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Greece
H&M workers score victory against management plans

28/03/2017: Despite very difficult times, struggle can bring results

  Greece

 Solidarity
#JobstownNotGuilty international day of action a huge success

28/03/2017: Over 30 protests around the world and 88 MPs/MEPs pledge support

  Solidarity

Russia/Belarus
A week-end of mass protests

27/03/2017: New spring of protest opens up, as 1,000s arrested

  Russia

Hong Kong
Creeping “coup” by Chinese dictatorship

27/03/2017: Defend the four Hong Kong legislators

  Hong Kong

Britain
Terror attack at Westminster

24/03/2017: Unite against terror, racism and war

  Britain

Italy
Democratic Party splits and 5-Star Movement in crisis

22/03/2017: Class struggle can build real left force

  Italy

Spain
Student strike empties classes and fills streets on 9 March

21/03/2017: Over 100,000 take to the streets in SE demonstrations

  Spain

Scotland
Second referendum on independence?

18/03/2017: SNP fire the starting gun but offer no solutions to austerity

  Scotland

Brazil
National day of strikes and protests shows Temer can be beaten

17/03/2017: For a one-day general strike as the next step

  Brazil

South Africa
Unity against poverty, crime and xenophobia

17/03/2017: Capitalist politicians use xenophobia to divert attention from failures of profit system

  South Africa

Netherlands
Election result a colossal defeat for austerity government

16/03/2017: Oppose Wilders and the ‘mainstream’ right – Build a mass workers’ party that struggles for socialism

  Netherlands

Yemen
Workers and their families left to starve by multi-billionaire companies

16/03/2017: International campaign needed to force companies to pay

  Yemen

Hong Kong
Protest against LSG Sky Chefs dismissal of union chairman

14/03/2017: Ng Chi-Fai sacked for organising union by multinational’s Hong Kong division – international solidarity needed

  Hong Kong

Ireland North
Snap election raises sectarian temperature    

14/03/2017: Workers need strong socialist alternative at ballot box and in unions

  Ireland North

Quebec
Counter protest against far-right

13/03/2017: Rise of Islamophobia and right-wing reaction poses new challenges to the left

  Quebec

 International Women's Day
Speech by Kshama Sawant

12/03/2017: Video of 8 March rally in Seattle

  Women

 International Women’s Day
Millions join marches and take action

10/03/2017: Socialists around the world demand an end to women’s oppression

  Women

 Hong Kong
Women’s march against sexism and racism

09/03/2017: International Women’s Day: “Solidarity with global mass protests and women’s strikes”

  Women

 Spain
Hundreds of thousands participate in International Women’s day student strike

08/03/2017: ‘Libres y Combativas’ and Sindicato de Estudiantes call strike against sexist violence and for working class women's rights

  Women

Pakistan
Political spectacle of the ruling class

08/03/2017: Most workers underemployed, 40% in poverty - situation demands new workers’ party

  Pakistan

 International Women’s Day 2017
A century on from the Russian Revolution

06/03/2017: Demonstrations world-wide swelled by anti-Trump anger

  Women

Britain
Massive demo shows battle to save the NHS can be won

06/03/2017: Up to 250,000 march in national protest, organised from below

  Britain

Egypt
Price hikes hit workers and middle classes

04/03/2017: Falling support for dictator Sisi portends growing opposition

  Egypt

Hong Kong’s sham election

03/03/2017: Pan-democrats sink to new low by supporting “lesser evil” John Tsang

  Hong Kong

US
Socialist response to Trump’s address to joint session of congress

02/03/2017: Kshama Sawant, Socialist Alternative councillor, speaks

  US

Sweden
“Who could believe it?"

24/02/2017: What is behind Trump's attack?

  Sweden

Britain/Ireland
Dublin's #JobstownNotGuilty

23/02/2017: Defend the right to protest - stop this political vendetta!

  Ireland Republic

Ireland
A web of intrigue sparks government crisis

22/02/2017: Smear campaign against a prominent police whistleblower

  Ireland Republic

February revolution 1917
What lessons for today?

21/02/2017: 23 February 1917 (8 March in today’s calendar) marked the beginning of the socialist revolution in Russia, which sparked a revolutionary wave that would travel around the world.

  Russian Revolution

 Yemen
International protests in support of TOTAL/G4S workers

20/02/2017: Solidarity spreads for victims of wage robbery and killing by multinational corporations

  Solidarity, Yemen

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.



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NEWS

Greece: H&M workers score victory against management plans
28/03/2017, Statement (slightly edited) by Xekinima (CWI Greece):
Despite very difficult times, struggle can bring results

Solidarity: #JobstownNotGuilty international day of action a huge success
28/03/2017, socialistworld.net :
Over 30 protests around the world and 88 MPs/MEPs pledge support

Russia/Belarus: A week-end of mass protests
27/03/2017, Socialist Alternative (CWI Russia) Reporters:
New spring of protest opens up, as 1,000s arrested

Hong Kong: Creeping “coup” by Chinese dictatorship
27/03/2017, Dikang, Socialist Action (CWI in Hong Kong) :
Defend the four Hong Kong legislators

Britain: Terror attack at Westminster
24/03/2017, Judy Beishon, from the Socialist Party (CWI England & Wales) website :
Unite against terror, racism and war

Belarus: Protesters flood onto streets demanding scrapping of “law against parasites”
21/03/2017, Daniil Raskolnikov (translation of article from the Russian CWI site www.socialist.news):
President Lukashenko must go!

Spain: Student strike empties classes and fills streets on 9 March
21/03/2017, Sindicato de Estudiantes (SE), Spanish Students' Union :
Over 100,000 take to the streets in SE demonstrations

Scotland: Second referendum on independence?
18/03/2017, Philip Stott, Socialist Party Scotland (CWI) :
SNP fire the starting gun but offer no solutions to austerity

South Africa: Unity against poverty, crime and xenophobia
17/03/2017, Shaun Arendse, Workers and Socialist Party (CWI South Africa):
Capitalist politicians use xenophobia to divert attention from failures of profit system

International Women’s Day: March in Malaysia and week of activity in Belgium
16/03/2017, socialistworld.net :
Reports from Kuala Lumpur and Brussels

Netherlands: Election result a colossal defeat for austerity government
16/03/2017, Pieter Brans, Socialist Alternative (CWI in Netherlands), Amsterdam:
Oppose Wilders and the ‘mainstream’ right – Build a mass workers’ party that struggles for socialism

Russian Revolution: March 1917 - After the fall of Czarism, what next for the revolution?
16/03/2017, socialistworld.net:
New article on 1917revolution.org

Hong Kong: Protest against LSG Sky Chefs dismissal of union chairman
14/03/2017, Sally Tang Mei-ching, Socialist Action (CWI in Hong Kong) :
Ng Chi-Fai sacked for organising union by multinational’s Hong Kong division – international solidarity needed

Quebec: Counter protest against far-right
13/03/2017, Michele Hehn, Alternative Socialiste (CWI in Quebec) :
Rise of Islamophobia and right-wing reaction poses new challenges to the left

International Women's Day: Speech by Kshama Sawant
12/03/2017, Socialistworld.net :
Video of 8 March rally in Seattle

International Women’s Day: Millions join marches and take action
10/03/2017, Clare Doyle, CWI:
Socialists around the world demand an end to women’s oppression

Hong Kong: Women’s march against sexism and racism
09/03/2017, Socialist Action (CWI in Hong Kong) reporters:
International Women’s Day: “Solidarity with global mass protests and women’s strikes”

Spain: Hundreds of thousands participate in International Women’s day student strike
08/03/2017, Sindicato de Estudiantes, students’ union in the Spanish state :
‘Libres y Combativas’ and Sindicato de Estudiantes call strike against sexist violence and for working class women's rights

Pakistan: Political spectacle of the ruling class
08/03/2017, Tariq Shahzad, National Organiser of IYWM (International Youth and Workers Movement) :
Most workers underemployed, 40% in poverty - situation demands new workers’ party

Britain: Massive demo shows battle to save the NHS can be won
06/03/2017, Hannah Sell, Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales) deputy general secretary :
Up to 250,000 march in national protest, organised from below

Egypt: Price hikes hit workers and middle classes
04/03/2017, David Johnson, Socialist Party (CWI England & Wales) :
Falling support for dictator Sisi portends growing opposition

Hong Kong’s sham election
03/03/2017, Dikang, Socialist Action:
Pan-democrats sink to new low by supporting “lesser evil” John Tsang

US: Socialist response to Trump’s address to joint session of congress
02/03/2017, socialistworld.net:
Kshama Sawant, Socialist Alternative councillor, speaks

Catalonia: Historic demonstration in Barcelona in support of refugees
25/02/2017, Esquerra Revolucionària :
'Volem acollir'

Sweden: “Who could believe it?"

24/02/2017, Per-Åke Westerlund, Rättvisepartiet Socialisterna (CWI Sweden):
What is behind Trump's attack?

CWI Comment and Analysis

ANALYSIS

Italy: Democratic Party splits and 5-Star Movement in crisis
22/03/2017, Marco Veruggio, ControCorrrente, (CWI in Italy) :
Class struggle can build real left force

Brazil: National day of strikes and protests shows Temer can be beaten


17/03/2017, André Ferrari LSR (CWI in Brazil) :
For a one-day general strike as the next step

Yemen: Workers and their families left to starve by multi-billionaire companies
16/03/2017, Cedric Gerome, CWI :
International campaign needed to force companies to pay

Ireland North: Snap election raises sectarian temperature    
14/03/2017, Daniel Waldron, Socialist Party (CWI Ireland), Belfast :
Workers need strong socialist alternative at ballot box and in unions

International Women’s Day 2017: A century on from the Russian Revolution
06/03/2017, Clare Doyle, CWI :
Demonstrations world-wide swelled by anti-Trump anger

February revolution 1917: What lessons for today?
21/02/2017, Peter Taaffe, Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales), printed in the Socialist (paper of the Socialist Party):
23 February 1917 (8 March in today’s calendar) marked the beginning of the socialist revolution in Russia, which sparked a revolutionary wave that would travel around the world.

India: Upheaval in Tamil Nadu
09/02/2017, Sajith Attepuram, New Socialist Alternative (NSA) (CWI India) :
Corruption, nepotism, and other crimes of ruling party exposed

Britain: Universal basic income demand gains ground
08/02/2017, Judy Beishon, from The Socialist (weekly newspaper of the Socialist Party – CWI England & Wales) :
What approach should socialists take?

CWI and Izquierda Revolucionaria – Towards unification
06/02/2017, Socialistworld.net :
Joint declaration of the CWI’s IEC and Izquierda Revolucionaria’s IEC

France: After Sarkozy, Juppé and Valls, now Fillon is on the way out
06/02/2017, Alex Rouillard, Gauche Révolutionnaire (CWI in France) :
Space opening up to left of Socialist Party

Syria: Is an end to the war in sight?
03/02/2017, Serge Jordan (CWI) :
New movements for change will need to arm themselves with the lessons of the Syrian tragedy

Sri Lanka: The year 2017
31/01/2017, Siritunga Jayasuriya, United Socialist Party (CWI in Sri Lanka) :
Between oppression and struggle

Canada: Where are Trudeau’s ‘Sunny Ways’?
31/01/2017, Tim Heffernan, Socialist Alternative (CWI Canada), Toronto

:
Battles of Indigenous peoples, youth, workers will test Liberal government

Russian Revolution Centenary: January 1917 - On the eve of revolution
29/01/2017, Niall Mulholland, from 1917revolution.org :
War, hunger, hated Tsarist regime: class tensions reach breaking point

Afghanistan: The limits of US power
28/01/2017, Judy Beishon, from Socialism Today (February 2017 issue), monthly magazine of the Socialist Party (CWI England & Wales)<br />
<br />
:
Imperialism’s 15-year adventure a bloody catastrophe for millions

US: Build 100 days of resistance to Trump’s agenda!
27/01/2017, Bryan Koulouris, Socialist Alternative, US :
Establishment deeply divided as mass resistance explodes

Millions on women's marches around the world
25/01/2017, Editorial from the Socialist, paper of the Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales) and reports from US marches :
Reports from mass women's marches against Trump

China: New US President’s approach to China
21/01/2017, Vincent Kolo, chinaworker.info :
Outbursts raise fears of confrontation

Ireland North: Snap elections called to Stormont Assembly
17/01/2017, Daniel Waldron, Socialist Party (CWI Ireland), Belfast :
Build a socialist alternative to the ‘Orange’ versus ‘Green’ headcount

Spain: What kind of Podemos do workers and youth need?
17/01/2017, Izquierda Revolucionaria, Spanish state, editorial :
Debate within leadership touches on fundamental issues for future of party

US: Trump prepares vicious attacks
05/01/2017, Philip Locker and Tom Crean, Socialist Alternative (US):
Mass resistance needed!

Russian Revolution centenary
02/01/2017, Editorial from Socialism Today, Dec/Jan 2017 edition:
Defending the legacy in a new era

2017:Upheaval and fightback will continue
01/01/2017, Peter Taaffe, Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales) general secretary :
Everything to play for in 2017

Britain's shifting political contours
22/12/2016, Hannah Sell, Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales) from Socialism Today Dec/Jan 2017 edition :
Capitalist establishment in disarray

CWI International Executive Committee: European capitalism “battered by events”
16/12/2016, Kevin Henry, Socialist Party (CWI in Ireland) :
Report of discussion on Europe at CWI IEC meeting in November