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latest news

Scotland
Indefinite strike by Glasgow Council Homeless workers

01/04/2015: Workers treated unfairly by council for years

  Scotland

South Africa
Cosatu splits as ‘Vavi’ expelled

01/04/2015: Expulsion opens new chapter in working class struggle

  Africa, South Africa

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

Portugal

5th general strike in 3 years to bring down Coelho government

www.socialistworld.net, 02/07/2013
website of the committee for a workers' international, CWI

Continue and escalate the struggle until victory! For a united front to fight for a workers’ government

Gonçalo Romeiro, Socialismo Revolucionário (CWI in Portugal)

On 27 June, Portugal lived its 5th general strike in two and a half years. It was the fourth general strike against the 2-year old right-wing coalition government (PSD/CDS), and only the 4th since the revolution of April 1974 to unite both Trade Union federations (majority CGTP and smaller UGT) in action.

It came as the culmination of a rising tide of struggle over the last months, which passed through the unprecedented mass demonstrations of 2 March, and countless strikes and protests in individual sectors and workplaces. With this strike, Portuguese workers and youth, as they have done without fail, dispelled the doubts of the cynics and faint of heart as to their determination to resist the savagery of the Troika and its puppet government of PSD and CDS (traditional right wing and Christian Democrat parties). Over the last years, any and every serious opportunity to resist and mobilise presented to the Portuguese people has been enthusiastically taken up by the masses, who despite the grinding difficulty of day to day life and impoverishment display an inspirational reserve of determination and will to struggle. Now, the decisive question is whether this enormous display of power and energy, as on previous occasions, will be allowed to dissipate into nothing, or can serve as the point of departure for a struggle which continues and escalates until achieving its objectives: the sacking of the Troika’s government and the opening up of a new chapter in the country’s history.

The strength of the strike and the struggles that led to it

The general strike was yet again a success in terms of generalized paralysation. While no official general figures have yet been given, analysts point to an overall participation of over 80%. Official figures for individual companies in the key sectors of the economy (transport, health, education, industry etc) all show a stoppage between 70% and 100%, featuring a strong participation of the private sector. This success can be explained not only by the huge austerity imposed in the last period, but also by the rising wave of struggles in the last month. Starting with a mass demonstration of the 25th of May, the last weeks also saw the election of a new leadership in the UGT based on a more radicalised mood and a certain (limited) break from the extreme collaboration-ism of the outgoing Proenca leadership. The new leadership of Carlos Silva called, initially, for a public sector general strike on 27 June, which was then followed by the CGTP and transformed into a joint General Strike.

Also key was the struggle of the Teachers, one of the most attacked sector of public servants, who waged a very successful strike during the period of evaluations and exams, culminating in a mass demonstration, the biggest since 2008 when the country of shaken by a huge Teachers’ struggle. This struggle succeeded in making the government retreat in the most hated attacks, and this provided a boost in confidence, key to make the general strike of last Thursday a huge success. Also important was also the struggle of the postal workers from CTT, against the closure of hundreds of offices and privatizations, who succeeded in keeping open a number of offices through strikes and occupations over the last weeks. It was, again, one of the strongest sectors during the general strike, with a paralysation of around 94% according to the CGTP.

Disappointment of demonstrations. Potential for mass demonstrations during general strikes

Unfortunately, the demonstrations seen on Thursday didn’t reflect the true strength of the strike. Is it because workers, unemployed, youth and pensioners are not mobilized for this kind of fight? No. What failed here was the lack of a serious mobilization on behalf of the trade union movement and the Left.

In fact, layers inside in the trade union burocracy have opposed for years the calling of demonstrations on strike days, saying “there are not the conditions”. In 2011, for the first time, a demonstration was called for the day of a general strike, and largely because of the pressure from the new social movements, which coincided with the pressure from the bases within the unions. Still, these actions were never taken seriously, and never saw a really solid mobilization.

But why is it so important, and possible, to organize mass demonstrations of the days of general strikes? Why is it so important to combine that with strong picket lines in the workplaces? A strike is not a holiday, it’s a day of struggle and action, a day when workers get together and gain consciousness of their united strength. So, for a worker to stay a home during a strike day is a poorer experience which will not help him or her to develop their consciousness of the collective power of their class, so essential to the success of the struggle. On the other hand, if that worker takes part in the picket line at his/her workplace, where he stands together with his colleagues to defend his strike, and in the afternoon takes part in a mass demonstration where he can feel the collective strength of his/her class, it is something completely different. The demonstration is also a time to give a fighting and generalized visibility to the strike towards the whole of society, and a place where the workers demands (including against the conservative plans of their union leaders) can be give a loud and fighting expression.

Organizing mass demonstrations on strike days is therefore not only possible, with a serious mobilization - where transport workers can organize themselves to bring the people to the demonstration - but also desirable. Examples from other countries like Greece or Spain (where over 4 million people are said to have marched during the general strike on 14 November 2012) are evidence of that. Now we need to make that clear in our trade union movement.

For a plan of action to bring down the government of the Troika. What to do next?

The general strike of 27 June cannot be an end in itself. Despite being the 5th in less than 3 years, by itself it will not, as with previous occasions, be able to accomplish its main objective: the fall of the government. Therefore, it should be part of a Plan of Action that maintains the mobilisation, spreading the struggles, linking the thousands of local and sectorial battles on a national and international scale, radicalizing them and basing them on the fight for a clear alternative to the austerity of the governments of the Troika. This strike was also set out from the rest for the reason that, at least on the part of the CGTP, it was called on the basis of the slogan to bring down the government. However, if the CGTP, which organises the most decisive power in Portuguese society (the power of the majority of the organised working class) is for the fall of the government, then the government should not be able to remain in power. But for this to happen, a plan of action must be developed in order to give this power a full expressio and make the government’s life impossible.

Such a plan needs to be democratically developed by the trade union and social movements with the active support and participation of the Left, through public assemblies and elected committees, in the workplaces, factories, schools and communities. These assemblies and committees should work side by side with the trade union movement, and include its activists. Such a plan of action must include not only strikes - including longer general strikes, or 48 hours for example - and mass demonstrations, but also other, more radical, forms of struggle that were used in working class history and are being used internationally, like occupations of workplaces and factories facing closure, boycotts of unfair taxes and street blockades. It should only stop when the government falls, the Troika is expelled from the country and an alternative government, of and for the workers and youth government replaces it. As a next step in such plan a new general strike, of 48 hours, should be immediately prepared and mobilized for.

We know the difficulty of organizing longer strike action, and the toll it takes on worker’s wages, but the alternative – letting the government continue to rule – is a far worse option; therefore we can’t allow it to do so. This also raises the issue of trade unions creating fighting funds to sustain workers and their families during strikes, which will be key to the success of such actions.

For a united front of the left parties, trade unions and social movements. For a government of working people and the youth

The government is very unstable, with its social base of support practically gone. It’s an illegal government that rules against the Constitution it swore to defend. However, the struggle to bring it down raises immediately the question of what kind of government should replace it. The so called “Socialist” Party (PS) is clearly no alternative, it signed the Memorandum with the Troika in the first place and defends the very same class interests as the current government does, and as the rest of the old international "social democracy", is a party with “socialist” facade but with neo-liberal policies. We need a government of working people and youth that rips the Memorandum to shreds and cancels all austerity and starts to implement policies in the interests of the majority, refusing to pay the debt and bringing the wealth, the banks and key sectors of the economy into public ownership to be democratically planned in order to serve the recuperation of the economy and living standards. Such government is possible. The Left - Communist Party and the Left Bloc - has been consistently scoring over 20% in recent polls. Together, and based on the struggle of the trade unions and social movements, it has the potential to become a force that can fight for government. Such an United Front, based on a socialist programme that can truly answer to the crisis of capitalism, would galvanize society, and give a concrete perspective of a real alternative to workers and poor in Portugal.



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NEWS

Scotland: Indefinite strike by Glasgow Council Homeless workers
01/04/2015, Matt Dobson, Socialist Party Scotland (CWI):
Workers treated unfairly by council for years

South Africa: Cosatu splits as ‘Vavi’ expelled
01/04/2015, WASP (Workers’ and Socialist Party) reporters:
Expulsion opens new chapter in working class struggle

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

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