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latest news

 Solidarity
#JobstownNotGuilty international day of action a huge success

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

  Solidarity

Russia/Belarus
A week-end of mass protests

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

  Russia

Hong Kong
Creeping “coup” by Chinese dictatorship

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

  Hong Kong

Britain
Terror attack at Westminster

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

  Britain

Italy
Democratic Party splits and 5-Star Movement in crisis

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

  Italy

Spain
Student strike empties classes and fills streets on 9 March

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

  Spain

Scotland
Second referendum on independence?

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

  Scotland

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

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

  Brazil

South Africa
Unity against poverty, crime and xenophobia

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

  South Africa

Netherlands
Election result a colossal defeat for austerity government

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

  Netherlands

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

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

  Yemen

Hong Kong
Protest against LSG Sky Chefs dismissal of union chairman

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

  Hong Kong

Ireland North
Snap election raises sectarian temperature    

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

  Ireland North

Quebec
Counter protest against far-right

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

  Quebec

 International Women's Day
Speech by Kshama Sawant

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

  Women

 International Women’s Day
Millions join marches and take action

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

  Women

 Hong Kong
Women’s march against sexism and racism

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

  Women

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

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

  Women

Pakistan
Political spectacle of the ruling class

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

  Pakistan

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

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

  Women

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

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

  Britain

Egypt
Price hikes hit workers and middle classes

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

  Egypt

Hong Kong’s sham election

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

  Hong Kong

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

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

  US

Sweden
“Who could believe it?"

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

  Sweden

Britain/Ireland
Dublin's #JobstownNotGuilty

23/02/2017: Defend the right to protest - stop this political vendetta!

  Ireland Republic

Ireland
A web of intrigue sparks government crisis

22/02/2017: Smear campaign against a prominent police whistleblower

  Ireland Republic

February revolution 1917
What lessons for today?

21/02/2017: 23 February 1917 (8 March in today’s calendar) marked the beginning of the socialist revolution in Russia, which sparked a revolutionary wave that would travel around the world.

  Russian Revolution

 Yemen
International protests in support of TOTAL/G4S workers

20/02/2017: Solidarity spreads for victims of wage robbery and killing by multinational corporations

  Solidarity, Yemen

Netherlands
Anti-immigrant Freedom Party leading polls ahead of general elections

18/02/2017: Only a choice between the “regular” and far-right?

  Netherlands

South Africa

Local government elections leave ANC in crisis

www.socialistworld.net, 15/10/2016
website of the committee for a workers' international, CWI

Socialist mass workers party needed

Weizmann Hamilton, from the new issue of Izwi Labasebenzi

The 3 August municipal elections and the student protests have confirmed our perspective following the Marikana massacre: “The battle lines [have been] drawn for colossal struggles to come ... the political reverberations will continue to rock the country like the aftershocks of an earthquake, and will alter the political landscape forever.” (Izwi Labasebenzi 21/09/12)

The local government elections have changed the political landscape almost beyond recognition. The third of August 2016 represents a decisive political turning point for post-apartheid SA. Despite remaining overwhelmingly dominant, the 8% decline in its vote, and the loss of Nelson Mandela Bay (Port Elizabeth), Tshwane (Pretoria) and Johannesburg hit the ruling African National Congress (ANC) like a defeat.

Working class voters left the ANC only 4% above the majority water-mark.  The way has now been cleared, in only three years time, for the ANC to be unable to form a government on its own.  Some form of the post local government elections coalitions would then most likely be repeated at a national level, ushering in a completely new political landscape.

The birth first in 2008, of the right-wing Congress of the People (Cope), and the formation, five years later, of the left populist Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) represented different, successive stages in the confirmation of Izwi la Basebenzi’s prognosis following former-President Mbeki’s ousting in 2008 – that down this road lies the eventual break-up of the ANC. Cosatu’s 2014 expulsion of the 300,000 strong metalworkers’ union Numsa, struck a crippling blow against the ANC’s electoral mobilising capacity draining away the support of hundreds of thousands of workers and their families.

The divisions the ANC went into the 2016 local government elections with have now deepened to the point where a third major split cannot be ruled out should it fall below 50% in 2019. The current outbreak of hostilities has seen the Finance Minister threatened with arrest, President Zuma contradicting Deputy President Ramaphosa by denying the government was at war with itself, ministers from the South African Communist Party (SACP) with whom the ANC is in alliance standing defiant about their possible dismissal from cabinet, the Communications Minister defying ANC National Executive Committee (NEC) decisions in the courts etc.

ANC at war with itself

Nothing reveals the contemptible character of the Zuma administration more than the extraordinary power the billionaire Gupta family have to appoint cabinet ministers – the complaints about which sparked the current factional conflict -- and the state broadcaster’s board’s brazen defiance of the courts on the irregular appointment of their Chief Operating Officer, Hlaudi Motsoeneng, a Zuma loyalist. SA has become the banana republic the ANC elite – the stout defenders of “constitutional democracy” and the “rule of law” – always prided themselves the country would never degenerate into under them.   

In less than a decade since the first serious cleavages in the post-apartheid ANC opened with Mbeki’s recall, factional conflict has ceased to shock – it is now its political way of life.  What is new is only the significant recasting of the factional line-ups in which former allies are now avowed enemies.

Cope died an early death, Zuma’s “coalition of the wounded” has broken up and the Tripartite Alliance of the ANC, SACP and trade union federation Cosatu, exists in name only. The Zuma faction is openly hostile to the SACP. Calls from within the SACP to divorce the ANC will grow louder before 2019.

The emasculated Cosatu’s own implosion has not yet fully played itself out. After Numsa’s expulsion and the Food and Allied Workers Union’s departure, a damaging conflict over the presidential succession battle looms.  When Cosatu’s September Central Executive Committee failed to back Ramaphosa to succeed Zuma, the ANC-aligned National Union of Mineworkers broke ranks announcing its support for the ‘butcher of Marikana’ – a promise to continue as a politically irrelevant baas boy union.

Reduced to a cowardly political apologist for Zuma’s faction, and with little credibility left amongst workers, the giant that was Cosatu, founded in 1985, will be further diminished by these new strains.

Zuma faction’s domination potentially fatal for ANC

Making full use of his authority and experience as ANC Head of Intelligence in exile, Zuma has systematically reengineered control of key organs of state – the police, intelligence and National Prosecuting Authority – installing his cronies to shield him from imprisonment. At the same time he has captured a number of state-owned enterprises and created an extensive patronage network that reaches into every corner of government.

The Zuma faction’s rule over the ANC, until recently almost completely free of the intellectual pretensions that marked Mbeki’s, has lately dressed itself up in the EFF’s ideological language, noisily denouncing “white monopoly capital.”  The Black Business Council, nothing more than hyenas feeding at the state trough, held its September imbizo under the theme “economic freedom in our lifetime – aluta continua”.

After Mbeki’s ousting we pointed out that the Zuma and Mbeki factions were not involved in a clash of competing ideologies. In the final analysis, they are ideological peas-in-a-pod – you cannot tell them apart. (Izwi Labasebenzi 1/10/2008). In the latest factional conflict, nothing has changed. 

Zuma’s rule over the ANC, over whose structures he has until now had a vice-like grip which has been systematically tightened in the equivalent of a slow-motion organisational coup, has Bonapartist characteristics both internally to the ANC and in society. As its authority diminishes, it increasingly reacts to protests with state force. Utilising to the full the powers the very constitution his feeble opposition is rallying around, he ignores the very ANC NEC he dominates, the cabinet he has appointed and has reduced parliament to a stage on which he can laugh at the nation, as he runs the country with and for the Guptas. 

Yet Zuma’s power has begun to loosen as events outside the ANC reverberate inside it.  The ANC provinces of North West, Mpumalanga and KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) have turned into factional battle grounds. In KZN nearly 50% of the branches are challenging the ANC’s provincial congress results in court. The judiciary, acting as a check on Zuma’s authoritarian instincts, has also inflicted blows on him and his faction.  Zuma’s strategy to subvert state institutions to avoid corruption charges has therefore not met with the same success.

Yet so firm is Zuma’s grip on ANC structures and so compromised the opposition – driven by the same objectives to protect their access to state resources for self-enrichment – that they are unlikely to stop Zuma’s plan to ensure he is succeeded by his ex-wife, Nkosazana Zuma as president.  Ramaphosa’s support in the ANC is limited to an isolated Gauteng province and sections of a politically crippled Cosatu.

Amnesty for Zuma?

The deeply hostile factions that emerged at the ANC’s 2007 Polokwane congress found a way to reconcile, renewing their marriage vows in a shared belief that the ANC’s unity took precedence over everything. This enabled the ANC to present at least a semblance of unity in their 2009 and 2012 congresses. United with the sincerity of the best of enemies, the ANC’s victories have been accompanied by diminishing electoral support. It therefore prepares for the 2019 general election impaled on the horns of a serious dilemma. 

A third split would see the ANC entering  2019 as rival blocs forced into previously unthinkable electoral alliances,  leaving it perched on the edge of the sinkhole of oblivion. On the other hand, if it reconciles, it will have to do so on terms acceptable to the dominant Zuma faction. This will mean contesting the elections with Zuma effectively assured of an amnesty, virtually ensuring defeat.

To escape this dilemma the option of rigging the elections as insurance for the “right” outcome will undoubtedly be discussed in the ‘smoke filled rooms’ of Luthuli House. The logic of Gwede Mantashe, ANC general secretary and his deputy Jesse Duarte’s unprecedented attacks on the Independent Electoral Commission as the ANC’s enemy after the municipal elections are not many steps away from demanding the election outcome they prefer. The ANC presidency was prepared to rubber stamp Zimbabwe’s fraudulent elections and to sit on its own judicial report confirming it. Why would they not do it here? The only thing holding them back is the combativity of the working class and youth reflected in the high levels of protests in the workplace, the communities and on the campuses. Electoral fraud against this background could possibly set-off a ‘South African spring’ threatening the end of the ANC itself.

Unity post Polokwane proved to be an investment with rapidly diminishing electoral returns that may now turn negative. Zuma thus has become an inoperable brain tumour for the ANC. Any attempt to perform surgery through a recall would be potentially fatal. If, however, Zuma is not removed the ANC is threatened with electoral defeat in any case. Therefore a deal between both factions to give Zuma immunity in exchange for him stepping down as head of state at the ANC conference in 2017 seems the only way to avoid an all-out factional war that would destroy the ANC.  The ANC‘s convulsions are the symptoms of a party now in the throes of a death agony.

Workers party needed

As possible alternatives, the splits that have so far occurred in the ANC – Cope to its right, and the EFF to its left – have both proven to be a mirage for the masses. In the cold light of day the EFF’s parliamentary theatrics and its victory over Zuma which forced him to “pay back the money” for tax payer spending on his presidential homestead of Nkandla were unable to lend credibility to its claim to be a “government-in-waiting” ready to oust the ANC in 2019. The 3 August message is abundantly clear: a resounding rejection of the ANC, a death certificate for Cope and the EFF stamped as “not to be trusted as an alternative”.

Malema’s offer to merge with the ANC should it fall below 50% in 2019, marks the completion of the EFF’s retreat to the right. The local government engagement with the right-wing neo-liberal Democratic Alliance (DA – the second party in the SA parliament with roots in SA’s colonial and apartheid past) is clearly preparation for marriage with its ideological twin, the ANC. Malema claims the merger would entail the burial of the ANC. In fact, just as the EFF helped to impose DA on electorates that did not give them outright majorities in the metros they now control, it now wants to foist the ANC on an electorate that would have rejected it. Having discarded nationalisation of the economy’s commanding heights, and dropped socialism from its local government manifesto, what is abundantly clear is that this is a proposal for a pro-capitalist bloc. This places the EFF on the opposite side of the barricades to the proletariat in the class struggle.       

The mole of revolution has been burrowing away beneath the surface over a considerable period of time. Numsa has unfortunately spurned the historical opportunities of both the 2014 and 2016 elections. Their United Front and the Movement for Socialism have both been aborted. The promised revolutionary socialist workers party is being prepared deep inside the bowels of Numsa’s internal structures, insulated from the daily struggles of the working class – an SACP Mark II.

With their main instrument imploding, the strategists of capital have been preparing with far greater urgency to protect their class interests in a post-ANC scenario. With the DA’s limitations exposed, they have been courting the EFF in admiring tones over its “political maturity”.  

The late journalist Allister Sparks suggested, “whoever emerges as our post-Zuma president should consider declaring a state of economic emergency and forming a government of national unity… invite any opposition members of the National Assembly, as well as two from civil society, to join his Cabinet — plus two deputy ministers from outside the assembly.” (Business Day 16/03/16)

The working class must match the urgency of the capitalist class by creating a mass workers party on a socialist programme.



Europe

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

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Che Guevara: Símbolo de Lucha

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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

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