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latest news

Singapore
Former Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew dies

31/03/2015: Apologist for neo-liberalism and autocracy

  Singapore

France
Elections punish Valls and Hollande

31/03/2015: Department results show need for fightback against austerity and racism

  France

 Venezuela
Alcedo Mora must be found alive!

30/03/2015: Urgent need for international solidarity

  Solidarity, Venezuela

Netherlands
Election setback for Labour Party

30/03/2015: Main parties guarantee austerity - A mass party of the Left with a socialist programme needed

  Netherlands

Germany
20,000 people give ECB “the finger”

28/03/2015: Big demo and blockade against the reopening of the Central Bank

  Germany

 Video
Interview with a Greek socialist

28/03/2015: The Syriza government and the Troika and building the Greek Left

  Greece, Video

South Africa
NUMSA & WASP discuss international experiences of new workers’ parties

27/03/2015: South Africa’s metalworkers union in discussion with WASP and CWI

  Africa, South Africa

Obituary
Harald Mahrer (1974-2015)

27/03/2015: An active, critical and inspiring comrade

  Obituary

 Video
Dave Nellist on Russia Today TV

26/03/2015: Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) standing throughout Britain in May elections

  Britain, Video

Norway
Lessons of the pilots’ strike

25/03/2015: A struggle against outsourcing

  Norway

Israel
Netanyahu mobilises far right to win election

25/03/2015: New coalition will face unresolved crises and bitter struggles

  Israel / Palestine

China
Demand release of arrested women activists

24/03/2015: Has the commemoration of International Women’s Day also now been outlawed in China?

  China

Italy
The instability of domestic capitalism

24/03/2015: Political vacuum pushes FIOM to take initiative

  Italy

Sweden
Central bank rates cut "panic measure"

23/03/2015: Eurozone’s QE intensifies currency wars

  Sweden

Greece
Varoufakis’ “erratic Marxism” is not the answer

23/03/2015: Necessary to clarify ideas upon which successful struggles of European working class will be conducted

  Greece

Tunisia
Twenty three killed in terrorist attack

20/03/2015: Down with terror! Down with capitalism!

  Tunisia

Belgium
No agreement reached between unions and government over austerity

20/03/2015: New action plan against right wing government takes off

  Belgium

Ukraine
Conflict unresolved after ’Minsk-2’ agreement

18/03/2015: Only independent working-class mass movement can remove the region’s authoritarian rulers

  Ukraine

Ireland North
Public sector workers strike against austerity

18/03/2015: For a second day of strike action in the run-up to the May general election!

  Ireland North

 North Cyprus
New strike wave against cuts

17/03/2015: Workers determined to stop austerity

  Cyprus, Solidarity

 Brazil
Urgent solidarity protests needed

17/03/2015: Faced with lack of water for the people, Sao Paulo water company SABESP cuts costs, sacks more than 500 workers and victimises trade union activists

  Brazil, Solidarity

 Scotland
Socialist Party Scotland (CWI) leaves Solidarity

16/03/2015: Tommy Sheridan departs from principled socialist position with call for “lending vote" to cuts-making SNP

  CWI, Scotland

Britain
What lies behind UKIP?

14/03/2015: Its Tory-oriented anti-immigration, anti-EU rhetoric has been adapted to a right-wing populism aimed at winning voters fed up with the political establishment

  Britain

Ireland North
Massive public sector strike against austerity

13/03/2015: Socialist MPs in Southern Ireland Parliament send message of support to strikers

  Ireland North, Ireland Republic

Ireland South
Marriage equality referendum set for May

12/03/2015: Poisonous bigotry must be challenged

  Ireland Republic

Ireland North
Stormont government crisis on eve of public sector strike

11/03/2015: Struggle can force politicians back from austerity measures

  Ireland North, Ireland Republic

Iran
Independent workers’ organizations statement about minimum wage

11/03/2015: Increasing demands for a living wage

  Iran

Ireland North
13 March public sector strike against austerity

10/03/2015: Dead-end of rightwing, sectarian politics - new anti-sectarian party which fights for working class needed

  Ireland North

  Video
Dublin ROSA demonstration on International Women’s Day

10/03/2015: Ruth Coppinger, Socialist Party TD (MP) speaks along with other activists

  Ireland Republic, Video, Women

 International Women’s Day 2015

09/03/2015: Articles from CWI sections celebrating IWD

  Women

Greece
Syriza’s first months in power

07/03/2015: The working class and social movements must enter the struggle for their rights

  Greece

Netherlands
Wave of student protests

05/03/2015: For democratic reforms and end to budget cuts

  Netherlands

Austria
The year starts with antifascism

05/03/2015: Right-wing Ball events, PEGIDA, and neo-nazi Violence: A Month of Intense and Successful anti-fascism in Austria

  Austria, Venezuela

 Greece
Vodafone strike declared “illegal”

04/03/2015: “None of this will intimidate us - we will struggle until we win collective bargaining”

  Greece, Solidarity

Russia
50,000 march in Moscow after shooting of Boris Nemtsov

03/03/2015: As economic crisis deepens, social explosions loom

  Russia

New Zealand

Racism and recession in New Zealand

www.socialistworld.net, 15/05/2013
website of the committee for a workers' international, CWI

Working class unity needed to defend rights and living standards

Jared Phillips, CWI New Zealand

Several recent events have elevated the issue of racism in New Zealand. In one case a nationalist MP belonging to the Danish People’s Party made headlines when she made racist comments about a traditional Maori welcome.

Also Susan Devoy, who is unsympathetic to Maori political issues, was appointed as the new Race Relations Commissioner. At the same time National Party Prime Minister John Key has tried to stoke fears about South Asian refugee boats coming to New Zealand. This is despite no boats arriving so far.

To top things off a bunch of neo-Nazis staged a so-called ‘white pride’ march in Christchurch. These events vary in significance but taken together they have created increased controversy and more discussion in society about ethnicity and issues of racism.

New race relations appointment

The appointment of former champion squash player, Susan Devoy, to the position of Race Relations Commissioner is seen by many as a right-wing provocation. Prior to her appointment Devoy had become an outspoken conservative. In particular she had criticised the wearing of burqas and had chastised Maori for raising political issues on Waitangi Day.

Waitangi Day is a national holiday which marks the anniversary of a Treaty of Waitangi signing ceremony in 1840. For decades the Waitangi day anniversary has been used by Maori as an occasion for forums and symbolic peaceful protests to address Maori issues.

In reality the treaty was a tool of annexation but it contained important promises to Maori, including self-governance through chieftainship. With such promises not being adhered to the Treaty is seen as a rallying point of Maori resistance. Maori call for such aspects of the treaty to be honoured.

Criticism quickly followed Devoy’s appointment especially because she is completely unqualified. She responded by saying that she is a “quick learner” with “a good moral compass”.

Devoy’s view is that Waitangi day should not be used by Maori for political “shenanigans”. The truth is that it’s precisely that type of outlook – a refusal to recognise deep historical injustices – that qualified Devoy for the position in the eyes of the government.

Even some of the conservative press think that her appointment is a step too far with one editorial commenting that: “She is politically and perhaps culturally naive… which does not fit well with someone who will be expected to mediate in complex matters involving racial discrimination and human rights.”

Devoy has ignored requests for interviews. This led to the farcical incident where her associate told a TV crew that she was asleep in her house and couldn’t be interviewed. Soon after the TV crew then captured footage of her driving past!

Even when asked, Devoy didn’t feel that the ‘white pride’ march in Christchurch warranted her comment. When the nationalist Danish People’s Party MP said about the Maori welcome: “To me it looked grotesque, it looked very strange with a man who is half naked and in a grass skirt and who poked his tongue out and was shouting” Devoy didn’t think that warranted her comment either.

It was also exposed in The Listener magazine that Devoy’s 1993 autobiography contained passages where she complained about not being able to enter lucrative sports contracts in apartheid South Africa. She wrote up a list of pros and cons when deciding whether she would tour there. Far from considering human rights of black South Africans, the list merely weighed up the financial benefits of touring.

Devoy’s appointment has triggered a heightened discussion about racism. So much so that the prime time current affairs show ‘Campbell Live’ ran a segment on the everyday racism experienced by Maori. An experiment was conducted whereby a Caucasian male and a Maori male with the same appearance (same clothes, same car, etc) visited a range of petrol stations asking to fill up before paying.

The Caucasian male was allowed to fill-up before paying at the outlets of five different petrol brands. The Maori male was required to pre-pay for the petrol at the outlets of four of the five brands. This was despite his overly-polite approaches at the counters. The exercise gave an insight into everyday discrimination experienced by Maori and the failures of institutions like the Human rights Commission to do anything to undermine racism in New Zealand.

Human rights institutions

The Race Relations Commissioner in New Zealand is a functionary of the Human Rights Commission. The Commission is supposed to advocate for human rights, consult with groups concerned with protecting human rights, inquire into matters which infringe on human rights, develop a national plan to promote and protect human rights and take part in court proceedings relating to human rights. It reports to the Prime Minister.

Despite the presence of human rights bodies in most advanced countries human rights are routinely abused both at home and abroad. In the main this is because adhering to human rights often runs counter to the needs of capitalism – a system based on production for private profit rather than the general needs of all people.

Under capitalism human rights are seen as subordinate to the rights of capitalists to make profits. Because of this racism is a by-product of the profit system. As Malcolm X once said “you can’t have capitalism without racism”. This explains why when capitalist governments set up human rights institutions they are generally toothless tigers.

While socialists have no confidence in these institutions we are open to using their existence, in conjunction with mass movements and campaigns, to assist in winning reforms for oppressed people. For example an appeal to human rights bodies can be useful when someone is facing discrimination in the workplace and there is not sufficient strength to defeat the employer by industrial means.

Human rights, like all rights, are not just granted to people by the capitalist class. Historically rights have been fought for, and won, through struggle. When society slides into crisis we often see that the capitalists try and wind democratic freedoms and rights back. This is seen in many pieces of anti-democratic legislation put forward in recent years. As the economic crisis gets worse we will increasingly need to defend both our living standards and our rights.

The need for class unity

Against the backdrop of recession, and a deepening world economic crisis, the ruling class will increasingly try to divide the working class in order to weaken it. From their point of view it is much easier to make ordinary people pay for the economic crisis via cuts and austerity measures if people are divided along racial and ethnic lines.

What the ruling class fears the most is the entire working class uniting and acting together to oppose their attacks on our living standards. We must not let the likes of Susan Devoy or John Key use the public discourse to drive wedges between groups of people who are all under attack.

Working people, the unemployed, students and all those in society who are oppressed have an interest in working together to ensure we are not made to pay for an economic crisis that was created by the capitalists. We have more in common with each other than we do with those who exploit us. Through our trade unions, community groups and parties like Mana we need to fight for jobs, homes and services for all.

By campaigning together around class issues, secondary differences like race can be pushed into the background. Our living standards can be both defended and extended thereby laying the basis for a new type of society which is based on human need and not profit. This type of society would use the wealth created to provide for all and make discrimination and oppression a thing of the past. Genuine human rights would be a top priority. This is the type of world that socialists fight for.



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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

Singapore: Former Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew dies
31/03/2015, Ravichandren, CWI Malaysia:
Apologist for neo-liberalism and autocracy

France: Elections punish Valls and Hollande
31/03/2015, Leila Messaoudi, from Gauche Revolutionnaire (CWI France) website (updated 30 March):
Department results show need for fightback against austerity and racism

Venezuela: Alcedo Mora must be found alive!
30/03/2015, Socialismo Revolucionario (CWI in Venezuela) reporters:
Urgent need for international solidarity

Netherlands: Election setback for Labour Party
30/03/2015, Pieter Brans, Amsterdam:
Main parties guarantee austerity - A mass party of the Left with a socialist programme needed

Germany: 20,000 people give ECB “the finger”
28/03/2015, by Michael Koschitzki, SAV – Sozialistische Alternative (CWI in Germany):
Big demo and blockade against the reopening of the Central Bank

Video: Interview with a Greek socialist
28/03/2015, Nicos Anastasiades of Xekinima (CWI Greece):
The Syriza government and the Troika and building the Greek Left

South Africa: NUMSA & WASP discuss international experiences of new workers’ parties
27/03/2015, socialistworld.net:
South Africa’s metalworkers union in discussion with WASP and CWI

Obituary: Harald Mahrer (1974-2015)
27/03/2015, Sozialistische LinksPartei (CWI Austria) Reporters:
An active, critical and inspiring comrade

Video: Dave Nellist on Russia Today TV
26/03/2015, socialistworld.net:
Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) standing throughout Britain in May elections

Norway: Lessons of the pilots’ strike
25/03/2015, Elin Gauffin, Rättvisepartiet Socialisterna (CWI Sweden):
A struggle against outsourcing

China: Demand release of arrested women activists
24/03/2015, Sally Tang Mei-Ching, Socialist Action (CWI in Hong Kong):
Has the commemoration of International Women’s Day also now been outlawed in China?

Sweden: Central bank rates cut "panic measure"
23/03/2015, Per-Åke Westerlund, Rättvisepartiet Socialisterna (CWI Sweden):
Eurozone’s QE intensifies currency wars

Tunisia: Twenty three killed in terrorist attack
20/03/2015, Statement by CWI-Tunisia:
Down with terror! Down with capitalism!

Ireland North: Public sector workers strike against austerity
18/03/2015, Kevin Henry, Socialist Party (CWI Ireland), Belfast:
For a second day of strike action in the run-up to the May general election!

North Cyprus: New strike wave against cuts
17/03/2015, Özgür İnsanoğlu and Bahtiyar Girne, North Cyprus:
Workers determined to stop austerity

Brazil: Urgent solidarity protests needed
17/03/2015, Translation of a solidarity appeal from the LSR (CWI in Brazil):
Faced with lack of water for the people, Sao Paulo water company SABESP cuts costs, sacks more than 500 workers and victimises trade union activists

Scotland: Socialist Party Scotland (CWI) leaves Solidarity
16/03/2015, Statement from Socialist Party Scotland Executive Committee:
Tommy Sheridan departs from principled socialist position with call for “lending vote" to cuts-making SNP

Britain: What lies behind UKIP?
14/03/2015, Hannah Sell, Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales):
Its Tory-oriented anti-immigration, anti-EU rhetoric has been adapted to a right-wing populism aimed at winning voters fed up with the political establishment

Ireland North: Massive public sector strike against austerity
13/03/2015, Socialistworld.net:
Socialist MPs in Southern Ireland Parliament send message of support to strikers

Ireland South: Marriage equality referendum set for May
12/03/2015, Helen Redwood, Socialist Party (CWI Ireland):
Poisonous bigotry must be challenged

Ireland North: Stormont government crisis on eve of public sector strike
11/03/2015, Kevin Henry, Socialist Party (CWI Ireland), Belfast:
Struggle can force politicians back from austerity measures

Iran: Independent workers’ organizations statement about minimum wage
11/03/2015, Statement by six Iranian workers’ organizations:
Increasing demands for a living wage

Ireland North: 13 March public sector strike against austerity
10/03/2015, Text of Socialist Party (CWI Ireland) leaflet, Belfast:
Dead-end of rightwing, sectarian politics - new anti-sectarian party which fights for working class needed

Video: Dublin ROSA demonstration on International Women’s Day
10/03/2015, socialistworld.net:
Ruth Coppinger, Socialist Party TD (MP) speaks along with other activists

International Women’s Day 2015
09/03/2015, socialistworld.net:
Articles from CWI sections celebrating IWD

Netherlands: Wave of student protests
05/03/2015, Bas de Ruiter, Socialist Alternative (CWI in Netherlands):
For democratic reforms and end to budget cuts

CWI Comment and Analysis

ANALYSIS

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

Greece: Syriza retreats under Troika threats
24/02/2015, Nicos Anastasiades, Xekinima (CWI Greece), Thessaloniki:
Popular mood shows anti-austerity, socialist policies would win huge support

History: The political legacy of Malcolm X
21/02/2015, Eljeer Hawkins, Socialist Alternative:
50 years after his assassination

Spain: Is ‘Podemos’ the Spanish Syriza?
16/02/2015, Danny Byrne, CWI:
Dangers of “moderation” and domestication

Egypt: Regime brutality on fourth anniversary of revolution
10/02/2015, David Johnson, Socialist Party (CWI England & Wales):
Masses will regain confidence and willingness to fight

Greece: Not a single step back!
08/02/2015, Statement by the Editorial Board of Xekinima (CWI Greece):
Conflict between SYRIZA government and EU escalates

Kurdistan: ‘Islamic State’ driven out of Kobanê
02/02/2015, Serge Jordan, CWI:
Will the end of Kobanê’s siege turn the tide against IS?

Greece: Why did Syriza and the KKE fail to reach agreement?
29/01/2015, Article from Xekhinima (CWI Greece) website [dated 26 January 2015] translated and slightly edited:
For socialist policies to end austerity nightmare!

Greece: Syriza comes to power, as old ruling parties collapse
27/01/2015, Niall Mulholland, socialistworld.net, interviews Andros Payiatsos, from Xekinima (CWI Greece):
Left parties fail to form government - Syriza goes into coalition with populist right Independent Greeks

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