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latest news

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

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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US: Kshama Sawant gives socialist response to Obama’s "State of the Union" address, 21/01/2015

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A socialist world is possible, the history of the cwi with new introduction by Peter Planning green growth, a contribution to the debate on enviromental sustainability

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