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latest news

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

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

Kurdistan

PYD leaders call for partnership with Bashar al-Assad’s regime

www.socialistworld.net, 06/08/2015
website of the committee for a workers' international, CWI

No faith in authoritarian rulers and Western powers!

Serge Jordan, CWI

The massive air campaign by the Turkish regime of Erdoğan on Kurdish PKK (Kurdistan Workers’ Party) bases, and the subsequent reactions of the PYD (Democratic Union Party), a sister organization of the PKK in Northern Syria, has raised important questions in relation to revolutionary strategy, in a sharper way than ever before.

Since the summer of 2012, the PYD has been overrunning several patches of Kurdish-majority territory in the North of Syria, following the withdrawal of Syrian troops from these areas. This was engineered by the Bashar al-Assad’s regime in order to concentrate its military power in curbing the advance of Sunni armed groups in other parts of the country, thus allowing the PYD to fill in the vacuum.

This change of power into the hands of the PYD, a political force attuned to the plight of the Kurdish masses, and the party’s control of what has now come to be known as the Rojava cantons, ushered in a wave of enthusiasm among the Kurds population, in Syria as well as internationally. This was a welcome development for many Kurds who had been suffering under the iron fist of the Assad dictatorship for years, and denied basic rights, such as not being allowed the use of their own language in public.

Since then, the armed units of the PYD (the YPG and YPJ) have caught the imagination of millions due to their undisputed bravery in the fight against ISIS’s reactionary rampage, and thanks to their militant women’s battalions. Their stated attempts to build an alternative system of governance, arguably based on harmony between various religious and ethnic communities in the middle of a sectarian war zone, also had an electrifying impact on many young people, Left and Kurdish activists around the world.

However, from the start there has been a grey area when it came to the PYD’s stand towards Assad’s regime. It has to be pointed out that for around two decades since its creation in 1978, the PYD equivalent in Turkey, the PKK, enjoyed a cooperative relationship with the Assad regime, and received funds from it, before that regime eventually turned against the PKK. Although the exact nature of the relation between the PYD and Assad’s regime in the last few years has remained cloudy, it is clear that the PYD has so far preferred to stay out of any confrontation with the Syrian army.

In some parts of Rojava such as in Qamishli and Hassakah (among the largest cities of the area), while the Assad regime did pull back most of its security personnel, it has still kept government services under its charge, continuing to pay the wages of state employees, providing local administration with public resources and running some administrative offices. The school programmes have even remained the same as under Assad, with high school students still studying curriculums approved by the previously ruling Baath party.

At the same time, as ISIS grew, military collaboration was established last year between the PYD and US imperialism. While not making military aid in itself a matter of principle, especially in the context of the killing spree by ISIS fanatics, the CWI warned of the political dangers behind such collaboration from the outset. In particular, the perception it would create among the millions in the Middle East who have suffered, and continue to suffer, from the bloody interventions of US imperialism.

“No illusions should be created in the role of Western imperialism, whose actions will only further religious sectarian divisions (…) The history of the Kurdish people has shown many times that the imperialist powers and capitalist elites are no friends of the Kurdish peoples’ long-standing struggle for national liberation.” (socialistworld.net, ‘Kurdistan: The battle for Kobanê’ - 02/10/2014)

More generally, we argued against a strategy of trying to accommodate with the ‘goodwill’ of external capitalist powers, rather than of reaching out to working class communities across borders with a clear class appeal and a socialist program, based on the independent mobilisation against those powers.

It is not possible to simultaneously try to bring about social emancipation and multi-ethnic solidarity, while at the same time, cooperating with forces who exacerbate sectarian warfare across the region, and drive through their actions persecuted Sunni Arabs in the hands of ISIS.

We also explained that the lenience towards the PYD by Western imperialism and by Assad’s rule was the product of circumstances more than anything else: Rojava benefited from a precarious balance of forces because the ruling elites in the region and in the West had a bigger fish to fry, in the form of ISIS.

In the last two weeks however, important changes have taken place that could potentially alter this precarious equilibrium. In particular, the US has decided to turn a blind eye to the Turkish government’s recent military escalation against PKK bases in Turkey and Northern Iraq. The American silence was purchased by Turkish President Erdogan’s offer of allowing the US use airbases on Turkish soil for its campaign against ISIS.

This latest maneuver demonstrates, once more, that US imperialism is using the fate and the struggle of the Kurds as mere pawns in its power-game, ready to stab them in the back at the first opportunity. Exhibiting its nauseating hypocrisy, the US government has unilaterally called on the PKK to “stop the violence” in Turkey, while justifying as “self-defence” the Turkish army’s intensive air assaults on PKK targets, which have already killed a number of civilians.

It is in this context that in the last week or so, several officials from the Syria-based PYD have publically stated that Assad’s government could be contemplated as a collaborator. The co-chairman of the PYD, Salih Muslim, declared that “under the right conditions” the YPG, “could join the Syrian army”; Idriss Nassan, a senior PYD official from Kobanê, said that his party could ally with the Assad’s regime, “if it commits itself to a democratic future”.

In anticipation of the fact that its relations with the Americans could be put under serious strain following the recent events in Turkey, the PYD leadership is tentatively leaning back towards Assad, desperate, it seems, not to gamble on one horse only.

But if the struggle of the people of Rojava is to secure the critically needed popular support across the sectarian divide and beyond Rojava’s boundaries, this move by the PYD leaders is a strategy doomed to failure. These appeals to Assad are unlikely to go down well in particular among the millions suffering under Assad’s bombs or tortured by the notoriously vicious Shabiha militias. In the Kurdish community too, many have not forgotten that before the war Assad’s regime had been violently oppressing the Kurds and denying their identity for decades within Syria.

The American socialist, John Reed, once said, “Whoever takes Uncle Sam’s promises at their face value will pay for them with blood and sweat.” This is something the Kurds learnt the hard way, many times before. However what Reed said of “Uncle Sam” remains equally valid for pro-capitalist, sectarian and butcherous regimes such as Assad’s. If and when Assad gets the upper hand, he will no doubt go back to subduing and brutalizing the Kurds again. What will the PYD leaders then do?

It would not be wrong in and of itself to try and exploit the divisions between different ruling powers in order to reinforce mass struggle. But any tactic should be subordinated to a clear strategy, with the conscious goal of exposing the enemies for what they are at every stage, without nourishing the slightest illusions in their intentions. Socialists rely on independent mobilisation from below as the primary factor for change. Unfortunately, the PYD leaders’ approach is a totally different story.

They have a short-sighted policy of balancing between different capitalist powers, all of whom have consistently shown their utter disdain for the interests of the Kurdish masses. This represents a major mistake and an objective obstacle in building cross-sectarian solidarity with all the populations under assault outside of Rojava, whether from Assad’s regime or from US air power. This runs the risk of exacerbating sectarian tensions.

Only a strategy having at its core a consistent programme for united working class action and for democratic rights of all the peoples of the region, investing no faith whatsoever in imperialist powers and regional authoritarian rulers, has a fighting chance of securing a way out of the current catastrophe.



Europe

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NEWS

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!

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?

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