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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

Côte d’Ivoire

Social revolts shake Ouattara regime

www.socialistworld.net, 24/01/2017
website of the committee for a workers' international, CWI

Public sector strike and soldiers’ mutiny expose reality behind “economic growth”

Militant Côte d’Ivoire (CWI group in Côte d’Ivoire)

Côte d’Ivoire is currently going through a period of heavy social turmoil. The year had started well for the ruling regime, with the anouncement of an expected 8 % GDP growth for 2017 (the highest in Africa this year), and the formation of a new government. This was the first government under the brand new “Third Republic” after the adoption of a new Constitution in November 2016.

However, as usual, the regime took its “successes” for granted while under the surface, unrest was boiling. A sudden mutiny among the army and a public sector general strike are but the latest signs of how explosive the situation has become.

Rebellion by a fraction of the army

When Ouattara gathered an army based on Northern poor farmers and craftsmen led by newly risen warlords to help him kick the then President, Gbagbo, out of power, he allegedly promised them $10.000  each, though no written word exists of that agreement. In 2014 already, a surprise mutiny spread to every barracks in the country and soldiers were seen marching in the streets in Bouaké and Abidjan.

This year again, ex-rebel soldiers have risen to demand the payment of their war money, as well as better living conditions. What is surprising is the speed at which the movement, starting in Bouaké on 6 January at 7 am, has spread throughout the whole country that very same morning.

Even though backstage deals are not excluded, it appears that this movement is essentially an uprising of the poorest and most downtrodden layers of a ragtag army, angry at being forgotten by their leaders who have enriched themselves. Even though the mutineers have stolen property, they have mostly targeted signs of wealth and privilege such as expensive cars, etc. While civilians were left unhurt, the army chiefs and the Defense Minister were taken hostages. This was essentially a class revolt inside the army.

Despite the war crimes committed by some of those ex-rebels during the Ivorian civil war, we have to understand that those young people are essentially victims of the system and of false promises of happiness once the war would be over and their masters in power. Many were fighting for the “dignity of the North”, but realise now that they have been fooled : indeed, the Northern bourgeois, just like their Southern brethren, still do not see any interest in investing outside of the capital Abidjan. Moreover, the regime’s antisocial policies have hit the Northern people hard, such as the bulldozing of small, informal shops from the market areas, etc.

The government was forced to agree to a deal after only two days. Soon it was announced that the mutinous soldiers would get their due bonuses, and that the country was “back to safety”. But this was only the beginning. Soon, other sections of the army started demanding money themselves. The lesson of the mutiny was clear for all to see : the governement has money, but won’t share it unless it is forced to do so.

The Ivorian army is deeply divided between diverse factions of ex-fighters. In 2011, the national army under Gbagbo was fused with the “Forces nouvelles” rebel army, despite the fact these forces had fought each other for 8 years. The Gbagbo loyalists in the army feel that they too deserve something for having fought for the defense of the State at that time. Hence, soon the gendarmes (military police) and policemen blocked Abidjan harbour and other cities for a day with their own demands, and the ex-rebels who had already got their share were used to repel them.

Last week also saw movements from the prison guards. Customs officers have also threatened strike action, and most recently, on Monday, 600 firefighters marched through the streets of Abidjan chanting “Président, voleur! Ministres, voleurs!” (the President and Ministers are thieves !).

The strike in the public sector

The movement which is hitting the public sector also shows a new determination from the workers to fight and get organized for their demands. It also reflects the general thirst for more democracy.

Public sector workers have been demanding the payment of unpaid wages due since at least 2009, worth a total of €380 million. A movement had already been initiated in 2013, but it was very disorganized and did not bring much. Also, the workers were divided and easily fooled by promises of “talks” with the government which were only used to delay and tire the strikers.

But now, a new movement has been sparked by the implementation of a new pension law that aims to increase the retirement age by 5 years, cut retirement benefits by half, and increase the taxes taken from workers’ wages in order to pay for their pension. The reform also states that if a worker dies, then his spouse won’t get access to his/her retirement benefits before the actual age of retirement (that is, until the corpse itself turns 65).

In a country that purportedly has the highest growth rate in Africa, public sector workers cannot understand why they cannot get their share of this new prosperity. What is the economic growth for if the people don’t see any improvement in their living conditions?

Teachers are also enraged at a decision by the Minister of Education that classes shoud be given on Wednesdays in primary schools. Until now, Wednesdays had been a day off, although many teachers use this to give paid “reinforcement” classes to students. The reform was announced through the newspapers barely two days before the end of the holidays, so no time was given at all for the teachers to prepare for new courses’ program. Teachers are also losing money, since the paid “reinforcement” classes are replaced by official public work, but without any pay rise.

This time, the strike has been united across the public sector: teachers, nurses, and public administration workers are all together in one movement. All decisions are taken during general assemblies of workers’ representatives, held in university lecture halls. The government has done everything to force the union leaders to call off the strike (including promises of opening “talks” once the strike ceases, or organizing a “social forum” at the end of February), but this time it has not worked: the leaders are bound by the decisions of the assembly. The workers have also set up successful platforms on social media which they use to publish pictures, reports and opinions about the strike and debate amongst each other.

When the mutinying soldiers received millions which were owed to them by the regime for years, this had the effect of increasing the workers’ resolve to get their own demands satisfied.

Since then, the regime has resorted to dirty tactics to artificially put an end to the strike, including, incredibly, the abduction of union leaders, who were physically threatened by government forces on Sunday with the aim of forcing them to publicly call off the strike on the national television. This only made public workers even more furious.

This shows that the government is desperate to get back a semblance of control over the situation. It knows that conceding anything to public sector workers will only encourage further other sections of society to step forward and demand their share in turn. This is why the situation is very volatile at the moment and could lead to virtually anything in the coming days, including a possible intervention by French troops which are permanently stationed in Abidjan.

At the same time, public school students have launched their own strike to protest against the fact that schools have been closed for three weeks, asking the government to meet the teachers’ demands. In several towns and cities, fights are taking place between school students and policemen, and groups of students have also been occupying main roads and bridges. The student union, LIGES, has issued a statement this weekend to support the public sector and the army strike.

Rumours of unrest are also coming from the countryside. Peasants complain that they haven’t managed to sell their cocoa since November, and that their produce has started to rot. Indeed, Côte d’Ivoire ceased exporting cocoa several months ago, in a context where the price to be paid to peasants, itself based on very complex calculations implemented by the government, is higher today than the decreasing prices on the world market. Peasants have been mostly passive these last years, as prices were increasing every year, but they could well too decide that they want their share of the billions that are now being demanded by various sections of society.

Whereas no voice is heard from the “opposition” parties who organize protests only when their own political interests are directly threatened, the CWI’s sympathizers in Côte d’Ivoire have been active in the public sector strike since it started, giving out leaflets which have been very appreciated by the workers, and taking part in talks with the various unions, including student unions. At the moment we are trying to convince trade unionists to stop simply sitting at home but to start an “active” phase of their strike, by organizing public meetings and marches not in the official areas of Abidjan, but in the popular neighbourhoods so as to rally popular support and anger against this government. We also want to spread our own agitation’s material in the streets to raise support for striking workers among the general public.

We also call on public sector workers to support the military strike and vice versa, to understand that they are all victims of the same system of lies and domination. We need the widest front possible against this government, of all those oppressed or cheated by this regime, so as to all get our share of the wealth and growth.



Europe

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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