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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

Solidarity with students

www.socialistworld.net, 22/09/2016
website of the committee for a workers' international, CWI

Struggle for free education

Statement of the Executive Committee of the Workers' And Socialist Party (WASP, section of the CWI in South Africa)

The second round in the struggle for free education is underway. Campuses across the country were shut-down on Tuesday as protests began against the ANC government’s announcement that universities would be allowed to determine fee increase for the next academic year. At the end of 2015 the #FeesMustFall movement inflicted a heavy defeat on the government, forcing them not only to impose a freeze on university fees in 2016, but to investigate the student demand for free education.

The details of the announcement for 2017 reveal the weakness and the uncertainty of the government; the quick response of students in launching a new wave of protests demonstrates their potential strength. But that strength must be harnessed in a disciplined and coordinated mass movement. If this happens it is possible to defeat the government again.

Divide and rule

The ANC government has clearly decided in advance that they will not agree to free education. The Fees Commission, mandated to investigate the “feasibility” of free education, is no more than window-dressing aimed at sowing confusion by marshalling “evidence” to prove that free education is in fact not feasible. Blade, the general secretary of a party that that calls itself ‘communist’, has gone so far as to state on television that students must accept that we live in a capitalist society.   If the government were serious they would impose a special tax on the R1.5 trillion lying idle in the accounts of big business for lack of profitable investment opportunities. Or they could take serious action against the vast illicit financial outflows where big business hides their profits or demand that ABSA should pay the R3.5bn they set aside to pay for their looting during the dying days of apartheid. They certainly would not be preparing to spend R1 trillion on nuclear power stations!

Determined to avoid a second defeat the ANC government’s strategy has been to consciously divide and disorient the movement. The entire period since their October 2015 retreat has been devoted to resuscitating the PYA structures, lining-up the Cosatu trade union federation behind the government and posturing in favour of the poor and the “missing middle" in an entirely hypocritical attempt to portray itself as pro-working class.

Having disregarded “university autonomy” last year and imposed a zero per cent increase, Blade Nzimande, Minister for Higher Education, has suddenly rediscovered that university managements have the power on fee increases as has always been the case. The government is trying to put the responsibility on the Vice Chancellors in the hope of making them the focus of student protests. This is calculated to deflect attention from the government, provide ammunition to its student formations in the Progressive Youth Alliance to defend the government, keep struggles isolated and cut across a national mass movement developing. But overwhelmingly students have seen through this. In calling for an 8% cap on any increase, Blade has in reality given the universities, which had decided on increases ranging from 6% to 8%, the green light for the maximum.

In a further act of cynicism, Blade has said government will cover fee increases of up to 8% for all students receiving NSFAS support and all students who come from families whose household income is less than R600 000 per year. This is estimated to mean that 70-80% of undergraduates will not pay out of their own pocket for any fee increases next year. To fund fee increases of up to 8% for these students the government will find R2.5 billion.

This pre-emptive concession tells us that the government knows it cannot take on all students and win. They are therefore trying to make it more difficult for student activists to mobilise the masses of ordinary students and are consciously trying to drive a wedge between them. The government has learned lessons over the past year. In November last year in the face of a movement that mobilised all students they were forced back; in January and February they were able to weather protests because they were isolated, involved small numbers, and employed wrong tactics – such as the burning of buildings – that alienated most students.

Correct tactics

So far the government’s divide and rule tactics have not stopped protests from developing. But every effort must be made to reach out to the vast majority of students and involve them in a mass movement for free education. Student activists must draw lessons from the past year too.

The majority of students are protesting peacefully. Only a tiny minority have resorted to the destruction of university buildings and property. The frustrations that lead to violence are understandable. Some students are reacting to the lack of consultation in the Fees Commission and acting in desperation to get their voices heard. But the superiority of peaceful mass protest was decisively settled by the experience of the past year. Nowhere did the burning of buildings mobilise students or win them over to support a mass campaign. It had the opposite effect of sowing the basis for divisions and played into the hands of the enemies of the struggle by distracting attention from the real issues.

That is why the promise from an activist at UKZN of “mass destruction” was extremely unhelpful. But the media plays a reactionary role in sensationalising the minority of protests that involved some violence, considering them more “newsworthy” than the majority that do not. The many statements by different student organisations giving comprehensive explanations for the reasons behind the protests are often not covered in the media or are inaccurately reported. There is no mention of the bussing in to campuses of special squads of private security which engage in gratuitous apartheid-style violence to police and suppress protests. These forces must be withdrawn immediately.

Worker-student unity

Another important development in favour of students is the struggle that has been waged by outsourced campus workers since the government’s 2015 defeat. Cleaners, security guards, catering, retail and gardening workers at many campuses across the country have organised and taken part in strike action, especially under the #OutsourcingMustFall banner in which we have played a leading role. Many concessions have been won with many institutions agreeing to insourcing linked to substantial pay rises. This movement was given courage by #FeesMustFall and the workers overwhelmingly recognise that their struggles and the struggles of students are one and the same.

Workers, remembering that it was the students who had placed the demand for insourcing on their agenda in 2015, feel duty bound to act in solidarity with them this time. Correctly, many students have welcomed this and appealed for more support. But as in all aspects of the struggle tactics must be thought about carefully. Building on 2015, when workers issues around outsourcing, pay and conditions were incidental to the main demands, must be raised as a central demand this time alongside those of the students themselves.  Further, the 2015 student movement encouraged worker organisation and unity. On this foundation, workers/student unity must be consolidated to ensure worker participation is not unorganised leaving workers open to victimisation, dismissal and the removal of the most politically conscious workers from campus, setting back workers’ and student struggles alike.

Workers are spontaneously meeting to discuss how they can support the student struggle this time. On many campuses workers are already organised in committees and other forums. Workers and students should attend each others’ mass meetings as delegates, reporting back to their respective structures for discussion and decisions on organised and united support. #OutsourcingMustFall is actively mobilising on this basis to ensure that here is lasting organised worker/student unity.

Drawing political conclusions

The eruption of protests despite the government’s bribery also shows the widespread political conclusions that are being drawn. For many student activists the demand for free education is not simply about their own ability to continue in education. It is a condemnation of corruption and inequality in society. Many have drawn anti-capitalist conclusions. Many more will.

In early 2015 the Socialist Youth Movement initiated the #Occupy movement in Tshwane which targeted the Reserve Bank and raised the demand for free education. Even before Blade’s announcement, the #Occupy movement was reviving. Following this example, a mass meeting of students at Wits University has proposed a march to the Johannesburg Stock Exchange. Students are increasingly clear that the vast wealth of society is in the hands of the capitalist elite. This is the answer to the question so many ask – where will the money for free education come from?

We have always argued that the struggle for free education must be linked to the struggle for socialism – to the struggle for the nationalisation under democratic control of the banks, the mines, the commercial farms, big factories and big businesses. More and more student activists will be drawing this conclusion too.

New national movement needed

In 2015, the ANC-aligned PYA structures, especially SASCO, were able to manoeuvre into the ‘leadership’ of the movement at a national level and demobilise students after the 0% concession was won, saving the ANC government. Back then they were forced from below to posture on the question of affordable education, if not free education. Now the pretence has been dropped. We condemn the statement of the national leadership of SASCO supporting the government’s position on fees. To the extent that PYA has identified with the proposals such as the march on the JSE, they are exploiting anti-capitalist sentiment in the service of the pro-capitalist ANC government.  We urge the SASCO rank-and-file to reject the leadership's betrayal and to join forces with other students to create a united movement around a common set of genuine anti-capitalist and socialist demands.

On many campuses SASCO has decisively crossed over to the side of the counter-revolution. They are organising violent counter-mobilisations against student protesters. This repeats the use of SASCO to try and violently break the strike of TUT campus workers against outsourcing early in the year. Any genuine students in the rank-and-file of SASCO must reject being used as fascist gangs to break the struggles of students and workers.

A formal split in SASCO is possible as its structures are forced to choose which side of the barricades they will stand on. The struggle for free education must encourage such a split and help to clear a major obstacle in the emergence of a new national student movement.

And this remains the key task for a successful mass movement for free education. Many important steps are being taken in this direction, for example regional meetings planned for this coming Saturday. We stand in full solidarity with students and the struggle for free education. The most important task faced by the students is the creation of a national free education movement armed with 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