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latest news

China
Labour disputes soar

17/04/2014: 40,000 workers paralyse world’s largest sports shoe maker

  China

Greece
International anti-fascist conference “No pasaran!”

16/04/2014: Four thousand attend three-day event in Athens

  Greece

South Africa
Enthusiastic response for WASP ahead of May elections

15/04/2014: WASP campaigning material available on pdf

  South Africa

India
Massive election process could end in turmoil

14/04/2014: New party expresses, but cannot solve, major discontents

  India

Cyprus
Austerity sees living standards fall back 40 years

11/04/2014: One year of the right wing Anastasiades government

  Cyprus

 Iranian nuclear talks
Hypocrisy abounds

10/04/2014: Paul Murphy MEP

  Video

Britain
Dave Nellist on BBC outlining TUSC’s socialist policies

10/04/2014: Trade union and socialist coalition (TUSC) candidate count reaches 476 for May local election

  Britain

Taiwan
Occupation of parliament ends after 23 days

10/04/2014: What are the lessons of the island’s ‘sunflower movement’?

  Taiwan

Hungary
Election highlights lack of Left challenge

09/04/2014: Declining vote for ruling Fidész party; neo-fascist Jobbik picks up 20% as false ‘alternative’

  Hungary

Environment
Ukraine crisis exploited by multinational fracking lobby

09/04/2014: Oppose the pro-big business EU/ US Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership!

  Environment, Ukraine

Belgium
50,000 join ETUC Brussels demonstration

08/04/2014: Protesters’ radical mood

  Belgium

Britain
One in ten council seats will have TUSC candidate

07/04/2014: No-cuts election challenge grows

  Britain

Review
Net political impact

06/04/2014: To Save Everything, Click Here • By Evgeny Morozov •

  Review

Belgium
The rise of the PTB/PvdA

05/04/2014: Recent polls confirm a probable electoral breakthrough for the Workers’ Party of Belgium (PTB/PvdA).

  Belgium

Ivory Coast
First victory for students at University of Cocody

04/04/2014: An important step to push the struggle against neo-liberal policies further

  Ivory Coast

Canada
Port of Vancouver truckers’ strike wins significant gains

03/04/2014: After bosses’ seen off - unions must defend their right to strike!

  Canada

France
Government punished in local elections

02/04/2014: Far right gains highlight need for strong fighting left opposition

  France

Nepal
Turning back the wheel of history

01/04/2014: Second constituent assembly election – a shift to the right

  Nepal

South Africa
WASP manifesto launch success!

01/04/2014: On Saturday 29 March the Workers and Socialist Party launched its 2014 election manifesto at a rally in Katlehong, Gauteng

  Africa, South Africa

Taiwan
Half a million on the streets against President Ma

31/03/2014: Demonstrators call for trade pact to be withdrawn and for president to step down

  Taiwan

US
Winning $15 an hour in Seattle

31/03/2014: A socialist strategy

  US

Netherlands
Socialist Party local election gains

31/03/2014: Vote for SP can be the basis for a mass struggle against cuts

  Netherlands

 Video
Hypocrisy of Irish Govt & EU on Ukraine

29/03/2014: Joe Higgins, Socialist Party (CWI MP) speaks in Irish parliament

  Ukraine, Video

 Sweden
New political winds affect CWI Congress

28/03/2014: Optimistic Rättvisepartiet Socialisterna prepares for elections

  CWI, Sweden

No to the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership!

28/03/2014: Anti-democratic agreement seeks to increase corporate domination of politics

Portugal
Thousands of police and military march in Lisbon

27/03/2014: Reflection of the government’s intrinsic weakness

  Portugal

Spain
A million march for dignity in Madrid

26/03/2014: 22M: A before and after moment for the class struggle

  Spain

Taiwan
Ma government rocked by mass protests and occupation of parliament

26/03/2014: Down with undemocratic Kuomintang rule – for a Taiwan-wide student strike as the next step!

  Taiwan

Bosnia-Herzegovina
Mass protests - The first flowers of spring

26/03/2014: What programme should the Left advocate?

  Bosnia

Sudan
Has al-Bashir survived mass protests?

25/03/2014: Removal of hated regime not enough; crises of poverty and oppression due to grip of capitalism

  Sudan

Britain
After Bob Crow and Tony Benn

24/03/2014: Mourn the loss, fight for the future

  Britain

Malaysia

Ruling government faces toughest elections ever

www.socialistworld.net, 18/02/2013
website of the committee for a workers' international, CWI

Opposition victory possible for first time but workers and youth without genuine alternative

Ravi, CWI Malaysia

The government is soon expected to call Malaysia’s 13th general elections - considered to be the toughest general elections for them so far - either in March or April, following much speculation on the election date since 2011. The BN (government party) leadership under Najib Razak, desperate to improve its outcome, since the last general elections has been pressured to wait until the end of its five years term. The last general elections, called in 2008, were the worst for BN since independence from Britain in 1957. It lost its two-thirds majority as well as losing power in wealthy states, such as Selangor and Penang.

Early in January this year, 100,000 supporters of Pakatan Rakyat, the coalition of opposition parties, thronged to Kuala Lumpur to advocate a change of government in the coming general elections. The mood is very high among its supporters, which boosts further the confidence of Pakatan Rakyat, under the leadership of Anwar Ibrahim, to capture federal power for the first time.

‘Election Goodies’ versus Populist Agenda

Since the last two years, BN has been distributing many elections goodies in the name of welfare aids, probably the most attractive ever, to people from different races and backgrounds - rural, urban, young, old, women, student, workers and middle class - to win their support. Among them are cash hand-outs of RM500 per person with a household income lower than RM3000, and a RM 200 rebate for youths to buy ‘smartphones’. BN, with the domination of UMNO with its ‘promises fulfilled’ slogan has also been going all out to show that it has changed a lot since the last general elections by ‘reforming’ certain laws such as the notorious Internal Security Act, and introducing welfare programmes to reduce the people’s social and economic problems. But in reality, the public feels that their living standards have not changed much or are becoming worse with the prices of goods and services continuously going up, but real wages stagnating, though the government claims that inflation is still under control.

Although the democratic space has been widened to a certain extent - especially the right to protest - other rights like union or workers’ democratic rights and freedoms are very much controlled. Some reforms have also been made to the electoral systems that favoured the ruling government, after the pressure from the ‘Bersih’ movement. However, the opposition still has suspicions that fraud could still occur, since the Malaysian Election Commission is seen as ‘closer’ to government.

Pakatan Rakyat leaders with their populist agenda promise that they will be a better government with promises such as free education, cheaper cars and reduced petrol prices. They are also giving examples of their success in ruling some of the states since the last general elections, such as the reduction of corruption and improving transparency, and introduction of some welfare aid programmes.

Some people feel that certain government services have been improved in the states under Pakatan control in Selangor, Penang and Kedah since the last general elections. Nevertheless, the five years of Pakatan state governments have not solved fundamental social and economic problems such as wages, escalating housing prices, rights for workers, environmental issues etc, but rather concentrate on giving welfare aid to compete with the goodies given by the BN government. The programme and policies of Pakatan as well as their master plan in their ‘Orange Book’ shows that they are comfortable working within the framework of capitalism, rather than to challenge the profit oriented system to fulfil the fundamental needs of people.

‘Minimum Wage’ to gain working class votes

The BN government has also introduced a minimum wage for the first time to garner support from the working class. But the wage of RM800 in Borneo states and RM900 in Peninsular states that the government introduced in January are far below a real living wage at the present time. Even with that inadequate amount for workers, there have already been many manipulations in the minimum wage implementations by employers that want to retain their low wages policy. The government also succumbs to the pressure of employers to reduce the benefits for migrant workers. Wage exploitation by unscrupulous employers will continue, especially for unorganised, casual, outsourcing/contract and part-time workers for as long as the government’s law and policy implementations cater for the needs of free market capitalism.

Pakatan Rakyat promised that it could implement RM1100 as the minimum wage. Some unions, like the National Union of Bank Employees, have demanded that the minimum wage be set at RM1500 taking the inflations rate at present time into account, which the Pakatan rejected, saying that the ‘free market’ wouldn’t accept it. This revealed the true colour of Pakatan who use populist slogans, such as a ‘people oriented economy’ but are unwilling to confront the profit oriented system of capitalism to increase the living standards of workers and ordinary people.

‘Hung Parliament’ after elections ?

The vast majority of people are not convinced with both parties’ policies and programmes, and are still undecided on who they would vote for. Most of the urban middle class and young people support Pakatan, in the hope that they would improve democratic and social rights. In rural areas the BN still has upper hand with their ‘money, media and machinery’, though Pakatan has also improved its support here in recent times.

Although most analysts predicted that BN could win but with slim majority, some have not ruled out a possible first opposition victory. Some also predict that a ‘hung parliament’ could develop, without either BN or Pakatan with a clear majority. This could create prolonged instability in government.

The BN government has been using economic growth, at around 5%, to garner support and be elected again, but the growth has not been translated into real improvements in living standards for ordinary people, where the gap between the rich and poor is one of the worst in Southeast Asia. Since the world economic slowdown that started in 2008, BN government has pumped billions of ringgits (currency) to stimulate the domestic economy but with the prolonged uncertainties in the global economy, exports and FDI (Foreign Direct Investment) have not much improved. The return of a BN government for another term, alongside a continuing or worsening world economic crisis, would be a government of austerity cuts to counter the budget deficit and increasing debt. This could lead to social explosions that could destabilise the government, and create further political conflicts.

Although an opposition win for the first time would give hope of a better government, this could diminish fast when the Pakatan government fails to significantly improve the social and economic interests of the people.

The ‘Arab Spring’ has been used by former Prime Minister, Mahathir, and others in BN to create fear among voters that the oppositions winning elections would create more instability. But, whoever come to power, if the social and economic needs of the people are not progressing or are worsening, an ‘Arab Spring’ type response from the people is inevitable.

Socialists and Trade Unions

PSM (Socialist Party) which was not formally part of Pakatan but has been friendly towards them has now publicly announced that there are willing to join Pakatan Rakyat coalitions. This decision has been made in order to regain the seats they won in the last elections under Pakatan banner and to avoid a clash with Pakatan Rakyat in the coming elections. Although social, economic and environmental issues that affected the people are highlighted in their programme as well as support for workers demands such as a minimum wage of RM1500, no alternative solutions are given to address issues other than the defeat of UMNO/BN. Their position is like an “Anything But UMNO/BN (ABU)” position! This shows that the PSM has further moved away from the socialists task to adopt a working class independent position and to build a party for working class and the oppressed as the alternative to the pro-capitalist parties.

In the last few years, attacks on workers’ rights and welfare have risen with the BN’s pro-capitalist policies. The pressure from workers has pushed some of the trade union leaders to call for protests. The protests from bank, railway, car and other workers in recent times raise confidence that the workers should unite to struggle for their rights. But the leadership of MTUC has not been building united struggles to defeat the pro-capitalist policies of governments but rather succumbing to either government or capitalist demands.

The workers that feel anger towards BN pro-capitalist policies will choose to vote for Pakatan as in the last general elections with no other alternatives on offer but the character of Pakatan, which supports the free market and capitalism also shows it will not solve the workers’ demands if it takes power. The position of Pakatan, to disagree even with the decent demands of a minimum wage of RM1500 shows that they will not confront the capitalists to further the interests of workers and ordinary people.

This shows that workers and ordinary people looking for a genuine change have no real alternative between Pakatan and BN. This underlines that, for a genuine change, the workers, trade unions and socialists have crucial task to initiate the building of a mass working class party with a programme and policies to enhance democratic rights and the social and economic needs of working class, young people and others oppressed under the capitalist system. Only in this way, a government for 99% that prioritises their needs and rights can be built as the alternative to government for the 1% that prioritises the profits of capitalists and their cronies. This will be the way forward towards building a democratic socialist society in Malaysia and Internationally.

Some of CWI Malaysia’s demands for the elections:

• Clean and impartial elections, including fair access to media and government facilities

• Democratic rights, including the right to assemble and to protest

• Students rights and freedoms to express views and get involved in politics

• Equal rights for women in workplaces and in society

• For sustainable environment and safe power, no to nuclear power

• Workers’ and Trade union rights, and for a fighting trade union leadership

• Need for a mass working class party as the alternative to pro-capitalist parties. This party should also support the struggles of young people and others oppressed under capitalism.

• International solidarity with the workers and oppressed

• For a socialist planned economy as the alternative to the free market economy to plan for the social and economic needs of people

• Socialism as the alternative to capitalism to build a just society to fulfill the needs and rights of everybody regardless of race and religion and for a sustainable environment.



Europe

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Exposing the economic blackmail of the IMF in Ukraine, 14/04/2014

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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: Labour disputes soar
17/04/2014, chinaworker.info reporters:
40,000 workers paralyse world’s largest sports shoe maker

Nigeria: Bomb explosions in Abuja - more evidence of the failure of capitalist government
16/04/2014, Segun Sango, Socialist Party Nigeria National Chairperson:
For democratic self-defence committees

Greece: International anti-fascist conference “No pasaran!”
16/04/2014, Sebastian Forster (CWI Germany) and Elin Gauffin (CWI Sweden):
Four thousand attend three-day event in Athens

South Africa: Enthusiastic response for WASP ahead of May elections
15/04/2014, Socialistworld.net:
WASP campaigning material available on pdf

India: Massive election process could end in turmoil
14/04/2014, Clare Doyle (CWI international Secretariat):
New party expresses, but cannot solve, major discontents

Cyprus: Austerity sees living standards fall back 40 years
11/04/2014, Athina Kariati, New Internationalist Left (CWI in Cyprus):
One year of the right wing Anastasiades government

Iranian nuclear talks: Hypocrisy abounds
10/04/2014, :
Paul Murphy MEP

Britain: Dave Nellist on BBC outlining TUSC’s socialist policies
10/04/2014, :
Trade union and socialist coalition (TUSC) candidate count reaches 476 for May local election

Hungary: Election highlights lack of Left challenge
09/04/2014, Sonja Grusch and Tilman M. Ruster:
Declining vote for ruling Fidész party; neo-fascist Jobbik picks up 20% as false ‘alternative’

Environment: Ukraine crisis exploited by multinational fracking lobby
09/04/2014, Paul Murphy, Socialist Party MEP, and Tanja Niemeier:
Oppose the pro-big business EU/ US Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership!

Belgium: 50,000 join ETUC Brussels demonstration
08/04/2014, Eric Byl, General Secretary, Linkse Socialistiche Partij / Parti Socialiste de Lutte (PSL/LSP):
Protesters’ radical mood

Review: Net political impact
06/04/2014, Ben Robinson, Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales) published in Socialism Today:
To Save Everything, Click Here • By Evgeny Morozov •

Ivory Coast: First victory for students at University of Cocody
04/04/2014, CWI in Ivory Coast:
An important step to push the struggle against neo-liberal policies further

Canada: Port of Vancouver truckers’ strike wins significant gains
03/04/2014, Socialist Alternative Reporter, Vancouver:
After bosses’ seen off - unions must defend their right to strike!

France: Government punished in local elections
02/04/2014, Gauche Revolutionnaire (CWI in France) reporters:
Far right gains highlight need for strong fighting left opposition

South Africa: WASP manifesto launch success!
01/04/2014, Workers’ and Socialist Party (WASP):
On Saturday 29 March the Workers and Socialist Party launched its 2014 election manifesto at a rally in Katlehong, Gauteng

Taiwan: Half a million on the streets against President Ma
31/03/2014, CWI reporters in Taipei:
Demonstrators call for trade pact to be withdrawn and for president to step down

Netherlands: Socialist Party local election gains
31/03/2014, Pieter Brans, Amsterdam:
Vote for SP can be the basis for a mass struggle against cuts

Video: Hypocrisy of Irish Govt & EU on Ukraine
29/03/2014, socialistworld.net:
Joe Higgins, Socialist Party (CWI MP) speaks in Irish parliament

Sweden: New political winds affect CWI Congress
28/03/2014, Rättvisepartiet Socialisterna Reporters:
Optimistic Rättvisepartiet Socialisterna prepares for elections

No to the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership!
28/03/2014, Vladimir Bortun, Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales):
Anti-democratic agreement seeks to increase corporate domination of politics

Portugal: Thousands of police and military march in Lisbon
27/03/2014, Jose David Gregorio, Socialismo Revolucionario (CWI in Portugal):
Reflection of the government’s intrinsic weakness

CWI Comment and Analysis

ANALYSIS

Taiwan: Occupation of parliament ends after 23 days
10/04/2014, Interview with Sally Tang Mei-ching, CWI participant in Taipei protests:
What are the lessons of the island’s ‘sunflower movement’?

Belgium: The rise of the PTB/PvdA
05/04/2014, Eric Byl, LSP/PSL (CWI in Belgium):
Recent polls confirm a probable electoral breakthrough for the Workers’ Party of Belgium (PTB/PvdA).

Nepal: Turning back the wheel of history
01/04/2014, Senan, CWI:
Second constituent assembly election – a shift to the right

US: Winning $15 an hour in Seattle
31/03/2014, Patrick Ayers, Socialist Alternative, USA:
A socialist strategy

Spain: A million march for dignity in Madrid
26/03/2014, Angel Morano, Socialismo Revolucionario (CWI in Spain):
22M: A before and after moment for the class struggle

Taiwan: Ma government rocked by mass protests and occupation of parliament
26/03/2014, Sally Tang Mei-ching in Taipei and Vincent Kolo:
Down with undemocratic Kuomintang rule – for a Taiwan-wide student strike as the next step!

Bosnia-Herzegovina: Mass protests - The first flowers of spring
26/03/2014, Sonja Grusch, Socialist Left Party (CWI in Austria):
What programme should the Left advocate?

Britain: After Bob Crow and Tony Benn
24/03/2014, Peter Taaffe, from Socialism Today (No.177, April 2014), monthly magazine of the Socialist Party (CWI England & Wales):
Mourn the loss, fight for the future

Scotland: Unions and the socialist case for independence
23/03/2014, John McInally, national vice-president of the Public and Commercial Services union (personal capacity):
Aruging a independent, working class position

Ukraine: Crimea breaks away to join Russia
18/03/2014, Niall Mulholland, CWI:
Tensions between powers worsen

Australia: Socialist Party playing key role in fight against East-West tunnel
13/03/2014, Mel Gregson and Stephen Jolly, Socialist Party (CWI in Australia), Melbourne:
Campaign brings public transport to forefront of political debate

Bosnia Herzegovina: Mass protests of working people and youth show the way forward
13/03/2014, CWI Leaflet text:
Working people stir to end poverty, joblessness, corruption and ethnic divisions!

Socialist perspectives for Aotearoa / New Zealand
09/03/2014, CWI Aotearoa / New Zealand:
The world and New Zealand in crisis

International Women’s Day 2014
07/03/2014, Clare Doyle (Committee for a Workers’ International):
Fighting austerity and oppression world-wide

Venezuela: A year after Chavez’s death
06/03/2014, By Gabriela Sanchez (CWI Venezuela).:
Commemorations in context of new crisis

Ukraine: Russian troops take up positions throughout Crimea
04/03/2014, CWI Reporters:
Tensions deepen between Western powers and Moscow

Greece: Still in the eye of the storm
26/02/2014, Interview with Andros Payiatsos, Xekinima (CWI in Greece) published in Socialism Today:
From the outside, it can appear there’s a certain pause in the struggle in Greece. Is this true?

Ukraine: Bloodshed in Kiev
19/02/2014, Rob Jones, from Socialism Today (March edition, No.176):
What lies behind the Ukraine crisis?

Venezuela: An analysis of 12F
19/02/2014, By Gabriela Sanchez- SR Venezuela:
On 12F, three people (two right wing supporters and one government supporter) were killed in Caracas and dozens injured and arrested in the protests and demonstrations that took place around Venezuela to commemorate the annual ’Youth Day’.

Pakistan: Negotiating peace
18/02/2014, Khalid Bhatti, SNP Lahore:
Government/Taliban talks begin - But where will they go?

South Africa: The end of Cosatu?
17/02/2014, WASP (Workers and Socialist Party) Reporters, S Africa:
Time for a new socialist trade union federation

Greece: The fascist threat
08/02/2014, Christina Ziakka, Xekinima (CWI Greece) - translated by Amalia Loizidou. First published in Socialism Today:
Deep economic crisis, savage austerity and social upheaval have polarised Greek society.

South Africa: After NUMSA’s Congress
04/02/2014, Workers And Socialist Party (WASP) statement:
Seize the historic opportunity of the 2014 elections

Tunisia: Three years on since the fall of Ben Ali
30/01/2014, Serge Jordan and CWI supporters in Tunis:
New ‘technocratic’ government no response to workers’ demands

Thailand: Prolonged political crisis
27/01/2014, Ravichandran, CWI Malaysia:
Working class and rural poor need party of their own