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latest news

Congo
Day of Protest 26 May

28/05/2016: New massacres in mineral-rich region

  Congo

 Kazakhstan
Embassy protests in solidarity with struggle against land privatisation and for democratic rights

27/05/2016: Soldarity actions take place internationally against Nazarbayev regime

  Kazakhstan, Solidarity

Brazil
Mass protests against new government begin

27/05/2016: LSR (CWI) forces participation highlighted

  Brazil

 Solidarity
Brutal bosses attack striking Lisbon Dockers

25/05/2016: Protest and solidarity messages needed

  Solidarity

Austria
Only 31,026 votes prevent far right’s Hofer becoming president

24/05/2016: ‘Breathing space’ offers chance to build a fighting, democratic left alternative

  Austria

Britain
EU referendum exposes gaping political fault-lines

24/05/2016: New road can open up for labour movement if working class relies on its own forces

  Britain

Kazakhstan
Massive police operation confronts demonstrators

23/05/2016: Nazarbayev regime faces mounting opposition

  Kazakhstan

Australia
Federal election looming

21/05/2016: How should the labour and social movements respond?

  Australia

Kazakhstan
 Anger against Nazarbayev expressed on the streets

20/05/2016: ‘Illegal’ protests planned for Saturday 21 May

  Kazakhstan

Brazil
Fall of President Dilma Rousseff unleashes offensive against working class

19/05/2016: The impeachment process and historic crisis of the PT (Workers’ Party)

  Brazil

Britain
Brexit, the EU and the economy

19/05/2016: Remain or Leave, workers must fight for socialist change

  Britain

Nigeria
General strike begins

18/05/2016: Determined leadership and clear strategy needed to succeed

  Nigeria

Ireland
‘Jobstown trials’ to go ahead

18/05/2016: Government loses battle on water charges but wages war on Left

  Ireland Republic

Greece
Striking Athens bus cleaners continue their struggle

17/05/2016: Court declares strike ‘lawful’

  Greece

Canada
Fire devastates Fort McMurray

16/05/2016: Capitalism equals environmental destruction

  Canada

Saudi Arabia
Gathering storms over the House of Saud

13/05/2016: Collapse of oil prices expose fragile foundations of oil Gulf monarchies

  Middle East, Qatar, Saudi Arabia

France
New stage in battle over labour law

12/05/2016: Hollande’s decision to over-rule parliament provokes another round of struggle

  France

Kazakhstan
Protests erupt

12/05/2016: Phoney elections have not brought stability

  Kazakhstan

Sweden
Successful Congress for CWI forces

12/05/2016: Political foundations laid for new branches and growth in other Nordic countries

  Sweden

Ireland
100th anniversary of the execution of James Connolly

12/05/2016: Revolutionary socialist, militant workers' leader and internationalist

  Ireland Republic

Northern Ireland
Main parties win Assembly elections…

11/05/2016: But positive moves against sectarian politics

  Ireland North

Belgium
Trade unions announce new plan of action

11/05/2016: Call for two national demonstrations, building towards general strikes

  Belgium

Quebec
The fight for $15 shows true colors of Parti Québecois

10/05/2016: No to an all-class pro-independence alliance

  Quebec

Britain
Elections show anger and fragmentation

10/05/2016: Mobilise the anti-austerity mood into a mass, democratic movement to defeat the right

  Britain

Scotland
SNP win elections

09/05/2016: New openings for a socialist left alternative emerge

  Scotland

Ireland
How long can Kenny’s government last?

07/05/2016: Minority government supported by two main parties and “Independents” formed

  Ireland Republic

 Video
Paul Murphy sets record straight on "legal aid"

06/05/2016: Socialist MP threatened with jail for protesting against water charges responds to attacks in Irish parliament

  Video

South Africa
Zuma must go!

06/05/2016: Build a socialist mass workers’ party for a government of the working class

  South Africa

 Solidarity
Portuguese dock workers’ indefinite strike

05/05/2016: What we cannot do: leave the dockers alone

  Solidarity

Britain
90th anniversary of epochal general strike

05/05/2016: When workers tasted power

  Britain

Hong Kong
Racist smear campaign against refugees

05/05/2016: Socialist Action (CWI) initiates successful anti-racist march

  Aceh

May Day 2016
Rallies and marches mark international workers' day

04/05/2016: Photo gallery of CWI's global May Day participation

  May Day

Ireland
Water charges suspended

03/05/2016: Protest movement and boycott force huge Establishment parties climb down

  Ireland Republic

Britain
'Slow coup' against left Labour leader

02/05/2016: Anti-Semitism charges a cynical campaign by right-wing to ditch Jeremy Corbyn

  Britain

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.



Europe

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NEWS

Congo: Day of Protest 26 May
28/05/2016, Per-Åke Westerlund, Jose Nsimba-Lobela and Congo Moko, Offensiv, weekly paper of Rättvisepartiet Socialisterna (CWI Sweden):
New massacres in mineral-rich region

Kazakhstan: Embassy protests in solidarity with struggle against land privatisation and for democratic rights
27/05/2016, Campaign Kazakhstan:
Soldarity actions take place internationally against Nazarbayev regime

Brazil: Mass protests against new government begin
27/05/2016, socialistworld.net:
LSR (CWI) forces participation highlighted

Solidarity: Brutal bosses attack striking Lisbon Dockers
25/05/2016, Socialismo Revolucionario (CWI in Portugal) reporters:
Protest and solidarity messages needed

Britain: EU referendum exposes gaping political fault-lines
24/05/2016, Peter Taaffe, from Socialism Today (monthly magazine of the Socialist Party England & Wales):
New road can open up for labour movement if working class relies on its own forces

Kazakhstan: Massive police operation confronts demonstrators
23/05/2016, Clare Doyle, CWI:
Nazarbayev regime faces mounting opposition

Australia: Federal election looming
21/05/2016, Editorial from May 2016 edition of ‘The Socialist’ (paper of the Socialist Party – CWI Australia) :
How should the labour and social movements respond?

Kazakhstan: Anger against Nazarbayev expressed on the streets
20/05/2016, socialistworld.net :
‘Illegal’ protests planned for Saturday 21 May

Britain: Brexit, the EU and the economy
19/05/2016, Judy Beishon, from The Socialist (weekly paper of the Socialist Party England & Wales) :
Remain or Leave, workers must fight for socialist change

Nigeria: General strike begins
18/05/2016, HT Soweto, Democratic Socialist Movement (CWI Nigeria):
Determined leadership and clear strategy needed to succeed

Greece: Striking Athens bus cleaners continue their struggle
17/05/2016, Articles from Xekinima (CWI Greece) website :
Court declares strike ‘lawful’

Canada: Fire devastates Fort McMurray
16/05/2016, Bill Hopwood, Socialist Alternative (CWI Canada) Vancouver :
Capitalism equals environmental destruction

Kazakhstan: Protests erupt
12/05/2016, Sergei Skobelev, CWI Russia:
Phoney elections have not brought stability

Sweden: Successful Congress for CWI forces
12/05/2016, Kristofer Lundberg, Rättvisepartiet Socialistern:
Political foundations laid for new branches and growth in other Nordic countries

Northern Ireland: Main parties win Assembly elections…
11/05/2016, Daniel Waldron, Socialist Party (CWI Ireland), Belfast:
But positive moves against sectarian politics

Quebec: The fight for $15 shows true colors of Parti Québecois
10/05/2016, Bruno, Alternative Socialiste (CWI in Quebec):
No to an all-class pro-independence alliance

Britain: Elections show anger and fragmentation
10/05/2016, Hannah Sell, from The Socialist (weekly paper of the Socialist Party, CWI England & Wales):
Mobilise the anti-austerity mood into a mass, democratic movement to defeat the right

Scotland: SNP win elections
09/05/2016, Philip Stott, Socialist Party Scotland (CWI):
New openings for a socialist left alternative emerge

Ireland: How long can Kenny’s government last?
07/05/2016, By Kevin McLoughlin, Socialist Party (CWI in Irelnd):
Minority government supported by two main parties and “Independents” formed

Video: Paul Murphy sets record straight on "legal aid"
06/05/2016, socialistworld.net:
Socialist MP threatened with jail for protesting against water charges responds to attacks in Irish parliament

South Africa: Zuma must go!
06/05/2016, Editorial from Izwi Labasebenzi (WASP - CWI South Africa) :
Build a socialist mass workers’ party for a government of the working class

Solidarity: Portuguese dock workers’ indefinite strike
05/05/2016, Socialismo Revolucionário (CWI in Portugal) Statement:
What we cannot do: leave the dockers alone

Hong Kong: Racist smear campaign against refugees
05/05/2016, Dikang, Socialist Action (CWI in Hong Kong):
Socialist Action (CWI) initiates successful anti-racist march

France: Striking workers join students and youth in mass demonstrations
04/05/2016, Naomi Byron, Paris (first published in The Socialist):
Build a general strike movement!

May Day 2016: Rallies and marches mark international workers' day
04/05/2016, socialistworld.net :
Photo gallery of CWI's global May Day participation

Ireland: Water charges suspended
03/05/2016, Katia Hancke, Socialist Party (CWI Ireland), Dublin:
Protest movement and boycott force huge Establishment parties climb down

CWI Comment and Analysis

ANALYSIS

Austria: Only 31,026 votes prevent far right’s Hofer becoming president
24/05/2016, Sonja Grusch, SLP (the Austrian section of the CWI):
‘Breathing space’ offers chance to build a fighting, democratic left alternative

Brazil: Fall of President Dilma Rousseff unleashes offensive against working class
19/05/2016, André Ferrari, LSR (‘Freedom, Socialism and Revolution’ - CWI Brazil):
The impeachment process and historic crisis of the PT (Workers’ Party)

Ireland: ‘Jobstown trials’ to go ahead
18/05/2016, Kieran Mahon, Anti-Austerity Alliance / Socialist Party Councillor, Dublin:
Government loses battle on water charges but wages war on Left

Saudi Arabia: Gathering storms over the House of Saud
13/05/2016, Serge Jordan, CWI:
Collapse of oil prices expose fragile foundations of oil Gulf monarchies

France: New stage in battle over labour law
12/05/2016, Clare Doyle, CWI:
Hollande’s decision to over-rule parliament provokes another round of struggle

Ireland: 100th anniversary of the execution of James Connolly
12/05/2016, Three articles on Connolly’s life and ideas :
Revolutionary socialist, militant workers' leader and internationalist

Belgium: Trade unions announce new plan of action
11/05/2016, LSP/PSL (CWI in Belgium) Reporters:
Call for two national demonstrations, building towards general strikes

Britain: 90th anniversary of epochal general strike
05/05/2016, Peter Taaffe, Socialist Party (CWI England & Wales) general secretary:
When workers tasted power

Israel/Palestine: The Marxist left, the national conflict and the
Palestinian struggle

29/04/2016, Socialist Struggle Movement (CWI Israel-Palestine):
The necessity of a class approach and a socialist alternative

France: One-day strike set for 28 April
26/04/2016, Alex Rouillard, Gauche Revolutionnaire (CWI in France):
A final stage before indefinite action against Hollande’s government?

US: The un-Democratic Primary
22/04/2016, Kshama Sawant, Socialist Alternative Seattle, originally published on counterpunch.org:
Why we need new party of the 99%

Capitalism: a failing system
18/04/2016, Peter Taaffe, from May edition of Socialism Today, magazine of the Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales):
A new book, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, analyses the downward course of the US economy – and the limits of the whole capitalist system

Review: ’Militant’ by Michael Crick
14/04/2016, Peter Taaffe, Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales) general secretary:
Lessons of Militant vital for anti-austerity struggles today

US election turmoil
01/04/2016, By Tony Saunois (CWI Secretary) who recently visited the US for meetings of Socialist Alternative:
Bernie Sanders campaign - an opportunity to build a new party of the 99%

Britain: A new moment
28/03/2016, Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales), published in April 2016 issue of Socialism Today:
Extracts from a statement discussed at the Socialist Party’s recent congress

Ireland: 100th anniversary of Easter 1916 Rising
26/03/2016, Cillian Gillespie, Socialist Party (CWI Ireland):
A revolt against imperial power and war

History: When Khrushchev denounced Stalin
26/03/2016, Niall Mulholland, from Socialism Today (April 2016 issue of the monthly journal of Socialist Party, England & Wales):
1956 ‘secret speech’ a devastating blow to Stalinist regimes

11th CWI World Congress: World Perspectives
22/03/2016, socialistworld.net:
Amended agreed version of the World Perspectives document agreed by the CWI’s 11th World Congress

Germany: Big gains for right-wing, nationalist, AfD in state elections
22/03/2016, Sascha Stanicic, Sozialistische Alternative (CWI in Germany):
DIE LINKE (Left Party) urgently needs to change course

US: Sanders needs to run as an independent in November
18/03/2016, Calvin Priest, Socialist Alternative (CWI supporters in USA):
Continuing the Political Revolution

European Union: Alliance with Turkey to close borders
09/03/2016, Per-Ãke Westerlund, from Offensiv - the weekly paper of Rattvisepartiet Socialisterna (CWI in Sweden):
Crises for refugees - and the EU – continues

Germany: Between hatred and solidarity
08/03/2016, By Sascha Stanicic, Sozialistische Alternative (CWI in Germany):
The situation in Germany

Turkey: No intervention in Syria! Stop the war on the Kurds!
01/03/2016, By Murat Karin, Sosyalist Alternatif (CWI in Turkey) and Paula Mitchell, Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales):
Two articles on the current situation in Turkey and Kurdistan

US: Nevada Goes to Clinton – Sanders Looks to Super Tuesday
26/02/2016, Calvin Priest, Socialist Alternative (CWI in the USA):
Huge enthusiasm for Bernie Sanders’ call for a political revolution leads to serious challenge to Hillary Clinton

Five years on from the “Arab Spring”
20/02/2016, Serge Jordan (CWI), article to be published in the March 2016 edition of Socialism Today, No.196.:
The “Arab Spring” revolutionary wave brought dictators in Tunisia and Egypt crashing down. It swept through the Middle East, inspiring workers and youth the world over. It has since ebbed, however, leaving the region wracked with war and sectarian conflict.