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 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

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

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