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latest news

Britain/Ireland
Dublin's #JobstownNotGuilty

23/02/2017: Defend the right to protest - stop this political vendetta!

  Ireland Republic

Ireland
A web of intrigue sparks government crisis

22/02/2017: Smear campaign against a prominent police whistleblower

  Ireland Republic

February revolution 1917
What lessons for today?

21/02/2017: 23 February 1917 (8 March in today’s calendar) marked the beginning of the socialist revolution in Russia, which sparked a revolutionary wave that would travel around the world.

  Russian Revolution

 Yemen
International protests in support of TOTAL/G4S workers

20/02/2017: Solidarity spreads for victims of wage robbery and killing by multinational corporations

  Solidarity, Yemen

Netherlands
Anti-immigrant Freedom Party leading polls ahead of general elections

18/02/2017: Only a choice between the “regular” and far-right?

  Netherlands

Britain
Council cuts can be fought - and they must be

16/02/2017: Corbyn needs to stand up to Brexit rebels

  Aceh

Spain
Pablo Iglesias wins clear victory in Podemos congress

15/02/2017: Time to build the class struggle on the streets

  Spain

US
A socialist strategy to defeat Trump

14/02/2017: Escalate the resistance toward shutdowns on March 8 and May 1!

  US

Scotland
Greens back SNP government austerity budget

13/02/2017: TUSC council elections candidates put forward 100% anti-austerity programme

  Scotland

India
Upheaval in Tamil Nadu

09/02/2017: Corruption, nepotism, and other crimes of ruling party exposed

  India

Britain
Universal basic income demand gains ground

08/02/2017: What approach should socialists take?

  Britain

Yemen
Workers protest at parliament against TOTAL and G4S

07/02/2017: Security workers demand wages and arrest of colleagues’ killers

  Yemen

CWI and Izquierda Revolucionaria – Towards unification

06/02/2017: Joint declaration of the CWI’s IEC and Izquierda Revolucionaria’s IEC

  Spain

France
After Sarkozy, Juppé and Valls, now Fillon is on the way out

06/02/2017: Space opening up to left of Socialist Party

  France

Romania
Biggest street protests since 1989

04/02/2017: What position should the left take?

  Romania

Syria
Is an end to the war in sight?

03/02/2017: New movements for change will need to arm themselves with the lessons of the Syrian tragedy

  Syria

Quebec
Terrorist Attack in Québec City

01/02/2017: Counter terrorism and hate with solidarity

  Quebec

 CWI
9th Latin American school a success

31/01/2017: Over 200 participate in Sao Paolo CWI continental gathering

  CWI

Sri Lanka
The year 2017

31/01/2017: Between oppression and struggle

  Sri Lanka

Canada
Where are Trudeau’s ‘Sunny Ways’?

31/01/2017: Battles of Indigenous peoples, youth, workers will test Liberal government

  Canada

US
Airport protests help block Trump travel ban

30/01/2017: Defend immigrant communities

  US

Russian Revolution Centenary
January 1917 - On the eve of revolution

29/01/2017: War, hunger, hated Tsarist regime: class tensions reach breaking point

  Russian Revolution

China
CWI member Hu Xufang forced to flee

28/01/2017: Xu and his family are victims of China’s deepening police crackdown

  China

Afghanistan
The limits of US power

28/01/2017: Imperialism’s 15-year adventure a bloody catastrophe for millions

  Afghanistan

US
Build 100 days of resistance to Trump’s agenda!

27/01/2017: Establishment deeply divided as mass resistance explodes

  US

Russia
Duma legislates to decriminalise domestic violence

26/01/2017: For unified struggle for women’s rights and against capitalism

  Russia

Tamil Nadu
Mass protests against state repression

26/01/2017: Support the right to assemble and protest - release those arrested immediately!

  India

Millions on women's marches around the world

25/01/2017: Reports from mass women's marches against Trump

  US

Bangladesh
Hartal protest against power plant

25/01/2017: Follows mass strike of garment workers in December

  Bangladesh

Côte d’Ivoire
Social revolts shake Ouattara regime

24/01/2017: Public sector strike and soldiers’ mutiny expose reality behind “economic growth”

  Ivory Coast

Taiwan
US foreign policy under Trump

24/01/2017: Island risks being pawn in his game

  Taiwan

US
CWI joins protests around the world against Trump

23/01/2017: Photo gallery selection of CWI actions during weekend of mass protests

  US

US
Kshama Sawant responds to Trump inauguration speech

23/01/2017: Socialist council member speaks

  US

South Africa

Cosatu splits as ‘Vavi’ expelled

www.socialistworld.net, 01/04/2015
website of the committee for a workers' international, CWI

Expulsion opens new chapter in working class struggle

WASP (Workers’ and Socialist Party) reporters

Twenty years of class collaboration as part of the Tripartite Alliance has finally produced an irreversible split in the Cosatu trade union federation. On 30 March, Cosatu’s Central Executive Committee (CEC) expelled general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi, a vocal critic of the anti-working class policies of the ANC government for his 16 years as leader of the federation. Further, the CEC made NUMSA’s November expulsion permanent by admitting the amagundwane, the Liberated Metalworkers’ Union of South Africa (Limusa) led by NUMSA’s former president Cedric Gina.

The ground for Cosatu’s split has been prepared over the past twenty years. Izwi La Basebenzi, WASP’s newspaper, has consistently pointed out that the Alliance rested on class forces with diametrically opposed interests; that far from it being necessary for the unity of the working class as the SACP falsely argued, it guaranteed disunity. Izwi therefore called upon the Cosatu rank-and-file to reclaim the federation’s class and political independence by taking Cosatu out of the Alliance.

The contradiction of a trade union federation with a militant struggle history and socialist ideology remaining in alliance with the pro-capitalist ANC and the capitalist apologists in the South African Communist Party was always going to pose a threat to workers unity as the federation was torn apart by the irreconcilable pressures of political loyalty and subservience to the ANC and the interests of workers that built Cosatu with their sweat and blood.

Indeed, the break-up of Cosatu has been underway in slow motion for many years with a whole series of small splits from Cosatu affiliates. The Marikana massacre was the earthquake that finally shattered the foundations of the Alliance drawing a clear line between the forces that aligned themselves with the ANC government and the mining bosses, and the aspirations of the mineworkers’ independent strike committees for class and political independence. Marikana represented a change of quantity into quality. Since that watershed, the decisive break-up of Cosatu has been guaranteed with only the detail of how and when left unanswered. Those answers have now been given.

New federation posed

Since November’s expulsion of NUMSA, Vavi and the leaders of PAWUSA, Denosa, FAWU, SASAWU, CWU, SAFPU and SACCAWU have been boycotting Cosatu meetings in solidarity with NUMSA. The question of a new trade union federation is clearly posed and discussions are already underway. Vavi has said that a meeting of NUMSA’s Cosatu allies will be held over 5-6 May to discuss the way forward and prepare for a ‘workers summit’ in June. It has also been reported that NUMSA has had talks with the Nactu federation, AMCU and other independent unions.

Socialists fight for the maximum unity of the working class. However, at certain points in history, a split, such as that which is now entrenched in Cosatu, has the potential to be progressive if it holds out the possibility of increasing the fighting power of the working class. For the past two years Cosatu has been paralysed. Despite resolutions to campaign and struggle on issues including labour broking and e-tolls nothing has happened. We repeat Vavi’s call – “don’t mourn, organise!” Further, Vavi has said, “I will be found everywhere, marching with workers, mobilising them, reinforcing the recruitment of workers … negotiating, leading campaigns against labour brokers, e-tolls, exploitation, job losses…” There is no question that the fighting traditions of Cosatu have left with NUMSA and now Vavi. Struggle must be at the heart of the new federation.

WASP welcomes the proposed way forward. We have consistently called on NUMSA and its allies to convene such a meeting, especially in light of the pro-ANC Cosatu leadership’s open defiance of the constitution by refusing to convene a special congress. In November, we said “…a date should be set early in the new year for a conference to discuss the way forward for the trade union movement. This should be open, not just to NUMSA and its [Cosatu] allies, but members and structures of other Cosatu affiliates, affiliates of the Nactu trade union federation, independent unions and groups of unorganised workers struggling to found new unions.” It is crucial that any ‘workers summit’ builds a bridge to those workers still held hostage in the rump-Cosatu and makes efforts to win them over.

The burning question now is the political orientation and character of any new federation. Any new trade union centre must base itself on democratic and worker-controlled unions as was originally intended by the founders of Cosatu in 1985. The corrosive corruption of the past twenty years must be cleansed from the movement. A crucial lesson to learn from the demise of Cosatu is to recognise the price of class collaboration. Whilst Vavi has singled out corruption as the main cause of Cosatu’s demise, in reality, this is just a symptom, the inevitable consequence of class collaboration. The new federation must restore Cosatu’s original socialist ideals and base the struggles that lie ahead on these.

The disintegration of Cosatu will accelerate the divisions in the SACP and threaten further the ANC’s political authority with serious implications in next year’s local government elections for a party whose 62% majority masks the reality that only 34% of eligible voters supported it in 2014. Any new federation must not just reclaim the independence of the working class industrially but politically too. The purpose of the proposed workers summit must be both to launch a new federation, as well as a mass workers party on socialist programme. The launch of a mass workers party is absolutely imperative – support for such a party is widespread.

The pale shadow

What remains of Cosatu is a bunch of corrupt ‘leaders’ holding the remaining members as hostages. These ‘leaders’ see trade unions as vehicles for self-enrichment. Alignment with the ANC is the best way to realise their personal greed. What is left in Cosatu? NUMSA, the biggest union on the African continent has been replaced with Limusa, a mere ‘post-box’ with 1,600 members compared to NUMSA’s 340,000! The NUM, whose leaders’ hands are still dripping with the blood of their former members after their role in the Marikana massacre, will regain their ascendancy.

Those left behind in Cosatu are not united behind their leaders or their actions. A SAMWU worker who phoned in to a Radio 702 talk show explained that SAMWU was not united in support of the expulsion of Vavi and that he and his fellow workers had been awaiting the calling of a Special Congress to register their support for him. He will be representative of tens of thousands of workers. Further splits can be anticipated within Cosatu’s remaining unions.

Cosatu’s dependency on the ANC will increase. Vavi has revealed that the federation faces a R300,000 per month deficit after the loss of NUMSA’s monthly R11 million affiliation fee. What remains of Cosatu will be a treacherous fifth column in the labour movement.

Perspectives

The ANC leadership’s policy over years has been to try and turn Cosatu into a ‘toy telephone’ or ‘labour desk’. However, that does not mean that the ANC leadership will welcome Vavi’s expulsion any more than they welcomed NUMSA’s. They have intervened to try and preserve Cosatu, not out of concern for working class unity, but because they recognise that working class opposition could gather around an independent NUMSA. All of their mediation efforts were geared toward keeping NUMSA as a prisoner in the Alliance. Gwede Mantashe, ANC general secretary, has already made comments expressing unhappiness with the clumsy expulsion of Vavi. The ANC’s ‘strategy’ has turned to dust.

The way in which the split in Cosatu has unfolded can only accelerate the demise of the ANC’s remaining working class support. As union rivalry intensifies with the birth of a new federation, the bosses, encouraged by the services the ANC rendered them at Marikana, will expect more of the same, particularly in the light of the serious crisis in the economy. Under that pressure, the ANC will in turn pressure the remains of Cosatu to assist them ‘manage expectations’ within the working class.

The first, immediate test will be the public sector salary negotiations. There is no hiding place for the pro-ANC rump that controls Cosatu. The ANC, Cosatu’s political master masquerading as an ally is at the same time the employer. If Cosatu is seen as blatantly in the pockets of the ANC and the bosses, its final shred of credibility will be lost, and the haemorrhage of members to the new federation will see it bleed to death completely. On the other hand, if Cosatu attempts an opportunistic offensive, it will damage relations with the ANC who will see this as an act of disloyalty. Of no further use to it, Cosatu will have to be brushed aside and the ANC government will have to do its own dirty work in attacking the working class.

The ANC now faces a lose-lose situation. The split of Cosatu will compound the ANC’s losses in the 2016 local elections, now barely a year away. The idea of an independent working class party will be posed ever more starkly in the minds of workers. We anticipated in our new year statement that, “the realignment of the trade union movement will continue in 2015 and the battle for Cosatu will enter its final phase.” The expulsion of Vavi and admission of Limusa into Cosatu has driven the final nail into the coffin of the federation.

When Numsa embarked on its journey to the Special National Congress in December 2013, it was alone. It has now been joined by the seven Cosatu affiliates in the struggle for a new federation, by numerous political formations in preparation for the Movement for Socialism and by a number of community organisations, student and youth bodies and other formations in the United Front. Within the rank-and-file of all of these there is an overwhelming desire for their struggles to be united within and across the three theatres of struggle – service delivery protests, tertiary education institutions and the workplace – under a mass workers party. A new chapter in the struggle of the working class has opened. History beckons. Forward to a mass workers party on a socialist programme!



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NEWS

Britain/Ireland: Dublin's #JobstownNotGuilty
23/02/2017, Neil Cafferky, from The Socialist (weekly paper of the Socialist Party, England & Wales):
Defend the right to protest - stop this political vendetta!

Ireland: A web of intrigue sparks government crisis
22/02/2017, By Cillian Gillespie, Socialist Party (CWI in Ireland) :
Smear campaign against a prominent police whistleblower

Yemen: International protests in support of TOTAL/G4S workers
20/02/2017, Socialistworld.net:
Solidarity spreads for victims of wage robbery and killing by multinational corporations

Netherlands: Anti-immigrant Freedom Party leading polls ahead of general elections
18/02/2017, Pieter Brans, Socialist Alternative (CWI in Netherlands), Amsterdam:
Only a choice between the “regular” and far-right?

Solidarity: French presidential candidate Mélenchon backs #JobstownNotGuilty campaign
17/02/2017, socialistworld.net :
Support the international solidarity campaign

Britain: Council cuts can be fought - and they must be
16/02/2017, Editorial comments from the Socialist, paper of the Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales) :
Corbyn needs to stand up to Brexit rebels

Spain: Pablo Iglesias wins clear victory in Podemos congress
15/02/2017, Izquierda Revolucionaria, Spain:
Time to build the class struggle on the streets

US: A socialist strategy to defeat Trump
14/02/2017, Kshama Sawant, Seattle City Council Woman and member of Socialist Alternative :
Escalate the resistance toward shutdowns on March 8 and May 1!

Greece: Athens’ bus cleaners win bulk of wages owed
14/02/2017, Eleni Mitsou (Xekinima - CWI Greece) and Apostolis Cassimere’s (Board Member of OASA - Athens Bus Workers’ Union):
The struggle continues!

Scotland: Greens back SNP government austerity budget
13/02/2017, Matt Dobson, Socialist Paty Scotland (CWI), Glasgow:
TUSC council elections candidates put forward 100% anti-austerity programme

Yemen: Workers protest at parliament against TOTAL and G4S
07/02/2017, Socialistworld.net:
Security workers demand wages and arrest of colleagues’ killers

Romania: Biggest street protests since 1989
04/02/2017, Mâna de Lucru (CWI supporters in Romania):
What position should the left take?

Quebec: Terrorist Attack in Québec City
01/02/2017, Socialist Alternative (CWI in Canada) :
Counter terrorism and hate with solidarity

CWI: 9th Latin American school a success
31/01/2017, socialistworld.net:
Over 200 participate in Sao Paolo CWI continental gathering

US: Airport protests help block Trump travel ban
30/01/2017, Socialist Alternative reporters, US :
Defend immigrant communities

China: CWI member Hu Xufang forced to flee
28/01/2017, chinaworker.info reporters :
Xu and his family are victims of China’s deepening police crackdown

Russia: Duma legislates to decriminalise domestic violence
26/01/2017, From Socialist Alternative (Russian CWI) website (socialist.news) :
For unified struggle for women’s rights and against capitalism

Tamil Nadu: Mass protests against state repression
26/01/2017, Isai Priya, from Tamil Solidarity website :
Support the right to assemble and protest - release those arrested immediately!

Bangladesh: Hartal protest against power plant
25/01/2017, Pete Mason, Socialist Party (CWI in England and Wales) :
Follows mass strike of garment workers in December

Côte d’Ivoire: Social revolts shake Ouattara regime
24/01/2017, Militant Côte d’Ivoire (CWI group in Côte d’Ivoire) :
Public sector strike and soldiers’ mutiny expose reality behind “economic growth”

Taiwan: US foreign policy under Trump
24/01/2017, Vincent Kolo, chinaworker.info:
Island risks being pawn in his game

US: CWI joins protests around the world against Trump
23/01/2017, socialistworld.net :
Photo gallery selection of CWI actions during weekend of mass protests

US: Kshama Sawant responds to Trump inauguration speech
23/01/2017, socialistworld.net :
Socialist council member speaks

Russian Revolution Centenary: New site celebrates and defends October socialist revolution
20/01/2017, socialistworld.net :
1917revolution.org brings rich lessons of 100 years ago to wide audience

Kazakhstan: Regime increases repression
20/01/2017, Andrei Prigor from Campaign Kazakhstan:
Citizens forced to register with police at all times

US: Global resistance against Trump’s inauguration
20/01/2017, socialistworld.net :
CWI organizes protests as millions prepare to fight Trump’s agenda

CWI Comment and Analysis

ANALYSIS

February revolution 1917: What lessons for today?
21/02/2017, Peter Taaffe, Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales), printed in the Socialist (paper of the Socialist Party):
23 February 1917 (8 March in today’s calendar) marked the beginning of the socialist revolution in Russia, which sparked a revolutionary wave that would travel around the world.

India: Upheaval in Tamil Nadu
09/02/2017, Sajith Attepuram, New Socialist Alternative (NSA) (CWI India) :
Corruption, nepotism, and other crimes of ruling party exposed

Britain: Universal basic income demand gains ground
08/02/2017, Judy Beishon, from The Socialist (weekly newspaper of the Socialist Party – CWI England & Wales) :
What approach should socialists take?

CWI and Izquierda Revolucionaria – Towards unification
06/02/2017, Socialistworld.net :
Joint declaration of the CWI’s IEC and Izquierda Revolucionaria’s IEC

France: After Sarkozy, Juppé and Valls, now Fillon is on the way out
06/02/2017, Alex Rouillard, Gauche Révolutionnaire (CWI in France) :
Space opening up to left of Socialist Party

Syria: Is an end to the war in sight?
03/02/2017, Serge Jordan (CWI) :
New movements for change will need to arm themselves with the lessons of the Syrian tragedy

Sri Lanka: The year 2017
31/01/2017, Siritunga Jayasuriya, United Socialist Party (CWI in Sri Lanka) :
Between oppression and struggle

Canada: Where are Trudeau’s ‘Sunny Ways’?
31/01/2017, Tim Heffernan, Socialist Alternative (CWI Canada), Toronto

:
Battles of Indigenous peoples, youth, workers will test Liberal government

Russian Revolution Centenary: January 1917 - On the eve of revolution
29/01/2017, Niall Mulholland, from 1917revolution.org :
War, hunger, hated Tsarist regime: class tensions reach breaking point

Afghanistan: The limits of US power
28/01/2017, Judy Beishon, from Socialism Today (February 2017 issue), monthly magazine of the Socialist Party (CWI England & Wales)<br />
<br />
:
Imperialism’s 15-year adventure a bloody catastrophe for millions

US: Build 100 days of resistance to Trump’s agenda!
27/01/2017, Bryan Koulouris, Socialist Alternative, US :
Establishment deeply divided as mass resistance explodes

Millions on women's marches around the world
25/01/2017, Editorial from the Socialist, paper of the Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales) and reports from US marches :
Reports from mass women's marches against Trump

China: New US President’s approach to China
21/01/2017, Vincent Kolo, chinaworker.info :
Outbursts raise fears of confrontation

Ireland North: Snap elections called to Stormont Assembly
17/01/2017, Daniel Waldron, Socialist Party (CWI Ireland), Belfast :
Build a socialist alternative to the ‘Orange’ versus ‘Green’ headcount

Spain: What kind of Podemos do workers and youth need?
17/01/2017, Izquierda Revolucionaria, Spanish state, editorial :
Debate within leadership touches on fundamental issues for future of party

US: Trump prepares vicious attacks
05/01/2017, Philip Locker and Tom Crean, Socialist Alternative (US):
Mass resistance needed!

Russian Revolution centenary
02/01/2017, Editorial from Socialism Today, Dec/Jan 2017 edition:
Defending the legacy in a new era

2017:Upheaval and fightback will continue
01/01/2017, Peter Taaffe, Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales) general secretary :
Everything to play for in 2017

Britain's shifting political contours
22/12/2016, Hannah Sell, Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales) from Socialism Today Dec/Jan 2017 edition :
Capitalist establishment in disarray

CWI International Executive Committee: European capitalism “battered by events”
16/12/2016, Kevin Henry, Socialist Party (CWI in Ireland) :
Report of discussion on Europe at CWI IEC meeting in November

CWI International Executive Committee: World shaken by seismic political events
14/12/2016, Kevin Parslow, Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales):
Report of first session of the CWI International Executive Committee, discussing World Relations

World capitalism in deep crisis
08/12/2016, CWI :
Perspectives documents agreed by November CWI international meeting

Sudan: Three day nationwide strike shuts down the country, in unique defiance of Al-Bashir’s rule
30/11/2016, Serge Jordan, CWI:
Escalation of the struggle needed to overthrow repressive regime

US: Trump prepares attacks on working people,immigrants and women
27/11/2016, Tom Crean and Philip Locker, Socialist Alternative (USA):
We must prepare massive resistance!

Cuba: Fidel Castro, leader of 1959 revolution, dies at 90
26/11/2016, Tony Saunois, CWI :
Castro's life and the Cuban Revolution