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latest news

Greece
Powerful general strike opposes cuts to pensions

09/02/2016: All out in the struggle! Coordinate and develop the fight now!

  Greece

Africa
New political storms and mass struggles

08/02/2016: Opportunities will arise for working class and poor to organise

  Africa

Spain
A break in the political establishment

07/02/2016: December’s elections broke the hold of the two main capitalist parties for the first time since the Franco dictatorship. The high vote for representatives of workers’ and social movements, and the recovery of the left-populist Podemos, open up a new phase in the struggle against austerity.

  Spain

US
#Movement4Bernie Takes Off Around the Country

06/02/2016: Bernie Sanders’ call for a political revolution against the billionaire class enthuses millions

  US

Brazil
Devastating outbreak of Zika virus

04/02/2016: Another healthcare system failure

  Brazil

Pakistan
PIA strike continues despite state repression

04/02/2016: Four workers killed, eight injured as security forces open fire on protesting workers

  Pakistan

US
Iowa results reveal crisis of establishment politics - Sanders and Clinton tie

03/02/2016: “It’s too late for establishment politics, establishment economics!”

  US

Japan
Social and political unease after “twenty lost years”

03/02/2016: Weakness of opposition is Prime Minister Abe’s only strength

  Japan

 Greece
Workers strike at Contitech-IMAS factory

02/02/2016: Solidarity campaign needed!

  Greece, Solidarity

World Economy
Capitalism buffeted by choppy waters

02/02/2016: Bosses strive to offload cost of crisis on working class - a struggle for system change is needed

  World Economy

Egypt
Fifth anniversary of heroic revolutionary uprising

01/02/2016: Workers’ struggles continue despite repression

  Egypt

India
Justice for Rohit Vemula

31/01/2016: Solidarity message from the Committee for a Workers’ International

  India, US

Britain
Fractured politics

29/01/2016: A volatile mix

  Britain

Tunisia
Suicide of unemployed youth sparks new wave of protests

22/01/2016: Five years after the fall of Ben Ali, demands of the revolution remain unsatisfied

  Tunisia

China
Kidnapping and TV show-trials

21/01/2016: “China is entering a dark night of repression and detentions under Xi Jinping”

  China

Venezuela
Right-wing landslide

20/01/2016: First electoral defeat suffered by the Chavistas since Hugo Chávez was first elected president in 1998

  Venezuela

Leningrad
‘Hero City’

19/01/2016: 900 days of siege in World War Two

  History, Russia

Britain
Police infiltration of Socialist Party exposed

19/01/2016: Untold distress caused to women in relationships with undercover police officers

  Britain

US
Socialist response to State of the Union 2016

15/01/2016: Kshama Sawant replies to Obama’s "State of the Union" speech

  US

 South Africa
Campus workers strike against outsourcing

14/01/2016: For the mobilisation and support of all students, permanent workers and communities across Tshwane

  Africa, Solidarity, South Africa

Britain
Steps towards setting up Trade Union Momentum

12/01/2016: Potential for inclusive, anti-austerity trade union based movement with effective alliances in workplaces and communities

  Britain

Scotland
Politicians have a choice

11/01/2016: Implement Tory austerity or set no-cuts budgets

  Scotland

Sweden/Denmark
Closing borders

07/01/2016: The EU’s nightmare continues

  Denmark, Sweden

 Pakistan
Nestle workers solidarity campaign update

06/01/2016: Union leader, Muhammad Hussain Bhatti, released on bail

  Pakistan, Solidarity

 Taiwan
Solidarity urged for insurance workers’ strike

05/01/2016: Determined battle for pension rights and an end to contract labour

  Solidarity, Taiwan

China 2015
A year of unnatural disasters

04/01/2016: Corruption, poor oversight and chase for profits, maim thousands

  China

Britain
Corbyn’s supporters want resistance against the right

01/01/2016: Edited extracts from an article by Peter Taaffe, Socialist Party general secretary, that will be published in the first 2016 issue of the Socialist (7 January).

  Britain

 Review
Alexandra Kollontai

29/12/2015: A life of socialist struggle

  Review, Women

Review
Revisiting Animal Farm

27/12/2015: Allegory of the terrible betrayal of the Russian revolution

  Review

Review
Charlie Chaplin

25/12/2015: Playing the underdog

  Review

Spain
Elections mark shift to the Left

23/12/2015: No government majority as Podemos partially recovers

  Spain

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

Greece: Powerful general strike opposes cuts to pensions
09/02/2016, Editorial from Xekinima, bi-monthly newspaper of the CWI, Greece:
All out in the struggle! Coordinate and develop the fight now!

US: #Movement4Bernie Takes Off Around the Country
06/02/2016, Socialist Alternative, CWI in the USA:
Bernie Sanders’ call for a political revolution against the billionaire class enthuses millions

Brazil: Devastating outbreak of Zika virus
04/02/2016, Isabel Keppler, LSR (CWI Brazil):
Another healthcare system failure

Pakistan: PIA strike continues despite state repression
04/02/2016, Fazal Abbas Shah and Rukhsana Manzoor, Socialist Movement Pakistan, Lahore:
Four workers killed, eight injured as security forces open fire on protesting workers

US: Iowa results reveal crisis of establishment politics - Sanders and Clinton tie
03/02/2016, Joshua Koritz, Socialist Alternative (CWI in the US):
“It’s too late for establishment politics, establishment economics!”

Greece: Workers strike at Contitech-IMAS factory
02/02/2016, Xekinima (CWI Greece) Reporters:
Solidarity campaign needed!

Egypt: Fifth anniversary of heroic revolutionary uprising
01/02/2016, David Johnson, Socialist Party (CWI England & Wales):
Workers’ struggles continue despite repression

India: Justice for Rohit Vemula
31/01/2016, socialistworld.net:
Solidarity message from the Committee for a Workers’ International

Britain: Fractured politics
29/01/2016, Peter Taaffe, general secretary, Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales):
A volatile mix

Tunisia: Suicide of unemployed youth sparks new wave of protests
22/01/2016, Al-Badil al-Ishtiraki, CWI in Tunisia:
Five years after the fall of Ben Ali, demands of the revolution remain unsatisfied

China: Kidnapping and TV show-trials
21/01/2016, chinaworker.info:
“China is entering a dark night of repression and detentions under Xi Jinping”

Britain: Police infiltration of Socialist Party exposed
19/01/2016, Press statement from the Socialist Party (CWI England & Wales):
Untold distress caused to women in relationships with undercover police officers

US: Socialist response to State of the Union 2016
15/01/2016, Socialistworld.net:
Kshama Sawant replies to Obama’s "State of the Union" speech

South Africa: Campus workers strike against outsourcing
14/01/2016, Workers & Socialist Party (WASP), Reporters:
For the mobilisation and support of all students, permanent workers and communities across Tshwane

Britain: Steps towards setting up Trade Union Momentum
12/01/2016, John McInally Public and Commercial Services Union Vice-President (personal capacity), from The Socialist newspaper:
Potential for inclusive, anti-austerity trade union based movement with effective alliances in workplaces and communities

Scotland: Politicians have a choice
11/01/2016, By Brian Smith and Jim McFarlane, Glasgow City Unison and Dundee City Unison branch secretaries (in a personal capacity) and Socialist Party Scotland:
Implement Tory austerity or set no-cuts budgets

Sweden/Denmark: Closing borders
07/01/2016, Per-Ãke Westerlund, Rattvisepartiet Socialisterna (CWI in Sweden):
The EU’s nightmare continues

Pakistan: Nestle workers solidarity campaign update
06/01/2016, Fazal Abbas Shah SMP (CWI in Pakistan), Lahore:
Union leader, Muhammad Hussain Bhatti, released on bail

Taiwan: Solidarity urged for insurance workers’ strike
05/01/2016, CWI Taiwan Reporters (translated from The Socialist, journal of the CWI Taiwan):
Determined battle for pension rights and an end to contract labour

China 2015: A year of unnatural disasters
04/01/2016, chinaworker.info reporters:
Corruption, poor oversight and chase for profits, maim thousands

Britain: Corbyn’s supporters want resistance against the right
01/01/2016, Peter Taaffe, Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales):
Edited extracts from an article by Peter Taaffe, Socialist Party general secretary, that will be published in the first 2016 issue of the Socialist (7 January).

Review: Alexandra Kollontai
29/12/2015, Heather Rawling, from Socialism Today:
A life of socialist struggle

Review: Revisiting Animal Farm
27/12/2015, Andy Ford, from Socialism Today (Issue 192 October 2015):
Allegory of the terrible betrayal of the Russian revolution

Review: Charlie Chaplin
25/12/2015, Niall Mulholland, from Socialism Today (Issue 191 September 2015):
Playing the underdog

Spain: Elections mark shift to the Left
23/12/2015, Socialismo Revolucionario (CWI in Spain):
No government majority as Podemos partially recovers

Pakistan: Hundreds protest against religious extremism and increased intolerance
21/12/2015, Hameed Channa Socialist Movement Pakistan (CWI in Pakistan) organiser in Sindh:
Rally organised by Socialist Movement Sindh in Mir Pur Khas

CWI Comment and Analysis

ANALYSIS

Africa: New political storms and mass struggles
08/02/2016, CWI 11th World Congress Document:
Opportunities will arise for working class and poor to organise

India: Rising class struggle reflects seething anger of working class
08/02/2016, Anand Kumar, from Dudiyora Horaata (Workers’ Struggle – newspaper of the CWI in India), Bangalore:
Is ‘Modimania’ on the wane?

World relations, economy and the class struggle
08/02/2016, Socialistworld.net:
CWI 11th World Congress document

Spain: A break in the political establishment
07/02/2016, Danny Byrne, CWI (article from issue 195 of ’Socialism Today’):
December’s elections broke the hold of the two main capitalist parties for the first time since the Franco dictatorship. The high vote for representatives of workers’ and social movements, and the recovery of the left-populist Podemos, open up a new phase in the struggle against austerity.

Japan: Social and political unease after “twenty lost years”
03/02/2016, Carl Simmons, Kokusai Rentai (CWI in Japan):
Weakness of opposition is Prime Minister Abe’s only strength

World Economy: Capitalism buffeted by choppy waters
02/02/2016, Lynn Walsh, from The Socialist (weekly paper of the Socialist Party, CWI England & Wales):
Bosses strive to offload cost of crisis on working class - a struggle for system change is needed

Venezuela: Right-wing landslide
20/01/2016, Tony Saunois, from February edition of Socialism Today, magazine of the Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales):
First electoral defeat suffered by the Chavistas since Hugo Chávez was first elected president in 1998

Leningrad: ‘Hero City’
19/01/2016, Clare Doyle (fuller version of a review article to be published in the February 2016 issue of Socialism Today):
900 days of siege in World War Two

China: Financial turmoil spreads fear across global markets
14/01/2016, Per-Åke Westerlund, with additional reporting by Vincent Kolo:
Setting the tone for 2016?

2016: Crisis-ridden capitalism will meet with bitter mood of resistance
05/01/2016, Peter Taaffe, Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales) general secretary:
Socialist alternative is essential

Environment: A world of change
23/12/2015, Jess Spear, Socialist Alternative (CWI in USA):
Human beings have radically altered the Earth, adapting nature in the struggle to survive and thrive…

Venezuela: Elections – who won and who lost?
16/12/2015, Johan Rivas, Socialismo Revolucionario (CWI in Venezuela):
Victory for the right wing reflects popular discontent

Pakistan: Religious extremism, military operations and increased intolerance
15/12/2015, Khalid Bhatti SMP (CWI in Pakistan):
Revolutionary movement of the working class needs to finally defeat religious extremism and intolerance

Côte d’Ivoire : Ouattara reelected in a “frighteningly quiet” atmosphere
14/12/2015, CWI in Ivory Coast:
Dictatorship consolidating while opposition ridicules itself. Time to “turn the page”!

Environment: Socialism or ecological catastrophe
05/12/2015, Articles from Socialism Today, magazine of the Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales):
25 years of hot air from establishment

World relations, economy and the class struggle
05/12/2015, CWI International Secretariat:
There has been a profound change in the world situation and world relations since the CWI’s last World Congress in 2010

Britain: After the vote in parliament to bomb Syria
04/12/2015, Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales) reporters:
This crisis has revealed that Labour is essentially two parties in one

Britain: Syria vote reveals two Labour parties in one
02/12/2015, Editorial from The Socialist, paper of the Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales):
Fight for a party that stands against war and austerity

Scotland: Post-referendum, where is Scotland heading?
29/11/2015, Socialist Party Scotland (CWI):
Mass struggle and socialism will challenge capitalist austerity

Environment: Socialist change not climate change
28/11/2015, Pete Dickenson, Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales):
The growing threat of climate change and a socialist programme for the environment

Middle East: Bombing Syria won’t stop Isis
25/11/2015, Editorial of The Socialist, weekly newspaper of the Socialist Party (CWI England & Wales):
For workers’ unity against war, terrorism and racism

Hong Kong: Great result for socialist election campaign
25/11/2015, Vincent Kolo, chinaworker.info:
Socialist Action’s Sally Tang Mei-ching lifts opposition vote to 33 percent

Turkey: Erdoğan’s Pyrrhic victory
20/11/2015, Nihat Boyraz, Sosyalist Alternatif (CWI in Turkey) - translation from an article originally written in Turkish for Sosyalist Alternatif magazine:
It is time to build a new united left force

Burma: Sweeping victory for Aung San Suu Kyi party
19/11/2015, Keith Dickinson, Socialist Party (England and Wales):
Army holds on to powerful positions

France: Horror in Paris
14/11/2015, Statement from Gauche Révolutionnaire (CWI in France):
We will not be intimidated !