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latest news

China
Labour disputes soar

17/04/2014: 40,000 workers paralyse world’s largest sports shoe maker

  China

Greece
International anti-fascist conference “No pasaran!”

16/04/2014: Four thousand attend three-day event in Athens

  Greece

South Africa
Enthusiastic response for WASP ahead of May elections

15/04/2014: WASP campaigning material available on pdf

  South Africa

India
Massive election process could end in turmoil

14/04/2014: New party expresses, but cannot solve, major discontents

  India

Cyprus
Austerity sees living standards fall back 40 years

11/04/2014: One year of the right wing Anastasiades government

  Cyprus

 Iranian nuclear talks
Hypocrisy abounds

10/04/2014: Paul Murphy MEP

  Video

Britain
Dave Nellist on BBC outlining TUSC’s socialist policies

10/04/2014: Trade union and socialist coalition (TUSC) candidate count reaches 476 for May local election

  Britain

Taiwan
Occupation of parliament ends after 23 days

10/04/2014: What are the lessons of the island’s ‘sunflower movement’?

  Taiwan

Hungary
Election highlights lack of Left challenge

09/04/2014: Declining vote for ruling Fidész party; neo-fascist Jobbik picks up 20% as false ‘alternative’

  Hungary

Environment
Ukraine crisis exploited by multinational fracking lobby

09/04/2014: Oppose the pro-big business EU/ US Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership!

  Environment, Ukraine

Belgium
50,000 join ETUC Brussels demonstration

08/04/2014: Protesters’ radical mood

  Belgium

Britain
One in ten council seats will have TUSC candidate

07/04/2014: No-cuts election challenge grows

  Britain

Review
Net political impact

06/04/2014: To Save Everything, Click Here • By Evgeny Morozov •

  Review

Belgium
The rise of the PTB/PvdA

05/04/2014: Recent polls confirm a probable electoral breakthrough for the Workers’ Party of Belgium (PTB/PvdA).

  Belgium

Ivory Coast
First victory for students at University of Cocody

04/04/2014: An important step to push the struggle against neo-liberal policies further

  Ivory Coast

Canada
Port of Vancouver truckers’ strike wins significant gains

03/04/2014: After bosses’ seen off - unions must defend their right to strike!

  Canada

France
Government punished in local elections

02/04/2014: Far right gains highlight need for strong fighting left opposition

  France

Nepal
Turning back the wheel of history

01/04/2014: Second constituent assembly election – a shift to the right

  Nepal

South Africa
WASP manifesto launch success!

01/04/2014: On Saturday 29 March the Workers and Socialist Party launched its 2014 election manifesto at a rally in Katlehong, Gauteng

  Africa, South Africa

Taiwan
Half a million on the streets against President Ma

31/03/2014: Demonstrators call for trade pact to be withdrawn and for president to step down

  Taiwan

US
Winning $15 an hour in Seattle

31/03/2014: A socialist strategy

  US

Netherlands
Socialist Party local election gains

31/03/2014: Vote for SP can be the basis for a mass struggle against cuts

  Netherlands

 Video
Hypocrisy of Irish Govt & EU on Ukraine

29/03/2014: Joe Higgins, Socialist Party (CWI MP) speaks in Irish parliament

  Ukraine, Video

 Sweden
New political winds affect CWI Congress

28/03/2014: Optimistic Rättvisepartiet Socialisterna prepares for elections

  CWI, Sweden

No to the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership!

28/03/2014: Anti-democratic agreement seeks to increase corporate domination of politics

Portugal
Thousands of police and military march in Lisbon

27/03/2014: Reflection of the government’s intrinsic weakness

  Portugal

Spain
A million march for dignity in Madrid

26/03/2014: 22M: A before and after moment for the class struggle

  Spain

Taiwan
Ma government rocked by mass protests and occupation of parliament

26/03/2014: Down with undemocratic Kuomintang rule – for a Taiwan-wide student strike as the next step!

  Taiwan

Bosnia-Herzegovina
Mass protests - The first flowers of spring

26/03/2014: What programme should the Left advocate?

  Bosnia

Sudan
Has al-Bashir survived mass protests?

25/03/2014: Removal of hated regime not enough; crises of poverty and oppression due to grip of capitalism

  Sudan

Britain
After Bob Crow and Tony Benn

24/03/2014: Mourn the loss, fight for the future

  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.



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NEWS

China: Labour disputes soar
17/04/2014, chinaworker.info reporters:
40,000 workers paralyse world’s largest sports shoe maker

Nigeria: Bomb explosions in Abuja - more evidence of the failure of capitalist government
16/04/2014, Segun Sango, Socialist Party Nigeria National Chairperson:
For democratic self-defence committees

Greece: International anti-fascist conference “No pasaran!”
16/04/2014, Sebastian Forster (CWI Germany) and Elin Gauffin (CWI Sweden):
Four thousand attend three-day event in Athens

South Africa: Enthusiastic response for WASP ahead of May elections
15/04/2014, Socialistworld.net:
WASP campaigning material available on pdf

India: Massive election process could end in turmoil
14/04/2014, Clare Doyle (CWI international Secretariat):
New party expresses, but cannot solve, major discontents

Cyprus: Austerity sees living standards fall back 40 years
11/04/2014, Athina Kariati, New Internationalist Left (CWI in Cyprus):
One year of the right wing Anastasiades government

Iranian nuclear talks: Hypocrisy abounds
10/04/2014, :
Paul Murphy MEP

Britain: Dave Nellist on BBC outlining TUSC’s socialist policies
10/04/2014, :
Trade union and socialist coalition (TUSC) candidate count reaches 476 for May local election

Hungary: Election highlights lack of Left challenge
09/04/2014, Sonja Grusch and Tilman M. Ruster:
Declining vote for ruling Fidész party; neo-fascist Jobbik picks up 20% as false ‘alternative’

Environment: Ukraine crisis exploited by multinational fracking lobby
09/04/2014, Paul Murphy, Socialist Party MEP, and Tanja Niemeier:
Oppose the pro-big business EU/ US Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership!

Belgium: 50,000 join ETUC Brussels demonstration
08/04/2014, Eric Byl, General Secretary, Linkse Socialistiche Partij / Parti Socialiste de Lutte (PSL/LSP):
Protesters’ radical mood

Review: Net political impact
06/04/2014, Ben Robinson, Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales) published in Socialism Today:
To Save Everything, Click Here • By Evgeny Morozov •

Ivory Coast: First victory for students at University of Cocody
04/04/2014, CWI in Ivory Coast:
An important step to push the struggle against neo-liberal policies further

Canada: Port of Vancouver truckers’ strike wins significant gains
03/04/2014, Socialist Alternative Reporter, Vancouver:
After bosses’ seen off - unions must defend their right to strike!

France: Government punished in local elections
02/04/2014, Gauche Revolutionnaire (CWI in France) reporters:
Far right gains highlight need for strong fighting left opposition

South Africa: WASP manifesto launch success!
01/04/2014, Workers’ and Socialist Party (WASP):
On Saturday 29 March the Workers and Socialist Party launched its 2014 election manifesto at a rally in Katlehong, Gauteng

Taiwan: Half a million on the streets against President Ma
31/03/2014, CWI reporters in Taipei:
Demonstrators call for trade pact to be withdrawn and for president to step down

Netherlands: Socialist Party local election gains
31/03/2014, Pieter Brans, Amsterdam:
Vote for SP can be the basis for a mass struggle against cuts

Video: Hypocrisy of Irish Govt & EU on Ukraine
29/03/2014, socialistworld.net:
Joe Higgins, Socialist Party (CWI MP) speaks in Irish parliament

Sweden: New political winds affect CWI Congress
28/03/2014, Rättvisepartiet Socialisterna Reporters:
Optimistic Rättvisepartiet Socialisterna prepares for elections

No to the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership!
28/03/2014, Vladimir Bortun, Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales):
Anti-democratic agreement seeks to increase corporate domination of politics

Portugal: Thousands of police and military march in Lisbon
27/03/2014, Jose David Gregorio, Socialismo Revolucionario (CWI in Portugal):
Reflection of the government’s intrinsic weakness

CWI Comment and Analysis

ANALYSIS

Taiwan: Occupation of parliament ends after 23 days
10/04/2014, Interview with Sally Tang Mei-ching, CWI participant in Taipei protests:
What are the lessons of the island’s ‘sunflower movement’?

Belgium: The rise of the PTB/PvdA
05/04/2014, Eric Byl, LSP/PSL (CWI in Belgium):
Recent polls confirm a probable electoral breakthrough for the Workers’ Party of Belgium (PTB/PvdA).

Nepal: Turning back the wheel of history
01/04/2014, Senan, CWI:
Second constituent assembly election – a shift to the right

US: Winning $15 an hour in Seattle
31/03/2014, Patrick Ayers, Socialist Alternative, USA:
A socialist strategy

Spain: A million march for dignity in Madrid
26/03/2014, Angel Morano, Socialismo Revolucionario (CWI in Spain):
22M: A before and after moment for the class struggle

Taiwan: Ma government rocked by mass protests and occupation of parliament
26/03/2014, Sally Tang Mei-ching in Taipei and Vincent Kolo:
Down with undemocratic Kuomintang rule – for a Taiwan-wide student strike as the next step!

Bosnia-Herzegovina: Mass protests - The first flowers of spring
26/03/2014, Sonja Grusch, Socialist Left Party (CWI in Austria):
What programme should the Left advocate?

Britain: After Bob Crow and Tony Benn
24/03/2014, Peter Taaffe, from Socialism Today (No.177, April 2014), monthly magazine of the Socialist Party (CWI England & Wales):
Mourn the loss, fight for the future

Scotland: Unions and the socialist case for independence
23/03/2014, John McInally, national vice-president of the Public and Commercial Services union (personal capacity):
Aruging a independent, working class position

Ukraine: Crimea breaks away to join Russia
18/03/2014, Niall Mulholland, CWI:
Tensions between powers worsen

Australia: Socialist Party playing key role in fight against East-West tunnel
13/03/2014, Mel Gregson and Stephen Jolly, Socialist Party (CWI in Australia), Melbourne:
Campaign brings public transport to forefront of political debate

Bosnia Herzegovina: Mass protests of working people and youth show the way forward
13/03/2014, CWI Leaflet text:
Working people stir to end poverty, joblessness, corruption and ethnic divisions!

Socialist perspectives for Aotearoa / New Zealand
09/03/2014, CWI Aotearoa / New Zealand:
The world and New Zealand in crisis

International Women’s Day 2014
07/03/2014, Clare Doyle (Committee for a Workers’ International):
Fighting austerity and oppression world-wide

Venezuela: A year after Chavez’s death
06/03/2014, By Gabriela Sanchez (CWI Venezuela).:
Commemorations in context of new crisis

Ukraine: Russian troops take up positions throughout Crimea
04/03/2014, CWI Reporters:
Tensions deepen between Western powers and Moscow

Greece: Still in the eye of the storm
26/02/2014, Interview with Andros Payiatsos, Xekinima (CWI in Greece) published in Socialism Today:
From the outside, it can appear there’s a certain pause in the struggle in Greece. Is this true?

Ukraine: Bloodshed in Kiev
19/02/2014, Rob Jones, from Socialism Today (March edition, No.176):
What lies behind the Ukraine crisis?

Venezuela: An analysis of 12F
19/02/2014, By Gabriela Sanchez- SR Venezuela:
On 12F, three people (two right wing supporters and one government supporter) were killed in Caracas and dozens injured and arrested in the protests and demonstrations that took place around Venezuela to commemorate the annual ’Youth Day’.

Pakistan: Negotiating peace
18/02/2014, Khalid Bhatti, SNP Lahore:
Government/Taliban talks begin - But where will they go?

South Africa: The end of Cosatu?
17/02/2014, WASP (Workers and Socialist Party) Reporters, S Africa:
Time for a new socialist trade union federation

Greece: The fascist threat
08/02/2014, Christina Ziakka, Xekinima (CWI Greece) - translated by Amalia Loizidou. First published in Socialism Today:
Deep economic crisis, savage austerity and social upheaval have polarised Greek society.

South Africa: After NUMSA’s Congress
04/02/2014, Workers And Socialist Party (WASP) statement:
Seize the historic opportunity of the 2014 elections

Tunisia: Three years on since the fall of Ben Ali
30/01/2014, Serge Jordan and CWI supporters in Tunis:
New ‘technocratic’ government no response to workers’ demands

Thailand: Prolonged political crisis
27/01/2014, Ravichandran, CWI Malaysia:
Working class and rural poor need party of their own