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latest news

 Solidarity
#JobstownNotGuilty international day of action a huge success

28/03/2017: Over 30 protests around the world and 88 MPs/MEPs pledge support

  Solidarity

Russia/Belarus
A week-end of mass protests

27/03/2017: New spring of protest opens up, as 1,000s arrested

  Russia

Hong Kong
Creeping “coup” by Chinese dictatorship

27/03/2017: Defend the four Hong Kong legislators

  Hong Kong

Britain
Terror attack at Westminster

24/03/2017: Unite against terror, racism and war

  Britain

Italy
Democratic Party splits and 5-Star Movement in crisis

22/03/2017: Class struggle can build real left force

  Italy

Spain
Student strike empties classes and fills streets on 9 March

21/03/2017: Over 100,000 take to the streets in SE demonstrations

  Spain

Scotland
Second referendum on independence?

18/03/2017: SNP fire the starting gun but offer no solutions to austerity

  Scotland

Brazil
National day of strikes and protests shows Temer can be beaten

17/03/2017: For a one-day general strike as the next step

  Brazil

South Africa
Unity against poverty, crime and xenophobia

17/03/2017: Capitalist politicians use xenophobia to divert attention from failures of profit system

  South Africa

Netherlands
Election result a colossal defeat for austerity government

16/03/2017: Oppose Wilders and the ‘mainstream’ right – Build a mass workers’ party that struggles for socialism

  Netherlands

Yemen
Workers and their families left to starve by multi-billionaire companies

16/03/2017: International campaign needed to force companies to pay

  Yemen

Hong Kong
Protest against LSG Sky Chefs dismissal of union chairman

14/03/2017: Ng Chi-Fai sacked for organising union by multinational’s Hong Kong division – international solidarity needed

  Hong Kong

Ireland North
Snap election raises sectarian temperature    

14/03/2017: Workers need strong socialist alternative at ballot box and in unions

  Ireland North

Quebec
Counter protest against far-right

13/03/2017: Rise of Islamophobia and right-wing reaction poses new challenges to the left

  Quebec

 International Women's Day
Speech by Kshama Sawant

12/03/2017: Video of 8 March rally in Seattle

  Women

 International Women’s Day
Millions join marches and take action

10/03/2017: Socialists around the world demand an end to women’s oppression

  Women

 Hong Kong
Women’s march against sexism and racism

09/03/2017: International Women’s Day: “Solidarity with global mass protests and women’s strikes”

  Women

 Spain
Hundreds of thousands participate in International Women’s day student strike

08/03/2017: ‘Libres y Combativas’ and Sindicato de Estudiantes call strike against sexist violence and for working class women's rights

  Women

Pakistan
Political spectacle of the ruling class

08/03/2017: Most workers underemployed, 40% in poverty - situation demands new workers’ party

  Pakistan

 International Women’s Day 2017
A century on from the Russian Revolution

06/03/2017: Demonstrations world-wide swelled by anti-Trump anger

  Women

Britain
Massive demo shows battle to save the NHS can be won

06/03/2017: Up to 250,000 march in national protest, organised from below

  Britain

Egypt
Price hikes hit workers and middle classes

04/03/2017: Falling support for dictator Sisi portends growing opposition

  Egypt

Hong Kong’s sham election

03/03/2017: Pan-democrats sink to new low by supporting “lesser evil” John Tsang

  Hong Kong

US
Socialist response to Trump’s address to joint session of congress

02/03/2017: Kshama Sawant, Socialist Alternative councillor, speaks

  US

Sweden
“Who could believe it?"

24/02/2017: What is behind Trump's attack?

  Sweden

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

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!



Europe

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NEWS

Solidarity: #JobstownNotGuilty international day of action a huge success
28/03/2017, socialistworld.net :
Over 30 protests around the world and 88 MPs/MEPs pledge support

Russia/Belarus: A week-end of mass protests
27/03/2017, Socialist Alternative (CWI Russia) Reporters:
New spring of protest opens up, as 1,000s arrested

Hong Kong: Creeping “coup” by Chinese dictatorship
27/03/2017, Dikang, Socialist Action (CWI in Hong Kong) :
Defend the four Hong Kong legislators

Britain: Terror attack at Westminster
24/03/2017, Judy Beishon, from the Socialist Party (CWI England & Wales) website :
Unite against terror, racism and war

Belarus: Protesters flood onto streets demanding scrapping of “law against parasites”
21/03/2017, Daniil Raskolnikov (translation of article from the Russian CWI site www.socialist.news):
President Lukashenko must go!

Spain: Student strike empties classes and fills streets on 9 March
21/03/2017, Sindicato de Estudiantes (SE), Spanish Students' Union :
Over 100,000 take to the streets in SE demonstrations

Scotland: Second referendum on independence?
18/03/2017, Philip Stott, Socialist Party Scotland (CWI) :
SNP fire the starting gun but offer no solutions to austerity

South Africa: Unity against poverty, crime and xenophobia
17/03/2017, Shaun Arendse, Workers and Socialist Party (CWI South Africa):
Capitalist politicians use xenophobia to divert attention from failures of profit system

International Women’s Day: March in Malaysia and week of activity in Belgium
16/03/2017, socialistworld.net :
Reports from Kuala Lumpur and Brussels

Netherlands: Election result a colossal defeat for austerity government
16/03/2017, Pieter Brans, Socialist Alternative (CWI in Netherlands), Amsterdam:
Oppose Wilders and the ‘mainstream’ right – Build a mass workers’ party that struggles for socialism

Russian Revolution: March 1917 - After the fall of Czarism, what next for the revolution?
16/03/2017, socialistworld.net:
New article on 1917revolution.org

Hong Kong: Protest against LSG Sky Chefs dismissal of union chairman
14/03/2017, Sally Tang Mei-ching, Socialist Action (CWI in Hong Kong) :
Ng Chi-Fai sacked for organising union by multinational’s Hong Kong division – international solidarity needed

Quebec: Counter protest against far-right
13/03/2017, Michele Hehn, Alternative Socialiste (CWI in Quebec) :
Rise of Islamophobia and right-wing reaction poses new challenges to the left

International Women's Day: Speech by Kshama Sawant
12/03/2017, Socialistworld.net :
Video of 8 March rally in Seattle

International Women’s Day: Millions join marches and take action
10/03/2017, Clare Doyle, CWI:
Socialists around the world demand an end to women’s oppression

Hong Kong: Women’s march against sexism and racism
09/03/2017, Socialist Action (CWI in Hong Kong) reporters:
International Women’s Day: “Solidarity with global mass protests and women’s strikes”

Spain: Hundreds of thousands participate in International Women’s day student strike
08/03/2017, Sindicato de Estudiantes, students’ union in the Spanish state :
‘Libres y Combativas’ and Sindicato de Estudiantes call strike against sexist violence and for working class women's rights

Pakistan: Political spectacle of the ruling class
08/03/2017, Tariq Shahzad, National Organiser of IYWM (International Youth and Workers Movement) :
Most workers underemployed, 40% in poverty - situation demands new workers’ party

Britain: Massive demo shows battle to save the NHS can be won
06/03/2017, Hannah Sell, Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales) deputy general secretary :
Up to 250,000 march in national protest, organised from below

Egypt: Price hikes hit workers and middle classes
04/03/2017, David Johnson, Socialist Party (CWI England & Wales) :
Falling support for dictator Sisi portends growing opposition

Hong Kong’s sham election
03/03/2017, Dikang, Socialist Action:
Pan-democrats sink to new low by supporting “lesser evil” John Tsang

US: Socialist response to Trump’s address to joint session of congress
02/03/2017, socialistworld.net:
Kshama Sawant, Socialist Alternative councillor, speaks

Catalonia: Historic demonstration in Barcelona in support of refugees
25/02/2017, Esquerra Revolucionària :
'Volem acollir'

Sweden: “Who could believe it?"

24/02/2017, Per-Åke Westerlund, Rättvisepartiet Socialisterna (CWI Sweden):
What is behind Trump's attack?

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!

CWI Comment and Analysis

ANALYSIS

Italy: Democratic Party splits and 5-Star Movement in crisis
22/03/2017, Marco Veruggio, ControCorrrente, (CWI in Italy) :
Class struggle can build real left force

Brazil: National day of strikes and protests shows Temer can be beaten


17/03/2017, André Ferrari LSR (CWI in Brazil) :
For a one-day general strike as the next step

Yemen: Workers and their families left to starve by multi-billionaire companies
16/03/2017, Cedric Gerome, CWI :
International campaign needed to force companies to pay

Ireland North: Snap election raises sectarian temperature    
14/03/2017, Daniel Waldron, Socialist Party (CWI Ireland), Belfast :
Workers need strong socialist alternative at ballot box and in unions

International Women’s Day 2017: A century on from the Russian Revolution
06/03/2017, Clare Doyle, CWI :
Demonstrations world-wide swelled by anti-Trump anger

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