clock ticks towards 2017. The government on behalf of the capitalists will seek to maintain undemocratic ‘safeguards’, albeit with some cosmetic changes, to insure a sufficiently tight nomination threshold so that candidates deemed undesirable never make it onto the ballot paper.

Time and again we have seen how the leaders of the right-wing pan democratic parties have been afraid and unwilling to lead real struggle against the government. This was the case in 2010, when they boycotted the ‘de facto referendum’ and entered into secret talks with Beijing’s representatives, supporting a facelift and extension for the elitist business-based functional constituencies. For this betrayal the Democratic Party (DPHK) especially were roundly punished in the Legco elections held in September 2012, losing around 100,000 votes compared with the previous election of 2008.

The mass movement against national education offers key lessons for the next stages of the struggle against CY and Article 23. This movement had the potential already last autumn to force CY from office. The mass daily occupations grew beyond the expectations of the movement’s leadership in the Civil Alliance Against National Education, which was essentially controlled by the DPHK and its close ally the Professional Teachers’ Union. This leadership lagged far behind the political mood of the mass protests, which for example chanted for CY to resign and supported the slogan advanced by Socialist Action for a citywide school strike. The Alliance distanced themselves from these “political” slogans, however, insisting this movement was “only” about national education – when in fact it was a dress rehearsal for the much wider struggle for universal suffrage, against Article 23, and to challenge the entire rotten system.

Police cordon off central areas

The way forward

The anti-brainwashing protests could have achieved much bigger concessions in September but for the backroom deal between the Alliance leaders and government negotiators done over the heads of the mass demonstrations that led them to abruptly call off the mass struggle.

Many activists and youth are today discussing ways to escalate the anti-CY movement, with ideas about occupations and a possible return to Tamar-style encampments. The idea of strike action, which we put forward for schools and college students as a first step, in order to defeat the national education plan, will again become a key question for this wider struggle, and not only for students but for the working class whose power to force change is much greater.

There is an urgent need for fighting organisations especially based upon the working class, as well as democratic campaign structures to insure that all such proposals are widely discussed and anchored among the broadest layers of the activists. It is a question of leadership and programme for the mass struggle – and which organisational forms best facilitate the testing and selection of a leadership that can steer the struggle to victory. Socialist Action will continue to play an active part in the coming protests, arguing the need to link the democratic struggle in Hong Kong and in China, to defeat CY and the one-party dictatorship, with the need to build a mass workers’ party and overthrow capitalism.

Old British colonial flag – but Britain also refused democratic elections

This is an abridged version of the article Mass opposition to CY growing from the latest issue of Socialist magazine. The magazine (available in Chinese language only) can be ordered from socialist.hk@gmail.com.



Europe

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Pakistan: Jawad Ahmad speaking at May Day rally held by International Youth and Workers Movement, 18/05/2015

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NEWS

Hong Kong: Cathay Pacific workers to strike in August
26/05/2015, Chinaworker.info:
Protesting cabin crew at Hong Kong airport explained their grievances to Socialist Action reporters

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

CWI Comment and Analysis

ANALYSIS

Britain: The struggles to come
27/05/2015, Peter Taaffe, Socialist Party (CWI England and Wales) General Secretary:
No fundamental change to be expected from the Labour Party

Canada’s ‘carbo-state’
26/05/2015, Bill Hopwood, Socialist Alternative (CWI Canada):
Only a socialist alternative can challenge the carbo-capitalists’ grip on Canadian politics

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.