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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

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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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