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latest news

Germany
20,000 people give ECB “the finger”

28/03/2015: Big demo and blockade against the reopening of the Central Bank

  Germany

 Video
Interview with a Greek socialist

28/03/2015: The Syriza government and the Troika and building the Greek Left

  Greece, Video

South Africa
NUMSA & WASP discuss international experiences of new workers’ parties

27/03/2015: South Africa’s metalworkers union in discussion with WASP and CWI

  Africa, South Africa

Obituary
Harald Mahrer (1974-2015)

27/03/2015: An active, critical and inspiring comrade

  Obituary

 Video
Dave Nellist on Russia Today TV

26/03/2015: Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) standing throughout Britain in May elections

  Britain, Video

Norway
Lessons of the pilots’ strike

25/03/2015: A struggle against outsourcing

  Norway

Israel
Netanyahu mobilises far right to win election

25/03/2015: New coalition will face unresolved crises and bitter struggles

  Israel / Palestine

China
Demand release of arrested women activists

24/03/2015: Has the commemoration of International Women’s Day also now been outlawed in China?

  China

Italy
The instability of domestic capitalism

24/03/2015: Political vacuum pushes FIOM to take initiative

  Italy

Sweden
Central bank rates cut "panic measure"

23/03/2015: Eurozone’s QE intensifies currency wars

  Sweden

Greece
Varoufakis’ “erratic Marxism” is not the answer

23/03/2015: Necessary to clarify ideas upon which successful struggles of European working class will be conducted

  Greece

Tunisia
Twenty three killed in terrorist attack

20/03/2015: Down with terror! Down with capitalism!

  Tunisia

Belgium
No agreement reached between unions and government over austerity

20/03/2015: New action plan against right wing government takes off

  Belgium

Ukraine
Conflict unresolved after ’Minsk-2’ agreement

18/03/2015: Only independent working-class mass movement can remove the region’s authoritarian rulers

  Ukraine

Ireland North
Public sector workers strike against austerity

18/03/2015: For a second day of strike action in the run-up to the May general election!

  Ireland North

 North Cyprus
New strike wave against cuts

17/03/2015: Workers determined to stop austerity

  Cyprus, Solidarity

 Brazil
Urgent solidarity protests needed

17/03/2015: Faced with lack of water for the people, Sao Paulo water company SABESP cuts costs, sacks more than 500 workers and victimises trade union activists

  Brazil, Solidarity

 Scotland
Socialist Party Scotland (CWI) leaves Solidarity

16/03/2015: Tommy Sheridan departs from principled socialist position with call for “lending vote" to cuts-making SNP

  CWI, Scotland

Britain
What lies behind UKIP?

14/03/2015: Its Tory-oriented anti-immigration, anti-EU rhetoric has been adapted to a right-wing populism aimed at winning voters fed up with the political establishment

  Britain

Ireland North
Massive public sector strike against austerity

13/03/2015: Socialist MPs in Southern Ireland Parliament send message of support to strikers

  Ireland North, Ireland Republic

Ireland South
Marriage equality referendum set for May

12/03/2015: Poisonous bigotry must be challenged

  Ireland Republic

Ireland North
Stormont government crisis on eve of public sector strike

11/03/2015: Struggle can force politicians back from austerity measures

  Ireland North, Ireland Republic

Iran
Independent workers’ organizations statement about minimum wage

11/03/2015: Increasing demands for a living wage

  Iran

Ireland North
13 March public sector strike against austerity

10/03/2015: Dead-end of rightwing, sectarian politics - new anti-sectarian party which fights for working class needed

  Ireland North

  Video
Dublin ROSA demonstration on International Women’s Day

10/03/2015: Ruth Coppinger, Socialist Party TD (MP) speaks along with other activists

  Ireland Republic, Video, Women

 International Women’s Day 2015

09/03/2015: Articles from CWI sections celebrating IWD

  Women

Greece
Syriza’s first months in power

07/03/2015: The working class and social movements must enter the struggle for their rights

  Greece

Netherlands
Wave of student protests

05/03/2015: For democratic reforms and end to budget cuts

  Netherlands

Austria
The year starts with antifascism

05/03/2015: Right-wing Ball events, PEGIDA, and neo-nazi Violence: A Month of Intense and Successful anti-fascism in Austria

  Austria, Venezuela

 Greece
Vodafone strike declared “illegal”

04/03/2015: “None of this will intimidate us - we will struggle until we win collective bargaining”

  Greece, Solidarity

Russia
50,000 march in Moscow after shooting of Boris Nemtsov

03/03/2015: As economic crisis deepens, social explosions loom

  Russia

Quebec
Towards a hot spring

02/03/2015: Disrupt them like they disrupt us!

  Quebec

Greece
“Yes there was a different choice!”

02/03/2015: Socialist policies needed, not deals with the Troika

  Germany, Greece

Scotland
Why Tommy is wrong to call for a vote for the SNP in May

27/02/2015: Philip Stott Socialist Party Scotland

  Scotland

Greece showdown

26/02/2015: Niall Mulholland interviewed NICOS ANASTASIADES, of Xekinima (CWI Greece), just as Syriza leaders agreed a four-month bail-out extension with the EU.

  Greece

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.



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NEWS

Germany: 20,000 people give ECB “the finger”
28/03/2015, by Michael Koschitzki, SAV – Sozialistische Alternative (CWI in Germany):
Big demo and blockade against the reopening of the Central Bank

Video: Interview with a Greek socialist
28/03/2015, Nicos Anastasiades of Xekinima (CWI Greece):
The Syriza government and the Troika and building the Greek Left

South Africa: NUMSA & WASP discuss international experiences of new workers’ parties
27/03/2015, socialistworld.net:
South Africa’s metalworkers union in discussion with WASP and CWI

Obituary: Harald Mahrer (1974-2015)
27/03/2015, Sozialistische LinksPartei (CWI Austria) Reporters:
An active, critical and inspiring comrade

Video: Dave Nellist on Russia Today TV
26/03/2015, socialistworld.net:
Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) standing throughout Britain in May elections

Norway: Lessons of the pilots’ strike
25/03/2015, Elin Gauffin, Rättvisepartiet Socialisterna (CWI Sweden):
A struggle against outsourcing

China: Demand release of arrested women activists
24/03/2015, Sally Tang Mei-Ching, Socialist Action (CWI in Hong Kong):
Has the commemoration of International Women’s Day also now been outlawed in China?

Sweden: Central bank rates cut "panic measure"
23/03/2015, Per-Åke Westerlund, Rättvisepartiet Socialisterna (CWI Sweden):
Eurozone’s QE intensifies currency wars

Tunisia: Twenty three killed in terrorist attack
20/03/2015, Statement by CWI-Tunisia:
Down with terror! Down with capitalism!

Ireland North: Public sector workers strike against austerity
18/03/2015, Kevin Henry, Socialist Party (CWI Ireland), Belfast:
For a second day of strike action in the run-up to the May general election!

North Cyprus: New strike wave against cuts
17/03/2015, Özgür İnsanoğlu and Bahtiyar Girne, North Cyprus:
Workers determined to stop austerity

Brazil: Urgent solidarity protests needed
17/03/2015, Translation of a solidarity appeal from the LSR (CWI in Brazil):
Faced with lack of water for the people, Sao Paulo water company SABESP cuts costs, sacks more than 500 workers and victimises trade union activists

Scotland: Socialist Party Scotland (CWI) leaves Solidarity
16/03/2015, Statement from Socialist Party Scotland Executive Committee:
Tommy Sheridan departs from principled socialist position with call for “lending vote" to cuts-making SNP

Britain: What lies behind UKIP?
14/03/2015, Hannah Sell, Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales):
Its Tory-oriented anti-immigration, anti-EU rhetoric has been adapted to a right-wing populism aimed at winning voters fed up with the political establishment

Ireland North: Massive public sector strike against austerity
13/03/2015, Socialistworld.net:
Socialist MPs in Southern Ireland Parliament send message of support to strikers

Ireland South: Marriage equality referendum set for May
12/03/2015, Helen Redwood, Socialist Party (CWI Ireland):
Poisonous bigotry must be challenged

Ireland North: Stormont government crisis on eve of public sector strike
11/03/2015, Kevin Henry, Socialist Party (CWI Ireland), Belfast:
Struggle can force politicians back from austerity measures

Iran: Independent workers’ organizations statement about minimum wage
11/03/2015, Statement by six Iranian workers’ organizations:
Increasing demands for a living wage

Ireland North: 13 March public sector strike against austerity
10/03/2015, Text of Socialist Party (CWI Ireland) leaflet, Belfast:
Dead-end of rightwing, sectarian politics - new anti-sectarian party which fights for working class needed

Video: Dublin ROSA demonstration on International Women’s Day
10/03/2015, socialistworld.net:
Ruth Coppinger, Socialist Party TD (MP) speaks along with other activists

International Women’s Day 2015
09/03/2015, socialistworld.net:
Articles from CWI sections celebrating IWD

Netherlands: Wave of student protests
05/03/2015, Bas de Ruiter, Socialist Alternative (CWI in Netherlands):
For democratic reforms and end to budget cuts

Austria: The year starts with antifascism
05/03/2015, Stefan Gredler, SLP (CWI in Austria):
Right-wing Ball events, PEGIDA, and neo-nazi Violence: A Month of Intense and Successful anti-fascism in Austria

Greece: Vodafone strike declared “illegal”
04/03/2015, Jacqueline Gorou, President, Panhellenic Trade Union Vodafone-Panafone:
“None of this will intimidate us - we will struggle until we win collective bargaining”

Russia: 50,000 march in Moscow after shooting of Boris Nemtsov
03/03/2015, Rob Jones, CWI, Moscow:
As economic crisis deepens, social explosions loom

Greece: “Yes there was a different choice!”
02/03/2015, Interview with Nikos Kanellis, Volos City Councilor (Xekinima/ CWI Greece) by Sascha Stanicic (SAV’/CWI Germany):
Socialist policies needed, not deals with the Troika

CWI Comment and Analysis

ANALYSIS

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

Greece: Syriza retreats under Troika threats
24/02/2015, Nicos Anastasiades, Xekinima (CWI Greece), Thessaloniki:
Popular mood shows anti-austerity, socialist policies would win huge support

History: The political legacy of Malcolm X
21/02/2015, Eljeer Hawkins, Socialist Alternative:
50 years after his assassination

Spain: Is ‘Podemos’ the Spanish Syriza?
16/02/2015, Danny Byrne, CWI:
Dangers of “moderation” and domestication

Egypt: Regime brutality on fourth anniversary of revolution
10/02/2015, David Johnson, Socialist Party (CWI England & Wales):
Masses will regain confidence and willingness to fight

Greece: Not a single step back!
08/02/2015, Statement by the Editorial Board of Xekinima (CWI Greece):
Conflict between SYRIZA government and EU escalates

Kurdistan: ‘Islamic State’ driven out of Kobanê
02/02/2015, Serge Jordan, CWI:
Will the end of Kobanê’s siege turn the tide against IS?

Greece: Why did Syriza and the KKE fail to reach agreement?
29/01/2015, Article from Xekhinima (CWI Greece) website [dated 26 January 2015] translated and slightly edited:
For socialist policies to end austerity nightmare!

Greece: Syriza comes to power, as old ruling parties collapse
27/01/2015, Niall Mulholland, socialistworld.net, interviews Andros Payiatsos, from Xekinima (CWI Greece):
Left parties fail to form government - Syriza goes into coalition with populist right Independent Greeks

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