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latest news

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

Europe
New wave of workers’ struggles

23/12/2014: Workers digest first rounds of anti-cuts battles and prepare for next rounds

  Europe

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.



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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NEWS

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

Trotsky: ‘The national principle’
24/12/2014, From Socialism Today, magazine of the Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales):
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

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