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latest news

Britain
Terror attack at Westminster

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

  Britain

Italy
Democratic Party splits and 5-Star Movement in crisis

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

  Italy

Spain
Student strike empties classes and fills streets on 9 March

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

  Spain

Scotland
Second referendum on independence?

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

  Scotland

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

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

  Brazil

South Africa
Unity against poverty, crime and xenophobia

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

  South Africa

Netherlands
Election result a colossal defeat for austerity government

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

  Netherlands

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

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

  Yemen

Hong Kong
Protest against LSG Sky Chefs dismissal of union chairman

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

  Hong Kong

Ireland North
Snap election raises sectarian temperature    

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

  Ireland North

Quebec
Counter protest against far-right

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

  Quebec

 International Women's Day
Speech by Kshama Sawant

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

  Women

 International Women’s Day
Millions join marches and take action

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

  Women

 Hong Kong
Women’s march against sexism and racism

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

  Women

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

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

  Women

Pakistan
Political spectacle of the ruling class

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

  Pakistan

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

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

  Women

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

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

  Britain

Egypt
Price hikes hit workers and middle classes

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

  Egypt

Hong Kong’s sham election

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

  Hong Kong

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

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

  US

Sweden
“Who could believe it?"

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

  Sweden

Britain/Ireland
Dublin's #JobstownNotGuilty

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

  Ireland Republic

Ireland
A web of intrigue sparks government crisis

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

  Ireland Republic

February revolution 1917
What lessons for today?

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

  Russian Revolution

 Yemen
International protests in support of TOTAL/G4S workers

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

  Solidarity, Yemen

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

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

  Netherlands

Britain
Council cuts can be fought - and they must be

16/02/2017: Corbyn needs to stand up to Brexit rebels

  Aceh

Spain
Pablo Iglesias wins clear victory in Podemos congress

15/02/2017: Time to build the class struggle on the streets

  Spain

Russian Revolution centenary

www.socialistworld.net, 02/01/2017
website of the committee for a workers' international, CWI

Defending the legacy in a new era

Editorial from Socialism Today, Dec/Jan 2017 edition

The year 2017 marks the 100th anniversary of the Russian revolution. The 1917 revolution stands out as the greatest event in history – so far – though its significance has undoubtedly been tarnished and obscured by the grotesque degeneration of the Soviet Union and the remorseless denigration by capitalist apologists.

1917 was an elemental mass movement against a viciously exploitative ruling class. The oppressed workers, poor peasants, soldiers and other exploited layers, who suffered intensified exploitation during the imperialist world war, rose up and overthrew the rotten tsarist regime and the ruling class of capitalists and landlords. For the first time in history, a revolution – under the leadership of a revolutionary party, the Bolsheviks – established a government based on the working class and other exploited layers, and sustained this regime against military intervention and an economic siege. The soviet form of government was based on the mass, democratic participation of the masses.

The masses enter history’s stage

This ‘festival of the oppressed’ involved an outpouring of discussion and debate in which the masses expressed their grievances and aspirations. This was recounted in John Reed’s book, Ten Days that Shook the World, and in Victor Serge’s Year One of the Russian Revolution. This profound movement struck fear into the bourgeoisie internationally, who immediately organised armies of intervention to support the ‘Whites’, the bourgeois/feudal counter-revolutionaries.

The revolution was triggered by a mass demonstration of women workers, and the revolution saw the mass involvement of working-class women activists. The soviet government established many rights for women, long in advance of many west European parliamentary regimes. Unavoidably, there were difficulties in giving substance to these reforms, given the extreme economic conditions that prevailed in the early years of the soviet government.

There was a tremendous outburst of creativity – in the arts, theatre, architecture, and other cultural fields – that had an international impact. A forthcoming exhibition of Russian art at the Royal Academy in London, however, will be used as a tool to try to denigrate the achievements of the revolution.

The soviet government, swept into power by the revolution, faced immense problems. The working class was a minority in an overwhelmingly rural society, numerically dominated by the peasantry. Russia was an economically and culturally backward country, devastated by the first world war. Moreover, the revolution was isolated by the defeat of revolutionary movements in more developed countries, such as Germany, which had a much stronger working class. Lenin and Trotsky, the foremost leaders of the revolution, had no illusions – the Russian revolution could only be carried through on socialist lines in collaboration with international revolutionary developments.

Given the isolation of the revolution in a backward country, the process of bureaucratic degeneration began early on – with Stalin at its head. Lenin fought it until his death in January 1924. And Trotsky resisted bureaucratisation and fought for the restoration of workers’ democracy from 1923 to his murder by one of Stalin’s agents in August 1940.

Bourgeois historians may deplore Stalin and the reactionary bureaucracy on which he based himself, and denounce the grotesque totalitarian regime he constructed. But they are never prepared to support the ideas or the record of Trotsky. Through the International Left Opposition, Trotsky consistently fought against the degeneration of the revolution.

Yet the example of the Russian revolution and its achievements in its healthy period will never be obliterated. Economic planning, despite the bureaucratic distortions of Stalinism, raised Russia from a backward, semi-developing economy, to a powerful modern state in 50 or 60 years, though at tremendous human cost. In a later period, in the years immediately prior to the collapse of Stalinism after 1989, the planned economy in its undemocratic, Stalinist form proved that it had exhausted its potential for growth.

Defending the legacy in a new era

Socialists, Marxists and militant workers around the world will be celebrating the example and the achievements of the Russian revolution. At the same time, during 2017, the bourgeois propaganda machine, involving the press, TV, academic books, exhibitions, etc, will be cranked up to denigrate the idea of social transformation in general and the 1917 Russian revolution in particular.

The propaganda excesses of 2017 will no doubt exceed the excesses of 1989, when the fall of the Berlin wall signalled a generalised process of the collapse of Stalinism. The bourgeoisie internationally launched a ‘kulturkampf’, an ideological war to discredit the idea of socialism and a planned economy. They promoted the idea of the ‘end of history’, meaning that the ultimate achievement of civilisation is parliamentary democracy and the free-market economy.

In that period, the capitalists internationally appeared to be highly successful, in stark contrast to the chaos and collapse of the Soviet Union and east European regimes. Capitalist governments no longer felt under pressure to maintain a ‘welfare state’ to counter any advance by the Stalinist bloc. Finance capital was given a free hand and was awash with profits. Globalisation accelerated, and the new combination of neoliberal conditions allowed governments to launch an assault on workers’ rights and living standards.

Up to 2007, international capital appeared to be highly successful. But today the picture is very different. Capitalism faces worldwide economic crisis, social instability and political convulsions. There is a crisis in ‘legitimacy’, where huge sections of the population reject capitalist conditions, even though they do not at this stage see an alternative. This is reflected in the election of Trump in the US, among other things, an anti-establishment protest vote (dealt with elsewhere in this edition) and the vote for Brexit in the June EU referendum in Britain.

But the bourgeoisie will not look upon the Russian revolution any more favourably as a result of their own predicament. On the contrary, their propaganda against 1917 will be intensified, with a horrendous barrage of exaggerations, distortion, and outright lies. A wounded beast is undoubtedly more dangerous than a sated animal.

Yet, despite a new war of ideas against Marxism and revolution, the present revival of interest in Marxism will continue and be intensified. In the US, the primary campaign of Bernie Sanders attracted a huge layer of workers and youth who are beginning to seek a more developed form of socialism than that offered by Sanders himself, who advocates a very limited, social democratic variant. Similarly, in Britain, many of those who joined the Labour Party to support Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership challenge, and again against this year’s attempted right-wing coup, are looking for socialist ideas that embrace the idea of a profound change in society.

To help counter this ideological offensive, in 2017 Socialism Today will publish a special issue on the Russian revolution (No.210, July/August). And, throughout the year, we will be publishing articles, some from our archives and some new material, to reclaim the real history of 1917 and the socialist alternative it represents.



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NEWS

Britain: Terror attack at Westminster
24/03/2017, Judy Beishon, from the Socialist Party (CWI England & Wales) website :
Unite against terror, racism and war

Belarus: Protesters flood onto streets demanding scrapping of “law against parasites”
21/03/2017, Daniil Raskolnikov (translation of article from the Russian CWI site www.socialist.news):
President Lukashenko must go!

Spain: Student strike empties classes and fills streets on 9 March
21/03/2017, Sindicato de Estudiantes (SE), Spanish Students' Union :
Over 100,000 take to the streets in SE demonstrations

Scotland: Second referendum on independence?
18/03/2017, Philip Stott, Socialist Party Scotland (CWI) :
SNP fire the starting gun but offer no solutions to austerity

South Africa: Unity against poverty, crime and xenophobia
17/03/2017, Shaun Arendse, Workers and Socialist Party (CWI South Africa):
Capitalist politicians use xenophobia to divert attention from failures of profit system

International Women’s Day: March in Malaysia and week of activity in Belgium
16/03/2017, socialistworld.net :
Reports from Kuala Lumpur and Brussels

Netherlands: Election result a colossal defeat for austerity government
16/03/2017, Pieter Brans, Socialist Alternative (CWI in Netherlands), Amsterdam:
Oppose Wilders and the ‘mainstream’ right – Build a mass workers’ party that struggles for socialism

Russian Revolution: March 1917 - After the fall of Czarism, what next for the revolution?
16/03/2017, socialistworld.net:
New article on 1917revolution.org

Hong Kong: Protest against LSG Sky Chefs dismissal of union chairman
14/03/2017, Sally Tang Mei-ching, Socialist Action (CWI in Hong Kong) :
Ng Chi-Fai sacked for organising union by multinational’s Hong Kong division – international solidarity needed

Quebec: Counter protest against far-right
13/03/2017, Michele Hehn, Alternative Socialiste (CWI in Quebec) :
Rise of Islamophobia and right-wing reaction poses new challenges to the left

International Women's Day: Speech by Kshama Sawant
12/03/2017, Socialistworld.net :
Video of 8 March rally in Seattle

International Women’s Day: Millions join marches and take action
10/03/2017, Clare Doyle, CWI:
Socialists around the world demand an end to women’s oppression

Hong Kong: Women’s march against sexism and racism
09/03/2017, Socialist Action (CWI in Hong Kong) reporters:
International Women’s Day: “Solidarity with global mass protests and women’s strikes”

Spain: Hundreds of thousands participate in International Women’s day student strike
08/03/2017, Sindicato de Estudiantes, students’ union in the Spanish state :
‘Libres y Combativas’ and Sindicato de Estudiantes call strike against sexist violence and for working class women's rights

Pakistan: Political spectacle of the ruling class
08/03/2017, Tariq Shahzad, National Organiser of IYWM (International Youth and Workers Movement) :
Most workers underemployed, 40% in poverty - situation demands new workers’ party

Britain: Massive demo shows battle to save the NHS can be won
06/03/2017, Hannah Sell, Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales) deputy general secretary :
Up to 250,000 march in national protest, organised from below

Egypt: Price hikes hit workers and middle classes
04/03/2017, David Johnson, Socialist Party (CWI England & Wales) :
Falling support for dictator Sisi portends growing opposition

Hong Kong’s sham election
03/03/2017, Dikang, Socialist Action:
Pan-democrats sink to new low by supporting “lesser evil” John Tsang

US: Socialist response to Trump’s address to joint session of congress
02/03/2017, socialistworld.net:
Kshama Sawant, Socialist Alternative councillor, speaks

Catalonia: Historic demonstration in Barcelona in support of refugees
25/02/2017, Esquerra Revolucionària :
'Volem acollir'

Sweden: “Who could believe it?"

24/02/2017, Per-Åke Westerlund, Rättvisepartiet Socialisterna (CWI Sweden):
What is behind Trump's attack?

Britain/Ireland: Dublin's #JobstownNotGuilty
23/02/2017, Neil Cafferky, from The Socialist (weekly paper of the Socialist Party, England & Wales):
Defend the right to protest - stop this political vendetta!

Ireland: A web of intrigue sparks government crisis
22/02/2017, By Cillian Gillespie, Socialist Party (CWI in Ireland) :
Smear campaign against a prominent police whistleblower

Yemen: International protests in support of TOTAL/G4S workers
20/02/2017, Socialistworld.net:
Solidarity spreads for victims of wage robbery and killing by multinational corporations

Netherlands: Anti-immigrant Freedom Party leading polls ahead of general elections
18/02/2017, Pieter Brans, Socialist Alternative (CWI in Netherlands), Amsterdam:
Only a choice between the “regular” and far-right?

CWI Comment and Analysis

ANALYSIS

Italy: Democratic Party splits and 5-Star Movement in crisis
22/03/2017, Marco Veruggio, ControCorrrente, (CWI in Italy) :
Class struggle can build real left force

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


17/03/2017, André Ferrari LSR (CWI in Brazil) :
For a one-day general strike as the next step

Yemen: Workers and their families left to starve by multi-billionaire companies
16/03/2017, Cedric Gerome, CWI :
International campaign needed to force companies to pay

Ireland North: Snap election raises sectarian temperature    
14/03/2017, Daniel Waldron, Socialist Party (CWI Ireland), Belfast :
Workers need strong socialist alternative at ballot box and in unions

International Women’s Day 2017: A century on from the Russian Revolution
06/03/2017, Clare Doyle, CWI :
Demonstrations world-wide swelled by anti-Trump anger

February revolution 1917: What lessons for today?
21/02/2017, Peter Taaffe, Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales), printed in the Socialist (paper of the Socialist Party):
23 February 1917 (8 March in today’s calendar) marked the beginning of the socialist revolution in Russia, which sparked a revolutionary wave that would travel around the world.

India: Upheaval in Tamil Nadu
09/02/2017, Sajith Attepuram, New Socialist Alternative (NSA) (CWI India) :
Corruption, nepotism, and other crimes of ruling party exposed

Britain: Universal basic income demand gains ground
08/02/2017, Judy Beishon, from The Socialist (weekly newspaper of the Socialist Party – CWI England & Wales) :
What approach should socialists take?

CWI and Izquierda Revolucionaria – Towards unification
06/02/2017, Socialistworld.net :
Joint declaration of the CWI’s IEC and Izquierda Revolucionaria’s IEC

France: After Sarkozy, Juppé and Valls, now Fillon is on the way out
06/02/2017, Alex Rouillard, Gauche Révolutionnaire (CWI in France) :
Space opening up to left of Socialist Party

Syria: Is an end to the war in sight?
03/02/2017, Serge Jordan (CWI) :
New movements for change will need to arm themselves with the lessons of the Syrian tragedy

Sri Lanka: The year 2017
31/01/2017, Siritunga Jayasuriya, United Socialist Party (CWI in Sri Lanka) :
Between oppression and struggle

Canada: Where are Trudeau’s ‘Sunny Ways’?
31/01/2017, Tim Heffernan, Socialist Alternative (CWI Canada), Toronto

:
Battles of Indigenous peoples, youth, workers will test Liberal government

Russian Revolution Centenary: January 1917 - On the eve of revolution
29/01/2017, Niall Mulholland, from 1917revolution.org :
War, hunger, hated Tsarist regime: class tensions reach breaking point

Afghanistan: The limits of US power
28/01/2017, Judy Beishon, from Socialism Today (February 2017 issue), monthly magazine of the Socialist Party (CWI England & Wales)<br />
<br />
:
Imperialism’s 15-year adventure a bloody catastrophe for millions

US: Build 100 days of resistance to Trump’s agenda!
27/01/2017, Bryan Koulouris, Socialist Alternative, US :
Establishment deeply divided as mass resistance explodes

Millions on women's marches around the world
25/01/2017, Editorial from the Socialist, paper of the Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales) and reports from US marches :
Reports from mass women's marches against Trump

China: New US President’s approach to China
21/01/2017, Vincent Kolo, chinaworker.info :
Outbursts raise fears of confrontation

Ireland North: Snap elections called to Stormont Assembly
17/01/2017, Daniel Waldron, Socialist Party (CWI Ireland), Belfast :
Build a socialist alternative to the ‘Orange’ versus ‘Green’ headcount

Spain: What kind of Podemos do workers and youth need?
17/01/2017, Izquierda Revolucionaria, Spanish state, editorial :
Debate within leadership touches on fundamental issues for future of party

US: Trump prepares vicious attacks
05/01/2017, Philip Locker and Tom Crean, Socialist Alternative (US):
Mass resistance needed!

Russian Revolution centenary
02/01/2017, Editorial from Socialism Today, Dec/Jan 2017 edition:
Defending the legacy in a new era

2017:Upheaval and fightback will continue
01/01/2017, Peter Taaffe, Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales) general secretary :
Everything to play for in 2017

Britain's shifting political contours
22/12/2016, Hannah Sell, Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales) from Socialism Today Dec/Jan 2017 edition :
Capitalist establishment in disarray

CWI International Executive Committee: European capitalism “battered by events”
16/12/2016, Kevin Henry, Socialist Party (CWI in Ireland) :
Report of discussion on Europe at CWI IEC meeting in November