deutsch |  english |  español  |  français  |  italiano  |  nederlands  |  polski  |  português  |  svenska  |  türkçe  |  中文  |  عربي  |  русский

latest news

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

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

Russia

Kremlin enters the Syrian quagmire

www.socialistworld.net, 31/10/2015
website of the committee for a workers' international, CWI

Economic crisis deepens in Russia as Ukraine military stand-off continues

Rob Jones, CWI, Moscow

Since the beginning of October, following a ‘request’ to intervene by the Assad government, Russian jets have been completing over 60 bombing missions a day in Syria, purportedly on ISIS positions. On 7 October, Russian navy ships in the Caspian Sea fired 32 cruise missiles again at targets in Syria. Western intelligence reported four of these fell short in Iran but both Russian and Iranian foreign ministries deny this.

For Russian domestic consumption this is presented as an attempt to form “the widest possible coalition against extremism and terrorists”. The spectre is raised by President Putin of the dangers of the return home of some 7,000 Russian citizens fighting for ISIS. Russia Today, the Kremlin’s international media outlet, however openly boasts that the intervention “has in just a couple of weeks changed the balance of forces in the Middle East… Moscow has seized the initiative not only militarily, but also on the diplomatic front… Russia has thrown down an unprecedented gauntlet to the White House, this has forced many of US’s allies to the conclusion, that Washington is losing interest in the region and is ready to accept the growing influence of Russia and Iran”.

Whilst covering the numerous cases of “collateral damage” inflicted during US and allied airstrikes, the Russian media depicts its own attacks as highly targeted, with the successful annihilation of numerous ISIS bases. ISIS is a reactionary organization that the international workers’ movement and socialists must oppose but never in the Russian media do we hear any explanation about the anger and desperation that drives people into supporting it.

Nothing indicates the Russian campaign will be any more successful than the US led campaign and lead to a decline of terrorist attacks in Russia and elsewhere. The reality is that Russia’s intervention is driven by wider objectives than simply destroying ISIS.

The Kremlin has seized the initiative from US imperialism in Syria. In 2013, Russia intervened over the western allegations of Assad’s use of chemical weapons, averting the then planned US airstrikes. The US/EU strategy, based on removing Assad and leaving the opposition forces in control, led to a sectarian nightmare, with more than ten different groups and militias [dozens of groups in 2015], mainly supported and financed by the West and reactionary Arab regimes, such as Qatar and Saudi Arabia, fighting for control.

Russia invited Assed to Moscow to discuss further plans. By supporting its long-time ally and economic partner, Russia strengthened those within the Western imperialist camp who argue that Assad should be included in negotiations, in opposition to the US and UK who want to exclude him.

The majority of Russian air-strikes are in support of Assad’s military operations, particularly around Aleppo, and to further the interests of the so-called “anti-terror coalition”, essentially an anti US-coalition across the Middle East. Inherent in this situation is the possibility of a proxy war between Russia and the West. But very unwilling itself to send significant numbers of ground troops to Syria, Russia is coordinating its air activities not just with Assad’s generals but with Iran and Lebanon’s Hezbollah – both providing a large number of ground troops. According to one Free Syrian Army commander from Aleppo: “The Russians showered us with bombs even in the civilian areas. They want to clear everything so the regime’s tanks and even foot-soldiers can advance.” These attacks benefit not just the Assad regime, but help ISIS, claims another FSA advisor: “The regime and Isis tried to take Aleppo last year and they couldn’t, and now they are trying again with the Russians. The Russians are doing Isis a huge favour. They are giving them air cover while they are attacking us from the ground.”

Iran

Top Iranian commander Soleimani began to visit Moscow in July, in part, it seems, to bolster Russian determination to oppose further encroachments of anti-Assad forces towards the Mediterranean coast, which not only undermine the Assad regime, but also threaten Russia’s naval base at Tartus. Russian representatives met the Iranians and there has been a spate of diplomatic meetings with a seemingly unlikely ally, Saudi Arabia. The two sides signed a nuclear cooperation pact and the Gulf state will invest $1billion in the Russian economy. High level meetings between President Putin and King Salman are scheduled for later this year. Saudi Arabia is concerned that ISIS expansion has to be curtailed and is uneasy at the recent US-Iranian agreement. The Saudi’s, concerned at growing Iranian influence in the region, want to proceed with intervening in Yemen.

Another very important factor underlies the apparently strengthening friendship between Russia and Saudi Arabia – oil prices, which are currently low partly due to the Saudis attempting to hamper competing US shale oil production. The Saudis invited Russia to join OPEC, seemingly with the aim of consolidating a block of oil interests capable of resisting US producers.

Russia is desperate to increase the oil price, so much so that some commentators talk of panic in the Kremlin. One former insider, Gleb Pavlovskii, compares it to "the music of a jazz group; its continuing improvisation is an attempt to survive the latest crisis." Another says the elite is in crisis: “They can’t live with Putin. And they can’t live without him.”

Russia has no clear way out of the current economic crisis. In recession since January, GDP is expected to fall by 4-5% by year end and the government expects the recession to last until the end of 2016. Unemployment statistics dramatically understate the real situation but even so the number out of work has officially increased by 13% this year. Inflation continues at high levels. For the first time in 17 years, there has been a decline in real incomes, by 10% in the large cities and reportedly by over 25% in rural areas.

Although the state-controlled media hide it, there is discontent. While the independent trade unions dispersed mass anger over health and education cuts at the end of 2014, the year still saw the highest number of protests since the start of the global crisis in 2015.Significantly most protests take place without any participation by the so-called opposition parties, such as Just Russia and the Communist Party or existing trade union structures.

Both domestic and external factors drive the Russian economy down. The energy sector accounts for 98% of all corporate profit and, despite sanctions and falling oil prices, has maintained this level because ruble devaluation has compensated losses. These profits are not reinvested in new production for fear of further reducing the oil price. Meanwhile the 700 top companies that produce 78% of Russia’s output have seen their debts escalate by two-thirds this year. The banks are reluctant to invest because they see no demand. The dramatic collapse of the Chinese stock market and currency instability make the prospects for the Russian economy gloomy. The likelihood is, according to gazeta.ru, that 2016 will be the year of “no money, no growth”. With no solution, the ruling elite are retreating to their fall-back strategy of just hanging on in the hope the crisis does not last too long.

Kremlin popularity

Kremlin popularity still benefits from the accession of the Crimea and the Syria intervention, in the words of one commentator, has been a “further dose of anaesthesia”. In the past, some sections of society in Russia prepared to ‘accept’ restrictions on democracy in exchange for improving living conditions. But now that living standards are eroded, criticism is directed at the lower levels of the ruling elite. According to the Levada research organisation, over half the population think Putin does not know the real situation in the country or that his entourage is lying to him to hide the truth. The ruling elite are clearly concerned and resorting to the whipping-up of anti-US and anti-Western moods.

Initially, the Kremlin argued that their anti-terror coalition would even extend to the US, an illusion that was dashed as airstrikes started hitting the pro-Western opposition. The Putin regime hoped that participation in the campaign against ISIS would lead to the lifting of sanctions and divert attention from the Ukraine.

Although tensions between Ukrainian government forces and the rebel Lugansk and Donetsk republics grew to dangerous levels in the summer, a new ceasefire has more or less held since early September. The Kremlin’s original strategy of creating “Novorossiya” (the expansion of the break-away republics over south and east Ukraine) was abandoned in August 2014 after Ukrainian forces made serious advances towards Donetsk. Since then, the Kremlin’s intervention has supported the rebel-controlled regions (proxy Russian territories) within Ukraine, to counter any further moves by the Kiev regime towards NATO or the EU. The costs of political and economic isolation, as well as the fear of growth of opposition at home, held the Kremlin back. A further purge of the republic’s leadership to ensure its compliance with Moscow took place in September.

Ukraine’s social and economic disaster is approaching, if not quite reaching the depths experienced after the collapse of the Soviet Union in the early nineties. The hryvnia is the world’s second worst performing currency, ahead only the Belarussian ruble. At least this was the situation before the Chinese crisis. This reflects the collapse of the Ukrainian economy, which suffered a staggering 15% fall in GDP over the past year (According to the World Bank, Ukraine’s GDP fell 35% since independence).

President Poroshenko’s support fell dramatically. Elected with 54% of the vote a year ago, polls now give him just 15%. Voters are disappointed that he did not fulfil his promises to sort out the problem of the breakaway republics within days or to give up his business interests. His proposals to increase “decentralisation” do not go far enough to satisfy the leaders of the break-away republics while, at the same time, are seen by the hawkish forces in Kiev as giving too much of a concession.

Despite the ceasefire, voices demanding more decisive action to isolate the break-away republics are still being heard. The parliamentary leader of Poroshenko’s party, who recently called for a full blockade of the two republics, resigned over the summer. Leonid Kuchma, Ukraine’s president in the 1990s, calls for Ukraine to “sever all economic and political relations with these regions controlled by the militants and Russia”. In effect, he’s advocating that the republics should be starved into submission. In addition, a conflict between the far-right and the Poroshenko government has come out into the open. A recent armed conflict between the Right Sector and the police in West Ukraine over control of the black market and the refusal of the right wing battalions in east Ukraine to withdraw, make a long-term compromise very difficult.

Potential to build an alternative

Although it may seem that there is a world of difference between the situations in Ukraine and Syria, the reality is that there is far more in common. In Ukraine and Syria, the military actions of the authoritarian regimes and local warlords, backed by NATO, Western imperialist and Russian military forces, are causing immense suffering to working people. The economic crisis that affects Russia is made worse by the demands for austerity and budget cuts, fuelling poverty, corruption and despair.

But there is also potential to build an alternative to this nightmare: the Ukrainian and Russian working classes are amongst the biggest in Europe and are both suffering from dramatic attacks on their rights and living standards. If the working class was to move into action to prevent wage cuts, jobs losses and budget cuts, it would inevitably also face the need to oppose the authoritarian policies of the ruling elite. Such a struggle based on united action would also mean that in those areas affected by the military conflict the working class would form joint workers’ committees uniting all nationalities to oppose imperialist intervention and force the withdrawal of all foreign forces; to enable working people to decide their fate in open, fair and free elections, supervised by elected, democratic workers’ committees; to guarantee the national and democratic rights, including the right of self-determination, with the building of independent trade unions and mass workers’ parties capable of implementing a programme of land to the masses and the factories to the workers, through a programme for a socialist democratic planned economy, under a democratic and voluntary socialist confederation of the region.



Europe

 video

Video: US Socialist Students build for student walkouts against Trump, 15/12/2016

 further videos

CWI - get involved


solidarity

tamil solidarity campaign kazakhstan

featured links

Socialist Party Ireland

cwi links

Marxist.net, CWI marxist archive

cwi comment & analysis

world economic crisis

analysis and commentary


cwi publications

marxism in today's world che

Che Guevara: Símbolo de Lucha

Por Tony Saunois

A socialist world is possible, the history of the cwi with new introduction by Peter Planning green growth, a contribution to the debate on enviromental sustainability

NEWS

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?

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

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