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latest news

New Zealand
Victory over zero-contract hours

24/05/2015: ‘Cotton On’ clothes retailer workers defeat attempt to remove rest and meal breaks

  New Zealand

Iraq/Syria
ISIS rout national armies at Ramadi and Palmyra

23/05/2015: United working class movement needed to sweep away sectarian militias and reactionary politicians

  Iraq, Syria

Britain
Labour leadership contest - appealing to big business

22/05/2015: The Labour leadership contest begs the question: what is the point of the Labour Party?

  Britain

Ireland North
Election marks growing rejection of sectarian status quo

21/05/2015: Opportunities to build new anti-sectarian political voice for working class and youth

  Ireland Republic

Spain
Is Podemos in crisis?

20/05/2015: Left and social movements in a state of flux, as key elections loom

  Spain

Britain
Build a movement to defeat Tories’ cuts savagery

20/05/2015: For massive union demonstrations, linked to a 24-hour general strike

  Britain

Ireland South
Vote ‘Yes’ to marriage equality!

19/05/2015: Referendum a product of long-waged campaign of struggle from below

  Ireland Republic

Greece
Subordination to Troika or rupture with austerity?

18/05/2015: The choices before the Greek working class

  Greece

North Cyprus
‘Moderate leftist’ wins presidential election on peace ticket

16/05/2015: Workers’ common front, north and south, can find solution to island’s division

  Cyprus

Chile
Huge demonstrations call for free education

15/05/2015: New chapter opens in country’s political and ‘moral’ crisis

  Chile

Australia
East-West toll road dispute concluded

15/05/2015: Local community direct action secures victory

  Australia

Ireland
Parliament suspended after PM tells Socialist MPs “where to go”

14/05/2015: Contemptuous remarks reflect government concerns over non-payment of water charges

  Ireland Republic

Britain
Organising against Tory austerity starts now

14/05/2015: Potential for industrial response to cuts but needs determined leadership and campaigning

  Britain

 Video
Joe Higgins TD questions former ECB president Jean Claude Trichet

13/05/2015: "When bankers and bondholders’ gambles crashed, their massive burden of private debt was placed onto the shoulders of the Irish people"

  Ireland Republic, Video

Sudan
Mass apathy towards elections

12/05/2015: Renewed struggle from below needed to put an end to Bashir’s rule

  Sudan

USA
Presidential candidate declares "political revolution" against billionaires

12/05/2015: Campaign needs to build independent political power

  US

Britain
Fight against "five more damned years" of Tory rule

12/05/2015: Labour leader’s ’responsible capitalism’ shows its bankruptcy

  Britain

China
“In a hard landing now”

11/05/2015: Stock market frenzy and fabricated GDP figures cannot hide the reality of an economy in deep trouble

  China

Scotland
Labour annihilated

11/05/2015: SNP sweeps to victory by posing as an anti-austerity alternative

  Scotland

Britain
With the votes of 24% of the electorate, Tories have no mandate for more savage cuts

11/05/2015: Labour’s failure puts centre stage the need for new mass anti-austerity force

  Britain

Poland
65,000 workers demonstrate against governments’ policies

07/05/2015: Plan of action for a general strike needed

  Poland

Ireland North
Socialist Party replies to leading Sinn Fein councillor’s attacks

06/05/2015: How to fight cuts, sectarianism and to build workers’ unity

  Ireland North

Britain
Russell Brand mistaken to sow illusions in Labour

06/05/2015: Russell Brand calls on people to elect a Labour government, saying Ed Miliband will ’listen’ and wants pressure from below

  Britain

May Day 2015
International workers’ day marked by marches and rallies

05/05/2015: Photo gallery of the CWI taking part in May Day event across the world

  May Day

Iceland
Fighting for better wages

05/05/2015: General strike called for 26 May

  Iceland

May Day 2015
Socialist plan or capitalist chaos

01/05/2015: What sort of new society are we struggling for?

  May Day

Nepal
Disaster in Nepal –amplified by capitalism

30/04/2015: Nepal, one of the poorest countries in the south Asian region has been further devastated by the recent earthquake.

  Nepal

US
Rage in Baltimore

29/04/2015: The aftermath of Freddie Gray’s death

  US

Book review
’No place to hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA and the US Surveillance state’

29/04/2015: What the 1% will do to defend their class interests

  Review, US

 May Day 2015
Resisting austerity, exploitation, wars and oppression

28/04/2015: 125 years since first May Day – Build a united workers’ movement for socialism!

  CWI, May Day

Italy
Migrant disasters - the human cost of budget cuts

27/04/2015: From Mare Nostrum to Triton

  Italy

Latin America
A new turn?

25/04/2015: Historic handshake between Barack Obama and Raúl Castro, turmoil in Venezuela, and stalled reforms in Bolivia – as well as crises in Brazil – symbolise a new turn in Latin America and the Caribbean

  Latin America

India

Over 100 million stop work

www.socialistworld.net, 26/02/2013
website of the committee for a workers' international, CWI

Impact of the 48 -hour general strike

Anand Kumar, New Socialist Alternative (CWI India), Bangalore

The 48 hour general strike called by the Joint Committee of Trade Unions (JCTU), comprising of 11 Central Trade Unions, once again saw massive participation of the working class. On 20 and 21st February, over 100 million workers all over India participated to say ’No’ to neo-liberal reforms . Although the strike was declared a ’partial success’ by the mainstream (bosses’) media, the strike did see a major shutdown in many parts of India. The industry association, ASSOCHAM, estimated losses due to the strike at Rs. 26,000 crores ($ 4.77 billion).

While this general strike comes after a gap of almost a year since the last one, last year also saw two major bandhs (shutdowns). These were called by the opposition parties – in May on the issue of the fuel price hike and in September against the ’big bang’ reforms such as Foreign Direct Investment by muiltinationals in retail. This strike is also the third time that all the Central Trade Unions have united on a common platform, including the INTUC organised by the governing Congress party, and the BMS, organised by the main right-wing opposition party, the BJP.

The recent period has also witnessed massive protests by the youth and the urban salaried middle classes on the issue of the gang rape of a 23 year old student in Delhi - also a reflection of the growth of mass protest.

More than 100 million workers take strike action!

As usual, the strike was solid in Kerala and Tripura because of the strong presence of left parties such as the CPI(M) in the region. However in West Bengal, despite the left’s attempts to put up a strong show, the chief minister, Mamata Banerjee kept the shops open by force and threatened government employees with dire consequences if they joined the strike. The strike exposed brutal attempts by the Trinamool Congress (TMC) to hold down the supporters of the left parties; a panchayat (village council) employee’s ear was chopped off for participation in the strike! While such goonda (bully) style enforcement of diktats and the TMC’s routine attacks on supporters of the left may work in the short term, these sort of anti-working class policies being practiced so openly will only provoke a serious upsurge of the Bengali working people, if things continue in this manner.

The general strike had a major impact in the national capital, Delhi, especially in suburbs like Gurgaon and in the Noida industrial belt. While the strike was largely peaceful in the Gurgaon region (which has been majorly impacted by the strike of the Maruti Suzuki workers in the last two years), violent protests erupted in Noida with many vehicles burned, factory units set on fire and over 100 arrested on charge of violence. It remains to be seen what actually triggered the unfortunate episode. Initial reports suggest clashes between factory owners and workers in a hosiery manufacturing complex leading to violent protests by the workers. But whatever the initial cause, it would not have started without a serious provocation on the part of the factory management (who are known to be anti-union and extremely brutal).

On Day 2, the Okla industrial area in Delhi witnessed violent protests as workers pelted stones at many factory units there. Once again, it will be the workers who will be ultimately blamed for the violence, with the government even talking of invoking the draconian National Security Act (NSA) against the workers. The industrial belt in and around Delhi -the Noida-Gurgaon region - will be one of the key regions to watch out for as it is likely to witness major strikes and working class protests.

The strike also saw a massive participation by workers and even complete shutdowns in other North Indian regions such as parts of Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh. In the Southern region - excepting Kerala – that is in Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh, although only considered to be partially affected by the strike, nevertheless millions of workers participated in strike action in different parts of the region apart from the major urban centres. In the financial nerve centre of India – Mumbai – the whole financial sector was paralysed by the participation of the workers in the banking and insurance sectors (both public and private). In Maharashtra as a whole, the strike did not have the desired effect because of the betrayal of the leaders of some of the main trade unions like the Hind Mazdoor Sabha that controls the crucial transport sector.

All in all, despite the limited charter of 10 demands drawn up by the Central Trade Unions, the strike shows the huge hostility of workers against the pro-capitalist policies of the Congress-led UPA government. While all the Central Trade Unions have only a limited scope for what they finally want to achieve, they have willy-nilly unleashed the massive potential of the Indian working class. This is despite all the confusions and contradictions that are prevalent in the Trade Union movement today.

What Next?

With the Congress-led UPA government seemingly hell-bent on unleashing more highly unpopular ’big bang’ reforms and the general slowdown in the Indian economy as part of the global trend, the coming period will witness massive waves of protests that will put the Indian working class on a par with the workers of Europe in resisting the onslaught of neo-liberal capitalism. The coming budget in March is likely to see more cuts in the so-called welfare programmes (which have always been austerity driven to begin with!).

The situation begs today for a complete revamp in the strategies and tactics for the Trade Union movement. Since 1991 the working class of India has come out and valiantly conducted general strikes against neo-liberal practices 15 times, but the leadership which is predominantly with the left parties is yet to show any intention of taking the struggle forward to challenge the capitalist system which is the fountain-head of neo-liberalism. It is time that the leadership of the left/communist parties realised that there is no halfway in the struggle against this system. Workers need organisations which draw the conclusion that the system of capitalism is rotten to its core and allows little or no room for reform. Its replacement with a democratic socialist system is the only way forward.

Last year’s protests against corruption and sexual violence that we saw happening outside of the usual parameters of organised working class action is an indication of the churning that is taking place in the society for a bolder and radical leadership. The left parties have an historic opportunity to lead the struggle encompassing all the emerging battles in the length and breadth of India - from the anti-nuclear struggle at Koodankulam to the anti-POSCO movement in Odisha.

Working class youth and even sections of urban middle class wage earners are no longer prepared to wait and watch; they are moving into action, unfortunately sometimes with reactionary leadership or no leadership. The left parties and their ranks have been found lacking. In Tamil Nadu owing to the outdated response of the leadership towards the attacks on Daliths, the issue of Sri Lanka’s genocidal war and the living struggle of people in Koodankulam, thousands of party card holders have rebelled and refused to renew their membership of the Communist Parties. Even minor splits have taken place in Tamil Nadu, Kerala, West Bengal and the Student/youth wing of CPI(M) in Delhi.

As we have pointed out in our previous articles, the coming period leading up to the 2014 general election will be an interesting time as the Indian ruling class battles to stay afloat against the stream of socio-political and economic unrest that is likely to grip the country. The issues of constant price hikes, of fuel price rises, cuts in subsidies, massive unemployment etc., are not only impacting on the working class, peasantry and the poor, but also on the salaried middle classes who are beginning to feel the pinch.

New Socialist Alternative calls for an end to all price hikes, the cancellation of all workers’ and small farmers’ debts, the nationalisation of banks and insurance companies and of the multinationals that attempt to get a stranglehold on retail and on farming. For a programme to fight elections on socialist policies that will benefit the 99% and do away with the power of the vastly over-privileged 1% of Indian society.

All the symptoms for a revolutionary upheaval in society is in the making, not only in India today, but around the globe. The only missing element is the lack of a genuine mass political alternative that can really show the way forward for the Indian working class. Many challenges lie ahead for the forces of genuine socialism to reach out to new layers of the youth and the working class.



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NEWS

New Zealand: Victory over zero-contract hours
24/05/2015, Joe Kelly, CWI NZ/Aotearoa:
‘Cotton On’ clothes retailer workers defeat attempt to remove rest and meal breaks

Britain: Labour leadership contest - appealing to big business
22/05/2015, Sarah Sachs-Eldridge, Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales):
The Labour leadership contest begs the question: what is the point of the Labour Party?

Britain: Build a movement to defeat Tories’ cuts savagery
20/05/2015, Editorial from The Socialist, weekly paper of the Socialist Party (CWI England & Wales):
For massive union demonstrations, linked to a 24-hour general strike

Ireland South: Vote ‘Yes’ to marriage equality!
19/05/2015, From the Socialist Party (CWI Ireland) website:
Referendum a product of long-waged campaign of struggle from below

Greece: Subordination to Troika or rupture with austerity?
18/05/2015, Editorial from Xekinima (no. 410, 6-20 May 2015), fortnightly newspaper of CWI Greece:
The choices before the Greek working class

Pakistan: Jawad Ahmad speaking at May Day rally held by International Youth and Workers Movement
18/05/2015, Socialistworld.net:
Video of May Day Rally and concert in Lahore

North Cyprus: ‘Moderate leftist’ wins presidential election on peace ticket
16/05/2015, Athina Kariati, New Internationalist Left (CWI in Cyprus):
Workers’ common front, north and south, can find solution to island’s division

Chile: Huge demonstrations call for free education
15/05/2015, Patricio Guzman, Socialismo Revolcuionario (CWI in Chile):
New chapter opens in country’s political and ‘moral’ crisis

Australia: East-West toll road dispute concluded
15/05/2015, Socialist Party (CWI Australia) Reporters:
Local community direct action secures victory

Ireland: Parliament suspended after PM tells Socialist MPs “where to go”
14/05/2015, Socialistworld.net:
Contemptuous remarks reflect government concerns over non-payment of water charges

Britain: Organising against Tory austerity starts now
14/05/2015, John McInally, Public and Commercial Services Union national Vice-President (personal capacity), from the Socialist Party (CWI England & Wales) website:
Potential for industrial response to cuts but needs determined leadership and campaigning

Video: Joe Higgins TD questions former ECB president Jean Claude Trichet
13/05/2015, Socialistworld.net:
"When bankers and bondholders’ gambles crashed, their massive burden of private debt was placed onto the shoulders of the Irish people"

Sudan: Mass apathy towards elections
12/05/2015, Sudanese CWI supporter:
Renewed struggle from below needed to put an end to Bashir’s rule

Scotland: Labour annihilated
11/05/2015, :
SNP sweeps to victory by posing as an anti-austerity alternative

Britain: With the votes of 24% of the electorate, Tories have no mandate for more savage cuts
11/05/2015, Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales):
Labour’s failure puts centre stage the need for new mass anti-austerity force

Poland: 65,000 workers demonstrate against governments’ policies
07/05/2015, Alternatywa Socjalistyczna (CWI Poland) Reporters:
Plan of action for a general strike needed

Britain: Russell Brand mistaken to sow illusions in Labour
06/05/2015, Sarah Sachs-Eldridge, Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales):
Russell Brand calls on people to elect a Labour government, saying Ed Miliband will ’listen’ and wants pressure from below

May Day 2015: International workers’ day marked by marches and rallies
05/05/2015, Socialistworld.net:
Photo gallery of the CWI taking part in May Day event across the world

Iceland: Fighting for better wages
05/05/2015, Per-Åke Westerlund, Rättvisepartiet Socialisterna (CWI Sweden):
General strike called for 26 May

US: Rage in Baltimore
29/04/2015, Eljeer Hawkins, Socialist Alternative, New York:
The aftermath of Freddie Gray’s death

Book review: ’No place to hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA and the US Surveillance state’
29/04/2015, Reviewed by Tony Saunois, CWI:
What the 1% will do to defend their class interests

Kazakhstan: Presidential ‘election’ - Nazarbayev’s overwhelming victory no surprise
28/04/2015, Elizabeth Clarke, CWI:
Workers need to build mass opposition

Ireland North: Health Minister forced to resign after making homophobic remarks
27/04/2015, Daniel Waldron, Socialist Party (CWI Ireland):
LGBT and women’s rights campaigners boosted

Italy: Migrant disasters - the human cost of budget cuts
27/04/2015, From web-site of ControCorrente (CWI in Italy):
From Mare Nostrum to Triton

Finland: Worst ever election result for traditional Left
24/04/2015, Jonas Brännberg and Juha Tapio for CWI in Finland:
Finns Party second biggest in parliament

Scotland: Labour face annihilation as millions seek an answer to austerity
23/04/2015, Philip Stott, Socialist Party Scotland (CWI in Scotland):
The SNP, according to the polls, will win 53 of Scotland’s 59 Westminster MPs

CWI Comment and Analysis

ANALYSIS

Iraq/Syria: ISIS rout national armies at Ramadi and Palmyra
23/05/2015, Niall Mulholland, CWI:
United working class movement needed to sweep away sectarian militias and reactionary politicians

Ireland North: Election marks growing rejection of sectarian status quo
21/05/2015, Daniel Waldron and Kevin Henry, Socialist Party (CWI Ireland), Belfast:
Opportunities to build new anti-sectarian political voice for working class and youth

Spain: Is Podemos in crisis?
20/05/2015, Danny Byrne, CWI:
Left and social movements in a state of flux, as key elections loom

USA: Presidential candidate declares "political revolution" against billionaires
12/05/2015, Philip Locker, Socialist Alternative, Seattle:
Campaign needs to build independent political power

Britain: Fight against "five more damned years" of Tory rule
12/05/2015, Peter Taaffe, Socialist Party )CWI England & Wales) General Secretary:
Labour leader’s ’responsible capitalism’ shows its bankruptcy

China: “In a hard landing now”
11/05/2015, Dikang, chinaworker.info:
Stock market frenzy and fabricated GDP figures cannot hide the reality of an economy in deep trouble

Ireland North: Socialist Party replies to leading Sinn Fein councillor’s attacks
06/05/2015, Socialist Party (CWI Ireland) Statement:
How to fight cuts, sectarianism and to build workers’ unity

May Day 2015: Socialist plan or capitalist chaos
01/05/2015, Peter Taaffe, Socialist Party General Secretary, (CWI England & Wales):
What sort of new society are we struggling for?

Nepal: Disaster in Nepal –amplified by capitalism
30/04/2015, TU Senan, CWI:
Nepal, one of the poorest countries in the south Asian region has been further devastated by the recent earthquake.

May Day 2015: Resisting austerity, exploitation, wars and oppression
28/04/2015, CWI:
125 years since first May Day – Build a united workers’ movement for socialism!

Latin America: A new turn?
25/04/2015, Tony Saunois, article from May issue of Socialism Today, magazine of the Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales):
Historic handshake between Barack Obama and Raúl Castro, turmoil in Venezuela, and stalled reforms in Bolivia – as well as crises in Brazil – symbolise a new turn in Latin America and the Caribbean

Iran: Proposed nuclear deal reflects transformed Middle East
24/04/2015, Robert Bechert, CWI:
In aftermath of disastrous Iraq occupation, Obama administration balancing between region’s forces

Tunisia: After the Bardo terrorist attack
18/04/2015, Serge Jordan:
New class battles loom

Yemen: Brutal onslaught on country’s poor
15/04/2015, Judy Beishon, from The Socialist (weekly paper of the CWI England & Wales):
For unity of workers and poor against imperialism and sectarianism

Economy: What low oil prices cost the world economy
03/04/2015, Lynn Walsh, article from Socialism Today, magazine of the Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales):
The sudden plunge of oil and gas prices has underlined the volatility in the world capitalist economy

Israel: Netanyahu mobilises far right to win election
25/03/2015, Yasha Marmer, Socialist Struggle Movement, Israel-Palestine:
New coalition will face unresolved crises and bitter struggles

Italy: The instability of domestic capitalism
24/03/2015, Marco Veruggio, ControCorrente (CWI Italy):
Political vacuum pushes FIOM to take initiative

Greece: Varoufakis’ “erratic Marxism” is not the answer
23/03/2015, Peter Taaffe, from Socialism Today (monthly magazine of the Socialist Party, England & Wales):
Necessary to clarify ideas upon which successful struggles of European working class will be conducted

Belgium: No agreement reached between unions and government over austerity
20/03/2015, Eric Byl, LSP/PSL (Belgian section of the CWI), Brussels:
New action plan against right wing government takes off

Ukraine: Conflict unresolved after ’Minsk-2’ agreement
18/03/2015, Rob Jones, CWI, Moscow:
Only independent working-class mass movement can remove the region’s authoritarian rulers

Greece: Syriza’s first months in power
07/03/2015, Andreas Payiatsos, from Xekinima (newspaper of the CWI Greece):
The working class and social movements must enter the struggle for their rights

Quebec: Towards a hot spring
02/03/2015, Deirdre and Bruno, Socialist Alternative (CWI Quebec):
Disrupt them like they disrupt us!

Greece showdown
26/02/2015, Article to be published in the March issue of Socialism Today (magazine of the Socialist Party, CWI in England and Wales):
Niall Mulholland interviewed NICOS ANASTASIADES, of Xekinima (CWI Greece), just as Syriza leaders agreed a four-month bail-out extension with the EU.

Libya: War-torn country becoming new hub for IS activities
25/02/2015, Serge Jordan (CWI):
Libyan people bearing the brunt of NATO’s fiasco

Europe: Eurozone time-bomb
25/02/2015, Lynn Walsh, article from Socialism Today (magazine of the Socialist Party of England and Wales):
Mired in recession, the eurozone is haunted by the spectre of stagnation